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Vol : 04 : #37 16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020

Kejriwal back in saddle as

Delhi CM for third time

New Delhi : Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday

took oath as Delhi's Chief Minister for the

third time. Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil

Baijal administered the oath of office to

Kejriwal and his six-member Cabinet.

"Not my victory. It's the victory of every

Delhi citizen. It has been our endeavour over

the past five years to see how we can make a

positive change in the lives of every Delhi

resident," said Kejriwal after the swearingin.

Kejriwal said that it's time to put the bitterness

of elections behind and look forward.

"I'm everyone's chief minister -- for AAP,

BJP, Congress and all parties, I have never

discriminated against anybody in my previous

tenure, " Kejriwal said. The overflowing Except Gopal Rai, who took oath in the The AAP stormed back to power in the

Imran Hussain, and Rajendra Pal Goutam. bers during the previous assembly's tenure.

Ramleela grounds in Delhi also witnessed name of the nation's freedom fighters, all the bitterly fought Delhi assembly elections that

the swearing-in of Kejriwal's six-member others took it in 'God's' name.

took place on February 8. The AAP won 63

cabinet, comprising Manish Sisodia, Kejriwal has not altered the composition of the 70 seats while BJP bagged the remaining

7 Satyendar Jain, Gopal Rai, Kailash Gehlot, of his cabinet that comprised the same mem-

seats.

Rockets hit Iraqi base hosting US troops, no casualties

‘Further coronavirus outbreak to impact auto supply chain’

New Delhi : Supply chain of auto

components could be impacted, if the

coronavirus outbreak extends, a brokerage

report said on Friday.

According to Emkay Global

Financial Services, India OEMs

source a small portion of the component

requirements from Chinese vendors.

“Components are mainly electronic

parts such as PCBs, Sensors,

ECUs, Fuel systems, EV components,

etc, and are supplied from production

sites such as Guangdong, Yangtze

River delta, Sichuan and Shaanxi,

which are away from the Epicenter,”

the report said. “Although Chinese

suppliers represent only a part of the

supplies and other sources exist, there

could be delays in the activation of

alternative supply-chains and increase

in costs for Indian OEMs, at least in

Baghdad : Multiple rockets on Sunday

hit a base in the Iraqi capital Baghdad hosting

troops from the US-led international

coalition deployed in the country, security

sources said. Coalition spokesman Col

Myles B. Caggins said the rocket attack in

Baghdad's Green Zone caused no injuries.

"No casualties. Investigation ongoing,"

Caggins tweeted without giving further

details. The Iraqi security media cell said in

a tweet that three of the four Katyusha

rockets fired in Baghdad fell in the Green

Zone, home to foreign embassies and government

offices, Efe news reported.

The fourth landed in the logistical support

office of the government-backed

Shiite militia Popular Mobilization Forces

(PMF) in eastern Baghdad, causing material

damage to a vehicle, according to the

media cell. In recent months, Iraqi military

bases hosting foreign troops in Baghdad

and other areas in the country's north have

seen several attacks amid tensions between

the United States and Iran. Washington has

blamed these attacks on the Iran-backed

Kataib Hezbollah (KH) militia group, a

PMF faction. A number of rockets Friday

had struck the K1 military base in the

northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk, the first

such attack since December 27. Around

5,000 US troops remain deployed in different

military bases in Iraq.

the near term, in our view.”

On the flip side, the report said that

global commodity correction could be

positive for battery, tyre companies.

“In the near term, the reduction in

‘Lead’ prices can positively support

margins for battery companies… even

after assuming 75 per cent passthrough

in replacement and industrial

segments,” the report said.

“Meanwhile, tyre companies… can

benefit from a reduction in the prices

of crude derivatives by up to 60 bps,

after assuming 75 per cent passthrough

in the replacement segment.

An increase in steel prices could marginally

impact the margins for CV and

tractor OEMs, while the impact is

expected to be more than offset by

lower ‘Aluminum’ prices for 2W

OEMs.” The novel coronavirus originated

in Wuhan at the end of 2019.

The overall death toll due to coronavirus

increased to 1,380 in China at

the end of last Thursday, with 63,851

confirmed cases. The new virus,

which is of the same genre as SARS

which broke out in 2003 but has

spread at a much faster pace, was first

reported in the WHO Disease

Outbreak news on January 5. It has

progressively spread across many

countries from its epicentre in Wuhan.

In a bid to curb the spread of the virus,

Chinese authorities have closed transportation

services across many parts

of the country, including Wuhan.

Many factories producing auto

parts, electronics components and

even activated pharmaceutical ingredients

have been shut to contain the

spread of the virus.

Indo-Bangla 14-day joint

EXERCISE CONCLUDES

Shillong : The two-week India-Bangladesh military training

exercise Sampriti-IX

that focused on

counter-insurgency,

counter-terrorism

and disaster management

concluded at

Umroi, Meghalaya,

on Sunday.

According to

army spokesman

Lieutenant Colonel

P. Khongsai, the

joint military exercise

was aimed at

strengthening the

military relations between the two countries and it allowed the

two armies to understand each other's tactical drills and operating

techniques. "In all 150 troops from each side took part in the

ninth edition of Sampriti that started on February 3," Lt Col

Khongsai told IANS.

The head of observer delegations from both sides conveyed

their appreciation for the participating contingents for achieving

the objectives of exercise.

"The exercise provided an ideal platform for jawans of the

two countries to share experiences on counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism

operations and in providing aid to civil authorities

for disaster management, especially in forests and semi-urban

terrain," he said. The Sampriti series is an important military and

diplomatic initiative between the two nations and strengthening

the edifice of trust and friendship, which has been nurtured with

the sweat and toil of officers and soldiers of contingents participating

in each edition.

The defence spokesman also said besides training, both contingents

also participated in a number of activities, including

sports events and played volleyball and basketball games.

A magnificent parade and the customary exchange of mementos

marked the completion of the joint exercise. "The joint exercise

was undoubtedly an unprecedented success. Besides promoting

understanding and inter-operability between the two

armies, it helped in strengthening ties between India and

Bangladesh," the Army official said.

India and Bangladesh share 4,096 km (2,545 mile) border, the

fifth-longest land border in the world.


2

16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020 ASIA

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BHIM ARMY CHIEF

Chandrashekhar Azad leads

‘Arakshan Bachao’ march in Delhi

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar

Azad’s Bharat Bandh call is against a

Supreme Court ruling that states are not

bound to provide reservation in promotion

and appointments in public employment

and that quota is not a fundamental right.

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad

on Sunday is leading a march in New Delhi

Team AI :

Devinder Chander

Editor-in-chief

Columnists

V.B. Rawat

Farzana Suri

Arun Kumar

Rahul Kumar

Harminder K. Bhogal

Head Office

Samaj Media Enterprise Ltd

Suite 507, Hawthorns House

Halfords Lane, Smethwick,

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Intellectual Property of

Samaj Media Enterprise Ltd

against the Supreme Court’s ruling on reservations

in appointments and promotions in

government jobs, news agency ANI reported.

Chandrashekhar Azad had given a call

for the ‘Aarakshan Bachao’ march from

Mandi House to Parliament on February 12

and also declared a nation-wide shutdown

on February 23 the same day. His Bharat

Bandh call is against a Supreme Court ruling

that states are not bound to provide

reservation in promotion and appointments

in public employment and that quota is not

a fundamental right.

“All friends should prepare for Bharat

Bandh on 23 February. We will march from

Mandi House to Parliament on February 16

and tell the government that tampering

with reservation will be tolerated. I appeal

to all political parties to cooperate in the

Bharat Bandh of 23 February.

Jai Bheem,” he had tweeted in Hindi.

Chandrashekhar Azad had also urged MPs

and MLAs belonging to the Scheduled

Castes and the Scheduled Tribes to build

pressure on the government to bring an

ordinance to nullify the ruling.The government

is not bound to provide reservation

for appointments and promotions to public

posts, and courts cannot give directions

compelling states to reserve jobs or positions

for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled

Tribes (SC/STs), the Supreme Court had

said in its judgment last week. The top

court also said that an individual does not

have a fundamental right to claim reservation,

and it is for the government to decide

whether reservations are required in

appointments and promotions.

NOT AFRAID OF PAKISTAN

ARMY: IMRAN KHAN

Islamabad : Pakistan Prime Minister by The News International.

Imran Khan has said that he is not afraid of Imran emphasised that the secret agencies

were fully aware of the corrupt prac-

Pakistan Army as his country's military

knows well that he is not corrupt. He said tices of the former governments of Nawaz

that he is working day and night.

Sharif and Asif Zardari. Pakistan PM said

"Those who indulged in corruption had that there should be a high treason case

fear of the Pakistan military, whereas he is under Article 6 of the Constitution against

neither corrupt nor is he making money by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman for

doing politics," Khan was quoted as saying conspiring against the government.

Bhawna Jat qualifies for Tokyo

in 20km RaceWalk event

Ranchi : India's female race walker

Bhawna Jat has earned a quota for

Tokyo Olympics Games in 20km

RaceWalk event after setting a new

national record at the National Race

Walk Championships

on Saturday. The 24-

year-old from

Rajasthan clocked a

record time of 1 hour,

29 minutes and 54

seconds to bring about

her win at the Seventh

National Race Walk Championships.

She comfortably beat the Olympic

qualification mark of 1:31.00. Her previous

best in the category was 1:38.30,

which she had set in October last year.

Meanwhile, Priyanka Goswami missed

out on the qualification with a narrow

timing of 1:31:36, just 36 seconds

slower than the Tokyo qualification

standard time. In the men's event,

Sandeep Kumar won the race after

clocking a timing of 1:21:34.

However, he was unfortunate to miss

out on the Tokyo Olympics qualification

by just 34 seconds which is set at

1 hour 20 minutes.

Kumar will now aim

to seal a spot for the

Tokyo Olympics at the

Asian Race Walk

Championship to be

held next month in

Japan. "Will try to further

improve timing if selected for

Asian RW Championships next month

in Japan and try to qualify for Tokyo

2020," said Kumar. KT Irfan had last

year become the first Indian from athletics

to qualify for the Tokyo

Olympics after finishing fourth in the

20 km event of the Asian Race

Walking Championships held in March

in Nomi, Japan.

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

CPI-M more worried about leakage

of CAG report in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram : Finally breaking its silence on the

CAG report on

Kerala Police, the

CPI-M on Sunday

appeared to be more

worried about the

leaking of the report

and less concerned

about the contents,

which speak of the

corrupt deals of

Kerala Police. The

Congress-led opposition

has gone hammer and tongs against Chief Minister

Pinarayi Vijayan for his stoic silence on this issue, who had said

that he will speak about this only in the Assembly, when it

resumes in the first week of March. Speaking to the media after

the end of the two-day deliberation of the various committees of

the CPI-M, state party secretary, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said

generally the CAG report is placed before the Assembly, but this

time most of the content of the report was surprisingly revealed

by a member in the Assembly itself, before the report was placed.

"The CAG should find out what happened as this is an issue

of privilege in the Assembly. It's here that, naturally, a sort of suspicion

arises, if it was a planned one. Also the Accountant

General conducted a detailed press conference and this generally

does not happen," said Balakrishnan.

The CAG report for 2013-18 tabled in the Kerala Assembly

on Wednesday pointed out to missing guns and cartridges, misuse

of funds and diversion of funds. It also pointed to the alleged

collusion between Keltron, a state public sector company and

police in purchases made by the latter.

"The CAG report does not speak of corruption, but more

about diversion of funds. Missing bullets is a feature for long and

it's got to do with improper accounting. Such things were pointed

out when I was the Home Minister and it has been like that for

long. "Generally in the police department, due to the urgent need

of implementing things, what happens is the decision taken first

and it is later ratified. Nevertheless, the CAG report goes before

the Public Accounts Committee of the Legislature and is headed

by a seasoned Congress legislator V.D. Sateeshan and now let us

wait for them to look into it," said Balakrishnan.

"Maybe one reason why the Congress-led UDF is 'upbeat' on

the CAG report is because two of their former Minister's are now

under the net of the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau,"

added Balakrishnan, who made his first public appearance before

the media after few months of rest as he was undergoing treatment

for treatment. Ahead of the CAG report being placed in the

Assembly, senior Congress MLA P.T. Thomas had raised numerous

allegations against the police and many were surprised to

find striking similarities with the CAG report. Thomas, however,

said: "A vernacular daily a month back had run a feature on corruption

in government departments and when I pursued it, I got

a good number of corrupt deals in the police. "Now that I have

already done this, let the police charge me and take me to task. I

have no issues with that," said Thomas. Meanwhile, the

Congress is getting ready to take on Vijayan, and the strategy for

this will be decided in a day or two.

Agra gears up for Trump's visit

Agra : Agra is gearing up for the visit

of US president Donald Trump who is

likely to see the Taj

Mahal on February 24

evening. The 15 kilometre

long stretch from the

Kheria airport to the Taj

Mahal is being spruced

up, cleared of encroachments

and security points

identified. Thousands of

school children will greet

the US president on the

way. Special platforms

will be readied for cultural

pageants on the

way. UP chief minister

Yogi Adityanath is

expected to review

arrangements on February 18. A major

cleanliness drive continues on the VIP

road with hundreds of municipal workers

removing garbage dumps. The VVIP

fleet will head from the airport to the

hotel Amar Vilas close to the Taj Mahal.

The presidential party will then take a

ride on electric buses and

battery operated golf

carts. The US president is

expected to return to New

Delhi around 6.30 p.m,

the same day.

A five-tier security system

will be in place, with

deployment of over 800

commandos. A senior district

official said houses

and shops along the way

were being listed, along

with hotels and guest

houses. At 60 odd points,

there will be roof top

security. The annual Taj

Mahotsava at the Shilpgram will remain

closed for a day. After Eisenhower and

Bill Clinton, Trump will be the third US

president to visit the Taj Mahal, the 17th

century monument of love.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Eyebrows raised as

no woman in

Delhi's new cabinet

ASIA

16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020

CHINA VIRUS

3

toll surges past 1,650

New Delhi : Congress leader Alka Lamba on

Sunday tweeted that Delhi's women department

has been assigned to a male instead of a female

in the newly constituted Delhi Assembly. She

urged women of Delhi to demand permanent

jobs in Delhi Transport Corporation and not just

a free DTC bus ride.

Lamba tweeted: "#Delhi Government's

#Women's Ministry is also given to a #Man

Minister. My best wishes to the women of Delhi,

stay safe, stay healthy. Once again women stand

at the doors of men to get their rights. No more

free ticket on the bus... ask for confirmed job in

DTC." As Kejriwal 3.0 cabinet swore in for the

third term at Delhi's Ram Leela ground, everyone

wondered why there was no woman in the

new cabinet despite the fact that the party has no

dearth of deserving candidates.

Kejriwal decided to repeat the entire cabinet

of 2015. As in his previous tenure, this time too

no woman was sworn in as minister.

There are at least eight women in the Aam

Aadmi Party who won the recently concluded

Delhi assembly election. They are: Raj Kumari

Dhillon won from Hari Nagar constituency ,

Atishi won from Kalkaji, Rakhi Birla from

Mangolpuri, Bhavna Gaur from Palam,

Dhanwati Chandela from Rajouri Garden,

Bandana Kumari from Shalimar Bagh, Preeti

Tomar from Tri Nagar, Pramila Tokas from R.K.

Puram. Atishi played a crucial role in revolutionising

education and reforming government

schools. The AAP praised her incessantly for her

efforts. Preeti Tomar, who is a first-time MLA,

replaced her husband from Tri Nagar seat after

discrepancies in his candidature and won.

