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Vol : 06 : #91 16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022

May the year be full of love,

light, peace, and harmony!

HAPPY BUDDHA PURNIMA!

“Buddha” denotes one

who has attained

enlightenment and

had a sense of awakening

to build a peaceful,

harmonious, and

just society. Prince

Siddhartha Gautama,

who later was known

as Gautama Buddha

was a teacher,

philosopher, and

spiritual leader, who

founded Buddhism.

His teachings serve as

the foundation of the

Buddhist religion, let

us know some

interesting facts

about Buddha.

• Siddhartha Gautama was born in

623 BC. in the famous gardens of

Lumbini, now in modern-day

Nepal, and raised in Kapilavastu.

He was named Prince Siddhartha.

• Gautama Buddha’s father

Suddhodhana was the ruler of the

Shakya kingdom of Kapilavastu.

His mother’s name was

Mahamaya who was the princess

of Devadaha.

• After the birth of Gautama

Buddha, a saint had predicted

that he would either become a

great world monarch or a

Buddha–a supremely enlightened

teacher.

• On the seventh day after the birth

of Prince Siddhartha, his Mother

Mahamaya died, so he was raised

by her aunt and mother Prajapati

Gautami.

• Gautam Buddha had a reclusive,

contemplative, and compassionate

tendency from childhood and

was brought up in great luxury.

• At the age of 16, Gautam Buddha

was married to Princess

Yashodhara, they had a son

named Rahul.

• Siddhartha had all the comforts

but his mind was not at peace. So

one night, leaving his son and

wife, he left home and set out in

search of knowledge and become

a wandering ascetic.

• For nearly six years, he undertook

fasting and other austerities,

but these techniques proved ineffectual

and he abandoned them.

• Siddhartha reached a place called

Gaya in Bihar, where he seated

under a pipal tree and vowed that

till knowledge is attained, he will

not move from there.

• After staying in samadhi for

seven days and seven nights, on

the eighth day of Baishakh

Purnima, he realized true knowledge.

• This incident was called

“Sambodhi”. He became

“Buddha” from Siddhartha. The

pipal tree under which knowledge

was attained is called the

“Bodhi tree” and Gaya is called

“Bodh Gaya”.

• A person who has discovered the

path to freedom from suffering

followed it to its end, and taught

it to the world is called a buddha

“one who is awakened” or “the

enlightened one.”

• After attaining enlightenment,

Gautam Buddha gave his first

sermon at Sarnath (near Benares)

to his five ascetics. These disciples

were also called

“Panchavagirya”.

• The disciples compiled the teachings

of Buddhism under the

Tripitakas. Tripitaka is three in

number – Vinay Pitaka, Sutta

Pitaka, Abhidhamma Pitaka.

• The first sermon of Gautama

Buddha is called Dharma-chakra-

Prarthana.

• Gautama Buddha founded

Buddhism which is one of the

major religions of the world.

• The details of the incidents of the

life of Mahatma Buddha, the

leading religious reformers and

philosophers of the world, are

known from many Buddhist texts

such as the Lalit Bed,

Buddhacharit, Mahavastu, and

Sutpanipat.

• The preaching of Lord Buddha

was most widely spread by

Emperor Ashoka.

• 483 BC In the day of Baishakh

Punirma, the nectar soul of Lord

Buddha left the human body and

merged in the universe. This phenomenon

is called

“Mahaparinirvan”.

• Lord Buddha was born, attained

enlightenment,

and

Mahaparinirvana, all three took

place on the same day i.e. on the

day of Vaishakh Purnima.


2

16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Punjab to abolish

VIP culture in jails

Chandigarh : In a major crackdown on the nexus of gangsters

and criminals operating

from jails, the

Punjab government

teams have confiscated

710 mobile phones

from prisons in a specially-launched

drive.

Additionally, Chief

Minister Bhagwant

Mann has decided to

abandon the special

cells in jails for VIP

prisoners.

Team AI :

Devinder Chander

Editor-in-chief

Columnists

V.B. Rawat

Farzana Suri

Arun Kumar

Rahul Kumar

Head Office

Samaj Media Enterprise Ltd.

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Erdington, Birmingham UK

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Intellectual Property of

Samaj Media Enterprise Ltd

Divulging the

details, the Chief

Minister said that

"during this special

drive carried out

between March 16

and May 10, a total of

710 mobile phones

have been recovered from jail inmates".

He said these phones were used by gangsters and smugglers to

run their rackets from inside the jail.

The Chief Minister said that a probe is on to nab the persons on

whose names these numbers were registered.

He also said that action will be taken against the jail staff who

were involved in sneaking these phones into the prisons.

For abolishing VIP culture in jails, the government has decided

to abandon the VIP cells and transform them into administrative

blocks. The Chief Minister said that those lodged in jails are punished

by courts for violating the law, and they cannot enjoy facilities

while serving a jail term.

New Delhi : Since time immemorial,

Indian women have changed their

surnames to that of their husbands after

marriage. In a patriarchal tradition, it

has always been believed that a

woman's identity is tethered to her husband

and that only by taking his surname

does she become a member of her

husband's family.

Despite the fact that there is no law

requiring women to change their surnames

after marriage, it has become a

social convention around the world.

However, as feminism and women

empowerment create a tidal wave of

change in India, the young generation's

mindset and opinions are shifting.

Considering the fate of 21st-century

Indian brides, Betterhalf.ai, a new age

matrimony app survey to ascertain the

opinions and perspectives of the young

Kerala Health Minister complains

against Deputy Speaker

Thiruvananthapuram :

The rift between the two

Communist parties in Kerala

widened on Saturday after

Health Minister Veena George

approached the ruling Left

Democratic Front with a complaint

against Deputy Speaker

of State Assembly Chittayam

Gopakumar, who had earlier

slammed the minister for

"ignoring" his constituency.

Denying all the allegations,

the journalist-turned-politician

George sent a detailed letter to

the top brass of the front.

In her letter, the minister

alleged that instead of raising

his concerns at appropriate

forums, the Deputy Speaker

had gone public with an intention

of "tarnishing" her image.

Gopakumar appears to have

ulterior motives, she said,

adding that the call records will

reveal that she had answered

his calls, contrary to him

claims. She also alleged that

the Deputy Speaker did not

show "political decency", as

such "baseless and needless"

incidents dent the morale of the

political workers in the Left

Indian population on the customs followed

by Indian society. The survey

results show which customs should be

kept and which should be abandoned as

time passes. According to the survey's

findings, a whopping 92 per cent of

Indian youth believe it is normal and

acceptable for a woman to keep her own

surname after marriage and not take her

husband's. This clearly demonstrates

front.

Several in the Left are upset

over the spat at this juncture as

the Thrikkakara by-election is

just round the corner and it

would give the Congress-led

opposition a chance to use the

issue against the Left during

campigning.

Meanwhile, it's reliably

learnt that Chief Minister

Pinarayi Vijayan has expressed

his ire over the issue and strictly

stated that no more washing

of dirty linen in public will be

accepted. Incidentally, it was

that a paradigm shift is influencing the

young millennial population to adopt

21st-century beliefs and practices. With

only eight per cent of the youth still

believing in the tradition of surname

change, India has come a long way

since the days of a male-dominated,

patriarchal society.

Pawan Gupta, CEO and Co-Founder

of Betterhalf.ai said, "Name-changing

has been a persistent part of traditional

Indian marriage and customs. For centuries,

Indian brides have had to depart

with their surnames in exchange for

their husbands. But as feminism gives

voice and freedom to women, they are

making their own decisions before and

after marriage. We are living in the 21st

century where even if some men are taking

their wives' surnames, then women

taking their husbands' surnames should

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Gopakumar who accused

George of not inviting him on

the completion of one year in

power by Chief Minister

Pinarayi Vijayan-led government

in the district after winning

the 2021 Assembly elections.

The Health Minister is

entrusted with reviewing the

development in the

Pathanamthitta district.

Gopakumar is a veteran CPI

legislator who recently won

from the Adoor constituency in

the district. He had gone on

record to state that he had

called George several times to

speak about various issues concerning

the health sector in his

constituency, but she has not

picked his calls and neither did

she call back.

He also alleged that in the

ongoing first anniversary celebrations

of their government,

even though his name was

printed in the leaflets, he was

not invited.

George, in her letter, has

mentioned that it was the district

authorities who were

responsible for inviting dignitaries

and she had no role in it.

This is not the first time

Gopakumar has gone public

expressing his displeasure with

the CPI-M government.

In April, the veteran CPI

leader went public when he

slammed the CPI-M after his

photo was removed from a

political event held in the

Kerala Assembly on the birth

anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar.

Gopakumar, 56, completed

three terms from the reserved

Adoor constituency in

Pathanamthitta district during

the April 2021 Assembly polls

and was appointed the Deputy

Speaker.

The CPI is the second major

ally of the ruling CPI-M government

led by Chief Minister

Vijayan.

Adoor seat has of late witnessed

issues between the various

wings of the CPI-M and

CPI, and the latest incident

shows the fissures between the

two Left parties in

Pathanamthitta district and a

section in the Left wants the

present impasse has to be settled

quickly.

New measure of sperm age may predict pregnancy success

New York : A new study suggests

that a novel technique to measure the

age of male sperm has the potential to

predict the success and time it takes to

become pregnant.

According to a newly published

study by researchers at the Wayne

State University, sperm epigenetic

aging is the biological, rather than the

chronological, aging of sperm.

The study found a 17 per cent lower

cumulative probability of pregnancy

after 12 months for couples with male

partners in older compared to younger

sperm epigenetic aging categories.

"Chronological age is a significant

determinant of reproductive capacity

and success among couples attempting

pregnancy, but chronological age does

not encapsulate the cumulative genetic

and external, environmental conditions,

factors, and thus it serves as a

proxy measure of the 'true' biological

age of cells," said researcher J.

Richard Pilsner from the varsity.

"Semen quality outcomes utilising

World Health Organisation guidelines

have been used to assess male infertility

for decades, but they remain poor

predictors of reproductive outcomes.

Thus, the ability to capture the biological

age of sperm may provide a novel

platform to better assess the male contribution

to reproductive success,

especially among infertile couples,"

Pilsner added.

For the study, published in the journal

Human Reproduction, the team

involved 379 male partners of couples

who discontinued the use of contraception

to become pregnant.

The results indicated that higher

sperm epigenetic aging is associated

with a longer time to become pregnant

in couples not assisted by fertility

treatment, and among couples that

achieved pregnancy, with shorter gestation.

92% of Indian youth believe that it is normal

not to use husband's surname: Report

not even be a question." "Keeping up

with the changing times, these age-old

customs should be drawn out from our

society and our thinking. The 21st-century

woman should not be subjected to

archaic traditions and customs and the

youth agrees. I am delighted with the

response of the young millennials to our

survey, it shows how far we have come.

I hope this number can change to 100

per cent in the coming years," he added.

Although the traditional marriage

narrative is deeply ingrained in the

minds of many, traditional Indian marriage

customs are gradually being

phased out. The survey represents the

viewpoint and voice of the young Indian

population, which is rapidly abandoning

old customs. Instead of a divine match,

the Indian youth prefers a marriage

based on logic.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022

3

Rs 1.5cr transferred to wrong

beneficiaries due to copy

paste error by bank employee

Sheikh Mohamed bin

Zayed named new

President of UAE

Abu Dhabi : The Federal Supreme Council on

Saturday unanimously elected Abu Dhabi Crown

Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the

President of the United Arab Emirates.

The move came after President Khalifa bin Zayed

Al Nahyan passed away at the age of 73 on Friday.

The Council held a meeting in Abu Dhabi, which

was chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al

Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler

of Dubai. The meeting was attended by the rulers of

all the other Emirates of the UAE.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Presidential

Affairs said that according to Article 51 of the

Constitution, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed has been

unanimously elected as the President of the UAE to

succeed the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The Supreme Council members and the rulers of

the Emirates have reaffirmed their keenness to continue

implementing the authentic values and principles

laid down by the late Sheikh Khalifa, following

on from the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin

Sultan Al Nahyan. These have consolidated the

UAE's status at both regional and global levels.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed expressed his appreciation

for the precious trust placed in him by his brothers,

the Supreme Council members and the rulers of

the Emirates, praying to the Almighty to guide and

help him bear the responsibility of this great trust and

to fulfil its tasks of serving his country and the people.

Born on March 11, 1961, Sheikh Mohamed bin

Zayed is the third President of the UAE, Ruler of Abu

Dhabi and Supreme Commander of the United Arab

Emirates armed forces.

The New York Times had named him as the most

powerful Arab ruler. He was also named among the

100 most influential people of 2019 by the TIME

magazine.

He is the third son of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan,

the first President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu

Dhabi. He was educated at The Royal Academy in

Rabat until the age of 10. His father Sheikh Zayed

then sent him to Morocco intending for it to be a discipline

experience.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed was further educated

at schools in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi and spent a summer

at Gordonstoun until the age of 18.

He graduated from the Royal Military Academy

Sandhurst in April 1979. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed

then returned home to the UAE to join the Officers'

Training Course in Sharjah. He has held a number of

roles in the UAE military, from that of an officer in

the Amiri Guard to a pilot in the UAE Air Force.

He has gifted 55 million AED to the UN global initiative

to fight human trafficking, committed to raise

$100 million for the Reaching the Last Mile Fund,

pledged $50 million for children's vaccine efforts in

Afghanistan and Pakistan, and contributed $30 million

to the Roll Back Malaria partnership.

The University of Texas chair for scientific and

medical knowledge in cancer research is named after

Al-Nahyan as a result of a funding grant to the MD

Anderson Cancer Center. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed

has also been involved in the setting up of art museums,

such as Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Guggenheim

Abu Dhabi, as well as cultural heritage sites such as

Qasr Al Hosn.

Hyderabad : A copy paste error by an

employee of a public sector bank in

Hyderabad proved costly as Rs 1.50 crore got

transferred to wrong beneficiaries of a

Telangana government scheme launched

recently.

Fifteen employees of a private hospital in

the city were shocked to find Rs 10 lakh each

credited in their salary accounts.

An employee of State Bank of India (SBI)

accidentally transferred the amount to their

accounts. The amount was originally meant to

be credited to the accounts of beneficiaries

under Dalit Bandhu, a scheme being implemented

for economic empowerment of Dalits

in Telangana.

The error was committed by an employee at

SBI's Ranga Reddy district collectorate branch

on April 24.

Realising his blunder, the bank employee

contacted the hospital employees and requested

them to transfer the amount back to the

bank.

The matter came to light a couple of days

ago after a bank official approached police as

one of the wrong beneficiaries failed to return

the entire amount.

On a complaint by the bank official, a case

under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 403

(dishonest misappropriation of the property)

was registered against Mahesh, a lab technician

at the hospital.

According to police, the beneficiary told

the bank official that he used part of the

money deposited to clear previous debts as he

believed that the amount was credited into his

account by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

IIFA postponed to

mid-July 2022

Abu Dhabi, May 15 (IANS) This

year's IIFA has beeen postponed as the

International Indian Film Academy

and the Indian film industry express

their deepest condolences to the people

of the UAE and the world on the

passing of the President of the UAE,

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin

Zayed Al Nahyan.

With this sad news, the UAE nation

is in a state of mourning and has

declared a 40-day mourning period.

In solidarity with the people and

Government of the UAE and with the

national mourning being observed, the

22nd edition of the IIFA Weekend &

Awards to be held on Yas Island, Abu

Dhabi from the May 19 to 21 has been

postponed.

The International Indian Film

Academy (IIFA) has decided that the

2022 IIFA Weekend & Awards will be

held instead from the 14th to 16th of

July 2022. Further confirmations and

updates on the new IIFA schedule will

be shared soon.

IIFA expresses its apologies to all

the fans and ticketholders and promises

a bigger, more exciting celebration

of the India-UAE friendship at the

later date.

under some scheme.

Mahesh returned Rs 6.70 lakh to the bank

but when he failed to return the remaining

amount, the bank official lodged a complaint

with the police.

It was immediately not clear what action

the bank employee will face for his copy paste

error. Under Telangana government's ambitious

Dalit Bandhu scheme, every Dalit family

is receiving Rs 10 lakh as financial grant to

undertake any entrepreneurial activity of its

choice.

In 2022-23 state budget, the government

has allocated Rs 17,700 crore for the project.

The state government has announced that

during the current financial year, 11,800 families

would get the benefit at the rate of 100

families per Assembly segment.

Google to remove

nearly 900K abandoned

apps from Play Store

San Francisco : Tech giant Google is preparing to purge

nearly 900,000 apps, which have been abandoned or not been

updated, from the Play Store.

According to Android Authority, the Google Play Store could

see the number of available apps drop by nearly a third.

Google and Apple have both unveiled measures to deal with

abandoned apps or apps that have not been updated in two years.

In Google's case, that amounts to 869,000 apps, while Apple has

some 650,000.

According to CNET, Google is preparing to hide those apps,

making it impossible for users to download them until the developers

update them.

The main reason both companies are taking these measures is

to protect their users' security.

Older apps do not take advantage of changes in Android and

iOS, new APIs, or new development methods that bring

enhanced protection. As a result, older apps can have security

flaws that newer apps don't have, the report said.


4

16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

India clinch maiden Thomas Cup title

with stunning 3-0 win over Indonesia

Bangkok : The Indian men's badminton

team lifted their Thomas Cup

title after registering a resounding 3-0

win over defending champions

Indonesia in the final, here on Sunday.

Victories from Lakshya Sen, the

doubles pair of Satwiksairaj

Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty and former

World No 1 Kidambi Srikanth guided

India to the coveted trophy, the most

prestigious title in men's team badminton.

Indian men had previously reached

the Thomas Cup semis in 1952, 1955,

and 1979 while Indonesia are the most

successful nation in the history of the

tournament, with 14 titles to their

name.

The high-flying Indian team began

their maiden Thomas Cup final tie at

the Impact Arena with world championship

bronze winner Lakshya Sen,

ranked nine in the badminton world

rankings, taking on world No 4 and

Tokyo 2020 bronze winner Anthony

Ginting. Sen went into the match with

a 1-0 head-to-head advantage, having

beaten Ginting at the German Open in

March. However, the 20-year-old

Indian had only won once in the ongoing

Thomas Cup and lost thrice.

The young Indian went toe-to-toe

with the Indonesian in the early

exchanges, but Ginting switched gears

to win 12 straight points and pocket

the opening game with ease in just 17

minutes.

In the second game, the momentum

was with Ginting, who was playing on

New Delhi : The

Enforcement Directorate on

Sunday said it has arrested six

Bangladeshi nationals in connection

with a money laundering

case.

The arrested persons have

been identified as Proshanta

Kumar Halder a.k.a. Prashanta

Halder a.k.a. Shib Shankar

Halder, Swapan Maitra a.k.a.

Swapan Mistry, Uttam Maitra

a.k.a. Uttam Mistry, Imam

Hossian a.k.a. Imon Halder,

Amana Sultana a.k.a. Sharmee

Halder and Pranesh Kumar

Halder.

The ED official said the

agency has also carried out

search operations at 11 premises

linked to the accused persons

across West Bengal.

"Halder was nabbed along

the more favourable side of the court,

playing against the drift, and brimming

with confidence but India's topranked

Sen responded well and upped

his pace and attack to win the second

game force a decider. Despite trailing

ED arrests 6 Bangladeshi nationals

in money laundering case

with his five other associates

during these searches. Halder

was found in the disguised

identity of Indian Citizen as

Shibshankar Halder. During

searches it was revealed the he

along with his other associates

fraudulently obtained various

government identities like

Ration Card from the State of

West Bengal, Indian Voter ID

card, PAN and Aadhar card,"

said the official.

