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Vol : 05 : #71 16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021

Religious freedom expression of

freedom of thought : Dalai Lama

Dharamsala: Tibetan spiritual

leader the Dalai Lama said religious

freedom was actually an expression

of freedom of thought and gave a call

for people of faith and nonbelievers

alike to "be kind, honest and truthful"

-- the shared values of all faiths

despite their differences.

"Theistic traditions believe in a

creator, whereas non-theistic traditions

like Jainism, Buddhism and so

on, follow a different line of reasoning.

But the message they have in

common is to be kind, honest, and

truthful," the spiritual leader said in a

video message at the closing day of

an International Religious Freedom

(IRF) Summit in Washington on

Thursday.

"Nowadays we can make a distinction

between the structure of religious

belief and observance of values

that are the essence of religion -- honesty

and warm-heartedness. Even

(religious) non-believers need to be

honest and truthful.

"These days, I emphasize that we

need to understand that the entire

seven billion human beings (alive

today) are the same. We need to

appreciate the oneness of humanity

and respect and help each other. Even

non-believers will find these attitudes

relevant," he said.

The three-day IRF summit, which

concluded on Thursday, addressed

religious persecution around the

world, with focus on China's targeting

of Muslim Uyghurs in the

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous

Region.

The Dalai Lama said, "We human

beings, unlike other animals, have a

very sharp intelligence. We also have

an ability to imagine the future. This

is the context in which our various

religious traditions developed. So,

religious freedom is actually an

expression of freedom of thought."

"Our various religious traditions

have different philosophies and different

practices, but all carry the

same message -- a message of love,

forgiveness, contentment, and selfdiscipline.

Even for those with no

faith, these qualities -- contentment,

self-discipline and thinking more of

others than yourself -- are very relevant."

The Nobel Peace Laureate said,

"In the past, and unfortunately even

today, religions have been manipulated

for political reasons, or out of concern

for power, leading to fighting

among some of their followers. We

should leave such thoughts in the

past."

The Buddhist monk, who along

with many of his supporters fled the

Himalayan homeland and took refuge

in India when Chinese troops moved

in and took control of Lhasa in 1959,

is the leading spiritual figure bringing

Buddhist teachings to the international

community.

He lives in exile along with some

1,40,000 Tibetans, over 1,00,000 of

them in India. Over six million

Tibetans live in Tibet.

The Tibetan exile administration,

known as the Central Tibetan

Administration and headed by democratically

elected Penpa Tsering, is

based in this northern Indian hill

town.

'In Internet age, why look at skies for pigeons': SC on bail orders delay

New Delhi : The Supreme Court

on Friday wondered why in the era of

Internet, jail authorities continue to

rely on ancient modes of communication

to receive bail orders.

The apex court also emphasised

that it will soon develop a secure electronic

transmission mechanism for the

jail authorities to access orders, for

expeditious release of prisoners.

A bench of Chief Justice N.V.

Ramana and Justices L. Nageswara

Rao and A.S. Bopanna made the

observation during the hearing on a

suo motu case in connection with the

delay in releasing convicts by prison

authorities even after being granted

bail by courts.

The Chief Justice said: "In this age

of information and communication

technology, we are still looking at the

skies for the pigeons to communicate

the orders."

He expressed surprise that the

prison officials are waiting for the

Supreme Court orders to be sent by

post. "We had ordered release in some

matters, and they were not released

since they (jail authorities) did not

receive authentic copy of orders. This

is too much," he added. The bench,

elaborating on the system, said: "We

are contemplating a system for secure

orders of bail, so that such orders can

be sent electronically to jail authorities."

The bench added that it is directing

Supreme Court Secretary General to

frame the scheme and also consult

amicus curia senior advocate

Dushyant Dave and Solicitor General

Tushar Mehta in the matter.

Justice Rao added that the idea of

this order is to send the order copies of

this court via a secured route. "This

will be taking care of security," he

said.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal

said the top court's idea was "very progressive".

The top court also asked state governments

to provide details on how

many prisons in their territory have

Internet connection and also by when

jails will be equipped with proper

Internet facility for faster communication

of bail orders. The bench said it is

directing the Secretary General to

place a report within 2 weeks' time,

and "we'll try to implement the

scheme in a month".

During the hearing, Mehta pointed

out there were instances where fake

and fabricated orders are given, and

before releasing the prisoner, the jail

authorities require authenticated

copies.

"There should be a direction that

the order uploaded in site is treated as

the authenticated copy." Recently,

there was delay on the part of Uttar

Pradesh authorities in releasing 13

prisoners who were granted interim

bail by top court on July 8.

These convicts were in Agra jail for

14 to 22 years, and they were granted

bail after it was found that they were

juveniles at the time of offence.

It was contended that convicts continued

to remain incarcerated, though

there was a clear-cut finding of them

being minor.

On July 13, an advocate representing

the convicts informed the top court

that 12 have been released a day ago

and one would be released on the date.

According to a senior court official,

the innovative scheme, christened as

FASTER (Fast and Secure

Transmission of Electronic Records),

is conceived for delivery of orders to

prisons concerned, District Courts,

High Courts, as the case may be, for

instantaneous delivery of orders

passed by the apex court through a

secure communication channel. This

will save time and effort and will

ensure that there are no delays in

implementation of the orders passed

by the Supreme Court, added the official.


2

16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 NEWS

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Won't meet Sidhu until he apologises

for 'derogatory' tweets: Amarinder

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Chandigarh : Amid the 'tussle'

over talks of appointing Navjot Singh

Sidhu as the new state Congress chief,

'sulking' Punjab Chief Minister

Amarinder Singh met Congress state

in-charge Harish Rawat here on

Saturday and categorically told him

that he won't meet Sidhu until he apologises

for his 'derogatory' tweets.

Reiterating that he would accept

any decision taken by interim

Congress President Sonia Gandhi,

Amarinder Singh termed the meeting

with Rawat as fruitful, adding that the

latter would take up the issues raised

by him with Sonia Gandhi.

The meeting between the two senior

Congress leaders lasted for over an

hour. Minutes after the meeting,

Amarinder Singh's media advisor

Raveen Thukral tweeted a statement

by the CM that said: "Had a fruitful

meeting with @harishrawatcmuk.

Reiterated that any decision of

@INCIndia President will be acceptable

to all. Raised certain issues which

he said he'll take up with @INCIndia

president." AICC General Secretary

Rawat reached Chandigarh on

Saturday morning to meet Amarinder

Singh. He returned to Delhi later in the

day. "I have just returned to Delhi after

meeting Amarinder Singh Ji. I am glad

that a lot of the things that are being

discussed have been proven pointless

and Captain Sahib has reiterated his

important statement that any decision

taken by the Congress president will

be acceptable to all," Rawat said in a

tweet. It has been reliably learnt that

Rawat came to Chandigarh for a meeting

between Amarinder Singh and his

bete noire Sidhu, ahead of the official

announcement of the latter's appointment

as the state unit chief by Sonia

Gandhi.

However, an adamant Amarinder

Singh, who is reportedly upset with

Sidhu for targeting his government

over the power crisis and the sacrilege

10,000 jihadi fighters have entered

from Pak: Afghan Prez

Kabul/New Delhi : In a hardhitting

speech, Afghan President

Ashraf Ghani said more than

10,000 �jihadi fighters entered

the country from Pakistan in the

last month, while Islamabad had

failed to convince the Taliban to

participate "seriously" in the

peace talks.

According to the Kabul Times,

Ghani made the remarks on Friday

while addressing the Central and

South Asia connectivity conference

held in Tashkent, with Pakistan Prime

Minister Imran Khan also in attendance.

"Contrary to repeated assurances by Prime

Minister Khan and his Generals that Pakistan

does not find a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan

in Pakistan's interest and fell short of use of force

and its power and influence to make

the Taliban negotiate seriously, networks

and organizations supporting

the Taliban are openly celebrating

the destruction of the assets and

capabilities of the Afghan people

and State," Ghani said.

The President said that

Afghanistan was ready to counter

the Taliban and their supporters as

long as they realise that a political

solution is the only way forward.

On Thursday, First Vice-

President Amrullah Saleh that the Pakistan military

had threatened missile launches against the

Afghan Air Force if it targeted Taliban militia

that has seized border checkposts at the frontier

town of Spin Boldak. In a statement, Pakistan's

Foreign Ministry denied the claim.

UK Covid daily cases pass 50K for first time since January

London : Britain has recorded more

than 50,000 new daily coronavirus

cases, the highest number since mid-

January, according to official data

released on Friday.

The country reported another 51,870

coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour

period, bringing the total number of

coronavirus cases in the country to

5,332,371, official figures showed,

Xinhua reported.

The country also recorded another 49

coronavirus-related deaths. The total

number of coronavirus-related deaths in

Britain now stands at 128,642. These

figures only include the deaths of people

who died within 28 days of their first

positive test.

The British government has confirmed

that most COVID-19 restrictions

in England will end on Monday as part

of the final step or Step Four of

England's roadmap out of the lockdown.

But scientists have warned that lifting

all restrictions at this stage could

issue, categorically told Rawat that

there would be no rapprochement

between the two until Sidhu apologises

in public for his 'derogatory tweets

and interviews', a senior Congress

increase likelihood of dangerous variants.

England's coronavirus reproduction

number, also known as the R number,

stood between 1.2 and 1.4, meaning,

on average, every 10 people infected

will infect between 12 and 14 other

people, according to the latest estimate

leader told IANS. Conveying the

party's decision, Rawat informed the

Chief Minister that there would be

three to four working presidents of his

choice along with Sidhu. He would

also be free to revamp his Cabinet,

Rawat reportedly told the Punjab

Chief Minister.

An announcement in this regard

could be made anytime, he said.

Interestingly, amid the hectic political

developments in Chandigarh,

Sidhu, a former Cabinet minister in

Punjab, called on state unit chief Sunil

Jakhar at his residence in Panchkula,

near here. The duo held a meeting

which is seen by the political circles as

Sidhu's effort to take everybody along

in the party after he is eventually

appointed as the state unit chief.

After the meeting, Sidhu called

Jakhar his 'elder brother' and a 'guiding

force'. Jakhar, in turn, described

Sidhu as a 'capable man'.

Later, Sidhu met Cabinet ministers

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Sukhjinder Randhawa and Balbir

Singh Sidhu, besides meeting senior

leader Lal Singh, a close confidant of

the Chief Minister, and legislators

Raja Warring, Kulbir Zira, Darshan

Brar and Barindermeet Singh.

Randhawa told the media after the

meeting that "all is well in the party".

"Seeking guidance of Presidents of

the illustrious Punjab Pradesh

Congress Committee, Conversations

with wise men worth months of

Education!!" Sidhu tweeted.

On Friday, Amarinder Singh had

written to Sonia Gandhi, warning that

the party would split if Sidhu is given

charge of the state Congress.

In his letter, the Chief Minister had

said that he will not contest under

Sidhu if he is elevated to the top

organisational post in the state.

The letter was delivered to Sonia

Gandhi at her residence in Delhi

before she met cricketer-turned-politician

Sidhu on Friday.

Currency Squeeze: Rupee expected to weaken further

Mumbai : High imported commodity

prices is expected to weaken

the Indian rupee against the US

dollar during the trade week ahead,

experts opined. Besides, the possibility

of IPO money outflow to foreign

venture capitalists will impact

rupee's position via-a-vis USD. Last week, rupee

consolidated in a narrow range and has been having

a muted reaction despite various data releases.

"Indian rupee is expected to weaken against

the US dollar in the coming week due to higher

crude prices and a possible outflow of IPO

money going back to foreign venture capitalists,"

said Sajal Gupta, Head, Forex and Rates at

Edelweiss Securities.

The rupee closed at Rs 74.5650 per USD on

last Friday. "The safe-haven bets for dollar are

still intact and after Powell's testimony FX

traders aren't convinced over the insistence of

dovish outlook," Rahul Gupta, Head Of

Research- Currency, Emkay Global Financial

Services. "Better than expected US retail sales

data will appreciate the USDINR

spot, rising bets for earlier than

expected Fed Rate hike or tapering."

Experts predict a range of

USDINR(Spot) is expected to trade

with a positive bias and quote in the

range of 74.20 and 75.20. "Next

week, in the first half of the week we expect the

momentum to remain relatively low as market

participants remain cautious ahead of the ECB

policy statement," said Gaurang Somaiya , Forex

& Bullion Analyst, Motilal Oswal Financial

Services.

"Expectation is that the central bank could

continue to remain dovish thereby keeping gains

capped for the EURUSD pair."

However, Devarsh Vakil- Deputy Head of

Retail Research at HDFC Securities said: "The

near-term outlook for the rupee remains bullish

however central bank is likely to absorb the

inflows and that would limit the upside in the

near term." "We expect rupee to trade in a range

of 74.30-74.80 in the near term."

by the Scientific Advisory Group for

Emergencies (SAGE), a British government

advisory body.

Meanwhile, the growth rate range of

coronavirus is 4 per cent to 7 per cent,

which means that the number of new

infections is growing by between 4 percent

and 7 percent every day. As for vaccination,

Imperial College London and

Ipsos MORI have published their latest

antibody surveillance report, which

showed that almost 100 percent of people

tested positive for antibodies 14

days after their second dose of the Pfizer

and AstraZeneca vaccine.

Over 207,337 participants tested

themselves at home using a finger prick

test between May 12 and 25, tracking

COVID-19 antibodies across England

following either natural infection or

vaccination. Following one dose of

either vaccine, the proportion of people

testing positive for antibodies peaked at

four to five weeks after first dose and

then started to decline before rising substantially

in those who had a second

dose, according to the report.

The findings emphasize the need for

everyone to get both doses of the vaccine

to receive the best chance of protection

against this disease as restrictions

are lifted, the report also said.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021

3

Why are Sikhs of Kashmir angry?

Kashmir has historically been a

multi religious society, where

Kashmiri Muslims, Kashmiri Hindu

Pandits and Kashmiri Sikhs have lived

with each other for centuries maintaining

cordial, harmonious and brotherly

relationship. Sikhs of Kashmir, who

actually are not historically from

Punjab but are believed to be Brahmin

and Rajput converts from neighbouring

Jammu region and even Kashmir

valley are very much an integral part

of Kashmiri society.

After the exodus of the Kashmiri

Hindu Pandits, the Sikhs of Kashmir

are now the largest religious minority

of Kashmir Valley, distributed equally

among Baramulla in North, Srinagar

in Central and Tral in south Kashmir

Valley. The bond between Kashmiri

Sikh and Kashmiri Muslim communities

is as old as the history of Kashmir.

The Kashmir valley is home to some

of the most important and sacred gurdwaras

located in Srinagar and

Baramulla cities. So why is that the

Sikh community of Kashmir is suddenly

up in arms?

The recent controversy over alleged

cases of forced conversion and marriage

of Sikh girls has not only been

widely publicized and politicized, but

it has also ruptured the cordial relation

between Kashmiri Muslims and

Kashmiri Sikh communities. Since

there are various conflicting views and

information circulating on the details

and facts of these cases, I would not

like to comment upon merits of these

individual cases, but would rather

focus on the wider picture of the status

of Kashmir's non-Muslim minorities.

The problem lies in the fact that

Kashmir's majority Muslim population

loves to remain in complete denial

of how their image is perceived outside

Kashmir valley but sooner or later

they are confronted with the bitter

reality, which is never debated or

resolved and therefore the problem

continues to persist.

Regardless of what the majority

Muslim population of Kashmir may

think about themselves, the fact is that

Kashmir valley is not only a conflict

region but is also recognised as one of

the most radical Muslim enclaves of

the world, where religious minorities

(Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs) have

been persecuted for their religious

beliefs. No one outside Kashmir

believes in the so called "Jagmohan"

conspiracy theory for facilitating

forced exodus of Kashmir's largest religious

minority of Kashmiri Hindu

Pandits. The dark episode of 1989 of

the forced and violent exodus of

Kashmiri Pandits has remained a

biggest blot on the former secular credential

of Kashmir's majority community,

whether or not they want to

believe.

The subsequent rise of religious

radicalism, orthodoxy, social conservatism

and proliferation of puritan

Islamic school of thoughts has further

dented the image of Kashmir as an

enclave of moderate, tolerant, secular

Muslims, who followed their own

unique syncretic Sufi Islam called

"Rishiyat" that was an amalgamation

of Central Asian Sufi traditions and

Kashmir's own Hindu Shaivism.

Those of us from majority community

of Kashmir, who have had friendship

and acquaintance with Sikh community

of Kashmir would tell the truth

of the life that Kashmir's Sikh community

has been living since last three

decades in a highly brutalized, violent

and religiously radical and intolerant

Kashmir. Beyond the slogans of "Sikh

� Muslim" bhai chara lies a suppressed

story of religious harassment,

religious taunts, stigmatization of

Kashmiri Sikh community, which has

only grown worst.

I have been regularly hearing stories

of Muslim community pressure on

Sikhs to convert to Islam, which happens

both expressly and indirectly. It is

a fact that Kashmiri Sikh girls are special

target of religious harassment. My

Sikh friends would regularly tell me

how their Muslim acquaintance would

ridicule their Sikh faith and practices

Kathmandu : China has

announced on Friday that it would

provide additional 1.6 million doses of

Covid-19 vaccines to Nepal under

grant assistance, after already donating

1.8 million doses of vaccines to

the Himlayan nation earlier.

Besides, Nepal is purchasing 4 million

doses of vaccines from China, out

of which the first consignment has

already arrived in Kathmandu.

With this, Chinese vaccine donation

to Nepal has reached 3.4 million,

which is the highest, Chinese

Ambassador You Hanqi announced at

a meeting with the new Prime Minister

Sher Bahadur Deuba at his office in

Kathmandu. According to a press

statement issued by the Ministry of

Foreign Affairs, the Chinese envoy

assured that China will continue its

support to Nepal in its fight against the

pandemic, including through providing

the vaccines. You also conveyed to

the Prime Minister the recent decision

of his government to provide Nepal

with 1.6 million doses of Covid-19

vaccines as additional grant assistance,

the statement reads. Deuba

thanked the Chinese government for

the vaccine support and expressed

hope that China will continue to

enhance its support to Nepal for both

response and recovery.

Nepal launched its vaccination

campaign on January 27 with the 1

million doses of Covishield received

in grant assistance from India.

Covishield is the AstraZeneca type

vaccine manufactured by the Serum

Institute of India. In the first week of

March, Covax, an international vaccine-sharing

scheme backed by the

United Nations, supplied 348,000

doses of Covishield.

At the end of March, 800,000 doses

of Vero Cell were brought in from

China, which Beijing had provided

under grant assistance. An additional 1

million doses of Vero Cell under a

Chinese grant then arrived again in

June. On July 12, a little over 1.5 a

million doses of the single-shot

Johnson & Johnson vaccine landed in

and would encourage them to visit

mosques and learn about Islam.

Kashmiri Sikh girls would be pressured

to be "girlfriends" with Muslim

boys. Few years back A Kashmiri Sikh

girl in South Kashmir was stabbed

over her refusal to wear Islamic hijab.

The Sikh community of Kashmir,

which already knows about the misery

of Kashmiri Pandit community has

been living in fear. They know that

their presence is misused to exhibit an

example of secular credential of

Kashmiri Muslims but they can't say

anything due to fear of being stuck in

an overwhelmingly Muslim majority

region, where they have substantial

financial and economic interests.

It is a fact that non-Muslim girls are

groomed not just in Kashmir but in

almost all Muslim majority countries

and regions for marriage with a

Muslim man and conversion to Islam.

We all know that seeking conversion

(not forced one) is an important part of

the religious culture of Muslim societies,

which has unfortunately been

twisted to force non-Muslim girls to

marry a Muslim and then compulsorily

convert to Islam. Kashmir is no different.

Sikhs in Kashmir are angry because

they have been facing and quietly suffering

the religiously driven onslaught

of converting to Islam for a long time,

accelerated by the rise of the new generation

of radicalized, orthodox puritan

Muslims of Kashmir. These radical

Muslims don't even spare Sufi Islam

following Kashmiri Muslims and regularly

taunt and harass them of following

a "corrupt" faith and indulging in

"shirk" and "biddah" and worshipping

graves, one can only imagine the

plight of Sikh minority, who can't even

express their misery and suffering that

they endure on daily basis out of fear

of their security. The latest incident,

even though politicised by a Sikh

politician from Delhi has finally broken

the patience of Sikh community of

Kashmir Valley and emboldened them

to tell their tale of suffocation and suffering.

As a majority community of

Kashmir, it is our religious Islamic

duty to protect our religious minorities,

which we have unfortunately not

done and it is a fact. We must

acknowledge the toxic effect of religious

radical elements, who have been

harassing Sikhs of Kashmir are also

parallelly harassing Kashmiri Sufi

Muslims and Kashmiri Shia Muslims.

It is not a question of Islam versus

Sikhism, but of radicalism and intolerance

versus Kashmir's glorious religious

tradition of tolerance,

Kashmiriyat and Sufi Rishiyat, which

is at stake. We must understand and

acknowledge grievances of our Sikh

brothers and sister and strive to

address them and make Kashmir once

again a mecca of peace, tolerance and

secularism.

(Javed Beigh is a political leader

andis State Secretary of People's

Democratic Front. He can be reached

@javedbeigh across social media platforms.

Views expressed are personal)

China becomes biggest vaccine donor to Nepal with 3.4 mn doses

Kathmandu. The vaccine was provided

by the US through the COVAX facility.

On Wednesday, Japan announced it

would donate 1.6 million AstraZeneca

vaccines to Nepal under grant assistance.

On March 28, the Indian Army

had provided 100,000 doses of

Covishield to the Nepal Army. The

doses were used to vaccinate Army

personnel and their dependents. The

government in February signed a deal

with the Serum Institute of India to

buy 2 million doses of Covishield at $4

per dose. The Serum Institute, on

February 1, supplied one million doses

but stopped shipment of additional

doses, citing the coronavirus crisis in

India. The remaining one million doses

have not arrived yet.


4

16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Indian-origin residents in S.Africa

arm to defend themselves

Durban : Indian-origin residents

in South Africa have organised

armed groups to defend their

families and businesses following

the ongoing black mob violence

in the country since July 7.

"We are forced to buy weapons

and organise defence groups to

protect our neighbourhoods. We

are successful in business and

professions and many locals are

jealous of us. They just wanted an

opportunity to loot us," said doctor

Pritam Naidu (name changed

for security reasons) from

Durban, a city that is home to one

million Indian-origin residents.

Naidu said the local police has

just been spectators and in some

cases even joined the "loot-all,

burn-all" mobs, who asked the

Indians to leave. "We are here for

several generations. Now some

Zulu vigilantes are asking us to

leave saying this is not your country,"

said Rajesh Patel, who runs a

chain of grocery stores in

Gauteng, one of the two worst

affected provinces along with

KwaZulu Natal (KZN).

In Durban alone, 50,000 businesses,

mostly owned by Indianorigin

people, have been

destroyed. Losses are estimated to

be around 16 billion Rands, said

Zanele Khomo of the Durban

Chamber of Commerce.

The South African government

said Thursday night the army has

been deployed in the violence-hit

areas and reservists have been

called up. It admitted that 117

persons, mostly Indian-origin

people, have died in the violence.

It claimed normalcy is returning

to Johannesburg, but the situation

was still tense in Durban.

"We will shoot to kill if the

mobs come again," said trader

Joseph Kamath (name changed).

"They pillaged our localities,

our shops and malls were

destroyed, but if they come for

our houses now, we will fight and

die to preserve family honour," he

told IANS over messaging apps.

South Africa is in a state of

chaos and unrest ever since the

arrest of former President Jacob

Zuma on July 7. Zuma, once

known for his fight against

apartheid, was imprisoned in the

Estcourt Correctional Centre for

15 months for disobeying court

orders. He did not testify before

the judicial commission that

was investigating accusations

of corruption against him

between 2009-2018. Several

South Africans hit the streets

to protest against the incarceration

of Zuma and soon, those

demonstrations turned violent

against Indian-origin people.

Images and videos of rampant

arson, shooting and loot

emerged as the violence

engulfed the streets of Gauteng

and KZN provinces.

Interestingly, two-thirds of the

1.4 million strong Indian-origin

population of South Africa lives

and works in KZN, mostly in

Durban. Some images also show

how Indians had armed themselves

to defend themselves and

their property. They are organising

neighbourhood watches and

night patrols, fully armed and

equipped with walkie-talkies.

As the violence continued

unabated, South Africans took to

Twitter to attack the Indian community,

specially the Gupta

Brothers, long blamed for corruption

with Zuma's backing.

A South African man was found

inciting violence through a tweet,

asking his brothers to remember

how "Jacob Zuma sold the country

to Indian Monopoly Capital". The

picture that accompanied this

tweet was of the Gupta Brothers.