Rakhi Birla was able to organise most Dalit

votes from Mangolpuri area for the party. She

held a ministerial portfolio in AAP's first term in

2013. "It was already decided that all former

ministers will retain their positions in the cabinet.

So, my being in the ministry is out of the

question. I hold a position of Deputy Speaker

which is equally important. There is no need to

have a ministerial portfolio to serve Delhi,"

Rakhi Birla told IANS.

Honour killing :

Girl shot dead by

cousin in UP

Meerut : In a case of honour killing, a girl

was shot dead by her cousin and uncle in

Sardhana area here in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday,

police said. The class 11 student as shot dead for

continuing a relationship against the family's

wishes. The incident took place when the girl

was in her uncle's house.

The police have detained five persons, including

the cousin, uncle and also the lover of the

girl. The body has been sent for post mortem.

Further details are awaited.

New Delhi : In the wake of outbreak of

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in China,

India will send a consignment of medical supplies

there, Vikram Misri, Ambassador of

India to China, said on Twitter on Sunday.

The Ambassador, in a video posted on the

official Twitter handle of the Indian embassy

in China, expressed his solidarity with

Chinese people

and the government

in the fight

against the epidemic.

"As a concrete

step to tackle

the outbreak,

India will soon

send a consignment

of medical

supplies to aid and

assist China in

tackling this outbreak,"

he said in the video, adding, "This is a

concrete measure which will fully demonstrate

the goodwill, solidarity and friendship

of the people and government of India with

the Chinese people." The Ambassador also

added that "India will do everything within its

means to support the people of China in this

hour of crisis." "The people of city of Wuhan

Beijing : The number of fatalities from

China's new coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic

climbed to 1,665 on Sunday after 142 more people

died due to the infection that has spiralled

into a nationwide health crisis in the country.

According to the National Health

Commission (NHC) 2,009 fresh cases were

reported since Saturday, a decline from the 2,641

cases reported a day earlier. The symptoms of

the new coronavirus are in many cases similar to

those of a cold but may be accompanied by fever

and fatigue, dry cough and dyspnea (shortness of

breath).

The total number of coronavirus patients in

the country has now risen to 68,500, Efe news

reported. All but three of the fresh casualties

caused by COVID-19 by the World Health

Organisation were reported from its epicentre

Hubei province.

The hard-hit province accounts for the most

1,596 of the total coronavirus death toll in the

country, the provincial health commission

reported. Nearly 1,850 fresh cases from reported

from Hubei, a drop from some 2,400 registered a

day earlier. The total number of cases in the mideastern

province has jumped past 56,000.

Provincial capital Wuhan, where the disease

was first identified, continued to bear the brunt

of the epidemic, reporting 110 deaths in the 24

hours ending Sunday morning.

Authorities announced Saturday that they had

mobilised over 20,000 medical professionals to

the city, which has effectively remained in quarantine

since January 23. The NHC said 219 serious

cases were identified across the country

since Saturday, while 1,323 people were discharged

after getting cured. Over 9,400 patients

have been discharged since the epidemic began

while nearly 530,000 people who had been in

close contact with the infected were followed up,

with around 30 per cent of these still under

observation. The number of suspected cases

grew to 8,228 on Sunday with over 2,000 fresh

Coronavirus: India

to send medical

supplies to China

and the province of Hubei are the worst

affected by the epidemic. They have a very

special place in the hearts of the Indian people.

With courage, persistence and effective

measures we will be able to overcome the crisis,"

the ambassador tweeted.

Misri expressed hope that the epidemic will

be effectively controlled in the very near

future, praising the

"determination of

the Chinese people

and government in

dealing with this

epidemic" being

"evident" to the

world.

Hailing the

efforts of Indian

government to contain

the disease

from spreading in

India, he said, "at present India is also facing

the threat of infections from the novel coronavirus

epidemic. Our country is working hard

to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our

people."

The Ministry of External Affairs in India

also confirmed the news by re-tweeting

Misri's tweets on their Twitter handle.

possibilities identified in the last 24 hours, the

commission said. After the first death outside

Asia was reported from France on Saturday, the

number of deaths outside mainland China has

grown to four, with one death each reported from

Japan, the Philippines, and Hong Kong.

Although the virus has spread to around 30

countries worldwide, China accounts for around

99 percent of the total cases.

Want to be

Commonwealth youth's

voice? Here is an offer

New Delhi : If you are between 15 and 27 years

and want to be the voice of the youth to be heard at

the Commonwealth, here is an opportunity to represent

the Commonwealth's 1.4 billion young people

on the Commonwealth Youth Council.

The Commonwealth Youth Council is looking

for candidates for its executive positions to serve

from 2020 to 2022. Candidates must have at least

three years of experience working with a national

youth council or a registered youth-led organisation.

Speaking from London, Commonwealth

Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: "The

Commonwealth Youth Council draws together talent

from all our regions, and provides a forum to

focus and amplify the voices of young people."

"Its representatives combine ambition with

action, and enable the needs and expectations of

youth in our member countries to be heard.

"This helps equip the Commonwealth to tackle

pressing social, economic and political issues, and

alerts us to emerging global trends so that we can

prepare collectively to deliver a common future that

is fairer and safer for all."

Commonwealth citizens are eligible to submit

nominations by March 20. After nominations and

clearance, shortlisted candidates will start campaigning

from April 17 leading up to the

Commonwealth Youth Forum in June where each

country will cast a vote in the elections. The elected

candidates will lead and give strategic advice to the

council taking a strong lead in upholding youth

advocacy. Set up in 2013, the council has emerged

as one of the world's most diverse youth-led bodies.

It aims to advance the youth development agenda

and enhance young people's participation at all

levels.


4

16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

US President Donald Trump

is coming to India during

February and Gujarat is

‘preparing’ to give him a

‘grand’ welcome at the Sardar

Patel Stadium where about one

lakh fifty thousand ‘deshbhakts’

will be brought to ‘listen’ to

the US President. The obsession

with Gujarat and Gujaratis

is the prime focus of the

Narendra Modi government.

Even when they want to claim

that they are a pan Indian,

national party yet BJP leadership

at the moment is unable to

look beyond Gujarat whose

model Narendra Modi and his

followers have advertised

world over. Whether it is

Chinese Prime Minister or

Japanese Prime Minister

Shinzo Abe or Donald Trump

or making Saradar Patel or

Gandhi’s legacy or the big stadium,

Modi and Shah are

unable to become the citizen of

India. Quintessentially, they

remain typical Gujaratis, who

dont trust ‘others’ and need

everything not merely their

meals but their officers too

from their states. Anyway, there

is nothing wrong for ‘national’

leaders behaving state ‘specific’

and ‘fulfilling’ their ‘promises’

made to their Janata.

Those of us, who have been

travelling Gujarat know the

meaning of Gujarat’s Hindu

Rashtra is nothing but absolute

control of the Savarnas and

pure marginalisation of the

Dalits, OBCs and ofcourse,

Muslims. Look at the protest

site in Gandhi nagar where

The wall of contempt and hatred

Dalits, Adivasis, Rabaris are

seeking complete implementation

of the reservation and how

Gujarat has denied it.

The city of Ahmedabad is

more chaotic than any other

metropolitan city in India and is

no match to Delhi, Mumbai,

Banglore, Chennai, Kolkata

and Hyderabad but we dont

know why every foreign leader

is taken to Gujarat. What for ?

Is this ground being prepared

for Trump’s election rally ?

There are slums, there is chaos

on the road and traffic conditions

worst, we are hearing that

from Ahmedabad Airport to

Motera Stadium, a 600 meter

long and 7 ft high wall is being

created to ‘cover’ the ‘slums’,

so that the global ‘King’ cant

see the ‘dirt’ and have always

have a ‘feel good factor’. But it

is not that alone, the government

want that none who visit

India during Trump’s trip get

disturbed with the ‘grim realities’

of our life.

It reminds me of a old

story in Hindi under title

Purdah written by

Yashpal where the ‘poverty’ of

the family is ‘hidden’ in the

purdah that hang in the front

door of the house. Can such

things really hide the dirty facts

of prevailing situation in the

state particularly related to the

issues of Dalits, Adivasis and

OBCs. Just yesterday, there

was news from Bhuj where girl

students were asked to even

remove their inner wears just to

prove that they were not menstruating

but then there is no

outcry in the Bhakt media ?

Why are teachers and school

officials even allowed to touch

the girls physically unless it is

required for some assistance.

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

Can any one imagine the hurt

and humiliation that these girl

students might have gone

through. Where is the ‘guide’

who speak to ‘students’ about

‘how to prepare for exams’ ?

Ofcourse, all the SC-ST-OBC

students sitting on Dharana at

Gandhi Nagar for fulfilling the

UN chief on

first official visit

to PAKISTAN

constitutional provisions of

reservation too are seeking his

‘advice’ and time.

Ahmedabad is the second

biggest ‘slum city’ in Gujarat as

Surat being number one.

According to a report published

in the Times of India, 2016,

Gujarat has not

notified 2.84

lakh households

living in slums.

It shows how

the government

is least concern

about their conditions.

And since a majority of

those living in these slums

belong to SC-ST-OBCs the

Gujarat model is to keep them

vulnerable so that they are

unable to stand up and develop

their own leadership. The violence

on Dalits particularly

Dalit women is on rise in

Gujarat but that neither become

an issue, nor our brahmanical

crooked media in Delhi take

note of it. The victims of Una

violence are running from

puller to post to get justice.

Most of the accused in flogging

the Dalits openly in public are

now out and roaming free.

I wish our Ministers and

their advisers use the foreign

visit of a dignitary to strengthen

the people and not to bring

problems in their lives. The

wall that is being erected to

give a ‘feel good’ feeling to

Donald Trump is nothing but

humiliation to those people

who suffer and are exploited

because the state has abdicated

its responsibility and it feel

people are a burden. The poor

people too have a right to life

with dignity. All roads to get

justice are being closed just to

please one man and make him

believe that ‘Ahmedabad’ city

is truly ‘global’ one. Yes, it is

truly global one where you can

only enjoy food when you go to

the walled city, the old shops

and restaurants near the Purani

Masjid and Lal Darwaja area,

which are normally deliberately

abandoned and kept chaotic

by the ‘new operational model’

of Gujarat. It is disturbing but

the model is exposed though

most of the bhakt media in

Delhi will continue to chant

about ‘prosperity’ of Gujarat

but definitely not all five crore

Gujaratis have same living

standard, nor do they all have

same rights. If all have rights

then why is government making

a wall in front of the slums

and if it was so worried about

Trump’s ‘happiness’ then it

should have actually regularized

the slums in Ahmedabad

and Gandhinagar and make

them ‘world class’, that would

have been the real change and I

am sure each one of us would

be happy and wait for such a

VIP visit if that brings change

in the lives of people.

In the past when a chief minister

or a minister would visit

the rural area, the authorities

would clean the place and make

things look better and people

would pray that such netas

come every day so that people

get their amenities but this

Gujarat model is humiliation of

people.

Let us hope that the issues of

the marginalised will continue.

We know it is an event being

managed for Donald Trump’s

elections but we hope the international

media will make

efforts to reach the slums as

well as get an opportunity to

meet all those who face caste

violence in the state. Una’s

Dalit are waiting for justice and

so are many others, including

the girls who have been humiliated

in Bhuj by their school

teachers. Let the international

media meet some of them and

report that widely when Donald

Trump visit India.

Islamabad : UN Secretary General Antonio

Guterres arrived here on Sunday on his first official

visit to Pakistan to attend an international

conference on Afghan refugees. He will also be

visiting the holy Sikh shrine in Kartarpur.

During his visit, the UN chief will speak at the

international conference '40 Years of Hosting

Afghan Refugees in Pakistan', reported Dawn

news.

The two-day conference in Islamabad, starting

on February 17, will be a recognition of

Pakistan's "tremendous generosity" in hosting

millions of refugees from Afghanistan over four

decades, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said

during a regular noon briefing at

the UN Headquarters in New

York on Friday.

The conference, which is

being organised by the Pakistan

Government and the UN Refugee

Agency (UNHCR), will be inaugurated

by Prime Minister Imran

Khan. Various senior US officials

will also attend the conference.

Guterres is expected to meet

with Imran Khan and other highlevel

government officials, his

spokesman said. Dujarric said the

UN chief will also meet Pakistan

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and

speak at an event on sustainable development

and climate change. The UN Secretary General

will meet Pakistan President Arif Alvi on

Monday.

On Tuesday, he will visit Lahore where he

will meet students and attend an event on

Pakistan's polio vaccination campaign.

He will also travel to Kartarpur to visit the

Sikh holy site of Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.

Responding to a question, the spokesman said

the UN chief will not be visiting the disputed

Kashmir region during this trip.

He is set to return to New York on Wednesday.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020

5

Akhilesh claims threat from BJP leader

Kanpur : Samajwadi Party chief

Akhilesh Yadav has claimed he has

received a threat call and a message

from a BJP leader after a youth shouted

'Jai Shri Ram' at one of the gatherings

he was addressing. The former

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister made the

disclosure while addressing a function

at his party office in Kannauj on

Saturday.

"There is a threat to my life from a

BJP leader. I have received a threat

call and a message from him. I have

saved the message in my phone and

will address the media in this regard in

Lucknow in a day or two," he said.

Akhilesh Yadav was addressing party

workers on the rising inflation in the

country, when a youth from the crowd

interrupted him and asked him what he

planned to do about it if he returned to

power.

Akhilesh asked the youth to come

closer as he was not audible to him. At

this, the youth shouted 'Jai Shri Ram'

and Akhilesh questioned him whether

he has any association with the

Bharatiya Janata Party. He also said

that he revered all--Ram, Krishna,

Vishnu and Shiva.

The SP chief told Taalgram

Inspector Raja Dinesh Singh: "How

did he manage to sneak in the security

ring and chant Jai Shri Ram? I want

you to bring him to me along with all

the details about that person including

his village, his father's name. Also the

police should check the belongings

particularly the bag which the man

was carrying to the venue."

Following this incident, Akhilesh

Yadav claimed that there was a threat

to his life from a BJP leader.

"Just two days ago, a BJP leader

has threatened me and now today, this

man was trying to jump inside the

security cordon. He would have taken

my life. What action will you initiate

against him and under which act you

will book him," said Yadav.

Sadar Kotwali Inspector Vinod

Mishra, said, "The man has been identified

as Govind Shukla of Gugrapur

village. He will be booked for disrupting

peace. He is a graduate and pursuing

LLB in Kanpur."

AMU medics

seek Kafeel

Khan's release

Aligarh : The Resident Doctors Association (RDA) of the

Border wall in MEXICO

turns into 'mural of love'

Mexico : Dozens of red hearts were

painted on the metal barrier that separates

the Mexican city of Tijuana from San

Diego in the US as part of a recurring project

by independent artist Enrique Chiu to

spread a message of love and brotherhood.

Children, adolescents, and adults

arrived at the venue on Mexico's border

frontage with paintbrushes and full of

enthusiasm to take part in the project called

"Muro de Hermandad" (Mural of

Brotherhood) that began three years, Efe

news reported.

The Mexican artist, who spent more

than a decade in the US before settling in

Tijuana, said it was not a political movement

and did not seek funds, but was based

on love and efforts of common citizens.

Chiu invited people on social media to

take part in the event aimed at filling the

metal bars with hearts to mark February,

the month of love. The painter said he was

happy with the three-year-long project,

which has become popular over time, with

new paintings being created every month.

Many celebrities have joined the activities.

Those include Mexican actor Eliza

Gonzalez, who has been to Tijuana at least

four times to paint messages or drawings

on the border barrier close to the Tijuana

beach.

