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Vol : 05 : #78 01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021

Gauri Lankesh murder case:

Charges framed against 17 accused

Bengaluru : In a major development,

the Special Court investigating

the sensational murder case of writer,

activist Gauri Lankesh has framed

charges against 17 accused persons.

This comes in the backdrop of

Supreme Court's nod to frame charges

against one of the accused Mohan

Nayak N. under the provisions of

Karnataka Control of Organised

Crimes Act (KCOCA) 2000.

Anil Bheemanna Katti, the special

judge read out charges to the accused

person through video conference on

Saturday.

The accused were presented through

video conference from the Parappana

Agrahara Central Prison in Bengaluru,

Mumbai Arthur Road Jail and

Yerawada Prison in Pune. The charges

were read out to the accused in

Kannada and Marathi.

The court adjourned the matter to

December 8 for fixing the date of trail.

The accused sought the permission of

the court to meet their advocates in prison

and pleaded not guilty of murder charges

of Gauri Lankesh. The court asked them to

submit applications in this regard.

The court has also directed the jail

authorities in the Central Prison, Parappana

Agrahara not to shift accused persons without

the consent of the court.

Gauri Lankesh was shot dead by bike

borne assailants on September 5, 2017.

Gauri was known for her attacks on right

wing Hindu associations, including the

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Her comments on Hindu Gods have also

not gone down well with the Hindu

organisations. She was also actively

involved in bringing Maoists to the

mainstream.

The murder of Gauri Lankesh took

place after killing of Profesor M.M.

Kalburgi on August 30, 2015. Kalburgi

was also known for his attacks on the

blind beliefs in Hindu religion. He was

also a critic of right wing Hindu organisations.

The police have arrested Amol

Kale, Amith Baddi, Parashuram

Waghmore, Ganesh Miskin, Amit

Degwekar, Bharath Kurane, Rajesh D.

Bangera, Sudhanva Gondalekar, Mohan

Nayak N., Suresh H.L., Sharad B.

Kalaskar, Vasudev B. Suryavanshi,

Sujithkumar, Manohar Yadave, Srikanth

J. Pagarkar, K.T. Naveen Kumar and

Rushikesh Devadekar in connection with

Gauri Murder case.

Lalu slams Centre for

failing to control inflation

Patna :

Rashtriya Janata Dal

chief Lalu Prasad on

Monday attacked the

Centre for failing to

check the spiralling

prices of essential

commodities.

Lalu Prasad

shared a photo of

two bottles of mustard

oil with MRP of

Rs 235 and Rs 265

on Twitter, and

asked in a veiled

attack at the Union

government: "Are

you happy with it".

"Price of mustard

oil is skyrocketing,

how will common

people manage to

cook vegetables," he

asked.

He warned that the impact of

the "black farm laws" will be

seen in the next two to four

years.

"The prices of fuel, LPG

cylinders have broken all

records. The transportation cost

has increased now and it is

affecting the prices of commodities

too. Poor and middle

class families are paying a high

price for choosing a government

having Britishers' ideology,"

Lalu Prasad said.

Stalin visits Keeladi

excavation site

Chennai. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Friday visited

the Keelavadi excavation

site, near Madurai, and

interacted with officials

including of the

Archaeological Survey of

India (ASI). The state government

is building a museum

at Keeladi at a cost of

Rs 12.21 crore in a two-acre

campus to display the artefacts

unearthed from the

excavation. Brick structures, terracotta ring wells, fallen roofing

with tiles, golden ornaments, terracotta chess pieces, ear ornaments,

figurines, black and redware, and even beads made of glass,

terracotta, and semi-precious stones were found at the site.

Excavations were undertaken at Keeladi after beta analysis in

the US of articles found at the site showed that they date from the

period between the 6th century BCE and 1st century CE.

ASI officials made a PowerPoint presentation to the Chief

Minister on the volume of excavations done so far.

Stalin was accompanied by ministers K. R.Periakaruppan,

Thangam Thenarasu, K.K.S.S.R Ramachandran, Raja Kannappan,

and P. Moorthy.

The Chief Minister later paid homage to the CPI-M leader N.

Nanmaran at the CPI-M office in Madurai city. The two-time former

MLA had passed away at the Government Rajaji hospital on

Thursday.

Stalin had earlier in the day arrived in Madurai in a scheduled

airline and was accorded a rousing welcome at the airport. Several

ministers including state Finance Minister P.T.R. Thiaga Rajan

were present at the airport to welcome him.

Achhe din gone for a toss: Mamata’s

latest jibe at BJP over fuel prices

New Delhi : TheTMC

supremo said BJP leaders

come to the state in “hundreds”

ahead of elections

and spend thousands of

crores but forget to

address the people’s economic

woes when they

reject the party.

In a latest jibe at the

Bharatiya Janata Party

(BJP), West Bengal chief

minister and Trinamool

Congress (TMC) supremo

Mamata Banerjee on

Monday said promises of

“achhe din” and “sachhe

din” by Prime Minister

Narendra Modi government

were nothing but a load of hot air.

“Forget the promise of achhe din, forget

about sachhe din, they have all gone for a

toss,” she was quoted as saying by news

agency.

Hitting out at the saffron party-led ruling

dispensation at the Centre, Banerjee

said it is “plotting to sell stakes of SAIL

(Steel Authority of India)” amid the continuous

surge in petrol and diesel prices

across the country. “Several PSUs (public

sector undertakings), which are our national

assets, are up for sale. Can they run a

country this way?” she said at an inaugural

event of a Kali Puja pandal in Kolkata.

The chief minister further said the BJP

is not bothered about replying to the letters

sent on such issues, and is only “concerned

about winning elections”.

“During elections, they come to the state

in hundreds, spend thousands of crores.

When the people of Bengal reject them,

they forget to address their economic

issues,” Banerjee added.

The TMC supremo said fuel rates have a

“direct bearing” on the

prices of essential items,

adding that the people of

Bengal are not interested

in the BJP’s “divisive

agenda” but knowing

when the surge in oil

prices would be rolled

back.

Later, Leader of opposition

in the Assembly

Suvendu Adhikari said

Banerjee should first

“withdraw the taxes her

government has imposed

on oil” and only then she

has the “right to speak

anything” against the central

government.

Fuel prices witnessed a hike for the

sixth consecutive day, following a two-day

pause, on Monday. This has led to petrol

prices in Kolkata surpass the ?110 per litre

mark.

At present, petrol costs ?110.15 per litre

in Kolkata, while an equal amount of diesel

costs ?101.56.

Fuel prices in Kolkata is one of the highest

among the metros, even more than

Delhi where a litre of petrol costs ?109.69

and diesel ?98.42 per litre.


2

01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

India Sweden Innovation Day 2021: Concrete

roadmap to create circular ECONOMY

New Delhi : The 8th annual

India Sweden Innovation Day

2021 concluded successfully.

The one day virtual event was

organised in association with

the Embassy of India to

Sweden and Latvia, Sweden-

India Business Council (SIBC),

and Confederation of Indian

Industry (CII). The seminar

was a massive success as it was

attended by over 1,300 participants

from across the world.

The main highlight of the

event was the implementation

of the partnership of Vinnova,

Sweden's Innovation Agency,

the Indian Department of

Science and Technology as

well as The Department of

Biotechnology. The stakeholders

of both the nations agreed to

invite the call for proposals that

covers the important areas

within circular economy, such

as health, social issues, and

societal challenges which are

crucial areas to create a circular

economy. The seminar also

made a new call for action

where central actors were gathered

for Indo-Swedish cooperation.

This joint call targeted

Swedish and Indian actors to

carry out joint research and

innovation projects. By joining

hands, the actors came in to

support full value-chain

research and innovation projects.

The keynote speakers during

the inauguration included

Tanmaya Lal, India's

Ambassador to Sweden, Ms.

Darja Isaksson, Director

General of Vinnova, Dr

Jitendra Singh, Indian Minister

for Science and Technology,

Ibrahim Baylan, Swedish

Minister for Enterprise and

Innovation, and Klas Molin,

Sweden's Ambassador to India.

Other eminent speakers at the

Team AI :

Devinder Chander

Editor-in-chief

Columnists

V.B. Rawat

Farzana Suri

Arun Kumar

Rahul Kumar

Head Office

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The Asian Independent is an

Intellectual Property of

Samaj Media Enterprise Ltd

event mentioned the upcoming

Indo-Swedish call for proposals

within Circular Economy- a

funding opportunity supporting

the transformation of a sustainable

future.

The participating agencies

on the Swedish side were

Formas (the Swedish research

council for sustainable development),

Forte (the Swedish

Research Council for Health,

Working Life and Welfare), the

Swedish Research Council, the

Swedish Energy Agency and

Vinnova (Sweden's Innovation

Agency). On the Indian side,

the participating Departments

were Department of Science

and Technology and

Department of Biotechnology.

Pressing on the importance

on circular economy Ms Darja

Isaksson, Director General of

Vinnova said -- "Our upcoming

Indo-Swedish call which is

planned to open early next year,

will focus on circular economy.

Circular economy is essential

to a sustainable society. Reuse,

recycling, and remanufacturing

is needed for long-term use of

materials and other resources.

This reduces waste and limits

excess extraction of natural

resources. Transformation to

circular economy is a global

challenge because value chains

are global. A shift from linear

to circular economy also means

a shift from value chains to

value cycles. A complex

process for society, which

requires changes in almost all

sectors. Applications contributing

to sustainable development

and projects where the efforts

of the partners complement

each other in achieving a common

goal will be favoured in

the evaluation process."

The nations also agreed to

fund the joint innovation projects

within AI, Health, Clean

Tech, Smart Cities and Safe

Mobility. Several sustainable

future projects to receive funding

in coming weeks.

Commenting on strengthening

the ties between the two

nations, Tanmaya Lal,

Ambassador of India to

Sweden and Latvia said,

"Accelerating an inclusive

green transition is the key to

our collective sustainable

future. Collaborations for innovative

solutions for clean technologies,

smart grids and circular

economy are at the heart of

India Sweden partnership."

The one-day virtual event

also recognised the significance

of the various aspects of

climate change and both

nations laid concrete steps to

accelerate the process of green

transition by implementing the

usage of advanced digital technology

and Artificial

Intelligence. Furthermore, both

nations spoke at great length

and came up with climatefriendly

solutions by using the

power of technology. The summit

also focussed on enabling

strong economic growth and

combating the after effects of

the pandemic.

Martin Lundstedt, CEO

Volvo Group, said, "We need to

find a sustainable roadmap

which is environmentally,

socially, ethically and financially

viable. Not to undermine

its applicability aspect concerning

different parts of the world.

Besides, transport, logistics,

and infrastructure, also play a

crucial role in the successful

implementation of the plan. We

know that there lies a close

connection between these elements

of a developing society

with its GDP, per capita and

economic growth. However,

our aim is to bring forth sustainable

solutions to development

challenges, including

increased transport and infrastructural

logistics. But the

good news is the common

agenda and focus which India

and Sweden share as both

nations are working to drive

sustainable innovations.

"Volvo is a proud partner

among others to accelerate the

green transition, bringing

clean-energy technology solutions

to the world. The time is

right as we have the required

resources, opportunities and

innovation power. Volvo is putting

all these together along

with the biggest sight of R&D,

IT and quality and full value

supply chain. So in this area,

we are already doing a lot

together with India and looking

forward to more."

Commenting on making climate

ambition a reality Amit

Chadha, MD, L&T Technology

Services said, "We like level

playing field between citizens,

government and corporations

from corp 26. To make climate

ambition a reality what we need

is concrete government policies

to create common guidelines,

citizens being more responsible

towards environment.

"As far as the industry goes,

we are working tirelessly to

make UN Sustainable

Development Goals a reality.

We can start off with good

health and well- being to clean

water and sanitization to

affordable clean energy to

industry innovation infrastructure

to provide sustainable

cities, responsible consumption

and climate action.

"At LTTS, we have invested

in battery charging infrastructure

and technology labs in

India and in Illinois for onboard

and offboard charging capabilities

for people to do proof of

concepts. We have launched a

hybrid vehicle of our own by

bringing all battery and cooling

technology together. We have

also built sensor labs providing

alternatives for lower energy

consumption. We have

launched energy management

tools for plants as well as commercial

buildings and are

working towards models for

sustainable cities."

The CII President, TV

Narendran, said, "The climate

financial journey will be

expensive. The government,

the industry and the customers

will have to pay for it to ensure

the transition takes place well.

The heart of Indo-Swedish

partnership lies in innovation

and technology and the good

news is that there are steps

taken towards innovation. We

are now focusing on the

ecosystem that can provide

funding for it. There is a lot of

capital out there in the world in

the form of start-ups in

Sweden.

"India is now home to the

third largest number of

Unicorns in the world after

China and the US, our task now

is to leverage that innovation to

solve these problems to scale

up the finances. There are certain

areas that we need to work

in terms of storage solutions for

renewable energy. We need

smooth storage transition from

coal base grid to renewable

base grid and therefore we need

a lot of money to ensure a sustainable

storage system. We

also need to build on hydrogen

green infrastructure and scale it

up as well. Fortunately, we

have good ideas from start-ups

in pipeline and hope it makes

the transition as smooth as possible."

Ludwig Lindstorm,

Sweden Business Developer,

Swedish Energy Agency, said,

"The main task which lies

ahead of us includes policy

development and implementation,

advisory services, statistics,

financial support, and

research. We support a lot of

startup companies. Through

clean climate innovations, we

have been able to bring down

the Swedish greenhouse gas

emissions significantly.

"Today, Sweden accounts for

one-tenth of greenhouse emissions.

This has boosted our

confidence, and now we plan to

introduce a similar action plan

in markets like India. India-

Sweden is mainly focused on

introducing such sustainable

strategies in India through business

collaborations and

exchange between government

agencies."

Robin Sukhia, Sweden-India

Business Council's President

and Secretary General added,

"This 8th edition of India

Sweden Innovation Day was

truly a remarkable event where

both nations came together to

accelerate the green transition.

It both strengthens and builds

trust between the two countries.

The India Sweden Business

Leaders' Roundtable

(ISBLRT) is an overarching

joint top leadership group supporting

innovations and collaborations

between India and

Sweden. This year the summit

provided an opportunity to

discuss the international situation

and response to the

Covid-19 pandemic as well as

regional and global issues of

mutual importance including

climate action, sustainable

development, gender equality

and economic growth.

Nokia T20 tablet launched in India starting at Rs 15,499

New Delhi : HMD Global, the home of Nokia

phones on Monday launched its new tablet 'Nokia T20'

in the Indian market at a starting price of Rs 15,499.

The device comes with a 2K display, Unisoc T610

Octa-Core processor, 8MP rear camera, 8200mAh battery

and more.

"At HMD, we keep a close track of the evolving

requirements of consumers from a technology standpoint.

We have witnessed that tablet usage has grown

immensely in the past one year," HMD Global VP

Sanmeet Singh Kochhar said in a statement.

The Nokia T20 tablet features a 10.4-inch 2K display

with 2000 x 1200 pixels resolution and a 5:3

aspect ratio. Further, the display has a pixel density of

226 PPI, 400 nits of brightness, and a 60Hz refresh

rate. The device packs a 12nm Unisoc Tiger T610

chipset coupled with 3GB/4GB RAM and

32GB/64GB storage.

In terms of optics, the tablet sports an

8MP camera sensor at the back with an

LED flash. There is also a 5MP selfie camera

sensor at the front.

The tablet also packs an 8,200 mAh battery

with 15W fast charging support via

USB Type-C. It runs Android 11 out of the

box and will get up to three years of software

support.

The connectivity features are 4G LTE

(optional), Wi-Fi 802.11 ac

(2.4GHz|5GHz), Bluetooth 5.0, GPS +

GLONASS, NFC, USB Type-C. It is IP52

rated for dust and splash resistance.

The Wi-Fi-only model measures 247.6 x

157.5 x 7.8mm and weighs 465 grams for

the Wi-Fi version and 470 grams for the 4G

LTE model.

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


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021

3

ASDA has more to offer you for DIWALI than ever!

As the time to start preparing for your

Diwali celebrations approaches, ASDA is

there for you with a range of Diwali ingredients,

treats and essential supplies that's

bigger and better than ever. Enjoy reuniting

with your family and friends this year

for an extra-special and memorable festive

period without any worries, thanks to

ASDA's selection of all your favourite

products and trusted brands all under the

same roof.

This year, it just got even easier to find

everything you need for the perfect Diwali

celebration, with 35 ASDA stores in key

areas featuring a Diwali product range in

the seasonal aisle for the first time, gathering

all your most trusted brands in one

easy-to-browse location in-store and making

it easier for you to get ready to celebrate.

You can also shop Asda's Diwali

range online HERE.

Asda's Diwali selection has everything

covered, whether you're looking for

snacks and treats, simple cooking from the

frozen range or a complex list of ingredients

to prepare your favourite meal. You

don't need to look any further as the

shelves are stocked with your favourite

brands at an affordable price that'll make

all your preparations a breeze.

This festive season, you can pick up a

10kg pack of Medium Elephant Atta for

only £6, or East End's finest Chakki Atta

for £5.50, as well as a 10kg bag of

Trophy's Basmati Rice for just £10.50,

allowing you to purchase your bulk ingredients

with ease. Cupboard essentials are

equally affordable, with a Rubicon 4 litre

pack selling for £4.50 and any 3 KTC tins

for just £1.

ASDA is excited to help you celebrate

the festival of lights and ensure everything

is as easy, convenient, and affordable as

possible in the run up to the festival so you

can focus on what's important - celebrating

with your family, friends and loved

ones. Visit your nearest ASDA to begin

stocking up on your favourite Diwali

snacks, treats and supplies, or head to

asda.com to browse your Diwali essentials

from anywhere.

Punjab power tariff

slashed by Rs 3 per unit

Attack on Buddhist monastery in

B'desh triggers protest in Tripura

Agartala . Members of five

tribal organisations of Tripura

held a protest on Monday in

front of Bangladesh Assistant

High Commission here condemning

the attack and torching

of the Katakhali Forest

Buddhist Monastery under

Teknaf in Cox's Bazar district

in the neighbouring country.

A joint statement of the five

tribal organisations on Monday

said that at least 8 indigenous

persons, including women,

belonging to the Chakma community

were injured during the

attack on October 24.

These organisations submitted

a memorandum to

Bangladesh Prime Minister

Sheikh Hasina through the

Assistant High Commissioner

Mohammad Jobayed Hosen.

The memorandum said that

the attack on the Katakhali

Forest Buddhist Monastery

took place following a series of

incidents of vandalism and

arson of Hindu temples, Durga

Puja pandals and attacks on

Hindu minorities from October

13, which shows that the government

of Bangladesh has not

taken any measure to ensure

protection of the religious

minorities in the country.

"This is because the government

of Bangladesh as on date

has failed to punish those who

destroyed 19 Buddhist temples

and about 100 houses at Ramu,

Cox's Bazar and Patiya of

Chittagong in 2012," the memorandum

said.

These organisations in their

statement said: "The

Bangladesh government has

the responsibility to protect the

life, property and right of the

religious minorities to practice

their religion."

The tribal organisations

demanded to bring the perpetrators

of the attack on the

Katakhali Forest Buddhist

Monastery and attack on at

least eight indigenous persons

belonging to the Chakma community

to justice and ensure

prosecution of those who

destroyed 19 Buddhist temples

and about 100 houses at Ramu,

Cox's Bazar and Patiya of

Chittagong in 2012 through

fast track courts.

The tribal organisations

which held the demonstration

on Monday include Chakma

National Council of India,

Chakma Buddhist Welfare

Society, Young Chakma

Association, Tripura Chakma

Students Association and

Tripura Rejjyo Chakma

Gabuchya Joda.

Chandigarh. In a bonanza to

the people of Punjab ahead of

Diwali, the Punjab Cabinet on

Monday decided to reduce the

power tariff to domestic sector

consumers having connected

load up to 7 KW by Rs 3 per

unit.

With this, 69 lakh domestic

consumers out of the total

71.75 lakh are going to get benefited,

an official statement

said.

The total annual financial

burden on the state exchequer

would be approximately Rs

3,316 crore due to this tariff

rationalisation.

Existing free power facility

up to 1 KW to the Scheduled

Caste, Other Backward Classes

and the below poverty line

(BPL) categories will continue.

The state government will

reduce the power procurement

cost and it will be passed on to

the consumers.

State-run PSPCL has issued

termination of notice to GVK

Thermal Plant at Goindwal

Sahib. This costly power will

be replaced with the low cost

power from solar and other

sources, said the statement.

The PSPCL has also issued

default notice to Talwandi Sabo

Thermal Plant for failure to

give proper supply during the

last paddy season. This penalty

amount works out to be in the

range of Rs 600-800 crore.

It has allotted two solar

companies to supply power to

the tune of 250 MW at the

record lowest rate of Rs 2.33

per unit. Similarly, PSPCL has

allotted 150 MW of solar plants

to be established within Punjab

at the rate of Rs 2.69 per unit.

These plants will be established

in next eight months.

The state government has

already waived off pending

defaulting amount of consumers

having connected load

of less than 2 KW. With this the

government is going to bear an

expenditure of Rs 1500 crore

and it will benefit 15 lakh consumers,

especially the poor.


4

01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Jignesh Mevani enters temple in Kutch with Dalits

Gandhinagar. As part of the

agitation against atrocities on

Dalit community in Gujarat,

the lone independent legislator

Jignesh Mevani, who recently

joined the Congress, entered a

temple at Varnu village on

Monday with other Dalit members

in Rapar taluka in Kutch as

a mark of protest.

On receiving a complaint

from the Dalit residents of the

Varnu village, the Rashtriya

Dalit Adhikar Manch of which

Jignesh Mevani is the national

convener, reached the temple

with his team. Mevani in his

presence ensured the entry of

people from the Dalit community

inside the temple.

"The temple has two premises

and Dalits are allowed

access to only the primary part

and the inner sanctum sanctorum

is reserved only for people

Case against Kerala

Catholic bishop over

'narcotic jihad' remarks

Thiruvananthapuram. Almost two months

after a Catholic bishop in Kerala said that

Christian children should be safeguarded

against "narcotic jihad" that is being pushed

by a specific section of people, the state police

on Monday filed a case against him, as directed

by a local court in Kottayam.

A complaint to this effect was made by All

India Imam's Council first to the local police,

but after the police failed to act, they

approached the local Pala court, which directed

the police to file the case.

The Kuruvilangad police has registered the

case.

Pala Archdiocese's Bishop Mar Joseph

Kallarangat, while speaking at a function at

Marth Mariam Pilgrim Church at

Kuruvilangad in Kottayam district on

September 9, alleged that non-Muslims in

Kerala are subjected to "narcotic jihad", which

is the spoiling lives, particularly of young people,

by making them addicted to drugs.

After his speech became viral, several

groups came out against the Bishop, especially

Muslim organisations, and some extreme

organisations carried out a protest march

towards his house. The Congress put pressure

on the Pinarayi Vijayan government to call for

an all-party meeting, but he ignored them.

The BJP also joined issue and former Vice

Chairman of the party's Minority Morcha,

George Kurien, wrote to Union Home

Minister Amit Shah, seeking security for the

Pala Bishop as "Muslim extremists had threatened

him publicly with dire consequences".

from the upper caste," Mevani

told the IANS. "Now my question

is -- why every citizen is

not allowed an entry inside and

only the upper caste? asked

Mevani. "In the authority's

presence, we made an entry

into 'Garbha Gruh' and carried

out rituals. But it was a very

cold welcome from the temple

authorities (Pujari-Nahant), as

cold a welcome I would receive

at the BJP headquarters

Kamalam," Mevani laughed.

After the entry, Mevani held

a meeting with people from

other communities residing in

the Varnu village. Mevani told

them, "We are not here to

showcase our strength that we

can enter the temple, but we are

here to move along with you

with folded hands. Let's consider

each other as our own and

have a feeling of brotherhood

for our fellow villagers."

The Vadgam constituency

legislator Jignesh Mevani on

Saturday had given a call for

"Andolan" (agitation) against

atrocities and practice of

untouchability against Dalits in

Gujarat. This was after six

members of a Dalit family at

Ner village in Kutch were

assaulted allegedly by a group

of 20 persons on October 26.

Mevani said, "Until there is

an attack or a murder (of

Dalits), the police don't act. The

BJP plays politics in the name

of temples across the country,

my question to them is how

many Ram Mandirs and temples

in Gujarat do not allow

entry to Dalits."

"What are you doing about

this issue? He asked the ruling

BJP party which has been in

power in Gujarat for around

two and a half decades.

"Untouchability is a blot on

our society and we as a society,

as a nation are not ashamed of

this. I have challenged the BJP in

the House thrice to take up a single

village out of the over eighteen

thousand villages and make

it untouchability free, which they

have not accepted. They want it

to continue," added Mevani.

Mevani informed that alone in

Kutch district, in Rapar and

Bhachau talukas, nearly 1200-

1500 acres, that is nearly 3,000

bighas of land of scheduled

castes and Dalit community were

illegally occupied by upper

castes.

"We have already identified

10,000 acre Dalit land in

Gujarat, which has been

encroached upon. In the coming

days, we will continue the agitation

to free that along with raising

voice for many such complaints

we have received just

like that of Ner and Varnu villages,"

added Mevani.

India emerging as a drug-trafficking hub?