Sania Mirza, husband

Shoaib granted Golden

Visa by UAE govt

The Gupta brothers, Ajay, Atul,

and Rajesh, as well as Atul's

nephews Varun and US-based

Ashish and Amol, are a family that

hails from Uttar Pradesh,

Saharanpur. They migrated to

South Africa only in 1993.

Atul founded Sahara

Computers, the family's first business

in South Africa. Now, with a

net worth of over $10 billion, the

Gupta brothers own coal mines,

computers, newspapers, and other

media outlets. "They have

siphoned billions out of the country

and caused huge losses to government

treausury by striking

under-hand deals with Zuma and

other politicians. Now the entire

community is being targeted,

equated with the corrupt Guptas,"

said an Indian-origin journalist on

the condition of anonymity.

Indians have often been targeted in

African countries and reasons have

been concocted out of thin air to

justify the violence. Dictator Idi

Amin had expelled thousands of

Indians from Uganda in August

1972. Amin said he wanted to

extract a pound of flesh from the

British for not giving him arms to

invade Tanzania. But the racist

Amin perhaps wanted a convenient

scapegoat to distract people from

his own misdeeds. Indian settlers

have faced similar violence in the

Pacific island nation of Fiji.

Finally married

after 20 years

Unnao (Uttar Pradesh) : A 60-year-old man and a

55-year-old

woman, who have

been in a live-in

relationship for

almost 20 years,

got married earlier

this week. The

couple's teenage

son felt lucky to

witness his parents'

wedding. The marriage

took place in

Rasulpur Ruri village of Ganj Moradabad in Unnao district.

All the expenses of the marriage were borne by the

village head and the villagers. According to the villagers,

the elderly couple was regularly taunted for living

together without marriage. They were also convinced

by the village head. Both of them agreed to get

officially marry to avoid the taunts.

According to reports, Narain Raidas, 60, and

Ramrati, 55, were living together since 2001. As there

was no one else in their families, both of them earned

their living through farming.

Village head Ramesh Kumar, social worker

Dharmendra Bajpai and Sunil Pal convinced Narain and

Ramrati to get married and avoid taunts and humiliation

for their 13-year-old son, Ajay's sake. They also promise

to bear all the expenses. The village head and others

arranged for a DJ, a wedding band and a feast for the

guests. The 'baraatis', led by the couple's son reached the

village, with the groom, to solemnize the marriage.

"They were given a warm welcome by the villagers,

who were deputed to look after arrangements from the

bride's side," said Ramesh a local resident.

Earlier, the bride and groom visited the temple of

Brahma Dev Baba in the village to seek blessings.

Dubai : The United Arab

Emirates (UAE) has granted

Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza

and her husband and Pakistan

cricket star Shoaib Malik the

much-coveted 10-year UAE

Golden Visa.

Mirza, 34, who hails from

Hyderabad, and Malik, 39, a

native of Sialkot in Pakistan,

got married in 2010 and have

been residents of Dubai for the

past several years. The muchloved

sports couple has a threeyear-old

son named Izhaan.

The Golden Visa was instituted

by the UAE government

in 2019 as a new system for

long-term residence visas. It

enabled foreigners to live, work

and study in the country without

the need of a national sponsor

and with 100 per cent ownership

of their business on the

UAE mainland. These visas are

for a period of five or 10 years

and are renewed automatically.

The UAE Cabinet

Resolution No. 56 of

Organisation of Residence

Permits allows investors (minimum

of AED 10 million) entrepreneurs

and professional and

specialised talents like in the

field of science and knowledge

to apply for it.

The scope of the Golden

Visa was recently widened to

include bright students and for

100,000 coders last week under

the National Programme for

Coders.

On Thursday, Mirza and

Malik issued a brief press

release that said: "Both Sania

and Shoaib are excited to spend

time in the UAE with their son

and explore the country. They

are keen on launching their

own entrepreneurial venture in

the sports industry starting with

Dubai."

Other sportspersons who

have been granted the Golden

Visa include footballers

Christiano Ronaldo and Luis

Figo and reigning tennis world

No. 1 Novak Djokovic. From

the entertainment industry,

Bollywood stars Shah Rukh

Khan and Sanjay Dutt have

received this visa.

Mirza, who has one WTA

singles title to her credit, has

made her mark as an ace doubles

player, having won 42

titles, including six Grand

Slams. Malik is a former

Pakistan cricket captain who

has played 35 Tests and 287

ODIs for his country.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021

5

Taliban's Next Stop: Kabul, Kashmir and Kerala

The speedy advance of the

Taliban from northern

Afghanistan to Kabul in the

eastern section of the country

could not have been achieved

without the active support of

the Pakistani Army. This has

been confirmed by none other

than the Afghan First Vice

President Amrullah Saleh. The

question is whether the people

of Afghanistan, India and

neighbouring countries will

allow Taliban to capture

Kabul?

India is faced with a very

tricky situation. Despite the

Afghan government's appeals

to India to immediately send

fighter jets and gunship helicopters

India remains hesitant,

and not without reason.

India fears that at this stage

in the war in Afghanistan

between the Taliban and the

government of President

Ashraf Ghani if she openly

takes sides with the later then

Indian interests in Afghanistan

will become the target of

Taliban violence and destruction.

Hence, the India's backdoor

channel talks with the

Taliban have been reportedly

taking place.

If one takes a closer look at

the chain of events of the past

few months it becomes even

clearer that Pakistan has been

deceiving India and the wider

world when it comes to her

war-policy regarding

Afghanistan. The ceasefire

between India and Pakistan that

came into force after the DG

MOs meeting of respective

countries took place on

February 25, uncannily, coincides

with the beginning of the

second round of talks between

Afghan and Taliban negotiators

in Doha on January 9 which

took place in the back drop of

former US President Donald

Trump's announcement that al

Afghan troops would be withdrawn

from Afghanistan by

May 1. Then came the bombshell

announcement by US

President Joe Biden that the

troops will be completely withdrawn

from Afghanistan by

September 11. Between May

and June Pakistan has been acting

as Taliban's Foreign Affairs

Ministry trying to build a soft

image of Taliban.

Pakistani federal ministers

now publically claim that the

Taliban might wear baggy

dresses but they have intelligent

brains (Shah Mahmood

Qureshi's statement) and that

the current Taliban leadership

is a moderate one (statement of

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid

Ahmed) compared to the

Taliban of 1996 when they publicly

displayed the bodies of the

slain Afghan president Najeeb

Ulla and his brother.

Most notably Imran Khan

refused to allow US airspace to

attack Taliban if they become a

challenge for Ghani.

In June, Pakistan began to

send drones to confuse as a

warning to India of Pakistan

army's preparedness in case

India thought that all was

hunky dory. The purpose was to

keep India engaged on the LoC

and keep her busy deciphering

the purpose of drone attacks.

Meanwhile Pakistani generals

began to redeploy its troops to

northern parts of the country.

On Friday, according the

Saleh, Pakistan is guiding the

Taliban advancing troops from

anti-terrorist-cells based in

Peshawar and Quetta. And the

Ghani government is in panic.

The defense of Kabul has now

become a top priority. Yet a

comprehensive strategy to win

the war against Pakistan sponsored

Taliban seems to be

found nowhere.

Under the current circumstances

the only way to secure a

possible victory for the Afghan

people and the government in

Kabul would be to transform

the patchy resistance offered to

the Taliban by armed peoples

militias into a full-fledged civil

war. Arming every Afghan citizen

to fight the medieval

Islamic jihadi evil could lead to

the final triumph of good over

evil.

Secondly, given the evidence

of Pakistan's involvement

in providing logistic and

strategic support to the Taliban

against the legitimate government

of Afghanistan, Ghani

should declare war on Pakistan

without further delay and send

troops into both Khyber

Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and

Baluchistan simultaneously

declaring the Durand line a

falsely divide between

Afghanistan with Pakistan

occupied KPK and call for the

reunification of the forcefully

separated Pashtun people.

Meanwhile, the Pashtun

Tahafuz Movement in KP led

by Manzoor Pashteen, Mohsin

Dawar and Ali Wazir should

step forward an up the game of

freedom from Pakistan by joining

the Afghan armies in the

same way that the Pakistan

army is collaborating with the

Taliban. The Baloch liberation

forces should also be facilitated

to join the extended war against

Pakistani military occupation.

India must become aware of

the fact that Pakistan sponsored

game being played by the use

of Taliban will not stop at

Kabul and that their next stop

will be Kashmir and Kerala.

Pakistan will make sure that no

stone remains unturned in its

endeavour to renew insurgency

in Kashmir. The Talibanisation

of Kerala over the past years is

not a matter of coincidence but

a well thought out strategy of

Pakistani jihadi military.

Once the Taliban take over

Kabul, jihadis in Kerala could

conveniently be used by

Pakistan as a tool to stretch

Indian security beyond their

capacity by launching countrywide

acts of jihadi terrorism.

What we witnessed during

West Bengal elections when

jihadis were attacking the BJP

supporters could very easily be

repeated all over Hindustan.

Hence, India must consider

the withdrawal of US troops

and the rapid advance of the

Pakistan sponsored Taliban as a

warning of what might come.

And in a pincer movement both

India and Afghanistan should

confront Pakistan and ensure

safeguard of not only their own

people but also of the wider

regional community.

(Amjad Ayub Mirza is an

author and a human rights

activist from Mirpur in

Pakistani Occupied Jammu

Kashmir. He currently lives in

exile in the UK)

India, B'desh reaffirm commitment to strengthen partnership

Dhaka. India and Bangladesh

have reaffirmed their commitment

to further strengthen the

partnership and expanding

multifaceted cooperation, and

also emphasised on the need to

resume activities on various

joint mechanisms soon after the

Covid scenario improves in

both countries, officials said.

Bangladesh Foreign

Minister A.K. Abdul Momen

and Indian External Affairs

Minister S. Jaishankar on

Thursday, in Uzbekistan capital

Tashkent, discussed a range of

issues including the bilateral

and regional connectivity,

Covid-19 and vaccination situation

in both the countries.

Jaishankar, during the meeting,

expressed his happiness as

the supply of vaccination to

Bangladesh is back in track

from diversified external

source including under

COVAX arrangement.

They also discussed the

issue of repatriation of the

forcibly displaced Myanmar

nationals temporarily staying in

Bangladesh (the Rohingyas) as

well as the cooperation of both

countries in various international

forum.

Momen had held separate

bilateral meetings with his

counterparts from India, China

and Tajikistan at the sideline of

the International Conference on

"Central and South Asia:

Regional connectivity.

Challenges and opportunities"

on Thursday, in Tashkent.

This was followed by

Momen's meeting with Wang

Yi, Foreign Minister of China.

Both sides reciprocated their

appreciation to each other for

exchanging video messages by

President Xi Jinping and Prime

Minister Hasina on the occasions

of the joint programme of

the 100th anniversary of the

Father of the Nation, Sheikh

Mujibur Rahman, and Golden

Jubilee of Bangladesh's independence

and the 100th

anniversary of the Communist

Party of China, respectively.

Momen thanked the Chinese

government for initiating the

six-party Covid consultation

and expressed Bangladesh's

gratitude to the Chinese

Government for standing by

the people of Bangladesh at an

extremely difficult time by generosity

sending vaccine doses

as gifts and also opening the

commercial supply line.

He reiterated his request to

initiate vaccine co-production

in Bangladesh with partnership

from Bangladeshi and Chinese

stakeholders. Wang Yi assured

him of the Chinese government's

support on this issue.

Both the foreign ministers

agreed to continue to work further

towards the repatriation of

the Rohingyas. They also

underscored the need to resume

the tripartite dialogue.

During his meeting with the

Foreign Minister of Tajikistan,

Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Momen

proposed to initiate a joint

working commission to boost

bilateral trade and investment.

Muhriddin expressed his

country's appreciation to

Bangladesh for graciously

hosting the persecuted

Rohingya people and pledged

to continue to support

Bangladesh in its multidimensional

efforts to repatriate the

displaced Rohingyas.

At the invitation of his

Uzbek counterpart, Momen is

leading a Bangladesh delegation

comprising of Bangladesh

ambassador to Uzbekistan and

senior officials from Dhaka to

the International Conference on

"Central and South Asia:

Regional connectivity.

Challenges and opportunities".

Momen will depart for

Dhaka on July 18.


6 16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Taliban active in Pakistan too, retain links with Al Qaeda

New Delhi. Afghan Taliban and

their local associates are active

in Pakistan's border regions,

sources told VOA as Pakistan

has acknowledged that bodies of

militants killed in Afghanistan

arrive in Pakistan, and wounded

Taliban are treated in local hospitals.

In a June 27 interview with

Geo News, a local Pakistani

channel, Pakistani Interior

Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

admitted that the Afghan

Taliban's families reside in

Pakistan, adding that "sometimes

their dead bodies arrive,

and sometimes they come here

in hospitals to get medical treatment".

Locals and eyewitnesses on

the ground with knowledge of

Taliban activities in Pakistan

have confirmed to VOA that the

militants enjoy sanctuaries in

Pashtun areas of Balochistan

province.

A resident of Kuchlak, 25 km

from the southwestern city of

Quetta, the capital of

Balochistan, told VOA that not

only do the Taliban have their

bases in madrasas and seminaries

in the Pakistani province, but

they also "collect donations in

the mosques".

The resident, who did not

want to be named because he

fears retaliation by the militants,

said some residents of the town

of Kuchlak are in the ranks of

the Taliban.

"Locals from all the tribes

(living in the town) are with

them, saying that they are conducting

jihad to establish the

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,"

he added.

Kuchlak is home to several

madrasas and seminaries linked

to the Taliban. In August 2019,

the younger brother of Taliban

leader Hibatullah Akhundzada

was among four killed in a bomb

blast in a seminary mosque in

the town.

The Afghan government and

the US have long blamed

Pakistan for not acting against

the Afghan Taliban's sanctuaries

in Pakistan.

Pakistani officials had repeatedly

denied the presence of the

Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan.

However, in an interview with

local Afghan TV, Tolo News last

month, Pakistani Foreign

Minister Shah Mahmood

Qureshi blamed the porous border

and millions of Afghans living

in Pakistan for the presence

of the Taliban in the country.

"Once they've gone back, and

then there is cross border movement,

we can be held more

responsible for that," Qureshi

said.

Pakistani newspaper Dawn

reported Sunday that police in

Operation launched to retake Afghan

border district from Taliban

Kabul. Afghan security forces

on Friday launched an operation

to retake control of a key border

district in Kandahar province

from the clutches of the Taliban,

an official announced.

"The Afghan National

Defense and Security Forces

(ANDSF), supported by the local

Public Uprising Forces, launched

an operation to retake control of

Spin Boldak district from Taliban

militants," the official told

Xinhua news agency. More

information will be shared with

media as appropriate, the source

said. On Wednesday, the Taliban

overran the district bordering

Pakistan. Earlier on Friday, local

media reports claimed that Indian

photojournalist Danish Siddiqui

was also killed in Spin Boldak

during the Thursday clashes.

Earlier on Friday, ANDSF recaptured

control of a strategic

Saighan district from Taliban in

central Bamyan province.

Afghanistan has witnessed heavy

battles in recent weeks as Taliban

militants continued the fighting

against the government security

forces since the withdrawal of

US troops on May 1.

the city of Peshawar are investigating

videos shared on social

media, showing a group of people

on motorcycles holding

Taliban flags and chanting for

the militants during a funeral.

The resident of Panjpai, a village

near Afghanistan 85 km

west of Quetta, told VOA that

funerals and prayers for those

killed in the fighting in

Afghanistan are regularly held in

the town.

"Funerals are held. (The

Taliban) make speeches at funerals

and congratulate families for

their martyrs," he said.

He added that a funeral and

prayers were held for the son of

a tribal leader who was killed

while fighting alongside the

Taliban in Afghanistan.

"He and his father were both

with the Taliban. His father

returned home for Eid, but his

son stayed in Afghanistan and

was killed," the resident said,

adding that locals claimed (the

son) "was killed in a drone

attack".

In videos shared on social

media and obtained by VOA,

hundreds of people took part in

the funeral where the Taliban's

white flags were displayed.

VOA could not independently

verify the authenticity of the

posted videos.

A local journalist who also

requested anonymity said slain

Taliban are brought to be buried

in cemeteries in Quetta and surrounding

areas, including

Kuchlak, Duki, and Pishin.

"Prayers are held in the

mosques. Everyone in the area

knows it," the journalist said.

The report said Sayed Nazir,

a retired Brigadier of the

Pakistani Army, said "Pakistan

has admitted" to the presence of

the Taliban in Pakistan.

"Their houses, their families

or their children (are in

Pakistan). They have access to

education and health care,"said

Nazir, adding that Pakistan has

leverage over the group.

A new United Nations report

released last month said the

Afghan Taliban have not fulfilled

promises to cut ties with

Al Qaeda.

The report charged that Al

Qaeda is active in the border

areas between Afghanistan and

Pakistan and operates under the

Taliban in Afghanistan.

"The group is reported to be

such an 'organic' or essential

part of the insurgency that it

would be difficult, if not impossible,

to separate it from its

Taliban allies," the report said.

The report added that most of

the members of Al Qaeda in the

Indian subcontinent are Afghans

and Pakistanis.

Colin Clarke, senior fellow at

the Soufan Center, said it will be

"difficult to defeat" al-Qaeda if

it becomes "predominately (an)

Afghan-Pakistani phenomenon".

"That is extremely worrisome

for the durability and longevity

groups like Al Qaeda, particularly

in South Asia," said Clarke.

He added that without troops on

the ground, the US will not have

the same leverage.

"If Afghanistan does descend

back into a civil war, the Taliban

need Al Qaeda. They need to

team up with them against the

Afghan government, against

potential rivals like Islamic

State," he said.

Afghanistan rejects Pak denial on its

Air Force providing cover to Taliban

New Delhi. Afghanistan's First

Vice President Amrullah Saleh

has rejected Pakistans denial on

its Air Force threatening the

Afghan military and providing

support to the Taliban.

"On Pakistani denial: For

over 20 years Pakistan denied

the existence of Quetta Shura or

presence of Talib terrorist leaders

in its soil. Those familiar

with this pattern, Afghan or foreign,

know exactly that issuing a

statement of denial is just a prewritten

paragraph", Saleh said in

a tweet on Friday.

Saleh said he has shared the

evidence to relevant outlets.

Saleh had said in an earlier

tweet that Pakistan Air Force has

issued official warning to the

Afghan Army and Air Force that

any move to dislodge the Taliban

from Spin Boldak area will be

faced and repelled by the

Pakistan Air Force.

The Pakistan Air Force is now

providing close air support to

Taliban in certain areas, he said.

"If anyone doubts my tweet

on Pak Air Force & Pak Army

warning to d Afg side not to

retake Spin Boldak I am ready to

share evidence through DM.

Afghan aircrafts as far as 10

kilometers frm Spin Boldak R

warned 2 back off or face air to

air missiles. Afg is too big to be

swallowed," Saleh further tweeted.

Saleh has said that Taliban are

puppets of Rawalindi's GHQ.

"Can Taliban convince a single

Afg including themselves

that they aren't puppets of

Rawalpindi's GHQ ? They are

just a kill & destruction squad in

the hands of Pak which badly

needs a victory to overcome the

crisis of identity & self confidence.

Watch Pak media to verify

this."

Ex-Canadian chief of defence staff charged with obstruction of justice

Ottawa. Former Canadian chief of

defence staff Jonathan Vance has been

charged with one count of obstruction

of justice, according to the Ministry of

National Defence.

The Ministry said the Canadian

Forces National Investigation Service

(CFNIS) charged the now-retired general

with one count of obstruction of justice,

contrary to section 139 of the

Criminal Code of Canada, on Thursday,

reports Xinhua news agency.

The CFNIS assumed investigative

responsibility for allegations of misconduct

in the Canadian military on

February 4, and it was during the course

of this investigation that the obstruction

of justice allegedly occurred.

The CFNIS is considered a

specialised unit within the

Canadian military police.

Its mandate is to investigate

serious and sensitive matters in

relation to military property,

employees, and Canadian Armed

Forces personnel serving in

Canada and around the world.

The Ministry said the CFNIS

decided to pursue the relevant

criminal charge in the civilian

justice system.

Now that this is proceeding through

that system, the Ministry said, no further

details can be released at this time.

This year, the Canadian Armed

Forces have been rocked by sexual misconduct

scandals, including investigations

into allegations against Vance.

Almost two weeks after

Vance retired as chief of the

defence staff in January,

Canadian media reports alleged

that Vance had a "long-standing

relationship with a female subordinate".

It was later revealed that

the alleged inappropriate relationship

involved Kellie

Brennan, a reservist and staff

officer at the army headquarters

in Ottawa.

The allegations against Vance

have sparked two sets of parliamentary

committee hearings where Brennan testified

and revealed the allegations which

appear to be the basis of the charge

against Vance.

She claimed that Vance counselled

her to lie to military police, claiming to

have tape recordings.

Vance denied the allegations.

The allegations touched off a series

of revelations and accusations involving

other senior leaders in the Canadian

military, including Vance's successor

Art McDonald who voluntarily stepped

aside in February after sexual misconduct

allegations against him.

The investigations into both senior

leaders set off a crisis within the

Canadian military, which has been grappling

with the scourge of sexual misconduct

for decades.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021

UP 2022 in focus, Bhim Army’s Aazad is cycling

across state to ‘unite exploited’, expand base

Chandra Shekhar Aazad wants to highlight issues of inflation, rising petrol prices and

anger against BJP. Analysts say alliances will be critical to his assembly polls plans.

Lucknow. Azad Samaj

Party (ASP) chief Chandra

Shekhar Aazad is toiling hard

these days to increase the base

of his nascent party across

Uttar Pradesh ahead of the

2022 assembly polls.

Aazad is cycling across the

state, seeking to highlight the

issues of inflation and rising

petrol prices, and the anger

against the ruling Bharatiya

Janata Party (BJP).

After starting the ‘Cycle

Yatra’ on 1 July, Aazad has so

far covered around a dozen districts

including Meerut,

Moradabad, Aligarh and

Etawah. While the party has

local units in all 75 districts, he

is planning to touch the block

level too through this journey

which will end on 21 July in

Lucknow.

“The idea behind this cycle

yatra is to give some important

messages to the common public

regarding the present scenario

— inflation, rise in petrol

price and increasing anger

against the government,”

Aazad told ThePrint.

“Besides, there are more reasons

for this yatra. Firstly, we

do not want ‘mehanga loktantra’

(expensive democracy)

where parties are spending so

much money and muscle power

in elections. We don’t have so

much money. We want to contest

elections from cycles

which are economically cheaper.

Our workers can afford it,”

he said.

“Another reason behind this

yatra is that we want to unite

the ‘Bahujan Samaj’. We want

to create awareness on the need

of preventing division of votes

in the Uttar Pradesh assembly

elections next year,” he added.

The still-new politician

described his mission statement

as: “Sabhi shoshit, vanchit ko

ekjut rakhna hi hamara lakshya

hai (Uniting all the exploited

and marginalised is our aim).”

Also read: Why everyone’s

upset with Maharashtra

Congress chief Nana Patole —

Sena, NCP & his own party

Azad Samaj Party’s journey

so far

Chandra Shekhar Aazad

began activism in 2015 when

he started the Bhim Army, a

Dalit rights organisation, as a

reaction to the discrimination

and caste-based violence faced

by students of the community.

The Bhim Army provided

muscle to the oppressed, which

stopped the violence against

Dalit students in Saharanpur —

and also gave the unit a launchpad.

On 8 June 2017, Aazad was

arrested from Dalhousie in

Himachal Pradesh and was

booked under the National

Security Act after caste clashes

broke out in Saharanpur, which

left one dead and many injured.

He was jailed in Saharanpur

until 14 September 2018.

While his activism continued,

Aazad officially

announced his new political

party on 15 March last year,

and named it Azad Samaj Party.

In the panchayat polls that

followed, the ASP claimed victory

in over 56 wards out of the

more than 500 wards that it

contested in western UP.

What analysts make of

ASP’s chances

According to Lucknowbased

political analyst Kaviraj,

Aazad has shown courage on

the ground on several occasions

during issues related to

caste-based violence.

“He was very active during

the Hathras case (October

2020) too but activism and politics

are two different things.

Assembly polls will be an

important test for his newly

formed party although they

have performed well in several

districts of west UP where

Mayawati is having a stronger

hold. But for assembly polls

Mayawati is still one of the

tallest leaders. She is a fourtime

CM,” said Kaviraj.

“If Chandra Shekhar’s party

allies with any opposition

party, it may help in getting

more votes,” he added.

Shilp Shikha Singh, an

assistant professor at

Lucknow’s Giri Institute of

Development Studies, said it’s

too early to say if ASP can hurt

Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj

Party’s chances in some western

UP districts.