The ED has ascertained that

these Bangladeshi nationals

have also managed to float

companies in India on the basis

of fraudulently obtained identities

and have even purchased

properties in West Bengal.

It has been further revealed

that the subject case is an

offence of Cross Border

in the opening half of the third game,

Lakshya dug deep to churn out some

brilliant winners and matched

Ginting's immaculate net game. Sen

eventually prevailed 8-21, 21-17, 21-

16 to put India ahead in the tie.

Implication under the

Prevention of Money

Laundering Act, 2002, as

Halder has been found to be

accused in approximately

10,000 crore Bangladeshi Taka

bank fraud in Bangladesh and

alleged to have siphoned off

money outside Bangladesh to

various countries.

Besides Bangladesh and

Indian passport, he was also

found in possession of Grenada

passport. It has also been learnt

that the Interpol has issued Red

Corner Notice against

Proshanta Kumar Halder.

All the arrested persons

were presented before a Special

Court (PMLA) which remanded

five of them to the enforcement

custody and sent the

accused to the judicial custody.

Hong Kong :

Authorities in China have

imposed a de facto international

travel ban, forbidding

citizens from going overseas

for "non-essential" reasons,

as the government

ramps up efforts to enforce

its zero-Covid policy, the

media reported.

The Chinese National

I m m i g r a t i o n

Administration said it

would tighten its reviewing

process on issuing travel

documents such as passports,

and strictly limit

those looking to leave.

The administration justified

the measures by claiming

it was necessary to

"reduce the risk of infection

when leaving the country, and

of carrying the virus when

entering the country". Travel

will only be permitted for

"essential" purposes, defined

by the administration as resuming

work, study, business and

Thereafter, the doubles team of

Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj

Rankireddy produced a brilliant comefrom-behind

win against Mohammad

Ahsan and Kevin Sukamuljo to put

India firmly in the driver's seat.

scientific research, as well as

seeking medical care, CNN

reported.

Those who need to go

abroad to help with fighting the

pandemic, or transporting disaster

relief resources will have

their applications expedited,

according to the announce-

After going down in the opening

game, Chirag-Satwik came up with a

herculean effort in the second, saving

three match points to win and take the

contest into the decider. In the decider,

the Indians held the upper hand early

but Ahsan and Sukamuljo levelled at

11-11 and moved into the lead. But

there was nothing separating the two

pairs as they drew level again at 17-

17.

Rankireddy and Shetty, who survived

four match points in the second

game, finally had their first match

point opportunity but Ahsan smashed

the Indonesians to safety. But on the

second time of asking the world No 8

pairing held through to register an 18-

21, 23-21, 21-19 win for India.

Meanwhile, the third rubber saw

world championship silver medallist

Kidambi Srikanth beat Jonatan

Christie in comfortable fashion to

guide India to the historic win.

Srikanth, ranked 11 in the world,

cruised to an easy win in the first game

but faced a strong resistance from

world No 9 Jonatan Christie in the second

game.

The Indonesian produced a remarkable

run to take the lead towards the

end and even had a game point opportunity.

But Kidambi held his nerves

and found his groove to see out a 21-

15, 23-21 victory.

Voot shared the video of the historic

moment with IANS. Players and

coaches were seen dancing after the

win.

China forbids citizens

from going overseas for

'non-essential' reasons

ment. Officials did

not reveal how they

might enforce the

new restrictions, or

prevent would-be

travellers in possession

of valid travel

documents from

leaving.

"Don't go out

unless necessary,

don't leave the

country unless necessary,

don't be

born unless necessary,"

read one popular

comment in

reaction to the news

on China's Twitterlike

platform

Weibo.

Others speculated officials

might be cracking down on

travel because more people are

looking to escape as fears rise

over new government-enforced

lockdowns -- especially in the

capital Beijing, where Covid

cases are rising, CNN reported.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022

Fighting in Panjshir triggers fresh claims of Taliban war crimes

Kabul, May 14 (IANS) Resistance

to the Taliban is flaring up in northeastern

Afghanistan, and as reports of

deadly fighting increase, so are claims

of war crimes against civilians.

The fighting is centred in Panjshir

province, a traditional hotbed of ethnic

Tajik resistance to the Pashtun-dominated

Taliban and the last province to

fall to the extremist group after it

seized control of the rest of the country

in August 2021, RFE/RL reported.

Residents of the southern Dara district's

Abdullah Khel Valley said that

an influx of Taliban fighters to counter

growing unrest had led to extrajudicial

killings, torture and beatings.

The violence has been attributed by

some to defiance of the Taliban's declaration

that Eid al-Fitr be celebrated

on May 1.

Locals marked the Islamic holiday

on May 2 after a prominent imam criticized

the Taliban's decision as politicized,

and issued a fatwa calling for it

to be celebrated in keeping with the

date set by Mecca, the RFE/RL report

said. They also report high casualties

among Taliban fighters deployed from

other provinces to quell fighting led by

the resurgent anti-Taliban National

Resistance Front (NRF) and to round

up local religious figures and other

potential insurrection leaders.

"As they (the Taliban) searched for

the resistance, they encountered difficulties

but took a number of young

men hostage," said one resident of

Abdullah Khel Valley.

"There are dead bodies in every

corner," said Mullah Mahad, 41,

another resident. "But they (locals)

don't have the right to bury their

dead." Another resident, Gul Aqa, said

that clashes with the NRF resulted in

5

heavy losses for the Taliban. "The

Taliban sent more troops and military

weapons to suppress the gunmen, but

this time the National Resistance

Front forces based in the Abdullah

Khel Valley attacked the Taliban convoy,"

he said.

The reported fighting has led to a

war of words between the NRF and

the Taliban, with the resistance group

claiming in recent days that it had

killed scores of Taliban fighters and

taken control of large parts of the

Abshar and Dara districts, including

the Abdullah Khel Valley, RFE/RL

reported. The reports of renewed

fighting have been accompanied by

multiple videos on social media of

apparent war crimes being carried out

by Taliban fighters.

The videos, which RFE/RL was not

able to independently verify, purportedly

show Taliban fighters beating

civilians and firing at civilian homes.

Other videos show alleged Taliban

fighters shooting men one by one in a

trench and allegedly executing a

resistance fighter. The reports of the

mistreatment and killings of civilians

led the European Union's envoy to

Afghanistan, Andreas von Brandt, to

express his concerns about the situation

in Panjshir.

"We mourn the innocent loss of

life," von Brandt wrote on Twitter on

May 10. "Once more, the situation

underlines the need for overdue inclusive

solutions in governing

Afghanistan."

Ruling PAKISTAN Muslim

League-Nawaz in a dilemma

N.Korea faces great

turmoil due to

Covid spread: Kim

Seoul : North Korea on Saturday reported 21 additional

Covid-19 deaths, with more than 174,400 people nationwide

with fever, as Pyongyang's leader Kim Jong-un stated that his

country is faced with "great turmoil" due to the spread of the

virus. Pyongyang's state media released the updated tally compiled

the previous day, after Kim presided over an early-morning

politburo meeting to review the nation's "maximum emergency"

antivirus system in place, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Mainly discussed in the session were ways for the swift supply

and distribution of emergency medical supplies, according

to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

He was briefed on the current situation from the state emergency

epidemic prevention headquarters and described it as

"great turmoil since the country's founding", the KCNA report.

He urged relevant authorities to learn from the "successful"

coronavirus control measures of other countries, including

China. A total of around 524,440 people in North Korea have

shown symptoms of fever between late April and May 13, the

KCNA added.

Among them, 243,630 have been completely cured, with

roughly 280,810 being treated.

The reported number of coronavirus-linked deaths in the

North has climbed to 27. Kim, meanwhile, called for "faith" that

the virus crisis can be overcome soon, stressing it is not "uncontrollable",

as it is restricted within certain regions that have

already been put under lockdown.

On Thursday, the North announced its first outbreak of

Covid-19 since January 2020.

London : There was more to the

high level meeting of leaders of the

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz

(PML-N) in London than met the

eye, informed sources indicated.

On the face of it, the economic

crisis gripping Pakistan, whether or

not to call early elections, and how to

tackle the challenge posed by a populist

Imran Khan were on the agenda

during the two-day conference with

former Prime Minister and leader of

the PML-N Nawaz Sharif, who is

exiled in the British capital.

However, observers claimed tensions

among senior figures in the

party was equally pertinent. It is said

there is a general acceptance of

Nawaz Sharif as the undisputed leader, but

not his brother Shehbaz Sharif, who is now

Prime Minister.

While the latter is deemed to have been

relatively successful as Chief Minister of

Punjab, his alleged style of decision-making

without prior consultation is reportedly

not ideal at the federal level. Nationally,

PML-N has powerful figures in former

Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi, Ahsan

Iqbal, and Khawaja Asif.

The party leadership is split on early

elections. One section feels it would be

blamed for a deterioration in the economic

situation, which is feared before a turnaround.

Tough conditions attached to any

bailout by the International Monetary Fund

could also inflict short-term pain on the

people. This group thinks accusing Imran

Khan of mismanagement in a snap election

would win the PML-N alliance, now in

office, a majority.

Nawaz Sharif is believed to be of this

view and a final decision has, it seems,

been left to him. A participant in the parleys

was former Finance Minister of

Pakistan, Ishaq Dar, who presented his

ideas on economic options. The lack of

clarity on the IMF package and any assistance

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab

Emirates may extend has caused the

Pakistani rupee to weaken against the US

dollar. However, the co-chairman of a key

coalition partner Pakistan People's Party,

Asif Zardari, is opposed to elections before

reforms of election and National

Accountability laws in the country.

"Whether it takes three or four months,

we have to work on implementation of

policies and improving the electoral

process," he told a press conference in

Pakistan. He added: "I have also talked to

Nawaz Sharif on this and we agreed that

we can go to polls as soon as the reforms

and targets are met." The choice of

Zardari's son Bilawal as the Pakistan

Foreign Minister has apparently been well

received. The Oxford-educated 33-yearold's

humility has impressed career diplomats.

He is scheduled to travel to the US

next week to attend a Global Food Security

meeting in New York at the personal invitation

of Secretary of State Antony

Blinken.

Resumption of US economic aid to

Islamabad ? which would depend on reciprocal

cooperation on Afghanistan

and containment of extremism ? is

crucial to Pakistan's recovery.

The Pakistani Foreign Office

said: "The foreign minister (during

a meeting with the American

charge d' affaires) invited US companies

to come and invest in

Pakistan."

It added: "With the US, there is

a shared desire for further strengthening

and enhancing of mutually

beneficial bilateral relations as

manifested by recent and ongoing

contacts." Imran Khan's continuing

popularity is not only a headache

for the current ruling parties, but

also for the top brass of the

Pakistan Army, who created him and have

now chosen to be "neutral" ? which could

mean they are actually attempting to cut

him to size.

The former Pakistan cricket captain

enjoys a significant following among overseas

Pakistanis in Britain. At home it is primarily

an urban phenomenon, with

Karachi possibly topping the list in supporting

him. Worryingly for the army generals,

a majority in the middle and lower

ranks below them are behind Imran Khan,

as are overwhelmingly serving officers and

men in the air force and the navy and

retired personnel. To turn this around is a

Herculean task for even the omnipotent

army. On Friday, Imran Khan, calling the

army "neutrals", reminded it that his

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin had

warned the economy would go into a "tailspin"

if his government was ousted, which,

of course, it legitimately was on the floor

of Pakistan's National Assembly.

Punitive action against Imran Khan,

even if ordered by the judiciary, could be

seen by the Pakistani public as vengeful

and might backfire. Thus, the PML-N is in

a dilemma.


6 16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022 ASIA

www..co.uk

Protests in Pakistan after two Sikh

shopkeepers gunned down

Peshawar : The Peshawar-Islamabad

road in front of Qila Bala Hissar was

blocked by the members of the Sikh

community to register their protest

against the killing of two Sikhs in

Guwahati : The Indian Air

Force (IAF) and the Northeast

Frontier Railways (NFR) have

evacuated over 1,500 stranded

passengers while over 25 pairs

of trains connecting Tripura,

Mizoram and southern Assam

had to cancelled following

heavy landslides triggered by

incessant rains in Dima Hasao

district in Assam, officials

said on Sunday.

The NFR officials said that

most of the stranded passengers

were evacuated on

Sunday from Ditokcherra by

train while the remaining passengers

were airlifted to

Silchar by IAF choppers.

In view of water logging

and landslides due to heavy rain,

between Jatinga Lumpur and New

Harangajao, and between Bandarkhal

and Ditokcherra sections and other several

locations in Lumding-Badarpur hill

section of Lumding division of NFR,

services of 25 pairs of trains have been

cancelled/ partially cancelled.

"The stranded passengers of these

trains are safe. All kinds of essential

Peshawar in Pakistan.

"Amidst the slogans of "Bole-So-

Nihal, the members of the Sikh community

while holding placards in their

hands Staging protests on the roads of

items like food and drinking water are

being arranged by the railway authorities

for them," the NFR official said.

A district official of Dima Hasao district

said that soils of 100 meter railway

tracks at Daotohaja-Phaiding section

and similar length of the vital Haflong-

Jatinga highway had been washed away

due to the non-stop rains, which continued

for the past five days. At least three

Peshawar against the brutal killings of

two #Sikhs near #Peshawar in

#Pakistan," Ravinder Singh Robin

tweeted.

"My heart and prayers go out to two

Sikhs who were shot dead by local

extortionists in #Peshawar on Sunday.

The members of the Sikh community

taking the dead bodies of Ranjit Singh &

Kuljit Singh, on their shoulders. Sikhs

leaders around the World condemn the

cold blooded murder," Robin tweeted.

Two members of the Sikh community

were killed after unidentified assailants

opened fire on them near the outskirts of

Peshawar, police said on Sunday, Dawn

reported. In a statement, Peshawar

Capital City Police Office Ijaz Khan said

that the incident occurred within the

jurisdiction of the Sarband police station.

He also identified the victims as 42-

year-old Suljeet Singh and 38-year-old

Ranjeet Singh, adding that they owned

spice shops in Batatal locality, Dawn

reported. Police reached the scene soon

after receiving information about the

incident and shifted the bodies to the

hospital for an autopsy, Khan said,

adding that officials were also collecting

evidence from the scene of the crime.

"CCTV cameras from surrounding

areas are also being checked," he said,

adding that a search operation had been

launched in the area to nab the suspects

who managed to escape.

"Those involved in the incident will

soon be unmasked," the officer said.

Assam: Many trains cancelled

due to RAIN, LANDSLIDE

people were killed and a

few others went missing

following heavy landslides

triggered by incessant rains

in Dima Hasao district in

Assam during the last 24

hours.

Officials of the Assam

State Disaster Management

Authority (ASDMA) said

that three persons, including

a woman, lost their

lives in Haflong revenue

circle of Dima Hasao district.

After the landslides,

few people remained missing

till Sunday.

The mountainous district

has been ravaged by

flash floods and massive

landslides in more than nine places

causing snapping of vital rail and road

links from other parts of the state and

region. Over 80 houses were either fully

damaged or severely affected due to the

landslides, which occurred at New

Kunjung, Fiangpui, Moulhoi,

Namzeurang, South Bagetar, Mahadev

Tilla, Kalibari, North Bagetar, Zion and

Lodi Pangmoul villages.

Not to indulge in

Hindu-Muslim debate:

Congress leaders

Udaipur : The Chintan Shivir of the Congress discussed

about ideological clarity, underlining there should be no

confusion in the party even as different voices seemed emanating

from different regions.

The Hindi heartland people were wary of the Congress

being termed as 'Muslim party' so they wanted to toe the line

of soft Hindutva.

Meanwhile, the people of Northeast and South had different

views on it with the southern states opining the party

should stick towards its secular credentials and "not fall into

BJP's trap".

Sources say former Maharashtra Chief Minister

Prithiviraj Chavan pointed that BJP is not fighting directly.

Referring to his state, the senior Congress leader said the

saffron party is using proxies like Raj Thackarey, and actors

and fringe elements.

Meanwhile, the Muslim leaders of the party were of the

views that withering support from the community is the reason

behind the Congress not taking an aggressive stand,

with many leaders asserting that to confront the BJP, the

Congress should not get into the Hindu-Muslim issue but

push the people-centric and development issues, and question

the government on economy, inflation and other subjects.

Discussing other issues such as alliances, the party leaders

said in the meeting that every state has different dynamics,

and therefore, state-wise alliances should be considered

rather than pan-India alliances.

The debate on 'Hindutva' also witnessed sharp differences.

Two leaders -- Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh

Baghel and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal

Nath -- were of the idea to toe the soft Hindutva line only to

face a stiff counter argument from some leaders, including

former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan

backed by leaders from South. Chavan argued that there

should be clarity on the ideological issues and it should not

be a copy of the BJP.

Another leader, who backed the soft 'Hindutva' line, was

Uttar Pradesh leader Acharya Pramod Krishnam who said

that the party should not shy away from it while leaders like

B.K. Harisprasad from Karnataka said that the Congress

should stick to its core ideology.

Baghel pitched for reaching out to Hindus through programmes

and participating in festivals to counter the BJP's

'Hindutva' agenda, which was opposed on the grounds that

the Congress should not compromise on its core ideology. It

was also said that for short-term electoral gains, it should

not look like the B team of BJP.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Lucknow : The Allahabad

High Court's Lucknow bench

on Thursday dismissed the petition

seeking opening of 22

rooms in the Taj Mahal premises.

The two-judge bench ripped

into the petitioner who sought

opening of the 22 locked

rooms, stating that the truth

about the iconic monument

needs to come out, and that he

has filed multiple PILs for the

same. "Tomorrow you will ask

for permission to see our chambers.

Please, don't make mockery

of the PIL system," the

bench said during the hearing.

The writ petition, seeking to "find the

truth" behind the 22 locked rooms in the

Taj Mahal, was filed last week before the

Lucknow bench by Rajneesh Singh, who

is the media in-charge of the BJP's

Ayodhya unit.

The petition cited the claims of some

historians and Hindu groups about the

mausoleum actually being an old Shiva

temple. The petition has sought the

Archaeological Survey of India form a

special committee to examine the locked

rooms and release the report to the public.

Singh said that the demand is not to

make the Taj Mahal a temple but to bring

out the truth of the matter for the sake of

social harmony. He said that the only

way to end such controversy is by examining

closed rooms. Justices D.K.

Upadhyay and Subhash Vidyarthi questioned

the petitioner on what his plea is.

Pointing out that the petitioner wants the

court to issue a writ of mandamus, they

stated it can only be issued in case of

infringement of rights. "What judgment

do you want us to pronounce? Who built

ASIA

ALLAHABAD HC dismisses

petition on TAJ MAHAL,

sharply pulls up petitioner

India clean sweep Women's 25M

Pistol at Suhl Junior World Cup

New Delhi : India's pistol

girls affected a clean sweep of

the Women's 25M Pistol competition

on the penultimate

day of the ISSF Junior World

Cup shooting championships

in Suhl, Germany, to further

consolidate their lead at the

top of the medal tally.

Rhythm Sangwan won

gold, Manu Bhaker silver and

Naamaa Kapoor bronze, as

India completely dominated

the Olympic event on Sunday.

The Indian trio was head

and shoulders above the field

from the qualification round

itself. Rhythm topped the

round with a score of 588

while Manu was second with

584 and Naamya third with

583.