Chiu said dozens of other artists had

also participated in the extended mural,

and he expected other big names such as

singer Alejandro Fernandez and Luis

Fernando Pena to join shortly.

The artist had sought permission for the

project from the US government before

starting it and was allowed to proceed on

the condition that the paintings should be

carried out only on the Mexican side.

Each mass painting event is accompanied

by live music, food and attended by

families. University students and people

from other public and private institutions

also take part on occasions.

Chiu said he had spent around $9,000 on

the project so far but was happy to see the

results and the unity among people, who do

not want more walls to divide them. The

US-Mexico border has witnessed heightened

tensions in recent years due to

President Donald Trump's administration

hardening its policies against immigrants

and releasing funds to build a massive border

wall, one of his major campaign promises.

Apart from writing their names or

messages, the participants were also

allowed to use colours of their choice to

paint their hearts as they feel. For example,

black to signify sadness, blue to represent

autism, orange for the fight against cancer

or the classic red, the colour of love.

See India as important player against climate change: Norway

Gandhinagar : Norway on

Sunday said that it saw India as an

important player against climate

change and that both countries

could play leading role in tackling

the global issues of environment

and climate change. Union

Minister for Environment, Forests

and Climate Change Prakash

Javadekar and Norwegian

Minister of Climate and

Environment Sveinung Rotevatn

met at the Mahatma Mandir here

to discuss bilateral and global

issues on climate and environment.

A Conference Of Parties to the

Convention on Migratory Species

will be held at the venue from

Monday to Friday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

will inaugurate the event via

videoconferencing. It is for the

first time that the triennial event

medical college in

Aligarh Muslim

University (AMU)

staged a protest march

demanding the release

of Gorakhpur pediatrician,

Kafeel Khan, who

has been booked under

National Security Act

(NSA) by Aligarh

police.

The resident doctors

have demanded revocation

of NSA charges

against Khan. The

medicos said raising

one's voice against

injustice is not a crime

and Khan should be

released immediately.

Shouting slogans

against Uttar Pradesh

police and the state government, the medicos also demanded

withdrawal of Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

President of RDA, Hamza Malik, speaking about Kafeel said

that a doctor, who has organized several free health camps to

save people from encephalitis and floods, could not be a threat

to the nation. Shahnawaz Iqbali, vice-president of RDA, said the

government's move of slapping NSA on Khan was nothing more

than a blatant attempt to suppress his voice.

would be held in the country.

On Sunday, both countries

stressed the need to strengthen

bilateral cooperation on environment

and climate change, particularly

marine pollution.

"We, particularly Norway, see

India as an important player in

action against climate change

problems. We are impressed by

India's efforts in curbing plastic

waste handling, especially

through the drive launched by the

Indian Prime Minister, through

'Say No to Plastic'," said

Rotevatn.

India has banned the use of single-use

plastic in the country.

"Year 2020 will be the Super

Year for Environment. India is

rich in biodiversity and we expect

that both countries help each other

through technology and research,

so that more work can be carried

out for environmental conservation,"

Javadekar said.

The Minister said that India

had initiated an ocean dialogue

with Norway to address marine

plastic litter. Both the countries

have formed joint working groups

on blue economy with sustainable

development. Both Ministers

recognised that the Kigali

Amendment to the Montreal

Protocol for phasing out use of

hydroflourocarbons (HFCs)could

prevent up to 0.4 degrees Celsius

of warming by the end of the century.

It was agreed to continue the

projects supported by Norway on

issues related to HFCs.

Both the countries agreed on

the importance of delivering concrete,

scalable solutions for ocean

health and wealth at the UN

Ocean Conference in Lisbon in

June 2020.


6 16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

People of Delhi must defeat those pushing

‘PAKISTANI’ agenda on the people

The filth is growing day by day and

the desperation on the faces when the

entire cabinet and a rabble rousing chief

minister from neighboring state is campaigning.

The focus is on Pakistan and

‘terrorism’ and not the basic amenities

of the people. It is deeply shocking the

way BJP leadership has turned the

Delhi elections into an India Pakistan

battle. BJP will have to introspect in

longer run whether it want to remain a

political party or a rabble rousing militia

pushing one Indian against the other.

Why is the party not responding to the

issues of the people of Delhi. Why is it

important for the party to term every

opposition leader as anti national ?

Does it has any leader who participated

in the freedom movement ? It does not

have anybody yet it want to hijack the

legacy of the freedom movement where

all Indians irrespective of their caste

and religious identity joined hand to

compel the British out of this country.

Delhi’s elections have become

important now. I never thought that a

small state like Delhi will be so important

for the leadership that they are

ready to vitiate the atmosphere of the

Delhi which has never been that bad

since 1984 when the Congress goons

along with the Sanghi mindset and

goons unleashed violence on innocent

Sikhs and carried out the pogrom of

them in Delhi. We never saw that hatred

since then.

Why is this environment of hatred

being created here. The Ministers are

the custodian of our constitution and

they need to protect it but instead they

are violating and speaking in the most

vulgar language. The pathetic helplessness

of Election Commission does not

bode well for our healthy democracy.

The Election Commission should not

only bar these Ministers or leaders permanently

from the election campaign

but should file FIR with an intent that

any future repetition might force the

Commission to even request the loss of

their membership from Parliament or

Assemblies.

A peaceful protest in Shaheen Bagh

and many other places have now been

vilified by the BJP. Why is that happening.

Why you bothering about it. Do

people have no right to protest. Does

anybody in the government care why

these women, with children , a large

number of those, with infants too, are

sitting from last fifty days. Why is this

happening that women who rarely venture

out in night or daily, out of their

home, are here, shouting slogans for

justice. And the answer is clear that

never in post independent India, the

Muslims have felt that much insecure

and threatened as they are feeling today

and the government and the BJP in particular

seem to enjoy this insecurity.

Now, BJP might feel and understand

that the fear of the people has gone and

they are ready to fight till get justice.

When all avenues of peaceful protests

are shut, people will do at the places

nearby their homes.

Shaheen Bagh have redefined our

political protests. I want to

salute these bold women who

have taught all of us so many

things including their faith in

democracy and India’s secular

ethos. Two youngsters who are openly

Hindutva inspired and caught up firing

at Jamia and Shaheen Bagh in the last

two days were spared by people. In any

Sanghi meeting, such youngsters of the

opposite side would have been lynched

or police would have done so but the

best side of this is the complete show of

non violent protest of Shaheen Bagh

women is a shining example. It will be

the among the most outstanding form of

protests, if ever we write the history of

protest movements in India. It has given

voice, ideas and provided hope to all of

us. Today, Shaheen Bagh complete 50

days of this historical protest and we

see the Hindutva propaganda machinery

in full swing terming it anti national

and asking the people of Delhi to

mobilise against it. Attempt are being

made to intimidate people and polarise

the Delhi voters.

We have seen how the present leadership

of the BJP came to from all the

protests in the name of Ram Mandir.

Disruptions of normal life, damage to

public property, stones at police as well

as Muslim localities were ‘normal’

characteristics of Hindutva protests

apart from chanting of deliberate

provocative slogans but none of them

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

ever got a notice for damaging public

property.The same leaders today speak

up language that we should not protests

as it create ‘disturbance’ to the common

people. Well, in 1990, we had a prime

minister who our Savarna media forget

and his name was V P Singh. He had

the courage to speak up things and act.

He fulfilled his promise to give the

OBCs their due in jobs by accepting the

recommendations of Mandal

Commission.which sought 27% reservation

for them. BJP started its Ram

Mandir movement afterwards and

Advani’s infamous Somnath Ayodhya

yatra began which left a trail of blood

of innocents in every place it traveled.

Finally, the yatra had to be stopped at

Samastipur, in Bihar on October 23rd,

1990 as the Prime Minister ordered

Bihar Chief minister Lalu Yadav to not

allow the yatra beyond Bihar as it was

bound to disturb peace in the state of

Uttar Pradesh.

The Hindu media and the brahmanical

reporters abused V P Singh despite

the fact that he was protecting the

Constitution of India. When the savarna

children were forced

to commit suicide by

the C grade journalism

of Arun Shourie,

that Arnab now follow

on TV, V P Singh

spoke about the pain

and talk to them. He

spoke about the dangers

of the theocratic state and how BJP

want to create it before his resignation.

That time, many felt that he was wrong

but if any one want to know the politics

of BJP, they should read those lectures

and talks of V P Singh but he was the

‘worst’ human being for this manuwadi

media. That is how they build narrative

and distort history.

Narendra Modi has not spoken a

word about Rohit Vemula’s death,

about student protests, about CAA,

about so many things that haunted us in

the last five years. Instead, his juniors

as well as seniors were building conspiracy

‘theories’ to discredit all these

movements and yet our media did not

have the capacity to ask question to

him. The man who hate to speak to

media yet media love him so much.

It is time for prime minister

Narendra Modi to speak up to the

young boys picking up guns. Invoking

Gandhi’s name for cleanliness may be

good but please do speak to your cadres

to come out of hatred. Hate will take

India nowhere. Let us be very clear,

India’s image has already damaged in

the world and if we are trying to evade

these questions through ‘artificial intelligence’

then we will be disappointed as

the world has started reacting. BJP

leaders should focus on governance and

not threaten people for their differing

views. Pushing people against people

will not resolve any issues. Now, our

youth understand what is needed for a

stronger India. It is the strength of us

all, its diverse cultural value system, its

Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians,

Buddhists, Adivasis, Dalits, non believers,

atheists, humanists. India has

chronic poverty, we still have huge gender

disparity. Caste violence against

Dalits is the order of the day.

Untouchability persists, Education system

is in the mess. Land Reforms never

happened. Forest Rights not being

granted to Adivasis. Our hospitals dont

have enough infrastructure, doctors.

Poor have an issue. Hunger remain in

many pockets. Let us focus on these

issues to make us stronger. We will only

be stronger if we respect each other,

live in complete harmony, enjoy our

diversity and treat all citizen equal as

our Constitution define. We cant have

different categories of citizens.

Let the Delhi Elections focus on

people’s issues like education, health,

housing, water , electricity and ofcourse

our living togetherness as citizen of

India. Let Delhi remain the vibrant hub

of multiculturalism that reflect mini

India where every one irrespective of

their faith, language, region or identity

can thrive and progress. We hope people

of Delhi will vote on these lines and

defeat the forces who dont want to

speak on the agenda of Delhi but on the

agenda of Pakistan.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs

at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com

twitter @freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Hasina rejects quota call for

English-medium students

Dhaka : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has

rejected a call for special

facilities for English-medium

students to enrol at the

Bangladesh University of

Engineering and

Technology (BUET), it was

reported on Thursday.

In a Parliament session

on Wednesday, opposition

Bangladesh

Nationalist

Party (BNP) MP Harunur

Rashid asked her whether

the government would take

steps to stop the "brain drain, especially top students of the

English-medium institutions" from going abroad, reports

bdnews24. "Will you take steps to resolve the problem over

huge unemployment by giving opportunities (to the unemployed),

especially to the meritorious students?" he asked,

while demanding quota for students of English-medium

schools for admission to BUET citing a court directive.

In response, Hasina said: "It appears from the honourable

MP’s speech that those studying in English-medium

institutions are meritorious and those in Bangla-medium

aren’t. We studied fully in Bangla medium. We may be

not meritorious, but it’s not that we have done badly. I could

have achieved good results if I got more opportunities to

study well. "Why should there be quotas for those from

English-medium institutions? I don’t see any reason to go

for this." She also said her government has created

"enough" job opportunities for those studying abroad.

J&K Panchayat bye elections

to be held in March

Srinagar : The by-elections for close to 13,000 vacant

panchayat seats In

Jammu and Kashmir

will be held in March,

Chief Electoral officer

Shailendra Kumar said

in Jammu on Thursday.

He said the elections

would be held in eight

phases beginning March

5. The poll phases are scheduled to be held on March 5,

March 7, March 9, March 12, March 14, March 16, March

18 and March 20. Panchayat elections were held in 2018

which were boycotted by the mainstream Kashmir-based

political parties - the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and

the National conference (NC). The electoral exercise has

been announced at a time when three former chief ministers

continue to be under detention since the abrogation of

Article 370 on August 5. Stringent Public Safety Act (PSA)

has been slapped on the three former chief ministers.

California gurdwara pays unique

tribute to Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles : Hundreds of Sikh worshippers turned up

wearing the Lakers

colours -- purple and yellow

-- at the Gurdwara

Nanaksar in Fresno,

California, in a special

prayer meet for the late

basketball great Kobe

Bryant who was killed in

a helicopter crash last

month, a media report

said. While men and children wore Lakers jerseys, many

women showed up in the traditional salwar kameez in purple

and yellow, The American Bazaar report said earlier

this week. The organizers at the Gurdwara Nanaksar held

the prayer meet after it witnessed that many Sikh men and

children were affected by the untimely death of the NBA

icon, who was a reason they began playing basketball.

Some young men from the community showed up at the

gurdwara crying. Amitoj Singh, a student at Terronez

Middle School in Fresno, who attended the prayer meeting

said: "The gurdwara authorities thought of organizing a

’path’ (prayer) for Kobe and others when they saw a young

child crying in the gurdwara. While Kobe was hugely popular

across the globe, the Sikh Americans keenly followed

him." Angad Sandhu another attendee of the prayer meeting

and a Lakers fan told the American Bazaar: "I started

playing basketball because of Kobe and his game and conduct

really inspired me."

ASIA

16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020

Shaheen Bagh-type indefinite

protest begins in Ludhiana

New Delhi : Following a brief lull during the

run up to the Delhi Assembly election, the

Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union

(JNUSU) on Thursday sounded the bugle for a

renewed fight against the Citizenship

Amendment Act and other measures that the

government is said to be contemplating. The

Aam Aadmi Party’s resounding victory despite

the BJP’s attempts to turn the Delhi polls into a

referendum over the Citizenship Amendment

Act, has given a boost to anti-CAA supporters.

Beginning February 14, the JNUSU is organising

a series of events to mobilise support

against the CAA, and to draw attention to the

government’s plans for NRC and others.

The events are spread over three days,

beginning on February 14 and lasting upto

February 17. The protests include a cultural

programme, and a protest march within the

JNU campus.

The last day of the protests will see students

taking out a march on February 17 from Mandi

House to Parliament Street.

A statement issued in this regard by JNUSU

says, "Attempts to destroy the fundamental

characteristic of the Indian Constitution by the

Chandigarh : A Shaheen Baghtype

indefinite protest began on

Wednesday in the industrial town

Ludhiana in Punjab with the joining

of several organisation led by city’s

Jama Masjid here.

Shahi Imam of Punjab, Maulana

Habib-ur Rehman Sani Ludhianvi,

said a decision to launch the Delhilike

protest was taken at a meeting

with members of various religious

and social organisations. A large of

protesters joined the sit-in protest in

Dana Mandi area against the

Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA),

National Population Register (NPR)

and the National Register of Citizens

(NRC). He said earlier the Jalandhar

RSS-BJP have reached a fever pitch.

The passage of the unconstitutional CAA

2019 has dealt a grave harm to the secular

notion of Indian citizenship. Combined with the

BJP’s avowed plan of an all-India NRC process,

this shall mean an end to secularism and social

7

bypass was chosen because there

was a statue of Dr B.R. Ambedkar.

Later, it was decided that the protest

would hamper the movement of the

traffic on the National Highway-1

and decided to shift the protest

venue to Dana Mandi. The head

priest said a peaceful agitation

would be held daily from 10 a.m. to

10 p.m. and there would be no hamper

to traffic movement.