“Mayawati has a strong pan-

UP base. So she is still the

tallest leader among Dalits

when we talk about polls. But

Aazad has also gained due to

his efforts on ground,” she said.

“This yatra may expand his

base in the state but it’s not

easy to predict whether it will

be a ‘game changer’ for the

polls. Polls and organisation

base expansion are two different

things. We should wait till

the election scenario comes

closer,” added Singh.

In UP, Dalits constitute 20.5

per cent of the total population.

In districts like Bijnor,

Bulandshahr and Saharanpur,

Dalits form over 25 per cent of

the population.

Party mum on alliances, but

meetings are on

Asked if the choice of bicycle

— the election symbol of

Samajwadi Party (SP) — is a

hint of a possible alliance with

SP, Azad said, “I keep on

meeting several opposition

leaders. It doesn’t mean that

we are going to do an

alliance.”

He added, “Manyavar

Kanshi Ram also did a cycle

yatra several years back. So

the cycle is not made only for

one particular party.”

Aazad said as of now, the

party is focussing on expanding

its organisation. “I welcome

all the leaders who want

to take forward the movement

of social change that has been

stalled. I would ally only with

those forces that are genuinely

wanting to work for the upliftment

of the weaker section,”

he added.

The Bhim Army Chief has

already met Suheldev

Bharatiya Samaj Party president

Om Prakash Rajbhar

twice, sparking speculation of

7

a possible OBC-Dalit anti-BJP

front. However, there has been

no formal announcement.

Aazad told ThePrint that

ASP is yet to decide on an

alliance though it has decided

to contest the 2022 assembly

elections.

Sources said the party is

also holding discussions with

the SP as well as the Rashtriya

Lok Dal, which has got a new

lease of life following the

farmer protests in western UP.

Yatra to expand organisation

At the moment, though, the

young party is focussing on its

‘cycle yatra’. Speaking about

it, a senior party leader said,

“Chandra Shekhar himself has

covered the major districts of

west UP. Now he will move to

Purvanchal (eastern UP). The

Bhim Army volunteers, under

the banner of Azad Samaj

Party, also embarked on a

cycle yatra in several blocks

and villages.”

Another party leader said,

“Cycle yatra has started in all

75 districts. During these

yatras, Aazad meets local unit

people and volunteers. This

also boosts up workers morale,

he is their hero. More and

more people want to join

ASP.” The second leader

added, “On 21 July, Chandra

Shekhar will complete the last

round of the yatra in Lucknow

on the foundation day of Bhim

Army. He will do a press conference

on 22 July. Several

post holders from different

districts will also meet him on

the same day. Discussions

regarding expansion in organisation

will happen.”

SL administers highest number of Covid vaccines in a day

Colombo.Sri Lanka's

health authorities administered

the highest number of

Covid-19 vaccines in a single

day with nearly 400,000

people inoculated, statistics

from the Health Ministry

revealed.

According to official figures

released on Thursday,

384,763 people had been

vaccinated against Covid-19

on Wednesday, out of which

338,572 people had received

the first dose of Sinopharm,

and 35,410 people got the

second dose of the jab,

reports Xinhua news agency.

In addition, 3,365 persons

were administered the

Sputnik V vaccines as the

first dose, while the first

dose of Pfizer vaccines was

given to 7,416 recipients.

The Health Ministry said

that to date, Sri Lanka has

administered over 4 million

first doses of the coronavirus

vaccines across the

country, with the majority

having received the

Sinopharm vaccines.

Thirty six per cent of the

population above the age of

30 years in Sri Lanka have

been administered with at

least one dose of a Covid-19

vaccine, Health Promotion

Bureau (HPB) Director

Ranjith Batuwanthudawa

said on Thursday.

In capital Colombo, one

of the worst affected by the

virus, 70 per cent of the target

population have received

the first dose of the vaccine,

while 25 per cent have

received both doses,

Batuwanthudawa said.

"Considering the other

two districts in the Western

Province, 66 per cent in the

Gampaha district were given

the first dose while 21 per

cent have received both the

doses," Batuwanthudawa

said.

Last week, President

Gotabaya Rajapaksa had put

forward a comprehensive

mechanism for vaccinating a

majority of the Sri Lankan

population before

September.

Rajapaksa said the

amount of coronavirus vaccines

scheduled to be

received in July will be

made available to the public,

and the districts identified as

high-risk areas for spreading

the coronavirus will be

given priority in vaccine distribution.

Sri Lanka is presently

under the a third wave of the

pandemic with authorities

warning of a further spread

of the Delta variant.

The country has to date

recorded 279,059 confirmed

coronavirus cases, while

3,611 deaths have been

reported.


8 16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

TN to have more NEET exam centres this year

Chennai. Even as the state

government and the ruling

DMK is in stiff opposition to

the conduct of National

Eligibility Cum Entrance Test

(NEET), the Centre has

announced 18 centres for the

exam instead of the 14 centres

in 2020.

In a statement released on

Thursday, the Union Minister

for Education Dharmendra

Pradhan said that Chengalpet,

Virudhanagar, Dindigul and

Tiruppur will be the new centres

in addition to the 14 centres

in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu Health Minister,

Ma Subramanian met the

Union Education Minister on

Thursday and apprised him of

the difficulties faced by the students

of the state in writing

NEET examinations. He had

also handed over a copy of the

Justice(Rtd) A.K. Rajan committee

which was constituted

by the state government to

study on the impact of NEET

on rural students.

The report which was

finalised after taking opinion

and inputs from the general

public has said that a majority

of people were opposed to the

NEET examination and were of

the opinion that this is creating

an educational divide among

the Urban elite students and

those from the rural backgrounds.

The Madras High court had

earlier dismissed a Public

Interest Litigation (PIL) filed

by the Tamil Nadu state general

secretary of the BJP, K.

Nagarajan, that constituting a

committee to study the impact

of NEET was against the

Supreme Court directive. The

first bench of the Madras HC

UK Carrier Strike Group

reaches Indian Ocean region

New Delhi. The UK Carrier

Strike Group (CSG) 2021,

led by the HMS Queen

Elizabeth, has sailed into the

Indian Ocean region having

recently transited the Suez

Canal, the British High

Commission here said on

Friday.

Following a series of successful

engagements and

operations in the

Mediterranean, it is now sailing

East across the Indian

Ocean towards India.

It will then meet with

ships from the Indian Navy

to conduct routine maritime

exercises.

The deployment represents

the UK's commitment to

deepening diplomatic, economic

and security ties with

India and in the Indo-Pacific

region.

It demonstrates both the

UK's support for the freedom

of passage through vital trading

routes and for a free,

open and inclusive order in

the Indo-Pacific.

Defence Secretary Ben

Wallace said: "The UK

Carrier Strike Group deploymen

is a major moment for

UK defence as we develop

this cutting-edge capability

across the globe. The group

is sailing the Indian Ocean

and will shortly conduct

exercises with the Indian

Navy, building on our

already strong partnership

with an important ally and

friend.

"The deployment illustrates

the UK's enduring

commitment to global

defence and security,

strengthening our existing

alliances and forging new

partnerships with like-minded

countries as we face up to

the challenges of the 21st

century."

Foreign Secretary

Dominic Raab said: "The

Carrier Strike Group deployment

marks the start of a new

era of defence cooperation

with allies in India and the

Indo-Pacific. By visiting 40

countries and working alongside

our partners, the UK is

standing up for democratic

values, seizing new trading

opportunities and tackling

the shared threats we face

together.

"The deployment will

interact with India, strengthening

our already deep ties

for the benefit of both our

peoples' security and prosperity."

British

High

Commissioner to India, Alex

Ellis, said: "The Carrier

Strike Group is a powerful

demonstration of our commitment

to the security of

India and the Indo-Pacific.

Its arrival follows the UK's

first International Liaison

Officer joining the Indian

Navy's Information Fusion

Centre-Indian Ocean Region

in Gurugram.

"Today marks another step

towards delivering the ambition

set out jointly by our

Prime Ministers in the 2030

Roadmap, bringing our countries,

economies and people

closer together."

As part of its maiden operational

deployment, the

Carrier Strike Group will sail

over 26,000 nautical miles,

engaging with 40 countries

from the Mediterranean to

the Indo-Pacific and back

again.

This deployment will provide

tangible reassurance and

security to the UK's friends

and a credible deterrence to

those who seek to undermine

global security.

As the spearhead of UK's

Joint Expeditionary capability

and a cornerstone of the

UK's conventional military

deterrent, the Carrier Strike

Group comprises nine ships,

32 aircraft and one submarine

and is manned by 3,700

sailors, aviators and marines

from the combined forces of

the UK, US and the

Netherlands.

The fifth generation HMS

Queen Elizabeth carrier, at

65,000 tonnes, is the largest

surface vessel ever constructed

in the UK. Taller than

Niagara Falls, her propellers

generate the power of 50

high-speed trains.

She leads six Royal Navy

ships, a Royal Navy submarine,

a US Navy destroyer

and a frigate from the

Netherlands in the largest

concentration of maritime

and air power to leave the

UK in a generation.

It is equipped with the

fifth generation F-35B

Lightning multi-role aircrafts.

They are being jointly

crewed by the Royal Air

Force, Royal Navy and the

US Marine Corps.

comprising Chief Justice

Sanjib Banerjee and Justice

Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy

said that 'constituting a committee

was well within the

purview of the elected government

and it does not amount to

defiance'. The Tamil Nadu

health minister, who met

Dharmendra Pradhan in New

Delhi told IANS, "It was a cordial

meeting and we apprised

him of all the apprehensions of

the people of Tamil Nadu and

the difficulties faced by the students

of rural areas of the state.

"We also told him that 13

students had ended their lives

after they were not able to qualify

in the NEET exam and the

minister promised us that he

would look into our suggestions

and that in his home state

Odisha also, similar incidents

had taken place."

However, the increase in the

number of centres for NEET in

Tamil Nadu makes it clear that

the Union government would

continue with the NEET exams

in all the states, including Tamil

Nadu. Subramanian C., a journalist

with a local Tamil daily,

said, "NEET has to be conducted

and let students face stiff

competition and come out with

flying colours. You can't

always get into professional

colleges through quota and

other means.

"Even the marks being given

in the state syllabus has to be

studied in detail for an academic

debate and conducting

NEET would not hamper the

interests of rural students.

Instead of crying before New

Delhi, the Tamil Nadu government

must equip its students for

the professional entrance

examination."

Shatrughan Sinha likely

to join Trinamool

Kolkata.After Yashwant

Sinha another heavyweight

national leader, Shatrughan

Sinha, seems likely to cross

over to the Trinamool

Congress from the Congress

soon.

Senior Trinamool leaders

claim that talks with Sinha are

at the final stage and if everything

goes according to expectation

then he might join hands

with Mamata Banerjee on July

21.

Though in a recent tweet

Sinha popularly indicated a

'Ghar Wapsi' to the BJP but

insiders in Trinamool

Congress claim that after the

West Bengal assembly elections

where Chief Minister

Mamata Banerjee single-handedly

destroyed the heavyweight

saffron brigade, the

'Bihari Babu' is more inclined

towards the Trinamool

Congress. Sinha, who had

walked out of the BJP after

launching a tirade against

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

and Union Home Minister

Amit Shah, saying the saffron

party has become "one man

party and two men army", had

recently posted a tweet saying

apart from three variants of

Covid, there is a fourth variant

of people being "dukhi"

(unhappy) with Modi without

any reason. This was seen in

the political circles as his

efforts to reach out to his parent

party aimed at homecoming

efforts. There was a turn of

events after the assembly election

in West Bengal when the

former colleague of Yashwant

Sinha, who is now the vicepresident

of Trinamool, showered

lavish praise on Mamata

Banerjee, calling her "real

Royal Bengal tiger" and a

"tried and tested leader who

trounced propaganda and

'dhanshakti' (money power) in

the just-concluded Bengal

polls".

When asked in an interview

about his possibility of joining

Trinamool Congress, the

Bollywood hero of yesteryears

didn't waive the possibility but

said - 'Politics is an art of possibility'.

Presently there are

two seats in Rajya Sabha that

are lying vacant after former

union minister Dinesh Trivedi

quit and joined the BJP before

the Bengal polls and

Trinamool Congress MP

Manas Bhuniaya contested the

just-concluded state polls and

made a minister in Banerjee's

third successive government.

Indications are that

Shatrughan Sinha might be

sent to the Upper House of

Parliament from one of the

two seats of the TMC.

Intervene in South Africa to protect

Tamils, Ramadoss urges Centre

Chennai. PMK leader and former Union

Minister, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss has called

upon the Central government to immediately

intervene in the widespread attacks on Tamils in

particular and Indians in general in South Africa

after the arrest of former President, Jacob Zuma.

In a press statement, the former Union Health

Minister said that in the ongoing riots in South

Africa, 72 people have died in the past six days,

and called upon the Union government to depute

a special envoy to to urge that country to bring

the riots under control.

Noting that several Tamil persons are being

targeted and their belongings destroyed, he said

that the situation in South Africa is grave and an

immediate Indian intervention is the need of the

hour.

People of Indian origin, living in South

Africa, are in bad shape following the riots, he

said, adding that he was "in a state of shock" following

news reports on the happenings in that

country.

The PMK is an ally of the BJP-AIADMK

combine in Tamil Nadu.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk ASIA 16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 9

Resume dialogue with farmers, Punjab CM to Modi

Chandigarh. Citing the heightened

cross-border threat and

increased drone and other terrorist

activities by ISI-backed

groups, including plans by

Khalistani oufits to target certain

farmer leaders, Punjab Chief

Minister Amarinder Singh on

Friday urged Prime Minister

Narendra Modi to resume dialogue

with the agitating farmers

and make concerted efforts to

resolve their issues.

The Chief Minister has proposed

to lead an all-party delegation

from Punjab for discussions

with the Prime Minister to find a

durable and amicable solution to

the vexed problem of the prolonged

farmer agitation, which is

threatening the social fabric of

the state and impacting economic

activities as well.

In a letter to the Prime

Minister, Amarinder Singh

warned that the powers across

the border "may try to play upon

the charged emotions of the

proud, sincere and hard-working

farmers" of Punjab, which has a

long and live international border.

"The situation is presently

under control, but I fear that

provocative statements and conduct

of some political parties and

the emotional backlash might

create law and order problems

and also lead to irreversible

damage to the hard-earned peace

in the state," said the Chief

Minister, underscoring the need

for the government of India to

address the genuine concerns of

the farmers. The Chief Minister's

letter comes amid rising resentment

in Punjab on account of the

three Central farm laws, which

Amarinder Singh said he had

asked to be reviewed even in his

earlier letters of June and

December 2020.

The latest development

comes in the backdrop of

increase in drone activity along

the villages falling within 5-6

km of Indo-Pak border in

Punjab, with consignments of

weapons and drugs being delivered

into India by Pakistan.

Intelligence reports also suggest

that with the Assembly elections

in Punjab scheduled early

next year, ISI-led Khalistani and

Kashmiri terror outfits are planning

terrorist actions in the state

in the near future.

In his letter, the Chief

Minister pointed out that the

farmers have been agitating for

the past seven months on Delhi-

Haryana borders, and also in the

state, demanding repeal of the

farm laws and their protests have

been more or less peaceful so far.

"It is a little unfortunate that

the multiple rounds of engagement

between the Union ministers

and the representatives of

farmers' groups have not proved

successful," he said.

Besides the threat to the

Anti-Indian violence was planned,

Kolkata. The violence and looting

against people with Indian

origin in South Africa over the

past week were planned, South

Africa President Cyril

Ramaphosa alleged during his

first visit to the worst-affected

KwaZulu-Natal province .

As many as 121 people, mostly

of Indian origin, have died in

the country's worst postapartheid

era violence in the past

week.

"It is quite clear that all these

incidents of unrest and looting

were instigated... There were

people who planned it and coordinated

it," Ramphosa said on

Friday.

But he did not specifically

blame any party or group, only

saying that his government has

arrested more than 2,200 troublemakers,

including several

'instigators'.

"We are going after them, we

have identified a good number of

them, and we will not allow

anarchy and mayhem to unfold

in our country," Ramaphosa told

mediapersons.

He said that Indian origin

people are 'very important' to the

country, its economy and society.

"They will be defended, they

have no reason to worry,"

Ramphosa said.

The South Africa government

had said on Thursday that one of

the suspected instigators had

been arrested and 11 were under

surveillance. In all, 2,203 people

have been arrested during the

unrest for various offences,

including theft.

Ramaphosa did admit, however,

that his government could

have acted "quicker" to prevent

the unrest and expressed concerns

over the growing racial

tension in KwaZulu-Natal.

Protests broke out a day after

Ramaphosa's predecessor Jacob

Zuma, who wields support

says South Africa President

among the poor and loyalists in

the governing African National

Congress (ANC), began a 15-

month jail term for refusing to

testify to a corruption investigation.

The agitations quickly turned

into looting as crowds pillaged

shopping malls and warehouses,

hauling away goods even as the

police stood by, seemingly powerless

to act.

South Africa has deployed

more than 20,000 defence personnel

to assist the police in

quelling the unrest.

In one of the largest troop

deployments since the end of the

white minority rule in 1994, the

government said 10,000 soldiers

were on the streets by Thursday

morning and the South African

National Defence Force has also

called up all of its reserve forces

of 12,000 soldiers.

Foreign Minister Naledi

Pandor said that the government

is now in control of most of the

areas from where looting and

riots were reported.

Indian origin people, who are

the worst sufferers, were forced

to arm themselves in two

provinces, especially in Durban

city, home to more than 70 per

cent of the 1.4 million Indian origin

population in the country.

state's socio-economic fabric due

to the unrest caused by the farm

laws, the day-to-day political

activities in line with people's

democratic rights are also

adversely affected due to the agitation,

though the state government

has tried its best to maintain

law and order, said the Chief

Minister.

Highlighting some other

issues and concerns of the farmers,

which warrant immediate

attention, Amarinder Singh

referred to his demi-official letter

written to Narendra Modi on

September 28, 2020 through

which he sought to compensate

the farmers for the additional

cost of managing crop residues

at the rate of Rs 100 per quintal

of paddy, apart from minimum

support price (MSP) as residue

burning always remains a nocost

option for them.

Noting that this is extremely

important to prevent stubble

burning in view of the anticipated

third wave of Covid-19, and

its adverse impact on the health

of people, especially in this

region of the country, the Chief

Minister said these farmers also

need to be categorically reassured

about their concerns

regarding the provisioning of

MSP and continued public procurement

of wheat and paddy.

Further, their immediate fears

about the hike in prices of fertilisers,

especially phosphatic

fertilisers, after October 31,

2021 are also required to be

addressed, as nearly 60 per cent

of DAP consumed in the state

would be during November and

December for the sowing of

wheat, the letter read.

18 mobile phones

recovered from high

security jail in J&K

Jammu. A major network run

by Pakistani and local militants

from inside a high security jail

in Jammu and Kashmir was

busted by intelligence agencies

during which 18 mobile phones,

bluetooth devices, 13 SIM

cards, chargers, accessories etc

were recovered from jail barracks.

Intelligence sources said on

Friday a major network run by

Pakistani and Kashmiri militants

from inside the high security

Kot Balwal jail in Jammu has

been busted.

"18 mobile phones, blue

tooth devices, 13 SIM cards,

chargers and accessories were

recovered during rails by the

counter intelligence wing of the

CID, police and the CRPF from

barracks inside the Kot Balwal

jail."These were being used by

the militants to stay in touch

with their colleagues outside

and carry out their activities.

Among the seizure were many

smart phones with all applications

which were being accessed

by the militants and other

detenus to stay in touch with

their associates.

"The seizures were made

after obtaining search warrants

from the NIA court. Jail staff

also cooperated during the

searches.

"Whether the jail staff were

involved in the network racket

by facilitating the smuggling of

the mobile phones into the jail is

being investigated.

"After the militants became

aware about the raids, they kept

the mobile phones and accessories

inside the barracks so that

these were not recovered from

their possession.

"These mobile phones were

smuggled inside the jail by over

ground workers (OGWs) of militant

organisations who posed as

family members," sources said.

Same sources, however,

added that it was not necessary

that all these mobile phones

where in possession of the militants.

Some other under trials

could also be using these phones

to stay in touch with their families.


10 16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Olympic countdown: Will it be

third-time lucky for Deepika

New Delhi. At 16, Deepika Kumari had established

herself as the country's ace recurve archer,

winning gold in individual and team events at the

2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

At 18, the daughter of an auto driver and nurse

in the Ranchi Medical College was the winner of

world cup gold. She was then the top-ranked archer

in the world, aiming to become the country's

youngest sportsperson to win an Olympic medal in

2012 London.

However, nerves, strong winds, and poor health

saw Deepika make a quick exit, bowing out in the

opening round to a home team archer. Since then,

Deepika has been at the forefront of Indian archery,

seamlessly taking over the lead role from Dola

Banerjee, with whom she won the team gold medal

at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

But over the years, Deepika, while winning

world cup medals aplenty, has found cracking the

Asian Games and Olympics riddle tough.

Deepika's overall tally of nine gold, 12 silver, and

seven bronze in the world cups stands in sharp contrast

to her poor run in continental and global

multi-discipline showpiece events.

More than a decade of competing at the top

level and having represented the country in two

Olympics, this could be Deepika's best chance of

clinching a medal - or medals - as she will be competing

in two categories in Tokyo - individual and

mixed team.

She will pair with her husband Atanu Das in the

mixed team event, which will make its debut in

Tokyo. The expectations are high because Deepika

is in the best form of her career. A fortnight back,

Deepika, 27, bagged three gold medals -- women's

individual, team, and mixed pair - in the World

Cup Stage 3 in Paris late last month to reclaim the

No.1 spot in the world.

Deepika's sterling performance in Paris could

be attributed to the fact that she secured the Tokyo

Olympic quota in 2019, and because of the postponement

of the Games by a year, she got one extra

year to prepare for the showpiece event.

While luck will play a major role in her success,

given that the Koreans and Japanese will be tough

as ever, the experience of the last two Olympics

and the confidence gained from a hattrick of gold

medals in Paris could make it a third-time lucky for

the Indian archer.

Avoid Bakri Eid prayers in

open places: AP Deputy CM

Amaravati. Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief

Minister Amjad Basha on Friday appealed to the

Muslim community not to conduct Bakri Eid

prayers in open places amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Similarly, he also requested people to not

exceed the 50 per cent capacity in mosques for

prayers.

The Deputy Chief Minister advised that there

should be no hugging or hand shaking in an effort

to curb the spread of the viral disease and mandated

that everybody should follow the coronavirus

protocol.

Likewise, Basha said children and senior citizens

should not be allowed to step out.

Bakri Eid or Eid-ul-Adha falls July 20 and

involves animal sacrifices.

Andhra Pradesh on Thursday registered 2,526

new Covid cases, raising the state's overall tally

over 19.3 lakhs.

Langur 'participates' in man's

final rites, family astonished

Bellary. Family members of a

septuagenarian, who died due

to age-related health problems

in Karnataka's Bellary district

last month, were taken aback

when a langur joined them in

"mourning" the deceased.

As per a viral video, the langur

arrived fearlessly at the spot

where Vishwanath Raju's body

was kept, on June 30, and

placed its head on the body

after lifting the shroud. The animal

then left after a few minutes,

leaving everyone bewildered.

On July 10, when the final

rites of Raju were being conducted

at Kampli on the banks

of the Tungabhadra river, the

langur came again and sat on

the lap of the priest who was

conducting rituals. It left after

the rituals.

The family clarified that

Raju had no special connection

with the langur when he

was alive, and were themselves

surprised with the animal's

actions.

Stage, film, TV & web veteran, actress

Surekha Sikri-Rege passes away at 76

Mumbai. Three-time

National Award-winner

actress Surekha Sikri-Rege,

who excelled equally on

stage, films, television and

web series, passed away following

a cardiac arrest early

on Friday, an aide said here.

She was 76 and breathed

her last surrounded by her

family members and caregivers.

The family requested

for privacy in their hour of

grief. A former sister-in-law

of veteran actor Naseeruddin

Shah, Sikri had lost her husband

Hemant Rege around

12 years ago and is survived

by their son Rahul Sikri.

Sikri had been ailing for

the past few years after having

suffered a paralytic stroke

in 2018, followed by a brain

haemorrhage in 2020.

Born in Delhi, she spent

time at the famed Aligarh

Muslim University and then

joined the National School of

Drama, graduating from

there in 1971.

Starting her acting career

of more than four decades,

she first worked on stage for

over a decade, and then

debuted in Hindi films with

the acclaimed political drama

"Kissa Kursi Ka" (1978)

which was banned briefly.

Later, she played supporting

roles in several Hindi

movies like "Salim Langde

Pe Mat Ro", "Tamas",

"Mammo", "Sardari Begum",

"Sarfarosh", "Zubeidaa", "Jo

Bole So Nihaal", "Badhai

Ho", and her last film "Ghost

Stories".