New Delhi. From a minor amount

in the drug bust on a cruise ship off

Mumbai to a haul of 3,000 kg heroin

at a Gujarat port, cases of contraband

consumption and seizures are

on the rise in India, as government

data bears out. This has got the

authorities worried that the rise of

Taliban in Afghanistan may have

had a role in the emergence of India

as the newest hub not just for consumption

but also for trafficking of a

variety of drugs.

The cruise ship case hogged limelight

because of the involvement of

Aryan Khan, son of superstar Shah

Rukh Khan. The raid, in that case,

was conducted by the Narcotics

Control Bureau (NCB). But it was

the massive quantity of heroin

seized at the Adani-run Mundra Port

- the largest consignment caught by

the Directorate of Revenue

Intelligence (DRI) so far - that actually

brought the issue to the anvil,

prompting the authorities to re-think

their strategies.

Another increasingly looming

threat is the Taliban takeover in

Afghanistan few months ago.

Afghanistan remains world's largest

producer of heroin, accounts for 90

per cent. Officials from the DRI -

the agency that caught over 3,000

kgs of heroin at the Mundra port -

also suspect that it was routed from

Afghanistan.

"This was the second time in

recent years that India has unearthed

Afghanistan's links with drug cartels

in India," an official said.

Former Fellow at the Manohar

Parrikar Institute of Defense Studies

and Analysis and Professor of

International Studies at the Delhi

University, Sanjeev Srivastava, said

that cultivation of opium and preparation

of heroin cannot be stopped in

Afghanistan as the international

community has stopped funding that

country since the Taliban takeover.

"So, it is assumed that they will

continue with drug trade to fulfill

the financial needs of the country.

Thought the Taliban has claimed

that it will stop production of narcodrugs,

it cannot be taken at face

value."

The Delhi Police had in July 2019

seized 130 kgs of heroin at the same

port, again reportedly from

Afghanistan. "This drug was meant

to be supplied for consumption at

high-profile night parties across big

cities in India," the official added.

The cases and seizure under the

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic

Substances (NDPS) Act have been

on the rise. According to the 'Crime

in India 2020' report published by

the National Crime Record Bureau

(NCRB), the total seizure of drugs in

2019 was 11,06,127.7 kg, and went

up to 13,69,944.9 kg in 2020 - a rise

of two lakh kg.

According to the NCRB, the

quantity of opium-based drugs

seized in 2019 was 2,47,021.7 kg,

and this scaled up to 2,99,402 kg in

2020.

The anti-drug agencies had seized

4,781.8 kg of heroin in 2019, which

went up to 55,804.5 kg in 2020,

whereas 436,523.3 kg of cannabisbased

drugs were seized in 2019 and

853,554.4 kg in 2020.

Similarly, the seizure of cocaine

was 34.1 kg in 2019 and has

increased to 493 kg in 2020.

The NDPS Act has been in force

since 1985 and has provisions of rigorous

imprisonments between 10 to

20 years depending upon the quantity

of drugs seized from a person.

Ideally, the NDPS Act should be acting

as a deterrent enough to the drug

suppliers and peddlers as well as

those who consume, in whichever

quantity.

"Generally, instead of arresting

the end user, the main racketeers and

drug lords should be arrested and

dished out strictest of the punishments.

But it is rarely done so," said

an official working with one of the

drug enforcement agencies.

The reasons are many; shortage

of manpower and lack of coordination

among agencies being just two

of them.

As compared to other investigating

agencies, there are just about

1,000 personnel in the NCB for

whole of India from its DG to a peon

in a branch. The NCB has sent proposal

to the government for its

speedy expansion way back in 2012

but nothing has been done about it.

The agency keeps pushing for more

strength but with no response.

A former NCB chief defended his

agency saying that the NDPS Act is

perfectly alright and has adequate

provisions to deal with any problem.

"The cases are registered when the

drug is caught. If the number of the

cases has increased, it means that

more seizures have been taking

place," former NCB Director

General O.P.S. Malik said.

But no one denies the

Afghanistan threat. Srivastava said:

"Our security apparatus needs to be

on highest alert as this narco-threat

from Afghanistan can pose a threat

to our national security. The security

vigil at the borders, especially on the

western border must be tightened."

Also, drug enforcement is a

multi-agency function in India and

the NCB was created basically as a

central authority to coordinate

among the various enforcement

agencies.

"But there is no provision that it

can demand accountability from

other agencies," Malik said.

"We need one central agency to

which all other agencies, such as the

Department of Revenue

Intelligence, the Customs and

Central Excise, agencies of the state

governments and even border guarding

forces, are answerable."

There is a sliver of hope in view

of a proposed amendment to the provisions

of the NDPS Act. The

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic

Substances (Amendment), 2021

seeks to amend section 27A of existing

law to rectify an anomaly, and

will introduce punishment for

financing illicit traffic and harbouring

offenders.


5

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021

RJD fears rigging, sends top leaders to counting centres

Patna. The Rashtriya Janata

Dal (RJD) has expressed

apprehension that there may

be rigging during the counting

of votes in the Bihar bypolls,

held in Kusheshwar Asthan

and Tarapur on October 30.

The party has sent top leaders

Tejashwi Yadav,

Jagadanand Singh and Shyam

Rajak to monitor the developments

at the counting centres

in a bid to prevent wrongdoing

by the ruling JDU members.

Tejashwi Yadav and Abdul

Bari Siddiqqi are on the way

to Kusheshwar Asthan in

Darbhanga while Jagadanand

Singh and Shyam Rajak have

been sent to Tarapur in

Munger district. They will

camp outside the counting

centres.

Chitranjan Gagan,

spokesperson of the RJD, said

that the party will launch

mass protests if Nitish Kumar

and his party members apply

pressure on the district magistrates

and other officials at the

time of counting to favour

JDU candidates.

"In the 2020 assembly

elections, around 15 seats

were such where RJD candidates

were winning but Nitish

Kumar and BJP leaders asked

district officials to defeat RJD

candidates. Phone calls were

made from the chief minister's

residence," Gagan said.

"We have given special

training to counting agents

and candidates to keep a close

tab on officials during counting

of votes. In case of any

rigging, senior officials

should be informed immediately.

We have asked RJD

members and supporters to

prepare for an agitation if any

kind of wrongdoing is done

by government officials at the

counting centres," Gagan

said.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad has

already claimed victory for

both his candidates. He also

claimed that a formula is

ready to dislodge the Nitish

Kumar government after the

bypoll results.

The by-elections held on

October 30 at Kusheshwar

Asthan and Tarapur registered

49 per cent and 50.05 per cent

voting respectively.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio

Kishida-the man who steered

LDP to yet another victory

New Delhi. The Japanese

ruling party Liberal

Democratic Party (LDP) and

its allies have come back to

power with a comfortable

win. This allows Prime

Minister Fumio Kishida to

work on his election pledges

of making Japan militarily

strong, revive the coronavirus-affected

economy and

restrengthen measures against

Covid-19.

Kishida was elected as the

prime minister by the LDP

after Prime Minister

Yoshihide Suga decided to

step down a couple of months

back. Suga had lost the confidence

of voters over his management

of the coronavirus

pandemic and organising the

Olympics despite opposition.

Despite a comfortable win,

LDP's tally has come down

from 276 to 259--a loss of 17

seats. Diet--the Japanese parliament

has a Lower House

with 465 seats.

Japan went to elections

after four years on October 31

and the results were declared

overnight. Exit polls by

Japanese news agency

Koyodo which had predicted

that the ruling party would be

voted back to power have

come true.

Some of the important

issues before the electorate

were the handling of the

Covid-19 infection, rising

income inequality, kick-starting

the pandemic-wrecked

economy as well as geo-political

tensions in the region.

Kishida as the new Prime

Minister has heavily stressed

upon building a stronger military

for Japan due to threats

from China and North Korea.

He had said in the election

campaign that his party may

even double Japan's defence

spending.

On the other hand, the

opposition parties have highlighted

growing economic

disparity between the rich

and the poor as well as a poor

economy due to the pandemic,

says The Asahi Shimbun.

The main opposition party,

the

Constitutional

Democratic Party of Japan

(CDPJ), alleged that the government

has mismanaged the

Covid-19 response as well as

supported the rich classes. It's

campaign issues included

gender equality and separate

surnames for married couples.

The opposition promised

lower taxes for the low

and middle class and abandoning

nuclear energy.

For Kishida, this win

restores the party's confidence

in him as well as in his

leadership. For the party it

means that the LDP completes

nine years of uninterrupted

rule.

The soft-spoken 64-yearold

Kishida comes from a

family of politicians from

Hiroshima. He followed his

father and grandfather into

politics and had been eyeing

the position of the Prime

Minister for a while.

Kishida is well aware of

the national and regional

challenges that lie before

him--which he repeatedly discussed

during the election

campaign. Kishida was earlier

the LDP's policy chief and

the country's foreign minister

between 2012-17. During his

tenure, he negotiated accords

with Russia and South Korea,

both nations with which

Japan has continuing tussles

in the region.

On the foreign policy

front, he is known for his

public stand over abolishing

nuclear weapons. He was

lauded for bringing the then-

US President Barack Obama

to Hiroshima on a historic

visit. In his personal life,

Kishida enjoys baseball as

well as drinks. A keen baseball

player, he is known to be

a big fan of the Hiroshima

Carp baseball team. The

Tokyo Weekender quotes

Kishida as saying: "I love

Hiroshima Carp. I love

Hiroshima and sake (laughs).

Other than that, I have some

hobbies, but it's not a big

deal."

Kishida is known to be a

strong drinker. As the foreign

minister, he particularly

enjoyed holding a competition

of vodka and sake with

his Russian counterpart

Sergey Lavrov over diplomatic

conversations.

His wife comes from a

wealthy business family

known for its sake-brewing

business.

(The content is being carried

under an arrangement

with indianarrative.com)

Indian-origin UK minister behind

bringing world to limit global warming

New Delhi. The man behind

bringing nearly all 200 nations

into a common cause -- to adapt

to the effects of climate change

and limit the rise in average

global temperature to 1.5 C as

required by the 2015 Paris

Agreement -- is an Indian-origin

UK minister.

Born to Hindu parents in

Agra and moving to the UK in

1972, Alok Sharma was

appointed President for

COP26, the 26th United

Nations Climate Change

Conference, on January 8.

Since then Sharma has been

on his toes, travelling across

the globe to set the agenda for

the summit.

This year COP is being held

under the presidency of the UK

and is being hosted in Glasgow

from October 31 to November

12. This is the largest event of

its type that the UK has ever

hosted. The climate talks bring

together heads of state, climate

experts and campaigners to

agree to coordinated action to

tackle climate change.

At the climate summit,

which began amidst a series of

reports and studies warning

that urgent action is needed to

keep the Paris Agreement's

goal of limiting global average

temperature increases to 1.5 C

within reach, Britain will be

leading the formal negotiations

and will have oversight of the

overall COP package and

vision, including political declarations.

Climate negotiators

told IANS it would have been a

big task for Sharma, who has

been working closely with the

backing of the Prime Minister

to get countries to commit to

new pledges to tackle the climate

crisis, to enable the developing

countries that require

technological and financial

support so they can leapfrog the

dirty development path and

increase their resilience to climate

impacts. Prior to entering

Parliament, Sharma qualified

as a chartered accountant with

Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte,

and then worked for 16 years in

banking. Sharma was in New

Delhi in August for discussions

with ministers and leaders from

industry and civil society on

collaboration on climate action.

At that time, Sharma, who

holds the post of minister of

state at the UK Cabinet Office,

said India had a vital role to

demonstrate renewed action

under the Paris Agreement.

"India's leadership, including

through the International Solar

Alliance (ISA) and Coalition

for Disaster Resilient

Infrastructure (CDRI), is hugely

important as we look to build

global resilience ahead of

COP26 and beyond," he had

said. In the last climate talks in

Spain in 2019, India, China,

Brazil and some developing

countries had failed to convince

the world to evolve rules

for trading internationally carbon

credits which help them

decarbonise economies at

lower cost.

The countries failed to agree

unanimously on Article 6 of the

crucial Paris Agreement rulebook

concerning the carbon

markets system as the two-week

lengthy negotiations concluded

two days past the official deadline.

Article 6 of the Paris

Agreement provides guidelines

on how international climate

markets will work, as a key

component of the world's economic

toolbox for addressing

climate change.

It allows emission reductions

to be implemented in one

country and the credit to be

transferred to another and be

counted towards its commitments

(known as nationally

determined contributions or

NDC).

In COP25, the developed

world took the stand of not

allowing the 'junk' carbon market,

which allows buying and

selling of carbon emissions,

and emerged under the Kyoto

Protocol adopted in December

1997 to continue in the exiting

mechanism under the Paris

Agreement.

Several countries like India

had been demanding to carry

forward the old carbon credits

earned also by companies to

meet new climate targets. The

carbon credits allow companies

to compensate for their greenhouse

gas emissions.

Climate experts told IANS

that it would be high time for

Britain, especially Indian-origin

COP President Sharma, to

convince the developed nations

not to completely reject the carbon

trade mechanism, a key

component for the full operationalisation

of the Paris

Climate Change Agreement.

In India, 1,686 projects have

been successfully registered

under the Clean Development

Mechanism (CDM) under the

Kyoto Protocol, millions of

certified emission reductions

(CERs) credits, better known as

carbon credits, remain unsold

with collapsing of the CDM

market.

One CER equals one tonne

of carbon dioxide. The CERs

help companies earn billions of

dollars by trading them.

Currently, there is a market but

no political platform.In a new

Reflections Note just ahead of

the onset of COP26, Sharma

said, "I very much want to support

Parties to deliver on the

matters you have told me are

key political components of a

Glasgow outcome. These

include mobilising finance,

keeping 1.5 alive, scaling up

adaptation, addressing loss and

damage, and finalising the

Paris Rulebook -- Article 6, the

enhanced transparency framework

and common time

frames".

"In addition, there are a

number of other important

decisions to be taken, including

on Action for Climate

Empowerment and the review

of the Least Developed

Countries Expert Group for

example."


6 01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

IndianOil to set up India's first

mega-scale maleic anhydride plant

New Delhi : IndianOil Board has greenlighted

the setting up of India's first megascale

maleic anhydride plant, to manufacture

value-added chemical products, at its Panipat

Refinery and Petroleum Complex (PRPC).

The project with a capex of Rs 3,681

crore will be commissioned in 54 months

from stage 1 investment approval.

The project is proposed to have a capacity

of 120 KTA (kilo tonnes per annum) of

maleic anhydride (MAH) that is used to

make speciality products like polyester

resins and surface coatings, plasticisers,

agrochemicals, and lubricant additives. The

plant will also manufacture 20 KTA of 1,4-

butanediol (BDO) that finds applications in

polyurethanes, polybutylene terephthalates

(PBT) - an engineering grade plastic and

biodegradable fibres.

Another value-added chemical, tetra

hydro duran (THF), will also be produced

from this plant to accelerate the growth of

the pharmaceutical industry. THF is also

widely used in adhesives and vinyl films.

On the newly approved project, IndianOil

Chairman S.M. Vaidya said: "Presently,

these high demand chemicals are mostly

imported by India. The upcoming MAH

Plant will reduce import dependence and

save foreign exchange of about $150 million

per year, thus strengthening the mission of

Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Moreover, petrochemicals

integration is the cornerstone of our

future growth strategy, given the high potential

of petrochemicals in India.

"This project will consolidate IndianOil's

basket of niche products and increase the

Lube and Petrochemical Integrity Index of

Panipat Refinery to more than 15 per cent

after the refinery expansion plan is implemented."

The ongoing expansion of the

Panipat Refinery (envisaging capacity expansion

of the refinery from 15 MMTPA to 25

MMTPA) and the implementation of petrochemical

and other specialised units will

make this refinery one of the most advanced

and integrated refinery and petrochemical

complexes in Asia, with a complexity index

of over 15. The expansion blueprint includes

units like Indmax for deriving maximum

value from the petrochemical molecule,

polypropylene unit and a lube complex for

producing lube oil base stock apart from

other refinery units. The existing olefinic and

aromatic complex shall also be expanded

along with the implementation of grass-root

speciality petrochemical units like the styrene

unit and the just-approved MAH Unit.

Airtel unveils new 5G initiative for enterprises

New Delhi : Bharti Airtel on

Monday announced it has rolled

out a new #5GforBusiness initiative

to demonstrate a wide range

of enterprise grade use cases

using high speed and low-latency

networks. Airtel is joining

forces with technology companies

such as Accenture, AWS,

CISCO, Ericsson, Google

Cloud, Nokia, Tata Consultancy

Services (TCS) to work with

industry leading brands such as

Apollo Hospitals, Flipkart and

several leading manufacturing

companies to test 5G-based solutions.

"The 5G ecosystem will

open limitless possibilities for

enterprises to enhance productivity

and serve their customers

even better with digitally

enabled applications," said

Randeep Singh Sekhon, CTO,

Bharti Airtel. These solutions,

said the company, will be

deployed on 5G test spectrum

allotted to Airtel and include use

cases like smart factory, smart

healthcare, 5G-powered quality

inspection, digital twin, connected

frontline workforce and

AR/VR based use cases, among

others. The use case demonstrations

will be conducted both at

end-user locations and at Airtel's

advanced 5G lab in Network

Experience Centre at Manesar in

Gurgaon. Earlier this year Airtel

demonstrated India's first 5G

experience over a Live 4G network.

It has also demonstrated

India's first rural 5G trial as well

as the first cloud gaming experience

on 5G.

Airtel is also spearheading the

O-RAN Alliance initiatives in

India to build 5G solutions and

has announced partnerships with

Tata Group, Qualcomm, Intel,

Mavenir and Altiostar.

Fuel price rise continues

unabated, petrol over

Rs 115/ltr in Mumbai

New Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) Petrol and diesel prices increased

again on Monday, the sixth consecutive day of increase, as global

oil prices failed to relent and continued to remain firm.

Accordingly, the pump price of petrol in Delhi increased by 35

paise per litre to jump to Rs 109.69 a litre while diesel prices also

increased by the same margin to reach Rs 98.42 a litre, according to

a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.

In the financial capital Mumbai, petrol prices have now risen to

Rs 115.50 per litre while diesel to Rs 106.63 a litre, the highest

among all metros.

Across the country as well petrol and diesel prices increased

between 35-40 paise per litre, but their retail rates varied depending

on the level of local taxes on petroleum products.

The fuel prices have now increased six consecutive days by 35

paise per litre. Before this after holding for a couple of days, fuel

prices again had risen on previous five days by about 35 paise per

litre. Diesel prices have now increased on 30 out of the last 38 days

taking up its retail price by Rs 9.90 per litre in Delhi.

With diesel prices rising sharply, the fuel is now available at over

Rs 100 a litre in several parts of the country. It is very close to

breaching the mark even in Delhi where it had rapidly climbed to

Rs 98.42 a litre on Monday.

Petrol prices had maintained stability since September 5, but oil

companies finally raised the pump prices last week and this week

given a spurt in the product prices lately. Petrol prices have also

risen on 27 of the previous 34 days taking up the pump price by Rs

8.50 per litre.

Crude price has been on a surge, rising over three year high level

of over $ 85 a barrel now as global demand remains firm while

OPEC+ continues to move slowly on increasing production. It has

fallen a bit to around $84 a barrel after China released some oil

from its reserve to address supply concerns.

Since September 5, when both petrol and diesel prices were

revised, the price of petrol and diesel in the international market is

higher by around $9-10 per barrel as compared to average prices

during August.

New work orders boost India's

production growth in October: PMI

New Delhi : Healthy demand conditions

boosted the growth of India's manufacturing

industry in October.

The headline seasonally-adjusted

IHS Markit India Manufacturing

Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose

to 55.9 (index reading) in October as

against a reading of 53.7 in September.

The PMI ranges between 0 and 100,

with a reading above 50 indicating an

overall increase compared to the previous

month.

Last month's seasonally adjusted IHS

Markit India Manufacturing PMI was in

expansion territory for the fourth month

in a row.

Besides, the latest figure pointed to

the strongest improvement in overall

operating conditions since February.

"Manufacturing sector growth in

India gained steam in October as companies

scaled up production in line with

a substantial upturn in new work

intakes. Firms stepped up input purchasing

amid stock-building efforts and

in anticipation of further improvements

in demand, while business optimism hit

a six-month high," the PMI report said.

"Panellists continued to report rising

prices for several materials and transportation,

with overall input costs

increasing at the sharpest rate since

February 2014. Subsequently, selling

charges were lifted again."

Furthermore, the survey noted strong

growth of both sales and production in

each of the three broad areas of the manufacturing

sector. Particularly, the rise

in intermediate goods was the sharpest.

Additionally, a notable pick-up in

international demand for India's

"goods" was noticed.

"New export work rose at a solid

pace that was the quickest in three

months." IHS Markit Economics

Associate Director Pollyanna De Lima

said: "Manufacturing sector growth in

India continued to gather momentum,

with October data showing notably

quicker expansions in new orders, production

and input purchasing."

"With companies gearing up for further

improvements in demand by building

up their stocks, it looks like manufacturing

activity will continue to

expand throughout the third quarter of

fiscal year 2021-22 should the pandemic

remain under control. Upbeat business

confidence and projects in the

pipeline should also support production

in the coming months."


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021

Haj 2022 will be fully online, with a 'swadeshi' touch: Naqvi

7

ArrayMumbai. After two years'

ban on Haj owing to the Covid-

19 crisis, the Indian government

has announced the 2022 schedules

for the most important pilgrimage

of Muslims, with a fully

online process and a 'swadeshi'

touch, Union Minority Affairs

Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

said here on Monday.

All Muslims who are fully

vaccinated and desirous of proceeding

for Haj next year,

including women without male

companions, can apply online or

through the upgraded Haj

Mobile App before the deadline

of January 31, 2022, the minister

said.

With an emphasis on 'Vocal

For Local', Haj 2022 pilgrims

will go with indigenous products,

which will be bought in

India.

"Earlier, Haj pilgrims used to

buy bed sheets, pillows, towels,

umbrellas and other items in

Saudi Arabia in foreign currency.

These will be available in India

at about 50 per cent lower prices

Trinamool leader decorates

Kali idol with over 6 kg

gold, draws flak

Kolkata. Controversial

Trinamool Congress leader

Anubrata Mondal on Monday

announced he was using over 6

kg of gold ornaments this year to

decorate the idol of the goddess

Kali at his own puja - which he is

organising since the party came

to power in 2011.

"This year there will be ornaments

weighing 520 Bhori (more

than 6 kg). Last year it was 350

bhori (more than 4 kg) of ornaments,"

he told media persons

here.

Asked where this jewellery

comes from, Mondal said:

"People give to the goddess with

love and I am the custodian of

the jewellery."

Mondal, the Trinamool's

Birbhum district party chief,

came to limelight in 2018 when

he used over 2 kg gold to decorate

the diety.

In 2019, he used over 3 kg

and in 2020, over 4 kg gold to

decorate the idol. However, the

last two years he refrained from

participating in idol decoration

during Kali Puja due to the pandemic

and deaths in his family.

This year, according to

sources close to Mondal, the

Trinamool leader decorated the

idol himself with jewellery

worth more than Rs 2.5 crore.

"Last two years I could not

decorate the idol myself due to a

death in my family. I was sad but

this year I shall do it myself as I

prayed to her for 230 seats (for

the party) and she gave it to me,"

Mondal said.

Meanwhile, the Opposition

criticsed of the huge amount of

jewellery used in idol decoration.

BJP leader Anupam Hazra,

who is also from Birbhum, said:

"There are so many Kali temples

in Birbhum. Even if I were to

believe that people willingly

give the ornaments, then why do

they not visit other Kali temples?

It is clear that they do it under

pressure."Mondal, however,

declined to respond on this.

compared with Saudi Arabia,"

said Naqvi.

All these items will be given

to Haj pilgrims at their respective

embarkation points in India,

the minister told mediapersons

with the Vice Consul-General of

Saudi Arabia in Mumbai,

Mohammed Abdul Karim Al-

Enazi, Joint Secretary at the

Centre Nigar Fatima and Haj

Committee of India CEO

Mohammed Yakoob Shekha,

present. For decades, Haj pilgrims

used to buy all these items

2013 Patna serial blasts: 4

convicts sentenced to death

Patna. A special NIA court in

Patna on Monday sentenced to

death four of the nine persons it

had held guilty of carrying out

bomb explosions during then

NDA Prime Ministerial candidate

Narendra Modi's 'Hunkar

Rally' in Gandhi Maidan in

2013.

The special National

Investigation Agency

court had on October 27

convicted nine out of 10

accused.

Out of the other convicts,

two have been

given life sentence, two

others 10 years imprisonment,

and one 7 years

imprisonment.

Gurvinder Singh

Malhotra, the special

judge of the NIA court,

announced the quantum

of punishment 8 years after the

serial bomb blasts that shook

Patna on October 27, 2013 during

the Hunkar rally. The case

was transferred to the NIA on

November 6, 2013.

The four convicts who have

been awarded the death penalty

are Imtiaz Ansari, Haider Ali

alias Black Beauty, Noman

Ansari and Muzibullah Ansari.

Umar Sidiqqi and Azaharuddin

Kuresi have been given life

imprisonment, while Ahmed

Hussain and Feroz Aslam were

awarded 10 years rigorous

imprisonment and Iftikhar

Alam has been given a 7-year

jail term.

The court said that the

charges of sedition, criminal

conspiracy, murder, attempt to

murder and UAPA levelled by

the NIA have been proven.