"We have launched this agitation

against the CAA and NRC that the

central government is bringing to

divide the people on the basis of

caste. The people of all religions

should stay united to save the

Constitution," he added.

Post-Delhi polls, JNUSU back in anti-CAA mode

Cong hails SC order on criminals

in politics, flays Modi

New Delhi : Welcoming the Supreme Court order for

decriminalisation of politics and the direction to political

parties to upload online details of pending criminal cases

against candidates, the Congress here on Thursday

slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for appointing a

tainted politician as Minister in Karnataka.

The directive had been torn to shreds by Prime Minister

Narendra Modi, it added. Earlier in the day, the Supreme

Court asked political parties to upload on their websites

details of pending criminal cases against poll candidates, citing

the alarming rise in criminalisation of politics in past

four general elections. A Bench headed by Justice R.F.

Nariman said the political parties would have to clarify reasons

for selecting candidates with pending criminal cases

and upload the information on their websites. They would

also have to submit compliance report to the Election

Commission within 72 hours of selection of candidates with

pending criminal cases. Randeep Singh Surjewala, Congress

national media in-charge, tweeted, "Today itself, Modiji has

torn to shreds the orders of giving reasons for giving tickets

to leaders accused in cases. "Modiji and the BJP again come

to the rescue of ’Bellary Gang’! SC says give reasons for giving

tickets to tainted Netas or contempt! Modiji says make

tainted Netas not MLAs alone but Ministers of the ministry,

which has been allegedly looted! Will SC issue contempt of

Prime Minister and Karnataka CM?"

Surjewala also attached a news report on Anand Singh,

a former Congress leader who joined the BJP last year and

is accused in mining and forest cases, being appointed the

Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology.

London : The

cost of repairing the

Elizabeth Tower,

which houses

London’s famous Big

Ben bell, has risen by

18.6 million pounds

($24 million) following

the discovery of

bomb damage and asbestos, a media

report said on Thursday.

The need for more money was only

discovered during a recent survey of the

177-year-old structure in central

London, the BBC said in the report. The

House of Commons Commission said it

was "extremely disappointed" that the

overall cost had risen to 79.7 million

pounds following the latest discovery.

Ian Ailles, Director General of the

House of Commons, said that the

Elizabeth Tower restoration, which

began in 2017 and is scheduled to continue

until next year, "had been more

complex than we could have anticipated".

He explained that it had not been

possible to understand the "full extent of

justice within the country.

The MHA’s notification to begin the NPR

(National Population Register) process by 1st

April is the first step of the All India

NRC/NRIC, as has been outlined in the CAA

2003 passed by the then NDA government."

Cost of repairing Big Ben’s

tower rises by $24mn

the damage" until scaffolding

had gone up

and the survey was carried

out.

The survey revealed

decay and damage to

hundreds of intricate

carvings; asbestos in

the belfry; extensive

use of toxic lead paint; broken glass in

the clock dials; and the need for a specialist

clock expert The four clock dials

on the outside of the tower contain a

total of 1,296 individual pieces of glass,

each of which need to be replaced as

part of the restoration work. The clock -

which weighs 12 tonnes - has been dismantled

and taken away for a complete

overhaul. The Elizabeth Tower is often

mistakenly called Big Ben, but that latter

name only refers to the bell that

occupies part of it.

The tower only gained its current

name, having previously been called the

Clock Tower, when it was renamed in

honour of the Queen to mark her diamond

jubilee in 2012.


8 16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Social boycott a powerful tool

to oppress Dalits in Gujarat

Kalu Bhai-Jetha Bhai Sarvaiya does

not speak much though he can understand

Hindi a bit but cant speak that fluently.

Perhaps, the brutal murder of his

son Lalji Sarviaya by the Koli community

villagers in Ankolali, Una Taluka

of the Gir Somnath district in Gujarat,

on September 13th, 2012 and the subsequent

inaction of the state and society

has silenced him. Kalu Bhai, a resident

of village Ankolali saw a huge crowd of

the villagers surrounding their home

and putting fire on it resulting in the

death of his son Lalji. A session court in

Rajkot pronounced Life Sentence to all

the 11 accused in this case in November

2018 but the troubles of Kalu Bhai

remains the same. His face narrates the

story. Even when justice ‘seems’ be

done and all the culprit have been sentenced

life imprisonment, Kalu Bhai

still feel defeated. He lost his son so

brutally to the casteist mob and yet he

continue to face the social boycott

which is so powerful that all the ‘constitutional’

provisions fail to this. Kalu

Bhai Jetha Bhai Sarvaiya met me in

Ahmedabad with his elder brother and

his son on February 2nd, 2020 where he

had come to participate in workshop.

Background of the case : Kalu Bhai

belong to Sarvaiya i.e. Dalit community

and owned about 15 bighas of land in

village Ankolali in the Gir Somnath district.

His family was the only one

belonging to Dalit community in otherwise

OBC dominated village of the

Kolis. Kalu Bhai was well off in a sense

that his son Lal ji was a an specialized

worker of stone cutting. His house was

situated on the stone area which was

precious and all the powerful people

including the MLA who belong to Koli

community were eying to that area to

be leased from the government. The

market value of the said area was in

crores. Now, the Kalu Bhai’s family

was the only one and that too belonging

to Dalit community hence it was important

to throw them away from the village

and then claim the entire area on

lease. A conspiracy was hatched.

Though Lal Ji was married man of 27

years of age, he had no children. The

Kolis led by the village Sarpanch

accused him to have eloped with a Koli

girl and kept her in hiding. Now, this

was vehemently denied by Lalji and his

father but then the villagers were not

ready to listen to them.

A crowd the Kolis surrounded the

house of Kalu bhai where the entire

family was living. Lalji was sleeping

when the crowd started pelting stones.

It was morning hours around 8 am. No

body could reason with a mad blood

thirsty lynch mob. Other members were

locked one side and Lalji in the other

room. The criminals started breaking

the tiles and poured petrol in the room

Lalji was sleeping. He was burnt

beyond recognition. The brutality was

so powerful that the police took its two

to three hours after the incident happened

and by that time Lalji had died.

It is ironical that the girl who the

Kolis accused Lalji of eloping

with, finally appeared a few days

later, informing the villagers that

she had gone out on her own with

her boyfriend. Kalu Bhai informs me

that frankly they had already made the

plan as his family was the only dalit

family in the village and completely

isolated. We were living with our head

high. Lalji was also known to be a good

stone cutter and wanted to take the

adjacent land for stone mining. Some of

the top Koil leaders were eyeing at that

place.

I ask Kalu Bhai as how did they

come to know about that Lalji had

eloped with their daughter? Lal ji was

married and would never do so said his

father. The fact is that when the girl

from Koli community disappeared, the

villagers went to a local ‘tantrik’ who

‘told’ them that the girl has eloped with

the Dalit family boy and that is why the

entire community of Kolis surrounded

his house and burnt Lalji.

The Verdict : On November 30th,

2018, a Session Judge sentenced life

imprisonment to 11 accused who were

charged under sections 302 ( murder),

324 ( causing hurt), 463 forgery, 449

Houses trespass, 342, wrongful confinement,

143 unlawful

assembly, 147 for

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

rioting, 120B Criminal

Conspiracy. The judge also asked all

the 11 accused to pay Rs 54000/- each

to be deposited in the account of Kalu

Bhai. The family was happy with the

verdict but is uncertain about the future.

Now, we have received information

that the convicts have filed case in the

Ahmedabad High Court against the

Session Court verdict. The petition will

come for hearing next week. While

convicts have a right to approach the

courts as part of their legal remedies,

the issue of Social boycott is the most

atrocious and need to be handled legally

now. Kalu Bhai acknowledged that

Gujarat based Dalit rights activists, as

well as various social movements stood

with them in their hour of crisis.

Ofcourse, the caste forces too are active

and intimidating the Dalits with their

social boycott. The irony is that in the

Gir Somnath district it is the OBCs who

are the most violent on the Dalits. The

bigger question of Dalit Bahujan unity

need to respond to such questions and it

is only possible when powerful communities

whether physically, financially

or numerically introspect and their

leader look into the issue seriously and

alliance is not meant during the election

time but social and cultural sphere too.

Social Boycott: After the brutal

death of his son, Kalu Bhai decided to

leave the village Akolali and resettled

in another village which was about 30

kilometer away from. They had 15

Bigha of land and the houses there. The

family felt that it was time to move out

as there was no interaction with any

other community and most of the Kolis

were just not ready to accept that they

could live life with dignity. The authorities

helped them and gave them 15

bigha of land in lieu of their land at

Akolali but the supreme irony is that

the new village too has shown no sympathy

with Kalu Bhai and his family.

They remain unwanted and hated as the

villagers ask them as why have they

come to their village and they have

been given land outside the village.

Kalu Bhai does not speak much but

it seems that the hurt feeling is and a

sense of injustice has dominated his

personality. What kind of a society we

live in where the feeling of sadness and

empathy does not exist and only point

of your sensitivity is your caste identity?

Gujarat has been the laboratory of

Hindutva for long. Dalits have been at

the receiving end and the violence and

social boycott has been a very powerful

tool to control their voices for dignity

and freedom.

Now the question is this social boycott

is not merely an upper caste

domain but the OBC castes too engage

in it to oppress the Dalits. All castes are

basically learning the techniques of

social boycott to pressurize Dalits and

while each one of them might have

their grievances against Brahmins or

Savaranas but the fact is that each one

of them enjoy oppressing the other.

Baba Saheb Ambedkar defined this as

graded inequality.

It is essential for the political parties,

social movements and judiciary to look

into the Social Boycott issue as this is

the most brutal form of oppression and

legitimacy of the caste hierarchy and

caste hatred against Dalits. The caste

ostricisation and social boycott tools

must be legally outlawed and socially

rejected in the greater interest of the

nation. No nation can be called civilized

as long as communities hate other

and looked down upon them in deep

contempt. No innocent life can be

allowed to die just on the basis of

heresy. Lal ji died because of the false

accusations and his family has to leave

the village but the justice cannot be said

to have been done as long as family live

in fear, uncertainity and ostracisation.

You can watch conversation with

Kalu Bhai in these links. He is a native

Gujarati speaker so his nephew was

translating for us. He had come along

with his elder brother and his son.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs

at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com

twitter @freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

JeM releases threat VIDEO

ahead of Trump's India visit

Srinagar : Ahead of US President Donald

Trump's India visit, terror outfit Jaish-e-

Muhammad (JeM) has released a video that calls

for "revenge" and says "the

killers would not be forgiven".

The video threatens the

Indian government, and says

"the way you harassed the

Muslims and destroyed their

settlements will be avenged".

In the video, a person citing

Quran Sharif, can be heard

saying: "We have heard a lot

of lullabies on peace... now

every excuse has gone... it's

time to see things 'unrestrained'." Sources say the

video and its contents are Pakistan's attempt to

show during Trump's tour that "Kashmiris are

angry after the removal of Section 370 and they

are carrying out terrorist attacks". Trump and

first lady Melania Trump are scheduled to visit

India on February 24-25. Meanwhile, security

agencies have received an input related to the

video that a meeting of terrorist groups was held

in PoK earlier this month, and officials of ISI and

Pakistan Army were also present

in that meeting. It was

decided in the meeting that

Hizbul Mujahideen should be

activated.

According to sources, it was

also discussed that terrorists

operating in Kashmir should be

given "more responsibility"

instead of Pakistani terrorists.

An order has been issued

that Hibzul should take all

"responsibilities of terror acts from Lashkar-e-

Taiba and JeM. Attacks are being planned on the

police, security forces and common people in

urban areas to create fear among Kashmiris,

sources said. Besides, attempts are also being

made to carry out major suicide attacks on the

convoys and camps of the security forces.

Nine drug addicts killed

in Afghanistan shooting

Kabul : Nine drug

addicts were shot to death

in an overnight shooting in

a non-residential area in

western side of Kabul,

Afghanistan, the capital

police said on Sunday.

"The shooting occurred

at side of Qurugh

Mountain in Police District

6 roughly at 8:00 p.m. on

Saturday. Personnel of

Kabul Criminal

Investigation Police

Department shifted the

bodies to Forensic Science

Service Department near

Kabul University shortly after the shooting was

reported," Ferdaus Faramarz from Kabul police

told Xinhua. One arrest was made after the

shooting and the motive behind the incident

remained unclear.

Further investigation is on, police added.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk ASIA 16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020 9

Una taluka of the Gir Somnath

district in Gujarat is notorious for

the violence against the Dalits. Most

of them actually are landless and

work as farm labours. It is this economic

dependence that keep them

tied to the oppression. This model of

dependence on the Savarna kept

flourishing and any attempt to

empower Dalits in the rural Gujarat

is met with stiff resistance.

On July 11th, 2016, a mob of

over 45 persons mostly belonging to

the oppressive Brahmins, Patel,

Darbar, Aheer castes attacked a

family of Dalit community in village

Mota Samadhiyala. The family

was actually skinning the Caracas of

a dead cow which has been the traditional

occupation of Sarvaiyas of

the village, about 350 kilometers

from Ahmedabad city. The terrorists,

who claimed that they were

doing all this to ‘protect’ cows and

claimed to be ‘cow protectors’ or

‘Gausevaks’, a very similar religious

police in the other theocratic

countries. The Thugs in the name of

Hindutva blamed that these people

had killed cows, which was prohibited

legally and then they decided to

‘teach’ them a lesson. Vasram,

Ramesh, Ashok, Bechanbhai and

three others were brutally flogged in

full public view and when they fell

unconscious, they were tied to an

SUV and dragged to the street of

Una, with crowd, making videos

and just standing as onlookers,

many appreciating and participated

in the flogging. Vashram, his brother,

cousins and his parents, all were

beaten up mercilessly. They fell

unconscious but the people were

enjoying their flogging and making

videos and no one attempted to stop

that. Most of the perpetrators were

Brahmins, Patels, /Aheers, Kolis but

most of them have got bailed. 6

accused in the jail now are

Brahmins.

As the video became viral, Una

incident reached all over the world

and exposed the hidden apartheid

that exists in India. It also revealed

the dirty realities of the village in

Gujarat and how the Hindutva terror

agents were targeting the Dalits in

the villages of Gujarat in the name of

cow protection. Political leaders

went there and express solidarity.

Right from Rahul Gandhi to BSP

leader Mayawati, all expressed solidarity

with them. Even Anandi Ben

Patel, the then chief minister of

Gujarat visited them and promised

fullest support. A new Dalit leadership

also emerged from the Una flogging

incident. As the Dalit groups

were uniting, a young dynamic

speaker Jignesh Mewani became

voice of the community and attracted

attention of all those who felt that the

time of the youthful Dalit face who

can influence Indian politics has

finally emerged. The imagination of

the group was that along with

Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and

Chandrasekhar Azad, Jignesh

Mewani will be the new force against

the Hindutva. I would not like to

speculate on anything except for the

fact that these emerging leaders need

more focus on the ground and less on

‘event management’ things.

Una’s Dalit fighters were left to

fight their battle alone. No politician

including Jignesh Mewani visited

them ever, said Vashram, who is

SOCIAL BOYCOTT, a powerful

oppressive tool to perpetuate caste

hierarchies in GUJARAT Part II

fighting for justice day in and out.

We are frustrated with politicians as

they don’t anything. Vashram wrote

a letter to the President of India to

deport the family out of India as

they don’t know what is citizenship

as they still face the huge boycott.

The villagers don’t talk to them.