Then in the eliminators,

Naamya topped with 12 hits

while Rhythm followed her to

the medal round in second

with 11 hits. Manu topped the

second eliminator comfortably

with 17 hits as German

Michaela Boesl won a shootoff

to become the fourth finalist

with nine hits to her name.

Then Naamya ensured an

Indian sweep of the medals,

taking out the German in a

tense three-shot shoot-off after

both had tied on 10-hits after

four 5-shot series rounds.

Meanwhile, there was a battle

at the top, as Manu initially

led from Rhythm, but the latter

caught up by the fifth series

and then surged ahead after

the seventh as Manu registered

a blank.

Eventual scores read 31 hits

for Rhythm, and 26 for Manu,

while Naamya finished with

16 hits to her name.

Shivam Dabas also won

India a silver in the Men's

50M Rifle 3 Positions Junior

competition, going down 15-

17 to Italian Danilo Sollazzo

where the Italian also had to

survive a shoot-off against the

Indian to win in what was a

very close final.

With a few more events to

be decided, India have now

amassed nine gold, 10 silver

and one bronze for an overall

haul of 20 medals so far.

the Taj Mahal? Don't go

into historical facts...

Mandamus can only be

issued when rights have

been infringed. What rights

of yours have been

infringed?" the bench

asked.

The petitioner said he is

asking for a fact-finding

committee to be constituted

to get to the bottom of the

issue and reiterated his

demand to be allowed

access to the 22 rooms as

the "truth" needs to emerge

about the Taj Mahal.

Citizens need to know why

multiple rooms in the monument are said

to be locked due to "security reasons",

he said. The bench responded sharply,

saying: "Who are you asking the information

from? If you are not satisfied that

the rooms have been closed for security

reasons, use your remedies in law to

challenge that. Do some research first --

do MA, Ph.D, enroll yourself somewhere.

Don't make a mockery of this."

Several right-wing organisations

claim Taj Mahal to be Tejo Mahalaya, a

Hindu temple.

Karachi : The Pakistani

rupee on Thursday broke all

previous records against the

US dollar and dropped to an

all-time low of Rs191.77 in

the interbank market, media

reports said. The local currency

lost Rs 1.7 (or 0.91 per

cent) during the day to close

at Rs 191.77, surpassing

Wednesday's record low of

Rs 188.66, The News reported.

Dried-up foreign currency

inflows, coupled with a

delay in the revival of the

International Monetary

16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022

Fund (IMF) bailout and a

lack of financial support

from friendly countries, are

adding to the pressure on the

local currency. The decline

was in line with the predictions

of the analysts who

fear more losses down the

road as the country remains

mired in political and economic

instability, The News

reported. A day earlier, the

rupee surpassed the critical

threshold of 190 amid a persistent

decline in the foreign

exchange reserves due to

7

NHRC asks Delhi govt

to submit report on

Mundka fire in 2 weeks

New Delhi :

The National

Human Rights

Commission

(NHRC) has

taken a suo motu

cognisance of the

Mundka fire

tragedy in the

national capital

that claimed 27

lives.

On Sunday,

the NHRC issued

notice to the

Chief Secretary,

Delhi government

to submit a report to the Commission within two weeks,

including action taken against the accountable authorities or

officials. The NHRC has also asked for a report on the status of

the disbursement of the relief granted by the government.

Issuing the notice, the Commission said that it has observed

that this appears to be the worst case of gross violation of human

rights of the victims due to utter apathy and complete dereliction

of statutory duties of public servants in the national capital causing

loss of lives due to fire.

Looking into the gravity of the matter and observing that the

authorities appear to have least bothered on its earlier recommendations

in similar incidents in the past, the Commission has

also asked its Director General to send a team immediately to

investigate the matter.

"According to media reports, the building had no sanctioned

plan and the factory was operating without any licence. The fact

has reportedly come out in an enquiry conducted by North Delhi

Municipal Corporation. There are hundreds of such buildings

that are operational from congested quarters with authorities

struggling to curb them. There are several areas in Delhi where

even fire tenders cannot enter because of rampant unauthorised

constructions," said the commission in a statement.

Pakistani rupee hits

new all-time low

hefty current account and

trade deficits, and higher

debt payments. Since the

beginning of this fiscal year

(July 1, 2021) to date, the

rupee has collectively

dropped by a massive 21.72

per cent (or Rs 34.23) compared

to the previous fiscal

year's close at Rs 157.54.

The rupee has maintained a

downward trend for the last

13 months. It has lost 25.94

per cent (or Rs 39.5) to date,

compared to the record high

of Rs 152.27 recorded in May

2021. Moreover, political

unrest owing to PTI's protest

campaign against the government

is eclipsing the new economic

team's focus on economic

firefighting. Former

Prime Minister Imran Khan

has announced to march with

millions of his supporters

towards Islamabad after May

20 to demand new elections

to add to the troubles of the

economically-challenged

PML-N led regime, The

News reported.


8 16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Crisis in Srilanka is economic while leader

provided religious solutions for it

(Samaj Weekly)- Srilankan crisis

is the story of accumulation of

public wealth by powerful individuals

who do not offer economic solutions

to their people but give an

excuse which makes the minorities

the villain. This has become the

favorite understanding and analysis

of the politicians in South Asia.

They easily find a way out to

‘resolve’ the crisis of people. They

don’t offer jobs, economic growth,

social security but provide ‘religion’

as a tool to resolve their crisis.

This ‘religion’ as a tool is nothing

but a politics of hatred and prejudices

towards the minorities. Sri

Lanka’s powerful Sinhalas suffered

in hatred against Tamils and later

the Muslim minorities. Every day,

they used to bring out issues that

would actually humiliate the

Muslims and put them on defensive.

In the name of national security,

Srilanka’s politicians actually were

enjoying the power of selling false

supremacy ideas to their Sinhala

public. People too were mad in their

prejudices that they did not see that

their leaders have amassed huge

wealth and money. The politicians

were living lives which our kings

too never lived. Today, the same

crowd of ‘.devotees’ of the ruling

establishment is in the street looking

for politicians and burning their

properties.

How has Sri Lanka come to such

a sorry state? It was a country,

which I also felt, the best in South

Asia. It was a country which should

not have had that crisis. A beautiful

island country which recuperated

from the internal strife but not the

Sinhala nationalism made the leaders

so powerful that they refused to

address the economic issues of the

people. Today, the tiny island nation

is in total chaos and the prime minister

and his family has to flee to a

naval base while many other ministers

and members of parliaments

face public anger. Many houses

belonging to Ministers and

Members of Parliament were burnt

and many members faced life threat.

The president is asking for people to

be quiet but it is a fact that people

are not going to be satisfied

unless the president

too resigns and is tried

for treason.

What are the lessons

from Srilanka’s crisis

with India?

The first and foremost

is don’t abandon

your own market, your

own farmers and farm

production as per the

powerful World Bank

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

and IMF which are meant to

strengthen the western monopoly

and ask for private corporations to

decide your fate.

Russia has managed to counter

the so-called sanctions because it

has natural resources. You can not

download wheat from google. So,

the stock market does not really represent

the crisis of a country. Indians

must understand that the economic

crisis is looming large over our

heads too. Unfortunately, political

leadership here too aggravates that

and deliberately creates artificial

social and cultural crisis to evade

answering the economic issues. So,

for our politicians, the issue of a

temple or the priests are more

important than the issue of hunger

and malnutrition. Every day, we are

being fetched with the greatness of

this temple. Every day, we are being

told to change names of places.

every day. you are compelled to discuss

these issues selectively which

put the minorities particularly

Muslims on tenterhook.

Hatred has become their best

weapon while ignoring the hard

issues which might befell us in the

coming days. The economy is in the

worst shape and the only attempt is

to capture people’s resources. The

netas are becoming kings with

obscene wealth while people are

suffering. Interestingly, in all this,

the role of our media is that of a

conspirator, a partner in the crime

against fellow Indians in denying

them the correct information and

deviating from discussing the real

issues while giving them false religious

solutions for their economic

crisis. India media remains the

stooge of the powerful ‘jaatis’ and

business interests of the cronies but

despite that India still has the

resilience to fight against such

things. We still have local modes of

production and remain powerful.

Please continue to encourage and

patronise the farmers, the local vegetable

vendors, street vendors as

they will survive India. India’s

strength is its farmers and their local

production. Once the country

depends on external countries for

their basic needs then survival

would be difficult as government’s

borrowings for their own purposes

ultimately create chaos but all

nations and societies who have their

own means of productions and who

are not dependent on private cronies

and import from outside will survive.

Our citizens must learn that no

nation can become powerful by just

becoming a ‘service’ country for

others. We may have glossy international

products, big cars but it will

not survive unless the farmers are

allowed to flourish and people

patronise them. Wishing Srilanka to

come out of this crisis soon. Hope

this will give enough ideas and

thinking to their political class to not

consider their people as cannon fodder

and listen to them, strengthen

the local mode of product and keep

away from giving false religious

solutions for your socio economic

crisis and most importantly, politics

of hatred and exclusion can only

take you towards disaster.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk ASIA 16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022 9

Many more districts to be

bifurcated in West Bengal

soon: Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata : West Bengal government

is heading for bifurcation of several

existing districts in the state, hinted

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee here on

Thursday. The state at present has 23

districts. "Look at our neighbouring state

of Bihar, which has 38 districts. In West

Bengal, we have so many big districts

which need bifurcation to expedite

administrative efficiency. So, in future,

the current number of 23 districts might

be increased to 46," the chief minister

said. She was addressing the annual general

meeting of the West Bengal Civil

Service (Executive) Officers'

Association at the newly inaugurated

Kolkata's iconic town hall here.

According to her, the bifurcation and

increase in the number of districts is

extremely necessary to improve the promotion

avenues of the West Bengal Civil

Service (WBCS) officers, which in her

words are the "state's own officers".

"The WBCS officers are the state's

own officers. So, it is the duty of the

state government to give priority to

them. If more districts are created, we

can give important postings to WBCS

officers and their avenues for promotion

to the ranks of additional district magistrates,

district magistrates, deputy secretaries

and additional secretaries should

increase,' the chief minister said.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief

minister also targeted the Union government

for not allocating enough Indian

Administrative Service (IAS) officers to

the state. "In 2011, when we came to

power, the total number of IAS officers

in the state was just 314. The situation

has improved now with the number rising

to 378. Still there is a huge shortfall

which is often a hurdle for running the

administration more smoothly," the chief

minister said.

She once again attacked the Centre

for releasing the dues of the state government

on account of Mahatma Gandhi

National Rural Employment Guarantee

Act (MGNREGA). "Because of these

dues, often payments of wages under

MGNREGA are getting stuck or

delayed. As it is, the people are suffering

due to massive increase in the prices of

essential commodities. Lives of people

become further miserable if they do not

get payment for the work done," the

chief minister said.

Mayawati comes out in

support of Azam Khan

Lucknow : In a surprise

development, Bahujan

Samaj Party (BSP) president

Mayawati has come

out in support of senior

Samajwadi Party leader

Mohd Azam Khan, once

considered her bete noire.

Mayawati, in a series of

tweets on Thursday, said

his continued incarceration

is being regarded as a

'strangulation of justice' by the common man.

Mayawati also hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party government

for allegedly targeting the poor, Dalits, tribals and

Muslims and also harassing its political opponents.

She said, "In Uttar Pradesh and other BJP-ruled states,

Muslims are being harassed by making them victims of

atrocities ..." She further said, "In this sequence, the matter

of continuous hateful and terror (like) action by the UP government

on its opponents and keeping senior MLA

Mohammad Azam Khan in jail for about two-and-a-half

years is in the news which, in the eyes of the people, if not

strangulating justice, then what is it?"

Mohd Azam Khan, a senior SP leader and MLA from

Rampur, is currently in jail on several charges, including

corruption. Khan has been lodged in the Sitapur jail for over

two years. He has got bail in 88 out of 89 cases. However,

he will be released from jail only after the bail is granted in

the last case.

ITBP deployed at

Kedarnath after huge

influx of pilgrims

Gir, Lakhimi, Sahiwal

major in indigenous cattle:

BREED-WISE REPORT

New Delhi : The Indo-Tibetan

Border Police (ITBP) has been

deployed on Kedarnath temple premises

for security and crowd management

following heavy influx of pilgrims.

The ITBP teams at various locations

are maintaining a close vigil on the

movement of the yatris from security

point of view on the request of the district

administrations. More than 20,000

devotees are visiting the temple.

Besides, places such as Sonprayag,

Ukhimath and Kedarnath are bursting

with devotees. Being the first responder

in the Himalayan region, the Force has

deployed its security personnel along

the route to the Kedar valley and on the

temple premises on the request of the

district administration, the ITBP PRO

Vivek Pandey said.

Apart from security, crowd management

becomes an important task when

the influx of the pilgrims is so huge, he

added. The Himalayan border guarding

force has also deployed its disaster

management teams in the area along

with medical teams with oxygen cylinders.

With the help of state administration,

drills of medical emergencies and

evacuation on requirements are being

undertaken, Pandey added.

There have been some incidents of

stampedes at religious places in the past

and it has been noticed that a large number

of pilgrims have been visiting religious

places after Covid- induced lockdown

almost after two years, the officials

in the local civil administration

said. The Kedarnath temple was opened

on May 6 and till now more than one

1.30 lakh pilgrims have already visited

the Kedarnath temple so far. At

Badrinath temple also, the ITBP teams

have been helping the temple and civil

administration for smooth conduct of

'darshan' and management of the rush of

the pilgrims. The Char Dham Yatra this

year has been witnessing unprecedented

rush of pilgrims as it has been opened

after two years of Covid restrictions.

New Delhi : Covering 184

recognised indigenous, exotic &

crossbred breeds of 19 selected

species that are registered by the

National Bureau of Animal

Genetic Resources (NBAGR), a

'Breed-wise Report of Livestock

and Poultry' observed that Gir,

Lakhimi and Sahiwal breeds

have major contribution in total

Indigenous Cattle.

There are 41 recognized

indigenous whereas four exotic

and crossbred breeds of cattle are

covered in the report which was

released on Thursday. "The exotic

and crossbred animals contribute

nearly 26.5 per cent of the

total cattle population whereas

73.5 per cent are indigenous and

non-descript cattle. Crossbred

Jersey has the highest share with

49.3 per cent as compared to

39.3 per cent of Crossbred

Holstein Friesian (HF) in total

exotic/crossbred cattle," the

report said, adding, "Gir,

Lakhimi and Sahiwal breeds

have major contribution in total

Indigenous Cattle."

In buffalo, the Murrah breed

majorly contributes with 42.8

per cent which is commonly

found in Uttar Pradesh and

Rajasthan, the report released by

Union Minister of Fisheries,

Animal Husbandry and

Dairying, Parshottam Rupala

said. The breed-wise data collection

was done along with 20th

Livestock Census during the

year 2019. But the report about it

was released only now.

The report has interesting

other findings. In sheep, there

are three exotic, and 26 indigenous

breeds found in the country.

Among the pure exotic breeds,

Corriedale breed majorly contributes

with 17.3 per cent and in

the indigenous breeds the

Nellore breed contributes the

highest in the category with 20.0

per cent share.

In Goats, there are 28 indigenous

breeds found in the country

among which, the Black Bengal

breed contributes the highest

with 18.6 per cent. In exotic and

crossbred pigs, crossbred pigs

contribute 86.6 per cent whereas

Yorkshire contributes majorly

with 8.4 per cent. In indigenous

pigs, Doom breed majorly contributes

with 3.9 per cent.

In Horse & Ponies, the share

of Marwari breed majorly contributes

with 9.8 per cent; in case

of donkeys, the share of Spiti

breed contributes with 8.3 per

cent; in Camel, it is the Bikaneri

breed that majorly contributes

with 29.6 per cent while in poultry,

desi fowl, Aseel breed majorly

contribute in both backyard

poultry and commercial poultry

farm, the report observed.

Considering the importance of

the livestock sector, it becomes

essential for the policy maker

and researcher to ascertain the

various breeds of livestock

species so that the livestock

species can be genetically

upgraded for optimum achievement

for its product and also for

other purposes.


10 16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

New Zealand to fully reopen borders,

WELCOME SKILLED WORKERS

New Zealand’s coronavirus death toll has remained far below that of almost every other developed nation

Wellington : New Zealand will

reopen its borders to tourists from

all countries by July, allow back

cruise ships and make it easier for

skilled workers to immigrate as it

looks outward to the world again

following the Covid-19 pandemic,

the government said Wednesday.

New Zealand imposed some of

the world’s strictest border controls

when Covid-19 first hit more than

two years ago. That allowed the

nation of 5 million to eliminate several

virus outbreaks and get vaccination

rates up before the omicron

variant swept through this year.

New Zealand’s coronavirus death

toll has remained far below that of

almost every other developed

nation. But as the pandemic has

dragged on, New Zealand’s border

measures have increasingly

appeared outdated as other countries

have reopened.

New Zealand has been slowly

reopening, first to Australians last

month and then to tourists from the

US, Britain and more than 50 other

countries earlier this month.

Wednesday’s announcement will

allow tourists from China, India and

other countries to come starting July

31. The government said it also

planned to end the need for people

to get pre-departure Covid-19 tests

by the end of July.

But in a sign that the virus continues

to disrupt daily life, Prime

Minister Jacinda Ardern did not

make the announcement in person at

a business lunch in Auckland as she

had planned, but instead spoke via

video link from her residence in

Wellington where she is isolating.

Ardern’s fiancé Clarke Gayford

tested positive for the virus on

Sunday. Ardern has so far tested

negative and said she’s been symptom-free.

New Zealand health rules

require household contacts of infected

people to isolate for seven days.

“Today I can announce that New

Zealand fully reopens to the world

by July 31, completing our reconnecting

work two months ahead of

schedule,” Ardern said on the video

link. She said new immigration settings

would make it easier for

skilled workers to enter from July,

with a new “green list” of 56

sought-after professions including

doctors, nurses, engineers,

plumbers, teachers and tech workers.

“This package is designed to

address the urgent skills shortages

created by Covid while also putting

our immigration settings on a better

and more sustainable footing,”

Ardern said.

Before the pandemic hit, more

than 3 million tourists visited each

year, accounting for 20 per cent of

New Zealand’s foreign income and

more than 5 per cent of the overall

economy. Business leaders and

tourism representatives welcomed

the announcement.

“After two years of hardship,

hundreds of Kiwi ship suppliers and

tourism operators can start rebuilding

their businesses back,” said

Debbie Summers, the chairperson of

the New Zealand Cruise

Association.

Ardern has also been signaling

the country’s reopening plans with

trips abroad, including a recent trip

to Singapore and Japan and an

upcoming trip to the US.

Stalin likely to head TN delegation

to World Economic Forum meet

Chennai : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister

M.K. Stalin is likely to lead a delegation from

the state to attend the four-day World

Economic Forum (WEF) meeting to be held in

Davos, Switzerland from May 22.

Sources in the Tamil Nadu government told

IANS that the delegation is likely to include

state Industries Minister Thangam Thenarasu

and officials from departments of industries,

finance, and health.

The Tamil Nadu side is focusing on wooing

investments for the state citing its vibrant

industrial culture and the several investments

the state has received ever since the DMK

government assumed office even amid the

tough days of Covid -19 pandemic.

It is to be noted that Tamil Nadu guidance,

the nodal investment promotion and felicitation

agency of the state has partnered with the

World Economic Forum (WEF) to establish

India's first manufacturing hub (AMHUB).