Narendra Modi came to

Patna to address a rally for the

2014 parliamentary elections.

While he was addressing the

rally, serial bombs exploded in

Gandhi Maidan, the venue of

the rally as well as at Patna railway

station. Six persons died

and over 89 persons were

injured in the blasts.

One accused Faqeuddin was

acquitted by the NIA court for

lack of evidence. All those convicted

are suspected members

of the Indian Mujahideen and

the Student Islamic Movement

of India (SIMI).

The convicts had detonated

7 Improvised Explosive

Devices (IED) while 10 others

did not explode at the rally

venue.

The NIA recorded the statements

of over 250 witnesses in

the case since it took over on

November 6, 2013. All the convicts

are currently lodged in

Patna's Beur jail.

in Saudi Arabia in foreign currency,

and though most products

were Indian-made, they were

available at twice or thrice the

rates in Saudi Arabia, he pointed

out. According to some estimates,

this will save crores of

rupees for the Indian pilgrims,

around 200,000 who go to perform

the annual Haj pilgrimage,

barring the 2020-2021 seasons.

The selection process will be

as per the criterial and guidelines

of both India and Saudi

Arabia. This time, the embarkation

points for Haj 2022 have

been slashed by half from 21 to

just 10 in India, the minister

said. The embarkation points

are: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru,

Cochin, Delhi, Guwahati,

Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow,

Mumbai, and Srinagar, with

their respective states and other

neighbouring regions in their

jurisdiction.

A Digital Health Card, 'E-

Masiha' and 'E-Luggage Pretagging'

will provide all information

pertaining to accommodation

or transportation in

Mecca-Medina to all the pilgrims,

he said.

Naqvi said that over 3,000

women without male companion

had applied for the last two

years' Haj seasons which were

cancelled and their applications

would be valid for Haj-2022.

Besides, other women can

also apply fresh for Haj-2022

and all these applications under

the without 'Mehram' category

shall be exempt from the lottery

system.

'No scientific basis': China on US'

intel assessment of Covid origins

Beijing. China has slammed

the US as being "politically

motivated" for its intelligence

report on the origins of novel

coronavirus.

China has called the report

compiled by the Office of the

Director of National

Intelligence as having no "scientific

basis or credibility",

Xinhua news agency reported.

According to Foreign

Ministry spokesperson Wang

Wenbin, when the US intelligence

agency first released the

so-called unclassified summary

of assessment on Covid-19 origins

in August, China had made

clear its firm opposition.

"A lie repeated a thousand

times is still a lie. No matter

how many times the report is

published or how many versions

it comes in, it will not

change the fact that this report

is, in essence, a political and

false one, with no scientific

basis or credibility," said Wang.

The reaction came on

Sunday, days after the US

Office of the Director of

National Intelligence released a

fuller version of its findings

from a 90-day review ordered

by President Joe Biden.

In the 18-page report, the US

intelligence community concluded

that the coronavirus had

not been developed as a biological

weapon, but could not

determine if it had infected

humans as a result of contact

with animals or from a laboratory

accident.

It added that, without new

information, intelligence agencies

would not be able to offer

a better judgment on whether

the virus emerged via animalto-human

transmission or a lab

leak.

Wang pointed out that the

study of the origin of the novel

coronavirus is a serious and

complex scientific issue, which

should and can only be carried

out by global scientists in cooperation.

The use of intelligence

agencies to trace the origins is

in itself an iron-clad proof of

politicisation, the report said.

"The US intelligence services

have a deplorable track

record, with their falsification

and deception tactics known by

the world," he added.

Recently, more than 80

countries have stated their

explicit position of opposing

politicisation of origins-tracing

and upholding the joint China-

WHO study report through various

means, including writing

to the WHO Director-General,

releasing statements and sending

notes, he said.

Wang also implored the US

to focus instead on domestic

efforts and global cooperation

in fighting Covid-19. He added

that the US should stop attacking

and smearing China,

respond to the international

community's legitimate concerns,

receive WHO experts'

visits, and open up its biological

labs at Fort Detrick and biological

experiment bases.


8 01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Centre likely to seek reports from NCB on handling

of cruise ship drug case involving Aryan khan

New Delhi.The Union Ministry

of Home Affairs (MHA) is

mulling to seek a report from

the Narcotics Control Bureau

over the handling of the recent

arrests made in the cruise ship

drug case involving Bollywood

superstar Shahrukh Khan's son

Aryan Khan, sources said here

on Monday.

According to sources, the

Ministry has taken a serious

view on the alleged charges of

corruption against the Mumbai

Zonal Director of NCB Sameer

Wankhede and also the way the

arrests were made in the case.

They also said that top officials

of the Ministry have

expressed their reservations on

the way the details of the investigation

were leaked to the

media that made a perception

that Aryan khan was selectively

targeted being a son of a

celebrity and the probe agency

did not have adequate evidence

against the arrested persons.

Sources, aware of these

developments, claimed that

Union Home Minister Amit

Shah was also annoyed with the

NCB officials about the new

turns in the case which took

place during the last week, and

reportedly spoke to some BJP

leaders in Mumbai to know the

facts in the case.

To look into the alleged corruption

charges levelled against

Wankhede, the NCB constituted

a five-member probe team

under the Deputy Director

General (DDG) of northern

region Gyaneshwar Singh,

which visited the NCB zonal

office in Mumbai on October

27 and took statement of

Sameer Wankhede.

However, the vigilance

team allowed him to remain

in-charge of this case and to

continue his probe in the

drugs case.

The five-member probe

team also collected some

documents and recordings

from the Mumbai office, the

DDG said, adding that the

vigilance team also summoned

the witnesses to

record their statements.

The NCB ordered a vigilance

inquiry into the claims

made by a witness in the

cruise drug case, Prabhakar

Sail, who alleged that an

extortion bid of Rs 25 crore

was made by some agency

officials, including its

Mumbai zonal director

Sameer Wankhede to set free

film Aryan Khan.

The sources in the agency

also said that the vigilance

team will also look into the

close proximity of an independent

witness Kiran

Gosavi with Aryan Khan

too. However, Gosavi, an

independent witness in the

drugs-on-cruise case, was

arrested by the Pune Police

in connection with a 2018

cheating case registered

against him here in

Maharashtra.

Imran Khan would have

been better suited to a job

in PCB, Sindh CM reacts

New Delhi. Pakistan's Sindh

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah

believes Prime Minister Imran

Khan would have been better

suited to a job at the Pakistan

Cricket Board (PCB) instead of

serving as the country's premier,

Geo News reported.

Talking to the media in

Islamabad, the Sindh CM criticised

the ruling government,

saying that everyone knows

how the PTI won the elections.

"Now the people of PTI will

forfeit their guarantees in the

elections because the tide has

now turned," he said confidently.

Commenting on how the

PTI government handled the

chaos in the country as a result

of protests by the proscribed

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan

(TLP), the CM said that precious

lives were lost due to the

incompetence of the government

on the issue of TLP.

The PTI government does

things it can't spit out or digest,

CM Shah said, calling for all

stakeholders to sit down and

think about what is in the country's

interest.

Expressing hope that the

Pakistan cricket team will win

the ongoing T20 World Cup,

the CM said that he has heard

that Pakistan Prime Minister

Imran Khan has said that the

Pakistan team is playing well

because of him [Imran Khan].

"I had said earlier [too], that it

is better for PM Imran Khan to

work in the Pakistan Cricket

Board," CM Shah said sarcastically,

the report said.

GST collection for Oct at over Rs 1.30 lakh cr

New Delhi : The GST collection of

the government maintained its

momentum this fiscal year despite

Covid disruption as a pickup in economic

recovery is shoring up corporate

earnings.

The gross GST revenue collected in

the month of October 2021 stood at Rs

1,30,127 crore, which is a growth of

24 per cent over the GST revenues in

the same month last year and 36 per

cent over 2019-20.

The revenue for October is also the

second highest ever since introduction

of GST, second only to that in April

2021, which is related to year-end revenues.

This is very much in line with the

trend in economic recovery. This is

also evident from the trend in the e-

way bills generated every month since

the second wave, a finance ministry

statement said.

According to the statement, of the

total October GST collection, CGST is

Rs 23,861 crore, SGST is Rs 30,421

crore, IGST is Rs 67,361 crore

(including Rs 32,998 crore collected

on import of goods) and Cess is Rs

8,484 crore (including Rs 699 crore

collected on import of goods).

The government has settled Rs

27,310 crore to CGST and Rs 22,394

crore to SGST from IGST as regular

settlement. The total revenue of

Centre and the States after regular settlements

in the month of October 2021

is Rs 51,171 crore for CGST and Ts

52,815 crore for the SGST.

During the month, revenues from

import of goods was 39 per cent higher

and the revenues from domestic

transaction (including import of services)

are 19 per cent higher than the

revenues from these sources during

the same month last year.

The revenues would have still been

higher if the sales of cars and other

products had not been affected on

account of disruption in supply of

semi-conductors, the finance ministry

said.

The revenues have also been aided

due to the efforts of the State and

Central tax administration resulting in

increased compliance over previous

months, the ministry added.

In addition to action against individual

tax evaders, this has been a

result of the multipronged approach

followed by the GST Council. On the

one hand, various measures have been

taken to ease compliance like nil filing

through SMS, enabling Quarterly

Return Monthly Payment (QRMP)

system and auto-population of return.

During the past one year, GSTN has

augmented the system capacity considerably

to improve user experience.

On the other hand, the Council has

also taken various steps to discourage

non-compliant behaviour, like blocking

of e-way bills for non-filing of

returns, system-based suspension of

registration of taxpayers who have

failed to file six returns in a row and

blocking of credit for return defaulters.

The number of returns (GSTR-3B)

of every month/quarter by the end of

next month is a good parameter indicating

timely payment of returns and

filing of returns. After the last date of

filing of returns, special efforts are

undertaken to ensure compliance by

the end of the month in form of messaging

by GSTN and close follow up

by the Centre and State tax administration.

This has also been aided by the fact

that at various occasions, the Council

decided to waive late fee allowing

people to file old returns and come upto-date

in filing of returns. With more

and more taxpayers filing the returns

every month, the percentage of returns

of old period filed in any month has

been increasing continuously.

About 1.5 crore returns were filed

in the month of July 2021 as taxpayers

filed returns of past months taking

benefit of the relaxation given due to

Covid. With improvement in return

filing, the focus of the GST Council

has been on timely filing of GSTR-1,

the statement containing details of

invoices. This statement is critical to

ensure discipline in taking input tax

credit. Various steps have been taken

to ensure timely filing of GSTR-1.

Overall, the impact of these efforts

has ensured increased compliance and

higher revenues. As a part of overall

efforts to plug evasion, more steps to

restrict fake ITC are under consideration

of the GST Council, the ministry

statement said.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk ASIA 01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021 9

TLP is not about the sanctity of Islam

By Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza

The Tehreek-e-Labbaik

Pakistans (TLP) long march to

Islamabad had camped at

Wazirabad for four days before it

finally reached an agreement

with the government on October

31.

The TLP had begun its long

march on October 22 from its

headquarters at Ammir ul

Momineen Mosque in Lahore.

The group's demands included

old ones such as expulsion of the

French Ambassador and boycott

of French products and new ones

of lifting ban on TLP and release

of their leader Saad Rizvi, who

was arrested on April 12, and

their workers.

TLP's demand of expulsion of

the French ambassador came last

year after blasphemous caricatures

of Prophet Muhammed

were republished in France. TLP

had taken out protest and did a

sit-in in Islamabad blocking the

main artery between Rawalpindi

and the capital. It ended only

after the civilian government

gave in and signed an agreement

with the TLP according to which

the it was bound to discuss the

matter in the parliament by April

20. The debate never took place.

Previously in November

2017, the TLP dharna was carried

out to oust the then Law

Minister Zahid Hamid who they

accused of committing blasphemy

and demanded his resignation.

Matters were resolved only

after the military stepped in and

brokered an agreement between

the then sitting government of

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz

(PML-N) and TLP. The Minister

had to resign.

As the dharna was being

wrapped up, the Director

General of Punjab Rangers Maj-

Gen Azhar Naveed Hayat was

captured on video distributing

envelops among the participants

of the protest. Each envelop is

said to have contained 1,000

PKR which was paid for ‘their

bus fare home'. The General

could be heard telling them that

"this is a gift from us to you,

aren't we with you too".

In 2018, the stage was set by

the ISI and military establishment

to bring in Imran Khan as

the new leader of the country. In

an attempt to spilt the conservative

vote bank of the PML-N in

Rape victim's body found hanging from tree in UP district

Bijnor (Uttar Pradesh). The

body of a minor rape victim

was found hanging from a tree

in the sugarcane fields, near

her house in Amroha district.

The incident took place at

Ikona village under Adampur

police circle on Sunday.

According to the police, the

17-year-old girl was allegedly

raped by Monu Sharma, a resident

of the same village, on

September 25.

The deceased's family

Punjab, TLP was launched to

contest elections.

In September 2016, the

Indian government's then

Manohar Parrikar and his French

counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drain

signed an $8.7 billion deal to

purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets.

But it was not until July 29, 2020

that the first Rafale landed on

Indian soil.

This upset the Pakistani military

establishment. It decided to

punish France. This is when the

jinni of TLP was once again

released from the military headquarters

in Rawalpindi.

On November 2020, TLP

leader late Khadim Rizvi issued

a statement demanding the

expulsion of the French ambassador

from Islamabad, cancellation

of all trade deals with

France and a boycott of French

products on the pretext that

French magazine Charlie Hebdo

had republished objectionable

cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.

The demand followed by

protests and another dharna in

alleged the accused threatened

them with murder.

The girl's family had filed a

complaint immediately after

the incident and police registered

a case under the relevant

sections of IPC and POCSO

Act, but no arrest could be

made as the accused was

absconding.

Family members alleged

that the police are yet to arrest

Monu Sharma who is moving

around freely.

They also alleged that he

was intimidating and threatening

the girl and her relatives

after he raped her. He also

forcing them to withdraw the

rape case.

On Sunday, the girl's body

was found hanging from a tree

in a sugarcane field merely 100

yards from the village.

A farmer spotted the body

and informed the family.

Adampur station house officer

(SHO) Sateesh Kumar

Islamabad ended in an agreement

that a motion for the expulsion

of the French ambassador

would be tabled at the

Parliament session no later than

April 2021.

On October 6, 2021, Pakistan

Army chief General Qamar

Javed Bajwa announced transfers

and postings of his corps

commanders including the posting

of director general of the ISI

Lt Gen Faiz Hameed as corps

commander of 11 corps in

Peshawar.

This upset the Prime minister

for the simple reason that it was

Faiz Hameed who had orchestrated

his accent to power in July

2018. Rumour goes that Khan

was told by his wife that Lt Gen

Hameed's transfer before the

month of December will be a

bad omen for his government.

Khan refused to accept the

posting of Lt Gen Hammed and

complained that he was not consulted

for the appointment of the

new DG ISI.

This led to a bitter confrontation

between the prime minister

and the army chief. Khan did not

sign the summary until last

week.

The whole episode was to

undermine the military chief

with whomKhan is not on good

terms any longer. Contrary to the

wishes of the army chief who

wanted Hameed to take charge

of the 11 Corps immediately, the

Prime Minister signed and

ordered the posting of Lt Gen

Hammed to take place on

November 20.

Once the summary was

received at the GHQ in

Rawalpindi, the TLP was reactivated

it way payback time.

Thousands of TLP workers were

mobilised and protests against

Khan's government kicked off

with demands to expel the

French ambassador, released of

their leader and workers and lifting

ban on their party.

On October 31 in a hurriedly

called press conference by the

government's negotiating team it

was announced that an agreement

had been reached with the

TLP, however, details were not

be revealed!

The press conference was led

by Mufti Munib ur Rahman, who

is a pro-military establishment

cleric. The Speaker of the

National Assembly was also in

attendance. Nevertheless, the

most important person present

was Gen Bajwa's pawn against

Khan, Foreign Minister Shah

Mahmood Qureshi.

TLP is anything but a force to

defend Islam. TLP has not asked

the Pakistani government to

cease relations with China for

the latter's inhuman treatment of

Uyghur Muslims, conversion of

mosques into public toilets in

Xinjiang or for that matter

against Saudi Arabian government's

decision to allow Jews to

enter the holiest place of

Muslims, the Kaaba.

In the final analysis, TLP has

nothing to do with the sanctity of

Islam or its prophet and everything

to do with arm-twisting

tactics of the military establishment.

It was created by the ISI to

act as a proxy against civilian

governments that get out of line

and blackmail them back into

submission. That is exactly what

has taken place now.

Khan might think that he has

won the round with Bajwa over

the appointment of the new DG

ISI but he has conclusively lost

the second round.

In the form of TLP, the military

establishment has for the

first time created, launched and

executed a homegrown right

wing extremist and religious cult

out of the Barelvi sect of Islam

for domestic consumption.

In future, like in the past, the

TLP's will remain at the service

of the Pakistan military establishment

to undermine civil governments

who dare to challenge

it on the domestic front.

(Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza is an

author and a human rights

activist from Mirpur in the PoJK.

He currently lives in exile in the

UK.)

Arya confirmed that the

deceased was the rape victim

and a case was registered

against a man Monu Sharma

last month. The accused is on

the run, he said.

Family members of the

deceased have alleged that

their daughter was killed by

Monu. Police have registered a

fresh case of murder against

him and the body of the

deceased has been sent for

autopsy, the SHO said.


10 01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Significant rise in targeted

killings, blasphemy cases against

Pak religious minorities

New Delhi. There has been a significant

increase in targeted killings, blasphemy

cases, forced conversions, and hate

speech against religious minorities in

Pakistan, including the Ahmadis, Shia

Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs,

the European Asylum Support Office

said in a report.

Militant groups continued to attack

religious minorities in the country, the

report said.

This report is an update to the previous

EASO COI "Pakistan�Security

Situation" published in October 2020.

In 2020 and during the first seven

months of 2021, several terror groups,

including Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, Al

Qaeda, Islamic State-Khorasan and the

Haqqani Network, have been reportedly

present in Pakistan and continue to

carry out attacks in the country.

The groups frequently carry out targeted

killings using different types of

IEDs, suicide attacks, kidnappings,

grenade blasts, rocket attacks and sabotage

acts, the report said.

In 2020 and during the first half of

2021, 344 civilians were reportedly

killed as a result of violence in Pakistan.

Pakistani security forces carried out

47 operations and raids against militants

in 2020.

During the same period, security

operations and armed clashes were

reported in all the four provinces of

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan,

Punjab and Sindh.

These operations resulted in the

killing of 146 people including 129 militants

and 17 security forces personnel.

Over 26,500 Pakistanis applied for

asylum in 2019 and almost 12,000 did

from January to September 2020,

Samaa TV reported.

However, compared to the same period

in 2019, the number of Pakistani asylum

applications between January and

September 2020 decreased by 37 per

cent because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the end of September 2020, close

to 19,200 Pakistani cases were awaiting

a first-instance decision, down from

almost 21,200 cases at the end of 2019.

The recognition rate for Pakistani

nationals has been relatively low, with

just 8 per cent receiving some form of

European Union-regulated protection

between January and September 2020,

down from 10 per cent during the same

period in 2019, it added.

Delhi's air quality may deteriorate post Diwali

New Delhi : Delhi's air quality is

likely to deteriorate "significantly" on

November 5 and 6 and may reach the

upper end of the "very poor" category

with PM2.5 being the predominant

pollutant, Ministry of Earth Sciences

forecast on Monday.

In its outlook for the subsequent

five days, the Air Quality Early

Warning System for Delhi, that comes

under the Ministry, said that the air

quality is likely to deteriorate on

November 5 and 6 significantly and

may reach the upper end of the "very

poor" category. PM2.5 to be the predominant

pollutant.

"From November 4 onwards, the

wind direction will change from the

present easterly to north-westerly

which are highly favourable to the intrusion of

stubble burning," System of Air Quality and

Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR)

founder and project director Gufran Beig told

IANS.

"Even if 50 per cent of the firecrackers burst in

2020 happen to be lit this Diwali, then the air quality

will deteriorate to 'severe', and without crackers,

the air quality will settle at upper end of 'very poor'

on November 5 and 6," he added.

Delhi's air quality on Monday morning was

pegged at the "very poor" category with its AQI

settling at 302 and by evening, it increased to 306.

The level of PM 2.5 and PM 10 pollutants in the

air this morning stood at 122 and 256, respectively,

whereas by evening, the level of PM 2.5 pollutants

increased to 128, according

to the SAFAR.

"Delhi's AQI is in the

'very poor' category and likely

to improve to upper end of

'poor' for Monday

(November 1) and Tuesday

(November 2) due to expected

change in wind direction

to westerly/south-westerly

reducing transport of emissions

from stubble burning.

Isolated rainfall is likely in

upwind region that would

improve air quality. Share of

crop residue burning emissions

in PM2.5 is about 8per

cent (Effective fire count

1,734). Prevailing shallow

mixing layer height reduces dispersion of pollutants,"

SAFAR stated this morning.

Air quality of Delhi starts deteriorating as winter

approaches the national capital due to stubble

burning in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and

Punjab. It often leads to a rise in toxicity by

increasing the level of PM 2.5 and PM 10 pollutants

in the city's air.

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www.theasianindependent.co.uk

TAPI pipeline project to

resume in Afghanistan

New Delhi. Acting Afghan

Foreign Minister Amir Khan

Muttaqi, at a press conference

with Turkmenistan Foreign

Minister Rashid Meredov, said

the Turkmen delegation and the

Islamic Emirate held good talks

on economic and political issues

including restarting the TAPI

project, Tolo News reported.

Muttaqi said during the twoday

visit, both sides discussed

issues around strengthening

political relations and economic

ties.

He said they talked about the

Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-

Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas

pipeline project, adding the

implementation of the project in

Afghanistan will start soon.

"Important issues such as

TAPI, railroads and electricity

were discussed. We discussed

how to strengthen the projects

that had already started.

"Also, the projects that were

started by Turkmenistan, such as

TAPI -- its practical implementation

will start soon in

Afghanistan."

Muttaqi said Meredov has

invited him to visit

Turkmenistan.

Meredov and his accompanying

delegation also met

Deputy PM Abdul Salam

Hanafi and discussed economic

issues -- especially the TAPI

project -- and railroads and

made important decisions, the

Islamic Emirate Spokesman

Zabihullah Mujahid said, the

report added.

The TAPI project was

launched in 2016. TAPI

pipeline is expected to carry 33

billion cubic meters (bcm) of

natural gas each year along a

route stretching 1,800 km

(1,125 miles) from Galkynysh,

the world's second-biggest gas

field, to the Indian city of

Fazilka near the Pakistan border.

Work on the project in

Afghanistan began in February

2018 and will include a 1,814-

kilometre gas pipeline intended

to pass through Afghanistan to

Pakistan and India, with at least

816 kilometre of the pipeline

passing through Afghanistan.

However, the construction

has faced delays in Afghanistan

due to insecurity, among other

issues, in the past years, the

report said.

ASIA

01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021

Taliban urges unfreezing of Afghan bank reserves

11

The secret love for education in Afghanistan

Kabul. Since the Taliban took

control of Afghanistan in

August, education has become a

major point of concern for many

young females aspiring to make

a name for themselves. Even

though the interim government

of the Taliban has repeatedly

assured that female education

will be allowed in the coming

days, the rigid stance on the matter

in the past has kept young

girls wary of their dreams turning

into a reality.

With meagre hopes of revival

of female education system in

the country, many girls have

opted to continue their education

through online classes, taken

secretly and without the permission

or information of the

Taliban, a step towards a brighter

future, which may have serious

life-threatening consequences.

Fatima, a pseudonym used to

protect the identity of the female,

and some of her friends from

Herat province log into their

online classes secretly every day

amid the ongoing ban.

"If the Taliban get to know

that I and some other girls like

me are taking online lessons,

they might punish me severely.

They might even stone me to

death," said Fatima.

"There are serious threats to

girls like me," she added.

While Fatima's voice had

clear signs of concerns and

fears; she also had passions of

learning in her eyes and

strength, confidence and vision

in her voice when she said: "I

have not lost hope or my aspirations.

I am determined to continue

studying." Fatima is among

hundreds others, who are challenging

and breaking the rigid

rules of the Taliban, and opting

to take hidden makeshift classes

online.

The platform used for online

classes for Fatima and others,

has been created by Code of

Inspire (CTI), Afghanistan's first

all-female coding academy,

which created encrypted virtual

classrooms, uploaded course

content online, and gave laptops

and internet packages to at least

100 of its students.

"You can be locked at home

and explore the virtual world

without any hesitation, without

worrying about geographical

boundaries. That's the beauty of

technology," said Fereshteh

Forough, the CEO and founder

of CTI.

The ground situation for

females remain uncertain as the

Taliban have allowed allow

boys schools to reopen but told

young girls to stay home until

conditions permitted their

return.

But for the young girls like

Fatima, history reveals that the

Taliban had banned female education

in the country during

their previous time of ruling

about two decades ago, a fact

that further diminishes their

dreams of education and a better

future. In the recent meeting

between the Taliban delegation

and the UN, it was stated that a

framework was being worked

on, aimed at re-structuring the

rules and system of Afghanistan,

in which, education gains

remain among the priority topics.

"The education gains of the

past two decades must be

strengthened, not rolled back,"

said Omar Abdi, deputy executive

director of the Unicef.