Simultaneously, she acted

in several TV serials including

"Just Mohabbat", "Mano

Ya Na Mano", "CID",

"Kesar", "Maha Kumbh: Ek

Rahasya, Ek Kahani", and

the hugely popular "Balika

Badhu" which catapulted her

into the hearths and hearts of

the masses.

Over the years, she

bagged the National Award

for "Tamas" (1988),

"Mammo" (1995) and

"Badhai Ho" (2018), and the

Sangeet Natak Akademi

Award (1989) for her services

to Hindi theatre, besides a

string of other honours,

awards and accolades.

Top Bollywood, theatre

and television personalities

mourned the loss of Sikri,

and social media was flooded

with fans' memories and

messages on her performances

over the decades.

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New Delhi. India, which has

the second largest publishing

infrastructure among the developing

countries next only to

China, is expected to see this

grow to Rs 800 billion by 2024

from Rs 500 billion in 2019, a

new report from EY Parthenon

said on Wednesday.

Indian Publishing is the key

enabler for education attainment,

continuous learning, and recreation,

promoter of Indian culture,

values and excellence and

is one of the country's largest

media-related industries, larger

than print media (newspapers

and magazines), digital media

(social media, apps, online

streaming, music, and games),

filmed entertainment (movies),

and radio and music, the report,

drawn up in collaboration with

the Association of Publishers in

India (API), said.

Considering the key stakeholders

in the publishing industry,

India is dominated by educational

book publishing with a

small share of trade book publishing.

There are some 250 million

students at the school level

and more than 35 million at the

higher education level.

These students rely primarily

on books as the medium for

learning. Thus, the Indian publishing

industry makes an integral

part of the Indian education

system. Further, the report also

highlights that there is a strong

correlation between access to

sources of published information,

such as scientific journals

and research papers and the

quality of research output. The

industry helps with the dissemination

of scientific research and

plays an essential role in the

advancement of research and

development.

The publishing industry promotes

Indian culture, values and

excellence by enabling the continued

production of knowledge

in regional languages. It also

capitalises on the opportunity of

continued adoption of digital

platforms such as e-books in

regional languages to address

diverse audience segments.

Though there is a paradigm

shift towards the adoption of

digital media, print books currently

dominate (90 per cent) the

publishing landscape in India.

According to industry participants,

digital formats account for

a very small share or 8-10 per

cent of the market. However, e-

books and audiobooks are

expected to be critical growth

drivers and have a promising

future in the industry.

With the change in customer

preferences and socio-economic

and technological landscape of

India, the publishing industry is

innovating new modes of outreach,

formats and business

structures, the report says.

New business models including

online retail, subscriptions,

bundle packages, open-access

resources, and self-publishing

are emerging in the industry.

This provides innovative channels

to reach a broader target

audience and thereby changing

the mode of operations for publishers.

Despite the advancements in

the country, the publishing

industry in India faces a few

legal challenges � piracy and

copyright issues. To tackle these

challenges, India needs a strong

regulatory ecosystem for copyrights,

the report says.

Given the business landscape

in India, private publishers face

significant competition from

state publishing houses. On the

other hand, regulations or norms

related to the use of state-published

materials vary across the

country, inhibiting the industry

from operating as a free market.

Concerning India's regulatory

landscape, the publishing industry

witnesses a huge impact of

GST. In the Indian scenario

where a zero-tax slab does not

exist, the introduction of five per

cent GST on books can benefit

both the publishing industry and

the government, the report says.

The report notes that the publishing

industry plays a vital role

in shaping the future of India.

Key educational improvement

targets and initiatives of the government,

creation of a knowledge

society, and global dissemination

of Indian culture and heritage

present how the publishing

industry and the government can

support one another to achieve

these targets.

One of the biggest opportunities

for the Indian publishing

industry is the National

Education Policy (NEP). The

shift would lead to the new curriculum

and publishing of associated

teaching-learning material

where the publishing industry

will have to provide textbooks

NEWS

Indian publishing to be Rs 800 bn

industry by 2024: EY Parthenon

and supplementary resources

that enable parents, students, and

teachers to adapt to the new curriculum,

the report says.

Additionally, a thriving

research culture also demands an

increase in the publishing and

distribution of quality research

journals. The publishing industry

could actively collaborate with

the research community to

design, market, and distribute

quality journals to a broader

audience.

Moreover, the publishing

industry can also collaborate

with government and private

organizations to offer diverse

content in multiple languages at

various price points, and to

enable greater access and affordability

for end-users. It can support

publications of textbooks in

regional languages to align with

the NEP.

Commenting on the report,

API President Neeraj Jain, the

MD of Scholastic India, said,

"We are pleased to release this

report as it syncs with our mission

to represent the views of

members and fellow associations

to stakeholders, government

and the society at large on

the value proposition of the

industry. Through this report,

we look forward to witnessing

the opportunities that are highlighted

and yet to be seized in

the market."

"The publishing industry has

a promising future in India.

Encouraging the publishers'

involvement in policy-making

reforms pertaining to the publishing

industry and government's

intervention in overcoming

regulatory challenges are

expected to transform the present

landscape. Besides implementing

immediate reforms,

the government could also

facilitate the growth of human

capital in the long run," API

General

Secretary

Subrahmanian Seshadri said.

16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 11

UK PM unveils

new measures to

grow private sector

London. UK Prime Minister

Boris Johnson has unveiled

measures to level up the country,

including by taking a more flexible

approach to devolution and

growing the private sector.

On Thursday, he set out the

catalytic role for government

and the need to empower strong

local leaders by taking a more

flexible approach to devolution,

with new "County Deals" to take

devolution beyond the largest

cities, reports Xinhua news

agency. County Deals will be

bespoke to the needs of individual

places, bringing decisions

closer to people and places,

potentially allowing more places

to benefit from strong, high profile

local champions. The initiative

will give places the tools

they need to pilot new ideas, create

jobs, drive growth and

improve public services, according

to a statement from Downing

Street. Speaking from Coventry,

Johnson called for focusing on

growing the private sector by

creating the conditions for longterm

growth and productivity

and investing in infrastructure

and connectivity as well as

ensuring that people have access

to good public services, and the

skills and training needed to get

good jobs.

He said there will be new

funding of 50 million pounds

($69 million) next year for grassroots

football pitches to enable

more people to access high-quality

football pitches, targeting at

left-behind communities and

helping to address health

inequalities, as well as ensuring

more people can play the

nation's sport. Another key part

of the Prime Minister's plan is

the regeneration of high streets

by adapting to changing economic

trends. For example, al

fresco dining will become the

norm, with pavement licences to

be extended and then made permanent,

making it easier and

cheaper for pubs, restaurants and

cafes to set up tables outside and

serve more customers. "I believe

we will have made progress in

levelling up when we have

begun to raise living standards,

spread opportunity, improved

our public services and restored

people's sense of pride in their

community," Johnson said.

On kanshi TV

channel 772.

SATURDAY at

6 :00 pm

SUNDAY at

6 :00 pm

Ambedkarites News and Views

by

BUDDHIST INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

Mob : 07411 251 804, 07847 307 059


12 16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Social Movements are long lasting and more effective

way to bring changes in society : K Veeramani

Mr K. Veeramani, is perhaps the

senior most of the leaders of revolutionary

Periyar E. V. Ramasamy’s

Dravidian movement. He was

groomed by Periyar since childhood.

Born on December 2nd, 1933, he was

inducted in the Dravidian movement

under the leadership of EVR Periyar

since childhood and began addressing

public meetings at the age of 10. He

stood with Periyar throughout his life

and dedicated himself completely for

the cause of the oppressed and the

marginalized. As a person dedicated to

Periyar’s ideology, Dr Veeramani

resisted the very idea of joining politics

or getting political patronage and

that is why the Dravidian movement

has succeeded in Tamilnadu as it is his

organizations like Dravida Kazgham

which compelled political parties to

follow the ideals of Periyar and bring

them in law. He is the leader of

Dravidar Kazhagam, the movement

started by Periyar and succeeded

Annai E.V.R. Maniammaiar (1920-

1978), who had succeeded Periyar in

1973. Dr. K. Veeramani is a multifaceted

personality, a vociferous public

speaker and author of many books on

Dravidian ideology, history and political

movements. He never hesitated to

revolt against the social injustice, for

the ensuring of it he was imprisoned

more than 50 times. He is a professional

journalist and assumed the editorship

of Tamil daily ‘Viduthalai’

(Liberation) since 1962. Besides, he

has been editing Tamil fortnightly

‘Unmai’ (Truth), ‘Periyar Pinju’ –

monthly magazine for Children in

Tamil and the English monthly ‘The

Modern Rationalist’. The organisation

Dravidar Kazhagam, founded by

Periyar in 1944 is led by him at present.

DK will not contest any election

but has been making people aware

during the electioneering on who has

to rule the land. As a champion of

social justice Dr. K. Veeramani as well

as Dravidar Kazhagam have contributed

enormously including the pioneering

works on drafting the 69%

reservation bill for Tamilnadu, the

highest in the country through the

Constitutional amendment and part of

IXth schedule. Dr. K. Veeramani is the

Chancellor of Periyar Maniammai

Institute of Science and Technology

(Deemed University); besides the public

trusts led by him run many educational

institutions especially for

women empowerment.

In a wide-ranging conversation

with me, Dr K Veeramani gave extensive

details of back ground of formation

of Self Respect Movement. He

says, basically Dravidian movement

started as South Indian Liberal

Federation (SILF) which was then

popularly called as Justice Party.

Justice was the paper they started as an

English daily. They used to Justice as

nick name for SILF, they would call it

Justice Party. . Whereas Periyar after

he quit the congress started a selfrespect

movement. Difference

between party and movement is obvious.

Movement continues for ever;

party serve particular purpose. Periyar

said: Parties may come and go but it is

the social movement which alone will

bring revolution.

DMK was born out of DK after C K

Annadurrai and others decided to

plunge into politics and formed it on

September 17th, 1949. Later it was M

Karunanidhi who led DMK from the

front and delivered many social welfare

schemes in Tamilnadu. AIDMK

became a new party under the leadership

of M G Ramachandran. after parting

from DMK on October 17th, 1972.

I ask about the policies of many of the

parties claiming to be Dravidian parties

and not following the ideology

and principles of Periyar. My point

was about the violence against Dalits

in Tamilnadu and parties like PMK

only spewing venom against Dalits to

which Dr Veermani says that there are

so many Dravida parties but. those

who have nothing to do with

Dravidian convictions, they use

Dravida just for political purposes.

Psyche of people of Tamilnadu is that

every party want to ‘claim’ Periyar

whether they follow or believe in him

or not. They want

to have the picture

of Periyar,

because they are

political parties and need votes. Dr

Veeramani blamed the media for distorting

facts by blaming the opportunism

of the political parties as that of

Dravidian movement or Periyar’s

movement. It is an attempt to discredit

DK, he says. Periyar did not start

Justice Party but when he became its

President, he started Dravid

Movement and formed Dravida

Kazhgam to work specifically for the

non brahmin communities. He was

certain that he movement would

remain distinct and different and will

never contest election or join power

politics.

He says that those with political

ambition used the issue of Periyar’s

marriage with Maniammai as a pretext

to start their own political party. They

wanted to enter the politics while

Periyar never wanted them to enter

politics. It was Periyar’s big movement

that forced government to for

First Amendment of the Indian constitution

that allowed states to formulate

its own reservation policies for SC-

ST-OBCs. Today, Tamilnadu is a

model state in this regard and credit

goes to Periyar and his movement. Dr

Veermani says, “ If public opinion

marches forward, law comes limping

behind”. Periyar knew that political

parties compromise for power and forget

the promises they make to people

hence it is important to strengthen the

movement and force the power to follow

people’s cause.

He quote Periyar as saying, “ I am

not a social reformer but a revolutionary”.

He adds that Periyar is more relevant

now than anybody else. How

they can’t digest Periyar. The Hindu

embraced Dr Ambedkar. They don’t

believe in it. They are diametrically

opposed to Ambedkar’s ideology but

they don’t dare to put that Periyar.

Meeting point of Ambedkar

Periyar

Periyar and Ambedkar are both

sides of same coin almost on all tings.

Periyar said, social revolution must

precede political empowerment. He

put a solid foundation of social movement

and was able to influence the

government without being a part of

power structure. After his death on

December 24th, 1973, many people

thought that the movement will die but

we have proved them wrong. Political

– By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

battle is fought

in the street

while social battle

is fought in

the minds.

Periyar too participated in the

World Buddhist Conference in

December 1954 in Burma’s capital

Rangoon and met Dr Ambedkar. That

shows his love for Buddhism. Says,

Mr Veeramani, “ Periyar also preached

Buddhism. He said Buddha was

ancient the pioneer of rationalism.

Periyar as 20th century Buddha.

Periyar said, one who uses the Buddhi

is a Buddhist. Buddhi means reason.

Buddhi is not a Tamil word it may be

a Pali words. All the rationalists are

Buddha.”

Pitching Ambedkar against

Periyar

Many ‘intellectuals’ were targeting

Periyar using Ambedkar.

Unfortunately, some of the

Ambedkarites too got trapped. Mr

Veeramani, says that this is a

Brahmanical infiltration in the

moment. “ Periyar and Ambedkar

wanted to unite all the non-brahmins

including Dalit and minorities. Read,

Dr Ambedkar’s work “What Gandhi

and Congress has done to the

Untouchables. He also pointed out that

South Indian Liberal Federation

worked servile classes both shudra,

Panchama all this group must unite

under one banner.

He says categorically all those who

violate Dalit Rights or inflict atrocities

on them can not be Periyarists. “They

are not Periyarist only pseudo

Periyarists. If you are

Periyarists then your

priority should be to

protect Dalits. If you

want to liberate any

one then first liberate

yourself.

He was very clear.

Caste identity should

be limited in using for

reservation purposes.

So many people who

want to exploit the

caste sentiments use

the name of Periyar

and Ambedkar but

they fail in Tamilandu.

They have neither

read Periyar or

Ambedkar. They want

to make Ambedkar

and Periyar a God. Vaikom was not for

forward community. The first thing

that Justice Party did was that they

started school for scheduled castes.

Importance of ideology and

Propaganda

Viruthalai was the only paper

which a social revolutionary movement

run was started by Periyar in

1935, says Veeramani. “I spent 53

years as editor of this paper because

Periyar wanted it. I got involved in the

movement since childhood. One

leader, one movement, one flag and

one shirt. This is 46th year. Periyar

also launched Rationalist Forum in

1970 to include intellectuals, government

servants too in the movement.

DK enters into direct action but

Rationalist Forum does not engage in

the same as being the government servants

they won’t be allowed to get

involved in picketing and sitting.”

Tamilnadu’s historical reservation

Policy

During Periyar when he was alive.

Reservation here was only 25% BC

and 16% for SC including ST because

there was no ST here. Their population

is less than 1%. So their quota of 1%

was included with Scheduled Castes.

When Karunanidhi was the Chief

Minister, Periyar advised him to

increase the reservation 49%. Mr

Karunanidhi adhering to Periyar’s

advise increased backward classes

reservation from 25 to 31% BC and

for Scheduled Castes from 16% to

18% including 2% for STs.

Subsequently when M. G.

Ramchandran led AIDMK government

took over in Tamilnadu in 1978,

‘some body put some poison in his

mind’ and he created a ‘ceiling’ of Rs

9000/- per month to get reservation

under the backward classes quota.

This was the beginning of the ‘theory’

of ‘creamy layer’ among the backward

classes. The government brought this

through a GO in 1979 against which

there was a lot of resentment in

Tamilnadu. Clearly, an attempt to

divide them and make the reservation

redundant. DK launched a virulent

movement against MGR’s decision.

Though he was a very popular figure

yet DK had launched the campaign

against creamy layer theory. Mr

Veeramani said, “You have not understood

social justice. They are Socially

and educationally backward class people

and constitutionally, it is not economically

backward classes.

Economic backwardness is different.

Backward class should to known

through socially and educationally. All

the brahmins supported economic criteria.

Even, Mohan Bhagwat want

same as they want to impose economic

criteria, he says.

1978 was the centenary year

Periyar and Mr Veeramani told MGR,

“You want to bury Periyar’s principles”.

DK burnt the GO copy. All the

political parties, DMK CPI and IML

and some of the Congress men

opposed the rupees nine thousand,

creamy layer GO. Later on, agitation

had a great impact on the ruling party.

In the 1980 general elections, AIDMK

was faced humiliating defeat. Out of

39 Lok Sabha seat, AIDMK could win

only 2 seats. Everybody blamed the

communal GO. He was advised to all

party meeting. DMK boycotted the

all-party meeting but Mr Veramani

went to participate in it. He says, “I

went and explain to the CM who had

called number of political leaders,

activists, intellectuals. There was a big

gathering. He was arguing about

‘poor’ backward student’s inability to

get seats. I put up a question and

answer to MGR’s speech. Don’t confuse

economic criteria. MGR was listening.

Immediately there was a

change of mind. He returned and waited

for one week and then scrapped the

‘Rupees Nine Thousand GO. It was

First big success of the movement,

after Periyar’s death.

MGR wanted to regain popularity.

He increased reservation for BC to

50% and then 18% for SCs and 1 %

for ST but the brahmin lobby filed a

case against this in the Supreme Court,

which ordered a commission to

inquire about the states of backward

classes in the state. When DMK was

with BJP/NDA we ( DK) supported

AIDMK under Jayalalitha. We ( DK)

can’t support BJP. In 1990, after the

Mandal Commission report, the We (

DK) were instrumental for Mandal.

Due to Mandal they said above 50%

no reservation. We wrote a draft

invoking 31C in constitution. A unanimous

resolution was passed for 69%

reservation in the Tamilnadu assembly

in 1993. The Narsimha Rao government

at the Center accepted the

demand to keep the Tamilnadu reservation

in Schedule IX of the constitution

which could not be challenged in

any court of law. It was 76th amendment

of the constitution in 1994.

This conversation has a lot of interesting

anecdotes and historical issues

raised by Mr K Veeramani who can be

termed as living encyclopaedia of

Periyarist movement in India. In 1968

Periyar made a historical visit to Uttar

Pradesh capital Lucknow against

which a number of Jan Sangh organisations

protested. Veeramani was with

Periyar in that trip and share his interesting

story. He also went to Kanpur

on the invite of Shri Lalai Singh

Yadav, who later translated Sachchi

Ramayana in Hindi.

Thiru Veeramani has word of

advise for the backward class people.

Understand the history of Periyar’s

movement for social justice. There is

very little understanding about it in the

North India. You can listen the entire

conversation with Thiru K Veeramani

on YouTube link. To watch video

please click the picture below: –


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021

Brain implant turns paralysed man's thoughts into words

New York. US researchers have

successfully developed a

"speech neuroprosthesis" that

has enabled a man with severe

paralysis to communicate in sentences,

translating signals from

his brain to the vocal tract directly

into words that appear as text

on a screen.

The technology, developed by

researchers from University of

California-San Francisco

(UCSF), was able to decode

words from brain activity at a

rate of up to 18 words per minute

with up to 93 per cent accuracy.

The man, in his late 30s, suffered

a devastating brainstem

stroke more than 15 years ago

that severely damaged the connection

between his brain and

his vocal tract and limbs. Since

his injury, he has had extremely

limited head, neck, and limb

movements, and communicates

by using a pointer attached to a

baseball cap to poke letters on a

screen.

UCSF researchers surgically

implanted a high-density electrode

array over the patient's

speech motor cortex and recorded

22 hours of neural activity in

this brain region over 48 sessions

and several months.

The electrodes recorded his

thoughts as brain signals, which

were then translated into specific

intended words using artificial

intelligence.

The team thus created a 50-

word vocabulary -- which

Centre releases updated

'Drone Rules, 2021' for

public consultations

New Delhi. The Centre on

Thursday released the updated --

Drone Rules, 2021 -- which

amongst other provisions has

reduced the number of approvals

required to carry out UAV operations

in the country.

Accordingly, the Ministry of

Civil Aviation has released the

updated document for public

consultation.

"Built on a premise of trust,

self-certification, and non-intrusive

monitoring, 'The Drone

Rules, 2021' will replace the

'UAS Rules 2021'. The last date

for receipt of public comments is

August 5, 2021," the ministry

said in a statement.

According to the statement,

approvals for unique authorisation

number, certificate of conformance,

import clearance,

acceptance of existing drones,

operator permit, authorisation of

R&D organisation, student

remote pilot licence amongst

other requirements have been

abolished. Besides, the number

of forms has been reduced from

25 to 6. As per the statement,

updated fee has been reduced to

nominal levels with no linkage

with the drone size.

"Safety features like 'No permission

- no take-off' (NPNT),

real-time tracking beacon, geofencing

etc. to be notified in

future. A six-month lead time

will be provided for compliance...

Digital sky platform

shall be developed as a business-friendly

single-window

online system... There will be

minimal human interface on the

digital sky platform and most

permissions will be self-generated."

"Interactive airspace

map with green, yellow, and

red zones will be displayed on

the digital sky platform...

Yellow zone reduced from 45

km to 12 km from the airport

perimeter."

includes words such as "water,"

"family," and "good" -- which

they could recognise from brain

activity using advanced computer

algorithms.

"To our knowledge, this is the

Amrita Sher-Gil's painting

sets world record for the

artist, sells for Rs 37.8 cr

Mumbai. Amrita Sher-Gil's

1938 painting titled 'In the

Ladies Enclosure' sold for Rs

37.8 crore (USD 5.14 million)

at a Tuesday auction by

Mumbai-based auction house

Saffronart, setting a world

record for the highest value

achieved by the artist in auction.

It is also the second-most

expensive work of Indian art

sold globally after V S

Gaitonde's Untitled, 1961

which sold for Rs 39.98 crore

in March this year, said the auction

house in a statement.

Sher-Gil (1913-1941) was a

Hungarian-Indian painter and

has been called one of the

greatest avant-garde women

artists of the early 20th century.

The National Gallery of

Modern Art in New Delhi also

houses a large collection of her

works of art.

The artwork went under the

hammer Saffronart's Summer

Live Auction.

According to Saffronart

CEO and Co-Founder Dinesh

Vazirani, "The record-breaking

sale of Amrita Sher-Gil's seminal

painting from 1938 titled 'In

the Ladies Enclosure' is a clear

indication of her artistic merit

and is a testament to her skill

and talent.

"The work highlights her

growth and development as an

artist and is a culmination of

years of coming into her own as

an artist of repute. It is, additionally,

a rare work of the artist

from that particular period to

emerge in the art market and we

are honoured to have played a

part in creating a new benchmark

with this auction,"

Vazirani said in a statement.

first successful demonstration of

direct decoding of full words

from the brain activity of someone

who is paralysed and cannot

speak," said Edward Chang,

Professor and neurosurgeon at

the UCSF.

"It shows strong promise to

restore communication by tapping

into the brain's natural

speech machinery," Chang

added. The study is detailed in

the New England Journal of

Medicine.

Further, to test their

approach, the team first presented

the patient with short sentences

constructed from the 50

vocabulary words and asked

him to try saying them several

times. As he made his attempts,

13

the words were decoded from

his brain activity, one by one, on

a screen.

Then the team switched to

prompting him with questions

such as "How are you today?"

and "Would you like some

water?" As before, the patient's

attempted speech appeared on

the screen. "I am very good,"

and "No, I am not thirsty."

"We were thrilled to see the

accurate decoding of a variety of

meaningful sentences. We've

shown that it is actually possible

to facilitate communication in

this way and that it has potential

for use in conversational settings,"

said lead author David

Moses, a postdoctoral engineer

in Chang's lab.

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala faces embarrassment in Aptech insider trading case

New Delhi.Marquee stock market

investor Rakesh

Jhunjhunwala has faced huge

embarrassment after markets

regulator SEBI issued an order

for "disgorgement of ill-gotten

gains" to the tune of Rs 5.86

crore in an insider trading case

of Aptech Ltd.

As per an order issued by the

Securities and Exchange Board

of India (SEBI), Aptech Ltd,

after the market hours on

September 7, 2016, made an

announcement on the platform

of the stock exchanges titled

"Aptech Forays into Preschool

Segment".

The said information was

considered as Unpublished Price

Sensitive Information (UPSI)

and the period of UPSI was

March 14, 2016 to September

07, 2016.

"It is alleged that Utpal Seth

and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala were

in possession of the UPSI and

communicated the same to the

other applicants. On the basis of

the UPSI, Rakesh

Jhunjhunwala, Rekha

Jhunjhunwala, Rajeshkumar

Jhunjhunwala, Shushila Devi

Gupta, Sudha Gupta and Ushma

Seth Sule are alleged to have

traded in the scrip of Aptech

during the UPSI period," SEBI

said.