Tamil Nadu is chairing the AMHUB that

has around ten members including the United

States, Denmark, Spain, and Brazil and it is

the only state from South Asia that has signed

an MoU with the WEF.

Sources told IANS that the state would

have a dedicated lounge at the Davos summit

and a pavilion as well. The delegation will

showcase the industrial climate of the state

and will interact with investors and other business

and industrial groups who participate in

the WEF.

The dedicated lounge, according to officials,

will have interactive screens and

posters.

Tamil Nadu delegation will focus on wooing

investment to the state by showing its

industrial-friendly climate as well as project

the renewable energy initiatives in the state.

The title of WEF Davos for 2022 is

'Industrial revolution 4.0' , but the focus of the

Tamil Nadu delegation is to woo investments

and will have round table discussions with

CEOs on the sidelines of the events to bring

investments to the state.

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www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022

11

OF SMOKES AND MIRROR :

Pakistan's flawed Afghan ambitions

The fall of Afghanistan to a puritanical

group, the Afghan Taliban,

has brought with it a host of challenges

not only for the war-ravaged

country itself but for the larger

geopolitical dynamics in the South

Asian region. On the one hand, the

supposed victory of the insurgent

Taliban is said to have bolstered

extremist sentiments throughout the

region. On the other, the Taliban's

almost uncontested return to power

has upset the delicate balance

between the nation-states in this

part of the world. Today, each of the

eight South Asian countries is grappling

with challenges that the

ascent of the Taliban has thrown its

way. From concerns regarding the

legitimacy claimed by the until now

outlawed insurgent group to the

humanitarian crisis currently

unfolding in Afghanistan, the South

Asian region is finding itself at the

precipice of yet another geopolitical

tumult.

However, even as each of the

eight South Asian nations has its

own set of apprehensions about

what the ongoing geo-economic

and geopolitical crisis in

Afghanistan will mean for it,

Pakistan may have bitten more than

it can chew. Dealing with a constitutional

crisis of its own, the

Pakistani (deep) state finds itself at

the crossroads of a geopolitical crisis,

which is partly of its own making.

Suffice it to say here that the

rise of its extremist protege, the

Taliban, to power in Afghanistan

has created rippling effects for

which Pakistan might be ill-prepared.

In a way, then an observation

made by Hillary Clinton years ago,

on the potentially harmful consequences

of "breeding snakes in

one's backyard" is likely to prove

true, especially as the Pakistani

benefactors and the beneficiary

Taliban will only grow further apart

in the days to come.

After all, with the nation-state of

Afghanistan, its governance structures

and administrative institutions

firmly under its control, the Taliban

will start feeling the pinch of having

to deliver on its (controversial)

promises, some of which might

even be at odds with the interests of

its military-ruled neighbour.

Pakistan's Strategic Gambit

and Afghanistan

Notwithstanding the larger troubling

consequences, the interim

Afghan government led by the

Taliban offers a sense of immediate

comfort and satisfaction to

Pakistan. It must be mentioned here

that the current government led by

the Taliban is populated with individuals

(and entities) that are

known to have explicit backing of

the Pakistani deep state. The

Haqqani Network (HQN), for

instance, is understood to be a critical

middleman within the larger

movement of the Taliban, which

works to keep the balance in favour

of Pakistani interests. It comes as

no surprise then that the leader of

the HQN, Sirajuddin Haqqani, has

made his way into the Taliban's

government as the Interior Minister.

Similarly, the rise of a so-called

friendly regime in Afghanistan is

being viewed as a strategic accomplishment

by the Pakistani deep

state, which for long had seen the

democratic governments of

Afghanistan as an implicit threat to

its national security. Backed by

Western countries on the one hand

and being in a friendly alliance with

India on the other, the previous

regimes leading the Islamic

Republic of Afghanistan were seen

as being animus to Pakistan's perpetual

(and flawed) quest for

"strategic depth".

It is important to note here that

Pakistan's enduring rivalry with

India coloured its approach towards

Afghanistan so much so that it

viewed the latter's humanitarian and

developmental aid with unredeemable

suspicion. In fact, the former

Pakistani Foreign Minister,

Shah Mahmood Qureshi, had gone

onto claim that the Indian embassies

and consulates in Afghanistan had

become a "hub for terror sponsorship

against Pakistan". And while

the animosity between India and

Pakistan makes trading of allegations

an everyday reality, a claim

such as the one made by Qureshi is

not only phony but also counterfactual

given that there has been an

increase in the intensity of attacks

within Pakistan since the Taliban

takeover in August 2021.

India, like other members of the

democratic bloc, had shut down all

its consulates and embassies in the

wake of Taliban's walkover, punching

holes in Pakistan's ill-founded

thesis. It is true that the Taliban does

not necessarily see eye to eye with

India because of reasons that owe

themselves partially to the former's

close association with the Pakistani

deep state. Having said that, the

newly assumed mantle of being the

political authority of a nation-state

is pushing Taliban to question its

traditional geopolitical stance. In

fact, in a recent statement issued by

the Taliban's UN Ambassador designate,

Suhail Shaheen, the interim

government in Afghanistan is willing

to provide "secure environment

to reopen their embassies and start

functioning as normal". While it

will not be geopolitically judicious

to take the Taliban on its face value,

India could very well use this

opportunity to de-hyphenate the

Pakistan-Taliban equation. The

Pakistani deep state, however, is

unlikely to take such statements of

invitation kindly.

All is Not Well in the Paradise

According to a report published

by the International Crisis Group,

"the Taliban, in fact, at least initially

appeared in some ways to be dictating

Pakistan's policy choices --

forcing Islamabad to concede to at

least some demands on cross-border

movement and pressuring it to

reach a negotiated settlement with

the Pakistani Taliban". That the

Taliban has managed to turn the

tables, even a little bit, indicates

that all may not be well in the

client-patron paradise.

For that matter, the consolidation

of political power in the hands of

the Afghan Taliban has given the

group some leverage to negotiate

with its Pakistani benefactor on a

plane shared (only) by state actors.

While the Taliban is still far from

attaining national and international

credence as the legitimate authority

presiding over Afghanistan, it is

nevertheless the de-facto government

that the world, including

Pakistan, will have to deal with on

newer terms. Hence, it will not be

wrong to suggest that the Taliban's

transformation from an insurgent

group to an interim government has

in itself become an irritant for the

Pakistan. With the Taliban taking a

life of its own, more so politically

as the authority in Afghanistan,

Pakistan is finding itself in a bind of

having to deal with a former nonstate

group becoming its de-facto

counterpart. Facing a Catch-22, or a

situation from which there is no

escape because of mutually conflicting

circumstances, the Pakistan

of today has willingly made way for

the rise of a regime next door that is

unlikely to receive national and

international support at least in the

near future. It will be tough for

Pakistan to not be seen as a protector

of a pariah regime. However, the

Taliban 2.0, if we may call it that,

has not proven to be drastically different

from its previous avatar,

especially in terms of the policies

and practices it follows.

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Political philosophy of Imran Khan

In this article, I am going to make

an attempt to look into Imran Khan's

mindset and try to explain the deep

rooted political psychology of his socalled

anti-colonial rhetoric.

Khan's politics represents the general

crisis of Pakistan's failing economy

and chaotic politics. They mark of

the birth of the preconditions that are

necessary to bring about fundamental

change in the social order of a given

society. This situation can very easily

escalate and develop into a bloody

conflict between the state and its people.

Generally, such change is a precursor

to revolution or a counter revolution

depending on the subjective consciousness

of the broader public.

In Pakistan, the consciousness of

the broader pubic is dominated by

right wing religious/Islamic/jihadi

narratives. This is because for the past

40 years, the mindset of the broader

public has been engineered in a certain

way through a vast network of

Islamic madrassas (seminaries),

weekly sermons every Friday delivered

from the pulpit of the mosque,

television dramas and talk shows,

newspaper columns, and the medium

of cinema.

There was no room left for the

Marxist tradition to gain root as a

counter political narrative in Pakistan

since the Communist Party was

banned in the 1950s. With the fall of

the Soviet Union in 1990, any relics

of left wing intellectual debate were

further diminished.

In a recently released video of the

former Prime Minister, he said that

the West never accepted him because

he was a Pakistani. He continued to

explain that if one paints white strips

over a donkey it will not become a

zebra.

This statement reminds one of the

great French-Algerian psychiatrist

Francis Fanon, who while posted in

Algeria with the French legion during

the 1960s war of Algerian independence,

had a chance to observe the

dialectical relation between the mode

of struggle of the colonial subject and

the oppressor.

He noted that initially the

oppressed try to assimilate into the

culture and society of the oppressor

but then as the oppressed realises that

he/she is not treated as an equal, the

oppressed regresses and finally end

up in confronting the colonial master

in a bloody combat.

Khan's confession, that he did try

to assimilate but that he failed to succeed,

must be examined in the light of

Fanon's observations in Algeria.

According to Fanon, "in order to

assimilate...the colonized subject has

to pawn some of his own intellectual

possessions".

At the start of his political career,

Khan was all about western values

woven around a just judicial system

that treated all citizens equally. He

praised the social security system and

used to give examples of British MPs

and Prime Ministers being fined even

over trivial offences unlike in

Pakistan where the power remains the

might and the petty thief is thrown

behind the bars.

In his younger years, Khan went to

Aitchison college in Lahore which

was still following etiquettes of the

English Raj. He also played the

'Gentleman Game' of cricket. He went

to Oxford for higher studies. Khan

eventually even married a high society

socialite Jemima Goldsmith,

daughter of a businessman of Jewish

decent living in the UK.

Nothing worked for Khan and

according to him he felt that although

he "pawned some of his own intellectual

possession" by accepted western

values and mingled in higher circles,

he was still not accepted as an

"equal". Once this realisation set in,

Khan regressed.

He divorced his wife and married

an apparently devout Muslim woman

and began to replace is rhetoric about

the western justice system with

Islamic justice system.

In Fanon's terms this stage is the

second stage of a colonial subject that

can only be revealed after one has

exhausted all attempts to assimilate in

the "superior" culture of the oppressor.

It is here that the oppressed

reverts back to what Edward Said

calls "the native begin to decolonize

the past". The native then creates an

imaginative appeal for the broader

public based on an imaginary past that

was both glorious and just.

This is why Khan is now talking

about an imaginary exemplary

Riyassat-e-Medina (the State of

Medina) created by Prophet

Muhammed some 1,500 years ago.

Once the broader public is awakened

to the realisation that in order to gain

respect, justice and once the demagogue

leader succeeds in energizing

the broader public, comes the final

stage that Fanon refers to as the combat

stage when when the oppressed

turns to violence against the oppressor.

Khan has developed a false narrative

which is based on the theory that

the American government has conspired,

through the Pakistan opposition

parties, to remove him from

power. Therefore, Imran.

Continue Page 11

Of smokes and mirror : Pakistan's flawed...

For instance, its puritan diktats, which range from enforcement

of dress codes to suspension of schooling for girls

beyond sixth standard, has drawn the ire of people both within

Afghanistan and beyond. At the same time, Taliban's continuing

designation as an internationally proscribed entity will

continue to mar its prospects of gathering international

momentum in its favour, especially in view of its reluctance to

break-off its links with terrorist outfits like the Al-Qaeda.

Domestically, the Taliban's inability as well as its lack of

capacity to administer the rule of law, provide services and

create a sense of public order in a chaotic Afghanistan will

only expose the weaknesses of this group further. Reportedly,

the rifts within the Taliban are only growing, which are bound

to make the matters worse by pushing competing factions to

stake claim at power in their own -- often violent -- ways. As

such, the return of the Taliban in an almost bloodless overthrow

of the previous government should not be misunderstood

as indication of the group's political victory.

Far from it, the walkover by the Taliban demonstrated the

inadequacies that plagued the political system of Afghanistan

so much so that it could not sustain itself without external support.

On balance then, the takeover of Afghanistan by the

Taliban may not be as beneficial as the Pakistani deep state

might want it to be.

Far from it, the Taliban's ascent has thrown up challenges

for Pakistan, including the potential of further damaging the

latter's relationship with the West. Moreover, the Taliban's

return to power as an Islamist force is expected to have dangerous

spill-over effects that Pakistan can ill-afford. Hence,

while the so-called victory of the Taliban may have delivered

a sense of gratification to the powerful army-intelligence

nexus of Pakistan in the short-term, it is entirely possible that

the Frankenstein will turn on its creator sooner than later. In

some ways, it already has.

Sri Lanka is not alone, several other countries

are facing an ECONOMIC MELTDOWN

New Delhi : Sri Lanka's economic crisis

triggered by a debt default and acute

shortage of food and fuel leading to violence

has hit headlines but several other

countries -- Pakistan, Nepal, South Africa,

Argentina, Ethiopia, Ghana, Peru among

others with similar distress are also on the

watchlist. These countries are in the grip of

ballooning debts, trade deficits and falling

foreign exchange reserves.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-

Ukraine conflict have pushed debt levels

for many countries to alarming levels.

Take the case of Nepal. The Himalayan

nation has been hit by a yawning trade

deficit due to growing imports. Nepal's

trade deficit in the first eight months of its

financial year beginning on July 16 touched

$9.5 billion, which is close to the entire

budgetary amount of the Nepalese government.

But what has added to the problem is

drying remittances and depleting foreign

exchange reserves. The picture in Pakistan

is similar. Islamabad has already initiated

talks with the International Monetary Fund

for a bailout package. Karachi based newspaper

Dawn in an editorial noted that any

further delay in the IMF agreement would

not only cause irreversible damage to the

economy and also affect negotiations with

Saudi Arabia and China for financial support.

"This situation is unsustainable," it

said. "Most emerging and developing countries

are not just grappling with the economic

fallout of the war, but also the scarring

effects of the pandemic crisis. This

includes job losses and learning losses --

costs borne mostly by women and young

people," Kristalina Georgieva, IMF's

Managing Director said last month.

Lessons from the current crisis:

Global food and commodity prices are

soaring following the Russia-Ukraine war.

Import bills for countries which rely on

imports of fuel will surge at a time when

the global economy was just starting to

recuperate from the severe impact of the

Covid-19 pandemic. Analysts said that

India, India--the third largest oil consumer

in the world after the US and China importing

more than 80 per cent of its crude, must

remain "vigilant and cautious" in relation

to government spendings.

"One of the key things for us is to

refrain from carving out populist measures

especially when commodity prices are

surging.. Populist measures in neighbouring

Sri Lanka and Pakistan have caused

their economic downfall," an insider told

India Narrative.

"India must refrain from any such measures,

especially now since the world economy

is in the middle of an extremely

volatile period," he said. Georgieva said

that even with assistance, many policymakers

face the difficult task of addressing

rising debt. "This is why spending must be

carefully prioritised -- on safety nets,

health, and education -- and targeted to the

most vulnerable," Georgieva said.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022

13

Study sheds new light on how

genes contribute to diabetes

Vax for rare, deadly

mosquito-borne viruses

shows promise in trial

Washington : A vaccine for eastern equine encephalitis

virus (EEEV), western equine encephalitis virus (WEEV),

and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) was found

to be safe, well-tolerated and induced a neutralising antibody

response in adult volunteers, according to newly published

results from a Phase 1 clinical trial.

The vaccine candidate was developed by scientists at the

US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

(NIAID) Vaccine Research Center (VRC), part of the

National Institutes of Health.

EEEV, WEEV and VEEV are spread to humans through

the bites of infected mosquitoes.

Infections from these diseases in humans are rare but can

lead to flu-like symptoms and, in some cases, severe neurological

damage or death.

However, under certain laboratory conditions, the viruses

can transmit through the air by aerosol droplets and cause

infection in humans and are therefore classified as priority

pathogens, potential biological agents that pose a risk to

national security and public health.

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, and team have highlighted

the possible utility of a vaccine for EEEV for people at

high occupational risk of contracting the disease, including

members of the military and laboratory workers.

According to researchers, horses are also susceptible to

infection, but horses cannot transmit the viruses directly to

humans.

The viruses have caused recurrent, small outbreaks in

North, Central and South America, including an EEEV outbreak

in 2019 in the northeastern United States that led to 38

confirmed cases and 15 deaths.

In the study appearing in The Lancet Infectious Diseases,

VRC researchers designed a virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine

candidate (abbreviated WEVEE) that uses proteins from

the outer shells of the EEE, WEE and VEE viruses to prompt

an immune response. VLPs do not contain the genetic material

that the viruses need to replicate inside cells, so VLPs

cannot cause infection.

For the Phase 1 clinical trial, 30 healthy adult volunteers

ages 18 to 50 years received varying doses of the WEVEE

vaccine (6, 30 or 60 micrograms) by intramuscular injection.

Participants then returned to receive the same dose as a

boost eight weeks later. Some participants also received a

formulation of the experimental vaccine that contained an

alum adjuvant added to increase immune responses.

The team reported that the vaccine was safe, well-tolerated

and induced durable immune responses against all three

viruses.

The highest neutralising antibody response was observed

in participants who received the 30-microgram dose with

adjuvant. The authors note that the findings support further

clinical evaluation of the vaccine candidate.

NIAID has approved a commercialisation licence for the

advanced development of the WEVEE vaccine candidate to

the life sciences company Emergent BioSolutions in

Maryland, US.

New Delhi : Healthy adults

who eat a diverse diet, with at

least 8-10 grams of soluble fibre

such as grains, beans, lentils, nuts

and some fruits and vegetables

daily, have fewer antibioticresistant

microbes in their guts,

according to a study.

Microbes that have resistance

to various commonly-used

antibiotics such as tetracycline

and aminoglycoside are a significant

source of risk for people worldwide,

with the widely held expectation

that the problem of antimicrobial resistance

(AMR) - the term that refers to

bacteria, viruses, and fungi that are

resistant to antibiotics - is likely to

worsen throughout the coming decades.

Antimicrobial resistance in people is

largely based in their gut microbiome,

where the microbes are known to carry

genetically encoded strategies to survive

contact with antibiotics.

"And the results lead directly to the

idea that modifying the diet has the

potential to be a new weapon in the

fight against antimicrobial resistance.

And we're not talking about eating

some exotic diet either, but a diverse

Hyderabad : A world-wide study,

which included Indian scientists, of

diverse populations has shed new light

on how genes contribute to Type 2 diabetes.

The study, named DIAMANTE

(DIAbetes Meta-ANalysis of Trans-

Ethnic association studies), co-led by

Prof Andrew Morris of the University of

Manchester, has been published in

Nature Genetics.

The global prevalence of Type 2 diabetes,

a familial disease with severe

morbidity, has increased 4-fold over the

last 3 decades. Asia, especially India and

China, are major hubs of this spurt.

It is thought that Indians are especially

at risk of Type 2 diabetes because they

are centrally obese, or fat around the

abdomen - indicative of fat around their

visceral organs, and are more insulin

resistant right from birth. This is in contrast

to the Europeans who are overall fat

in a generalised manner. Despite this

fact, the largest studies to understand the

genetic basis of Type 2 diabetes have

mostly been conducted on populations

of European ancestry. Dr. Giriraj R

Chandak, Chief Scientist at CSIR -

Centre for Cellular and Molecular

Biology (CSIR - CCMB) and one of the

lead investigators from India, highlighted

this study as a landmark event where

scientists from different parts of the

world put together their minds to understand

similarities and differences in

genetic susceptibility to Type 2 diabetes

in different populations. His group had

earlier provided evidence of greater

genetic heterogeneity in Indians compared

to Europeans, which compromises

the ability to predict Type 2 diabetes risk

in the Indian populations using

European data.