After much fight a special court

was formed for the trial but on July

23rd, 2019, the Public Prosecutor

Deependra Yadav wanted to withdrew

citing lack of security to all

including witnesses. 43 accused

were charge sheeted in which 35

have already got bail from the

Gujarat High Court emboldening

them that they can do anything and

law can’t really trace them. Six

accused are in police custody at the

moment. Prime accused was already

got bail from the court while one

police men accused of dereliction of

duty died. Most of the accused

belong to Darbar community who

are the most violent against Dalits in

the Saurashtra region, apart from

Kolis and other landed communities.

The police filed cases against

accused under sections 307 (

attempt to murder), 397, Robbery,

365 Kidnapping, 342 wrongful confinement,

147 Rioting, 324 Causing

hurt, 120B, criminal conspiracy.

There are other sections related to

Information Technology Act as the

accused made video and circulated

it widely. The aim of the accused

was open challenge to the Dalits

that if they have to live in the village,

they will have to live as per the

fancies of these Gau-thugs who

don’t care for the constitution of

India. The family of the victimized

and tortured has not got any justice.

The government promised five

acres of land to them but nothing

happened. There was many other

promises particularly related to their

safety yet nothing happened. Most

of the goons are already on bails

while false cases have been filed

against Dalits who participated in

the protests demanding justice for

the victims. The family of the victims

is actually facing all kind of

harassment even to fight the case as

their major demands have not been

accepted. Except for the compensation,

they have not got anything and

in the absence of any viable

employment, the family is suffering

and is now frustrated with all kind

of efforts to scuttle the justice.

According to a report in the Indian

Express on November 28th, 2018,

under headline : Una Dalit seek

mercy killing : write to President

say Government did not fulfill

promises.

“ Our case is being heard by a

court in Veraval. Despite our plea to

the state home department, neither

we nor the witnesses have been

given armed police protection. Nor

are police arranging any vehicles for

ferrying witnesses to the court. On

the other hand, the accused are getting

bail. They are violating their

bail conditions and indulging in

other offences. Despite all this, the

state government has done nothing

to get bail of such people cancelled.

So, the state government has failed

to meet our demands. Our lives

have become miserable now. We do

not want to live longer and hence

are seeking permission for mercy

killing,” Vashram, who has studied

till Class X, wrote.

Nothing happened and the suffering

the family continued. They lost

what they were doing earlier i.e.

skinning of the dead cows which

used to fetch them good money but

now that too is gone. Vashram tells

me that they are not capable of

doing any other work as because of

heavy flogging, all of them have

health issues. The government did

not even give them enough treatment.

After the incident, the government

had promised that all of

them will get 5 acres of land and

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

housing and job but nothing is

there. Out of 25 families of the

Dalit community in that village only

15 have been given land which does

not include this family of Vashram

who converted to Buddhism along

with other members of the community

but he says that still they are

considered as untouchable In the

village. The change of religion has

not change the attitude of the people

in his village so far.

He was not aware of Dr Baba

Saheb Ambedkar but after the brutal

assault on them, he started reading

about Dr Ambedkar and his work.

Now, Vashram feel that Dr Baba

Saheb Ambedkar has become part

of his life as he only has given them

strength and confident to fight

despite all kind of betrayal.

The biggest irony is that the government

and the authorities working

under it are supposed to protect constitution

and work according to it

but what is happening in Gujarat is

that the officers are hand in glove

with the caste forces and that is why

most of those who attack the Dalits

and socially boycott them remain

untouched. Even if they happened

to be arrested for some time, there

are enough members of their fraternity

in the legal profession who are

ready to fight their cases and get

them bail. Can you imagine, 35 out

of 41 accused are already on bail.

The main accused too is out on bail.

What can you expect from the lower

court when the high court is acting

so fast? The government did not

challenge the high court order in the

Supreme Court ? That has proved

dangerous as the victim’s family are

facing threat and social boycott continues.

They don’t have anything to

work and no money to survive now.

This absolute isolation and boycott

which Gujaratis have got expert

in have created a potentially dangerous

situation. Vashram who is married

and unemployed but determined

to fight his case, has written

again to the President of India ( I

don’t know why so much of hope

when no response came from their

earlier letter written in 2018 about

mercy killing) asking him to deport

these victims to other country as

they don’t feel they are being treated

as citizens in this country.‘ We

are not considered as citizen in

India. Dalits are discriminated

against in the Hindu Community. So

we request President Ramnath

kovind to send us to a different

country where we wont face discrimination’.

Vashram Sarvaiya,

Victim. He is further quoted in the

Quint that, ‘ There has been no

action taken against those who beat

us up in 2016. The perpetrators are

out on bail. We were promised

agcultural land, plots

but none of them have

been kept.” He also

said, “Anandiben Patel,

who was the then CM

of Gujarat and is now

the Uttar Pradesh governor

had visited us in

2016 and had promised jobs. She

had said she will visit us again in a

month. But neither did she come nor

did she give us any jobs.”

Gujarat’s model of Dalit oppression

is now being followed elsewhere

too. This is the saddest aspect

that the government has not been

very forthcoming to support the

Dalits. The biggest violence is the

social violence where the government

institutions are only failing and

adding miseries to the victims. Una

case also highlight the issues as how

we jump up and look towards

‘heros’ who emerge from some campaign

and then forget their own people.

It is also a reality heroes come

and go but the people have to fight

their own battle. Politics, they say, is

good for all and empower us but it is

the grim reality that people are just

victimized by the ambitious politicians

and once the issue is used the

people are left to fetch themselves.

We all take the name of Dr Baba

Saheb Ambedkar but fact is this

could not have happened if those

who benefitted politically from Una

incident had taken pain to be with

people and fought for their rights.

More than three years have

passed and nothing has happened on

the justice front. The pain and

anguish is too big to write here.

When I met Vashram, I realized how

barbaric the system is which perpetuate

the oppression and does not

care as if some people are born to

get the pain and oppression. It is

time, that Supreme Court and our

national parliament if it really care,

come out against serious measures

on such issues of social boycott.

Una case is a blot but what is bigger

blot to our system is that the victims

are left to fetch themselves, they are

feeling deeply disappointed and

betrayed while those accused and

the perpetrators of this crime are

now roaming free and their release

has not been challenged. It shows

clearly how the government function

in double speak as on the one

side it claim to work for the uplift of

the Dalits and on the other side, it

refuses to act against the dominant

casteist communities who violate

law of the land. In the 70th year of

our Republic, this is the biggest

betrayal to the ideals of the founding

fathers of our republic who

worked so hard to give us modern

nation but the Manuwadis are determined

to convert it back to their

‘dream project’ of hierarchical society

based on principles of caste system.

It is a wakeup call. We must do

whatever possible to expose the sinister

caste forces working in Gujarat

denying Dalits their dignity and

self-respect. We hope our friends in

Gujarat will take up this issue to the

Supreme Court and fight against

this bail order to terror accused of

Una. During my recent visit to

Ahmedabad, I had an opportunity to

speak to young Vashram, who was

tortured brutally along with his

brothers and cousins on July 11th,

2016 in Una. Vashram is not well.

He can’t do hard work as because of

the flogging, he and his family now

have health issues. In 2019 he sat

on 56 days Dharana but the

Government is not ready to give

them land, not ready to listen. The

dominant community here is Patel

and Koli. People are trying to use

OBCs against Dalits and this is the

conspiracy says, Vashram. We want

caste discrimination end. We want

rule of the constitution. We want

discrimination end here.

Government must give them justice.

People are roaming here and there

but they have not got justice. I will

follow Baba Saheb lifelong.

Initially, I did not know how to

speak to a police man but now I

have learnt. How can you speak to

an officer, or a police? Now

Ambedkarite movement has given

me understanding. We have

embraced Buddhism in 2017 but the

Manuwadi government has not

given our document. We have got

certificate given by Bharatiya

Baudh Mahasabha but the government

is not ready to accept. People

are not ready to accept us as they

don’t want to get away with caste

system. We embrace this in 2017

along with 300 Dalit families and

that time they were threatened and

attacked but the court is a slow

process and it look so difficult and

will take minimum two years.

Listen to my conversation with

Vashram, who still is hopeful

despite all the despair. We hope that

he and his family will get justice.


10 16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Bengaluru women's

anti-CAA/NRC protest

enters second week

Bengaluru : A peaceful protest

demonstration in a park here by about

100 women against the CAA/NRC

entered its second week on Sunday,

police said. "The protest by about 100

women at Bilal Bagh against the

CAA/NRC has been going on peacefully

since a week. About 50 more joined

them on the weekend as they were free

from other work," Bengaluru Deputy

Commissioner of Police, East,

Sharanappa told IANS here.

As Bilal Bagh is adjacent to a

mosque in a dense locality, additional

police personnel were deployed at the

venue to prevent any untoward incident.

"Just attended an inspirational peaceful

protest against CAA/NRC at Bilal

Bagh, off Tannery Road in Bengaluru. It

is now in its second week," tweeted

noted historian Ramachandra Guha

after visiting the spot on Saturday.

Though the number of protesters has

been far less in comparison to hundreds

of their counterparts at Shaheen Bagh in

Delhi, the women have been drawing

attention of the authorities and the

media, as they are present round-theclock,

with about 50 of them staging

demo in turns. "The number of women,

including many from the minority community,

has gone up on the weekend,

with more of the fraternity joining them

from other parts of the city as well,"

K.G. Halli police inspector Ajay Sarathi

said. The Citizenship Amendment Act

(CAA), passed by Parliament in mid-

December, grants Indian citizenship to

Hindu minorities allegedly persecuted

in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and

Pakistan. The National Register of

Citizens (NRC) is an exercise conducted

on the Supreme Court directive to

identify and weed out illegal immigrants

in Assam.

Though the Central government clarified

that NRC would not be extended to

other states and it is a one-off exercise

in Assam, sections of the people across

the country fear they could face a similar

exercise.

Key NASA science, cargo

head to space station

Washington : A

Northrop Grumman

rocket carrying the

Cygnus resupply spacecraft

has been successfully

launched from

NASA's Wallops Flight

Facility in Virginia in

the US. The spacecraft,

launched on Saturday, is

on its way to the

International Space

Station (ISS) with about

7,500 pounds of science investigations

and cargo after launching at 3:21 p.m.

EST, according to NASA.

The spacecraft is scheduled to

arrive at the space station at about 4:05

a.m. on Tuesday. According to the

space agency, astronaut Andrew

Morgan of NASA will use the space

station's robotic arm to capture

Cygnus, and NASA's Jessica Meir will

monitor telemetry during rendezvous,

capture, and installation on the Unity

module's Earth-facing port. The spacecraft

is scheduled to stay at the space

station until May. This is Northrop

Grumman's 13th cargo flight to the

International Space Station and an

Antares rocket was used for the launch

and will support dozens of new and

existing investigations.

Cong leader Acharya Pramod

says Kejriwal not anti-Modi

New Delhi : Congress

leader and spiritual Guru

Acharya Pramod

Krishnam alleged that

Kejriwal is not anti-

Modi. Taking on Twitter

Acharya Pramod wrote

"The way Kejriwal spoke

today, one thing is clear

that he might not be a Modi supporter

but he is not anti-Modi." Kejriwal in his

speech said that he wants to work in

coordination with the Union

Government. In his speech, Kejriwal

said, "All parties should forget the past

things and support this

government for the

progress of Delhi. We

want to work in coordination

with the

Central government. I

invited the Prime

Minister for my swearing-in

ceremony. I also

urge the Prime Minister to help us in the

development of Delhi." The Aam

Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener

took oath as Chief Minister at the

Ramlila Maidan for the third time in

presence of a huge gathering.

Kim Jong-un makes FIRST

public appearance in weeks

Pyongyang : North Korea's leader

Kim Jong-un made his first public

appearance in three weeks on Sunday to

take part in a ceremony marking what

would have been the 78th birthday of

his late father Kim Jong-il.

Kim paid tribute to his predecessor at

the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in the

capital Pyongyang. After his death, Kim

Jong-il was made "Eternal General

Secretary" of the secretive communist

nation. Kim Jong-un laid flowers before

the embalmed bodies of his father and

grandfather, Kim Il-sung, who founded

the Democratic People's Republic of

Korea in 1948, Efe news reported.

Kim paid the "highest tributes" to his

father. He was accompanied

by several senior

North Korean officials

but the news

agency did not reveal

the date of the event. It

did, however, publish

images of the ceremony,

which showed that

Kim's entourage was

smaller than in previous

years. On several

occasions, the birthdays

of North Korea's

former leaders have

been celebrated with

huge public events and

fireworks. It was Kim's

first public appearance

since January 25, an

absence that has given

rise to rumours that his

withdrawal was linked

to the outbreak of

COVID-19 in neighbouring

China. North

Korea has already

closed its borders to

tourism and requires

any citizen returning

from China to enter

into quarantine. As of

yet, the so-called hermit

kingdom has not

reported any cases of the new coronavirus,

which has killed over 1,600 people

in China. The outbreak is concentrated

around the city of Wuhan in

Hubei province. More than 70,000 people

have now been infected with the

virus, the vast majority of them in

China. Kim Jong-un, officially the

Marshal of the Republic, inherited his

role after his father's death in 2011.

Little is known of the leader, who is

thought to be around 36 or 37.

North Korea has been a communist

family dynasty since its founding and

its border with South Korea, known as

the Demilitarized Zone, is one of the

most heavily guarded in the world.

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www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Bangkok : Thousands of Buddhist

monks across Thailand on Saturday led

prayer vigils to honour the 29 people who

were killed in a mass shooting incident in

a mall last week, deemed as the nation's

deadliest. Public prayer ceremonies were

held on Saturday, exactly a week after

Sgt. Jakrapanth Thomma killed 29 people,

most at the Terminal 21 shopping

mall in Nakhon Ratchasima, before he

was shot dead by police the following

day, the BBC reported. Floral tributes

were laid outside the Terminal 21 shopping

centre, which reopened to the public

on Thursday.

According to authorities, Jakrapanth

began his attack on the afternoon of

February 8 when he shot his military

superior and then his mother-in-law, Efe

news reported.

He drove to the military base where he

was stationed in Nakhon Ratchasima,

some 259 km northeast of Bangkok,

where he stole several automatic

weapons. He then assailant proceeded to

open fire in the city's streets and later

fired indiscriminately on shoppers at the

mall. Jakrapanth was shot dead by the

police on Sunday morning, some 18 hours

after he launched his deadly rampage.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha

said a dispute over a property deal

appeared to be the motive for the attack,

the BBC reported. He described the

shooting, in which 57 people were also

injured, as "unprecedented" for Thailand.

ASIA

Buddhist monks lead prayer

vigils for Thai mall victims

Some words used in

Mehbooba dossier were

avoidable: DGP J&K

Srinagar, Few words used in the Jammu and

Kashmir government’s

dossier citing

grounds for booking

former Chief

Minister Mehbooba

Mufti under PSA

were avoidable,

Dilbagh Singh,

Director General of

Police, J&K told

IANS. The dossier

citing grounds for

slapping PSA (Public Safety Act) on former Chief

Minister Mehbooba Mufti last week read that Mufti is

referred for her dangerous and insidious machinations

and usurping profile and nature by the masses as

“daddy’s girl” and “Kota Rani”, based on the profile

of a historical medieval queen of Kashmir who rose to

power by virtue of undertaking intrigues ranging from

poisoning of her opponents. The dossier reads that

Mehbooba Mufti is recognised as “hard-headed” and

“scheming person”, whose actions have been ranging

from speeches glorifying militants to creating fear

among majority population based on cheap politics.

“The officials who made the dossier shouldn’t have

used such words,” Singh said. “The dossiers which

cite the grounds for slapping PSA must be properly

checked by the officials.”