Seven applicants filed separate

settlement applications in

terms of the SEBI (Settlement

Proceedings) Regulations, 2018,

proposing to settle, without

admitting or denying the findings

of fact and conclusions of

law, through a settlement order,

the pending enforcement proceedings

initiated against the

applicants vide show cause

notice by SEBI.

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala's wife,

Rekha Jhunjhunwala, faces disgorgement

of Rs 1.06 crore.

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala will have

Introduction of

EWS reservation in

Andhra welcomed

Amaravati.The Andhra

Pradesh government's decision

to implement 10 per cent

Economically Weaker Sections

(EWS) reservations in college

admissions and government

appointments has been welcomed

by the Reddy community.

Reddy Sangam President

D.N. Reddy on Thursday said a

huge number of educated

youngsters used to be dejected

by the lack of opportunities but

this is set to change with the

implementation of this new

quota.

Alluding to Chief Minister

Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, he

said that "if a ruler's intentions

are good, people can live happily".

to pay Rs 9.50 crore as settlement

amount plus interest of Rs

3.10 crore along with the disgorgement

of ill-gotten gains.

The parties will have to pay

Rs 37 crore to settle the case,

which includes settlement

charges, disgorgement of ill-gotten

gains and interest. The

amount will be paid by 10 individuals

along with Rakesh

Jhunjhunwala.

SEBI said that it is hereby

ordered that the pending

enforcement proceedings for the

alleged defaults are settled qua

the applicants.

SEBI shall not initiate

enforcement action against the

applicants for the said defaults.

This order disposes of the

Agriculture Minister

Kurasala Kannababu called the

move a "historic step" and said

that the decision was taken

after extensive deliberations.

The Chief Minister always

aims to take measures which

benefit the highest number of

people, he said.

"This reservation will apply

to all categories of people

belonging to unreserved categories

hitherto... to all the poor

people in the unreserved castes.

There is no sub-categorisation,"

said the minister.

He also noted that EWS

reservation with an income

limit of Rs 8 lakh is being

implemented for state posts by

removing some conditions put

by the Centre.

enforcement proceedings initiated

by SEBI for the defaults in

respect of the applicants and the

passing of this order is without

prejudice to the right of SEBI

under Regulation 28 of the

Settlement Regulations to take

enforcement actions including

continuing proceedings against

the applicants, if SEBI finds

that: a. any representation made

by the applicants in the present

settlement proceedings is subsequently

found to be untrue; b.

the applicants have breached

any of the clauses/ conditions of

undertakings/ waivers filed during

the present settlement proceedings;

and c. there was a discrepancy

while arriving at the

settlement terms.


14 16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Latest China study sheds new

light on human evolution

Beijing.A recent study led by

Chinese scientists has shed new

light on the origin and evolution

of human language and tool use.

Compared with existing nonhuman

primates such as monkeys

and apes, humans have significant

advantages in many

superior cognitive functions,

especially the ability to use language

and complex tools.

The study is expected to help

explain the longstanding mystery

of human origin by comparing

the differences and similarities

between humans and other

non-human primates in brain

structure and function, Xinhua

reported.

However, since it is difficult

to confirm the homology of

functional brain areas between

different species, there is still a

lack of reliable technical means

to conduct cross-species studies

on the evolution of brain structure

and function, according to

the study.

A research team led by the

Institute of Automation under

the Chinese Academy of

Sciences has provided a novel

method for studying the evolutionary

brain mechanism of language

and tool use by mapping

cross-species brain network

groups.

Using structural and diffusion

magnetic resonance imaging, the

researchers analyzed the structural

asymmetry of the inferior

parietal lobule, a brain structure

most relevant to language and

tool use, among three primates:

human, chimpanzee, and

macaque.

The results showed that the

asymmetry of brain structure and

its anatomical connectivity pattern

is the inherent biological

basis that drives the evolution of

language and tool using.

The study was recently published

in the journal eLife.

ISRO test fire of liquid fuel engine

for Gaganyaan rocket successful

Chennai. Indian Space Research

Organisation (ISRO) has moved

further in pursuit of its first

human space mission

Gaganyaan by successfully conducting

the third long duration

hot test of liquid fuel powered

Vikas Engine.

According to ISRO, its third

long duration hot test of the liquid

propellant Vikas Engine for

the core L110 liquid stage

(engine) of the human rated

Geosynchronous Satellite

Launch Vehicle Mk III (GSLV

Mk III) was successful.

The test is part of the engine

qualification requirements for

the Gaganyaan Programme.

The engine was fired for a

duration of 240 seconds at the

engine test facility of ISRO

Propulsion Complex (IPRC),

Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu.

The performance of the

engine met the test objectives

and the engine parameters were

closely matching with the predictions

during the entire duration

of the test.

ISRO plans to fly two human

rated unmanned GSLV-Mk III

rockets before sending Indian

astronauts in the third rocket.

Covid-related heart inflammation in kids may resolve rapidly

New York. Heart problems in

children, who were hospitalised

with multisystem inflammatory

syndrome (MIS-C) -- an

inflammatory condition triggered

by Covid -- lasted just a

few months and resolved rapidly,

suggests a study. MIS-C is a

rare condition that causes widespread

inflammation throughout

the body. Many children

with MIS-C were asymptomatic

or had mild Covid symptoms

at first but weeks later

developed a variety of nonrespiratory

symptoms including

abdominal pain, skin rashes,

heart abnormalities, and, in

some cases, extremely low

blood pressure.

However, these were mostly

gone within a few months,

revealed the study by

researchers at Columbia

University and NewYork-

Presbyterian.

"We've learned that Covid

causes a spectrum of illness in

children. Some are asymptomatic

or mildly symptomatic

and a small number of kids who

develop MIS-C become critically

ill, requiring admission to

the ICU," said Kanwal M.

Farooqi, Assistant Professor of

pediatrics at Columbia's

Vagelos College of Physicians

and Surgeons.

"It is a relief that this study

shows that most of the severe

heart and immunologic manifestations

we saw in kids with

MIS-C resolved rapidly,"

IIT-Hyd makes India's 1st Rapid Electronic

Covid-19 RNA test kit for home use

Hyderabad. Scientists at the

Indian Institute of Technology

Hyderabad (IITH) have developed

COVIHOME, an artificial

intelligence-powered Covid-19

test that allows self-testing at

home.

On obtaining ICMR

approvals, and after commercialisation,

the kit developed by Prof

Shiv Govind Singh, Department

of Electrical Engineering, will

be available in the market at an

affordable price.

This test kit can produce

results within 30 minutes for

both symptomatic and asymptomatic

patients. The major benefit

of this testing kit is that it does

not require RT-PCR (Reverse

Transcription Polymerase Chain

Reaction), an expert human

resource, and a BSL 2 lab facility

for the extraction of RNA, so

it has potential for one to take

the test at home without expert

supervision.

Explaining the benefits of the

testing kit, Shiv Govind Singh

said, "A major objective of the

research team for the development

of the COVIHOME Test

Kit was to break the transmission

chain through affordable

testing. We have already filed a

patent for the device and are

now looking for industry partners

for ToT of technology for

mass production". As per IITH,

CSIR-CCMB has performed the

validation of the rapid RNA

electronic diagnostic device for

detection of SARS-Cov-2 virus

in the swab samples independently

with the in-house samples

and hospital samples as advised

by ICMR. These samples were

confirmed for their positivity or

negativity by the RT-PCR

method. The validation report

confirmed the kit's efficiency at

94.2 percent, Sensitivity 91.3

percent and Specificity 98.2

percent. While a test currently

costs around Rs 400, the developers

say that mass production

of the testing kit will help to

reduce the cost to around Rs

300 per test.

Speaking about the role of

IIT Hyderabad in helping tackle

the COVID-19 pandemic, Prof

B S Murty, Director, IIT

Hyderabad, said, "IITH has

come up with many unique &

novel socio-technological initiatives

and delivered remarkable

results during this pandemic.

Prof Shiv Govind's "COVI-

HOME" is one such admirable

milestone. I am confident it will

play a significant role in the

safe & fast diagnosis of

COVID-19 and minimize its

spread".

The COVIHOME testing kit

was developed by the research

team of Dr Suryasnata Tripathy,

Supraja Patta, Swati Mohanty,

and other students led by Shiv

Govind Singh, Department of

Electrical Engineering.

Farooqi added.

The small study, published

in the journal Pediatrics,

analysed about 45 MIS-C

patients. Nearly 80 per cent of

the children had some type of

cardiac dysfunction, and almost

half had moderate to severe cardiac

abnormalities, including

decreased ability of the heart to

pump properly, coronary artery

dilation, and leaking heart

valves.

Two-thirds of the children

also experienced a temporary

decrease in the number of white

blood cells during their hospital

stay. The majority had an

increase in inflammatory markers,

and more than half also had

elevated cardiac-specific markers

indicating heart injury.

Most of the patients

responded rapidly to steroids

and other treatments and were

discharged by about five days.

The immunologic abnormalities

and markers for heart

injury returned to normal within

a few weeks and by four

months, most of the heart

abnormalities had resolved,

including all of the coronary

artery abnormalities, Farooqi

said. "Nevertheless, given the

absence of long-term data, we

are recommending that children

who had more than mild dysfunction

on cardiac ultrasound

should get a cardiac MRI at six

months and see a pediatrician

before being cleared for competitive

sports," he noted.

Hyderabad professor wins Visitor's award 2020

Hyderabad. Professor

Anunay Samanta from the

School of Chemistry at the

University of Hyderabad

(UoH) has been chosen for the

prestigious Visitor's Award,

2020 for Research in Physical

Sciences. The Award, which

comes with a citation and a

cash prize, will be presented

by the President of India as the

Visitor of the Central

Universities in the Rashtrapati

Bhawan at a later date.

The award comes in recognition

of Prof Samanta's work

on employing ultrafast and

single-molecule spectroscopic

techniques, stated a UoH

release on Thursday.

The President of India, in

his capacity as a Visitor of the

Central Universities, annually

confers Visitor's Awards to

promote healthy competition

amongst Central Universities

and motivate them to adopt

best practices from around the

world in pursuit of excellence.

Complimenting Prof

Samanta on being chosen for

the prestigious award, UoH

vice chancellor Prof Arun

Agarwal said, "This is a

reflection of the high-quality

research being carried out at

the university and this would

motivate others to follow".

Prof Samanta has been at

the School of Chemistry since

January 1990. His current

research focuses on ultrafast

dynamics and single-molecule

fluorescence spectroscopy of

the perovskite nanocrystals

and deep eutectic solvents. His

pioneering research work has

resulted in the publication of

more than 190 papers in reputed

peer-reviewed journals.

An elected Fellow of all

three National Science

Academies of India, he is also

recipient of many national and

international awards, which

include the J.C. Bose National

Fellowship (DST, 2010 -

2024), Acharya J.C. Ghosh

Memorial Award (Indian

Chemical Society, 2019),

India Citation Award

(Thomson Reuters, 2012),

Raman-Mizushima Lecture

Award (DST-JSPS, 2014),

APA Award (Asian and

Oceanian Photochemistry

Association, 2018), Silver

Medal (Chemical Research

Society of India, 2015), and

Prof. Sadhan Basu Memorial

Lecture Award (INSA, 2017).

He is also serving as the

National Coordinator of the

UGC Faculty Research

Promotion Schemes since

2013 and as the Editor

(Chemistry) of the

Proceedings of the Indian

National Science Academy

since 2015.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Chirag Paswan slams BJP on

new population control policy

Patna. Lok Janshakti Party

(LJP) president Chirag Paswan

on Thursday slammed the BJP

over the new population control

policy on Thursday.

Chirag said that introducing

a new policy on population

control would not be effective

unless and until we do not create

awareness in society.

"The awareness in society

will come only after the education

of women in the country.

Forcible acts like imposing a

law on them cannot help," he

said.

When asked whether he

would meet RJD leader

Tejashwi Yadav, he avoided an

answer and said that he only

came to Patna to resume

Aashirwad rally.

"Decision regarding making

a political alliance generally

takes place before Lok Sabha

or Vidhan Sabha elections. We

will do the same in future," he

said.

Reacting on LJP-Paras

group's fresh appointment of

leaders, Chirag said that such a

development would not affect

him much.

"The appointment of officials

would not affect us. I have

already said that the fight

between me and them will go

long. I am ready to fight on

every platform and I know that

I will win at the end," Chirag

said.

NEWS

16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021

15

Chinese hackers behind

new SolarWinds software

attack: Microsoft

San Francisco.Microsoft

has revealed that a new

SolarWinds cyber-attack was

operated by a group of hackers

from China.

A Microsoft Threat

Intelligence Centre (MSTIC)

team detected a zero-day

remote code execution exploit,

being used to attack

SolarWinds Serv-U FTP software

in limited and targeted

attacks.

"MSTIC attributes this campaign

with high confidence to

DEV-0322, a group operating

out of China, based on

observed victimology, tactics,

and procedures," the company

said in an update on

Wednesday.

The zero-day attack was first

spotted in a routine Microsoft

365 Defender scan.

"The vulnerability being

exploited is CVE-2021-35211,

which was recently patched by

SolarWinds. We strongly urge

all customers to update their

instances of Serv-U to the latest

available version," Microsoft

advised.

SolarWinds said it was

recently notified by Microsoft

of a security vulnerability related

to Serv-U Managed File

Transfer Server and Serv-U

2000% increase in cyber security breaches during pandemic

New Delhi,. The Covid-19

pandemic and rising digitisation

has led to a surge in cybercrimes.

India saw the number

of breaches increased by 2,000

per cent during the pandemic,

said experts at Pursuit 2021 --

an event on cybersecurity

organised by Internet and

Mobile Association of India.

There has been a rise in targeted

attacks, during the pandemic

and "cyberwar has started",

said Gulshan Rai, India's

first Cybersecurity

Coordinator and Distinguished

Fellow, ORF.

Although 90 per cent of

attacks are traditional attacks,

which include phishing, malware,

etc, however, the key

concern is the rise in the number

of targeted attacks (which

accounts for 9 per cent currently).

Solar winds,

Wannacry, are some examples

of targeted attacks which are

detrimental for any organisation

and nation.

"In India, almost every sector

has been breached because

they all are inter-connected.

During the pandemic, the

number of breaches increased

by 2,000 per cent because we

were using ASL or DSL from

home. ASL, DSL, fibre, nothing

is secured, this whole scenario

reflects that your sensitive

information is at risk and

is being used for a variety of

purposes, causing financial

fraud, causing a threat to

national security," Rai said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of

Home Affairs' National

Cybercrime Reporting Portal

(NCRP), which was launched

in August 2019, has recorded

over four lakh complaints,

with about 50 per cent related

to financial frauds, revealed

Ashok Kumar, Director,

Ministry of Home Affairs.

The NCRP portal gives a

perspective on what kind of

complaints/frauds are trending.

"The recently developed

module -- Citizen Financial

Cyber Fraud Reporting and

Management System, on the

portal has helped us save Rs 5

crore within two to three

months," Kumar said.

Under the new module,

released with the helpline

number 155260, once a complaint

is filed with the police,

they note down certain parameters

of the complaint and

once input into the system, it

alerts the banks on any suspicious

transaction, saving the

targeted amount.

The two-day virtual event,

held from July 14-15, deliberated

upon various aspects of

cybercrimes in the financial

sector and how technology can

play a role in mitigating such

attacks. The event saw the participation

of about 4,000 delegates

and over 130 speakers

from across the globe.

Secured FTP and has developed

a hotfix to resolve this

vulnerability.

"While Microsoft's research

indicates this vulnerability

exploit involves a limited, targeted

set of customers and a

single threat actor, our joint

teams have mobilised to

address it quickly," the company

said in an update.

SolarWinds faced another

cyber-attack in December 2020

that exposed hundreds of government

agencies and businesses,

that was later connected to a

Russian state-affiliated group

of hackers. The US government

has also attributed the SunBurst

attack that targeted SolarWinds

and other technology vendors

to Russia.

Banned 2 mn accounts in India:

WhatsApp report on new IT rules

New Delhi.Facebook-owned

WhatsApp on Thursday filed

its first monthly grievance

redressal report as required

under India's new IT norms,

saying it banned two million

accounts in India alone from

the May 15-June 15 period

attempting to send harmful or

unwanted messages at scale.

More than 95 per cent of

such bans are due to the unauthorised

use of automated or

bulk messaging, the company

said in a statement.

In the report, released in line

with the requirements of India's

Intermediary Guidelines, 2021,

WhatsApp said that user

reports received by the platform

via the grievance channels

are evaluated and responded to.

"Our top focus is preventing

accounts from sending harmful

or unwanted messages at scale.

We maintain advanced capabilities

to identify these accounts

sending a high or abnormal rate

of messages," the company

said.

"Majority of users who

reach out to us are either aiming

to have their account

restored following an action to

ban them or reaching out for

product or account support," it

added.

WhatsApp last week accepted

that "the government is the

administrator" in its case and

informed the Delhi High Court

that it will put its privacy policy

update "on hold" until the

Data Protection Bill came into

force.

This is a significant development

after the new Information

Technology Minister Ashwini

Vaishnaw made it crystal clear

within minutes of taking charge

that "law of the land is

supreme" and no one can afford

to disrespect it.

WhatsApp's counsel also

accepted that its commitment is

"we need to fit in the law".

Facebook, Google and

Twitter have already submitted

their monthly compliance

reports.


16 16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Conspicuous silence of political parties on

OBC reservation issues in the North

June 25th, 2021 marked 90th

birth anniversary of former

Prime Minister V P Singh but

went unnoticed for the majority

of the leaders who benefitted

from his politics and good will

generated by him. Except for

Tejasvi Yadav who remembered

Singh mentioning his bold initiative

to implement Mandal

Commission Report, there was

no other north Indian leader particularly

from OBCs to remember

Singh. Unlike north India,

Tamilnadu’s politicians across

party lines respected Singh. The

first tweet came in the morning

from Chief Minister of

Tamilnadu Mr M K Stalin writing

a tweet in Tamil language

and putting a photograph of V P

Singh along with Dr M

Karunanidhi, former chief minister

of Tamilnadu.

The aim here is not to portray

V P Singh as an OBC leader but

the politics of parties that claim

to be ‘representing’ the community

but the issues of rights of the

OBCs and why the central government

today is having an easy

way to bypass the interest of

OBC students and government

servants. Why has the issue of

denial of justice to OBCs in general

not become the agenda of

the parties claiming to have the

legacy need to be analysed as the

risks are too big now when BJP

has got a big chunk of votes

from all the communities. Is VP

Singh being ignored because the

north Indian politicians do not

want to associate with his ‘legacy’,

the legacy of Mandal

Commission Report. There is a

similarity between Bihar and

Tamilnadu’s leadership speaking

on the issue and it has been consistent

since 1990. Both

Karunanidhi and Lalu Prasad

Yadav had been the biggest supporters

of Mandal Commission

Report and the then prime minister

V P Singh. Mulayam Singh

Yadav was on the wrong side in

1990 along with Devi Lal when

they broke away with Janata Dal

and formed a new political party

under the leadership of late

prime minister Chandra Shekhar.

It was said that V P Singh

‘suddenly’ took the decision to

‘checkmate’ Devi Lal’s revolt

against him but these are just lies

spread by political opponents to

counter the importance of

Mandal Commission report as

well as the well planned decision

of the government which was

part of Janata Dal’s election

manifesto. V P Singh had formed

a committee under the chair of

Devi Lal in January 1990 for the

implementation process of

Mandal Commission Report but

he did nothing. Ultimately, the

responsibility fell on Shri Ram

Vilas Paswan, who must be

termed as hero of the Mandal

movement that time.

Mandal made V P Singh one

of the most hated politicians of

our times. Political pundits,

Savarna experts, students all

condemned him and declared

him as the biggest villain of our

polity. Brahmins, Banias,

Thakurs, Bhumihars, Kayasthas

abused him while OBC leadership

was not ready to accept his

contribution. That was the irony.

The question was whether VP

was important or not was not the

issue but Mandal and OBC

issues were important.

Mandal Revolution

Mandal brought a big revolution

in Indian polity. It jolted the

upper caste dominance in polity

and now OBC leaders got huge

opportunity as they started

asserting. Mandal was not merely

‘job reservation’ but it

changed the political culture and

that is why both UP and Bihar,

two most important states of

Hindi heartland never saw

Savarna chief minister after

1989. While Bihar successfully

became the political domain of

the OBCs, Uttar Pradesh had a

strong Dalit assertion too and

hence contradictions between

them and OBCs were used

extraordinarily by the Hindutva

forces which resulted in power

gone to Yogi Adityanath.

OBC reservation issue got

diluted with the emergence of P

V Narsimha Rao as prime minister

in 1991. He depended

more on Atal Bihari Vajpayee

and BJP than any other senior

leader of his party or former

colleagues. Privatisation

process began during his corrupt

government and then taken

forward by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

When the UPA government took

over under Dr Man Mohan

Singh it continued with the old

process initiated by Narsimha

Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Though there was a ‘National

Advisory Council’ formed by

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi

in which a number of ‘namedfamed’

‘activists’ were included

to advise her, the government

continued aggressively with the

privatisation process and systematic

land grabbing. The only

face saving that time was

MNREGA as well as later state

Forest Rights Act and Right to

information Act. All these were

great but in terms of jobs and

land, the issues of Dalits, OBCs

and Adivasis were always on the

margin. HRD Minister Arjun

Singh was a different man in the

Ministry. He focussed on OBC

reservation in higher education

and thus faced a lot of pressure

from the Congress party. Arjun

Singh was the leader who fought

within the party and outside to

secularise the curriculum as well

as provide reservation for OBCs.

Congress never learnt its lesson

from that mistake which Rajiv

Gandhi made in 1990. If he had

supported V P Singh instead of

Chandra Shekhar, I can bet,

Congress would have not

become redundant as it is fast

becoming because of the deep

distrust of the marginalised sections.

Mandal silenced

As the UPA came back to

power again in 2009, analysts

‘felt’ that it was the victory of

MNREGA and hence Congress

went aggressively on Land

Acquisition issues only to face

deep protests against it in different

parts of the country. By the

time of UPA-II,

Congress’s

Brahmanical leaders

ensured that

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

OBCs are sidelined

and the

reservation issue is diluted to

gain ‘acceptance’ of the savannas.

Congress was aggressive.

By 2009, the Mandal leadership

of most of the parties in the

country had surrendered or were

completely defeated though in

terms of representation OBCs

were the most powerful chunk

yet to gain acceptance among the

Savarnas these OBC leaders too

were keen to let off the issue of

‘reservations and agrarian

reforms.

In 2011 Anna Hazare’s anticorruption

plank further stole the

whole issue of social justice and

made it virtually meaningless as

the OBC leaders were not fully

prepared to counter this

onslaught not merely on their

rights but also on Indian constitution.

Anna was promoted by

‘liberals’ as well as both left and

right netas who were looking for

new opportunities for their ageold

‘dreams’ to be ‘part’ of the

‘power’. Unfortunately, the

Dalit Bahujan leaders of the

country too fell prey to the RSS

plant. Anna’s movement had

nothing to do with corruption

and everything to do with derailing

the social justice plank particularly

reservations as most of

the leaders who emerged after

the protests like Arvind

Kejriwal, V K Singh, Kiran Bedi

and so on were known to be anti

reservation, though Kejriwal has

changed the stand after becoming

the chief minister of Delhi

yet the fact remain that the

party’s main strength

is middle class that

hate reservations,

except where they can

buy the same as well

as social justice.

Rise of Modi and

demise of Mandal

Anna’s movement

was ultimately

responsible for not

merely the downfall

of ‘Congress’ but the unprecedented

‘faith’ of people in

Narendra Modi and BJP. Unlike

Congress, BJP became ‘expert’

on multi pronged strategies and

hence it projected Narendra

Modi as an OBC and made deep

inroads among all the communities

though ‘cultural’ linkages.

The common thread built up as a

‘non Muslim’ identity which

actually went well with all.

Among OBCs local contradictions

were used, apart from putting

faces from these communities

such as Kushwahas,

Nishads, Lodhs, Kurmis in Uttar

Pradesh. It gave big importance

to Ram Vilas Paswan, who was

despised both by Lalu Yadav as

well as Nitish Kumar resulting in

his open association with the saffron

party.

Modi government’s policies

have unambiguously reflected

two clear indications: a. massive

privatisation b. curtailing government

jobs c. backdoor entry

of the savarnas everywhere right

from civil services to universities.

Since 2014, Modi government

has systematically targeted

NGOs, civil society organisations

which were working for

land, forest, environmental

issues particularly relating the

rights of the Dalits and Adivasis

over the natural resources. Then

it targeted Universities which

were vocal seeking rights of students

related to reservation, fees,

scholarships, libraries, better

hostel facilities and so on.