It is pertinent to mention that

failure to let girls get educated,

comes with a major cost, which

includes poverty, child marriages,

early child bearing and

lack of understanding of basic

rights for females along with

access to the basic services.

Kabul. The Taliban-led government

in Afghanistan has

urged the international community

to unfreeze the country's

bank reserves in an effort to

help prevent a humanitarian

crisis, according to a media

report.

In a statement, Ahmad Wali

Hawmal, spokesman for the

Taliban's Ministry of Finance,

said the Afghan assets should

be released without any conditions,

adding that freezing the

reserves opposes international

law and is a "clear sign of cruelty

against the Afghan people",

reports TOLO News.

"The frozen money is not the

asset of the Islamic Emirate, it

is the money of needy people

and businessmen. It is against

international law and should be

released soon."

On Sunday, a group of

Afghan industrialists and

traders staged a rally against

the continued hold on

Afghanistan's reserves, saying

the severe economic crisis will

harm not only the war-torn

country but also other nations,

TOLO News reported.

"If the money is not

released, the crimes will

increase, the cultivation of

poppy and the smuggling of

drugs will increase as well,

which hurts Afghanistan and

other countries," said

Mohammad Shah Shahab, an

industrialist.

It is constantly reported

that respecting human rights,

and granting the right to education

and work to women

are fundamental conditions

set by the international community

for the release of the

assets.

"The money will not be

released and the world will

not recognise the new government,

if the Islamic

Emirate does not implement

the conditions," said Zarqa

Yaftali, a human rights

activist.

After the collapse of the

former government in August

and the country's subsequent

takeover by the Taliban, billions

of dollars of

Afghanistan's assets were

frozen by the US.

The Treasury Department

has announced it has no plans

to release the assets.

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 01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Is India set to go big on 'green' hydrogen at COP26?

New Delhi. Just as it was the

International Solar Alliance

(ISA) at the time of Paris COP

in 2015, there is a strong possibility

that India would go big

about "green" hydrogen at this

COP that starts on Sunday at

the UK's Glasgow.

India has been under pressure

to declare either enhanced

ambition or to declare net zero

goals in the run-up to the annual

climate change talks, the

COP26, but it has so far maintained

top secrecy, saying

whatever is the country's

stance, it would be announced

"at an appropriate time and

appropriate place."

The COP26, the Conference

of Parties to the United Nations

Convention Framework on

Climate Change (UNFCCC), is

to take place from October 31

till November 12 at the Scottish

city of Glasgow where the

world leaders and negotiators

will deliberate actions to

reduce carbon emissions to

restrict the global temperature

rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Prime Minister Narendra

Modi is going to attend the

High-Level segment on

November 1 and 2 and so are

the Ministers of Environment

and Power on other days.

Going beyond its committed

175 GW of renewable energy,

India has already announced

that it will pursue 450 GW of

installed capacity of renewable

energy by 2030.

The government has not,

however, announced any breakup

of this 450 GW target. There

have been big ticket solar

power plants across states,

some already functional, some

under-construction, so solar is a

big part of this renewable energy

basket. But it is now also

certain that green hydrogen

will occupy a pride of place in

it.

"Modi is going to own up

solar plants and green hydrogen

in a big way," a source,

who has been involved in the

energy sector, told IANS.

Another source from the

development sector concurred.

"We are going to say something

big about green hydrogen.

We are trying to get some

other countries on board - on

the lines of the International

Solar Alliance - for some kind

of global consensus for an

alliance on hydrogen. It is a

technologically attractive

option," the source said.

India has already declared a

National Hydrogen Mission in

August this year. With this, it is

looking at a great opportunity

to cut down on fossil fuel-based

Welcome kids at school

gates on Nov 1, says Stalin

Chennai. It is our

bounden duty to welcome

the young children

studying in

Classes 1-8 at the

school gates with a

smiling face as they

return to schools after

nearly one and a half

years, Tamil Nadu

Chief Minister M.K.

Stalin said on Saturday.

In a statement

issued here, he said the

children are coming to

the school from

November 1 onwards

after a long time and

they should be welcomed

in such a manner

that enthuses and

energises them.

He also said school

teachers and others can

welcome the children

by offering them

sweets and flowers.

Stalin also requested

the teachers to tell or

ask the students to tell

stories, ask them to

paint, play or any other activity

that would increase their memory

power in the classroom during

the first two weeks.

He also requested MPs,

MLAs and member of local

bodies in welcoming the students

at the school gates.

For the past one-and-half

years, schools were closed due

to the spread of Covid-19 pandemic

in Tamil Nadu.

Schools were reopened for

students of Classes 9 to 12

sometime back.

chemicals, which are used to

produce hydrogen.

"Today, hydrogen is made in

all refineries, all fertiliser

plants using natural gas. It is a

fossil fuel, which means, sending

out a lot of CO2 emission.

Green hydrogen will help us

cut that down," the energy sector

source said.

The government is planning

to go phase-wise, for example,

this Hydrogen mission is likely

to give a mandate to progressively

start giving 1 per cent

dose in year one, then three per

cent dose in year two and so on

Indian-origin pharma CEO killed

in robbery attempt after casino win

so forth, and then at the end of

2025 or 2030, whichever is

decided, the target would be 10

per cent.

"That (10 per cent) is how a

huge quantity of fossil fuel

replaced. Green means the

entire carbon footprint should

be zero and hydrogen will help

achieve that to a large extent,"

the source said.

There are various ways to

make green hydrogen without

adding any carbon. If solar

energy is used for the hydrogen

making process, then the entire

cycle becomes carbon free.

New York. The Indian-origin

CEO of a pharmaceutical company

has been killed in a robbery

attempt allegedly by a

man who followed him home

from a casino after seeing him

win nearly $10,000, according

to media reports.

Sree Ranga Aravapalli,

54, who headed Aurex

Laboratories, was shot dead

when he reached home in

Plainsboro, New Jersey,

early Tuesday morning, officials

said.

The County Prosecutor

Yolanda Ciccone and

Plainsboro Police Chief Fred

Tavener said in a joint statement

that the alleged

assailant Jekai Reid-John,

27, "targeted Aravapalli in

Pennsylvania and followed

him home to his Plainsboro

residence where the offence

occurred".

They said he was charged

with murder and arrested by

local authorities in

Pennsylvania and is awaiting

extradition to New Jersey.

In the US when a person is

arrested in a state for crimes in

another state, authorities have

to go through an extradition

process in a court to bring to

the investigation or trial jurisdiction.

The officials said police officers

responding to reports of

shots fired at his home found

Aravapalli who had suffered

several gunshot wounds.

He was taken to a nearby

hospital where he was pronounced

dead, they said.

An investigation by detectives

determined that he had

been shot during an attempted

robbery allegedly by Reid-

John, according to the officials.

NBC4New York TV station

reported quoting police that

Earlier in September, stating

that India has the potential to

step in to meet not just India's

but global demand for green

hydrogen, Union Earth

Sciences and Science and

Technology Minister Dr

Jitendra Singh had declared the

aspirational goal of 'Hydrogen

2-1-2' wherein "2 means green

hydrogen that would costs for

less than $2 per kg; 1 means

hydrogen storage plus distribution

plus refueling cost less

than $1 per kg, and the last 2 is

for replacement of incumbent

end-use technology with green

hydrogen technology with ROI

of less than 2 years".

"Various options have been

given to the PMO, all of them

are under consideration. Some

of these endorsements will find

a way to this forum (COP),"

said another source in the

Environment Ministry.

In this decade, the whole

economy of the world is to rest

on hydrogen, and the "H2 economy"

will bring in a paradigm

change. It is a continuously

available material and totally

renewable. One cannot store

energy anywhere else except in

hydrogen and batteries.

"This development - of

announcing big on green

hydrogen - would be greatly

helpful in reducing import bills

from batteries needed for storage

in case of solar energy," a

consultant from the energy

field said.

Aravapalli had won nearly

$10,000 at the Parx Casino in

Pennsylvania and John-Reid,

who watched him cash the winnings,

followed him to his

home about 80 kilometres

away. After Aravapalli

entered the house, John-

Reid allegedly broke

through a backdoor and

shot him while his wife

and daughter slept

upstairs, according to

police quoted by the station.

According to

Aravapalli's LindedIn

profile, he headed Aurex

Laboratories since 2014.

He received a master's

degree in

Information Technology

from the New Jersey

Institute of Technology

and had been the CEO of

two other companies,

Ezminds and ePayroll.

Aurex Laboratories

said on its website that it

has a research organisation in

Hyderabad and a manufacturing

facility in New Jersey and

provides "world-class manufacturing,

cutting edge laboratories,

professional and

well-trained personnel, and

exceptional customer service".


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021

13

Indian-origin kid wins top prize in US

science contest for middle schoolers

New York. Indian-origin Akilan

Sankaran has won the top prize

in the nation's leading science

competition with a computer

programme using "antiprime

numbers" that can accelerate

everyday processes.

While the 14-year-old won

the $25,000 prize in the

Broadcom Masters science and

engineering competition on

Thursday, three of the four winners

of the next level prizes of

$10,000 were also of Indian-origin,

as were 15 of the 30 finalists

from around the country.

Maya Ajmera, the president

of the Society for Science (SfS),

which runs the competition with

Broadcom Foundation, said:

"The young people we are celebrating

today are working to

solve the world's most

intractable problems. The

Broadcom Masters finalists

serve as an inspiration to us all,

NASA partners with

National Geographic

for Moon missions

Washington. NASA has selected

National Geographic to help

tell the story of Artemis II, the

first Artemis flight that will carry

astronauts around the Moon and

back to Earth aboard the

agency's Orion spacecraft, the

US space agency said.

National Geographic was

selected following a competitive

selection process. The US space

agency and National Geographic

has entered into a non-reimbursable

(no-exchange-of-funds)

Space Act Agreement to collaborate

on compact, lightweight

audiovisual hardware to fly

inside Orion and related support

for the project, NASA said in a

statement. "Returning humans to

the Moon with Artemis II will

inspire the next generation of

explorers," said Kathy Lueders,

associate administrator for the

Space Operations Mission

Directorate at NASA

Headquarters in Washington.

"This time, we are bringing

partners and technologies that

and I know they will all go on to

find immense success on their

STEM (science, technology,

engineering and mathematics)

journey." Akilan's winning entry

was the computer program that

can calculate "highly divisible

numbers" that are called

antiprime numbers and are over

1,000 digits long, SfS said.

"He created a new class of

functions � the smooth class

� to measure a number's divisibility"

and his programme has

the potential capacity to speed

up and optimize the performance

of software and apps," it said.

"By analysing and developing

'smooth highly divisible numbers',

Akilan's goal was to make

calculations run more quickly, in

turn accelerating countless

everyday processes and tasks," it

added.

Sankaran "hopes to become

an astrophysicist so that he can

will create additional opportunities

for the world to share in the

experience along with our astronauts,"

she added.

National Geographic plans to

leverage its portfolio of media

assets, including magazines,

social and digital content, and

television programming, for

engagement opportunities.

Those would include capabilities

for creating an immersive experience

aboard Orion to share the

story of human exploration of

the Moon. In November 2020,

NASA had called for proposals

to collaborate on unique public

engagement, starting with

Artemis II. Artemis mission

activities will include Artemis I,

an uncrewed flight test that will

launch Orion on NASA's Space

Launch System rocket to orbit

the Moon and return to Earth.

Artemis II will carry a crew

aboard Orion, paving the way for

future missions to send the first

woman and first person of colour

to the surface of the Moon.

merge three of his favourite topics:

physics, mathematics and

space science", according to the

SfS.

Camellia Sharma, 14, built a

3D-printed aerial drone/boat that

can fly to a spot, land on the

water and take underwater photos

while its software can then

count the fish living there, winning

a $10,000 award.

Another winner of a similar

award, Prisha Shroff, 14, developed

an artificial intelligencebased

wildfire prevention system

that uses satellite and meteorological

data to identify fire-prone

locations and deploy drones

there.

For her study of the many

social factors that affect the

health of communities, Ryka C.

Chopra, 13, geocoded the locations

of fast-food restaurants to

see if they are built near populations

of obese people, perhaps

contributing to the obesity cycle,

winning another $10,000 award.

More than 1,800 middle

school students from across the

US entered the Broadcom

Masters competition.

‘Call taken due to Covid, pollution’:

Delhi doubles down on cracker ban

New Delhi : The Delhi government

on Monday told the

high court that it will not allow

any firecrackers, including

“green crackers”, to be sold and

used in the Capital in wake of

Covid-19 pandemic and the

deteriorating air quality. Justice

Sanjeev Sachdeva, while hearing

a plea by 50 licensed

traders seeking to sell the socalled

green crackers in Delhi,

was told by advocate Naushad

Ahmed Khan, additional standing

counsel of the Delhi government,

that it has seized more

than 11,000 kg of firecrackers

till October 24 this year.

Scientist link rare genetic hearing loss condition with infertility

London. A team of researchers

has identified a common link

between Perrault syndrome, a

rare genetic condition resulting

in hearing loss in men and

women, and early menopause or

infertility in women.

The research led by NHS

Foundation Trust and The

University of Manchester could

revolutionise the diagnosis and

treatment for people with

Perrault syndrome.

The study, published in the

American Journal of Human

Genetics, revealed eight different

genes that can cause this

same condition.

Not only will it directly benefit

families with this specific

type of hearing loss, but a deeper

understanding of the biological

processes involved in hearing

“In the last one year we are

not adding any additions to the

fire crackers and simultaneously

we have carried out raids…

wherever large-scale crackers

are found… 11,119 kg firecrackers

were seized till

are likely to have wider implications,

providing insights into

more common forms of hearing

loss, the researchers said.

According to Bill Newman,

Professor of Translational

Genomic Medicine in The

Manchester Centre for Genomic

Medicine, the research began 10

years ago at Saint Mary's

Hospital, when a local family

October 24..,” he

said.

Khan also told

the court that

Covid-19 is not

over yet, though

restrictions have

been lifted on several

activities.

“Covid-19 is not

yet over, we have to

see all aspects

including opening of school,

trade avenues and everything

we are doing. Some restrictions

have been lifted and some are

still in place,” he said, adding

that the ban is in consonance

had Perrault

syndrome.

After some

genetic studies

doctors

identified a

novel gene

and changes

in that gene

that caused

the condition.

Newman said

that after sharing

the discovery they had

requests from around the world

asking "us to undertake tests in

their patients, to see if they had

changes in this same gene".

While they did not find the same

changes in the genes as the

Manchester family, it made them

search for other genes.

"We know these genes are

with the earlier order passed by

the Supreme Court on July 23,

2021 where it had said that the

use of firecrackers could be disallowed

due to considerations

such as Covid and air quality.

Green crackers cause less air

pollution than the regular variety

since they do not contain

barium salts. One of the petitioners

said crackers of this

variety are not available in

Delhi because the state government

“did not allow their use

despite a go-ahead from the

Supreme Court”. The petitioner

said he wrapped up his business

in the city after the ban.

important in a part of the cell

called the mitochondria, known

as the energy bundles of the cell,

we know that some tissues in our

body are very susceptible to

when the mitochondria don't

work, and that's why we believe

these hearing and ovarian problems

occur," Newman said.

"As girls do not usually

receive this diagnosis until

puberty, earlier diagnosis would

help young women to make

decisions about preserving their

eggs before menopause, to allow

reproduction options later in life.

"Babies with significant hearing

loss will now be screened for

changes in these genes so that

we can identify earlier if they

have Perrault syndrome. This

has a potential life-changing

impact for families," he noted.


14 01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Microbes to help develop Martian

rocket bio-fuel on Red Planet

New York : US researchers

have developed a technique that

would help astronomers develop

Martian rocket fuel using

microbes on the Red Planet.

While the bioproduction

process would use three

resources native to the Red

Planet -- carbon dioxide, sunlight,

and frozen water -- two

microbes will be transported

from Earth to Mars.

The first is cyanobacteria

(algae), which would take CO2

from the Martian atmosphere

and use sunlight to create sugars,

and second an engineered E. coli

which will convert those sugars

into a Mars-specific propellant

for rockets and other propulsion

devices, said a team led by

researchers at the Georgia

Institute of Technology.

The Martian propellant,

which is called 2,3-butanediol, is

currently in existence and can be

created by E. coli, they

explained in the paper, published

in the journal Nature

Communications. On Earth, it is

used to make polymers for production

of rubber.

"Carbon dioxide is one of the

only resources available on

Mars. Knowing that biology is

especially good at converting

CO2 into useful products makes

it a good fit for creating rocket

fuel," said Nick Kruyer, from

Georgia Tech's School of

Chemical and Biomolecular

Engineering (ChBE).

Rocket engines departing

Mars are currently planned to be

fuelled by methane and liquid

oxygen (LOX). As neither exists

on Mars, they need to be transported

from Earth to power a

return spacecraft into Martian

orbit. That transportation is

expensive: ferrying the needed

30 tonnes of methane and LOX

is estimated to cost around $8

billion. To reduce this cost,

NASA proposed using chemical

catalysis to convert Martian CO2

into LOX, but this still requires

methane to be transported from

Earth. As an alternative, Georgia

Tech researchers proposed a

biotechnology based in situ

resource utilisation (bio-ISRU)

strategy that can produce both

the propellant and LOX from

CO2. The process begins by ferrying

plastic materials to Mars

that would be assembled into

photobioreactors occupying the

size of four football fields.

Cyanobacteria would grow in

the reactors via photosynthesis

(which requires carbon dioxide).

Enzymes in a separate reactor

would break down the cyanobacteria

into sugars, which could be

fed to the E. coli to produce the

rocket propellant. The propellant

would be separated from the E.

coli fermentation broth using

advanced separation methods.

The researchers said that

making the propellant on Mars

using Martian resources could

help reduce mission cost. In

addition, the bio-ISRU process

will generate 44 tonnes of excess

clean oxygen that could be set

aside to use for other purposes,

such as supporting human

colonisation.

Chinese hypersonic missile test

very concerning: Top US Gen

New Delhi : A top US

General has said that China's

suspected hypersonic missile test

is close to a Sputnik moment,

referring to the Soviet satellite

launch that sparked the Cold War

arms race, the BBC reported.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

of Staff Mark Milley said in an

interview with Bloomberg News

that the Chinese military is

"expanding rapidly". The

Financial Times reported this

month that the test stunned the

US military. Beijing denies any

missile test, saying instead it was

a spacecraft. "What we saw was

a very significant event of a test

of a hypersonic weapon system.

And it is very concerning," Gen

Milley told Bloomberg on

Wednesday, the report said.

"I don't know if it's quite a

Sputnik moment, but I think it's

very close to that. It has all of

our attention." His comment is

the first official acknowledgement

by the US of claims that

China conducted two missile

tests over the summer. Reports

indicate that it was a nuclearcapable

missile that could evade

US air defence systems.

Pentagon spokesman John

Kirby refused to comment on

the general's remarks at a

Wednesday briefing, saying:

"This is not a technology that is

alien to us, that we haven't been

thinking about for a while."

He added that the US is

working to strengthen defence

systems and pursuing its own

hypersonic capabilities.

Hypersonic missiles are

capable of travelling at five

times the speed of sound. They

are considered more manoeuvrable

than conventional missiles

and more capable of avoiding

interception from air

defence, the report added. Gen

Milley also warned that the

Chinese military has grown

"from a peasant-based infantry

army that was very, very large in

1979 to a very capable military

that covers all the domains and

has global ambitions".

According to CNN, CIA

Director Bill Burns described

China last week as the greatest

technological threat to the US.

Earlier this month he said the

spy agency would boost its

efforts towards China.

Vicky Kaushal thanks

audience for positive

response to 'Sardar Udham'

Mumbai : 'Sardar

Udham' released a few days

back and the appreciation

for the film seems to be

pouring in from all directions.

Vicky Kaushal who

plays the titular role is at the

receiving end of the audience's

attention. The actor

has thanked the audience for

showing a positive response

to his film.

The actor took to his

Instagram and shared a picture

of him posing with a

'laddoo'. He wrote, "It's been 10

days and the way you have

accepted the film and continue

to carry it forward has been

heartwarming for the Team!!!

New Delhi : Delhi's sex ratio

in 2020 has increased to 933

females to 1,000 males and its

infant mortality rate has

decreased from 24.19 per cent in

2019 to 20.37 in 2020, Deputy

Chief Minister Manish Sisodia

said on Thursday.

"The sex ratio increased to

933 females to 1000 males in

2020 in Delhi. This number was

920 in 2019. The infant mortality

rate in Delhi has also

decreased in comparison to

2019. The infant mortality rate

Cherishing all the love pouring

in, Udham Singh style. I guess

we both share the same love for

laddoos. Thank You so much

for not just watching the film

per thousand in 2019 was 24.19,

whereas it was 20.37 in 2020,"

he said, quoting the annual

report of the Directorate of

Economics and Statistics.

"The rise in the sex ratio rate

demonstrates increased social

awareness. Our culture is

becoming more educated and

appreciating the importance of

the girl child, which is a source

of tremendous pride," Sisodia

noted.

As per the Delhi government's

statement, the maternal

but experiencing it. Thank

You for befriending

#SardarUdham ??????"

'Sardar Udham' is an epic

biographical historical

drama that documents the

life of freedom revolutionary

Udham Singh, who

assassinated Michael

O'Dwyer in London to

avenge the 1919 Jallianwala

Bagh massacre in Amritsar.

The film directed by ace

filmmaker Shoojit Sircar,

also stars Amol Parashar and

Banita Sandhu. It premiered on

Prime Video on October 16 and

has been at the centre of both

critical and commercial

acclaim since then.

Delhi's sex ratio increases, infant mortality decreases in 2020

mortality rate was 0.55 per thousand

births in 2019, however, it

fell to 0.54 per thousand births in

2020.

"In Delhi, the birth rate fell

from 18.35 per thousand in 2019

to 14.85 per thousand in 2020. In

2020, a number of 3,01,645

births were registered, compared

to 3,65,868 in 2019. The death

rate in Delhi has decreased as a

result of dramatic changes in the

city's health infrastructure and

universal access to better health

care for all inhabitants.

China cracks down

on skyscrapers

New Delhi : China has restricted smaller cities

in the country from building "super high-rise buildings",

as part of a larger bid to crackdown on vanity

projects, the BBC reported

Cities with populations of less than three million

people will be restricted from building skyscrapers

taller than 150 metres (492 ft).

Those with populations larger than that will be

restricted from buildings taller than 250 metres.

There is already an existing ban on buildings taller

than 500 metres.

China is home to

some of the world's

highest buildings -

including the 632m

Shanghai Tower and

the 599.1m Ping An

Finance Centre in

Shenzhen, the BBC

report said. Local

reports say that

while skyscrapers

may be needed in

crowded cities like

Shanghai and

Shenzhen, there is

no shortage of land

in other cities,

adding that those

had been built mostly

for vanity reasons. China has increasingly been

cracking down on costly vanity projects, criticising

local developers obsession with constructing eyecatching

buildings. Earlier this year the country

issued a ban on "ugly architecture". The announcement

was mostly met with approval on Chinese

social media site Weibo, with many stating that the

super-high skyscrapers were "not needed... they're

just gimmicky", the BBC report added.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Assets worth Rs 5 cr unearthed

from ex-constable in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, .The vigilance

department of Odisha has

unearthed disproportionate

assets worth over Rs 5 crore

from ex-constable Prasanna

Kumar Behera and further

search is on, officials said on

Thursday.

On the allegation of possession

of assets disproportionate to

the known sources of income,

vigilance teams conducted

simultaneous raids on the properties

of Behera, at five places on

Thursday.

During the raid, the anti-corruption

wing of the Odisha government,

so far, found that

New Delhi :

Continued rains in

south India, high fuel

cost, and disrupted

supply have meant

prices of several vegetables

soaring high in

Delhi, the most striking

being that for capsicum

which sold at Rs

100 per kg.

Tomato continued

its high strides since

the weekend while

even the tender

coconut prices shot up

to Rs 65 per piece on

Thursday.

In west Delhi, eggplant,

cauliflower, and

ladyfinger were sold at

Rs 60 per kg, whereas

tomato, taro root, and

carrot were at Rs 80

per kg. But it was the capsicum

that touched the sky.

After government intervention

of sending buffer stocks to

the open markets, onion rates

climbed down to Rs 40 per kg,

the same as potatoes. Several

other vegetables continued to be

sold at cost lower than Rs 60 per

Behera owns Spark Furniture

showroom at Dumduma in

Bhubaneswar whose land value

is Rs 1.47 crore while the cost of

furniture showroom would be

over Rs 2 crore.

One plot worth Rs 45 lakh, a

flat in the name of his spouse

worth Rs 24 lakh, insurance

deposits over Rs 50 lakh, 4 fourwheelers,

2 two wheelers and 21

bank passbooks have been

unearthed during the house

search so far, the vigilance said.

Further, the vigilance has

deputed its technical, finance

and forest wing personnel for

valuation of buildings, and a

kg. Bottle gourd and cucumber

were at Rs 39, and pumpkin sat

at the bottom of the table at Rs

29 per kg.

"There has been nearly 40 per

cent increase in the price of the

vegetables... The main reason

behind the increase is the rising

fuel rates which has in turn

huge number of costly furniture

items displayed in the furniture

showroom.

The vigilance has also found

that Behera has unauthorizedly

extended his government quarter

at Kalpana Square in

Bhubaneswar by construction of

8 more rooms. Behera was first

suspended for his involvement

in running a bar at Hotel South

City in Patrapada here, illegally.