KIDS MISS more school when

mothers face physical violence

New York : Children are prone to

miss school more when their mothers

experience high physical violence,

according to a new study.

Published in the Maternal and

Child Health Journal, the research

found that 23.3 per cent of women

who experienced intimate partner

violence (IPV) reported their child's

school attendance was disrupted due

to IPV.

"Our analysis allows us to identify

patterns of IPV experience, such

as those who experience more physical

violence and injuries, and determine

how these different patterns of

IPV affect disruptions in school

attendance," said study researcher

Anna M. Scolese from George

Mason University in the US.

The study used baseline data from

a sub-sample of 659 women in

Mexico City who recently experienced

IPV and reported having a

child under age 18. Researchers

identified four distinct classes of

IPV experiences: Low physical and

sexual violence; low physical and

high sexual violence, high physical

and low sexual violence and injuries;

and high physical and sexual violence

and injuries. The study found

that women in both the High

Physical and Sexual Violence and

Injuries class and the High Physical

and Low Sexual Violence and

Injuries class were at greater risk of

IPV disrupting children's school

attendance than the women in the

16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020

Low Physical and Sexual Violence

class."Our results show that children

of women who experience high

physical violence and injuries - with

or without sexual violence- are at

greater risk of school disruption. In

short, if a mother experiences high

physical violence and injuries from

intimate partner violence, this is

more likely to affect a child's school

attendance," Scolese said.

11

5 Bajrang Dal men

held for Valentine

Day ruckus in

HYDERABAD

Hyderabad : The police

on Saturday arrested five

Bajrang Dal activists for

attacking the information

technology hub of Madhapur

on Friday while protesting

against Valentine Day celebrations.

They have been booked

under various section of the

Indian Penal Code and the

Prevention of Damage to

Public Property Act for rioting,

trespass, destroying

property and criminal intimidation,

by Madhapur and

Gachibowli police stations.

According to A.

Venkateswar Rao, Deputy

Commissioner of Police, a

group of 10-15 people damaged

properties and caused

trouble in the IT hub.

The Bajrang Dal activists

moved in a group on twowheelers

from KPHB

towards Hitec city and

attacked an ice cream shop.

Carrying flags, they were

raising slogans against the

Valentine Day. They also targeted

ABN Sharat Mall,

Bikanaerwala and Inorbit

Mall.

When the police reached

Inorbit Mall, they escaped.

The accused had been identified

with the help of CCTV

footage.

The arrested youth have

been identified as N. Ajay

Singh, Vadthya Arjun, Korra

Santosh, G. Pavan Kumar and

Polari Tirupathi. "Some more

accused have been identified

as Subash, Kiran, Datta Sai,

Sai Reddy, Venkat and others.

Efforts are on to arrest them,"

he said.

Meanwhile, Minister for

Information Technology and

Industry K. T. Rama Rao

praised the police for acting

swiftly to arrest the accused.

"Well done Vandalism has no

place in a civil society &

more so in a beautiful city

like Hyderabad," tweeted

Rama Rao.

On kanshi TV

channel 772.

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6 :00 pm

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6 :00 pm

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by

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12 16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020 BUSINESS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

SpiceJet to finalise compensation

deal with Boeing by March-end

New Delhi : Budget carrier SpiceJet expects

to finalise a compensation deal with Boeing for

grounding of its 737 Max aircraft by the end of

the current quarter. The proposed deal might also

include the erection of a simulator-based pilot's

training centre in India. Accordingly, the airline,

until now has been representing only a portion of

the compensation it expects to receive from

Boeing in its quarterly results, will be able to get

the full amount after March 31, 2020. Currently,

the airline has 13 of 737 Max grounded, impacting

its revenues and international expansion

plan. "We have received an interim compensation

offer from Boeing... We are currently studying

the offer and will negotiate it further with

Boeing," SpiceJet's Chief Financial Officer

Kiran Koteshwar told IANS. "We will be able to

finalise the compensation agreement with

Boeing by March 31." On last Friday, SpiceJet

reported a profit of Rs 73.2 crore for the quarter

ending December 31, 2019 as against Rs 55.1

crore in the same quarter last year.

The airline said that its stand-alone profit

from Air Transport Services (airline) was Rs 115

crore. "Further, this profit is after a non-cash

forex charge on account of IND-AS116 of INR

75.9 crore without which the profit would have

been Rs 190.9 crore," it said in the result statement.

According to the airline's auditor: "The

company has initiated the process of claims on

the aircraft manufacturer towards costs and losses,

which are currently under discussion."

"... Certain costs aggregating Rs 5,372.70

(including Rs 2,464.18 million recorded in the

quarter ended December 31, 2019), have been

recognised as other income during the ninemonth

period which ended December 31, 2019...

management is confident of collection of the

above income recognised by the company," the

auditor said in the Q3 results report.

Apart from a monetary aspect, the compensation

package might also include a simulatorbased

pilot's training centre in India and other

deliverables in terms of cheaper service packages

for the airline's fleet. The airline has a firm

order of more than 150 Max. Its international

expansion plan is heavily dependent on the early

return of the aircraft. Moreover, the airline

expects the 737 Max to be re-certified for service

by Q2 FY21. The aircraft has been grounded

around the world after two crashes, since last

year. Presently, SpiceJet's fleet stands at 119. It

received two more aircraft recently on wet lease.

Once re-certified, the airline will be able to get

30 or more 737 Maxs immediately.

Furthermore, the 737 Max will allow the airline

to retire some old fuel guzzlers, leading to

higher saving margins. SpiceJet had placed an

order for 225 Maxs in 2017, while it has a firm

order of more than 150 of these aircraft.

Additionally, Koteshwar expects the airline will

be able to clock healthy growth from Q2 FY21

with a rise in capacity as the economy has

entered into a recovery phase after facing the

worst impact of a slowdown. At present,

SpiceJet operates 600 average daily flights to 63

stations, including 54 domestic and nine international

destinations.

RBI to switch to April-March

accounting year from next fiscal

New Delhi : Over eighty years after it

was set up, the Reserve Bank of India on

Saturday decided to follow April-March

fiscal year, and not the current July-June,

as its accounting year to align with that of

the Central government.

The RBI Central Board on Saturday recommended

aligning the financial year of

RBI, currently July-June, with the government's

fiscal year (April-March) from the

year 2020-21 and approved forwarding a

proposal to the government for its consideration.

Once effected, the interim dividends and

dividends will be aligned with government's

fiscal year of April-March. RBI

gives interim dividends in February and

final pay-outs in August currently.

The internal decision was taken last year

in RBI. The Jalan panel while coming out

with Economic Framework Capital had

recommended change of accounting year.

RBI's current fiscal ends on June 30, 2020.

Its FY 2020-21 will start on July 1, 2020

and be for nine months up to March 31,

2021. Thereafter, all FY will start on April

1 every year, aligned with the government,

RBI said.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

addressed the Directors of the Central

Board and outlined the thinking behind the

Union Budget 2020-21 and the focus areas

of the government. The Finance Minister

indicated increased complementarity in

policy between the RBI and the government

to address growth concerns.

Budget would not cause

inflation: RBI Governor

New Delhi : RBI Governor

Shaktikanta Das on Saturday said he does

not see any inflationary impact of the

Budget FY21.

“Direct inflationary impact of any

budget is the fiscal deficit number, if borrowing

goes up. The government has

adhered to the principle of fiscal prudence,”

Das said. “The deficit numbers for

the current year and next

year are very much within

the parameters of the Fiscal

Responsibility and Budget

Management (FRBM) committee

recommendation. A

good part of the government

borrowings is budgeted to

come from small savings. So

I don’t see much of inflation

impact,” Das said after the

customary Budget briefing

meeting by Finance Minister

Nirmala Sitharaman. The Finance

Ministry has used the “escape clause”

under the FRBM Act by 0.5 percentage

point because of poor revenue from taxes.

The RBI is internally reviewing the monetary

policy framework, which was adopted

in 2015 and set an inflation target of 4

per cent, within a tolerance band of +/-2

per cent, for the country’s central bank.

The agreement between the government

and the RBI in February 2015 had set the

inflation target for a period of five years

till March 2021. But questions have been

raised about efficacy in targeting headline

inflation instead of core inflation, which is

more reflective of demand conditions in

the economy. The 4 per cent target chosen

has been debated. Governor Das, while

speaking after a meeting of the central

board in New Delhi, said these aspects are

being reviewed. “Internally we are

reviewing, analysing how the monetary

policy framework has worked over the last

three-and-a-half years,” Das said,

responding to a question whether the RBI

should start targeting core

inflation when the inflation target

comes up for review in

March 2021.

The Governor said declining

crude oil prices will have a

positive impact on inflation.

“The main spike is coming

from food inflation, that is

vegetables and protein items.

Core inflation has slightly

edged up because of revision

of telecom tariffs,” he added.

On transmission of rate cuts, he said it is

steadily improving and should improve

more in the coming months.

“Transmission to fresh rupee loans has

increased from 49 bps in December MPC

meet to 69 bps in February MPC meet. It’s

a consequence of rate cuts, surplus liquidity

which we have ensured in the system

and external benchmarking which was

brought into operation from October

onwards,” he added. The Governor said

credit offtake is picking up. “Because of

the measures announced by the government

and RBI prior to the Budget and

after the Budget, we hope credit flow to

improve in the coming days,” Das said.

SL approves extension of

free-visa facility till April 30

Colombo, The Sri Lankan Cabinet has approved the extension

of the free-visa scheme to nationals of 48 countries, including

India, until April 30 as the tourism sector, which was picking up

after the 2019 Easter terror attacks, took another hit due to the

coronavirus outbreak, it was reported on Friday.

“With the introduction of the free-visa scheme, we saw an

increase of 10 to 12 per cent in tourist arrivals after the (April 21,

2019) Easter attacks but with the coronavirus onset, the sector is

getting adversely affected once more and hence it is important to

extend the facility for three more months,” co-Cabinet Spokesman

Minister Ramesh Pathirana said on Thursday.

The visa-free programme was introduced by the former government

on August 1, 2019 for a period of six months, the Daily

Financial Times said in the report.

It will now be effective for three more months till April 30, the

Minister said. Besides India, free-visa facility is granted to nationals

of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia,

Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary,

Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway,

Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia,

Spain, Sweden, Thailand, the US, the UK, Japan, Australia, South

Korea, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Switzerland,

Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Israel, Ukraine, Philippines, Russia

and Iceland. According to the Monthly Tourist Arrivals Reports

compiled by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, there

were 228,434 tourist arrivals in January, a 6 per cent drop compared

to the 244,239 visitors who arrived in the same period last

year. It is still an increase from tourist arrivals between April and

November 2019 which ranged from as low as 37,802 last May, the

month after the Easter attacks, to 176,984 by November.

However, the number of tourist arrivals in December 2019 rose

to 241,663 with the annual arrival figures rounding up at

1,913,702.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

HEALTH

Breast milk boosts brain development in babies

New York : With maternal factors,

such as breast milk, having

been shown to affect a baby's development,

now researchers have found

that the carbohydrate, the oligosaccharide

2'FL, found in breast milk

enhances cognitive development.

In this cohort study of 50 mothers

and their babies, the researchers

analysed breast milk composition

and frequency of feeding at 1 and 6

months of age. Cognitive development

was measured at 24 months

using the Bayley-III scale, a standardised

test of infant and toddler

development.

"Through our high-throughput

analytical platform we can quantify

Sydney : All of the blazing

bushfires in New South Wales

(NSW) were now considered

contained, fire officials in the

Australian state said on

Thursday. “After what’s been a

truly devastating fire season for

both firefighters and resident,

who’ve suffered so much this

season, all fires are now contained

in New South Wales,” the

BBC quoted NSW Rural Fire

Service (RFS) Assistant

Commissioner Rob Rogers as

saying. It is the first time in the

fire season that containment,

meaning firefighters managing

to build a perimeter around the

fire, so it cannot spread further,

has been achieved.

While there was still some

fire activity in the south of the

state, said the RFS, emergency

workers could now “really focus

oligosaccharides like 2'FL and many

others in hundreds of breast milk

samples in a short period of time,"

said study co-author Lars Bode from

University of California in the US.

"This technology allows us to

associate differences in milk composition

with specific infant outcomes

like cognitive development, validating

existing data from preclinical

models or generating entirely new

hypotheses," Bode added.

The findings, published in the

journal PLOS ONE, showed that the

amount of 2'FL in breast milk in the

first month of feeding was related to

significantly higher cognitive development

scores in babies by 2 years

Blazes ‘all contained’ in

AUSTRALIA state

on helping people reboot”.

Across the country, fires have

killed at least 33 people and

destroyed thousands of homes

since it first erupted in

September 2019. More than 11

million hectares of land, an area

comparable to the size of

England, has been affected

across all states and territories.

NSW has been the worst-affected

state. Two blazes alone – the

Currowan and Gospers

Mountain fires – each burned

about 500,000 hectares. But both

were declared out after the

record rainfall earlier this week,

along with dozens of smaller

fires, the BBC reported. Flood

warnings have been issued for

NSW and for southern

Queensland as Storm Uesi

approaches, bringing winds of

up to 130km/h.

of age. The amount of 2'FL in breast

milk at 6 months of feeding was not

related to cognitive outcomes, indicating

that early exposure may be

more beneficial.

Using a statistical technique

called mediation analysis, the

researchers were able to independently

evaluate the effects of breastfeeding

in general, and the effects of

the oligosaccharide 2'FL.

"This enhanced cognitive development

in the first 2 years of life

raises the question of possible long

term impact on a child - in school

and beyond," said study first author

Paige Berger. These observations

allowed the team to conclude that

New York : Family conflict and

parental monitoring are significant predictors

of suicidal thoughts in children

as young as 9-and 10-year olds, says a

study. The majority of children surveyed

in the study had caregivers who

either did not know, or did not report,

the suicidal thoughts of the children in

their charge. Historically, the belief has

been that people don't need to ask kids

about suicidal thoughts before adolescence,

said Deanna Barch, Professor at

Washington University School of

Medicine in St. Louis, US. "Our data

suggests that's absolutely not true. Kids

are having these thoughts. They're not at

the same rates as adults, but they are

nontrivial," she added. The study, published

in the journal JAMA Network

Open, looked at 11,814 children

between ages 9 and 10 from the

Adolescent Brain Cognitive

Development (ABCD) study, a longitudinal

study in the US on adolescent

brain health in which caretakers also

participate. Dividing suicidal thoughts

and actions into several categories,

researchers found that 2.4 to 6.2 per

cent of the children reported having

thoughts about suicide, from wishing

they were dead to devising—but not

carrying out —a plan. When it came to

actions, they saw 0.9 per cent of these 9-

and-10-year-olds said they had tried to

commit suicide; 9.1 per cent reported

non-suicidal self-injury. In more than 75

16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020

Family conflict a predictor of suicidal thoughts in kids

13

10,607 dengue cases in SL last month

Colombo : Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry said Tuesday

that 10,607 dengue cases were reported from across the

country last month, a 90 per cent increase compared to the

same period last year. The Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit

said the highest number of cases were reported from

Colombo at 1,693, followed by Trincomalee (1,278),

Jaffna (1,061), Batticaloa (1,044), Kandy (662) and

Gampaha (74), reports Xinhua news agency. Monaragala,

in the Uva Province of the country, was the only district

that did not report any dengue cases, while all other districts

in the country recorded over 15 patients in January.

Health officials called on the public to be vigilant on

mosquito breeding sites and take steps to clean those sites

and keep the environment clean on a regular basis.