This recent study compared genomic

DNA of 1.8 lakh people with Type 2 diabetes

against 11.6 lakh normal subjects

from five ancestries - Europeans, East

Asians, South Asians, Africans, and

Hispanics, and identified large number

of genetic differences (Single

Nucleotide Polymorphisms or SNPs)

diet, adequate in fibre," said research

molecular biologist Danielle Lemay at

the US Department of Agriculture's

Agricultural Research Service.

In the study, published in the journal

mBio, the researchers found that regularly

eating a diet with higher levels of

fibre and lower levels of protein, especially

from beef and pork, was significantly

correlated with lower levels of

antimicrobial resistance genes (ARG)

among their gut microbes.

Those with the lowest levels of ARG

in their gut microbiomes also had a

greater abundance of strict anaerobic

microbes, which are bacteria that do not

thrive when oxygen is present and are a

hallmark of a healthy gut with low

between patients and the normal subjects.

"The study found population-specific

differences in genetic susceptibility to

Type 2 diabetes. These results pave the

way towards development of ancestryspecific

genetic risk score for risk prediction

in different populations and has

immense implications for Indians, where

every sixth individual is a potential diabetic,"

said Dr. Chandak.

"This study sets up the stage for further

investigating the South Asian population

for genetic susceptibility to Type 2

Diabetes and extends the journey on the

path of precision medicine," CCMB

Director, Dr Vinay Nandicoori, said.

High-fibre rich diet can help

fight antibiotic resistance

inflammation. Bacterial

species in the family

Clostridiaceae were the most

numerous anaerobes found.

But the amount of animal

protein in the diet was not a

top predictor of high levels of

ARG. The strongest evidence

was for the association of

higher amounts of soluble

fibre in the diet with lower levels

of ARGs.

"Surprisingly, the most important

predictor of low levels of ARG, even

more than fibre, was the diversity of the

diet. This suggests that we may want to

eat from diverse sources of foods that

tend to be higher in soluble fibre for

maximum benefit," Lemay added.

On the other hand, those people who

had the highest levels of ARG in their

gut microbiomes were found to have

significantly less diverse gut microbiomes

compared to groups with low and

medium levels of ARG.

"Our diets provide food for gut

microbes. This all suggests that what

we eat might be a solution to reduce

antimicrobial resistance by modifying

the gut microbiome," Lemay said.


14 16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEW DRUG that halts recurring

brain tumour growth identified

The scientists at universities of North-western, California, and Hong Kong demonstrated the effectiveness of

the drug in select patients, mouse models, a 3D living tissue brain tumour (organoids) and cell cultures

New York : An international

team of scientists has

identified a drug that blocks

growth of the most aggressive

brain tumour and how to most

accurately identify which

tumour will respond to the

drug. When a non-metastatic

brain tumour - Meningioma -

recurs after surgery and radiation

treatment, a patient is

out of options. No drugs are

approved for these aggressive

tumours, which occur in up to

20 per cent of cases and can

lead to patient disability or

even death.

But the new drug called

abemaciclib, detailed in the

journal Nature Genetics, is a

cell cycle inhibitor, meaning

it blocks the cell division

cycle and inhibits tumour

growth. The scientists at universities

of North-western,

California, and Hong Kong

demonstrated the effectiveness

of the drug in select

patients, mouse models, a 3D

living tissue brain tumour

(organoids) and cell cultures.

Investigators discovered

that Meningiomas can be

divided into molecular subgroups

with different clinical

outcomes and recurrence

rates. This new method of

classifying tumours allows

scientists to predict recurrence

more accurately than

the current method of classifying

the tumour.

Currently, after surgery,

doctors examine a specimen

of a tumour under a microscope

and grade it one, two or

three in its aggressiveness.

But the grade is only about 70

per cent accurate, meaning

some tumours will behave in

a way that doesn’t fit with

how it appears under the

microscope.

“Our study identifies

which patients we should

treat with this drug, because

their tumours will likely

respond to it,” said Dr

Stephen Magill, Assistant

Professor of neurological surgery

at North-western’s

Feinberg School of Medicine.

“We now have the potential

to give them options and

hope for a longer, symptomfree

life.” The team found

that mice with Meningiomas

treated with the medication

lived longer and their

tumours didn’t grow as rapidly.

The drug was also used

off-label as compassionate

use in several patients whose

tumours decreased in size and

whose symptoms improved,

suggesting the drug should be

considered for clinical trials,

Magill said. “Eventually we

hope to tailor medical therapy

to the genetic changes within

each individual person’s

meningioma,” Magill said.

Meningiomas are the most

common primary (nonmetastatic)

tumour in the central

nervous system. The

symptoms are headaches,

seizures or neurological

deficits (weakness, vision

loss, double vision or sensory

changes).

Study reveals why 7 hours of

sleep is optimal in middle age

Lack of sleep may hamper brain’s ability to rid itself of toxins, say researchers

from the University of Cambridge and Fudan University

London : Seven hours is

the ideal amount of sleep for

people in their middle age

and upwards as a new study

has found that both insufficient

or excessive sleep is

associated with poorer cognitive

performance and mental

health, including dementia.

The study, published in the

journal Nature Aging, indicates

that one possible reason

for the association between

insufficient sleep and cognitive

decline may be due to the

disruption of slow-wave—

‘deep’—sleep. Disruption to

this type of sleep has been

shown to have a close link

with memory consolidation

as well as the build-up of

amyloid—a key protein

which, when it misfolds, can

cause ‘tangles’ in the brain

characteristic of some forms

of dementia.

Additionally, lack of sleep

may hamper the brain’s ability

to rid itself of toxins, said

researchers from the

University of Cambridge and

Fudan University. For the

study, the team examined

data from nearly 500,000

adults aged 38-73 years from

the UK Biobank.

Participants were asked

about their sleeping patterns,

mental health and well-being,

and took part in a series of

cognitive tests. Brain imaging

and genetic data were available

for almost 40,000 of the

study participants.

By analysing these data,

the team found that both

insufficient and excessive

sleep duration was associated

with impaired cognitive performance,

such as processing

speed, visual attention, memory,

and problem-solving

skills.

Seven hours of sleep per

night was the optimal amount

of sleep for cognitive performance,

but also for good

mental health, with people

experiencing more symptoms

of anxiety and depression and

worse overall wellbeing if

they reported sleeping for

longer or shorter durations,

the researchers said.

Sweden

reports 9 cases

of unexplained

acute hepatitis

in children

Stockholm : Nine children

in Sweden have fallen

ill with suspected acute

hepatitis without any apparent

cause, the country's

Public Health Agency has

said.

"It is very unusual but

does occur that a child suffers

from acute hepatitis

with an unknown cause.

The Swedish Public Health

Agency is investigating

whether the cases we see

now represent an increase

in acute hepatitis with an

unknown cause or not,"

state epidemiologist Anders

Lindblom said in a press

release.

All nine children fell ill

between November to April

and caregivers have now

been urged to be vigilant

should they encounter similar

cases. Besides jaundice,

the nine cases have also had

symptoms such as vomiting,

diarrhea, pale stools,

and nausea, Xinhua news

agency reported.

Similar cases of hepatitis

without an apparent cause

have recently been reported

from several countries,

such as the US, the UK, and

Denmark.

The Swedish Public

Health Agency has reported

the Swedish cases to the

European Center for

Disease Prevention and

Control (ECDC) to be

included in an ongoing

investigation to find out

whether there is a common

denominator.

According to the ECDC,

laboratory tests have

excluded viral hepatitis

types A, B, C, D, and E in

all cases. A large proportion

of the reported cases in the

UK and some other countries

have tested positive for

adenovirus.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022

15

What your eyes reveal

about your HEALTH?

It is possible to detect a number of health problems simply by looking at the eyes

East Anglia (UK) : Scientists at

the University of California, San

Diego, have developed a smartphone

app that can detect early signs of

Alzheimer's disease and other neurological

conditions. The app uses the

phone's near-infrared camera to track

changes in the size of a person's pupils

at a sub-millimetre level. These measurements

can then be used to assess

that person's cognitive condition.

As technology evolves, the eyes

will prove more and more useful as a

means of diagnosing all kinds of diseases

and conditions because, by

being transparent, the eye requires far

less invasive methods of examination

than other body parts. But even without

technology, it is possible to detect

a number of health problems simply

by looking at the eyes. Here are some

of the warning signs.

Pupil size

The pupil responds instantly to

light, becoming smaller in bright

environments and larger in dimmer

conditions. Sluggish or delayed

responses in pupil size can point to

several diseases that can include serious

conditions such as Alzheimer's

disease, as well as effects of medications

and evidence of drug use.

Dilated pupils are common in those

who use stimulant drugs, such as

cocaine and amphetamine. Very small

pupils can be seen in heroin users.

Red or yellow eyes

A change in the colour of the sclera

(the “whites of the eyes”) suggests

that something is not right. A red,

bloodshot eye can be triggered by

excess alcohol or drug abuse. It can

also be caused by an irritation or

infection that, in most cases, passes

within days.

If the change in colour is persistent,

it can signal a more serious infection,

inflammation, or a reaction to contact

lenses or their solutions. In extreme

cases, a red eye indicates glaucoma, a

sinister disease that can lead to blindness.

When the sclera become yellow,

this is a most obvious sign of jaundice

and a diseased liver. The underlying

causes of jaundice vary widely. They

include inflammation of the liver

(hepatitis), genetic or autoimmune

conditions, and certain medications,

viruses or tumours.

Red spot

A blood-red spot on the white of

the eye (subconjunctival haemorrhage)

can look frightening and is

always the result of a small localised

blood vessel that has burst. Most

times, there is no known cause, and it

disappears within days. However, it

can also be an indication of high

blood pressure, diabetes and bloodclotting

disorders that cause excessive

bleeding. Blood-thinning drugs such

as aspirin can also be the cause, and if

the problem is frequent, might suggest

that the dosage should be reviewed.

Ring around the cornea

A white or grey ring around the

cornea is often linked to high cholesterol

and an increased risk of heart

disease. It can also reveal alcoholism

and is sometimes seen in the eyes of

older people, which is why the medical

name given to it is arcus senilis.

Fatty lump

Sometimes the most alarming features

that can appear on the eyes are

actually the most benign and easy to

treat. A yellowish fatty lump that can

appear on the white of the eye is a

pinguecula, a small deposit of fat and

protein that may be easily remedied

by eye drops or removed by a simple

operation.

A pterygium that appears as a pinkish

growth over the white of the eye is

not a danger to sight until it starts to

grow over the cornea (the coloured

part of the eye).

Fortunately, pterygia grow very

slowly. As with pinguecula, it can easily

be removed. Indeed, it should be

removed well before it reaches the

cornea. If allowed to keep growing,

the pterygium will form an opaque

“film” over the cornea that will

obstruct vision. One of the major

causal factors for both pinguecula and

pterygium is believed to be chronic

exposure to ultraviolet light from the

Sun.

Bulging eyes

Bulging eyes can be part of a normal

facial feature, but when eyes that

were not previously bulging start to

protrude forward, the most obvious

cause is a problem with the thyroid

gland and needs medical attention. A

single eye that is bulging can be

caused by an injury, infection or, more

rarely, a tumour behind the eye.

Swollen or twitching eyelids

The eyelids can also indicate many

diseases. These are mostly related to

minor conditions of the glands in the

eyelids.

A common condition is the stye or

chalazion, which appears as a red

lump on the upper and, less often,

lower eyelid and is caused by a

blocked oil gland. A stye generally

disappears on its own or with warm

compresses. If it persists, it needs to

be removed with a simple procedure.

A twitching eyelid (ocular

myokymia) can be an irritation, even

an embarrassment, and often feels far

worse than it looks. In most cases, it is

perfectly harmless and can be linked

to stress, nutrient imbalance or consuming

too much caffeine.

Overweight, obesity may up cancer risk among boozers

Regardless of alcohol intake, the analysis identified a dose-response relationship between larger waist circumference and risk of developing obesity-related cancer

London : Being overweight or

having obesity amplifies the harmful

effects of alcohol on the risk of developing

alcohol-related cancer, particularly

in people with a high body fat

percentage, finds a new study.

The findings, presented at the

European Congress on Obesity

(ECO), also identified a doseresponse

relationship between higher

obesity levels and the risk of developing

obesity-related cancers, irrespective

of alcohol consumption.

"Our results suggest that people

with obesity, especially those with

excess body fat, need to be more

aware of the risks around alcohol consumption,"

said researcher Elif Inan-

Eroglu from The University of

Sydney. "With around 650 million

adults living with obesity worldwide,

this is a hugely important issue. When

it comes to the lifestyle factors and

habits that people can change to

reduce their risk of cancer, obesity

and alcohol are top of the list," Inan-

Eroglu added.

For this study, the team combined

data from 399,575 participants, from

the UK Biobank prospective cohort,

who were cancer-free when the study

began and followed for an average of

12 years. Cancers were identified

from hospital admissions and cancer

registry data. Participants were divided

into three groups according to their

body fat percentage, waist circumference,

and BMI) and classified according

to their self-reported alcohol consumption

to examine the joint association

of alcohol consumption and

obesity with the risk of 21 different

types of cancer.

Over an average follow-up of 12

years, 17,617 participants were diagnosed

with alcohol-related cancer and

20,214 developed obesity-related cancer.

The researchers found that across

all obesity markers, people with higher

body fat percentage levels who

drank more than the recommended

guidelines were at greater risk of cancer.

Regardless of alcohol intake, the

analysis identified a dose-response

relationship between larger waist circumference

and risk of developing

obesity-related cancer.


16 16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Wheat challenge

Better management of stocks a must to stabilise food prices

THE 2022-23 rabi marketing

season is witnessing a sharp

drop in wheat procurement by

government agencies. This

trend is being attributed to an

estimated fall of 5.7 per cent in

crop production due to the early

onset of summer; higher

demand among private players

for domestic and export purposes;

and the inclination of

some farmers to hold back a

part of their produce in the

hope of getting better prices.

With wheat supplies from

Ukraine and Russia — together

accounting for about 29% of

the global exports — hit hard

by the ongoing war, India is

going all out to fill the void. It

seems to be a win-win situation

for farmers as well as traders,

though too good to last long.

The hapless consumer has

already started feeling the

pinch, with the average price of

wheat flour in retail markets

reaching around Rs 33 per kg,

an increase of nearly 13 per

cent compared to the year-ago

period. The prices of products

made from wheat flour —

bread, rusks and biscuits — are

also shooting up.

Ruling out curbs on exports,

the government claims that it

has ample stocks for the whole

year to cover all beneficiaries

under the National Food

Security Act and the Pradhan

Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Ann

Yojana. This apparently comfortable

position, however, is

not helping to ease inflationary

pressure on the food front,

thereby pointing to lapses in the

storage and distribution of the

available stocks.

The export overdrive may

achieve short-term gains, but

the government needs to

reassess its domestic priorities

to ensure that food prices don’t

spin out of control. The worstcase

scenario — being forced

to import wheat — has to be

averted at all costs. The decline

in crop yield, triggered by climate

change, may not be

alarming as of now, but it’s a

warning that things can worsen

if farmers and policy-makers

don’t do course correction. The

long-term focus has to be on

climate-resilient, sustainable

wheat production and better

management of stocks, catering

not only to the ever-growing

needs of the population — with

minimal price fluctuations —

but also raising the country’s

global standing as an exporter

of this staple crop.

Poor state of buses

Lack of preventive upkeep of vehicles costing lives

PUTTING the

lives of Himachal

Road Transport

Corporation (HRTC)

employees and lakhs

of passengers in jeopardy,

a whopping 84

public transport

buses plying in

Mandi, Kullu and

Lahaul & Spiti continue to run even after having outrun their

lifespan of clocking 8.5 lakh km. Underscoring the general laxity

is the shocker that not a single new bus has been added to the

fleet in the Keylong depot since 2017. Rather, crores of rupees

were feared to have gone down the drain a few years ago when

over 200 new buses allocated to the Road Transport Corporation

under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission by the

Centre were sitting idle in Kangra for purported lack of drivers

or the buses being too long for plying on the winding and narrow

hill roads.

Further endangering the commuters — that comprise large

numbers of students, middle-class workers and tourists — is the

poor upkeep of the vehicles. A rickety, ramshackle bus with a

broken seat or a jammed windowpane is a bane. Technical

glitches causing the vehicles to break down hit the passengers’

business of the day. Coupled with the chronic shortage of technical

and other staff in the HRTC, the resultant hazardous mix is

potent enough to accelerate the accident-proneness of the old

buses. This is evident from the state’s high rate of road casualties:

on an average, around 1,200 persons die in nearly 3,000

accidents each year. While fingers are commonly pointed at

overspeeding, drunk driving and wrong overtaking, Himachal

Pradesh would do well to equally pay heed to ensuring preventive

maintenance of the buses and curb accidents.

The state of affairs is no better in the adjoining plains. That

PRTC (Punjab) buses are involved in 115 accidents on an average

every year reflects poorly on the corporation. The recent

crash near Kurali in Punjab involving a rashly driven Haryana

Roadways bus that claimed three lives was preventable if the

GPS-based tracking system installed on the bus had been properly

working and monitored for overspeeding. Women are being

wooed by these states with free or concessional bus travel. Make

the travel safer, too.

LANKAN CRISIS

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s resignation unlikely to stem protests

MAHINDA Rajapaksa’s resignation

as the Sri Lankan Prime Minister,

handed over to younger brother

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is

unlikely to stem the wave of anger

against the influential family over the

handling of the island nation’s worst

economic crisis since gaining independence

in 1948. The unprecedented

violent clashes, following the attack

on peaceful anti-government protesters,

mark a huge escalation and the

calls for the President to leave office

are only expected to get shriller. Since

protests flared up in early April in the

capital, Colombo, over soaring prices,

food, fuel and medical supply shortages,

along with prolonged power

cuts, these have grown in size and

spread across the country, unifying a

nation where ethnic fault lines run

deep.

A severe shortage of foreign currency

has resulted in the government’s

inability to pay for vital imports. The

currency devaluation, ahead of talks

for a loan bailout, has made the cost of

living unaffordable for a vast majority.

Successive governments have mismanaged

the economy, but much of

the blame is being pinned on the

Rajapaksas — for the deep tax cuts as

part of the election promise, the controversial

ban on chemical fertilisers

which though later reversed triggered

a drop in the staple rice crop, or racking

up huge debts with countries like

China to fund infrastructure projects

seen as unnecessary. The Covid pandemic’s

devastating blow to the

tourism-dependent economy and the

series of deadly bomb attacks on

churches three years ago that slowed

the tourist inflow have been contributing

factors.

Lessons need to be drawn from the

Lankan crisis of the perils of investing

in populist measures that the economy

is simply not equipped to sustain. For

India, which has stood steadfast

behind the struggling neighbour and

offered a more than generous helping

hand, a peaceful resolution of the situation

is critical. As New Delhi keeps a

close watch on the developments, a

sustained commitment in this hour of

crisis would go a long way in strengthening

the relationship.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022

17

Tread with caution on direct seeding of rice

It is commendable that the Punjab Government is trying to popularise water-saving technologies in paddy fields. It has

announced assistance of Rs 1,500 per acre for farmers opting for direct seeding of rice (DSR) this season. But it is also

important for the state agencies to ensure that irrigation practices in DSR fields are followed strictly as per the recommendations

of PAU. Otherwise, DSR fields may end up consuming more irrigation water compared to the puddled system.