The offense came to the fore

after the murder of Manish

Anurag, son of senior journalist

Navin Das. Later, he was dismissed

from the service following

his arrest.

increased the vegetable rates,"

Ankit Kumar, a vendor at the

Safal outlet at West Enclave,

Pitampura, told IANS.

Several other vendors that

IANS spoke with said the main

reason was excessive rains that

affected the supplies. Many of

them also said that fuel cost

NEWS

Madrid : The eruption of the

Cumbre Vieja volcano on the

island of La Palma, Spain, has

now continued for over a month,

with experts warning that it is

likely spew lava in the "short and

medium term".

Over 7,000 people from a

total population of 85,000 have

been evacuated from their homes

since the beginning of the eruption

on September 19, after a

As onion rates dip, tomato, capsicum,

brinjal soar high in Delhi

added to the woes.

Buyers had mixed reactions.

"The amount of protein

and other vegetable intake

has increased and should

be increased considering

the Covid times. We

should always consume

healthy food, even if a little

costly, which will help

us fight this infectious

virus," Naveen Pahwa, a

39-year-old dentist, said

as he picked up vegetables

at one of the vendors.

However, it is only the

retail prices that were high

and not the wholesale

prices, indicating that it

was the traders who benefitted

at the cost of the

common man.

At the Azadpur

Agriculture Produce Marketing

Committee, the wholesale rates

on Thursday stood as follows

(all rates for per kg): onion Rs 20

to Rs 40; tomato Rs 12 to Rs 56,

potato Rs 5 to Rs 11.25, brinjal

Rs 10 to Rs 25, cauliflower Rs

10 to Rs 35, cabbage Rs 8 to Rs

22 and pumpkin Rs 5 to Rs 10.

01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021

"swarm" of earthquakes affected

La Palma in the Canary Island

archipelago, reports Xinhua

news agency. During its ongoing

eruption, the volcano ejected 80

million cubic metres of lava covering

over 800 hectares of land

on the island that has a surface

area of just 708.32 square km.

On its route to the coast, the

lava has split into four different

channels and has destroyed

15

Volcano eruption in Spanish island

continues for over a months

Tokyo : The

number of foreign

visitors to Japan

dropped over 99

per cent in

September compared

with the

same month in

2019, local media

reported on

Thursday.

Japan has

banned most foreign

travellers

from entering the

country since

January, except for

those who have

special reasons, reports Xinhua

news agency.

According to the Japan

National Tourism Organization,

the number of estimated foreign

travellers last month was around

17,700, falling 99.2 per cent

from September 2019, when

2.27 million visitors arrived in

the country.

Among the estimated numbers,

4,000 people arrived from

China, 2,200 from South Korea,

1,700 from the US and 1,000

from Vietnam.

Apart from the COVID-19

pandemic, the Japanese government

is also monitoring the

almost 300 hectares of agricultural

land, including 52 hectares

of vineyards and 128 dedicated

to banana plantations -- the

island's main crop.

Almost 2,000 buildings have

been destroyed. One of the flows

has reached the sea and created

around 40 hectares of new land

while a second flow is expected

to reach the ocean "in a matter of

hours". "We are doing everything

that is humanly possible,

almost the impossible, to limit

the damage," Angel Victor

Torres, the Canary Islands

regional president, said on

Wednesday night as lava moved

through the municipality of La

Laguna.

Meanwhile the island continues

to be shaken by constant

earthquakes of which over

35,000 have been measured

since the start of the event, with

the strongest measuring 4.8 on

the Richter Scale. An unprecedented

drone operation was carried

out on Wednesday to rescue

stranded dogs.

Maha: ED arrests Anil Deshmukh

in money laundering case

Mumbai : The Enforcement Directorate

arrested former Maharashtra Home Minister,

Anil Deshmukh in an alleged money-laundering

case after grilling him for more than 13 hours.

Deshmukh, 72, had gone to the ED office before

Monday afternoon for the probe into the allegations

of Rs.100 crore extortion levelled by former

Mumbai Police Commissioner, Param Bir

Singh. Deshmukh, a senior Nationalist Congress

Party leader, had said he was appearing before

the ED voluntarily as he respected the law,

and.the arrest came.on expected lines.

Foreign visitors to Japan

fell over 99% in Sep

increasing oil prices, which

could possibly raise the cost of

public transportation and deal

another blow on the tourism

industry.

"Tourism demand suddenly

evaporated because of the pandemic.

Now, as we head into

winter, higher kerosene prices

are going to be a big problem. In

addition, rising fuel costs could

have an impact on public transportation,"

said Tourism Agency

Commissioner of Japan Koichi

Wada.

Wada said under the current

situation, the Tourism Agency

would be prepared to help with

various financial support.


16 01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Remembering Thoughts and Politics

of ACHARYA NARENDRA DEVA

Acharya Narendra Deva, known as

the patriarch of Indian socialism, was

born on 31 October 1889 in Sitapur,

Uttar Pradesh. He did his higher education

in Allahabad and Banaras. He

obtained his law degree from

Allahabad University and practiced

law for some time. But his philosophical

mind did not find satisfaction and

he became a history teacher at Kashi

Vidyapeeth in 1921 and then vice

chancellor of Lucknow University

and Banaras Hindu University

(BHU). Having a good knowledge of

Hindi, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Pali, German,

French and English languages,

Acharya made a serious study of history,

archeology, religion, philosophy

and culture. Acharya was basically a

teacher. A politician's ambition and

strategic skills were not an integral

part of his personality. But his concerns

for India’s freedom and an egalitarian

democratic society kept him in

midst of politics.

Acharya was politically active in

Congress, Congress Socialist Party

(CSP) during the freedom struggle

and Socialist Party and Praja Socialist

Party (PSP) after the independence.

He presided over the formation conference

of the CSP held in Patna on 17

May 1934 and was also elected its

first president. Apart from his active

role in freedom/socialist movement,

Acharya propounded doctrine of

socialism. Lohia's 'Pachmarhi Thesis'

is well known in the socialist movement

of India. In the same manner

Acharya's 'Gaya Thesis' is considered

to be a masterpiece.

Acharya was inclined to follow

Marxism as a contemplative line of

thought and method. On one occasion

he said that he can leave the party but

not Marxism. But he was not a stereotypical

or orthodox communist. This

is to say that in the name of the proletariat,

a dictatorial attitude of a person

or a group within the communist party

was unacceptable to his democratic

mind. Acharya was a critic of the

undemocratic character of the regime

of Soviet Russia. But he was not a

supporter of pro-American capitalist

imperialism in any way. He did not

see any contradiction between

Marxism and National Independence

Movement of India and the rest of the

world under the yoke of colonial rule.

In the same way, he saw mutual supplementation

between the farmers and

workers' revolutionary power. He

favored the connection between the

agricultural revolution and the socialist

revolution. That is why he gave

more time to farmers’ politics.

However, he used to understand the

dangers of organizing farmers on the

basis of caste and religion.

Acharya considered much

that was of value in the ancient culture

of India. He made a serious study of

Buddhism and its philosophy. He

composed the Sahitya Akademi

award-winning book 'Bauddh

Dharma-Darshan' in Hindi. He said in

1936: "Our work is not only to end the

exploitation by the imperialism but to

end the exploitation by all those classes

of the society which are exploiting

the people today. We want to create a

new civilization which will be rooted

Prem Singh

in ancient civilization, which will

have the colors of the country, which

will keep the excellent elements of the

ancient civilization safe, and, simultaneously,

new progressive elements of

the contemporary world will also be

included, and, thus would like to present

a new ideal before the world."

Like all the important leaders

of freedom movement, Acharya

Amaravati farmers launch mega walkathon to Tirupati

Amaravati : Demanding that

Amaravati be retained as the only state

capital of Andhra Pradesh, farmers and

women from the city on Monday launched

a 'Mahapadyatra', which will culminate in

Tirupati on December 17.

The mega walkathon titled 'Court to

temple' has been organised by Amaravati

Parirakshana Samithi and Amaravati Joint

Action Committee (JAC).

The participants, who started the

'Mahapadyatra' near Andhra Pradesh High

Court, will walk 10-15 km daily for the

next 45 days to reach the Sri Venkateswara

Temple, Tirumala.

TDP leaders Devineni Uma, P. Pulla

Rao and others attended the inaugural programme.

Before embarking on the walkathon, the

farmers and women offered prayers nd an

all-faith prayer meeting was also organised.

The 'Mahapadyatra' will pass through

70 major villages in Guntur, Prakasam,

Nellore and Chittoor districts.

Barring the ruling YSR Congress Party

(YSRCP), the Telugu Desam Party (TDP),

Congress, BJP, CPI, CPI-M, Aam Admi

Party, Dalit Bahujan Front, along with various

people's organisations various groups

have backed the walkathon.

The 'Mahapadyatra' marks the beginning

of a new phase of the agitation by

Amaravati farmers which is continuing for

660 days to protest against the state government's

plans for trifurcation of the state

capital.

After coming to power in 2019, the

YSRCP government had decided to shift

administrative capital to Visakhapatnam

and judicial capital to Kurnool while

retaining Amaravati as only the legislative

capital.

was sentenced to jail often. On one

hand, prison greatly damaged his

health due to his asthmatic condition,

but on the other it gave him much

time for reading and writing. For

instance, he started translation of

Vashubandhu's 'Abhi-Dhamm Kosh'

from French to Hindi in Banaras jail

in 1932 and completed it in Ahmed

Nagar jail in 1945 where he was held

captive with many leaders, including

Jawaharlal Nehru. In the preface of

his book 'Discovery of India', Nehru

has expressed his debt to his colleagues

including Acharya for their

scholarly inputs. Acharya, like

Gandhi, considered ethics as the criterion

for both life and politics. The

greatest significance of Acharya's

thoughts is to enhance the moral values

??of a person with the revolutionary

process of social change. His

emphasis on the ethical side of social

change is related to Indian view,

whereas the scientific analysis of the

social forces is related to the Marxist

view. He was naturally opposed to the

ethics-neutral tendency developed in

the Bolshevik stream of Marxism.

Acharya died in Madras on

19 February 1956 at the age of 67

years. He has made an outstanding

contribution to the independence

struggle and later to nation-building as

a teacher, thinker and socialist leader.

Nehru in his obituary in the Parliament

said, "The death of Acharya Narendra

Deva means something much bigger

for many of us and, I think, for the

country than just the passing away of

an important person. He was a man of

rare distinction - distinction in many

fields - rare in spirit, rare in mind and

intellect, rare in integrity of mind and

otherwise too. Only his body failed

him. I do not know if there is any person

present here in this House who

was associated with him for a longer

period than I was. Over 40 years ago

we came together and we shared innumerable

experiences together in the

dust and heat of the struggle for independence

and in the long silence of

prison life where we spent - I forget

now - four or five years together at various

places, and inevitably got to know

each other intimately; and so, for many

of us, it is a grievous loss and a grievous

blow, even as it is a grievous loss

for our country. There is the public

sense of loss and there is the private

sense of loss and a feeling that somebody

of rare distinction has gone and it

will be very difficult to find his like

again." Remembering Acharya on his

birth anniversary, one regrets the state

of political-intellectual scenario of

today's India. Our leaders, who were

engaged in the freedom struggle were

incomparably inspirational, and so

insightful.

(The author taught Hindi at

Delhi University.)

1.7 kg gold missing from Customs

office godown in K'taka; 4 booked

Bengaluru : The

Karnataka Police have

registered a criminal case

against four customs officers

in connection with the

disappearance of 1.7 kg of

gold from the godown of

the Customs office located

in the C.R. Building on

Queens Road in

Bengaluru, Karnataka, sources said on Monday.

Based on the complaint by Superintendent of Customs

(Vigilance) Gopal M., Commercial Street police have booked a

case under IPC 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant),

420 (cheating) against two superintendents and two inspectors of

the Customs department. The missing gold was seized in separate

cases of 2012 (722 grams) and 2016 (1,042 grams).

The incident came to light during the inspection by the deputy

director on July 15. The complaint mentions that the accused

officers have failed to produce the missing gold and they had

misused it. In October 2020, the Central Bureau of Investigation

(CBI) had filed a complaint against six officials from the

Customs department in connection with missing 2.6 kilograms

of gold from a godown located at the Kempegowda International

Airport (KIAL) in Bengaluru.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021

17

65th Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Day

at Ambedkar Museum London

65th Dhamma Chakra Pravartan

Day Celebration was organised by the

federation of Ambedkarite and

Buddhist Organisations, UK(FABO

UK) on 16 October at the Ambedkar

Museum, 10 King Henry’s Road,

London. A number of devotees of

Babasaheb Dr Ambedkar and Ven.

Monks from different countries attended

the celebrations. Since the granting

of official status of Museum, this was

the first event took place at this

Museum.

The programme commenced with

the floral tributes to the life size statue

of Babasaheb Dr Ambedkar followed

by lighting of candles and offerings of

flowers to Lord Buddha. Buddhist

prayer was conducted by Ven. Dr D.

Mahalaow Panyasiri, the Royal Thai

Bhikkhu.

Talking on the importance of

Deeksha Day, C. Gautam, Joint secretary

of FABO UK said that 65 years

ago, Babasaheb brought a peaceful revolution

on 14 October 1956 by reviving

Buddhism along with half a million of

his followers. Today millions of people

are following his footsteps and practicing

Buddhism.

Ven. Dr D. Mahalaow Panyasiri

spoke about his involvement with the

Indian community and their passion for

Buddhism. Dr Ambedkar left a long

lasting legacy of equality, liberty and

fraternity and gave a new meaning to

Buddhism. Ven. Vjithavansa Thera,

Spiritual head of West London Buddha

Vihara gave a brief biography of Dr

Ambedkar and was greatly influenced

by his writings. Being a Sri Lankan, he

felt privileged to be associated with

Ambedkarite movement.

Advocate Pravin Nikam, a

Chevening scholar, human rights

lawyer and student at the London

School of Economics and Political

Science (LSE) while speaking at

Ambedkar Museum London, said that

“I am a son of farmer parents who were

forced to leave farming and migrate to

the city in search of a job. It was only

because of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar

who laid the foundation of equality into

our Constitution which gave equal

opportunities to people like us and also

gave them the courage to peruse higher

education.” Pravin added that “My

journey to LSE is indicative of the

dreams of millions of people who come

from marginalized background. It was

only because of Dr Ambedkar’s progressive

thinking wherein he placed

social and economic equality alongside

political and civic equality. Dr

Ambedkar is an unparalleled source of

inspiration for all people. His life is a

testament to his determination, conviction,

and dedication to social justice.”

He concluded his address by saying

” I assure you that on my return to India

after completing my Masters from

LSE, I will continue my work as human

rights defender in upholding democratic

values. I assure you that I will continue

to enable people at the grassroots

by creating access to education, gender

equality, justice and reproductive

health rights.

Bhim Stuti and Bhim Smaran were

recited by Ambedkarites lead by

Kalpana Shindhe, Metta Sutta by shalaka

Ahire, recollection of the triple gem

(Iti pi so Bhagawa) by Mrs Surjit Birdi

and Bojjhanga Paritta chanting by Ms

Suman Chander

Event concluded with two minutes

noble silence in memory of those

departed untimely. The recitation of

blessings was chanted by Rev. members

of the Sangha.

Arun Kumar

General Secretary

Federation of Ambedkarite and

Buddhist Organisations UK

An Eye Witness account to anti Sikh killings

in Trilokpuri in Delhi in the aftermath of

assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984

Joseph Maliakan is a veteran journalist who worked with Indian Express at the

time when Delhi was burning in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi's assassination.

Mrs Indira Gandhi was assassinated on October 31st, 1984 at her official residence

in Delhi by her own security guards, who happened to be Sikhs. Though

the incident happened at around 9 am in the morning, the nation was kept on the

hook till 6 pm with no information being made available to people on All India

Radio and Doordarshan. Once she was officially declared dead at the 6 pm All

India Radio bulletin, Delhi had already witnessed a scene of horrific crime with

the goons of the ruling Congress party led by senior leaders campaigning against

Sikhs. Frankly speaking, it was not merely Congress but the party that time

became the ‘identity’ of ‘Hindus’ and Sikhs were made the biggest villain being

accused of celebrating Indira Gandhi’s death by distributing ‘laddus’ and so many

things. Every Sikh was accused of conspiring, enjoying and a suspected

Khalistani. The state completely abdicated its responsibility with Delhi police

actively supporting the goons in targeting the innocent Sikhs and their localities.

It was one of the worst massacres, if I can say, that India saw in post independent

India. Trilokpuri in the Eastern Delhi had a thick population,

a majority of whom were poor as well as Economically Poor

Sections of society. This locality was targeted. Media had no

clue but it was

courageous

J o s e p h

Maliakan who

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

reached the place and witnessed the horrific crime. As per his

own narrative, his editors initially refused to believe the story

because of the magnitude of barbarism and deaths but he stood by his report and

it became one of the most sought after information during that period. He was

the first and most authentic reporter who reported the massive massacre of Sikhs

at Trilokpuri. He appeared before many Commissions of Inquiry. This conversation

was conducted at his home in Delhi. It has many more details about the

media and how it functions.

An extremely important voice of sanity and reasoning. We saw the anguish,

pain and tears in his eyes when he narrated this story to us. Important to understand

when the state abdicated its responsibility the result was mayhem and anarchy.

Rule of law must persist. We all must hang our heads in shame for our collective

responsibility in saving innocent lives. Very similar happened in Gujarat

2002 and the real issues are forgotten in the political manipulations and blame

games. As a nation and society, we need to understand how long we will allow

ourselves to bear such things. One thing is clear that India cannot become a powerful

nation as long ethnic, caste and religious identities are used to frame and

punish people.

This conversation was recorded about three years back at the Delhi residence

of Shri Joseph Maliakan. He also speaks about the caste bias in our media and

how the media ignored the real facts and how the SC-ST officers faced the punishment

instead of the real criminals.

Listen to this extremely important conversation of mine with Shri Joseph

Maliakan.

Farmers to intensify agitation from Nov 27 if demands not met

New Delhi : Bharatiya Kisan Union

(BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Monday

warned that if the farmers' demands are

not met till November 26, they would

pitch tents the following day across all

borders of Delhi and reinvigorate their

agitation.

"The farmers would reach the border

points on tractors and trolleys and fortify

the venues after pitching their tents,"

Tikait warned in a post on twitter.

Tikait has been leading a consortium

of farmers' groups and unions under the

banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM)

since last 11 months demanding the withdrawal

of the three farm laws passed by

the Centre in 2020.

His warning comes a day after Delhi

Police removed barricades at the Tikri

border to ease traffic movement.

Police had similarly removed blockades

on the carriageway towards Delhi at

the Ghazipur border on Friday.

Earlier on Sunday, the SKM had

urged the Centre to ensure the smooth

supply of fertilisers and not let black

marketing happen.

Paying homage to 'Kisan Chintak'

(farmers' friend) Sardar Vallabhbhai

Patel, Tikait tweeted on Sunday: "Patel

had said 'kisano ki awaz ansuni hai' (the

farmers' voices are unheard) in Britishruled

India. But are the farmers' voices

heard in independent India?"


18 01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Nobody would have doubted the

fury of rains and floods if it were the

monsoon season. We all know, India

suffers from both heavy rains as well as

a shortfall of rains. The monsoon in

India this year was more than its forecast

and eventually by the middle of

September we assumed that the

Monsoon was gone , giving happiness

to farmers and others.

Unfortunately, whether Monsoon

left or not, rains remained there. I was

travelling in the high ranges of

Uttarakhand and the weather really disappointed

us. First, we could not complete

our track to Dayara Bugyal which

was about 3000 meters above the sea

level offering a splendid view of the

Himalayas. When we were just short of

about 4 kilometer from meeting our

summit, heavy rains compelled us to

look for a shelter in the dense forest.

After two hours when the ferocity of

the rains stopped, we decided against

climbing up and returned which was

more difficult as it was a height at nearly

50-60 degrees slopes. Once we

reached our hotel, it rained extremely

heavily the entire night. The rains in the

Himalayas really frightens you. The

rains only stopped in the morning

around 7 am and suddenly we saw a

bright sun and snow covered peaks.

One days later, when we wanted to trek

Gomukh from Gangotri which was

about 18 kilometers away, we were

happy that finally we could see some

sunshine but after 9 kilometer’s stressful

walking, it started raining and we

could cover our first night night journey

with great difficulty. It was cloudy

and raining, bringing down the temperature

heavily. My friends from Mumbai

found it extremely difficult to sustain

and had breathing difficulties. Next

morning when we got up, the situation

was not clear and we had made our

mind to abandon the trip as reaching

back safely was more important even

when we knew well that it was difficult

terrain to walk in the rains as landslides

were common there.

When I had planned my trip after, it

was ideal to enjoy the bright sun shine

as Uttarakhand looks stunning in the

winter when the entire north India suffers

with gloomy fog all around, the

mountains in the Himalayas glitter in

the bright sun making it a fascinating

region to enjoy your winters. A couple

of days prior to our journey, there was

heavy rainfall and a landslide. I thought

the worst was over and decided but now

the heavy rains, floods and disaster has

proved how unpredictable the weather

has become today.

It was a rarity when we heard rains

and floods together everywhere and not

even in the mountains. We know

Monsoon starts in mid of May in

Kerala when the gates of the holy

shrines in Uttarakhand are opened to

the public, as that is the best period to

visit the hills. People who suffer in the

dirty, rotten heat of north India or even

in the West or South, visit to

Uttarakhand in a very large number.

Most of the time July August is the

rainy season and by mid-September,

Monsoon is officially off but this year it

is shocking beyond doubt.

Kerala has lost over 42 persons to

these unpredictable rains with towns

like Kottayam, Thiruvalla, Idukki,

Pathnamthittha facing the biggest jolt

of swelling waters in the rivers. Houses

collapsed like the cards and car swept

away. The dams in Kerala and

Tamilnadu are overflowing at the

moment and water level is rising high

in various districts due to opening up of

the gates of these dams. Once we

Nature’s message to planners

in Kerala and Uttarakhand

Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel

the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and

floods subsequently. Well, the pain that the rains brought to Kerala and now in

Uttarakhand is warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

thought the rains were over in Kerala,

the met department forecasted heavy

rains for Uttarakhand. I was not sure

but the next day when we got the information

it just reminded us of the terrible

tragedy of 2013 which was termed

as Himalayan Tsunami killing thousands

of people and damaging the huge

infrastructure in the state. World saw

unprecedented destruction at that time

where houses, roads, bridges, vehicles

floated and swept away in the furious

water of Ganges and numerous other

tributaries, some known and various

unknown or seasonal. So far, more than

58 lives have been lost, hundreds

wounded. Many of the trekkers who

had come to enjoy the beauty of the

regions are still untraceable. A majority

of the roads have caved in and in many

places will take time to come back to

normalcy.

Tsunami occurred in 2004 while

Uttarakhand's tragedy happened in

2013 but it looks that our governments

learnt very little from that. The magnitude

of the devastation did not affect

any change in the policies pursued by

the government as well as the bureaucracy.

It is clear that Climate crisis is an

issue which has been ignored. In the

name of ‘development’ our mountains,

rivers, seas are under the

assault of greedy companies and

political leaders as well as governments

who have become their

‘agents’.

Kerala is a beautiful state but ‘development’

has reached there with growing

urbanisation and ‘cemented infrastructure’

to meet the demand for the

growing population which was growing

enormously. Urban population which

was merely about 15% in 1971 was

now crossing nearly 50%. Moreover,

the heavy migration for jobs to the

Middle east result in ‘idea’ of ‘development’

by the individuals in the form of

houses which are never according to

local environment and needs but as per

fancies seen elsewhere. Rampant mining

to satisfy the need of the urban population

particularly for sands and stones

has aggravated the crisis. Deforestation

to pave the way for ‘industrialisation’

and annexation of the sea beaches to

attract ‘tourists’ and their demands are

ultimately paving the way towards bigger

disaster. There are about 58 big or

small dams in Kerala and one is certain

that many of them are in important ecologically

sensitive zones. For the first

time we heard that many of these dams

were running beyond their capacity this

time. The fact is that the reason for

floods in many areas in India are these

overflowing dams which suddenly

open up their gates for the waters

resulting in massive flooding everywhere.

Indian experts will have to think

it over now as to how long this will be

allowed. Whether Maharashtra,

Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, we

have seen such things happening every

year damaging property, crops and

human lives. It is time to focus on these

things in the beginning so that human

lives are not lost because of human

errors.

Look at what is happening in

Uttarakhand. It is destruction. The

greedy business lobby wanted to

destroy the sea coast, backwater system,

small rivers for mining, in

Uttarakhand they wanted to reach the

‘top’ to ‘promote’ tourism and for that

they have no shame in destroying our

basic identity, the mountains. The

Chardham yatra project added with

bringing railway network to high hills

are invitation to disaster. Nobody

denies that we should have good road

infrastructure but it is important how

and whether the destruction that we are

causing to nature is bigger or not. It

pained me to see how the mountains

were being drilled by the big machines

and concrete was replacing the natural

forests. We can not have four lane roads

in the Himalayan region unless we

destroy the entire ecological system. If

we destroy that, how much damage it

could create to the entire northern and

Eastern India will be unheard of.