In 2019, 90 people died and over 99,000 others were

affected by the mosquito-borne virus in Sri Lanka, with the

National Dengue Control Unit launching several programmes

to eradicate mosquito’s breeding grounds.

the increased neurodevelopment

provided by breastfeeding was due

primarily to mothers who were

producing more 2'FL for the

baby to consume.

Green tea plus exercise may reduce fatty liver disease

New York : People suffering from nonalcoholic

fatty liver disease may benefit from

regular exercise and replacing high-calorie

beverages with decaffeinated, diet green tea,

suggests new research. The researchers

found that a combination of green tea extract

and exercise reduced the severity of obesityrelated

fatty liver disease by 75 per cent in

mice fed a high-fat diet Although untested in

human trials, the results suggest a potential

health strategy. “Combining the two might

have health benefits for people, but we don’t

have the clinical data yet,” said Joshua

Lambert, Associate Professor of Food

Science at The Pennsylvania State

University in the US.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a significant

global health problem that is expected to

worsen, Lambert said. Because of the high

prevalence of risk factors such as obesity and

Type-2 diabetes, fatty liver disease is forecast

to afflict more than 100 million people by

2030. And there are currently no validated

therapies for the disease. In the study, mice fed

a high-fat diet for 16 weeks that consumed

green tea extract and exercised regularly by

running on a wheel were found to have just a

quarter of the lipid deposits in their livers

compared to those seen in the livers of a control

group of mice. Mice that were treated with

green tea extract alone or exercise alone had

roughly half as much fat in their livers as the

control group. In addition to analyzing the

liver tissues of mice in the study, which was

published recently in the Journal of Nutritional

Biochemistry, the researchers also measured

the protein and fat content in their faeces.

“By examining the livers of these mice

after the study concluded and by screening

their faeces during the research, we saw that

the mice that consumed green tea extract and

exercised actually were processing nutrients

differently — their bodies were handling

food differently,” Lambert said.

“We think the polyphenols in green tea

interact with digestive enzymes secreted in

the small intestine and partially inhibit the

breakdown of carbohydrates, fat and protein

in food,” he added.

per cent of cases where children selfreported

suicidal thoughts or behaviours,

the caregivers did not know about

the child's experience, said the study.

The researchers found that family conflict

was a predictor of suicidal thoughts

and non-suicidal self-injury. Monitoring

by a caretaker was also predictive of

those measures, as well as suicide

attempts. Parents, caregivers and people

working with children should be aware

of the possibility that a 9-year-old is

thinking about suicide, Barch said.

"If you have kids who are distressed

in some way, you should be asking

about this," she said, adding that caregivers

can help identify kids who might

be in trouble.


14 16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020 HEALTH

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

New York : Contrary to the common

belief that walking 10,000 steps

a day prevents weight gain, the

researchers have found that it doesn't

actually prevents weight gain rather

it may decrease your sedentary time.

For the findings, published in the

Journal of Obesity, the research team

studied 120 freshmen in the US over

their first six months of college as

they participated in a step-counting

experiment.

"Exercise alone is not always the

most effective way to lose weight, if

you track steps, it might have a benefit

in increasing physical activity,

but our study showed it won't translate

into maintaining weight or preventing

weight gain," said study lead

author Bruce Bailey from Brigham

Young University in the US.

Participants walked either 10,000,

Shingles vaccine may

also avert stroke risk

New York : Shingles, a viral infection caused by the chickenpox virus,

is linked to an increased risk of stroke, but researchers have recently found

that Zoster Vaccine Live, one type of shingles vaccination, may prevent

some older adults from having a stroke.

Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus and typically occurs

after age 50. The risk of developing

shingles, a painful condition that

causes skin blisters and can have

serious complications, increases

with age and other health conditions.

"One in three people who

have had chickenpox develop shingles

in their lifetime.

The Zoster Vaccine Live helps

to prevent shingles and reduces the

risk for shingles by about 51 per

cent," said study lead author

Quanhe Yang from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

(CDC) in the US. To help determine if the shingles vaccine reduces the risk

of stroke, the researchers reviewed the Medicare health records of more than

one million Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries age 66 or older who had

no history of stroke and who were administered the Zoster Vaccine Live

between 2008 and 2014. They followed them for an average of almost four

years. That group was matched with the same number of Medicare fee-forservice

beneficiaries who did not receive the shingles vaccine with the same

four-year follow-up. To examine the effect of the vaccine on risk of stroke,

researchers controlled for age, gender, race, medications and co-existing

health conditions. Researchers found the receiving the shingles vaccine lowered

the risk of stroke by about 16 per cent, lowered the risk of ischemic

(clot-caused) stroke by about 18 per cent and lowered the risk of hemorrhagic

(bleeding) stroke by about 12 per cent. The vaccine's protection was

strongest among people ages 66 to 79 years; and among those under the age

of 80 years, the shingles vaccine reduced the risk of stroke by nearly 20 per

cent and in those older than 80, reduced the risk by about 10 per cent.

"The reason for increased risk of stroke after a shingles infection may be

due to inflammation caused by the virus," Yang said. The study is scheduled

to be presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke

Conference slated from February 19 to 21 in the US.

10K steps a day may not

PREVENT weight gain

12,500 or 15,000 steps a day, six

days a week for 24 weeks, while

researchers tracked their caloric

intake and weight.

The goal of the study was to evaluate

if progressively exceeding the

recommended step count of 10,000

steps per day would minimize

weight and fat gain in college freshmen

students.

In the end, it didn't matter if the

students walked more than even

15,000 steps; they still gained

weight. Students in the study gained

on average about 1.5 kg (roughly 3.5

lbs.) over the study period; a one to

four kg average weight gain is commonly

observed during the first academic

year of college, according to

previous studies. Although weight

was not affected by the increased

steps, there was a positive impact on

physical activity patterns, which

"may have other emotional and

health benefits," the researchers

said. One positive outcome of the

study was that sedentary time was

drastically reduced in both the

12,500- and 15,000-step groups.

According to the researchers, in

the 15,000-step group, sedentary

time decreased by as much as 77

minutes a day.

"The biggest benefit of step recommendations

is getting people out

of a sedentary lifestyle. Even though

it won't prevent weight gain on its

own, more steps is always better for

you," Bailey added.

Chronic kidney disease killing over 1mn people worldwide

New York : Researchers have revealed

that chronic kidney disease caused 1.23

million deaths worldwide in 2017 and

the rates of people needing dialysis have

increased more than 40 per cent since

1990.

According to the findings, published

in the journal The Lancet, there were

697.5 million cases of chronic kidney

disease in 2017 and nearly one-third of

those patients lived in two countries -

China, with about 132 million cases, and

India, with about 115 million.

"Chronic kidney disease is a global

killer hidden in plain sight. The evidence

is clear: Many nations' health systems

cannot keep pace with the dialysis

demand. Cases far exceed and are well

beyond the ability of those systems to handle.

The consequences, literally, are deadly,"

said study researcher Theo Vos from

University of Washington in the US.

In addition to deaths resulting from

organ failure in chronic kidney disease,

impaired kidney function also puts individuals

at higher risk of developing cardiovascular

disease, the researchers said.

Globally, chronic kidney disease directly

resulted in an estimated 1.23 million

deaths in 2017, with an additional 1.36

million deaths attributable to cardiovascular

disease resulting from impaired kidney

function.

Chronic kidney disease was the 12th

leading cause of death globally in 2017,

up from 17th in 1990.

According to the study, 10 other

nations - the US, Indonesia, Russia, Japan,

Brazil, Pakistan, Mexico, Nigeria,

Bangladesh, and Vietnam - each had more

than 10 million cases in 2017. In total, 79

of the 195 countries included in the study

exceeded 1 million cases. Those cases and

deaths in 2017 led to an

estimated 7.3 million years lived with disability

and 28.5 million years of life lost,

the study said. There was a more than 15-

fold difference in the burden of chronic

kidney disease among countries:

American Samoa, El Salvador, Federated

States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands,

and Mauritius had the highest estimated

rates of years lost to ill health (disabilityadjusted

life years or DALYs) with more

than 1,500 per 100,000 population.

In contrast, Andorra, Finland, Iceland,

and Slovenia had the lowest burden with

fewer than 120 DALYs per 100,000 population.

The primary cause of chronic kidney

disease varies, with hypertension and diabetes

being the most common.

The link between kidney disease and

other major non-communicable diseases

highlights the importance of preventive

care and public health policy in limiting

the progression of chronic kidney disease.

HIV and exposure to toxins or heavy

metals play an additional role in developing

countries, while in some areas of the

world the cause remains unknown, the

researchers said.

Daily exposure to ozone pollution ups mortality risk

London : Researchers have found

that daily exposure to ground level

ozone in cities worldwide is associated

with an increased risk of death.

Ground level ozone is a highly reactive

gas commonly found in urban and

suburban environments, formed when

pollutants react in sunlight.

The findings, published in the journal

The BMJ, based on data from over

400 cities in 20 countries across the

world – show that more than 6,000

deaths each year would have been

avoided in the selected cities if countries

had implemented stricter air quality

standards. “These findings have

important implications for the design of

future public health actions; particularly,

for example, in relation to the implementation

of mitigation strategies to

reduce the impacts of climate change,”

said researchers from University of

Bern in Switzerland. Current air quality

thresholds (in micrograms per cubic

meter of ambient air) range from 100

µg/m3 (WHO), 120 µg/m3 (European

Union directive), 140 µg/m3 (US

National Ambient Air Quality

Standard), and 160 µg/m3 (Chinese

Ambient Air Quality Standard).

Recent reviews suggest that 80 per

cent of the world’s population in urban

areas are exposed to air pollution levels

above the WHO threshold.

Most previous studies have found

positive associations between ground

level ozone and mortality, but differences

in study design and quality make

it difficult to draw consistent conclusions

across different regions. To try

and address this, an international

research team has analysed deaths and

environmental measures (weather and

air pollutants) in 406 cities of 20 countries,

with overlapping periods between

1985 and 2015. Using data from the

Multi-City Multi-Country Collaborative

Research Network, they derived daily

average ozone levels (above a maximum

background level of 70 µg/m3),

particulate matter, temperature, and relative

humidity at each location to estimate

the daily number of extra deaths

attributable to ozone. A total of

45,165,171 deaths were analysed in the

406 cities. On average, a 10 µg/m3

increase in ozone during the current and

previous day was associated with a 0.18

per cent increased risk of death, suggesting

evidence of a potential direct

association. This equates to 6,262 extra

deaths each year (or 0.2 per cent of total

mortality) in the 406 cities that could

potentially have been avoided if countries

had implemented stricter air quality

standards in line with the WHO

guideline. What’s more, smaller but still

substantial mortality impacts were

found even for ozone concentrations

below WHO guideline levels, supporting

the WHO initiative of encouraging

countries to revisit the current air quality

guidelines and enforcing stronger

emission restrictions to meet these recommendations,

say the researchers.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Syndey : Women aged 50-70 are

more likely to consume alcohol than

younger women, at levels that exceed

low risk drinking guidelines, according

to a new study. The researchers

found that despite the potential health

risks of exceeding national drinking

guidelines, many middle-aged and

young-old women who consume alcohol

at high risk levels tend to perceive

their drinking as normal and acceptable,

so long as they appear

respectable and in control.

For the findings, published in the

journal Sociology of Health & Illness,

researchers at New Edith Cowan

University (ECU) in Australia and

Aalborg University in Denmark,

investigated the social construction of

alcohol use among 49 women aged 50

to 69 in Australia and Denmark.

"The research highlighted that

respondents from both countries indicated

that alcohol use among women

their age was normal and acceptable,"

said study lead author Julie Dare from

ECU. According to Australian health

authorities, drinking more than two

standard drinks on any day increases

the risk considerably of premature

death over a woman's lifetime.

The researchers found that women

place more importance on appearing

to be in control, behaving respectably,

social pleasure and feeling liberated

than the quantity of alcohol consumed

or potential health risks. While some

women reported reducing their drinking

due to health concerns, others suggested

that positive health behaviours

such as exercise served to 'neutralise'

alcohol-related health risks. According

to the study, health advice and interventions

relating to middle-aged and

HEALTH

WOMEN tend

to drink more

alcohol as they age

young-old women's

drinking practices

need to acknowledge

that women

may socially construct

their drinking

practices to prioritise

matters other

than biomedical

impacts of alcohol.

While the study highlighted many

similarities between Australian and

Danish women, one interesting cultural

difference was the way Australian

women thought about alcohol in relation

to stress.

"If the Australian women had some

sort of distress in their lives they

16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020

15

believed it was acceptable to drink.

They were quite open about this saying

'I just had a bad day, I needed to

have a drink'," Dare said.

Keep windows, doors open to

cut coronavirus risk: Experts

Taller men may have

lower dementia risk

in OLD AGE : Study

London : Men who are taller in young adulthood may have a

lower risk of dementia in old age, according to a new research.

Previous studies have suggested that height may be a risk factor

for dementia, but much of this research was not able to take

into account genetic, environmental, or other early-life factors that

may be linked to both height and dementia.

"We wanted to see if body height in young men is associated

with diagnosis of dementia, while exploring whether intelligence

test scores, educational level, and underlying environmental and

genetic factors shared by brothers explain the relationship," said

lead author Terese Sara Hoj Jorgensen from University of

Copenhagen in Denmark. For the findings, published in the journal

eLife, researchers analysed data on 666,333 Danish men born

between 1939 and 1959, including 70,608 brothers and 7,388

twins, from Danish national registries. They found a total of

10,599 men who developed dementia later in life. Their adjusted

analysis of this group showed that there was about a 10 per cent

reduction in the risk of developing dementia for about every 6cm

of height in individuals above the average height. When the team

took into account the potential role of intelligence or education,

the unadjusted relationship between height and dementia risk was

only slightly reduced.

They found that the relationship between height and dementia

also existed when they looked at brothers with different heights,

suggesting that genetics and family characteristics alone do not

explain why shorter men had a greater dementia risk.

"A key strength of our study is that it adjusted for the potential

role of education and intelligence in young men's dementia risk,

both of which may build up cognitive reserve and make this group

less vulnerable to developing dementia," said study senior author

Merete Osler. 'Cognitive reserve' refers to the brain's ability to

improvise and solve problems that come up in everyday life.

Adjusting for education and intelligence reduces the likelihood

that the relationship between height and dementia is really

explained by cognitive reserve, the researchers said.

Singapore : To block the spread of

coronavirus, which has claimed over

1,000 lives in China, the health experts are

asking people to keep windows and doors

open. According to Tan Chorh Chuan,

Chief Health Scientist in Singapore, people

should switch off air-conditioner and

breath fresh air to reduce the chances of

infection. The likelihood of survival of

virus outdoors was lower, Chuan added.

While many unknowns remain about

coronavirus, earlier studies suggest that it

thrived in cool, dry climates, reports The

Strait Times. Pointing to several research

on survival of viruses after the outbreak of

the severe acute respiratory syndrome

(Sars) in 2003, he said, "Most studies indicated

they don't survive in hot (over 30

degree C), humid environments (humidity

levels of over 80 per cent)." The virus that

caused Sars and coronavirus belonged to

the same family, the experts said.

Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang of the

National University of Singapore said,

"Air-conditioning is something that can't

be helped in Singapore, especially during

summer. But enclosed spaces, which are

less humid and cooler, could help spread

respiratory diseases." In India, doctors

have suggested avoidance of close contact

with people with symptoms of illness, like

cough and runny nose.

"To prevent spread of coronavirus, one

must observe good personal hygiene,

wash hands frequently with soap, keep 3

feet distance from a person who is sneezing

or coughing," said Suranjeet

Chatterjee, Senior Consultant at

Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in Delhi.