Important among them were

JNU, Delhi University,

Hyderabad Central University,

Jamia Milia Islamia, Aligarh

Muslim University and many

others. Nobody can match demagoguery

more than Narendra

Modi and his government. They

do the exact opposite of what

they speak in public. All through

his campaign Narendra Modi

and BJP shouted atop about his

‘OBC’ status and yet all these

years it clearly indicates how his

government has successfully

diluted the reservation issue. In

each sector of our governance, it

is the dominance of Savarnas

and their ‘rehabilitation’, though

they were never ‘replaced’ yet a

few jobs to SC-ST-OBCs here or

there too have been snatched

away from them. To stop more

and more people from the margins

to come upto the top level,

entries are closed. To maintain

the Brahmanical hegemony

intact, back door entry in the

name of ‘professionalism’ has

happened and the powerful civil

services did not object to it. The

persistent onslaught on every

institution and its autonomy has

been the hallmark of the government’s

‘achievements’ but how

the Brahmanical bureaucracy

‘enjoyed’ it can be seen in their

absolute silence. Most of them

have got the opportunity to fulfil

their dreams.

The OBC leaders were given

symbolic positions and in the

rural hinterland ‘empowerment’

is considered a few seats to the

community leaders. The whole

debate of community empowerment

has thus been abused by

placating a few ‘ambitious’ leaders

who would maintain complete

silence on the issues related

to their communities. Thus,

reservation for OBCs has never

been on the agenda of their leaders.

Ofcourse, for their people

they will say that we will provide

reservation to communities

but none of them ever speak

against the complete denial of

justice to OBCs in the government

jobs. None of them ever

questioned how the civil services

are being filled through backdoor

entry. None of them ever

raised the question of farmers'

protests despite the known fact

that current farmers' movements

include a large number of OBCs.

Why OBC leaders keeping

quiet on the issue

The problem is that nobody

wants to claim to be representative

of their community. As their

parties are ‘state’ ‘regional’ or

‘national’ parties these leaders

need ‘brahmanical minds’ to

See on Page 17


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021

17

UNHCR warns of humanitarian

crisis in AFGHANISTAN

New Delhi : The UN Refugee Agency

(UNHCR) is warning of a looming humanitarian

crisis in Afghanistan as the escalating

conflict brings increased human suffering

and civilian displacement.

UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch said

that an estimated 270,000 Afghans have been

newly displaced inside the country since

January 2021, primarily due to insecurity

and violence, bringing the total uprooted

population to over 3.5 million.

Families forced to flee their homes in

recent weeks cite the worsening security situation

as the predominant reason for their

flight.

Baloch said in addition to ongoing fighting,

displaced civilians have told the

UNHCR and partners of incidents of extortion

by non-state armed groups and the presence

of improvised explosive devices (IEDs)

on major roads.

Many have reported interruptions to

social services and a loss of income due to

rising insecurity.

The number of civilian casualties has

risen 29 per cent during the first quarter of

this year compared to 2020, according to UN

Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

An increasing proportion of women and

children were among those targeted.

The needs of those who have had to flee

suddenly are acute.

UNHCR and partners, as part of a coordinated

response, are assisting newly displaced

Afghans with emergency shelter, food,

health, water and sanitation support and cash

assistance, despite challenges in accessing

vulnerable groups. Baloch said the resilience

of the Afghan people has been pushed to the

limit by prolonged conflict, high levels of

displacement, the impact of Covid-19, recurrent

natural disasters, including drought, and

deepening poverty.

Some 65 per cent of the Afghan population,

in and outside of Afghanistan, are children

and young people. "A failure to reach a

peace agreement in Afghanistan and stem the

current violence will lead to further displacement

within the country, as well as to neighbouring

countries and beyond," Baloch said.

Iran and Pakistan host nearly 90 per cent

of displaced Afghans, more than two million

registered Afghan refugees in total. Both

countries have granted access to territory and

protection to Afghan refugees, along with

health and educational services through

national systems.

"Their hospitality and inclusive policies,

spanning decades and generations, must not

be taken for granted," Baloch said. The

UNHCR welcomes the respective governments'

commitment to provide access to asylum

amidst the global health and socio-economic

challenges of COVID-19.

"We stand ready to bolster humanitarian

support to all host countries in the case of

additional arrivals," it added. The Agency

has urged the international community to

step up support to the Government and people

of Afghanistan and its neighbours at this

critical moment, in a spirit of solidarity and

burden-sharing. Humanitarian resources are

currently falling dramatically short. The

UNHCR's financial appeal for the

Afghanistan situation, including operations

for Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran,

remains acutely underfunded, at only 43 per

cent of a total $337 million required.

Hunt underway for leader

of Al Qaeda-affiliated

group in Bangladesh

Dhaka : A hunt is underway for Mahmudul Hasan Gunbi, the top

leader of 'Dawatul Islam', an Al Qaeda-linked militant outfit in

Bangladesh. According to authorities, Dawatul Islam follow the

'Manhaji' school of thought of the Hefazat-e-Islam and Ansar al-

Islam militant outfits. While Gunbi is still on the run, Dawatul

Islam's two other leaders Harun Izhar and Ali Hasan Osama have

been arrested.

Earlier, Maulana Nazimuddin, who was the 'emir' of the organisation,

was arrested more than once on charges of involvement in militancy.

A case was filed against Gunbi for planning an attack on the

parliament building. Harun Izhar is the son of Mufti Izharul Islam,

one of the founders of Hefazat-e-Islam.

Mufti Izhar has published a book on the slain Al Qaeda leader

Osama Bin Laden, in which he claims to have met the latter while

working for the terror group in Kabul for more than three years.

Dawatul Islam has set up two militant hideouts at Lama and

Khagrachari in Bandarban district.

There are more than 50 militant leaders active in the hill tracts.

Gunbi's pictures with various leaders of Hefazat have been posted

by the group on their social media accounts.

Authorities allege that Gunbi lures people in the hill tract areas

under the garb of "inviting people to Islam", an official said on the

condition of anonymity, adding that innocent youngsters fall prey to

the militants' fake identity.

Senior officials of the detective branch told IANS that Gunbi,

known for his extremist views, is also the incumbent spiritual leader

of Ansar al-Islam.

come back to power and most of

them depend on ‘professional advisers’,

senior journalists etc, a majority of them

hailing from Savarna community and

suffering from highly anti reservation

mindset but for power you need the outreach

hence most of the leaders today

take their community for granted and go

out reach others. An ideal situation

would have been in Uttar Pradesh that

all the OBCs, Dalits, minorities, farmers

and other progressive ( if any) join

together to fight against the oppressive

system but it is a pipe dream now. Both

BSP and SP are not trying to reach their

communities but to the Brahmins. So

Brahmins enjoy the availability of various

options to them unlike Dalits and

OBCs in Uttar Pradesh.

So nearly 30 years after the Mandal

report, the parties which benefited from

it don’t want to speak about it or the

issues of OBCs. Hence it is not merely

V P Singh which they would not like to

remember to keep their brahmin Bania

friends happy but also forgo the issue of

OBCs particularly reservation. Like in

1990, these leaders are again on the

wrong side of history. That time they

were responsible for the fall of V P

Singh government and now they are

competing with each other to ‘defeat’

the BJP. One does not know whether

this gambit will succeed or not but if

they fail, the people will never forgive

Continue Page 16

Conspicuous silence of political parties on

OBC reservation issues in the North

them.

Can DMK and Stalin take lead to

raise the issues of OBCs

It is in this context one needs to

appreciate the conviction and candidness

of Tamilnadu Chief Minister M K

Stalin. Despite being in a strong position

and having a powerful DMK cadre,

Stalin ensured that all like minded political

parties are on one platform.

Congress, CPI, CPI(M), VCK have

been part of the alliance for the last several

years. Immediately after taking

over as Chief Minister of Tamilnadu,

Stalin ordered withdrawal of cases

against activists as well as journalists on

NRC-CAA. He categorically opposed

NEET and demanded that states should

have their autonomy. We all know there

is no reservation for OBCs in NEET and

Tamilnadu has been opposing it from

day one . NEET format is basically

meant to provide entry to north Indian

Savarnas and Tamilnadu know it well

and hence opposing it. Chief minister

Stalin in his first visit to Delhi and meeting

with prime minister called for abolition

of NEET so that the states can have

their autonomy in providing reservation

to OBC-SC-ST-minorities as per their

population.

Tamilnadu Chief Minister has also

formed an expert committee for the

development of the state. Tamilnadu is

the only state where reservation is

beyond the 50% limit as ‘ordered’ by

the Supreme Court. The state provides

50% reservation for OBCs which is categorised

as 30% for OBCs and 20% for

MBCs. The total reservation for SC-ST-

OBCs in Tamilnadu is 69% and has

been put under schedule IX of the constitution

to protect it from getting challenged

in the Supreme Court.

Tamilnadu’s

DMK government

is the only government

which has

come out so categorically

to speak

for the rights of the

OBCs. It made

unity with other

Dravidian communities

to fulfil the

dreams of EVR

Periyar. It was the

first state which

started the mid day

meal scheme which

became extremely

popular because of the good quality

food provided to the children. Recent

initiatives by Tamilnadu government for

introducing non brahmin priests in

Tamilnadu temples as well as worship

in Tamil language are powerful but

being opposed by BJP and Brahmanical

elite which consider priesthood as their

sole birth right. Unfortunately, north

Indian Dalit OBC parties don’t even

want to take name of Periyar or DMK

party because of the fear of a ‘brahmanical’

‘reaction’.

Look at the online campaign by various

Bahujan activists against casteist

slurs against Ms Mayawati but not a single

politician of these parties reacted to

it. Naming and shaming of casteist

mindset got huge support on twitter by

the Bahujan activist but the lips of

Bahujan leaders remained sealed

because of the risk of losing Brahmin

support. Several years ago, Adijan ideologue

and dear friend M C Raj told me

in an interview that just because the

president of a party happens to be Dalit

or OBC does not make them Dalit OBC

parties as they rarely raise their issues.

They can be termed as political parties

headed by a Dalit or OBC leader.

It is not that the netas don’t know

about these facts but somewhere they

lack spirit of Bahujan ideology. Most of

them have grown in ‘mainstream’

Brahmanical ideology hence using

Ambedkar and Periyar radically to

emancipate and liberate the Bahujan

masses is not on their agenda. You can

not speak OBC-SC-ST empowerment

without speaking about reservation,

land redistribution, autonomy of the

adivasis on their natural resources and

participation in power structure. Can

you speak about the rights of the people

if you have no understanding why Rohit

Vemula got killed and why the government

continues to punish JNU, Jamia,

AMU and other institutions? And here

comes the power of ideology. I don’t

say that DMK is faultless but Dravidian

governments in Tamilnadu have been

far better than any other governments in

India for their pro people work particularly

that related to the marginalised

sections as well as promotion of rationalist-humanist

principles.

India is at the crossroads when

priestly-capitalist castes are controlling

our economy and polity together which

can only be countered by a humanist

alternative of the Bahujan leadership

which is guided by the principles of

Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Jyotiba Phule,

EVR Periyar and other revolutionaries.

They have provided us with a socialcultural

and economic model and that

model is not based on hatred and prejudices

but equality and fraternity. Let

us hope our leaders will understand the

powerful heritage of Bahujan leaders

and will not shy away from speaking

for the rights of the marginalised sections

of our society. Modi might dominate

but at the end Mandal will have

the last laugh. Will our leaders ready to

replay it or have they assumed under

the influence of their ‘brahmanical’

advisers that Mandal is dead hence

keep it buried so that ‘others’ are not

‘offended’. If the north Indian leaders

have no interest in Mandal or reservation

issues, it is better DMK lead it

from the front to expose those who take

their communities for granted.


18 16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

What made Singapore PM emotional

during historic gurdwara visit

New Delhi : The Sikh community in

Singapore is all praise for the local government

after Prime Minister Lee Hsien

Loong attended the inauguration ceremony

of the newly renovated Gurdwara

Sahib Silat Road, one of the most popular

gurdwaras in the country.

"Delighted to attend the inauguration

of Silat Road Sikh Temple today after a

prolonged renovation during the pandemic.

Congratulations to the Sikh

community on this momentous occasion!"

tweeted Lee.

As the video of Singaporean PM

wearing a white turban and addressing

the Sangat (assembly) later went viral

on social media, Baljit Singh, President

of the Central Sikh Gurdwara Board

(CSGB), which oversees the running of

two gurdwaras in Singapore - Gurdwara

Sahib Silat Road and Central Sikh

Temple - besides a Sikh Centre, told

IndiaNarrative.com that it was a proud

and emotional moment for many,

including the current PM.

His father, Lee Kuan Yew, the former

PM of the country who is widely

regarded as the 'father of modern

Singapore', had inaugurated a different

section of the same gurdwara, exactly

11 years ago.

"The former PM opening the memorial

gurudwara 11 years ago was a pure

coincidence. However, this time around,

the honourable PM definitely wanted to

be here with us on the occasion last

week. He felt that the inauguration was

a very important event as Singapore

supports all religions. Very nobly, he

agreed to put a turban, appreciating its

importance to Sikh identity. He also

paid homage to the Guru Granth Sahib

and we offered him a Siropa and also

gifted a Kirpan," Singh told

IndiaNarrative.com over phone from

Singapore today.

The CSGB President said that the

one thing which had always amazed the

Singapore PM is how meticulously

thousands of langars are served in the

gurdwara every day.

"Even during this Covid period, we

are distributing about 1000-1500 packets

during the langar on the weekdays

and around 2000-2500 on the weekend.

It goes to anywhere around 5000 during

Gurpurab. This temple, so rich in history,

has never failed to serve meals. The

PM is always struck by the fact and also

to find that all this work is done voluntarily

by the Sangat members, Sikhs as

well as non-Sikhs who have also funded

the renovation work," says Singh.

Built in 1924 and declared as a historic

site by Singapore's National

Heritage Board (NHB) in 1999,

Gurdwara Sahib Silat Road was the first

gurdwara in Singapore to be built in traditional

Sikh style architecture with

domes and arches in accordance with

the gurdwaras found in Punjab.

According to the Singh, initially it

used to handle the needs of the Sikh

Police community and also house the

new Sikh arrivals in transit to other

parts of Asia. The old timers recall that

the gurdwara provided accommodation

and looked after the welfare of widows

and children of many Sikh soldiers who

died fighting for British military and

police forces while defending Singapore

during the Japanese Occupation (1942-

45). On 12 October 1966, the memorial

for Bhai Maharaj Singh, the first Sikh

identified to arrive in Singapore, was

relocated from the Singapore General

Hospital compound to the front of

Gurdwara Sahib Silat Road. It resulted

in a massive increase in the congregation

as people believed that an Akhand

Path service performed at this gurdwara,

next to the Bhai Maharaj Singh

shrine, will earn the devotees great

merit.

Extensive renovation to the gurdwara

was completed in October 1995

and the memorial too was expanded and

officially opened by former PM Lee

Kuan Yew in July 2010.

It was also the first gurdwara in

Singapore to have regular Akhand Paths

and langar on all days of the week. The

marble Prakash Palki in the Darbar Hall

is also said to be the largest of its kind in

the world.

During his visit to the gurdwara last

week, Singapore PM Hsien Loong

appreciated the introduction of livestreaming

services during the Covid-19

pandemic so that devotees can attend

the congregation virtually, especially

during when all places of worship in the

country had to close.

"I have been even more encouraged

to see the gurdwaras rally the Sikh community

to pitch in and help out during

this difficult period. They organised

charity drives, provided rations and lent

a helping hand through various assistance

programmes like offering langars

to anyone in need," he said adding that

it reflects the Sikh tradition of Chardi

Kala, the ability to maintain a positive

state of mind in the face of adversity.

It was also the first gurdwara in

Singapore to have regular Akhand Paths

and langar on all days of the week. The

marble Prakash Palki in the Darbar Hall

is also said to be the largest of its kind in

the world. During his visit to the gurdwara

last week, Singapore PM Hsien

Loong appreciated the introduction of

live-streaming services during the

Covid-19 pandemic so that devotees can

attend the congregation virtually, especially

during when all places of worship

in the country had to close.

"I have been even more encouraged

to see the gurdwaras rally the Sikh community

to pitch in and help out during

this difficult period. They organised

charity drives, provided rations and lent

a helping hand through various assistance

programmes like offering langars

to anyone in need," he said adding that

it reflects the Sikh tradition of Chardi

Kala, the ability to maintain a positive

state of mind in the face of adversity.

(This content is being carried under

an arrangement with

indianarrative.com)

Efforts on to fill 50,000 vacancies in govt: Telangana CM

Hyderabad : Telangana Chief Minister

K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Thursday said his

government has started taking measures to

fill 50,000 vacancies in various departments.

Noting that the government has provided

1.30 lakh jobs during the last seven years,

he said with the approval of new zonal system,

measures to recruit 50,000 more

employees have started. He assured that in

future, recruitment will be done as per the

job calendar.

In a message on the occasion of the

World Youth Skills Day, he claimed that the

state government is striving to make available

the fruits of Telangana to the youth and

future generations, and has prepared proper

plans and is implementing them.

KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly

known, said the infrastructure in all sectors,

"which was destroyed under past rulers",

was being rebuilt and development and welfare

schemes launched.

He said the government is of the firm

view that true development is when qualitative

change comes in the life of all sections

of people.

The action plan implemented for the past

seven years by the government for urban

and rural youth employment has come to a

decisive stage, he said, asserting that the

government's aim is to create wealth and

distribute the same to the people.

He said irrigation, and power sectors

were put on the rails, agriculture was developed

while several programmes are being

implemented for the welfare of farmers and

artisans. "The integrated development

action plan in the state is yielding good

results and rural economy is strengthened

whereby rural youth will get employment.

In the urban areas too, programmes are

implemented to better the employment

chances of the youth."

The Chief Minister said there is a lot

effort on the government side, which resulted

in youth getting attracted towards agriculture

sector. Lakhs of jobs are being created

in industry, IT, commerce sectors along

with agriculture and its allied sectors. He

said in tune with changing times, youth

should update their skills.

"Telangana youth are efficient and if

skills are added to this, there will be no one

to challenge them. The state government is

making special efforts to improve skills

among the youth. The Telangana Academy

for Skill and Knowledge (TASK) was established

to help youth jobs in IT and technology

sectors."


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021

19

Will Afghan ancient historical

sites again face Talib threats?

New Delhi : While there is a widespread

speculation as to what awaits

Afghanistan after the departure of the

US-led foreign troops in the country,

historians and heritage experts globally,

are keeping their fingers crossed as to

the fate of cultural legacy of the embattled

nation.

The concern is justified since

Afghanistan's rich historical and cultural

heritage dates back to several centuries.

From being part of Indus Valley

Civilisation to being invaded by

Alexander, several empires including

Greco-Bactrians, Kushans, Saffarids,

Ghaznavids, Timurids, and Mughals

among others have started from this

region.

According to an article in National

Geographic some cultural heritage

experts are hopeful; others are growing

anxious with the forthcoming departure

of US and European forces.

The fear on the part of those who are

tasked with taking care of the nation's

uniquely diverse cultural heritage is not

unfounded. It is still fresh in their memory,

as it is of others, when the Taliban

in 2001, destroyed the planet's largest

statues, the Bamiyan Buddhas. They

also vandalised the National Museum

in Kabul and looted antiques from

ancient sites. Their attitude towards the

past relics, especially the pre-Islamic

ones, portrayed them in a bad light at

the international level.

This time, however, there appears to

be a change as Taliban have given their

word to respect the nation's history. In a

statement they commanded their followers

to "robustly protect, monitor and

preserve" relics, halt illegal digs, and

safeguard "all historic sites." But time

will tell whether the commitment is

only tactical, to reduce the resistance of

the world community to their re-emergence

or a genuine change of heart born

out the bitter experience of the past.

Interestingly, they have forbidden

Hyderabad : Nine short films and

documentaries made by the

Instructional Media Centre (IMC) of

Maulana Azad National Urdu

University (MANUU) have been selected

for Cultural Cinema Fest 2021, supported

by UNESCO, Delhi office.

The online festival scheduled to

begin on July 17 and films from more

than 100 countries are participating in

the festival.

The selected films are - Aristotle,

Stephen Hawkins, Dr C V Raman,

Bharat Ratna Dr A P J Abdul Kalam,

Nawa-e-Sarosh Mirza Ghalib, Al

Zahrawi, A Tribute to Prof Yashpal, Sir

Isaac Newton and Prof U R Rao. They

were selected from among 44 films

under the category.

IMC director Rizwan Ahmad said it

is a huge recognition of the films at

global level.

"Our focus is to take the academic

content of the centre at international

selling of artefacts in the art market.

Their statement said: "No one should try

to disturb such sites or think about using

them for profit." According to the NG

article, the statement did not come as a

surprise to Cheryl Benard of

Washington-based Alliance for the

Restoration of Cultural Heritage

(ARCH). The write-up states that she

told her group last fall that both sides

need to address the issue. Not everyone

shares this optimism. Afghanistan's

Institute of Archaeology's Noor Agha

Noori is not convinced. He told NG: "To

be honest, we are very worried about the

future of cultural heritage were the

Taliban to come into power," he said

while informing that Islamists were

indulging in looting historical sites in

order to raise finances. Speaking in the

same vein, Mohammad Fahim Rahimi,

Director of Kabul's National Museum

observed: "Unfortunately the statement

level and the team has made exceptional

efforts in supporting this endeavour.

is not clear, especially concerning the

pre-Islamic heritage. You know what

happened to the collection during the

civil war and in 2001." The museum

conservators over the years painstakingly

pieced together many wooden and

stone sculptures which were broken

deliberately. There are many who pin

their hopes on the US brokered talks

between the Taliban and the Afghan

Government hoping that the region's

past will be protected. Last year, the

Government had said yes to discuss

"ensuring the security of historical and

Islamic sites" during their talks while

the statement of February gives an indication

on part of Taliban to do so as

well.

Nasratullah Hewadwall of the Kabul

branch of ARCH remarked: "It's a great

and positive step." He shared that last

year the Taliban had distanced itself

from the destruction of Bamiyan

Buddhas in 2001 while blaming it on al

Qaeda. According to Hewadwall, the

leadership of the group has realised the

economic significance of ancient heritage

and sites as tourist attractions

while perceiving that destroying them

damages their image.

In terms of historical significance,

there is much to be lost in case

Afghanistan's cultural heritage is not

preserved. Being at the geographical

crossroads of Central Asia, the region

has attracted traders, merchants, scholars,

pilgrims, and armies since the

arrival of Alexander the Great.

Afghanistan is from where Buddhism

spread to China and it is this place

where Zoroastrianism, Christianity,

Judaism, and Hinduism flourished, both

before and after the advent of Islam in

the 7th Century AD. Also as part of the

Silk Road which connected India with

China and Iran, it boasts of remains of

This is the fourth consecutive time

when IMC productions have been recognized

and selected

at national film

festivals," he

added.

He congratulated

the team members

who directed,

scripted and produced

the films.

Prof. S.M.

Rahmatullah, incharge

Vice-

Chancellor congratulated

Rizwan

and his team for

this achievement.

He noted that IMC

through its continuous

efforts is

playing an important

role in showcasing

the relevance

of Urdu language

in the contemporary era, time and

several ancient cities, monasteries, and

sarais, which housed travellers.

Besides the threat of the Taliban, a

greater fear which grips cultural conservators

is that of chaos that will follow

after the departure of American and

NATO troops that has already begun.

According to Jolyon Leslie, who is

working as a preservationist at an

ancient Buddhist stupa outside Kabul:

"Our fears are less about a possible

threat posed by the Taliban than the

prospect of a breakdown in law and

order." Chaos already exists, informs

Hewadwall, especially in rural areas.

The twin factors of lack of security and

shifting alliances, has enabled povertystricken

villagers, gangs, different militia

and Taliban to steal artefacts for

smuggling them.

Many place their hopes on the

Afghan officials who have so far done

well to preserve the sites, museums and

artefacts from decay and destruction.

The article quotes NG's archaeologist

Fredrik Hiebert, who talking about

Afghan officials said: "They will be

good caretakers. I have total confidence

in them." According to him, they have

braved arrest and even death in their

call of duty. It also finally boils down to

normalcy returning to Afghanistan ravaged

by civil war and battles for years.

Murtaza Azizi, a senior Ministry official

averred: "Once lasting peace comes

to our country, we are eager to share

this heritage with the world. We hope

our tourism industry -- and with it, the

economy -- will grow, not only in

Balkh, but all over Afghanistan." But

given the Taliban's idiosyncrasies of the

past, and the strong connection of some

of powerful factions, such as the

Haqanni network with Pakistan's ISI,

few will guarantee that the Taliban's

basic DNA has changed

(This content is being carried under

an arrangement with

indianarrative.com)

MANUU's 9 films selected for UNESCO-supported festival

again.