Dams need to be damned. Unlike

Kerala, hills of Uttarakhand have

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

shown a negative growth rate in

Population. Hundreds of villages have

no habitat as people migrate. The winters

bring chills and many villagers

move to other regions during the winter.

It’s a kind of nomadism when people

migrate to other towns or villages

from Middle of October till February-

March end when the entire Himalayan

region is covered with deep and dense

snow. Forest cover is much higher

which is controlled by the government.

Many villages don’t even have public

utility places as they have to seek permission

from the forest yet big resorts

have come in. You can see Big resorts

in Jim Corbet National park which is

actually in the Tarai region ( Himalayan

plains) but elsewhere too in the higher

ranges above 3500 meters. It is this

lobby of ‘environmentalists’ who make

the local people look like enemies and

project themselves as ‘champions’ of

environmentalism. Frankly, it is this

lobby, which has damaged the cause of

the nature.

Laws must ensure local cultures,

communities and ecological issues are

protected and respected

The problem that has created this

huge crisis is the absolute disregard and

inability of the Indian states to respect

people and their knowledge which is

often regarded as ‘localised’ hence

‘experts’ are brought in and they legitimise

the political propaganda of the

power elite in their effort to create a

‘homogeneity’ among us. The fact of

the matter is that all ‘developmental’

projects have ‘ideas’ and ‘experts’

emerging from private companies sitting

in big metropolitan cities whose

major work is ‘lobbying’ with the

politicians, ministers and political parties

to get through their work. Most of

them have least concern for local sentiments

or environmental protection or

what is essentially known as Free Prior

Informed Consent which is an international

practice whenever there is a

developmental project planned in an

area of greater environmental concern

as well as indigenous communities.

World over, the rights of people are

respected and it is assumed that local

communities are the best bet to protect

the environment but back home the

contractors in big cities with political

connections and ‘experts’ funded by the

Industrial houses have used judiciary

for their purposes where ‘ local communities’

are perceived as ‘threat’ to

environment.

Hailing from the hills, I consider

them my

identity. I

have often

said whenever

a friend

wishes to

visit that you

find huge

palaces, big

buildings, historical spaces like those in

Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Lucknow,

Mysore, Chennai etc in the hills. If you

are coming to hills, you will only find

glacial rivers, fountains, mountains and

other natural thing and they are not

‘resources’ for us but our basic identity.

If there is no ‘pahad’ then there can not

be any Pahadi/Pahari which is our identity.

If the mountains are destroyed, we

will have to pay a heavy price and we

will ultimately eliminate our identity.

Even when I am a humanist, I live

with different rivers in the hills. Listen

to their songs, if you have the capacity

to understand the soulful humming and

observe their ferocity at places, the

power, the serenity and intensity unparalleled.

They are a treat to watch. Enjoy

the sublime, pure water and how it is

playing but what have we done to

them? We have tried to control them.

How many dam(ns) are being built on

various rivers in Uttarakhand which

ultimately gave us Ganga, the most fertile

and revered river of the country. A

journey from Rishikesh or Dehradun to

both the Gangotri, Yamunotri as well as

Badrinath-Kedarnath would give you

visibility to how mercilessly we have

betrayed the mountains as well as our

beautiful, adorable and revered rivers.

This is nothing but a brutal assault on

the greatest gift of nature to India. We

live in a strange society at the moment

where in the name of ‘respect’ we pollute

our rivers and mountains but

remain quiet on the issue of their

destruction.

The nature’s wrath at Kerala and

Uttarakhand have send a categorical

warning. You call both the states ‘Gods

own country’ and ‘Devbhumi’. For me,

both of them are the finest creation of

nature to enjoy. The beauty of Arabian

sea and stunning greenery of mountains

in Munnar, the loving backwaters at

Kumarkom and many more places are

nature’s creation now being destroyed

by greedy humans. Just travel to

Uttarakhand and you will get fascinated

with the beauty of Ganges and the more

upward you move, the beautiful snowy

rivers with the pristine water and humming

attract you. The snow-covered

peaks of Himalayas which literally protect

India from its mighty neighbour is

our best defence. There are lakes,

meadows, fountains and what not but

what happens is that human greed and

comfort create infrastructure that hurts

nature.

We all know that global warming is

a reality. Climate change is a reality. So

far, our governments, political parties

and politicians have no time fighting

with their pitching one person against

others. Our divisive agenda has already

hurt India and its ideas. The developmental

model that is being pursued is

purely to provide contracts to those

who are close to those in power.

Unfortunately, the power center of the

ruling party has not been able to come

out of its Gujarat obsession. It is trying

to create a Gujarati monopoly everywhere

which is dangerous and detrimental.

Look at the contractors, airports,

big ports, telephone companies,

internet services and find out

who the people are. What is the

diversity in them? For these ‘versatile’

geniuses, profit is everything

even if it has devastated

humanity.

We shout that from the

Himalayas to Arabian Sea, India is

one but here I want to say, from the

Himalayas to the Arabian sea, we

must not underestimate the warning

signals from nature. Whether it

is the mountains, rivers or sea, nature is

sending an emphatic message for all of

us to mend our ways or face the devastation.

It is time, political parties,

activists, and the government to give

serious thought. Local municipal bodies,

state governments, must act and

develop local models in terms of structures

and development. We can’t see a

beautiful and adorable city like Nainital

suffering in flood or the devastating

videos that emerged from Kottayam.

We need to protect our heritage which

emerges from nature. Respect nature,

learn to live with it, respect local communities

that protect nature and live a

natural life and stand up against those

who come to you with their ‘profitable’

‘developmental’ mantra. Nobody

should be allowed to exploit nature for

private profit.

There must be an eco-audit of our

schemes and programmes so that we

know what is happening on the ground

and what are the threats to our nature

and biodiversity. It is time for all of us

to stand up and be counted. We can not

allow our lonely planet to be destroyed

by the ‘developmental mafia’. Wake up

call for all. We hope both people of

Kerala and Uttarakhand will stand up

for protecting their natural identity and

make environmental-ecological issues

a prominent political agenda. Time has

come to question the ‘developmental’

model to save our fascinating and

enchanting natural heritage.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021

19

Hon’ble Mr. Justice

A.VARADARAJAN

Formerly of Supreme Court of India

Res:No.138, F Block, 7th Street,

Anna Nagar, Chennai-600 102

Ph: 044-26262120

Date: Dec 02, 1987

FOREWORD

This book is a Tamil translation by

Shri. A. Jaison, M.A., of the book “Dr.

Ambedkar On Poona Pact”.

The Poona Pact is an important historical

agreement which was signed by

the caste Hindu leaders and Dr.

Babasaheb Ambedar in Yerwada prison

at Poona on 24.9.1932. The history of

the pact reveals Mahatma Gandhi’s attitude

towards the demands of the

Scheduled Castes and Dr. Ambedkar’s

struggle for getting the rights of those

people recognized. The Depressed

Classes, who were called Harijans by

Mahatma Gandhi, came to be termed as

the Scheduled Castes in the

Government of India Act, 1935, and are

known as such since then.

Mahatma Gandhi was well aware

about how horribly the Depressed

Classes had been treated for ages by the

caste Hindus and he stated that the superior

caste Hindus have to do penance for

having so badly treated and neglected the

Depressed Classes for ages by acts of

service to those classes who have been

consigned to calculated degradation for

centuries by the caste Hindus. The

Depressed Classes formed a small minority

in almost all the villages in India.

The Montague Chelmsford Report,

which preceded the Government of

India Act of 1919, had stated that provision

must be made in the Constitution of

India Act of 1919 for the protection of

the Depressed Classes.

In accordance with the provision in

the Government of India Act, 1919, a

Royal Commission was appointed in

1928 with Sir John Simon as Chairman.

After its work was completed, as per its

assurance that the representative Indians

were to be called for a discussion before

the new Constitution was settled, the

British Government inaugurated the

Indian Round Table Conference on

12.11.1930. In that Conference the

Depressed Classes, who were all treated

as untouchables by the caste Hindus,

were allowed to be represented by Dr.

Babasaheb Ambedkar and Dewan

Bahadur R. Srinivasan.

The Minorities Committee headed

by the British Prime Minister to which

was entrusted the task of finding a solution

to the communal problem, was one

of the nine committees amongst which

the work of the Round Table

Conference was distributed.

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar submitted a

memorandum to the Minorities

Committee formulating the demands of

the Depressed Classes for legal protection.

In that memorandum Dr.

Babasaheb Ambedkar stated inter alia

that the Depressed Classes could not

consent to subject themselves to majority

rule and that they demanded all rights

in common with the other citizens of the

state. He demanded separate electorates.

The Congress chose Mahatma

Gandhi as its representative in the

Second Round Table Conference and he

functioned as such and also claimed to

represent even the Depressed Classes.

Although he was reconciled to special

“POONA OPPANDHAM”

representation to Muslims, Sikhs,

Europeans, Anglo-Indians and even

traders, he vehemently opposed the

same to the Depressed Classes. He was

not prepared to regard the Depressed

Classes as a separate class for political

purposes. He opposed the claim of separate

electorates and separate representation

to those classes.

The Minorities Committee failed to

find an agreed solution to the communal

question which the British Prime

Minister very much wished to have.

Mahatma Gandhi argued that separate

electorate and separate representation

for the Depressed Classes would create

a division in Hinduism and separate the

Depressed Classes forever from the

Caste Hindus, though he would not

mind the so called ‘untouchables’ being

converted into Islam or Christianity,

which would automatically provide separate

electorates and separate representation

to those converts. But Dr.

Moonje, a known Hindu communalist,

had been insisting that the Communal

Award of the British Government,

which gave separate electorates and

separate representation to the Depressed

Classes did not create any separation

between the Depressed Classes and the

Hindus.

Mahatma Gandhi at first opposed the

14 demands of the Muslims in the

Minorities Committee but when he

learnt that the ‘untouchables’ so-called

were getting the support of the other

minorities, particularly of the Muslims,

he was prepared to agree to all of them

on condition that Muslims withdrew

their support to the Depressed Classes

for separate electorates and separate

representation in Legislatures. The

Muslims did not agree.

In these circumstances, where no

agreement between the parties concerned

was foreseeable, the Prime

Minister of the British Government

Ramsay Mac Donald invited every

member of the Minorities Committee to

make a signed request to him to settle

the communal question and pledge himself

to accept his decision. This was

complied with by all the members of the

Minorities Committee, including

Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi

thought that it was enough to put the

Depressed Classes on the Voters’ list

and provide for the Fundamental Rights

for them in the Constitution and leave it

to the Special Election Tribunal to be

created in case the Depressed Classes

were unjustly treated and their representatives

were deliberately excluded,

which would order the unseating of the

elected candidates and the election of

the deliberately excluded men. He

thought that separate electorates would

ensure the Depressed Classes bondage

in perpetuity and make them remain as

‘untouchables’ forever, and that it

would not bring about their social

reform. But the British Government

thought otherwise, as can be seen from

what the Prime Minister of that

Government stated in his letter dated

8.9.1932. It is this:

“As I understand your attitude, you

A. JAISON

M.A., B.L.

propose to adopt the extreme course of

starving yourself to death not in order to

secure that the Depressed Classes should

have joint electorate with other Hindus,

because that is already provided, not to

maintain the unity of Hindus, which also

is provided, but solely to prevent the

Depressed Classes who admittedly suffer

from terrible disabilities today, from

being able to secure a limited number of

representatives of their own choosing to

speak on their behalf in the legislatures

which will have a dominating influence

over their future.”

On his return to India from the

Round Table Conference Mahatma

Gandhi was arrested and put in prison,

in view of the fact that on his way back

in Rome he was alleged to have made

Disobedience. While in Prison, on

11.3.1932, Mahatma Gandhi addressed

a letter to the Secretary of State for India

saying that in the event of the British

Government creating Separate

Electorates to the Depressed Classes he

would fast unto death. The Secretary of

State for India had replied on 13.4.1932

saying that the argument of both sides

would be taken note of before the

announcement of the Award. The

British Prime Minister announced his

Award on 17.8.1932, which is popularly

known as ‘Communal Award’, saying

that the members of the Depressed

Classes qualified to vote would vote in

general constituency and that alone was

unlikely for a considerable period to

secure adequate representation of those

classes in the Legislatures, a number of

special seats would be assigned for

them to be filled by election from special

constituencies in which only members

of those classes qualified to vote

would be entitled to vote and this would

be required only for a limited time,

namely, 20 years from the commencement

of the Constitution, if not previously

abolished under the general power

of Electoral Review referred to in that

letter.

After the announcement of the

Award, Mahatma Gandhi wrote to the

Prime Minister of the British

Government on 18.8.1932 saying that

he would commence his fast unto death

from 20.9.1932 if, in the meanwhile, the

British Government did not revoke its

decision to confer separate electorates

to the Depressed Classes. The Prime

Minister wrote back on 8.9.1932 saying

inter alia, “We did not consider the

method of electing special representatives

by reservation of seats in the existing

conditions, under any system of

franchise which is practicable, members

who could genuinely represent them

and be responsible for them, because in

practically all cases, such members

would be elected by a majority consisting

of higher caste Hindus.” Mahatma

Gandhi was informed by that letter that

the British Government’s decision to

grant separate electorates and separate

representation to the Depressed Classes

would stand, subject, of course, to any

modification by consent of parties, and

requested Mahatma Gandhi to seriously

consider whether he was justified in taking

his contemplated extreme action.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote back reiterating

his stand and accordingly commenced

his fast unto death as a protest against

the grant of separate electorate to the

‘untouchables’ so called on 20.9.1932.

Then came the Poona Pact on

24.9.1932 by which Dr. Babasaheb

Ambedkar agreed to give up the

demand of the Depressed Classes for

separate electorate and separate representation

in the Legislatures. The terms

of the Pact were accepted by Mahatma

Gandhi and given effect to by the

British Government by embodying

them in the Government of India Act,

1935.

Generally speaking, Mahatma

Gandhi’s speeches and actions tended to

show that he was interested in the upliftment

of the Depressed Classes. But

what happened in the old Central

Provinces after Ministries were formed

in the Indian Provinces in 1937 may be

noted. Dr. Khare reconstituted his

Congress Cabinet by dropping some

unwanted men and taking in new members

including Shri. Agni Bhoj, a

Depressed Class Congress Member of

the Legislative Assembly. He was

expelled from the Congress on the

ground that he was guilty of gross error

of judgment and of the indiscipline. Dr.

Khare had stated openly and repeatedly

in his speeches that according to

Mahatma Gandhi, who never contradicted

it, the act of indiscipline consisted

in the inclusion of Depressed Class

man in his Ministry and that he told him

that it was wrong on his part to have

raised such aspirations and ambitions in

the Depressed Classes, and he would

never forgive him for such an act of bad

judgment.

Some of the questions which arise

on a reading of this book are:

1. Why did Mahatma Gandhi, who was

well aware of the fact that the

Depressed Classes had been consigned

to calculated acts of degradation

for centuries and denied equal

opportunities by the caste Hindus,

oppose the grant of separate electorates

and separate representation to

those Classes, when, at the same

time, he was reconciled to the grant

of separate electorates and separate

representation to Muslims, Sikhs,

Europeans, Anglo-Indians and

Traders?

2. Why did Mahatma Gandhi think that

separate electorates and separate representation

to the Depressed Classes

would create a division in Hinduism,

although he stated that he would not

mind those Classes getting converted

to Islam and Christianity which

would automatically enable them to

get separate representation and

undoubtedly weaken Hinduism?

3. Why did Mahatma Gandhi think that

separate electorates and separate representation

to the Depressed Classes

would ever separate them from the

Hindus and that their ills could be

removed by service to them by the

caste Hindus and not by separate representation

in the Legislatures, even

though the Depressed Classes and

some caste Hindus like Dr.Moonje

thought otherwise and the British

Government specifically stated that

it would be only for a limited number

of years and it would have a dominating

influence on their future?

4. Was Mahatma Gandhi right in thinking

that the lot of the Depressed

Classes who had been horribly treated,

neglected and consigned to calculated

degradation for centuries by the

caste Hindus, could be improved by

mere services to them by the caste

Hindus by way of penance and not

by separate electorates and separate

representation in the Legislatures?

See Page 24


20 01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Sinha’s Writing: An Alternative

Vision of SOCIALISM

The aim of consumerism, which the

rulers of these [socialist] economies

had promoted, when they aspired to

surpass the United States in the standard

of life, conceived in terms of capitalist

West, forced them to abandon

their socialist objective. The consumerist

standards of the Western world

could be achieved only by providing

very high incomes to a few in highly

competitive industries. So, inequalities

in income, reduction of employment,

and finally the abandonment of other

socialist objectives – all forced their

way in to the so-called socialist societies.

The economies were in total disarray.

The “market socialist economy”

could get in steam now only by streamlining

itself into a full-fledged market

economy, i. e. a modern capitalist economy.

Sachchidanand Sinha, ‘Socialism: a

manifesto for survival’, P. 21, Maral

Prakashan, Muzaffarpur, 1999.

The collective works of socialist

thinker Sachchidanand Sinha, an astute

thinker-critic of modern industrial civilization

and, simultaneously, a serious

scholar of art and culture, has been published

in the form of ‘Sachchidanand

Sinha Rachnavali’. Senior journalist,

translator and researcher Arvind Mohan

has edited this eight-volume seminal

anthology. The publication is done by

Rajkamal Prakashan, Delhi.

Sachchidanand Sinha wrote extensively

in English and Hindi. (Though he also

knows French and German.) Only a few

English writings of Sinha were translated

into Hindi. The editor of the

Rachnavali himself had translated

‘Caste System: Myths, Reality,

Challenge’ in Hindi, which was published

by Rajkamal Prakashan itself.

‘Caste System: Myths, Reality,

Challenge’ by Sinha is a unique work

on the much debated and researched

subject of caste system in India. The

book, at the time of its publication was

reviewed prominently in Times Literary

Supplement. Sinha’s other major works

in English such as ‘The Internal

Colony’, ‘Socialism and Power’, ‘The

Bitter harvest’, Emergency in

Perspective: Reprieve and Challenge’,

‘Adventures of Liberty’, ‘The

Permanent Crisis in India: After Janata,

What?’ ‘The Unarmed Prophet’, ‘Chaos

and Creation’, ‘Socialism: a manifesto

for survival’ – are made available in

Hindi in the Rachnavali along with the

major Hindi works such as ‘Zindagi

Sabhyata Ke Hashiye Par’, Bharatiya

Rashtriyata Aur Sampradayikata’,

‘Manav Sabhyata Aur Rashtra-Rajya’,

Samajwad Ke Badhate Kadam’,

‘Upbhokta Sanskriti’, Marxvad Ko

Kaise Samajhen’, ‘Poonji Ka Antim

Adhyaya’, Naxali Andolan Ka

Vaicharik Sankat’, Sanskriti Aur

Samajwad’, Sanskriti Vimarsh’

Poonjiwad Ka Patjhad’, Loktantr Ki

Chunautiyan’ etc. Sinha has said that

the inspiration for the writing of these

books came from the various problems

that emerged during the socialist movement

and the efforts made to solve

them.

The writing of a 94-year-old Sinha

spanned a period of about sixty years

along with his political activities as a

socialist worker. His life, as he himself

once said, “has been like a wandering

cloud in the sky”. The editor and his

associates have done the arduous task

of collecting the entire material of such

a person’s writings. The compilation of

the Rachnavali is thematical and not

chronological. This method has made it

convenient for the readers to purchase a

particular volume of the topic of their

interest.

The preface of the first volume of the

Rachnavali has been written by Sinha

himself. In the preface, he has described

about his stay in Bombay, Delhi and

Bihar, giving a brief account of his political

activism starting with the Quit India

Movement of 1942. The material collected

in all eight volumes has also been

introduced by the author for the benefit

of readers. The editor has compiled the

material under following themes : In the

first volume ‘art, culture and socialism’,

in the second ‘freedom, nationality,

peasant problems and urban poverty’, in

the third ‘Gandhi, Lohia, JP and

Naxalism’, in the fourth ’emergency, the

experiment of the Janata Party, the

Punjab crisis and political coalition’, in

the fifth ‘caste, casteism and communalism’,

in the sixth ‘new socialism, old

socialism’, in the seventh ‘liberalisation,

globalization and future’ and ‘internal

colonialism and Bihar-centred exploitation’

in the last eighth volume.

A detailed analysis of this vast material

is not possible in this introductory

review of Rachnavali. However, some

features of Sinha’s thoughts and his

philosopher persona can be outlined in

brief. Sinha’s writing is simultaneously

conceptual-theoretic and critical. He is

not an expert-scholar. From art to science,

he perceives the endeavour of

human-being in totality. That is why he

has studied almost all the disciplines of

modern scholarship/research such as

political science, economics, sociology,

history, theology, psychology, anthropology,

aesthetics etc. His vast and

deep study of various subjects is

reflected in his theoretical as well as

Prem Singh

critical writing. A reading of the

Rachnavali reveals that the author has

deeply delved into the intellectual

debates, movements, crisis and solutions

inherent in the making of the nineteenth,

twentieth and twenty-first centuries

of the modern era. Sinha, in his

intellectual venture, stands as a thinker

of the entire humanity on a global scale

who challenges the much debated and

desired concept of ‘globalization with a

human face’. Not only the friendly critics

of liberalisation-globalization advocate

possibility of such an idea, even

staunch opponents of globalisation feel

enchanted/delighted by that. In this

debate Sinha propounds a doctrine of

“Socialism with a new face” vis-à-vis

‘globalization with a human face’ as the

only future for survival of mankind.

One gets an insight into the overall

writing of Sinha that invokes a vision

for the future of humanity. This vision

has been informed by the basic values

like equality, democracy, decentralization,

individual freedom, non-violence,

dignity of labour, renunciation, co-existence

and, of course, morality. All these

values are central to his writing, on the

basis of which he presents a socialist

alternative to the capitalist model of

development and way of life. It is a

special feature about Sinha that he has

imbibed these values in his life as well.

He has not been associated with any

university or research institute. Due to

his participation in the freedom movement,

he left studies after schooling.

Always depending on public libraries,

he never maintained a personal library

to facilitate his studies. He never

accepts awards for his works. Once,

making observation on growing

demand for facilities/comforts by

scholars in India, he stated that during

the British period, British officers doing

academic and research work used to

travel to far-flung areas during their

vacations without special facilities.

Sinha seems to believe, like Gandhi,

that man’s life is not for consumerist

enjoyment, but primarily

for thoughts, the

capacity of which nature has

given only to human-beings.

Not only in capitalism,

but also in the prevailing

models of socialism, the

consumerist tendency is at

the core of the concept of

development. The phenomenon

of globalization has

brought this trend to its climax.

Sinha opposes the

blind consumerist thrust of

modern civilization, plagued

by wars, civil wars, conspiracies,

inequalities, displacements,

environmental

destruction, natural disasters

and an acute lack of morality,

with a suitable alternative.

Sinha, thus, does not

entrap into the idea of “sustainability”

generally appreciated by

scholars/activists while professing the

capitalist-consumerist model of development

with a full thrust. Sinha, at the

end of his book ‘Socialism: a manifesto

for survival’ remembers Gandhi: “In

the context [of consumerist thrust of

modern civilization] we may remember

Gandhi’s words, ‘the world has enough

for everyone’s need but not enough for

everyone’s greed’”.

Obviously, the central theme of

Sinha’s writing is socialism. From the

concept of utopian/Fabian socialism to

the scientific doctrine of Marxist socialism,

he has thoroughly analysed the

various models of socialism experimented

and practiced in different parts

of the world. Sinha believes that no

genius is epoch-neutral, nor are the

knowledge, science and technology.

Thereby he refutes pertinacity of scholars

and leaders towards eternality and

universality of any thinker or doctrine.

He categorically negates Marxism’s

deterministic notion of socialism/communism.

He makes a careful review of

certain reciprocal points of communism

and capitalism such as industrialism,

inventionism, technologyism, productionism,

consumerism etc. According to

Sinha the reason for the defeat of

socialism in the face of capitalism was

not only its obsession with power and

authoritarianism, but also due to these

mutually agreed factors. Like Dr. Ram

Manohar Lohia, Sinha accepts democracy,

decentralisation, moderate consumption

and civil/individual liberties

as the inherent qualities of socialism,

and not as a distant gaol. Here he seems

to accept the theory of immediacy as

propounded by Dr. Lohia in the line of

Gandhi. Sinha also grapples with the

morality question in Marxism. He

accepts that in Marx the moral element

is not lacking. Sinha states that one

“would be struck by the underlying

note of moral indignation” in the

Capital when Marx elaborately explains

the inhuman conditions of workers

under the factory system. However,

according to Sinha, Marx “does not put

this moral view at the center of his

socialist theory”.

One aspect of Sinha’s scholarship

attracts attention i.e. his writing has

taken place outside academic/research

institutions. Needless to say, during the

neoliberal era, there has been a huge

devaluation of authentic knowledge and

research undertaken in institutions. In

the name of new education and knowledge

of a ‘new India’, skilled labourers

are being prepared to serve the high

capitalist system and economy. That

facility too is available for a limited

population. An entire industry of publishing

books and research papers in

exchange of money for promotions has

been established in the country. The

officials of universities and research

institutes themselves extend their

tenures and fix the perquisites, appoint

themselves as senior professors and

professor emeritus. Apart from trivialization,

commercialisation and communalization

of education and knowledge

is being done irresponsibly by rulers of

the day. The scholars at the helm of universities/institutions

readily and happily

co-operate with the neoliberal-communal

agenda of governments. All of

Sinha’s writing has happened outside

institutions. As institutional system of

knowledge/research is on fast decline,

Sinha’s writing opens up a window of

possibilities for the genuine knowledge/research

outside the institutionalized

framework. I would like to mention

a reminiscence here. I was a Fellow

at the Indian Institute of Advanced

Studies IIAS), Shimla, from 1991-

1994. Prof. JS Grewal, a historian of

repute, was the Director. I requested

him to invite Sinha as a National

Fellow at the Institute. Sinha’s two

books ‘Caste System’ and ‘Socialism

and Power’ were available in the library

of the Institute which I showed to Prof.