PADDY is considered to be a waterguzzler,

requiring 4,000-5,000 cubic

metres of water per acre. No wonder

Punjab’s groundwater has been declining

very fast both in terms of quantity

and quality. Scientists have been making

efforts to develop water-saving techniques

for paddy. One such water-saving

technique developed by Punjab

Agricultural University (PAU) is direct

seeding of rice (DSR); it is also labourefficient.

DSR was initially aimed at

coping with the shortage of labour for

paddy transplantation; later, it started

being promoted as a water-saver as

well. The extension personnel of the

state Department of Agriculture and

PAU have been trying to promote this

technology among the farmers of the

state for the past several years, but with

little success. Despite tall claims of

more than 5 lakh hectares of paddy area

under DSR during 2020 and 2021 by the

state government, no reduction in electricity

consumption in the agricultural

sector was observed during the paddy

season of these years. Still, to effectively

promote this technology, the state

government recently announced a subsidy/bonus

of Rs 1,500 per acre to the

farmers who will opt for DSR during

2022.

Why puddling in paddy fields?

Puddling is a practice of tilling the

soil in standing water so as to break

down the soil aggregates into primary

particles. After puddling, the soil particles

settle down with differential speed,

with sand particles settling first and clay

particles doing so last, leading to the

formation of a ‘clay skin’. This clay

skin results in a reduction in the infiltration

rate of water into the soil and

ensures that applied irrigation water

remains on the surface of the soil for a

longer period of time.

Perhaps this practice evolved

because of the behaviour of paddy

plants, which are accustomed to grow

under anaerobic (wet) conditions.

Paddy is the only crop where the plant

roots breathe through the aerial parts —

the stem of the plant being hollow from

inside. Under wet conditions, the

ammoniacal nitrogen prevails in the

soil, which is easily taken up by the

paddy plants, in contrast to other plants

which do not take up this form of nitrogen.

Also, puddling leads to ease of

transplanting by the farmers.

As per PAU’s Package of Practices,

DSR is recommended only in medium

to fine textured soils, where the laserlevelled

fields are irrigated before being

tilled. Under workable moisture conditions,

these fields are to be shallow-cultivated

and planked twice during

evening hours, followed by immediate

sowing of seeds. The herbicides are also

required to be sprayed immediately

after sowing.

The first irrigation after sowing is

recommended to be applied 21 days

after sowing and thereafter irrigation is

to be applied at 5-7 days’ interval. In

contrast, in the traditional method of

growing paddy, the puddled fields are

required to be irrigated so as to maintain

flooding for two weeks after transplanting

and thereafter irrigation is recommended

at an interval of 2-3 days after

complete disappearance of water from

the fields, which means an irrigation

interval of 4-5 days. However, the farmers

have not been following this recommendation

for the puddled transplanted

paddy crop, despite efforts made

through live demonstrations by the state

government and PAU.

Points to ponder

Farmers believe that it is important to

irrigate their fields 3-4 days prior to

puddling for so-called cooling of the

soil — this is a myth. It should require

only one irrigation (of course heavy, 8-

10 cm) for the puddling process, provided

the transplanting of seedlings is done

in time.

The farmer keeps water standing in

the paddy fields for 60-75 days against

the PAU recommendation of only 15

days after transplanting. This leads to

higher consumption and hence greater

extraction of groundwater. A similar

mindset if followed in DSR fields could

prove counter-productive to the claims

of this technique being water-saving. It

is, thus, important to strictly follow the

irrigation schedule recommended by

PAU; otherwise, DSR may consume

higher irrigation water than a puddled

system.

In puddled fields, the residence time

of water on the soil surface (being wetter)

is lesser than in DSR fields, where

the soil surface is rougher. Coupled with

lower infiltration rate of puddled fields

than DSR ones, it leads to higher

amount of irrigation water per irrigation

in DSR (7.5-8 cm) compared to puddled

fields (3-4 cm).

It is advisable that while estimating

water consumption in DSR fields, the

amount of irrigation water gives a real

picture rather than simply counting the

number of irrigations.

Studies at PAU have shown evapotranspiration

losses to be similar in both

systems, rather higher in DSR. Any

reduction in evapotranspiration losses

leads to real water-saving; otherwise, it

is more of energy saving.

Experiments at PAU and Borlaug

Institute for South Asia have shown

lower yields of DSR. This could be due

to soil type, weed intensity and diversity.

Studies at PAU have shown a decline

in crop yields in DSR fields in subsequent

years. Farmers must alternate

DSR and puddled transplanted paddy in

the fields so as to check the development

of a weed seed bank, which competes

with the main crop for water and

nutrients.

It is commendable that the state government

is trying to popularise watersaving

technologies in paddy fields. But

it is also important for the state agencies

to ensure that irrigation practices in

DSR fields are followed strictly as per

the recommendations of PAU.

Otherwise, DSR fields may end up consuming

more irrigation water than in the

puddled system.


18 16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Eradication of Caste or Caste-Renaissance?

(Summary of the Speech delivered by Prof. Shrawan Deore in Social Justice Conference held on 1st May, 2022 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu),

Test of Kanshi Ramji’s Jati Jodo (Caste Unification) Pattern, Lohia’s Socialist Pattern and Periyar’s Phuleist Non-Brahmin Pattern,

Against the Brahmin-Non-Brahmin Ideology, Hon. President of conference, Participant Speakers, Brothers and sisters …..

Friends…….

The present times demand

answer to a question, ‘Eradication

of caste or revival of the caste system

of a higher level?’ The responsibility

for answering this question

lies with the left, communistsocialist,

progressive and Phule-

Ambedkarites of this country. The

Left (Communist) parties never

accepted the challenge of caste

system, they always kept themselves

away from the caste annihilation

camp. Therefore, they would

never be able to shoulder the

responsibility of answering the

above question. Among the socialists,

Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia had

made great strides in the anti-caste

camp.

Dr. Lohia, in alliance with erstwhile

veteran OBC leader and sacrificial

idol Chandapuri, had successfully

formulated a theoretical

framework for the unification of

class struggle and caste struggle.

His slogan “Pichda Pave Sau Mein

Saath”, which means the

“Backwards would have 60% out

of 100%”, was the bugle of the

fight towards eradication of caste.

It was from this battle in 1967, that

the first political battle was successful.

Then, under the leadership

of Samajwadi Party, Ram Naresh

Yadav became the first OBC Chief

Minister in Uttar Pradesh. Karpuri

Thakur became the second OBC

Chief Minister in Bihar in 1970.

Jawaharlal Nehru had wrapped up

the Kalelkar Commission in 1955

and tried to suppress the possible

anti-caste struggle led by OBCs.

However, Lohia, in alliance with

Chandapuri, gave impetus to the

fight against caste under the leadership

of OBC. This struggle led to

the formation of OBC leaders like

Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam

Singh Yadav, who brought the

Mandal era to reality and led OBCcentric

politics in the country.

However, as the era of Mandal

Commission was approaching, the

Brahmin counter-revolutionary

camp opposing Mandal

Commission brought up a cultural

conflict of the Ram Temple. The

Socialist OBC leaders could not

counter this cultural conflict, as

Lohia himself was a devotee of

Ram-Krishna. The Mandala yug,

which emerged only from social

and political struggle, stood on a

fragile ground without a cultural

struggle. The Brahmin camp took

full advantage of this situation and

counter-revolution took place in

2014. We have seen that the sooner

social and political

struggles succeed, the

sooner it fails. The cultural

struggle lengthy

route but it strengthens

anti-caste camp from the

ground up and paves the

way for socio-political

struggle.

Hon’ble Kanshi Ram

Saheb had the historic

responsibility of creating

such a counter-cultural

struggle in North India,

as he was calling himself

a Phule Ambedkarite.

Phule and Ambedkar

gave great symbols like

Baliraja, Shambuk,

Karna, Eklavya to fight

against the Brahmin symbols

like Ram-Krishna.

Kanshi Ram Saheb could

take out processions of

such ‘non-Brahmin symbols’

through Delhi to

Lucknow in North India.

Through this, the one-sided

Brahminization of Bahujans in the

name of Rama could have been

stopped to some extent, but Kanshi

Ram Saheb was neither a Phuleite

nor an Ambedkarite! His aim was

to gain political power by forming

an alliance of only two or three

castes. For this, he sometimes

made one-sided alliance with the

Congress, sometimes with the BJP

and sometimes straightway with

Brahmin caste. We are already witnessing

the after effects of that

today. However, during that period,

we had attempted to build cultural

struggle in Dhule-Nandurbar

district of Maharashtra to the best

of our capabilities. Under the leadership

of well-known intellectual

of Oriental Studies, the great

Indologist Comrade Sharad Patil’s

Satyashodhak Communist Party,

processions of Sita, Shambuk and

Eklavya symbols were taken out in

Dhule city and slogans were

announced in their honor.

Mahatma Joytirao Phule was the

first one to propose the theory of

cultural struggle for the annihilation

of caste! Using the theory of

historical materialism, he proved

that, after the fall of Baliraja, the

history of this country is a history

of Brahmin and non-Brahmin

struggles. He made a scientific

analysis of Dashavatara for this,

and promulgated the cultural struggle

of Shambuk-Ravan against

Rama and Karna-Eklavya against

Krishna. The Brahmin camp has

been consistently victorious for the

last 5,000 years, in this one-sided

cultural struggle, but in absence of

this cultural struggle the non-

Brahmin camp has been living a

life of defeat/humiliation.

However, Tamil Nadu is an

exception in this. The cultural

movement started in 1924

under the leadership of Sami

Periyar was successfully

realized in the political revolution

of 1967. As a result

of this, in 1967, Anna Durai

became the first OBC Chief

Minister in Tamil Nadu.

From there, the reservation

limit was increased and

taken up to 69 per cent.

The first revolutionary

Constitutional Amendment

was brought in 1951, to preserve

reservation and second

amendment for putting

the reservation obtained in

the ninth schedule. These

two revolutionary provisions

were possible only

because of Tamil Nadu.

Because Tamil Nadu had

been brought to be a ‘non-

Brahmin nation state’

through a long cultural

struggle. It is unknown

whether Sami Periyar had

read Mahatma Phule, but he tied

atheism to Phule’s ideology and

put forth a distinct ‘Brahmin-non-

Brahmin ideology’.

Mahatma Phule’s followers fell

short in making Maharashtra a

‘non-Brahmin nation state’,

because at a very crucial moment

they fell for Gandhi-ism, and surrendered

to Congress’

Brahminism. But around the very

same time, in 1925, Sami Periyar

kicked Brahmin Congress and

declared war on Brahmin culture.

As a result, the (Madras) province

of Tamil Nadu became a ‘non-

Brahmin nation state’. The first

and last abode of Brahmin is a temple.

Tamil Nadu is the only state to

legally expel Brahmins from

places of worship. One such piece

of evidence proves that Tamil

Nadu is a ‘non-Brahmin nation

state’. However, this does not

mean that the caste system in

Tamil Nadu has been destroyed. It

is not possible to eradicate the

caste system from Tamil Nadu

alone by keeping it intact in the

rest of India. For that, the OBC

leadership of Tamil Nadu will have

to come forward and lead the fight

against caste at the national level.

The OBC leadership from Tamil

Nadu will have to take immediate

further action at the national level.

Although Brahminism has completely

taken over in North India,

‘non-Brahminism’ is still alive to

some extent, in the southern states.

To make it stand firm and gain

ground the “Sita, Shambuk,

Ravana and Baliraja Pride

Marches” should be started in

southern states under the leadership

of OBC leadership of Tamil

Nadu.

Books and other materials based

on the thoughts and works of Sami

Periyar must be translated into all

the other Indian languages ?and

sent to the respective states at the

earliest. In Maharashtra we have

established ‘Phule Ambedkar

University’, and been conducting

state level examinations on progressive

writings from

Maharashtra. On the similar

grounds, by establishing “Sami

Periyar Phule Ambedkar

University”, if such state level

examinations are conducted in different

languages across the country

the younger generation would

come to know the thoughts and

works of Sami Periyar.

In every state there are some

honest OBC workers who are

working hard. But the OBC leaders

from various political parties are

obstructing their work. To encourage

such activists, the Tamil Nadu

government should honor them

and stand with them in solidarity.

A new ‘non-Brahmin Party’ can

be formed at the national level

under the leadership of OBCs by

bringing together such sincere

OBC activists from each state.

Due to language barrier the rest

of the country was cut off from

Tamil Nadu. Now, by making good

use of Hindi language, Tamil Nadu

should be connected with the rest

of the country and lead the anticaste

non-Brahmin revolution.

The above action plan/program

should be taken up immediately to

lead the anti-caste movement at the

national level to establish a truly

egalitarian ‘Bali Rashtra’ in the

country.

Thanks!


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022

19

Kushinagar: The city the Great Master

chose for his MAHAPARINIRVANA

New Delhi : As the inaugural

flight from Sri Lanka carrying a

delegation of over 100 Buddhist

monks and a 12-member holy relic

entourage bringing holy Buddhist

relics landed at Kushinagar

International Airport, Uttar Pradesh

on October 20, 2021, history was

made.

It was an acknowledgement of

the rightful place that the city

deserves in the ambitious scheme of

Buddhist Circuit and in any attempt

to rediscover the Buddhist legacy of

the country, for the city has many

tales to tell. This is an attempt to

understand the significance of

rediscovering and celebrating

India's Buddhist heritage, by focusing

on the city of Kushinagar.

The ancient city of

Kushinagar/Kushinara is believed

to have been the place where

Gautam Buddha attained

Mahaparinirvana (nirvana after

death).

The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana

Sutra, which is one of the major

Sutras of Mahayana Buddhism,

mentions that the Buddha made his

journey to Kushinagar, died and this

is the place where he was cremated.

Sarnath, where Lord Buddha

gave the first sermon, is within a

radius of around 150 km from

Kushinagar. Bodh Gaya, where

Buddha attained enlightenment, and

Lumbini, where Buddha was born,

are also not very far away from

Kushinagar. In this sense, the city is

at the centre of the Buddhist Circuit.

The Buddhist Circuit is an

attempt to tap the potential of developing

tourism and development

around Buddhist heritage by linking

important sites associated with the

life of Buddha. Buddhism, a religion

that continues to capture the

imagination of masses worldwide,

is believed to have originated in the

late 6th century BCE around the

teachings of Mahatma Buddha or

Shakya Muni.

Born as Prince Siddhartha in

Lumbini in present-day Nepal, he

became 'Buddha' or the enlightened

one after he attained enlightenment

at Bodh Gaya, in present day Bihar

and it was at Sarnath that he delivered

his first sermon.

The Buddhist Circuit follows the

footsteps of Buddha from Lumbini,

through Bodhgaya to Sarnath and

then to Kushinagar. The Kushinagar

airport will help in attracting more

followers of Buddhism from home

and abroad to Kushinagar, and other

sites.

There are around 50 crore

Buddhists across the globe, out of

which, around 90 per cent of live in

East and Southeast Asia. It was

Mauryan Emperor Ashoka who

played a key role in the spread of

Buddhism across the region; he

spread the message of peace and

harmony by erecting stupas, pillars

and rock edicts across his empire,

now scattered over India, Nepal,

Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan

and Sri Lanka. The region, thus

boasts of a shared heritage that

should be nourished and developed

to evolve an inclusive model of

tourism.

The new airport will aid direct

aviation connectivity with South

Asian countries, thus making it easier

for tourists arriving from Sri

Lanka, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea,

China, Thailand, Vietnam and

Singapore to visit Kushinagara,

Lumbini, Sarnath and other key

places like Ujjain, Nalanda, Rajgir,

Sravasti and Gaya.

Such efforts at showcasing the

Buddhist heritage that India, as the

land of Buddha, proudly owns are

essential to counter the increasing

attempts by countries like China to

sinicise Buddhism.

China, officially an atheist

nation, has begun to describe

Buddhism as an "ancient Chinese

religion" and is using Buddhism as

a tool to extend its influence in

other countries.

Central to this are the debates

regarding the reincarnation of the

14th Dalai Lama, the religious head

of Tibetan Buddhists, who is currently

living in exile in India after

China unlawfully occupied his

homeland in 1959.

China is trying to interfere in the

reincarnation process and will

install their own Dalai Lama in

China, just like it abducted Tibet's

Panchen Lama to install its own

Panchen in China. Pakistan is also

trying to project itself as a cradle of

Buddhist heritage by Gandharan

Buddhist heritage and is hosting

Buddhist Conclaves too.

China's Belt and Road Initiative

in itself uses Buddhism as a link

between the countries to establish

connections. Under these circumstances,

India has to be more vocal

about its Buddhist connections and

it remains a key pillar of its soft

power.

In this context, Kushinagar airport

can serve as a gateway to

India's Buddhist heritage, welcoming

the world to visit and immerse

in the glorious culture it has to offer.

The new airport and the related

infrastructural growth will help

accelerate employment opportunities

and will boost income growth

of the local population, thus contributing

to the overall development

of the place. It is important to note

that the airport is going to serve a

population of more than two crore,

especially the largely migrant population

of the region.

It will act as a major driver of

growth for the country which is still

to recover from the spillover effects

of the COVID19 pandemic on its

economy. Experts have also noted

that the airport will help fortify the

export of horticultural products like

bananas and strawberries.

Under its schemes of 'Swadesh

Darshan' and 'Pilgrimage

Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage

Augmentation Drive' (PRASHAD),

the government of India has

launched several initiatives to

revive India as a Global Centre of

Buddhist Culture and Tourism.

The plan involves developing

connectivity, infrastructure, logistics,

education, research and

improving public awareness regarding

the rich Buddhist heritage.

Kushinagar can serve as the focal

point for the growth of Buddhist

tourism and enhance India's outreach

to South and South East Asia.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's

proposed visit to birthplace of

Gautam Buddha (Lumbini) in

Nepal on May 16 has come as a ray

of hope.

2024 LS polls: Bengal to be epicentre of RSS' expansion plans in NE

Kolkata : Understanding that

having a formidable performance

in West Bengal and the northeastern

states will be key to ensuring

the third term of Narendra Modi as

the Prime Minister, the Rashtriya

Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is

planning to recruit 35,000

swayamsevaks (volunteers) in the

northeast, making Bengal the epicentre

of such activities.

Keshav Bhawan, the RSS office

in Kolkata, will be the nodal office

for West Bengal and the northeastern

states in this recruitment drive.

Meanwhile, the BJP central

leadership is also focussing on

West Bengal. Within a month of

Union Home Minister Amit Shah's

visit to West Bengal, BJP President

JP Nadda is expected to come to

the state and hold meetings with

the party's state functionaries on

how to go about for the state panchayat

polls in 2023 and Lok

Sabha polls in 2024. BJP's Vicepresident

and party MP Dilip

Ghosh confirmed that JP Nadda

will visit the state either by the end

of May or in the first week of June.

"His visit is confirmed. The final

day of his visit will be informed to

us shortly," Ghosh said.

A veteran RSS associate told

IANS on the condition of

anonymity that the recruitment of

35,000 swayamsevaks will be

done in phases. "After the recruitment,

these swayamsevaks will be

trained and educated about the

style and pattern of functioning of

RSS, before being finally fielded

for undertaking organisational

activities. We expect the recruitment

process to be over within the

next six months," he said.

With regards to special focus on

West Bengal, he said that the prime

target is to identify and reopen

RSS branches that have shut operations.

"Many of our operating

branches were closed down during

the last few years first because of

pressure from the ruling Trinamool

Congress, and second because of

the Covid-19 pandemic. So,

besides recruitment of fresh

swayamsevaks in the state, our target

is to reopen as many closed

branches as possible and as early

as possible," the RSS associate

said.