Meanwhile, subscription of

MANUU's educational YouTube channel

crossed 50,000. IMC has been continuously

providing educational content

in Urdu through its YouTube channel

which is a unique initiative of providing

material in Urdu.

While students are away from campuses

due to Covid-19 pandemic, their

educational needs continue to be met

with alternative options such as online

education, social media and technology

based-education dissemination.

Rizwan Ahamd while thanking all

the subscribers said the sustained efforts

of the centre in educational domain are

being recognised and students are using

its online content, video lectures and e-

content in large number. "But this is not

our destination, we need to reach out to

every student who needs content in

Urdu. The channel is being watched all

around the world," he added.


20 16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

China not mincing words about

downturn in ties with India

New Delhi : China is not mincing

words about the downturn in relations

with India, as Chinese Foreign Minister

Wang Yi has said that "China-India relations

are still in bad shape, which is not

in the interest of any country".

Global Times reported these statements

made by Chinese State Councilor

and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during

his meeting with Indian External Affairs

Minister S. Jaishankar on the sidelines

of the Shanghai Cooperation

Organization (SCO) foreign ministers’

meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Wang referred to the "downturn"

more than once during his meet with

Jaishankar.

"To prevent border issues from further

posing unnecessary interference in

bilateral relations, which is already in its

downturn, Wang said both sides should

alter the work mechanism for border

incidents from emergency responses to

normalised management," Global Times

said.

Wang warned that the two countries

should refrain from taking any unilateral

action in the sensitive and disputed

areas, so as to avoid misunderstanding

and misjudgment which can lead to the

repetition of what happened last year.

"Any unilateral action in the sensitive

and disputed areas along China-

India border should be restrained as last

year’s incident is already pulling China-

India ties to their downturn," Wang said,

according to Global Times. The two

militaries have disengaged in the

Galwan Valley and the Bangong Lake

areas and the border situation has eased

since the meeting between the foreign

ministers of the two countries in

Moscow in September last year.

But China-India relations are still in

a bad shape, which is not in the interest

of any country, Wang said, as per the

report.

It is clear that the responsibility of

the border issues last year does not lie

with China. China is willing to negotiate

with India to seek a solution acceptable

to both the countries, Wang said.

The essence of China-India relations

is how two large neighbouring

developing countries view each other,

how they can live in harmony, and

how to help each other, Wang said,

adding that China’s strategic judgment

on China-India relations remains

unchanged.

The interactions between the countries

should mainly be led by cooperation,

mutual benefit, and complementarities

with healthy competition, avoiding

confrontation, Wang said.

Jaishankar agreed with Wang on

bilateral ties, saying India doesn’t and

hopefully won’t change its strategic

judgment over bilateral ties and is willing

to work with China to prompt bilateral

relationship out of the downturn,

the Global Times reported.

Atharva Karve on playing

Ambedkar: Every step will be

watched minutely

Mumbai : Actor Atharva

Karve will play the role of

young Bhimrao Ambedkar in

the ongoing show "Ek

Mahanayak Dr BR Ambedkar".

The actor says getting the part

feels like a dream come true.

"Portraying a character of

this stature is a big responsibility

and it is a big moment for me.

His books and works have

deeply inspired me. I have

grown up reading a lot about

him. I never thought that I

would get an opportunity to be a

part of a show and play this

role," says Atharva.

The actor talks of the

research he has done for the

role, which mainly involved

reading up a lot about

Ambedkar.

"I have done thorough

research. From reading various

articles printed about

Babasaheb’s practices to referring

to biographies written by

multiple authors, I read up and

grasped information on him,

especially his teachings. We

also have an eminent researcher,

Hari Narke, on board, who has

been prepping me a lot about

him. I also watched various documentaries

made on him in my

spare time to understand the

flow of emotions that I need to

portray," the actor says.

The story of the show moves

into a new phase from July 20,

with Atharva being depicted as

young Ambedkar.

He recalls going through

multiple rounds of auditions and

the look tests before getting

finalised for the role.

"During the audition, I

realised hard work, commitment

and studying were crucial to get

the nuances of the character

right. I could feel the power and

attentiveness it demanded. It is a

big responsibility to enact and

do justice, create that aura and

connect with the audience.

Every step will be watched

minutely. Hence, research,

understanding his life and

knowing the history was imperative."

Atharva has been part of

Marathi television for quite a

long time but has been a part of

select Hindi shows, and this is

one of them. "I have done a

Hindi show as a child artiste, but

it is my debut in a legendary and

significant role. As an actor,

irrespective of language, the

role and storyline matter the

most," he says.

"Currently, I am focusing

completely on this show. It is a

big responsibility. Every minute

detail is important and is being

taken into account. It is imperative

to read, observe, understand

and absorb everything about the

personality. Your every step is

under the watchful eyes of the

viewers. I am excited about this

new phase and eagerly looking

forward to the audience seeing

and accepting me as their Dr

Bhimrao Ambedkar," he concludes

about his role in the &TV

show.

J&J pulls Aveeno,

Neutrogena spray sunscreens

over cancer risk

New York : Johnson & Johnson is pulling out its Neutrogena and

Aveeno spray sunscreens from US stores after some samples showed

presence of benzene -- a potentially cancer-causing chemical. "While

benzene is not an ingredient in any of our sunscreen products, it was

detected in some samples of the impacted aerosol sunscreen finished

products. We are investigating the cause of this issue, which is limited

to certain aerosol sunscreen products," the company said in a

statement on Wednesday.

The recalled sunscreen products are packaged in aerosol cans.

These include Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen, and four

Neutrogena sunscreen versions: Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen,

CoolDry Sport aerosol sunscreen, Invisible Daily Defense aerosol

sunscreen and UltraSheer aerosol sunscreen.

The company noted that although the levels detected in the testing

would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences, it cautions

against the use of the products.

"Consumers should stop using these specific products and appropriately

discard them," the statement said.

The company, which is one of the world’s biggest sellers of consumer

health products by sales, said it is also notifying distributors

and retailers to stop selling the products, and arranging for the return

of the products. Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen, a substance

that could potentially cause cancer depending on the level and

extent of exposure. It is ubiquitous in the environment, and humans

around the world have daily exposures indoors and outdoors from

multiple sources. Benzene can be absorbed, to varying degrees, by

inhalation, through the skin, and orally.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021

21

After bail from Dominica HC, Choksi

returns to Antigua for medical treatment

New Delhi : Indian fugitive businessman

Mehul Choksi, who is wanted

in Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National

Bank (PNB) fraud case has returned to

Antigua and Barbuda from Dominica,

two days after being granted bail on

medical grounds.

Choksi's lawyer Vijay Aggarwal told

IANS: "My client Choksi has returned

to his home in Antigua safely. He faced

no issues while entering back in

Antigua." Aggarwal said that Choksi is

receiving medical treatment and his

family is feeling relieved however torture

during kidnapping has him caused

lot of psychological and physical harm.

"All well that ends well. After tasting

success in Dominica now legal team is

gearing up for long drawn fight in

Antigua," Aggarwal added.

Choksi was granted bail on medical

grounds on Monday by Dominica High

Court. The court has asked Choksi to

deposit Eastern Caribbean dollars

10,000 (around Rs 2.75 lakh) as surety

for the bail.

His legal team approached the

Dominica high court last week seeking

relief on the ground that his health was

deteriorating and he needed urgent medical

attention. The latest court order

comes as a setback for Indian agencies

that had moved court in Dominica to get

Choksi repatriated to India. Choksi's

lawyer Vijay Aggarwal, told IANS,

"Yes, Choksi has been granted bail on

medical grounds."

He said, "Dominica courts finally

upheld the rule of law and rights of a

human to be treated in the medical facilities

of his choice. And all attempts by

various agencies did not bear fruits.

There is a solace in saying that all clever

foxes end up as fur coats."

His legal team approached the

Dominica high court last week seeking

relief on the ground that his health was

deteriorating and he needed urgent medical

attention.

Justice Abroad's Director and

London-based international barrister

Michael Polak is acting for Choksi as

part of his legal team said, "The High

Court of Dominica granted Choksi bail

so that he can return to Antigua for medical

treatment and adjourned his judicial

review application and the criminal proceedings

against him for unlawful

entry." He said that Choksi is suffering

from a number of ailments including

cerebrovascular disease, coronary artery

disease, congestive heart failure, and

blood dyscrasias. He is also suffering

from a subdural haematoma, the collection

of blood between the skull and the

surface of the brain.

"Dominican doctors expressed concern

that Choksi's current health problems

are serious and reported that he is

in need of the urgent medical assistance

of a Neurologist and Neurosurgical

Consultant and that this care is not

available in Dominica," Polak said.

Polak said, "We are very pleased that

the Dominican Court has made the principled

and humanitarian decision to

release Mr Choksi so that he can access

specialist medical care in Antigua."

He stated that Choksi has been

through a very difficult few weeks and

has been subject to an ordeal which has

had a detrimental effect on him physically.

"It is the right outcome that he be

able to return to Antigua, where he can

access the medical attention that he

requires and be with his family," he

added. Choksi's bail plea was supposed

to be heard on July 23 but was heard on

July 12 on medical grounds. His

lawyers had moved the court pleading

that he was suffering from a neurological

disorder for which he needed treatment

in Antigua.

The bail order comes amid allegations

from Choksi's family and lawyers

that the jeweller was abducted from

Jolly Harbour area of Antigua by agents

of Indian agencies and forcibly taken to

Dominica on May 23. Choksi is facing a

case of extradition in Antigua on India's

request.

Choksi had gone missing on May 23

from Antigua and Barbuda, sparking a

massive manhunt. He was later captured

in Dominica where he faced charges of

entering the country illegally.

Choksi had filed a case in the high

court of Dominica, seeking to quash the

proceedings against him alleging that

his arrest was "dictated" by representatives

of the Indian government.

The case was filed against the

Immigration Minister of the Caribbean

nation, its police chief and the investigating

officer of the case.

Choksi pleaded that the decision to

charge him for illegal entry violated the

law and, accordingly, was null and void.

Choksi's lawyer had alleged that

their client was kidnapped and forcibly

taken to Dominica. Choksi is wanted in

India by the Central Bureau of

Investigation and the Enforcement

Directorate.

LA County prepares to apologise

to local Native American tribes

Los Angeles : The Los Angeles County

Board of Supervisors has voted to draft an

apology for the historical mistreatment of

Native Americans in the most populous US

county, local media reported.

The motion highlighted the disproportionate

health and economic burdens faced by

the Gabrieleno Tongva, Fernandeno

Tataviam, Ventureno Chumash, San Manuel

Band of Mission Indians, Kizh and other

local tribes as a result of discrimination,

Xinhua news agency quoted a report by the

local Pasadena Now news website as saying

on Wednesday.

The motion also called for an update on

the ongoing work to identify county policies,

procedures and practices that may have

harmed California Native Americans, said

the report.

Hilda L. Solis, chair of the board, released

a statement, noting that telling the truth is the

first step to address systemic and historical

wrongs.

"Los Angeles County must

acknowledge and apologise for its

role in the displacement and maltreatment

of Native people," Solis

said.

"In order to truly heal and move

forward together, we must start by

telling the truth. The First Peoples

of this land faced violence,

exploitation, and dispossession at

the hands of many government

entities, including actions sanctioned

or directly carried out by

Los Angeles County."

Solis said the county would

work together with local tribal

leaders to develop a public statement

that "acknowledges, corrects

and disseminates the true historical

record of the county's relationship

with Native people".

Supervisor Janice Hahn, who coauthored

the motion, was also

quoted by the report as saying that

an apology would be just a first

step.

"The crimes and atrocities committed

against the Native American people here in

LA County, in California and across the

country are a dark stain on our nation's history,"

Hahn said.

"An apology is quite literally the least we

can do -- but it is an important step to begin

to heal the wounds of the past." Los Angeles

is home to more Native Americans/Alaska

Natives than any other county in the US.

'India's investment in B'desh huge,

will increase exponentially'

Dhaka : India's investment in Bangladesh is huge and will

increase exponentially due to "three reasons", a Dhaka-based leader

business personality said.

In an interview with IANS, Abdul Matlub Ahmad, who is the

President of the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and

Industry (IBCCI) and Chairman of Nitol-Niloy Group of Companies,

said New Delhi is such a good friend of Dhaka which was once again

proved by the resumption of urgent supply of oxygen from India

through Benapole port. He said Indian investors are keen on

Bangladesh as "three important reasons are behind this".

"One of the three reasons is competitive labour cost in

Bangladesh, which is one-third of Indian labour cost. Secondly,

Indian investors get a huge market of 1.70 million people of

Bangladesh-a fast rising middle class is prompting demand.

"And the third reason is, Bangladesh being a LDC country has

duty free access to 39 countries of the world, including India.

"Any goods which is produced in Bangladesh can be declared

'made in Bangladesh' products provided they have 30 per cent value

added in Bangladesh. Raw materials exported from India can also be

exported to India be duty free if the required value add is made.

In addition to the huge Bangladeshi market, for any exports, the

Indian investors are getting a good amount of export incentives and

tax benefits from the Bangladesh government. This inspires the foreign

investors to invest in Bangladesh," he said.

At the same time, Ahmad said that importing raw materials from

India is the easiest, cost effective, fastest, as also safest for

Bangladesh. For goods movement during amid the Covid-19 pandemic

between India and Bangladesh, both the friendly government

agreed to uninterrupted movement goods through the various land,

road and rail borders, he said, adding that this has helped Dhaka to

avoid shortage of industrial raw materials, food items and vital products

like oxygen. Ahmad also envisaged huge Indian investments into

the three SEZs reserved for the Indian investors. "The future of Indo-

Bangla trade and investment relationship shall rise to great levels.

The golden era in investments has finally arrived."


22 16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

A new Battle of Bhima Koregaon

that trapped think tanks

If we look into the history, the 1818 Battle of Koregaon is very important for Dalits. On 1 January 1818, 800 troops of the East India

Company’s Bombay Presidency Army, with a large number of Mahars predominant among them, defeated a statistically greater force

of the Peshwa Baji Rao II. A victory pillar (Vijay Sthamb) was erected in Koregaon by the British, memorializing the dead soldiers.

DR VAIDEHI TAMAN

In 1928, B. R. Ambedkar led the first

tribute ceremony here. Since then, on 1

January every year, Ambedkarites gather

at Bhima Koregaon to celebrate their

victory against the upper caste Peshwa

regime of the Maratha Empire, whom

they see as their tyrants. The Peshwas

(de facto kings of the Maratha Empire

who hailed to the ‘Chitpavan Brahmin’

caste) had their seat of authority in the

Shaniwarwada Fort.

The Mahar Dalits regard this win as

significant since it was a Mahar Dalit

triumph over Brahmin Peshwas. The

Elgar Parishad being held at the

Shaniwarwada Fort is thus viewed as a

symbol of Dalit assertiveness.

According to the tale, Aurangzeb killed

and mutilated Sambhaji Maharaj in

1689. Govind Mahar, from Vadhu

Budruk (a village near Bhima

Koregaon) collected the body parts and

organised the last rites.

The memorial for Sambhaji Maharaj

is said to have been constructed by the

Dalit Mahars of that village. Soon after,

Govind Mahar’s tomb was constructed

in the village after his death. But

Marathas refused to accept the role

played by Govind Gaikwad and other

Mahars in the last rites of Sambhaji

Maharaj as Marathas of that village do

have surname as Shivle (means

Stitched), and were increasingly vocal

about in the days prior to the January

violence at Bhima Koregaon in 2018.

They had specific objection to a sign at

the site that acknowledged the contributions

of the Mahars.

The name ‘Elgar’ literally means

‘loud invitation or declaration.’ On the

bicentenary (200th) commemoration of

the Battle of Koregaon Bhima, an event

was organised on December 31, 2017.

The ‘Elgar Parishad,’ convened by an

alliance of 260 non-profit groups, was

held in Shaniwarwada Fort in Pune and

drew over 35,000 people. The program

consisted of a number of cultural performances,

speeches and slogans.

On 1 January 2018, violence broke

out at Bhima Koregaon, where lakhs of

Dalits had converged to commemorate

the battle. One person was killed, and

three others injured. In the months following

the event, a number of people

present at the event were arrested under

laws such as the Unlawful Activities

(Prevention) Act (UAPA). This included

Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson,

Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale and

Shoma Sen.

Pune Police alleged that the event was

sponsored by Maoists. It was alleged by

the Pune Police that the event was organised

by members of the banned

Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Indian Test team hit by Covid-19,

PLAYER TESTS POSITIVE

London : Indian Test squad in

England has been affected by Covid-

19 after one of the players tested positive

for the virus. The player affected

has been kept in isolation and will not

travel to Durham with the team for the

camp that begins on Thursday.

The Indian squad members, who

had arrived in England in early June

and had played the World Test

Championship last month, were on a

three-week break.

Some of the players, as well as

coach Ravi Shastri, visited sporting

events like Wimbledon and Euro 2020

in London during the break. Many

stayed with relatives and

acquaintances and are said

to have travelled around as

the country opened up.

The Board of Control

for Cricket in India (BCCI)

is yet to officially confirm

the name of the player who

has tested positive. Media

reports claim that the player

has been affected by the

Delta variant.

The Covid-19 positive

case in the Indian team

puts a question mark on

the warm-up game that is

being planned by the

England and Wales Cricket

(ECB) on Indian team's request ahead

of the Test series that begins on

August 4.

The England limited-overs squad

too was affected by Covid-19 positive

cases ahead of the recently-concluded

ODI series against Pakistan, forcing

the ECB to field a second string side.

They said that it instigated violence at

Bhima Koregaon. However, Justices BG

Kolse-Patil and PB Sawant refuted their

claims. The Justices said that it was the

two of them who were the main organisers

and sole funders of the event, and that

they had held a similar event against

communalism and Hindutva in October

2015 at the same venue.

Adivasi activist Soni Sori, Gujarat

MLA Jignesh Mevani, Dalit activist

Radhika Vemula (mother of Rohit

Vemula), retired Bombay High Court

Justice BG Kholse-Patil, Dalit leader

Beijing : More than 1,000 rescuers

have been dispatched to save the 14 people

trapped in a tunnel following floods on

Thursday in China's Guangdong Province.

The construction site of the Shijingshan

tunnel, part of the city's Xingye expressway,

flooded at around 3.30 a.m., said the

local emergency management bureau.

Rescuers were still unable to make contact

with the trapped workers as of 1 p.m.,

Prakash Ambedkar, Bhim Army

President Vinay Ratan Singh and student

leader Umar Khalid were among

the event’s organisers and speakers.

In the months following the incident,

people including Mahesh Raut, Sudhir

Dhawale, Shoma Sen, Surendra

Gadling, Rona Wilson and Stan Swamy

were prosecuted under the Unlawful

Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Jignesh Mevani, a Gujarat MLA, has

been charged with inciting religious animosity.

8 June 2018, Pune Police arrested

Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale,

Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen and Mahesh

Raut with alleged Maoist links for inciting

riots.

28 August 2018: the Pune police carried

out searches of nine rights activists,

and arrested five of them. Those arrested

include activists Varavara Rao,

lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, and activists

Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha and

Vernon Gonsalves. The Supreme Court

ordered them to be place under “house

arrest. 26 October 2018: Arun Ferreira

and Vernon Gonsalves. Another accused

Sudha Bharadwaj was taken into custody.On

the night of 17 November

2018: The Pune police arrested activist

Varvara Rao.

On 9 October 2020, the NIA arrested

83-year-old Father Stan Swamy in connection

with the case. The NIA alleged

that the Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity

Committee (PPSC) co-convened by

Swamy and Sudha Bharadwaj was a

front for Maoists, in 2021 Stan Swamy

passed away and other have no relief.

Courtesy : Afternoon Voice

Over 1,000 rescuers sent to save 14

people trapped in China tunnel

reports Xinhua news agency.

The Department of Emergency

Management of Guangdong Province has

dispatched eight emergency rescue teams

from cities surrounding Zhuhai to the

scene, and cooperated with city officials to

carry out rescue work.

Besides the rescuers, 22 fire engines

and five pump trucks have been mobilised

for the rescue work.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021

23

Global Outrage over ‘institutional Murder’

of Jailed activist – Father Stan Swamy

Joint Statement from Dalit organisations in the UK, on global outrage following the death of 84 year

old Father Stan Swamy who was arrested by the Indian state for helping the poor in India

There was shock and mourning across Dalit and

Advasis (tribal) communities as the news of the

death broke out. Globally, thousands of human

rights activists, political leaders and Indian citizens

have taken to social media to pay tributes to jailed

tribal rights activist Stan Swamy who died at the

age of 84 in custody of an Indian prison.

The Jesuit priest, who suffered from Parkinson's

disease, was the oldest to be accused of terrorism

under the Unlawful Activity (Prevention) Act

(UAPA) in India.

After years of harassment he was arrested in

October 2020 and forced to spend eight months in

a Mumbai prison, awaiting a trial that never took

place. During this time, his health deteriorated rapidly

to the point where he could not eat or bathe by

himself. After several denials of bails on grounds

of his poor health and chronic over-congestion of

the prison, he contracted Covid-19 in the prison.

Only after repeated requests from his lawyers was

he moved to a private hospital, where shortly after

he died of cardiac arrest in the western city of

Mumbai on Monday 5th July 2021.

Father Stan Swamy was among 16 renowned

activists, academics and lawyers who were falsely

accused under a draconian anti-terror law (UAPA),

of supporting the banned Maoist organisation in

what came to be known as the Bhima Koregaon

case. All the accused have vehemently denied

these allegations.

Father Stan Swamy, spent most of his life working

with victims of caste violence, and on the land

struggles of tribespeople in Jharkhand. These people

are being forcible moved off their lands, by the

Indian State to give corporate mining industries

access to the valuable natural mineral resources in

the ground.

Activists from a number of organisations in the

UK have expressed their outrage at the death of

Father Stan Swamy:

Ms Santosh Dass MBE,

President of Federation Of Ambedkarite &

Buddhist Org UK (FABO-UK), said:

“I’m numb, sad, and outraged at the news of

Father Stan Swamy death. He spent his life defending

Tribal and Adivasis people in India. The spurious

evidence that’s been the basis of these incarcerations

in the Bhima Koregaon case has been

robustly challenged. Enough is enough. All those

arrested in this case must be released before another

one of them dies at the hands of the state and

judiciary. They must be financially compensated

for loss of income and reputation and provided free

private healthcare for the rest of their lives to deal

with the impact of the unjust incarceration on their

bodies and minds.”

Mr Lekh Pall,

Indian Workers Association Great Britain, said:

“The arrest of human and democratic rights

activists, who express their dissenting opinion

against the Indian Government, the current Modi

led BJP Government in particular, under the UAPA

has become the norm rather than the exception.

Under such draconian laws one is presumed guilty

and is burdened with, near impossible task, of

proving his/her innocence. There is an alarming

rise of the number of detainees being held captive

in prisons for months and years only to be eventually

released without charges. This system of judicial

imprisonment destroys lives and devastate

families. UAPA is a barbaric law which has no

place in a democratic society. It must be scrapped

and consigned to the dust bin colonial history.”

Mr Sam Kalyan,

President, Bhagwan Valmik Sabha Bedford,

said:

“It seems that the large section of society and

media has no voice. Open your mouth against the

government and you committing a crime against

the nation. Such is state of affairs in supposedly

the largest democracy in the world – India!”.

Mr Ravi Kumar,

General Secretary, Anti Caste Discrimination

Alliance, said:

“The largest democracy in the world could not

tolerate a courageous, non-violent voice and ultimately

silenced it. Many others like father Stan

Swamy are still incarcerating in jail on trumped up

Gurugram - “To make national education

policy sufficient for needoeducation

in the global Knowledge economy

of today, we must have a time frame for

the implementation and adopt welldefined

Public-Private –Partnership

(PPP) model”, believes, Professor M.M.

Goel, Vice-Chancellor Starex

University and founder of Needonomics

School of Thought here today.

He was addressing online Vice-chancellor’s

Conclave on National

Education Policy organised by Sunshine

Group of Institutions Rajkot today on

the topic ‘Challenges in Implementation

of National Education Policy ’. Dr.

Vikas Arora Director welcomed and

presented citations on the achievements

of the Vice-Chancellor Starex

University Prof. M.M .Goel.

He justified HOTS (Higher Order

Thinking Sills) with creativity, innovation

and critical thinking along with

human values and ethics for

Needoeducation to ensure needoemployment

and needo-entrepreneurship.

To improve governance, a single regulator

as National Higher Education

Commission have to be street smart

(simple, moral, action oriented, responsive

and transparent) with effective

leadership at all levels of operation, told

Goel.

For efficiency, sufficiency and equity

in the system of higher education, we

must link fee structure and user charges

with inflation rate based on retail prices

so that high-cost recovery is ensured

smoothly, said Professor Goel.