Grewal. Prof. Randhir Singh, Prof. JD

Sethi and Prof. GS Bhalla were working

as national fellows at that time.

Prof. Grewal asked me which university

or institute Sinha was associated

with. He was quite surprised when I

told him that he was just a political

worker. Prof. Grewal agreed and asked

me to inquire with Sinha ji when he

could come Shimla as a National

Fellow initially for two years. I wrote a

letter to him in this regard. He replied

promptly as he does always, if he had

been living in Delhi, he would definitely

have come. In 1987, Sinha had

returned from Delhi to village Manika

in Bihar. I thought it was good in a way.

It would have pained him to witness the

overwhelming facilities/comforts the

Institute had to offer. Sinha is a widely

read writer in Hindi. Especially the

researchers of Hindi medium of various

subjects will be immensely benefited

by the Rachnavali. If the entire

Rachnavali or part of it would be published

in other Indian languages, the

scope of the benefit will increase. The

English version should also be published.

I wish some good publisher

would undertake this important task. It

would have been better if the index was

maintained in the end of every volume

of the Rachnavali.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021

21

Sacrilege or blasphemy: The dirty attempt to

cover up the caste prejudices against Dalits

There is no doubt in the fact that

Sikhism actually was a revolt against

the Brahmanical system and superstition.

Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the

only holy book which contains matters

from different religions as well as those

of various Sufi Saints including Kabir,

Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The

aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian

society and definitely Punjab that

way is far better than many other states

in India where violence against Dalits is

rampant. However, there are other dark

realities of Punjab’s socio-political

structure that reflect that the message of

equality and brotherhood has not

reached everywhere and both Majhabis

and Ravidasis face the tyranny of caste

forces in Punjab. It is important to

understand who is being blamed for sacrilege

and what exactly it.

Is sacrilege the same as blasphemy

being used to target the minorities and

most importantly the Dalits ?

Let us first find out what they are but

prior to that we need to understand what

is sacrilege or blasphemy?

Sacrilege or blasphemy

The dictionary meaning of sacrilege

is basically “ behaviour that shows great

disrespect for a holy place or object” or

Stealing from a place of worship was

regarded as sacrilege ‘ while blasphemy

too is considered as a synonymous to

sacrilege but more often used in Islamic

countries where Islam is the state religion.

In their definition blasphemy is an

act or attempt to degrade the Holy

Quran or Prophet or Islam. Under the

Islamic regimes, there are specific laws

that provide specific punishment for

blasphemy and in most cases it end up

in death penalty. In fact, people would

often ask whether both are the same

terms or synonymous to each other particularly

when we look at the background

of the victims.

We all respect the ‘holy’ texts and

‘figures’. Human beings look at those

things from their ancestry view point

and it is always good that people respect

those things which does not hurt the

sentiments of the larger population but

it also will need to be understood that a

critique of religious texts can not be outlawed.

Every ‘religious book’ everywhere

has numerous fault lines and villains.

The fight world over was between

two groups of people or may be multiple

and those who won the battle by

hook or crook became the star while

those subjugated lost their ‘identity’ and

remained only as a ‘villain’.

There is another issue. All religious

heads, gurus or devotees think and propagate

that their god or godmen are the

‘best’ and ‘most powerful’. They also

think that their ‘holy book’ are God

written and hence can’t be altered or

even questioned. In the modern world,

when we decided that we should have a

written constitution, it was felt that it

should remain flexible to change. The

result is a country like India has around

105 constitutional amendments since

1950 when the first amendment to our

constitution was done. These amendments

are actually done with an understanding

of the needs and desires of the

people which change according to the

passage of time. The framers of our

constitution had felt that as India would

grow, as education would come and new

inventions would happen, the needs and

expectations of the people would be different

and we would then need our laws

according to the life and time of our

nation. We cant think that a thing written

or designed so many years back

would be the ‘ultimate truth’ which cant

be questioned but human beings are so

notorious and rigid that they do not

allow you to even ask a simple question

about the so called ‘holy books’. You

can't even change a comma, or full stop

to these texts. How have we come to

this idea that whatever was written so

many thousands back is the gospel truth.

A constitution with just seventy odd

years history has been amended so

many times and people of all ‘religions’

‘faiths’ ask to get it done according to

their needs but the same people are not

even ready to listen to a critique of their

religion.

Every religion created certain

‘heroes’ who they magnify and villains

who they accuse and abuse. The fact of

the matter is when every community is

asking questions, creating history and

also analysing it, things won’t be the

same for everyone. If some people glorify

one text it is not necessary for all of

us to clap for them and say yes. There

are those who have been victimised by

these so-called holy texts and they will

certainly ask questions. It is happening

as globally victims of these blasphemy

or sacrilege laws or morality are the

minorities, marginalised and women.

Ahmadis or Dalits in Pakistan

The story of a Christian woman Asia

Bibi was charged under blasphemy law

came into limelight in Pakistan. It was

said that she uttered insulting remarks

against Islam or Quran allegedly heard

by some women who then complained

against her. The court found ‘enough’

material in these ‘complaint’ and the

woman accused of blasphemy was sentenced

to death. Another couple Shafqat

Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar,

belonging to Christian community were

sentenced to death in 2014 though their

sentence was overturned by the Lahore

High Court and they were released in

February 2021. Whether it was Asia Bi

or Shafaqat Emmanuel and Shagufta, all

of them belonged to ‘Christian’ community

in Pakistan which is a ‘respectable’

name for Churas in Pakistan, a very

similar movement happened in India by

Arya Samaj campaigner Amichand

Sharma suggesting ‘Balmiki’ surname

for the communities engaged in sanitation

and manual scavenging.

A careful investigation of the cases

will tell you the flimsy charges. Asia Bi

was humiliated by the upper caste

Muslim women (a fact so far very cleverly

denied by Pakistani elite who treat

caste and dalit issue as related to

Hindus) just because she drank water

from a pitcher as she was thirsty.

Shafaqat and Shagufta were completely

illiterate and living in the compound of

a Church when a Muslim cleric charged

them for sending whatsapp message

insulting Prophet Mohammad.

Shockingly, the illiterate couple were

‘accused’ of sending the so-called

insulting message in English. It is

another irony that Shafaqat is a wheelchair

bound person whose lower part of

the body were completely paralysed in

an accident in 2004. They have four

grown up children. The blasphemy

court found the charges ‘proved’ and

sentenced them Death in 2014 but now

the High Court has overturned the lower

court’s judgement and acquitted them

for lack of evidence.

There are many other people in

Pakistan who suffer from the hands of

religious elite as they use Blasphemy as

per their whims and fancies to target the

Dalits and Ahmedis. It is a serious question

which is not debated much in

Pakistan as it use the Dalit card for its

propaganda against India at its ‘national’

and international forums while completely

ignoring the status of the Dalits

in Pakistan. Pakistan elite speaking for

‘human rights’ have not only responded

to these questions as why blasphemy

cases are against Churas or Dalits who

care ‘internationally’ identified as

Christian just to avoid the caste question

and issue of Dalits. The hypocrisy of the

Pakistani elite is so much that they ‘celebrate’

Ambedkar Jayanti and want

Indian ‘intellectuals’ to visit them and

speak about the caste system in India as

if their own track record is great. They

need to read and re-read the resignation

letter of Jogendra Nath Mandal, the

chair of Pakistan’s Constituent

Assembly and its first law Minister. It

must respond as to why Jogendra Nath

Mandal was compelled to return to

India just within a year’s period after the

constitution was promulgated there in

Pakistan. Have the Pakistani’s ever

addressed those questions. Who are the

victims of the blasphemy laws in

Pakistan and you will find that most of

them are Chruas. It is not for any other

reason except the caste discrimination

that the sanitation job is ‘reserved’ for

Churas in Pakistan. Yes, Pakistanis will

never speak about the Pasmanda question

and why Bangladesh came into

being except for the fact that they blame

India for it.

Caste System in Punjab

Bordering Lahore on our side is

Punjab. Here blasphemy has a new

name called Sacrilege and those killed

or blamed are mostly Dalits. Look at the

brutality inflicted on Lakhvir Singh, a

landless Dalit, who was accused of sacrilege

of the Saropa at the Singhu border

where farmers have been sitting on an

indefinite protest for the last 10 months.

Sikhs are normally considered a very

progressive community. We have seen

the power and commitment of Sikhs but

it is also a fact that almost all the Sikh

Gurus emerged from the Khatri community

as Ambedkarite scholar Bhagwan

Das told me in an interview way back

nearly 15 years back. He says, “About

Sikhism, I have a very poor opinion. I

came close to them because I was teaching

two children belonging to them. One

of the students' fathers was a doctor,

who used to invite me to Gurudwara. I

used to go there. Then there was one

festival on which they had a langer

(community meal) in the Gurudwara.

One man asked the doctor; 'you are

making us eat with the Churas and

Chamars.' It was a shocking experience

for me in the Gurudwara. After it I studied

Sikhism and found that they had 10

Gurus, all belonging to the Khatri caste,

none married outside their own parental

castes and the fourth guru included

teaching of

Ravidas,

Kabir and others

in the Guru

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

Granth Sahib

but in practice

Sikhism is no different from Hinduism.

If a convert comes from Carpenter community,

he is a Ramgarhia, if is he a

convert from scavenger then he is a

Majhabi, if he is a convert from liquor

seller then is an Ahaluwalia. Where is

the caste system gone? If goes from the

front door and comes back from windows.

They never started a movement to

condemn caste system. After that incident,

I never went to a Gurudwara.”

(https://roundtableindia.co.in/index.

php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2847:in-conversation-with-mrbhagwan-das&catid=119&Itemid=132)

Bishan Das Bains is a well-known

political activist and former Mayor of

Wolverhampton, in UK and the first

South Asian to have risen to that post in

the mid 1980s. In an interview to me he

says that during his campaign, most of

the South Asians, Africans and other

nationalities supported him whole heartedly

but the upper caste Sikhs fought

vigorously not to allow a ‘chamar’ to

win from his constituency. But he won

despite their fierce opposition.

The 1979 election was the most

memorable episode in the history of my

political career in England. The Indian

Workers Association, mainly lead and

dominated by Punjabi Jat Sikhs, was a

very strong national organisation during

the period of sixties and seventies. They

found it extremely difficult to digest and

compromise with the facts that a person

from a lower caste can be an elected

member of the council. Subsequently,

the dirty Indian politics of caste prejudice

and religious hatred reared its head

to undermine my position as an elected

member of the council. They left no

stone unturned to get me deselected by

the Labour Party and replaced me with

one from their own caste. After their

failed attempts, they fielded a most reputable

person the president of the Indian

Workers Association, against me.

During the election they started a smear

campaign to tarnish my name and discredit

my public reputation. They had

army of workers roaming streets of my

constituency all day, harassing and

intimidating residents, printing and distributing

literature. It was one of the

most difficult elections as campaign as I

have to overcome a multiple of discrimination

and prejudice. In addition to

Indian caste & religious prejudice, there

was a British National Party (far right

wing organisation) and other two parties

slightly less racial. In the end with solid

support from the Pakistani community,

some indigenous and others, I managed

to won the seat with an increased majority.

He further informs me about the attitude

of the native whites who too

worked to stop him.

The local Labour Party had an established

custom and practice for the past

many years to elect a Mayoral candidate

for the ensuing year. At a special meeting

two names were proposed and secret

voting taken, according to custom and

practice the winner of the contest

became the candidate for the following

year, and the runner up is usually had

the nomination and was elected the following

year.

I like to mention here that I was the

only non-white out of sixty elected

members of the council for many years,

and the rest of fifty-nine were all

indigenous whites. In the beginning I

was not interested at all in becoming the

Mayor of the city. But there were some

left wing councillors who wanted me to

bid for my right. My name was dully

proposed and seconded continuously for

two constructive years and I lost the

contest for both times. It means the

established custom and practices which

were being followed up over the past

many years were violated for no reason

other than underlying racial prejudice.

Not only that, it was contrary to the policy

of equality of opportunity of the

national Labour Party.

This situation left me with no option

but to seriously consider my position in

both terms as an elected member of the

council and as a member of the party. I

decided not to walk away quietly but to

fight back and publicly expose their

behaviour of racial prejudice. I decided

to bring the whole truth of underlying

racial prejudice in the Labour Party into

the public domain.

Now it was not a question of getting

the nomination for mayoralty but to

fight back for equality of opportunity

and justice. I decided to issue a press

statement, high lighting the underlying

racial discrimination within the Labour

Party. See Page 24


22 01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

International Coalition For

Justice in India (ICJI)

The International Coalition for

Justice in India (ICJI) was formed in

August 2021 at the initiative of concerned

individuals in the UK,

Netherlands, Germany and

Switzerland. Our concern centred on

the diminishing democratic space in

India. While this deterioration has

existed in India for decades, it has escalated

in the past few years since the

coming to power of the Bharatiya

Janata Party (BJP) led government

under Narendra Modi. Armed with a

lethal majority in parliament, this

regime imposed a sudden demonetisation

in late 2016, which caused untold

misery to millions who saw their life s

savings and livelihood disappear before

their eyes. In 2020, the regime revoked

Articles 370 and 35A of India s

Constitution, stealing from the people

of Kashmir their right to self-determination.

Prior to this Modi s governing

party, acting to fulfil its long-term

objective, rooted in Hindutva, brought

into force the Citizenship Amendment

Act 2019 (CAA), which openly discriminates

against the Muslim population

of India. This law is designed to

take away the right to citizenship of all

Muslims who have lived in India for

generations and of those people from

the poorer sections of the population

who are unable provide documentary

evidence that the land they live on is

their ancestral heritage. This government

has also continued previous policies

of globalisation, privatisation and

liberalisation. This regime is greatly

expanding the privatisation of nation s

assets, including mines. Coupled with

the watering down and violation of

environmental laws and historical

Adivasi land rights, which is deepening

the indiscriminate mining by corporate

industrialists with due disregard to the

mass displacement of the indigenous

peoples. Entire communities and ways

of life are being systematically

destroyed. Also in 2020, this government

brought in new agri-business legislation

that are clearly designed to

push small and medium farmers (who

form the majority of India s agricultural

sector) off their lands and give that to

multinational corporations.

All the above anti-people acts of the

regime have been met with formidable

resistance from the Indian people.

Before the outbreak of the Covid-19

pandemic, we saw the historic Shaheen

Bagh anti-CAA resistance movement in

Delhi, that was started by women mostly

from marginalised Muslim communities.

The unprecedented farmers

resistance against the farm laws is now

over a year old and still going strong.

And of course resistance is still ongoing

in Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland,

etc. In addition there is growing anticaste

resistance by Dalits/Bahujans

against the increase in caste atrocities

as well as injustice in everyday caste

discrimination issues, such as the

reduction in reservation opportunities.

At the same time the Adivasi people of

India have been fighting to protect their

jal, jangal and jameen (waters, forests

and land) in, for instance, Jharkhand

and Chattisgarh.

All these resistance movements have

resulted in unprecedented phenomenon:

the unleashing of large-scale systematic

repression via the police, paramilitary

and the armed force security agencies

(e.g. the planting of Pegasus software in

mobile devices of ordinary citizens

ranging from politicians to human

rights defenders and family members).

This repression is supplemented by

crowds of Hindutva supporters who

freely use violence in various ways:

love-jihad (war against inter-religious

marriages), gow-raksha (protecting the

cow) and ghar-vapsi ( converting

back into the Hindu fold). This

includes people who may never have

had a connection to Hinduism, such as

Adivasis. All forms of protests and

expressions of dissent are being

stamped out with brute force.

Thousands are arbitrarily imprisoned

under various draconian laws such as

the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act

(UAPA), under which a person can be

incarcerated for months to years without

trial or bail. Amongst those arrested

under this law are the well-known

Bhima Koregaon 16. Of these, 84-yearold

Father Stan Swamy who had

Parkinson s disease died in custody in

July 2021 ,after contracting Covid, in

an overcrowded prison that seriously

lacks medical facilities.

The ICJI held its third meeting on 15

October 2021. Participating groups and

organisations included International

Solidarity for Academic Freedom in

India (InSAF India), India Matters UK

(IMUK), Anti-Caste Discrimination

Alliance (ACDA), Indian Workers

Association UK (IWA UK), The

Foundation The London Story (FTLS)

Amnesty International members the

from UK, Germany, Italy and USA and

the Amnesty International Germany

(IndienKoGruppe). ICJI also includes

Scottish Indians for Justice in India,

London Mining Network UK and

Solifonds, Switzerland. The participants

resolved to continue working

together to highlight the human rights

violations in India, including the situation

of Indian political prisoners held in

captivity for expressing their beliefs

and decent that is their Constitutional

right.

Vaccine inequity will drag Covid pandemic to 2022: WHO

London : The Covid-19 pandemic will

drag on until 2022, longer than it needs to,

because several poor countries have not

received vaccines against the deadly

infectious disease, the World Health

Organization (WHO) has said.

In Africa, less than 5 per cent have

been vaccinated, compared to 40 per cent

on most other continents. According to

Bruce Aylward, senior leader at the WHO,

this means the Covid crisis could "easily

drag on deep into 2022", the BBC reported.

Aylward appealed to wealthy countries

to give up their places in the queue for

vaccines in order that pharmaceutical

companies can prioritise the lowestincome

countries instead.

He said that wealthy countries needed

to "stocktake" where they were with their

donation commitments made at summits

such as the G7 meeting in St. Ives earlier

this year. "I can tell you we’re not on

track. We really need to speed it up or you

know what? This pandemic is going to go

on for a year longer than it needs to," he

said.

Just one in seven of the doses promised

by pharmaceutical companies and

wealthy countries are actually reaching

their destinations in poorer countries, suggest

new figures from The People’s

Vaccine -- an alliance of charities, the

report said. The vast majority of Covid

vaccines have been given in high-income

or upper middle-income countries. Africa

accounts for just 2.6 per cent of doses

administered globally. The group of charities,

which includes Oxfam and

UNAIDS, also criticised Canada and the

UK for procuring vaccines for their own

populations via COVAX, the UN-backed

global programme to distribute vaccines

fairly, the report said. COVAX was initiated

so that all countries would be able to

acquire vaccines from its pool, including

wealthy ones, but most G7 countries

decided to hold back once they started

making their own one-to-one deals with

pharmaceutical companies.

Canada and the UK were technically

entitled to get vaccines via this route having

paid into the Covax mechanism, but it

was still "morally indefensible" given that

they had both obtained millions of doses

through their own bilateral agreements,

Oxfam’s Global Health Adviser, Rohit

Malpani, was quoted as saying.

"They should not have been acquiring

these doses from Covax," he said. "It’s

nothing better than double-dipping and

means that poorer countries which are

already at the back of the queue, will end

up waiting longer." covax originally

aimed to deliver two billion doses of vaccines

by the end of this year, but so far it

has shipped 371m doses.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021

23

BHAGWAN VALMIKI PARGAT UTSAB

Bhagwan Valmiki Pargat present Governments have used

Aryans have entered India Thapper a Valmikian sat on

Utsab was celebrated worldwide.

Due to Corona restrictions,

the Valmikians just for their

votes. They have and are very

through Hindu Kush and through

treacherous ways have taken

death fast in oppose to Gandhi

Ji’s fasting. At that time this

the programmes had to be modified

intentionally keeping them

control. The Adhivasi kings and question of Valmiki Ji being a

but still a lot of enthusiasm

and spirit was seen amongst the

followers. Kanshi TV deserves

credit for transmitting full coverage

worldwide of this special

below poverty line.

In Uttar Pradesh Honourable

madam Maya Wati was Chief

Minister of Uttar Pradesh for a

good while but unfortunately the

queens who have supported

them are honoured as Gods. The

ones who have opposed them are

referred as demons and King

Ravan is a good example.

Brahmin was not around because

the Valmikians were accounted

as the Dalits meaning the inhabitants

of India.

This is why Gandhi Ji chose

occasion and also Samaj Weekly Valmikians even in her ruling

A lot of Buddhist material is the Valmiki Mandir and

is thanked for their support and

coverage.

have failed to progress. For survival,

large number of Valmikian

claimed to have been destroyed

by the Brahmins and such has

Valmikians duties for his purpose

but now some organisations

Bhagwan Valmiki’s grace is families migrated to other states

also happened with the to fulfil their own agendas are

present in all the religions for work. This came into notice

Valmikian scriptures. Late trying to collect material and put

because his Ramayana is the when in thousands were seen on

Pandit Bakshi Ram who was a forward in hope that the

core and all the religions are its

offshoots. The Aryan Scriptures

do justify that Bhagwan Valmiki

is the one who has given first

the roads returning back to their

villages during lock down.

A highly respected Senior

Supreme Court advocate who

close associate of Dr Bhim Rao

Ambedkar and through his

research has uncovered a lot of

truth hidden away from the

Valmikians discard their religion

and jump on their band wagon.

In the manner they are putting

the Valmikians across is not

Sanskrit verses to this world. was present in celebration of is being shared that Valmiki was Valmikians. The matter remains Valmikians.

pleasant at all. Statements as this

Unfortunately, there has been Valmiki Jyanti in Delhi told a a Brahmin and not a Bhangi. why he chose the Valmiki temple The people who are trying to that Valmiki has been given to

a lot of controversy against media interviewer that Valmiki Some are using the word Dalit when other temples were also prove that Valmiki Ji’s origin as the Valmikians as a Lollipop by

Bhagwan Valmiki and his followers

the Valmikians who have world the worthiness of educa-

Bhangi two different communi-

people to fulfil their own agen-

Bakshi Ram’s findings before hatred. They need to improve on

Ji is the one who has shown the instead of Bhangi. Are Dalit and around. I am sorry to say that the Brahmin should read late Pandit the Hindus, exposes of their

been degraded from rulers to tion and his picture writing ties if so then who are the das are targeting Maharishi reaching any conclusion. Pandit this if they want to develop of

mere nothing and forced to carry Ramayana sums this.

Valmikians?

Valmiki and his followers the Bakshi Ram was awarded any closeness with the

out inhumane duties. The Naag He also told that Dr Bhim Dr Ambedkar during struggle Valmikians. They should learn BHARAT RATTAN – BABA Valmikians. Guru Ravi Dass in

Vansh Adhivasi Bharati Seva Rao Ambedkar took this on for Independence of India was more about the historical development

of India since ancient NATIONAL AWARD for the Valmiki Ji as a Supach meaning

SAHIB Dr. B.R. AMBEDKAR – his Bani has addressed Bhagwan

Dal has always stood in protection

of Valmiki Ji’s pride and respect. Today his Constitution Gandhi Ji was for

times. By using, year 1992/1993 in recognition of an inhabitant as his own self so if

board and has earned worldwide standing for the Dalits and

dignity.

is in danger and we all have a the Hindus. If – Mitej Teji examples from literary, social and cultural services

rendered by him to the down accounted as a Brahmin so will

Bhagwan Valmiki is going to be

Even today the Valmikians duty to protect it. I pray to Valmiki was a

Manusmriti and

are being preyed upon as per Valmiki Ji to give us all strength, Brahmin then

Tulsi Ramayana trodden people of India. Guru Ravidass will have to be.

Manusmriti in India. The rape of courage and wisdom to fend off Gandhi Ji should have stayed does not justify that Bhagwan These people must take into Such ideas are going to be

Valmikian females is happening this new wave.

away from the Valmiki Temple Valmiki was a Brahmin. These account that it was Punjab that extremely pernicious for the

daily and mob lynching is also My father late Mr H. R. Teji, in Delhi. Here he stayed for were introduced to downgrade supported Dr Ambedkar when he developing Unity required to

taking place. No mercy at all is always stood firm and fought off nearly nine months and he Maharishi Valmiki who was an was fighting for Dalit rights. face Hindutva. People with such

being shown towards them by allegations against Bhagwan should have also avoided doing adhivasi.

Babu Mangu Ram a Ravi ideas need to think deeply about

the authorities. All the past and Valmiki Ji. Now a new allegation cleaning duties done by the The records declare that the Dassian and Babu Chuni Lal this.

Jai Bharat.

Pegasus spyware issue is India's internal matter: Israeli ambassador

New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) Israeli Ambassador

Naor Gilon on Thursday said that the Pegasus

snooping issue is India's internal matter.

The NSO is a private company and it has a

licence to sell its software to the government entities

only, he added.

Gilon said: "This is an internal issue of India

and I can't speak beyond this point. This is the only

main requirement that... under the requirements,

they cannot sell it to non-governmental actors".

Responding to a query if the Indian government

will contact them, he said that he has no idea

whether the Indian government has contacted them

or not.

Referring to the explosion that took place last

year near the Israeli embassy in Delhi, he said that

the perpetrators are yet to be nabbed; however, the

investigating agencies of both the countries are

cooperating with each other.

"We are thankful to the government of India for

providing security to all embassy personnel,"

Gilon said.