20 16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Jai Bheem – Animation Film

on Babasaheb Ambedkar

(Samaj Weekly)- It is a matter of gratification

to note that every successive year the

month of April is dedicated to the greatest

son of India, Babasaheb Ambedkar as his

birth anniversary falls on April 14. This year

yet another dimension was added to the Day

– release of Jai Bheem, the first animation

film on the life and thought of the icon, Dr.

Bheem Rao Ambedkar. Over the year, of

late, many films on Babasaheb have been

made in various languages by competent

film makers and the last in the series was Jai

Bhim directed by T.J. Ghanavel released in

November, 2021. The Jai Bhim got many

good reviews in the social media and, I

think, it also received much needed popular

acceptance and recognition. The commercial

and mainstream media, obviously, expects

paid marketing. I am confident that the Jai

Bheem – an animation film launched on

Satnam Singh Chana

Jassi Chana

April 14 in Punjab would not lag behind and

would receive its due, if I go by the social

media feedback and my personal informal

talk with my friend, Satnam Chana – Script,

Story and Screenplay Writer and his son,

Jassi Chana – Director of the film which has

been produced by their associate, Dr.

Joginder Singh Bhangalia of UAE.

First on the making of the film – Satnam

Chana, a son of the soil from the village

Birpind near Nakodar in Jalandhar, is a

known and intelligent social and community

activist who himself is a staunch

Ambedkarite since his student days and his

work in the international students

movement in Eastern

Europe with base in Prague, the

capital city of then

Czechoslovakia in late 1970s

and early 1980s. He is fully

qualified and competent to do

full justice to the project in hand

– Jai Bheem. The services of Dr.

Santokh Virdi, a prolific writer

and social activist, were handy

as a resource person on the facts

of the life and thought of

Babasaheb Ambedkar. Yet

another friend Dr. Lakhwinder

Johal of Punjab Press Club

chipped in as Adviser in the

project and rightly so. The

Director of the film, Jassi Chana

is a fully qualified and a

trained professional in Graphic Designing

and Animation having a post-graduate

degree from a university of New Zealand.

The Producer and financer of the film,

Joginder Singh Bhangalia and Sonu

Bhangalia, though I don’t know them personally,

must be men of dedication to the

social and community causes besides their

commercial and business interests. Jai

Bheem is a product of Pritam Film

Production made and presented with high

standards of film making with dialogue and

narration delivery by the legendary film personally,

Reza Murad and dubbing done by

Ganesh Divakar of Bollywood. Jai Bheem,

as such, is the end product of a highly qualified

team.

I was under the impression that Jai Bheem

was a film of short duration but no, it is fullfledged

movie of about 156 minutes with

almost as many scenes. The film touches

all important aspects of life and thought

of Babasaheb. It is not only an educative

movie for the younger generations but

also a telling commentary on the struggle

and travails of the leader for bring about

socio-economic equality and establish a

democratic and harmonious social order

in the caste ridden society, who is still,

unfortunately, side lined and ignored by

the main stream of the society. I hope the

film would succeed in putting the things

in right perspective for the greater good of

the country and the society at large. The

film tends to strengthen the principles of

affirmative action to empower the socially

weaker sections of the society on one hand

and on the other warns ‘We the people of

India’ by depicting the narration in animation

format what Dr. Ambedkar said in the

Constituent Assembly on November 25,

1949 to ward off dangers to our newly

gained independence. Some of the scenes of

Gandhi-Ambedkar dialogue on matters of

concern and interest to the country give us

the flavor of role of both the leaders in the

much needed political and social reforms in

the run up to independence in August, 1947.

One of the scenes,

Ambedkar ‘s speech t one

of

Roundtable

Conferences in London

amply makes it clear,

which many of don’t

know, that Babasaheb was

a nationalist of the first

order. Ambedkar’s take on

the role of Shaheed

Bhagat Singh in the freedom

movement is refreshing

as many people do not

know these details. The

scenes pertaining to

Babasaheb’s conversion

and embracing of

Buddhism in 1956 and his

regrets and dissatisfaction

with the behavior of his

own people shared with

his Aide, Nanak Chand

Rattu, are really thought

provoking. One can easily

say that Jai Bheem is a

film worth seeing and

more so by the children

and young students. The

legacy of Babasaheb is fully potent to take

India out of the emerging scenario of hate

and distrust. We need to tell our children that

our fore-fathers were great people who got

us the independence and set us on the path of

development with great sacrifices. The films

like Jai Bheem would tend to do that job.

Animation having a post-graduate degree

from a university of New Zealand. The

Producer and financer of the film, Joginder

Singh Bhangalia and Sonu Bhangalia,

though I don’t know them personally, must

be men of dedication to the social and community

causes besides their commercial and

business interests. Jai Bheem is a product of

Pritam Film Production made and presented

with high standards of film making with dialogue

and narration delivery by the legendary

film personally, Reza Murad and

dubbing done by Ganesh Divakar of

Bollywood. Jai Bheem, as such, is the end

product of a highly qualified team.

Satnam Chana and Jassi Chana told me

that they were inclined to take up the matters

of concern and interest to the community

through visual communication like films.

Their earlier film ‘Guru Da Banda’ on the life

and mission of Baba Banda Bahadur was

much acclaimed which also won the PTC

Film Award. I wish Jai Bheem also scales

those heights. But, obviously, we must understand

that people like Satnam Chana, with

meager budgets and financial sources, do

require much needed and sought after patronage

from the civil society and common people.

Chana Sahib told me with a sense of satisfaction

that educated people mostly service

class of the weaker sections of the society

gave their wholehearted support and went to

theaters to see the movie. General public

showed due interest but on ticketing arrangements

done by social activists and their

organizations. One should not shy away

from the ground realities and admit the truth.

It seems the general public from the main

stream of the society are still to come forward

and support the effort. I think they need to

think over and leave the traditional bias

against Ambedkar and his legacy in the larger

interests of the idea of ‘Samrasta’. Mere lip

service would not do. Since the film has been

released only in Punjab as yet, the Punjab

Government should consider and wave the

entertainment tax on the film. The Education

Department of the Punjab Government may

issue a formal or informal advisory to all

government and private colleges and schools

to arrange special shows of the Jai Bheem for

the benefit of young students. The social and

cultural organizations like SGPC, RSS

among others may advise their cadres and

followers to see the movie with a view to

learn from the life and struggle of Babasaheb

in making our country proud in the run up to

attaining a due space and position in the

comity of nations. It is demand of the time to

meet the challenges before the country. Films

and others instruments to spread the thought

and legacy of Babasaheb Ambedkar, to my

mind, would show us the way to take the caravan

forward. PM Narendra Modi in his tributes

to Babasaheb on his recent birth anniversary

rightly said and rightly underlined, “He

(Babasaheb Ambedkar) has made indelible

contributions to India’s progress. This is a

day to reiterate our commitment to fulfil his

dreams for our nation.” Let us see the movie

– Jai Bheem as part of the 75th year of our

independence – “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”

With this I wish Jai Bheem all success in the

days to come.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022

21

Dr Ambedkar’s birth celebrated

as an EQUALITY DAY

Dr Ambedkar perhaps is the only

person in the history of India whose

birthday is celebrated all over the

world weeks and weeks after his actual

birthday on 14 April. In foreign

countries, it is generally celebrated on

Sundays as most of the people work

during the week. Most of the people

are beginning to realise the significance

of Dr Ambedkar’s contribution

in the matters of equality. In Bedford,

131st birth anniversary was observed

as an equality day on Sunday, 8 May at

the Shri Guru Ravidass Community

Centre. The event was organised jointly

by the Ambedkar Mission Society

(AMS), Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha

(SGRS) and Bhagwan Valmik Sabha

(BVS), Bedford. Bedford is the only

town in the UK where all the followers

of Dr Ambedkar, Guru Ravidass

and Bhagwan Valmik have been

organising Ambedkar related events

for a number of years. They have set

up an example for others to bury their

petty differences and get united for a

common cause. Dr Ambedkar and his

life long struggle is the rallying point

to show the strength of unity.

Rich tributes were paid to

Babasaheb Dr Ambedkar by various

speakers. In his welcoming speech,

Jaswinder Kumar, President of SGRS

said that both Guru Ravidass ji and Dr

Ambedkar devoted whole of their

lives to uplift the downtrodden people

of India. Dr Ambedkar devoted his life

to fulfil the dream of Begumpura propounded

by Shri Guru Ravidass ji.

SGRS is also trying to fulfil their mission

by helping the needy and marginalised

communities.

Giving the background of the

equality Day, Arun Kumar, General

Secretary, AMS said that the campaign

to declare 14 April, birthday of

Babasaheb Dr Ambedkar was first initiated

by ambassador Ramesh

Chander IFS (Retired) in 2015 when

he wrote to the then Indian Foreign

Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj to recommend

to the UN to declare this day

as an International Day of Equality.

Since then a number of organisations

including Chetna Association of

Canada and the Federation of

Ambedkrite and Buddhist

Organisations UK (FABO UK) are

raising this issue on various platforms.

With the positive engagement of a

number of activists with the different

levels of the governments, it is a matter

of happiness that 14 April, the birth

of Dr Ambedkar is being observed as a

Day of Equality in Canada, USA, UK

and India.

Today Dr Ambedkar is widely

accepted and recognised as one of the

greatest champions of human rights.

Hopefully the government of India

would also recognise this and send

recommendations to the United

Nations for declaring 14 April as an

International Day of Equality.

Sam Kalyan, President BVS reiterated

the significance of unity. He said

that the caste law was passed in the

British Parliament as a result of joint

campaign by all organisations in the

UK and we must continue to work

together.

Mohammad Yesin, Bedford

Member of Parliament talked about Dr

Ambedkar’s contribution to the labour

movement. Coming from a humble

background, he went to the world

renowned universities to get his education

that helped him to challenge the

society based on high and low. His

struggle in life is an inspiration for all

of us and we keep on working for the

equal and exclusive society.

Councillor Mohammed Nawaz,

Deputy Speaker, Bedford Borough

Council said that Dr Ambedkar’s work

on labour movement, education and

human rights movement is as significant

today as it was during his times.

Ram Pal Rahi, Harish Thapar, Kewal

Kalyan, Dhanpat Rattu, Bal Mukand

also spoke.

Ajaib singh Jassal, Sukhdev Jassi,

Jaswinder Gill, Giani Balvir Singh,

Giani Shakti Singh entertained with

their sweet vocals.

A photo exhibition on the life and

works of Dr Ambedkar was also displayed.

A portrait of Dr Ambedkar was

presented to the Sri Guru Ravidass

Sabha, Bedford by the Ambedkar

Mission Society, Bedford.

This portrait is a limited edition

copy of Dr Ambedkar’s 2020 portrait

by the artist David Newens based on a

1946 photo taken by the renowned

photojournalist, Margaret Bourke-

White. This portrait was specially

commissioned by the FABO UK for

the Ambedkar Room at Grays Inn.


22 16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

How it all started and 'Bulldozer Baba'

became BJP's ticket to VICTORY

Lucknow : The bulldozer politics

that originated in Uttar Pradesh nearly

two years ago has now become a mascot

of the Yogi Adityanath government.

The bulldozer - usually seen as a

tool of destruction and upheaval - has

become a symbol of good governance.

Most governments in the country,

mainly BJP-led governments, are now

betting on the bulldozer that is apparently

bringing in more bouquets than

brickbats.

The bulldozer first gained prominence

in the Yogi Adityanath government

in July 2020 when this mean

machine was used to pull down the

house of gangster Vikas Dubey in

Bikru village in Kanpur. Dubey was

the main accused in the massacre of

eight police personnel and bulldozing

his palatial house ensured speedy justice

in the terror-stricken area.

Thereafter, the bulldozer was used

to demolish the ill-gotten properties of

mafia dons like Mukhtar Ansari and

Atiq Ahmad, both of whom were

behind bars. The state government

happily released photographs and

videos of the houses, shopping complexes,

hotels and buildings of the

mafia crumbling under the power of

the bulldozer. The bulldozer gradually

emerged as a symbol of justice against

wrong-doers and Yogi supporters,

mainly Hindus, cheered the initiative.

In the midst of the assembly election,

a local daily named Yogi

Adityanath as ?Bulldozer Baba' and

this took the BJP campaign to the next

level.

Leader after leader spoke about the

might of the bulldozer in the elections

and how Yogi Adityanath had brought

criminals down to their knees with his

bulldozer. The results of the UP

assembly elections where the BJP

staged a return to power, put the seal

of approval on bulldozer politics and

the opposition that had tried to project

the bulldozer as a symbol of tyranny,

was put on the backfoot.

While the results made other states

like Madhya Pradesh and Delhi adopt

the bulldozer formula with open arms,

it also gave Yogi Adityanath the

opportunity to pursue this brand of

politics even more aggressively in his

second term.

The UP police are now targeting

those linked to mafia dons on an

almost daily basis and people are lapping

it up. Bulldozer Baba's politics is

getting increasingly popular and so is

his image as a stern administrator who

will spare no wrong doer. Though

there are allegations of the bulldozer

politics being ?selective' but the voices

of approval are far louder. The popularity

of the bulldozer can be gauged

from the fact that a whole range of

bulldozer toys are now being sold on

e-commerce sites like Amazon and

Flipkart. Yogi Adityanath is being

felicitated with miniature bulldozers at

various functions and the chief minister

is not complaining.

The bulldozer politics, meanwhile,

has hurt the Samajwadi Party the

most. The Samajwadi Party had used

the bulldozer to hit back at the BJP in

its election campaign and Akhilesh

Yadav, in his every speech, projected

the bulldozer as an example of dictatorship

(?tanashahi') of the BJP leadership.

SP leaders drew a parallel

between the bulldozer and the excesses

of the Emergency but the ploy did

not work. In fact, it boomeranged.

The results dampened the

Samajwadi spirit because the voters,

apparently, approved of the bulldozer

politics. Post-election, the Samajwadi

leaders have almost stopped talking

about the bulldozer and have reverted

to the incidents of crime and the poor

law and order situation to hit out at the

Yogi Adityanath government.

NGT SEEKS ACTION AGAINST

industries polluting Ganga in UP

New Delhi : The National Green

Tribunal has directed Uttar Pradesh

Chief Secretary to look into the river

polluting industrial activities and take

action against the discharge of untreated

sewage in River Bhella, which ultimately

meets the river Ganga.

NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar

Goel-led bench was dealing with the

execution of a tribunal order passed

last year, in which directions were

issued for remedial action against the

pollution in the river Bhella which

meets Kosi river in Rampur, a tributary

of Ramganga that reaches Ganga.

The tribunal noted that there is a

high level of faecal coliform and other

waste in the river and it is not meeting

the bathing criteria and water quality

had deteriorated.

"Imbalance, as is being caused

today, needs to be remedied to prevent

threatening reduction of flow in the

rivers. This may be done by a joint

Committees in the atates of UP and

Uttarakhand, headed by Additional

Chief Secretary, Agriculture with

nominees of Departments of Soil

Conservation, Forest, Water

Resources and Panchayati Raj and

Rural Development," it directed. "Since the tributaries in question ulti- mately meet the river Ganga, stern steps for rejuvenation of Ramganga

and East Kali carrying the waste of the

catchment, having agro-based industries

are required to be taken.

Discharge of untreated sewage has to

be stopped. Let Chief Secretary UP

look into the matter and take remedial

action," the order dated May 12 said.

The green court said there are three

issues for consideration --preventing

pollution, checking illegal extraction

of groundwater, and recovering compensation

for past violations.

"Let the monitoring norms be

reviewed accordingly and for the past

violations, further remedial action

taken in terms of recovery of compensation

for the violations for being used

for the restoration of environment and

augmentation of groundwater levels,"

it said.

The Tribunal earlier found that pollution

of river Bhella in Moradabad

was taking place due to untreated discharge

of pollutants by industries,

apart from other sources. One of the

major polluting industries was Radico

Khaitan Limited.

In the plea, it was alleged that the

State authorities concerned have failed

to take necessary steps for enforcement

of the order of this Tribunal.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022

23

Reinvigorating India-Nepal relations:

The role and legacy of Buddhism

New Delhi : One of the novel

manifestations of India's soft power

initiatives is sustainable cultural

diplomacy and Buddhism is a crucial

component of it due to its historical

significance. India is applying the

principles of Sanskriti evam Sabhyata

(cultural and civilisational links),

desiring to leverage its age-old rich

cultural links with other countries as a

part of its non-coercive soft power

strategy. The Buddhist faith, due to its

emphasis on peaceful co-existence

and its wide pan-Asian presence,

lends itself well to soft-power diplomacy.

In Buddhism, there is a prominence

of all the places that are associated

with Lord Buddha. Buddhists seek the

fragrance of Buddha's teachings and

quest for inner bliss. India has most of

the Buddhist sites of immense importance

such as Bodh Gaya, Nalanda,

Rajgir, Vaishali, Sarnath Varanasi,

Shravastiand Kushinagar etc. Further,

India has nurtured its image of being a

protector of the persecuted because of

the presence of the Dalai Lama in

Dharamshala following the brutal

suppression of Tibetan Buddhists by

China.

Above all, India is trying her best

to further relations with other

Buddhist countries and create conversation

between multiple streams of

this faith. We should remember that in

2011, India hosted the Global

Buddhist Congregation to mark the

2,600th anniversary of the Buddha's

enlightenment. India in collaboration

with Nepal, identified a number of

tourist circuits that transgress national

borders e.g. the identification of a

Buddhist tourist circuit such as

Lumbini and Kapilavastu, Sarnath,

Bodh Gaya etc. Also, the joint statement

released following the BIM-

STEC Leaders' Retreat in 2016 underlined

the organisation of a Buddhist

circuit within the region.

In October 2016, the '5th

International Buddhist Conclave' was

held in Varanasi, Hindu-Buddhist

Initiative on Conflict Avoidance in

Bodh Gaya. India also organised

international conferences that facilitated

interaction between members

across sectarian and national boundaries

such as 'Buddhism in the 21st

Century' conference at Rajgir in 2017.

The opening of the Nalanda

University is another example of

India's commitment for reconstructing

Asian values and ethos for the longterm

benefit of Asia, and indeed the

world. India's Prime Minister

Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit

Lumbini (Nepal) on May 16, 2022

which is Lord Buddha's birthplace

recognised as a UNESCO world heritage

site. The Indian PM is expected

to pay his reverence at the Mayadevi

temple, which marks the birthplace of

the Lord Buddha, born more than

2,600 years ago. Nepal's Prime

Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is also

expected to join PM Modi to mark the

occasion of Buddha Purnima. This

would be the second Summit level

interaction between the two Prime

Ministers in less than two months

after PM Deuba travelled to India for

a bilateral visit in April 2022. This

would also mark PM Modi's first visit

to Nepal since he was re-elected in

2019. In his previous term, he visited

Nepal on four occasions, including

twice in 2014 and twice in 2018. In

May 2018, PM Modi had undertaken

similar religious and cultural visits

when he visited Janakpur and

Muktinath. It should be noted that

Buddhism is one of the largest religions

in the world. It is estimated that

as many as 506 million people around

the world practice Buddhism as their

religion, which would represent

roughly 6.6 per cent of the world's

total population. Half of the world's

Buddhists live in China, according to

2010 Pew Research Center estimates.

Still, they make up only 18 per cent of

the country's population.