To become the part of the global

chain in higher education, we need to

accept the the challenge of the competition

with spiritual training of teachers

based on sermons from Gita and Anu-

Gita for enlightened citizenship and

deepening democratic roots told

Professor Goel. To implement National

Education Policy smoothly, we need the

revival of the National Population

Commission for the control of population,

said Professor Goel.

charges. We demand the immediate release of all

persons imprisoned for political reasons.”

Dr Raj Chand,

Vice-Chair, Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance,

said:

“An orchestrated crime by the Modi-led BJP

Government. To continue to call India a democracy

is laughable on the world stage!”

Mr Bhagwant Singh,

United Front UK, said:

“It has become clear, that anybody who opposes

caste violence in India, or who stands up for the

protection of their land and natural resources in

India, is accused of being anti-Indian, and for having

links with Maoist rebels.”

Mr Sat Paul,

Secretary, British Ravidassia Heritage

Foundation, said:

"It is totally unacceptable that innocent people

are suffering inhumane conditions in Indian prisons

for indefinite periods of time without any

prospect of a fair trial."

Mr Avtar Atwal,

President, Asian Rationalist Society Britain

(ARSB), said:

“The death of Fr Stan Swamy, caused by complete

abrogation of responsibilities to protect fundamental

human rights by both state and central

government, has outraged all those who believe in

and concerned about fundamental human rights.

The way Fr Swamy was treated by jail authorities,

despite his frailty and illness, shows the contempt

and intolerance the government has for those who

tend to differ with it. Fundamental human rights of

all Indian citizens, bestowed by the Indian

Constitution international conventions and treaties,

must be respected and preserved, irrespective of

their political, religious views or socio-economic

backgrounds.”

We demand the following:

1. All those arrested in relation to the Bhima

Koregaon case are released immediately.

Dr Anand Temtumbde Rona Wilson

Varavara Rao Sudha Bharadwaj

Arun Ferreira Gautam Navlakha

Vernon Gonsalves Sudhir Dhawale

Mahesh Raut Shoma Sen

Surendra Gadling Hany Babu

Sagar Gorkhe Ramesh Ghaichor

Joyti Jagtap

2. That there is an independent investigation. Led

by the United Nations, into the abuse of human

right of these Indian academics who were

arrested for free speech.

3. The Prison authorities who denied Father Stan

Swamy basic amenities relating to his

Parkinson’s disease should be immediately

removed and investigated.

4. Activities of multi-national corporations

exploiting natural resources in tribal lands are

exposed and investigated by the United

Nations.

5. Indian police force, judiciary, and the

Government are held to account for the death

of Father Stan Swamy.

6. Those wrongly arrested in the Bhima Koregaon

case must be properly compensated. The

actions of the arresting and detention authorities

must be subjected to judicial review.

7. Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes

(STs), collectively referred to as Dalits, are one

of the largest minorities in India. They are:

· regular victims of oppression and bonded

labour, many suffer from social and economic

deprivation

· their houses are burnt to the ground,

· their women are abused, raped and paraded

naked, and men and women are murdered routinely

on daily basis.

8. We condemn the false cases lodged against

human rights activists and their frequent incarceration.

We believe our problems can be best

solved in a secular democratic united country,

India.

9. A national and international alliance of all

organisations opposing these activities will be

convened.

To implement national education policy for needoeducation, we have to adapt well-defined

Public–Private–Partnership (PPP) model : VC Starex University M.M. Goel


24 16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Personally greatful to Virbhadra

for warm friendship: Dalai Lama

Dharamsala : Tibetan spiritual

leader, the Dalai Lama on Thursday

condoled the demise of Congress veteran

and six-time Himachal Pradesh chief

LUCKNOW: BSP chief

Mayawati has asked the UP

Government to take action

against police personnel who

allegedly harassed a dalit family

minister Virbhadra Singh, saying he was

personally grateful for the warm friendship

he showed to him. In a letter to his

widow, Pratibha Singh, the Dalai Lama

BSP chief Mayawati

calls for action against

harassment of dalits

New Delhi : For the first time,

Japan has removed Taiwan from a

map of China in its Defence of Japan

white paper published this week. The

2021 white paper by Japan's Defence

Ministry focuses considerably on the

threats posed by China to the region

due to the latter's increasing assertion

in the waters around the South China

Sea and the Pacific region.

The white paper in its earlier editions

had always shown Taiwan and

China together, alluding to Taiwan as

a territory of China. Taiwan was also

shown along with China in the same

chapter and map, to the annoyance of

the Taiwanese people living in Japan.

However, this time, Taiwan News

in Amazgarh district’s Palia

Village on June 29. She has also

dispatched a delegation led by

former MLA Gaya Charan

Dinkar to the village to speak to

website points out that "there seems to

be a distinction between the two countries,

indicating a change in policy by

Japan Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi".

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign

Affairs has welcomed the changes to

the white paper. It also thanked Japan

for highlighting the importance of

"stabilizing the situation surrounding

Taiwan" and paying "close attention to

the situation with a sense of crisis

more than ever before."

The newspaper says: "Instead,

Taiwan has been included in Part I,

Chapter 2, Section 3 of "Relations

between the United States and China,

etc." Another major change that

Taiwan News has noticed is that the

wrote: "Dedicating himself to the service

of others, Virbhadra Singh led a long

and meaningful life. I admired the way

he listened to people's needs with deep

affection and compassion.

"I am personally grateful for the

warm friendship he showed me over the

many years we knew each other.

"Historically there have long been

close ties between the people of the erstwhile

princely state of Bushahr, to

which 'Raja Sahib' belonged, and their

neighbours in western Tibet.

"Here in Himachal Pradesh, Shri

Virbhadra Singh, our longest serving

Chief Minister, will be sorely missed."

His Holiness concluded his letter,

"With my prayers." Virbhadra Singh

passed away early Thursday at the

Indira Gandhi Medical College and

Hospital (IGMCH) in Shimla after a

two-month long battle with post-Covid

complications. He was 87. IGMCH

the affected family.

“Instead of giving justice to a

dalit family, the Azamgarh

police harassed them and also

caused them financial loss. The

government should take cognisance

of this matter and initiate

strict action against the accused.

It should also provide financial

compensation to the dalit family,”

she said. Police said there

was a dispute between a doctor

and residents of the village on

June 29. Two cops tried to

resolve the matter, but they were

reportedly attacked by village

pradhan and his aides. “Villagers

informed us that on June 29,

cops attacked dalit settlement

and damaged their houses,” said

a BSP member.Courtesy : TNN

Indian seaman makes $1mn

in Dubai sitting at home

Dubai : An Indian citizen,

who purchased his ticket online

from Thane, won the $1 million

first prize in the latest Dubai

Duty Free Millennium

Millionaire draw.

On Wednesday, ticket number

0207, which was the chosen one

in the 363rd Millennium

Millionaire draw, belonged to a

36-year-old seaman, Ganesh

Shinde. Just last week, an Indian

taxi driver crowd-funded three

Abu Dhabi's Big Ticket with

nine other Pakistani, Bangladesh

and Sri Lankan friends, and won

the big prize of 20 million

dirhams.

Most winners of the Dubai

and Abu Dhabi draws are either

UAE residents, or people visiting

the Emirates as tourists or

transiting through to some other

country. And Indians have been

pretty lucky, having won the raffle

181 times out of 363 times it

introduction to Taiwan's military situation

has been incorporated in this section

as opposed to "Deployment and

Strength of People's Liberation Army"

in Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 2.

The rising tensions in the region --

due to China's belligerence over

Taiwan, the control of resources in the

South China Sea, asserting ownership

Senior Medical Superintendent Janak

Raj said that Virbhadra Singh died at

3.40 a.m. Virbhadra Singh tested positive

for Covid-19 twice in two months -

has been held since 1999.

But Shinde's case was rare as

he purchased his ticket online

from his home country.

Shinde, who is employed

with a marine firm in Brazil, said

he has been through the Dubai

International Airport several

times. He told Gulf News: "It is

unbelievable. I am still in shock.

I love Dubai and I hope to visit

soon. "I want a new car, a new

apartment, I want to save money

for my child's education. So, the

rights over Japanese islands and sending

its ships into the Exclusive

Economic Zones of other countries --

is weighing heavily over the Japanese

leadership. In view of Chinese irritants

in the form of frequent flypasts and

maritime violations of countries in the

region, Japan has been urging the US

and other European nations to pay

more heed to the Indo-Pacific region.

The Japanese Defence and Foreign

Ministers have on separate occasions

said that in China's tensions with

Taiwan are a threat to regional peace

and may force Japan, along with the

US, to intervene militarily if China

attacks Taiwan. Responding to the

white paper, Chinese Foreign Ministry

- on April 12 and June 11. He had suffered

from heart attack on July 5 and

was in the critical care unit of the

IGMCH.

list is long. The prize money will

serve all these purposes."

Along with the Millennium

Millionaire draw, draw was also

conducted for two luxury vehicles

- a Range Rover Sport HSE

Dynamic 5.0 car, and a BMW R

nineT Scrambler motorbike.

An Australia expat, Justin

French, won the Range Rover,

while 30-year-old Nepali expat

Rohit Mote, 30, who works at a

supermarket and lives in Abu

Dhabi, won the motorcycle.

Japan ends one-China policy, new map no longer shows Taiwan as part of China

spokesman Zhao Lijian said that Japan

has "grossly interfered in China's

internal affairs, groundlessly blamed

China's normal defence construction

and military activity, pointed fingers at

China's maritime activity, and hyped

up the so-called China threat, which is

wrong and irresponsible."

As recently as last week, a Beijingbased

magazine had published in

detail how China will launch an attack

on Taiwan. This article came out

around the same time as Chinese

President for Life Xi Jinping's speech

commemorating the Communist Party

of China's centenary celebrations --

raising suspicions about Chinese

intentions in the region.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021

25

REFLECTIONS ON THE DEMISE

OF FR. STAN SWAMY

By Rev Valson Thampu, Former

Principal of St. Stephen s College

I don t know if Fr. Stan Swamy s

soul will rest in peace. Given his sincerity

to the cause of Dalit and adivasi

rights, it is unlikely that it would, so

long as the present situation continue.

One thing, however, is certain. The

present dispensation can now rest in

peace. An octogenarian, enfeebled by

Parkinson s disease, unable even to

hold a spoon with steady hands, will not

destabilize the mighty Indian State anymore.

Mera Bharat Mahan!

Why don t I mourn Fr. Stan s death,

though it is untimely ? His death is

untimely because senseless imprisonment

expedited it. If so, the plain truth

is that he is killed. But, if you ask me,

Who killed Fr. Stan? I will have to

refer to Count Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy says

that the State is able to perpetrate atrocities

through a division of labour. Now

if a judge, for example, had to not only

condemn but also to take Fr. Stan personally

to a prison and shut him up

there, he would not be able to do it. If

the NIA lawyers were to do it, their

conscience too would revolt against it.

Even the policemen involved, if they

were to, on their own responsibility,

throw Fr. Stan into the jail, they would

have trembled at the abhorrence of it.

But break this atrocity into many pieces

and make different agencies carry out

the fragments by way of discharging

their duties , it can then be done with

sincerity and national fervour. I too am

part of this callous system. So, how can

I mourn the death of this saintly man,

having kept quiet about it for nearly a

year?

Secondly, I feel happy for him

because Fr. Stan is now in a better state

than he was, while alive in circumstances

such were inflicted on him for

reasons he could not understand. There

is a school of thought that it is easier for

an innocent man to suffer. They think

so because they have never suffered,

innocently or otherwise. The anguish in

guilt-less suffering is that one s suffering

makes no sense. It is absurd. What

is absurd is unendurable. If you are

punished for your wrongdoings, then

you can reconcile yourself to your

plight.

Think, if you dare, of the plight of an

old and chronically ill man in a prison.

Prison-life conditions, including the

psychological poison that goes with it,

being what they are, even individuals

much younger than Fr. Stan and in better

states of health disintegrate fast. Fr.

Stan himself said that it is better to die

than to be in prison the way he was. So,

why shouldn t we celebrate his release

from misery through the mercy of

death, for neither mercy nor justice was

likely to reach him in any other way?

Oh, no! It is not Fr Stan that we need

to mourn. It is ourselves. Given the

miasma of fear that is enveloping the

country of which the plight of Fr. Stan

is a clear warning- the difference

between being inside the jail and being

Mamata to meet Sonia Gandhi,

other leaders in Delhi

Kolkata : Amid talks of the opposition

joining hands to counter Prime Minister

Narendra Modi in the 2024 Lok Sabha

polls, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata

Banerjee plans to go to Delhi later this

month to meet the opposition leaders.

Though Banerjee termed it as a normal

visit, her proposed visit to Delhi for the first

time after her landslide victory in the

Assembly polls has triggered speculation

over her playing a bigger role in the opposition

front in the next general elections.

Answering a question at the state secretariat

Nabanna, Banerjee said, "I didn’t go

to Delhi after the elections. The Parliament

session will start soon. The Covid-19 situation

is also better. So I will go to Delhi during

the Monsoon Session and meet some

leaders there."

The Monsoon Session of the Parliament

will commence on July 19 and will continue

till August 13.

When asked whether she will meet

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, the Chief

Minister said, "I shall meet her (Sonia

Gandhi). I will also meet some other leaders.

I also want to meet Prime Minister

Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath

Kovind, if I get appointment."

Sources in the CMO said that the Chief

Minister is likely to go to Delhi on July 25

and her visit might extend for even four

days. Sources close to Banerjee also said

that apart from Sonia Gandhi, she might

meet several opposition leaders like

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad

Pawar, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh

Yadav, and Aam Aadmi Party chief and

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal,

among others.

The Chief Minister’s announcement is

even more important because political

strategist Prashant Kishor met Sonia

Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday,

besides conducting meetings with Sharad

Pawar.

"It is not the right time yet to predict

anything, but she (Banerjee) will surely

judge the situation in the national capital.

Her visit to Delhi certainly has a political

significance," a senior Trinamool Congress

leader said.

Talks of an anti-BJP front got revived

after leaders of various political parties and

prominent individuals congregated at NCP

chief Sharad Pawar’s New Delhi residence

last month.

outside of it is becoming merely notional.

A story from Hitler s Germany is relevant

here. Pastor Martin Niemoller

was visited in jail by some of his sympathisers

who wondered why he had to

be in jail. He quipped, Why are you

not in jail? That is to say, at what cost

are you keeping yourself out of it?

What intrigues me most is not the

efficiency and zealous patriotism of

NIA that rids India of extreme threats

like Fr. Stan, but the crass indifference

of the Catholic Church. No one is in the

dark about the communication lines

between the church hierarchy and the

Modi dispensation. We are also aware

of the extent to which the church goes,

covertly, if not overtly, to save worthies

like Franko of the nun-rape fame. We

have seen, over three decades, bow the

accused in the Abhya nun murder case

were sheltered from the arm

of the law. The humongous

financial investment made for

their sake is also not

unknown.

The one thing we do not

know is if anything comparable

has ever been attempted

by the same Church arms or

agencies for the sake of Fr.

Stan. He was abandoned, it

seems, like an illicit baby by

its unwed mother.

A couple of issues stare at

us from the Fr. Stan tragedy,

which is the tragedy of

humanity as a whole. First, Fr.

Stan has died condemned, without the

due process of law. Under the UAPA,

the accused is guilty until proven innocent.

Fr. Stan was not proved innocent.

He was the accused at the time of

his death. The accused is, under the

UAPA, guilty. So, I suggest that his

case be tried on an urgent basis and the

truth or otherwise of the allegations

against him established. This is a matter

of larger significance. It is likely that

many more will suffer Fr. Stan s plight,

given the increasing number of people

booked under the UAPA and the inordinate

in trying them as well as the protracted

nature of their trials.

There is, besides, a humanitarian

issue involved here. The State tends to

mistake the cry of the poor for justice as

a war-cry against peace and stability.

Since Fr. Stan was booked under the

Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, we

cannot but ask: Is it unlawful to

empathise with those who struggle for

their rights: both human and constitutional?

The Pathalgadi movement, with

which Fr. Stan was in solidarity, is a

tribal movement to realize the tribal

rights enshrined in the Constitution of

India. From Fr. Stan s point of view, it

is a spiritual and humanitarian duty to

stand with those who struggle and suffer

for justice. In itself it is a humane

and laudable thing. But, under the law,

it has become subversive and antinational.

It has become, that is to say,

dangerous to do good, if the good you

do seems to go against the interests of

the ruling elite. But, the right and duty

of human beings to express their conscience

through humanitarian activities

is not subject to the charity of a State; it

is a God-given duty. It is reprehensible

for the State to trespass into this domain

of practical spirituality.

Let s not forget that Fr. Stan is the

victim not only of callous State action

but also of the even more reprehensible

indifference of the people at large.

Today what is done to fellow human

beings doesn t matter to us, so long as it

has either the tang of ideology or the

veneer of legality. So long as our own

skin remains intact, we sail along without

any pang of conscience. Let me, yet

again, borrow the words of Pastor

Niermoller: today it is Fr. Stan.

Tomorrow it will be your neighbour.

The day after . . . ?


26 16-07-2021 to 31-07-2021 WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

UP: Dalit groom threatened for riding horse

at his ‘baraat’ gets police protection

The Sardhana police in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, granted protection to a

Dalit man who wanted to ride a horse at his wedding procession.

DR. L. MURUGAN IS A MINISTER IN THE UNION OF INDIA

BUT NOT A MINISTER IN THE EYES OF THE CONSTITUTION!

HE IS, THEREFORE, AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL MINISTER!

(Asian Independent)- In the

Cabinet reshuffle made on July 7,

2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi

made Dr. L. Murugan a Minister of

State in the expanded cabinet. While

everyone’s oath-taking went off

smoothly, Dr. L. Murugan’s stirred a

controversy as he has said during the

oath that he hails from Kongu Nadu of

Tamil Nadu! There is no ‘Kongu

Nadu’ in today’s official Indian map or

in the Indian Postal directory or the

very Constitution itself! Yet, he has

had audacity to say so in his oath-taking.

It was not a slip of tongue nor did

he utter the same on his own but for

the inducement or approval of the top

level in the BJP, say, Mr. Modi/ Mr.

Amit Shah/ Mr. J. P. Nadda because

the latters are known to kick-start

some unwarranted controversy and

sarcastically enjoy over it! It is the fascist

style! Mr. L. Murugan is well

known for servility and subservience

as one started his political life from

Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad

(ABVP), the student wing of the RSS

and that was why he has been chosen

for all these dirty games! Surprisingly,

he is a Master of Laws and Doctorate

in Law!! (M.A., LL.M., Ph.D.!) Yet,

he could use the word which is anathema

to the Constitution! Well, to recall

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s definition,

a doubt arises whether he is merely an

educationally qualified one or an intellectual

too.

His ignorance or poor knowledge in

Constitution is exposed in the

WhatsApp social media when he was

talking about the terminology “Union”

and he could not even refer to the

Article 1 (1) of the Constitution which

defines India! (“India, that is Bharat,

shall be a Union of States”) and countered

the usage of the word ‘Union of

India’ by the Tamil Nadu Chief

Minister Mr. M. K. Stalin and his

Ministers as if they are using the divisive

and sessionist word! It is nothing

but an utter ignorance of the

Constitution! It is not known whether

the Law Universities prescribe the

mandatory qualification of one getting

mastered in the Constitution prior to

conferring the Doctorate and if not it

should be done as a pre-requisite and

mandatory throughout India. The PM

and the BJP top leadership wanted a

‘yes man’ to toe the lines of the party

which would escape when the blamegame

arises! Now everyone started

criticizing Mr. L. Murugan and not

any top face hiding behind this game.

This is the game-plan of RSS-BJP.

Coming to the usage of the non-existent

‘Kongu Nadu’ from which

Mr.L.Murugan, during his oath-taking

Meerut: A man

from the Dalit community

was allegedly

warned against riding

a horse for his ‘baraat’

in Meerut’s Sardhana.

Reportedly, the Dalit

groom was told that he

would be murdered if

he performed the

‘ghudchadi’ ceremony

at his wedding.

The man and his

family’s wishes, however,

were fulfilled

after the local police

granted him protection

during the baraat.

Reportedly, uppercaste

men living in the

same area issued

threats to the man,

warning him against

riding a horse.

Accused threatened to ‘kill’ groom

On Thursday, the groom’s father,

Mangeram, went to the Sardhana police

station in Maanpuri. Mangeram claimed

that upper caste men had threatened to

“kill his son, Sooraj, if he dared to ride a

horse”.

The family, that wanted the ‘ghudchadi’

ceremony to be held at Sooraj’s wedding,

sought police protection. After the

complaint was lodged, a police team headed

by station house officer (SHO) Brijesh

Kumar visited the accused’s house, The

Times of India reported.

Accused alleged they had not threatened

groom

Kumar said, “The family told us that

they had not objected to the groom riding

a horse, but had asked them to switch off

the music while passing their house as

they were in mourning after a family

member passed away recently. “

While the accused claimed that the allegations

were false, the Dalit man’s family

had another story to tell. Sooraj’s brother

Ankit claimed that caste-based discrimination

and violence had been reported in the

area in the past as well.

Ankit said that the Thakur family had

assaulted them in the past when they were

building their house and keeping the construction

material on the road. Ankit

added, “The upper castes have objected to

our festivities many times. “

Courtesy : Mirror Now News

A. JAISON, M.A., B.L.

claims to hail, it has to be categorically

stated that he is not a Minister in the

Cabinet of Mr.Modi as his oath-taking

was in violation of the Constitution. It

can be challenged before any High

Court or Supreme Court that he is not a

Minister and yet he functions as a

Minister and his Ministership can be

declared by the Court as unconstitutional

and thus a situation can warrant for

his oath-taking again to fit into the

Constitutional scheme. It is not just his

Stalin urges Centre to act

over protecting Indian

community in SA

Chennai : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has urged

the Central government to take measures to safeguard the Indian

community in South Africa where violent protests have erupted

since the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma last week.

In a letter to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Stalin

referred to the reports of riots in South Africa affecting the Indian

community and a large section of Tamil population have suffered

economic losses.

"It is learnt that they (Indian community) are also apprehensive

of further escalation of tensions there," he said.

The Chief minister urged Jaishankar to take up the matter with

the South African government through diplomatic means to

impress upon the need for restoration of peace and harmony at

the earliest and also to take adequate measures to safeguard life

and property of the Indian community including people from

Tamil Nadu.

As many as 121 people, mostly of Indian origin, have died in

South Africa's worst post-apartheid era violence in the past week.

Indian origin people, who are the worst sufferers, were forced to

arm themselves in two provinces, especially in Durban city, home

to more than 70 per cent of the 1.4 million Indian origin population

in the country.

own audacity but the audacity of the top

leaders in BJP and Cabinet with scant

respect to the Constitution and their evil

political agenda of ‘dividing and ruling’.

When Mr. Barack Obama took oath

as the President of the USA on January

20, 2009, there was one word out of

sequence which was contrary to the

US Constitution. As per the US

Constitutional scheme, he should have

taken oath as “I will faithfully execute

the office of President of the United

States” whereas he had mistakenly

taken oath affirming, “I will execute

the office of President to the United

States faithfully.” Having realized this

constitutional mistake Mr. Barack

Obama took oath again on the next

day, Wednesday duly administered by

the U S Chief Justice John Roberts.

This is a part of the history. Can this

tacit admission of mistake and corrective

action resorted to by Mr. Barack

Obama himself be expected from Mr.

L. Murugan or Mr. Modi will venture

to correct this? Never. Because it is the

BJP’s hidden agenda to create confusion

and chaos in Tamil Nadu as has

been everywhere because their dream

of riding on the AIADMK-horse did

not fructify in the Tamil Nadu

Assembly elections in 2021.

Admitting mistakes and correcting

them has never been in the DNA of

BJP or Sangh parivar. No High Court

or the Supreme Court will initiate suo

motu action in this regard. But if any

citizen of India files a writ petition

before any High Court or the Supreme

Court of India, citing the deliberate

mistake systematically committed

against the Constitution, then Mr. L.

Murugan has to face the music and he

will be left with no option other than

running to the President of India for

oath-taking afresh to stick on to the

ministerial berth and enjoy the position

as he longs for it. The Scheduled

Caste people including Government

and PSU employees have seen what

kind of service he has done to the

Scheduled Castes when he was the

Vice Chairman of the National

Commission for Scheduled Castes

leaving the SCs, and even the

Arundhatiyar community which he

himself belongs to, in a miserable condition

when he had the authority to

rescue the victims but reported to have

joined hands with the oppressive caste

Hindus in many cases, if not all.

A. JAISON, M.A., B.L.,

General Secretary,

Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb

Ambedkar Rationalist

Youth Movement (ARMY),

Chennai-600 010

Tamil Nadu, INDIA.

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