Talking about the newly-formed quad with

Israel, India, the US and UAE, the Ambassador

said it is totally an economic forum based on mutual

cooperation among the participant countries.

"It has nothing to do with the military component

as of now," he added.

Talking about Afghanistan, Gilon said that the

country should not be used for extremism.

"There should not be any human rights violation

and women and children should not suffer there",

he commented.

Saying that Israel is a technologically sound

country but it cannot go for industrial manufacturing,

the partnership between India and Israel can

work better for industrial productions.

Sharing the details of the recently-concluded

visit of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, he

said that the visit was most successful in terms of

bilateral relations.

Jaishankar met all important Ministers of the

Israel government and also met the Indian

Diaspora, the Indian Jews who have recently settled

there. "It was a very warm visit, very friendly

which I think emphasised on the strategic partnership

declared during the visit of Prime Minister

Narendra Modi in Israel. I think that the visit was

in the spotlight of 30 years of diplomatic relations

which we are going to celebrate on January 29 next

year," Gilon added.

UK says France's planned sanctions over

fishing 'disappointing, disproportionate'

London : A UK government

spokesperson said that France's threats

are "disappointing and disproportionate"

as France is preparing sanctions

against Britain over post-Brexit fishing

rights. Media reports said some French

sanctions could come into effect from

November 2 unless enough progress is

made in its post-Brexit fishing row with

Britain, reports Xinhua news agency.

France has complained that only half

of the licenses needed were given to

French fishing boats to operate in

British territorial waters. "France's

threats are disappointing and disproportionate,

and not what we would expect

from a close ally and partner," the

British government spokesperson said

in a statement. "The measures being

threatened do not appear to be compatible

with the trade and cooperation

agreement (TCA) and wider international

law, and, if carried through, will

be met with an appropriate and calibrated

response. We will be relaying our

concerns to the EU Commission and

French government," the spokesperson

said. "As we have had no formal communication

from the French

Government on this matter we will be

seeking urgent clarification of their

plans. We will consider what further

action is necessary in that light,"

Britain's Brexit Minister David Frost

said on Twitter.

Tension over fishing rights emerged

between Britain and France in May after

the British Channel island of Jersey's

government introduced a new licensing

system requiring French boats to show

they have a history of fishing in Jersey's

waters to obtain permits for operation in

the area. It led to both sides dispatching

navy vessels to monitor the situation in

Jersey's waters.


24 01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

5. Has the lot of Depressed Classes

improved over these years by any

services to them by the caste Hindus?

6. Do members of the Parliament and

the Legislatures elected for seats

reserved for Scheduled Castes and

Tribes by all the voters in General

constituencies really represent the

Scheduled Castes and Tribes and

strive for them in those fora in the

existing conditions or are controlled

by whips of the parties choosing

them as candidates for election?

7. Was Mahatma Gandhi justified in

resorting to a fast unto death to

achieve what he could not achieve by

argument in the Minorities

Committee, Round Table Conference

and elsewhere?

8. Was Mahatma Gandhi right in rejecting

the Award of the Prime Minister,

after having made him, in a signed

requisition, the sole arbitrator and

agreed to accept his decision?

9. If Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and

Mahatma Gandhi honestly believed

what they saw until the Poona Pact

was signed, in the light of what has

happened to the Depressed Classes in

the course of more than 4 decades

after India attained independence,

whose assessment was right, Dr.

Babasaheb Ambedkar’s or Mahatma

Continue Page 19

“POONA OPPANDHAM”

Gandhi’s?

10. Some critics of Dr. Babasaheb

Ambedkar accuse him of erring in

signing the Poona Pact. What could

have been the consequences to the

Scheduled Caste people at the

instance of the caste Hindus had Dr.

Babasaheb Ambedkar not agreed to

withdraw his demand and Mahatma

Gandhi had died by the fast?

I leave it to the readers to find their own

answers to these and other questions

which may arise on a fair reading of

this book.

Mr. A. Jaison has undertaken this difficult

task of translating and presenting

this book at great pains and expense

in his anxiety to serve the cause of

the Scheduled Castes/Tribes and

enable them to know things for

themselves and also to let the fairminded

persons know the truth. I do

hope that his expectations would be

fulfilled and he would be rewarded

thereby. I congratulate him for his

noble endeavour.

Sd/-. . . . . . .

Madras – 600 102. Appaji Varadarajan,

Former Judge,

02.12.1987. Supreme Court of India.

SOME REVIEWS . . . /CONGRATU-

LATORY MESSAGES… soon after

publication of the book in Tamil

under the title “POONA OPPAND-

HAM” in February, 1988

“Translation of a book of this nature

requires a great strength of mind and

I congratulate you for having

achieved this difficult and noble

task”

-Hon’ble Mr. Justice G. Maheswaran,

Formerly of Madras High Court.

“I am proud to see you serving the

oppressed millions by bringing out

books of this nature in this young age

to create social awareness amongst

these people”

Dr .A. Padmanaban, I.A.S. (Rtd.)

Adviser to Governor of Tamil Nadu,

Later he became Member, UPSC and

then served as Governor of Mizoram

“Mr. A. JAISON has suffered in all

respects to bring out this book and I

appreciate him for his clear translation

of this book (“Poona

Oppandham”). I wish that this book

should be read by all the oppressed

communities and they should deliberate

on the need for continuance of

Reservation policy”.

Mr. V. Karuppan, I.A.S.,

“I am happy to see you with this book. I

am really proud to say that you have

achieved something which I have not

done and I am sure your name will

go down in history”

Mr. P. Natesan, I.A.S.,

Many more poured in, especially prior

to my 2nd edition of this book.

Sh S. L. Ginda, Chairman Buddhist Ambedkar

Education Society, was warmly welcomed

On 22/10/2021, Sh S. L. Ginda, Chairman Buddhist Ambedkar

Education Society, Phoolpur Dhanal Jalandhar visited Central

Institute of Hand Tools Jalandhar. He was warmly welcomed by

Sh M. R. Sallan Asstt. Director, Sh Sangat Ram Account Officer

and Er Gurinder Singh of CIHT Jalandhar.

Continue Page 21

Sacrilege or blasphemy: The dirty attempt to cover

up the caste prejudices against Dalits

It was a very controversial, of course

a courageous move which attracted a

great deal of public support for me and

contrarily huge discontent amongst my

fellow Labour councillors. . I was

served with a show cause notice and

meeting with the high command leadership.

I justify my actions at the meeting

and it was decided to harmonise mutual

relations amongst elected members of

the Labour Party.

(

http://manukhsi.blogspot.com/2017/01/

caste-forces-did-everything-todefeat.html)

I have heard and recorded many stories

from various victims of the caste

system in the UK about the differences

between them and Jat Sikhs. So, it is a

fact that we are witnessing the same

things as happening in Pakistan by the

Islamic fundamentalists or the rest of

India by the Hindu fanatics to intimidate

the minorities and the marginalised if

they don’t fall in line. Sikhs are no different

to this.

Who are the victims of Sacrilege in

Punjab

The story of Lakhvir Singh is now

well publicised as it happened at a public

place where farmers have been

protesting for the last 10 months. The

body of Lakhvir Singh, a landless Dalit

was chopped mercilessly and hanged at

the pole near the place of protest. What

is it that cries of sarvdharm happens but

not a strong condemnation comes from

the protest side except the fact that they

have no association with the Nihangs as

well as the victims who was brutally

murdered there.

The Indian political class does not

bother to speak to the family or condemn

this brutality. Why have the leaders

as well as the activists remained

cowardly silent on this criminal act of

the thugs who feel no shame in suggesting

they did it and will do it again. If

this was a murder committed by a

Muslim, international media would

have made it an international head line

and we would have seen debates of brutality

and primtivitiy of Islam but it is

silent. Of course, the brahmin Bania

media in India would highlight it to

defame a movement while keeping

silent on mob lynching by the Hindutva

goons. It only reflects how ideology has

become a matter of convenience for

everyone and religion has blinded us all

together. The biggest casualty in all

these voices of sanity and reasoning.

Lakhvir’s case is not out of the blue

but a continuous process happening in

Punjab to intimidate the Dalits. Even

children are not left out. Like the

Islamic fundamentalists did it for an

illiterate couple accusing them of ‘blasphemy’,

this side of Punjab is no different.

In June 2020, a 10 years old girl from

Mazahabi community in district

Sangroor was charged with sacrilege as

she used to go for ‘sewa’ in a

Gurudwara. She was accused of sacrilege

and hundreds of people gathered to

actually harass or lynch her. You have

seen what a crowd of devotees do to

anyone but after people’s harassment

and intimidation she and her parents

were illegally arrested and put in jail.

She was then charged under “Section

295A of the Indian Penal Code. The

provision criminalises “deliberate and

malicious acts, intended to outrage religious

feelings of any class by insulting

its religion or religious beliefs.”

Punjab’s SIT and other records suggest

that the girl actually did not commit

any sacrilege. The fact is that probably

hailing from the Mazhabi community,

she would go to sweep the floor and

inadvertently she picks up a calendar

and would have touched the ‘ cloth that

covers the holy Gurugranth Saheb’. As

per Indian Express report the CCTV

footage does not show the girl tearing

the Holy book. It is definitely an act of

untouchability and then blown out of

proportion to suggest that the poor girl

committed sacrilege.

One can ask this question, how can a

thoroughly poor man or woman, girl or

boy, who are dependent on powerful

Sikhs commit sacrilege. Who would

dare to challenge the Muslim in

Pakistan or Bangladesh or Hindu belief

system in India or Sikh values in

Punjab? Is it possible? How is a poor

sweeper girl a ‘threat’ to the Sikh religion

or the holy Granth Saheb ? One

can understand a writer analysing a

thing or a poet writing something or a

political activist taking a stand but does

not it show hypocrisy of the people

when they blame poor, landless, helpless

people for sacrilege. How much different

was this case from that of Aisa Bi

or Shaguta who were still better as they

survived the mob. Ofcourse, if they

were not arrested, they would have been

lynched.

Brutality exists everywhere and we

need courage to speak the truth to power

which is not merely ‘political power’

but social-economically powerful communities

and groups who control our

‘culture’. We all have short memories

and easily forget things that happened in

the past. Otherwise we would have been

asking the question about the status of

the case of Bant Singh, a revolutionary

balladeer whose hands were chopped by

the feudal landlords and his daughter

was violated by the criminals on

January 7th, 2006. Nobody knows

where Bant Singh, his daughter. The

question must be asked how many political

leaders, government officials went

and spoke to them, providing them a

healing touch. The violence against

Dalits in Punjab may not be the same as

happen elsewhere but there is a crisis

which is economical too as well as

threat of violence loom large. Economic

and social boycott has been the biggest

weapon now being employed by the

powerful thugs learning pretty well

from Gujarat and Haryana. This is unacceptable.

The Hypocrisy of the Samyukta

Kisan Morcha

Can the Samyukta Kisan Morcha just

keep aside saying that both the Nihangs

as well as Lakhbir Singh were never

associated with them? How is that none

heard the cries of a man being brutally

chopped off near the public space. In

fact, it was also mentioned that it was

not a Dalit verses Sikh issue as the

killing was made by Nihangs. Some

also tried to suggest that it was a Dalit

verses Dalit issue. The question is what

stops leaders from visiting Lakhvir’s

home and providing his family financial

aid. It is the fear and repercussion of the

powerful I have always maintained that

India’s farmers have rightfully understood

the dangers of capitalism or in

terms of India, the Gujarati crony’s

domination on our vast agrarian sector

but unfortunately the farmers movement

has not yet identified that priestly classes/castes

still have not refused to accept

that priesthood too is an existing threat

to India’s vast Bahujan masses and so

brilliantly explained by revolutionary

Jyoti Ba Phule as ‘sethji-Bhatji’ combine.

The priesthood in Punjab is

extremely powerful in the form of dominance

of the powerful agrarian communities

and religious value system is

defined as per their needs and guidance

which has no space for the Dalits.

Follow the path of great Gurus to

fight against superstition

It is time our communities and their

leaders should understand that innocent

people, children etc cant be accused of

blasphemy or sacrilege just because

something happened mistakenly.

Equally important that those who are

made villains in religious texts will

question them whether some people like

it or not. Manu Smriti was burnt by

activists at Mahad in 1927 in the presence

of Baba Saheb Ambedkar who

termed this as the book of injustice.

Betrend Russel wrote, I am not a

Christian. Somebody else wrote, Why I

am not a Muslim. Tasleema Nasreen felt

Islam was a threat while many activists

and authors the marginalised feel the

same about Hinduism. There is no doubt

that Granth Saheb is respected and

revered and it is definitely different as it

contains great text from different religions

and Sufi saints irrespective of

their castes and religion which is a

unique quality of it yet it is a fact that

Punjab has caste system and Dalits are

at the margin. For keeping their dominance

false cases are filed against Dalits

and others in the name of sacrilege. It is

time, Sikh intellectuals, political leaders

must get their act together and understand

that many of the victims of the

caste system in Punjab might disagree

with their understanding. They should

do away with dirty caste practices and

make Punjab a better place. Their Gurus

have done much bigger service to

humanity and nobody of them would

have done thing that barbarically as

happened to Lakhbir Singh or Bant

Singh. Sikhism was a revolt against

Brahmanism but the caste system came

here and it is a reality that the powerful

caste lobby today dominate Sikhism

which actually violate the principles of

equality and fraternity as espoused by

Guru Nanak Dev ji and other Guru

Sahebans. It is time to condemn these

brutal acts unapologetically and seek

justice for Lakhbir. There is no bigger

sacrilege than allowing the Brahmanical

caste system among the Sikhs and

killing people in the name of it. The crisis

is not of sacrilege but those wanting

to make their political fortune from it

deviating from the path of great Gurus

who spoke against superstition, caste

practices and untouchability.

Upper caste Sikhs know it well as

why the Ravidasis and Majahabis had to

start their own Gurudwaras and temples

if there was so much of love and affection

everywhere in Punjab and elsewhere.

The issues are much bigger and

powerful but the solution lies in admitting

diversity of thoughts where you

might disagree but respect that and

enjoy it.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Gujarat Cong in-charge’s

statement on migrants

sparks row

Gandhinagar : A statement of Raghu Sharma, Congress Incharge

of Gujarat, that non Gujaratis are insecure and fearful, has

triggered a political row in the

state.

Reacting to the newly

appointed Congress Gujarat

in-charge Raghu Sharma’s

statement that non Gujaratis

are insecure and fearful, the

state BJP President C.R. Paatil

said on Monday that through

this statement, Sharma has

insulted the entire state of

Gujarat. Raghu Sharma made

the statement at a lecture commemorating

the 146th Birth

Anniversary of India’s Iron

man, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

and also 37th death anniversary of former prime minister Indira

Gandhi.

Raghu Sharma on Sunday said, "Those who came here to do

business, they arrived here to provide industrial growth to Gujarat.

I am talking about their mental state - there’s lots of fear in them.

Is democracy secure here ... Such an atmosphere is not there in any

state. Then, why is it in Gujarat?"

Reacting to this, the Gujarat state BJP President claimed that

Raghu Sharma had insulted the people of Gujarat. Mentioning

about the industrial peace in Gujarat, Paatil said that the migrants

are easily getting food and shelter here.

Paatil said, "Maybe he (Sharma) doesn’t have the information,

but the highest number of people from various states are residing

in Gujarat across the country. They wish to arrive here due to the

industrial peace. They get food and shelter easily here."

Demanding an apology, Paatil said that Sharma should tender

an apology and take back his statement.

The Gujarat education minister Jitu Vaghani said that the

Congress always plays divisive politics. He said, "The Congress at

the central level should come out and express its stand on

Sharma’s statement."

Orissa HC allows sale,

use of green crackers

Bhubaneswar :

Citing the Supreme

Court order passed on

October 29, the Orissa

High Court on Monday

allowed sale and use of

green crackers during

this year’s Diwali celebration.

A bench of Chief

Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice B.P. Routray issued the order.

The state government, in its order issued on September 30, had

prohibited sale and use of firecrackers during the festive season

between October 1 and November 1, in view of Covid-19 situation.

Challenging the order, the All Odisha Fireworks Dealers

Association had moved the high court.

Hearing the petition, the court, on October 29, had directed

Special Relief Commissioner, P.K. Jena to hear the petitioners on

October 30 taking similar orders of the Supreme Court and the

NGT into consideration. It had also asked him to pass an order on

or before November 1. Accordingly, the SRC had issued an order

on October 31 allowing the sale of green crackers in the state, and

the court passed an order accepting it.

As per the SRC order, the crackers can be used between 8 p.m.

and 10 p.m., on the Diwali day (November 4). Sale and use of

other fireworks have been completely banned.

Only those traders/dealers who obtain and produce a certificate

from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO)

have been allowed to sell their products.

The retailers who obtain a license from the concerned authorities

under the provisions of the Indian Explosive Act, 1884 are

allowed to sell green fireworks. Traders/dealers who fail to obtain

and produce the certificate from PESO will not be allowed to sell

their products.

The green fireworks can only be sold at designated sites and all

Covid-19 protocols must be strictly followed. Sale of fireworks on

the internet has been strictly banned, as per the order. Violation of

any of the aforesaid conditions shall be dealt with strictly and

penal action shall be taken in accordance with law, it said. The district

administrations and Police Commissionerates have been

directed to ensure strict compliance with the above conditions.

NEWS

New Delhi : Jindal Institute of

Behavioural Sciences (JIBS) in collaboration

with Community Psychology

Association of India (CPAI) organised the

first International Conference on

Community Psychology (ICCP) at O.P.

Jindal Global University. The three-day

conference aimed at exploring contemporary

themes in the broader domain of community

psychology.

The three-day conference brought

together distinguished professors, experts,

psychologists and academicians from various

fields to explore contemporary themes

in the broader domain of community psychology.

"The aim of the conference was to

exemplify the scope of research in community

psychology by integrating various

themes of interest," said Dr. Sanjeev P.

Sahni, Principal Director at the Jindal

Institute of Behavioural Sciences (JIBS).

"Community psychologists can play a

significant role in the wellness of individuals

and communities. So it is critical to

look at the cultural, economic, social, political,

and environmental factors that shape

and influence the psychological aspects of

individuals and communities. In this conference,

we aimed to delve into the same,"

Dr. Sahni added.

During the conference, 11 panel discussions

and seven paper presentations highlighted

both theories of relevance and

applied aspects in several associated fields,

such as economics, sociology, ecology, and

feministic psychology.

Imminent academicians in the field of

psychology Dr. Ravi Gunthe, Former Prof.

J.N. Vyas University, Jodhpur; Prof. A.V.S.

Madnawat, Former Professor of

Psychology, University of Rajasthan,

Jaipur; Prof. (Dr.) Ramjee Lal, General

Secretary, Community Psychology

Association of India and Prof. (Dr.) N.K.

Saksena, Patron, Community Psychology

Association of India gave talks on various

aspects of Community Psychology during

various sessions of the conference.

01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021

25

JIBS organises first international

conference on community psychology

The conference was held as a part of

series of academic initiatives undertaken

by JIBS to further multi-disciplinary and

empirical research in the psychology and

allied fields.

It is pertinent to mention that JIBS is a

value-based research Institute of O.P.

Jindal Global University and a member of

the Academic Council on the United

Nations System (ACUNS) that focuses on

the applied and experimental research in

the areas of mental health, competency

mapping, neurosciences, neural decision

sciences, psychobiology, management sciences,

forensic studies, social psychology

and criminal behavior.


26 01-11-2021 to 15-11-2021 WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Uber commits Rs 100 CRORE

towards driver welfare initiatives

Gurugram : Ride hailing app Uber

on Monday committed approximately

Rs 100 crore towards supporting driver

partners and their families to weather

the impact of Covid 19.

Over the past few years, Uber has

launched several initiatives and forged

some high profile partnerships to

showcase its commitment to driver

partners. This includes the Uber Care

Driver fund -- with an initial commitment

of Rs 25 crores from Uber, benefitting

approximately 1,00,000 driver

partners; Covid financial assistance --

approximately Rs 2 crores worth of

Covid financial assistance programme;

vaccination compensation

for drivers -- an additional Rs 18.5

crore worth of cash incentives to

encourage vaccination by compensating

them for the time spent in getting

the shots. More than 250,000 driver

partners on the platform have already

received at least one vaccine shot.

Driver partners across moto, auto

and car have also benefitted from

other initiatives including safety kit

distribution, free online doctor consultation

and microloans.

"At Uber, we believe our role doesn't

end at creating opportunities by providing

a platform to drivers. We have

created a community of thousands of

driver partners, and we continue to

engage with them with a view to provide

them with more to enrich their

lives. This is reflected in our extensive

work in the last 18 months to help driver

partners recover from the pandemic

and rebuild their lives," said Prabhjeet

Singh, President, Uber India SA, in a

statement. "By investing upwards of Rs

100 crore in these initiatives, we have

been successful in supporting and

empowering driver partners with

improved access to health insurance,

financial support, vaccination, and

medical consultation," he added.

Sunny Leone becomes

the first Indian actress

to mint NFT

Mumbai : Actress Sunny Leone ventured into the NFT (nonfungible

token) space after she made an announcement to enter

the marketplace following in the footsteps of megastars Amitabh

Bachchan and Rajinikanth.

And now, racing ahead, Sunny has gone on to mint her NFTs.

Minting is a process through which digital art becomes a part of

the Ethereum blockchain - a public ledger that is unchangeable

and tamper-proof.

International celebrities such as Ellen Degeneres, Paris

Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan have previously ventured into NFT

as crypto currency has become a global rage and Sunny's minting

has surely taken the Indian crypto enthusiasts by storm. The

actress announced her first collectible on Twitter as she tweeted,

"MEET the MISFTIZ ! This is misfitz HONEY! She loves the

color pink...boys with tattoos...and then eats them for lunch.

What the world has been waiting for!!! #SUNNYLEONENFT

collectibles. Check them all out on http://Sunnyleonenft.com

(sic.)"

The actress took the lead among Indian actors to secure their

digital assets when she broke the news about her association

with NFT, two months back. This made her the first Indian

actress to roll out her own NFTs.

Talking about the collectible, an excited Sunny says, "This

was a private sale and it sold out immediately. I am beyond

excited about the hype behind my collection and the support

from the community. In many ways, I am myself a misfit so

there wasn't anything that's more appropriate than this collection."

Talking about how she views crypto, the actress said, "I really

believe crypto is the future of the world and NFTs give me an

opportunity to express myself with art. Now we are beyond

excited for the public sale to start in a few days."

For her NFTs, Sunny has partnered with Mintdropz, as speaking

on her association, she said, "With Mintdropz, we are creating

new ways to connect with my audience and deliver varied

experiences to engage with my audience that other platforms

just can't provide."

MP bypolls: Counting for 1 LS,

3 assembly seats on Tuesday

Bhopal : The counting of

votes for bypolls held in three

Assembly constituencies and

one Lok Sabha seat in Madhya

Pradesh will be held on

Tuesday.

By-elections in three

Assembly constituencies --

Prithvipur, Jobat, Raigon and

one Lok Sabha seat --

Khandwa, held on October 30

saw an average of 65 per cent

voting.

A total of 48 candidates are

in fray, however, the fight on all

fours seats are mainly between

the BJP and the Congress.

Both, BJP and the Congress

have been claiming victory.

While the BJP leaders

showed confidence that the

result will be in their favour,

the Congress which had

secured majority in 2018

assembly elections, now in

opposition, says people will

support the party this time.

The bypolls were necessitated

due to the death of sitting

MLAs and Khandwa MP (BJP)

Nand Kumar Chauhan.

On the Khandwa Lok Sabha

seat, the BJP has fielded former

district panchayat president

Gyaneshwar Patil, while the

Congress has chosen former

MLA Raj Narayan Singh Purni.

For Jabat Assembly seat

(Scheduled Tribe), which the

Congress had won in 2018

elections, the party has fielded

Mahesh Patel against the BJP's

Sulochna Rawat, a former

MLA and a turncoat, who

jumped ship from the Congress

to the BJP.

From Raigon (Scheduled

Caste) seat, the BJP has fielded

Pratima Bagari, the daughterin-law

of sitting MLA Jugal

Kishor Bagari, whose demise

necessitated the by-election.

The Congress has fielded

Kalpana Verma, who had contested

against Jugal Kishor

Bagari in the last assembly

polls in 2018.

From Prithvipur Assembly

seat, Shishupal of the BJP is

pitted against Nitendra Singh

Rathore of the Congress.

All arrangements for vote counting

for Himachal bypolls done: CEO

Shimla : Himachal Pradesh

Chief Electoral Officer C. Palrasu

said on Monday that all preparations

have been completed for the counting

of votes for by-elections to the

Mandi parliamentary constituency

and three assembly constituencies --

Fatehpur, Jubbal-Kotkhai and Arki.

He said the counting of ballots

would start at 8 a.m. on Tuesday

amidst tight security.

Palrasu said 11 counting

observers have been deployed for

the Mandi parliamentary constituency, and

three for each Assembly constituency.

Besides, one micro observer has also been

deployed at each counting

table. He said 57.73

per cent voters exercised

franchise in the

Mandi Lok Sabha constituency.

The voting percentage

in the Fatehpur constituency

in Kangra district

was 66.20 per cent,

while it was 64.97 per

cent in Arki in Solan

district, and 78.75 per

cent in Jubbal-Kotkhai in Shimla district.

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