Most of the rest of the world's

Buddhists live in East Asia, South

East Asia and South Asia, including

13 per cent in Thailand (where 93 per

cent of the population is Buddhist)

and 9 per cent in Japan (35 per cent

Buddhist), 10 per cent in Nepal, and 1

per cent in India. Today, 97 per cent of

the world's Buddhist population lives

in the Asian continent, and a number

of countries such as Bhutan,

Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka,

Nepal, Cambodia and Japan etc. conceive

of Buddhism as intrinsic to their

national values, history, cultural heritage

and identity.

Keeping the importance of Buddist

massage of peace and harmony, India

is continuously disseminating the

teachings of Buddha. PM Modi's visit

to Lumbini would follow a revitalisation

of ties after Deuba's visit to Delhi

in early-April 2022, when four agreements

and a number of infrastructure

projects were launched. The four

agreements are Nepal officially joining

the international solar alliance,

Indian technical assistance to Nepal's

railway sector, cooperation in the field

of petroleum sector and exchange of

expertise between Nepal Oil

Corporation and Indian Oil

Corporation.

During Nepal's PM visit to India in

April 2022, India's PM Narendra

Modi and his Nepalese counterpart

Sher Bahadur Deuba inaugurated passenger

rail services between Jaynagar

in India and Kurtha in Nepal. The

Hindu pilgrimage centre of Janakpur

Dham, considered to be the birthplace

of epic Ramayan's Mother Sita, that

would be one of the main attractions

of the Jaynagar-Kurtha section rail

link between the two special neighbours.

This rail link will be the first

broad gauge passenger rail service in

Nepal. The establishment of the

Jayanagar-Kurtha rail line is also a

part of priority to trade and cross-border

connectivity initiatives for a

smooth, hassle-free exchange of people

between the two countries.

The rail link between the two

neighbouring countries is part of an

overall strategy for improved border

management, planned and integrated

development of border areas and

infrastructure in a selective and

phased manner. Another important

issue for Nepal is air connectivity.

Nepal requested India to provide three

additional entry routes from

Mahendranagar, Nepalgunj and

Janakpur,and also finalised another

agreement on near-border operation

for the Gautam Buddha International

Airport, Bhairahawa, Nepal.

The airport, located less than 10

kilometres from the Indo-Nepali border,

will start operations from May

20, 2022. The use of Indian RuPay

card in Nepal was jointly launched by

India and Nepal last month. This

would open new vista for cooperation

in financial connectivity, and is

expected to facilitate bilateral tourist

flows as well as further strengthen

people-to-people linkages between

India and Himalayan state.

Interestingly, China has proposed

to link Lumbini by road and railway

to Tibetan town of Kyirong on the

Chinese-Nepali border, which would

effectively connect it to the BRI network.

China's Buddhist soft power

initiative has focused on strengthening

its relationship with other

Buddhist countries, which of course

includes those involved in BRI negotiations,

such as Sri Lanka also.

Actually, the use of Buddhism to promote

the BRI programme was explicitly

listed on the agenda at the 2018

World Buddhist Forum, which China

hosts every three years.

In contrast to the true spirit of

Buddhist principles, since past several

decades, China has also been using its

inhuman oppressive state apparatus for

destroying Buddhism, their original

literature, indigenous identity, including

the destruction of the Dalai Lama's

palace, a huge number of monasteries

and Buddha statues of historical, spiritual

and religious values and the systematic

reduction of the Tibetans to a

state of destitution in their own land. It

is widely known that out of thousands

of monasteries only five are in existence,

they too are Chinese created,

and the rest having been completed

wiped out by the Chinese.

Also, hundreds of thousands of

Tibetan peasants, and other civilians

have not only been gunned down but

also starved to death in prisons, concentration

camps, workplaces and

their own homes. Tibetan identity is

Buddhism and their culture too is

Buddhism and the Chinese are

destroying Buddhism in order to

destroy the identity of the Tibetans.

Nepalese PM Deuba's visit to India

and Indian PM Modi's visit to Nepal

would produce mixed results but at

the least, it has resumed high-level

political engagement between the two

countries. It has also brought normalcy

to Nepal's geo-strategic debate by

bringing India back into the fold. It

gives a strong message that India is

not only promoting the spiritualism

and Buddhism in its own land but also

in Nepal. Deepening ties with Asian

nations on the basis of Buddhism

could potentially feed into larger policy

objectives of the government of

India, namely, the 'Neighbourhood

First' policy, and the 'Act East' policy.

Conclusively, Buddhist diplomacy

shall help India reinforcing its relations

with Asian countries that clearly

reflects India's vision of the peaceful

co-existence and happy world.


24 16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Fresh 'death threat' to

Sharad Pawar on Twitter,

NCP complains to police

Mumbai : Maharashtra's Maha Vikas

Aghadi government went into a tizzy as

Nationalist Congress Party President

Sharad Pawar got what is perceived as a

"death threat' on social media.

The NCP lodged a complaint with the

Mumbai Police's Cyber Cell on Friday.

The camouflaged threats of May 11 in

Marathi, referring to the NCP supremo

says: "The time has come for the

'Gandhi' of Baramati And for Baramati

to prepare a Nathuram Godse."

The tweet posted by

@NikhilBhamre8 also exhorts Pawar:

"Baramati Uncle, apologise", though the

context in which the threats were issued

is unclear, but it was liked and tweeted

by many in the past couple of days.

Taking serious cognisance, NCP's

Housing Minister Dr. Jitendra Awhad

lamented over the depths to which the

situation has plummeted and asked the

police to take strong action against the

deranged person tweeting the threats.

He also drew the attention of the

Maharashtra Director General of Police,

and Commissioners of Police of

Mumbai, Thane, and Pune. Expressing

concern, Shiv Sena Spokesperson Dr.

Manisha Kayande said there's no need to

guess which team is behind the threats to

kill Pawar as "everyone knows who

worships Godse", and urged Home

Minister Dilip Walse-Patil to take serious

note.

"This is a clear threat to murder and

shows their ideological levels. Those

issuing it must be dealt with most

severely. In the past, Dr. Narendra

Dabholkar, Prof. M.M. Kalburgi and

Govind Pansare were assassinated by

these very like-minded elements," she

of UAE President

New Delhi, May 13 (IANS)

The Central government on

Friday said that one-day state

mourning will be observed over

the passing away of the President

of the United Arab Emirates

(UAE) and ruler of Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al

Nahyan.

"As a mark of respect to the

departed dignitary, the

Government of India has decided

that there will be one day's state

mourning on May 14, 2022

throughout India," the Ministry of

Home Affairs communication to

all Ministries, States and the

Union Territories said.

On May 14, the national flag

will be flown at half-mast

throughout India on all buildings

where the national flag is flown

regularly, the MHA communication

further said.

President Ram Nath Kovind

and Prime Minister Narendra

Modi have expressed their deep

said. Congress state General Secretary

Sachin Sawant said its time for people to

reflect "where the efforts of the

Bharatiya Janata Party and the Sangh

Parivar to make the society violent and

pervert, have pushed the country".

"Hatred and contempt are making the

young people of today the future killers

and I urge the government to act stringently

against these perverts," he said.

Sena MoS Kishore Tiwari said that

exactly a month ago, a violent attack was

carried out on the home of Pawar (April

8) by the hostile forces and sections of

the police who are still loyal to the BJP.

"Against the recent background, this

fresh threat should not be taken lightly

and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government

must step in to increase security for

Pawar and his family," he said.

NCP chief spokespeson Mahesh

Tapase said that the party has lodged a

complaint with the Cyber Police Cell

seeking a probe while India Against

Corruption President Hemant Patil

demanded immediate of the persons who

tweeted the threats. Several other political

leaders from the ruling Sena-NCP-

Congress have also reacted besides condemnation

on the social media networks

over the threats to the 81-year old Pawar.

India declares one-day

state mourning after death

condolence on the passing away

of the President UAE Sheikh

Khalifa bin Zayed.

"Saddened at the demise of HH

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed,

President of UAE. We will

always remember his contribution

to our bilateral relations and

welfare of the Indian community

in UAE. My condolences to His

Highness' family, the Govt & the

people of the UAE in this hour of

grief," President Kovind said.

In a tweet, Modi said: "I am

deeply saddened to know about

the passing away of HH Sheikh

Khalifa bin Zayed. He was a great

statesman and visionary leader

under whom India-UAE relations

prospered. The heartfelt condolences

of the people of India are

with the people of UAE. May his

soul rest in peace."

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al

Nahyan served as the President of

the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi

since November 3, 2004.

Temple entry denied to Dalits

in TN; peace meet on May 18

Chennai : At a time

when Chief Minister M.K.

Stalin is claiming that Tamil

Nadu will become a trilliondollar

economy by 2030,

caste conflict has again

raised its ugly head in the

southern state.

In a recent incident,

upper caste Hindus at

Kavalapetti panchayat in

Dindigul district prevented

the Dalit community from entering the Uchi Kaliamman

temple after its renovation. The Hindus, who were involved

in the renovation of the temple, said the Dalits were prevented

from entering the premises as they did not contribute

to the restoration of the temple, which was in a dilapidated

condition.

Sources told IANS that it was a group of upper caste

Hindus who collected funds and renovated the temple, and

conducted 'Kumbabishekam' (religious ritual) in March

2022, making it ready for worship.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) took up the cause of

the Dalit community and held a 'Road Roko' protest demanding

entry to the temple for people from all communities. CPI

District Secretary Manigandan told IANS, "We have conducted

a peaceful protest march demanding allowing the

people from the Dalit community into the temple. Everyone

used to worship in the temple earlier and after renovating it,

some people are not allowing the Dalits to worship there. We

have met the District Collector and District Superintendent

of Police and asked them to sort out the issue to prevent it

from turning into a major problem."

The CPI leaders said the Dindigul district administration

has called a meeting of all sections of people on May 18 to

sort out the issues related to entry into the temple. District

Collector S. Visakan told IANS that he expects the issue will

be sorted out soon after the meeting on May 18.

While the district administration is confident that the issue

will be sorted out, the history of such incidents in southern

Tamil Nadu is alarming and discrimination against the Dalits

by the powerful OBC and upper caste Hindus has always

been a major point of confrontation.

Goa beach visitors advised not

to venture into sea

Panaji, May 13 (IANS) Goa's state-appointed professional

lifeguard agency has issued an advisory, following the

weather warning, asking beach visitors not venture into the

sea as it may witness fast currents and high waves.

Drishti Marine said that in the last couple of days, eight

men were rescued from Calangute beach, while 20 persons

were rescued last week from various other beaches.

According to the alert issued by the Indian Meteorological

Department, thunderstorms, accompanied by lightning and

gusty winds, are likely at isolated places in North and South

Goa. Additionally, the sea is likely to be extremely rough and

may witness fast currents and high waves.

Rainfall activity is expected over the next few days.

Owing to the present weather conditions, red flags have been

posted across all beaches under Drishti's surveillance indicating

that these are strictly non-swim zones.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022

25

Tough road ahead for Sri Lanka's

newly inducted PM Wikremesinghe as

he sets out to fix the battered economy PETA seeks replacement of animal

consuming," an analyst with a has just one seat in the 225

ratings agency requesting member Parliament.

New Delhi : The road ahead

will be tough for Sri Lanka's

newly inducted Prime Minister

Ranil Wikremesinghe, as he

takes charge amid a battered

economy, bankrupt coffers and

widespread violence. While the

73-year-old Prime Minister

said that his focus will be to

address the current economic

crisis and steer Sri Lanka out of

the woods, his actions will be

scrutinised with a fine tooth

comb not only within his country

but outside too.

"I want to settle this problem

to ensure the supply of petrol,

diesel and electricity to the people,"

Wickremesinghe said.

Although Wikremesinghe is

no novice -- this is his sixth

time as PM -- Sri Lanka is facing

its worst crisis since independence.

"It will not be easy for the

new leader to fix the battered

economy, there are structural

issues which need attention and

resolving those will be time

anonymity told India Narrative.

Many leaders earlier showed

their reluctance to take charge

at this daunting time.

That apart, his party, the

United National Party (UNP)

SSLC results to be

announced in

K'taka on May 19

Bengaluru : Karnataka

Education Minister B.C. Nagesh on

Friday announced that the results of

SSLC (Class 10) would be declared

on May 19.

About 8.73 lakh students in the

state had taken up SSLC exams

amid the hijab row crisis in the state.

Muslim students, barring few,

shunned hijab to appear in the crucial

examinations.

This was the first time after the

Covid pandemic that the exams were

conducted in the normal pattern.

Section 144 CrPC was clamped

in and around 3,444 examination

centres across the state and tight

security arrangements were made at

all examination centres to avoid any

showdown or untoward incidents.

As many as 8,73,846 students -

4,52,732 boys and 4,21,110 girls students

- were enrolled for the exams

this academic year.

Four students belonging to the

third gender and 5,307 speciallyabled

children also took up exams.

The state government had also set up

helplines for the students.

Chief Minister Basavaraj

Bommai had made an appeal for the

students to take up examinations

without any fear. Education Minister

B.C. Nagesh had urged the SSLC

students to shed their egos and take

up examinations as per rules prescribed

by the government of

Karnataka.

The SSLC (Class 10) examinations

were held from March 28 to

April 11. CCTV cameras were

installed in all examination centres.

Education department conducted

separate exams for all subjects similar

to the pre-Covid pattern.

The students will have to obtain

minimum passing marks this time.

The government has made it clear

that it won't pass the students just

like as it did in the last two years

against the backdrop of the Covid

pandemic.

"It is a terrible time to be the

prime minister in Sri Lanka..

This will be his toughest run,"

Sagala Ratnayaka, UNP national

organiser, told Al Jazeera.

Wikremesinghe's immediate

task would be to

resume talks with

the International

Monetary Fund

(IMF). That apart, he is expected

to seek bilateral assistance

from a host of countries including

India and China.

He will have to restore peace

and ensure availability of the

essential items.

"Until these are done, the

vital tourism industry will not

take off. For Sri Lanka, tourism

is the lifeline and to ensure economic

activities resume, it will

be crucial to kickstart the

tourism industry... the country

needs inflow of foreign

tourists," the analyst quoted

earlier added.

India's assistance

to Sri Lanka

India, which has assured

assistance to Sri Lanka, has

already disbursed aid of about

$3.5 billion. "Since mid-

March, over 270,000 metric

tonnes of diesel and petrol have

been delivered to Sri Lanka. In

addition, around 40,000 tonnes

of rice have been supplied

under the recently extended

USD 1 billion credit facility,"

Arindam Bagchi, External

tests with non-animal methods

New Delhi : In a move aimed at encouraging superior and

humane non-animal methods, the People for Ethical Treatment

of Animals (PETA) India has suggested amendments to the core

functions of a government body to use non-animal methods for

experimentations on animals, including for training and teaching.

The Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision

of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) - a statutory body constituted

under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 -

is seeking reforms to the proposed CPCSEA Administration

Rules, 2022. The PETA India submitted its recommendations to

the Committee regarding the same.

It recommended amendments regarding the core functions of

CPCSEA to include maintaining a publicly available and up-todate

database of non-animal methods, which can be used to

replace experimentation on animals, including for teaching and

training. "A comprehensive and regularly updated database of

non-animals test methods would empower CPCSEA to reject

proposals using animals," the animal rights group argued.

"Animals are suffering in painful, invasive tests behind laboratory

walls, and much-needed reforms to the regulatory functioning

of CPCSEA are their only lifeline," PETA India Science

Policy advisor Ankita Pandey said.

"We are encouraging a move away from archaic animal

experiments in favour of superior and humane non-animal methods,

which will benefit the public, the future of science, and

animals and uphold the spirit of The Prevention of Cruelty to

Animals Act," she said. PETA India said it has also shared with

CPCSEA the 'Research Modernisation Deal', which details the

failure of experiments on animals to lead to treatments and cures

for humans and provides a comprehensive strategy for modernising

research through effective, non-animal methods.


26 16-05-2022 to 31-05-2022 WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

UK economy to shrink in 2023,

warns BANK OF ENGLAND

London : The Bank of

England's latest forecasts

show that there is a serious

risk of the UK falling into

recession, as it hikes interest

rates in an attempt to tackle

inflation, The Guardian

reported. The latest forecasts

imply that UK's GDP could

fall by nearly 1 per cent in

the final quarter of this year,

when the energy price cap is

lifted again, taking inflation

to 10 per cent this autumn.

The next year looks alarmingly

weak too. The Bank of

England (BoE) has cut its

growth forecast for 2023 to

show a contraction of 0.25

per cent from a previous

estimate of 1.25 per cent

growth, The Guardian

Kannada film 'Man of

the Match' invited to

New York indie film fest

Bengaluru, May 14 (IANS) In yet another acknowledgment for

Kannada cinema, the movie 'Man of the Match' has been selected

for the prestigious New York Independent Film Festival.

The movie is directed by the national award winner director D.

Satyaprakash. The movie is produced under PRK Banner launched

by late Kannada superstar Puneeth Rajkumar.

The movie has been released on Amazon Prime and received

rave reviews. The film festival is being organized between Aug 5

to Aug 14. This is first time the festival is being organized after the

Covid pandemic. The festival will be hosted at the Regal UA

Midway theater located in Queens New York. Lawrence Whitener,

the film critic who watched the movie during selection has showered

appreciation on his social media.

"Absolutely brilliant Indian comedy. I reviewed for the NYC

film festival. Tweeted its director, I gave it a 10. Its title is Cricket

meaning to exceed well," he said. Director Satyaprakash previous

movies "Rama Rama Re" and "Ondalla Eradalla", also received

critical appreciation. Nataraj S Bhat and Dharmanna Kadur,

Athahrva Prakash, Mayuri Nataraj are seen in major roles. Vasuki

Vaibhav had composed music and also enacted a role.

reported. It cut its growth

projection for 2024 to just

0.25 per cent, from a previous

forecast of 1 per cent.

The BoE warned that the

surge in energy and goods

price will have a material

impact on disposable

income, with inflation taking

an even bigger bite.:

UK's GDP growth was

expected to slow sharply

over the first half of the forecast

period. That predominantly

reflected the significant

adverse impact of the

sharp rise in global energy

and tradable goods prices on

most UK households' real

incomes and many UK companies'

profit margins. The

four-quarter consumption

growth is expected to slow

materially over the first half

of the forecast period, the

report said.

Establishment is calling

me, but I've blocked

their numbers: Imran

Islamabad : Pakistan's former

Prime Minister Imran

Khan claimed that the establishment

is calling him but he is

not ready to talk to them,

adding that he has blocked their

numbers.

"I am not going to speak to

anyone until the date for the

elections is announced," Geo

News quoted the former leader

as saying while speaking to

journalists.

Khan asked people who supported

the "conspiracy"

whether they were not worried

about Pakistan's future.

"It would have been better to

drop an atom bomb on Pakistan

than to have these people in

power."

The PTI Chairman said he

had learned about the "conspiracy"

in June last year, but

unfortunately, "all the decisions"

were made to weaken

his government and it was

eventually sent packing.

Khan said his relationship

with the establishment was

good till the last day of his government,

but there were two

issues on which they did not

see eye to eye.

The former premier said

"powerful quarters" wanted

Usman Buzdar removed as the

Chief Minister, but he would

tell them that there was "more

corruption and governance

issues in Sindh", reports Geo

News.

The second disagreement

with the establishment was

over the issue of Lieutenant

General Faiz Hameed, as he

wanted the army official to

serve as the Inter-Services

Intelligence chief till the "winters",

given the situation in

Afghanistan and due to the

then-opposition's "plot".

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