People should also avoid contact with

animals, consumption of raw/undercooked

meat, travel to farms, animal markets or

slaughter spots. The coronavirus outbreak

has been declared a public health emergency

by the WHO. Chinese health

authorities on Tuesday reported the coronavirus

toll at 1,016 with 42,638 infected

cases. The National Health Commission of

China said 7,333 serious cases had been

reported as of Monday midnight. 3,996

people were discharged, it added.

Bird flu outbreak reported

in central VIETNAM

Hanoi : Vietnam's central

Thanh Hoa province has

reported a bird flu outbreak,

leading to authorities to cull

more than 23,000 mostly

ducks and chickens, it was

reported on Tuesday. As of

Tuesday, the A/H5N6 bird

flu outbreak has been detected

in 10 households in three

communes of Nong Cong

and Quang Xuong districts

in Thanh Hoa, Xinhua news

agency reported. In 2019,

bird flu outbreak was detected

in 41 districts of 24 provinces

and cities nationwide with a

total of more than 133,000

culled, according to the country's

Ministry of Agriculture and

Rural Development.


16 16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020 ENTERTAINMENT

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Sunny Leone urges fans to

boycott leather products

Actress Sunny Leone has recently launched a vegan campaign at Lakme Fashion

Week. In association with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Sunny

unveiled her new ad, which shows the actress’ skin being torn off — a reference to the

fact that more than a billion cows, buffaloes, and other animals are tormented, killed, and

skinned every year for the global toxic leather industry.

Urging people to ditch leather products, Sunny said: “With so many wonderful vegan

shoes, bags, and jackets to choose from, there’s no reason to choose to hurt the environment

and take a life by wearing an animal’s skin. After learning about the horrors of

leather production from my friends at PETA India, I vow to save animals and the planet

by kicking leather and urge my fans to join me.” On the work front, Sunny will be next

seen in a new comedy show, which is yet to be titled.

Janhvi is a moody dresser,

Vicky dresses to express

Mumbai : Actress Janhvi

Kapoor admits being a moody

dresser while Vicky Kaushal

dresses to express. The two

budding Bollywood stars

revealed their definition of

style at Lakme Fashion

Week Summer Resort

2020, where they

walked the ramp

together.

“It (Fashion) has to

be an extension of my

expression, where I feel

comfortable and which

will help me to be me.

That’s fashion to me. If I am

wearing something in which I

am not comfortable, in which I

am not able to express myself,

then that doesn’t suit me. If I am

wearing anything in which I am

comfortable, and I am able to

express myself, then that’s fashion

for me,” said Vicky.

What is tip to youngsters for

Valentine’s Day? “Wear what

your partner wants you to wear,”

he said. For Janhvi, fashion is

Mumbai : "Gully Boy"-famed actor

Siddhant Chaturvedi is known for being jovial

and witty during media interactions, but he says

his words have often been taken out of context

and he is therefore becoming conscious and filtering

his words. Last year during an actors'

roundtable where he shared space with Ananya

Pandey, Siddhant's comment on existing nepotism

in Bollywood had sparked off a controversy.

"Now I am conscious of whatever I say. I filter

things in my head because I realised that

whatever I say might be taken out of context

and blown out of proportion. I tend to respond

to everything with a dash of humour and with

wit because that is who I am in real life. But in

no way do I want to hurt or belittle anyone. I

was just speaking my heart out. However, every

time my words are misinterpreted, so I will

become conscious! Look, I am witty and it is

my second nature to come up with smart oneliners.

That's the real me!" Siddhanth told

about moods. “My fashion depends

on my mood, it depends on comfort

and of course it depends on the

occasion. But mostly, I think it’s

very moody like me. Today, my

mood is that of a jalpari (mermaid),

I think,” she declared.

Asked Janhvi what fashion tips

she would give to youngsters for

Valentine’s Day, Janhvi said: “I

will wear what I like to wear. I am

not bothered about my partner’s

choice. I am my own partner.”

What are her plans for Valentine’s

Day? “I don’t have any Valentine’s

Day plans,” she laughed, adding:

“Actually, it sounds sad but its

true.” Vicky on the other hand will

be busy at work. “I am going to be

in a different city for an award

show. That’s the plan. It will be a

working Valentine’s Day for me,”

he revealed. Vicky Kaushal and

Janhvi Kapoor will seen working

together in Karan Johar’s period

multistarrer “Takht” along with

Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt,

Kareena Kapoor Khan, Anil

Kapoor and Bhumi Pednekar.

IANS. The actor is these busy days shooting for

the film "Bunty Aur Babli 2", that also features

Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Khan, is directed by

Varun V. Sharma, and produced by Aditya

Chopra. It is a sequel of the 2005 superhit film

"Bunty Aur Babli". Sharing an insight,

Siddhant said: "We sit and chat here in Yash Raj

Studio, where I am shooting for ‘Bunty Aur

Babli 2'. As a kid I used to be a huge fan of Saif

Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji and now I am sharing

frames with them. It feels surreal! I am living

in the best phase of my life. I am playing

Bunty in the film, who is a con artist. I have

more than five looks in the film. I cannot reveal

much but I am so excited. We are making a

super entertaining film and I cannot wait to

share it with the world," he said.

So, how did he bag the role? " I did not audition

for the film, to be honest. Varun narrated

the story and asked if I am interested to play

Bunty. I was like, ‘of course, I will do the film!'

Donal Bisht all set to debut

as music video star

Mumbai, “Ek Deewaana Tha” actress Donal Bisht is all set for

her music video debut with the song

“Bepata” sung by Abhijit Vaghani. The

actress, who was last seen on the TV

show “Dil Toh Happy Hai Ji”, said: “I

am so so excited with ‘Bepata’ releasing

on February 20. This will be my debut in

a music video. It’s a romantic and soulful

number.”

Talking about “Bepata”, Donal

shared: “The song is about love and how

it is indispensable. ‘Bepata’ is about

purity and sanity of love, beyond age,

caste, colour or region. I play the role of

a girl who is from the hills and the guy is

from the plains. It’s a journey of how

they meet when he comes to the hills of

the country. Abhijit Vaghani is the singer as well as the actor opposite

me. As much as a great singer he is, he is also an outstanding

actor and a lovely human being.” She even took to Instagram to

share the first look of the video. “Happy Valentine’s Day

guys…Let’s celebrate love. First look of My first music video.

Extremely excited for this,” she captioned the photo in which she is

seen with Abhijit. The video is produced by Griebs Music.

Siddhant Chaturvedi: Now I am conscious of whatever I say

I'd like to add that the story of our film is very

interesting. While people loved ‘Bunty Aur

Babli' that released in 2005, they will love our

film even more!" Recalling his memory of

watching the 2005 film, the 26-year-old actor

said: " I would play the song ‘Kajra re' and

dance. I would dance on ‘Dhadak dhadak' and

‘Naach baliye' on birthday parties of my

friends. Bahut dance karta tha (I used to dance

a lot). Who would have thought that 15 years

later I would be playing the title role of the

sequel!" The actor will also be seen in the

upcoming directorial venture of Shakun Batra

where he will be sharing screen space with

Deepika Padukone and Ananya Panday.

"I have other projects lined up. So, yes I am

now jumping from one character to another and

living their lives. Ek time tha main vela tha, ab

toh bahut kaam kar raha hoon (there was atime

when I was jobless, now I have lots of work).

God is kind," he laughed.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Mumbai : Model-actress Poonam

Pandey says she has filed a complaint

in the Bombay High Court against

actress Shilpa Shettys husband,

businessman Raj Kundra, and his

associates. Pandey has alleged

that Kundra and his associates

have been illegally using content

featuring her even after a contract

between the two parties was terminated.

Kundra and his associate Saurabh

Kushwah have denied Pandey's charge

and even claimed that they have not

received any notice. It started when

Pandey signed a deal with Kundra

and his associates, called

Armsprime Media. The company

was handling The Poonam

Pandey App. She claims that

they have been using content

meant for the app even after the

contract to do so expired by over

eight months.

Pandey alleged that Kundra has

been using the content and minting

money. The actress stated that over a

period of six months she has been

getting obscene calls.

"The company (Armsprime) was

handling my app. I kept the contract

small because I could see

that there was some fraud happening.

After a while, I terminated

the contract. Now, I read

in the news that these guys

have terminated the contract. If

they have terminated the contract,

why have they been stealing

my videos over the past eight

months. I have been calling and

messaging Raj, mailing him with

the request to stop stealing my

ENTERTAINMENT

video. Now, I am getting threatening

messages from Raj Kundra," Poonam

claimed, while speaking to IANS.

"I want to understand whether he is

really broke that he wants to steal my

videos. If he is really facing a financial

crunch, I can lend him some money

but don't steal my content," she added.

It is being claimed that Kundra and his

team were using her content explicitly

and they even put out her personal

contact number, writing "call me, I

will strip for you".

"Now, that the news has gone out,

these people have sent me a settlement

agreement. They have accepted that

they have been stealing my content,

and are putting an amount in the contract.

I am not going to be quiet. I have

been silent for a year," she said.

An official statement has been

issued by Armsprime Media, signed

by Kushwah, which states: "The allegations

by Poonam Pandey are false

and frivolous. We have not received

any notice or even a copy of the Writ

Petition filed. We are surprised at how

can we even be made a party to such

Shruti Seth : Mahesh Bhatt one of most prominent directors

Mumbai, Actress Shruti Seth is super happy to be part of filmmaker

Mahesh Bhatt’s new TV show “Dil Jaise Dhadke…

Dhadakne Do”. “Mahesh Sir is one of the most prominent filmmakers

in the entertainment industry and like so many others, I too

nurtured a dream of working with him one day. I am glad that I got

this opportunity. “‘Dil Jaise Dhadke… Dhadakne Do’ portrays a

unique and engaging storyline and its intriguing script is what made

me take up this wonderful project.

I have learned so much from Mahesh Sir and I am looking forward

to learning more,” Shruti said. Dil Jaise Dhadke…Dhadakne

Do” is created by Mahesh Bhatt, and produced and directed by

Guroudev Bhalla. The show airs on Star Plus.

Dharmendra to launch new

restaurant He-Man on V’Day

Mumbai, Bollywood icon Dharmendra is

coming up with a new farm-to-fork restaurant

named He-Man, which will be inaugurated on

Valentine’s Day. The veteran superstar took to

Instagram on Wednesday morning to announce

his new venture. This is Dharmendra’s second

restaurant after the popular Garam Dharam

Dhaba. He-Man will open on

the Karnal Highway.

Dharmendra, who is popularly

known as the ‘He-Man of

Bollywood’ wrote on

Instagram: “Dear friends,

after the success of my restaurant

‘Garam Dharam Dhaba’

now I’m announcing a first

ever Farm to Fork restaurant

called ‘He Man’, friends, I

truly appreciate your love,

respect and belonging

towards me. love you all…

your Dharam.”

The actor also shared an e-

invite for his fans, which

reads: “Dear fans, with

immense joy and gratitude, I

want to announce the launch

of the first ever farm to fork

restaurant called He-Man.

Launching this Valentine’s Day 10.30 a.m. on

Karnal Highway.” Dharmendra has been working

hard to set up his farm-to-fork restaurant for

a while now. He keeps sharing videos on social

media of his farm, with farmers displaying

fresh vegetables like cabbages, gourd, beetroot,

brinjals, ladies fingers and fruits.

Petition. There has been a breach of

contract on her part and we are exercising

our rights as per the agreement.

Since the matter is sub-judice in High

Court, we don't wish to make any further

statement. Just because Raj is an

investor in Armsprime, she is trying to

16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020

17

POONAM PANDEY'S

war with Shilpa Shetty's

hubby reaches HC

extort money by misusing criminal

law." On the other hand, Pandey is

confident about her case.

"The case is in High Court. I have a

strong case. I have all the proofs. I am

seeking justice. And I know I can win

the case," she said.

Acting is way more challenging

than modelling: Diana Penty

Mumbai : Bollywood actress Diana Penty who began her career as a

model says that even though she misses doing runway

shows, she won't be able to go back to it

full time. "I used to love doing the runway

shows when I was a model and I miss

that sometimes now. But it's great to

go back to it every now and then as

'showstopper'." The "Cocktail"

actress, however, adds that acting

is more challenging a job and it

keeps her going.

"For me, acting is way more

challenging because it pushes

you to get out of your comfort

zone and try new things with

each film. I love challenging

myself; it's what keeps me

going. So as much as I love my

time as a model, I don't think I'd be

able to go back to it full time," said

Penty. Talking about the best memories

of being a model, she said: "Working

and modelling in New York was definitely a

life changing experience for me. Walking the

shows at New York Fashion Week was such a great high. I will never forget

those days." The leggy beauty is currently shooting for "Shiddat" which

will release later this year.

"It's an intense love story, which is something I've never attempted

before. So I'm really looking forward to it. It's also really special as I'll be

working with the Maddock team again for the first time after ‘Cocktail'."

HARBHAJAN, KAIF'S

favourite 'Bigg Boss 13'

contestant is Shehnaz

Mumbai : Cricketers Harbhajan

Singh and Mohammad Kaif will be

seen joining superstar Salman Khan

on the stage of "Bigg Boss 13" finale

episode. In the episode, Salman will

be seen asking them about their

favourite contestant. And interestingly,

Bhajji's and Kaif's favourite contestant

is none other than Shehnaz

Gill. The two sportsmen will also be

seen entering the "Bigg Boss" house

with dhol, and shaking a leg with the

top 5 contestants -- Shehnaz,

Sidharth Shukla, Asim Riaz,

Rashami Desai, Paras Chhabra and

Aarti Singh. Apart from cheering up

the mood of the contestants, we can

also witness Bhajji and Kaif promoting

their Road Safety World Series.

In the series, they will play cricket for

the special cause.


18 16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020 ENTERTAINMENT

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Paras Chhabra quits 'BB 13',

walks away with Rs 10 lakh

Rohit Shetty is confident

about 'Sooryavanshi'

Mumbai : "Bigg Boss 13" contestant Paras

Chhabra is out of the finale race, as he quit the show

by taking Rs 10 lakh cash prize.

All six finalists -- Paras, Rashami Desai, Sidharth

Shukla, Asim Riaz, Arti Singh and Shehnaz Gill --

were offered the amount to quit the game before the

announcement of the winner of the show.

Contestants were given 30 seconds to make their

decision before pressing the buzzer.

And it was Paras who decided to pocket the

money and walk out of the house. "Aaya bhi apni

marzi se tha, jaana bhi apni marzi se tha," Paras said

after taking the cash prize. Paras has also bagged

another Colors show titled "Mujhse Shaadi Karoge".

Now, the final five contestants in fray are

Rashami, Sidharth, Shehnaz, Arti and Asim.

Govinda launches his

YouTube channel

Mumbai : After making his debut on TikTok,

actor Govinda is now on

YouTube channel to

entertain his fans.

Not surprisingly,

he has named his

channel 'Govinda

No.1'. "Each

time, I have

made sure that I

entertain my fans

who have showered

me with their

love and blessings,

and social media is the

best way to do it," Govinda

said. On the film front, Govinda has been away from

the silver screen for quite a while now. He was last

seen in "Rangeela Raja", which released last year.

Apart from Govinda, actors like Alia Bhatt, Kartik

Aaryan and Jacqueline Fernandes are also on

YouTube.

YO YO HONEY SINGH

announces new song 'Loca'

Mumbai : Singer Yo Yo Honey Singh on Friday

dropped the announcement of his new song titled

"Loca". Sharing details about the upcoming track,

Honey Singh tweeted: "My new song 'Loca' is coming

soon. Loca matlab crazy ... and my new track

gonna make you LOCA. Valentines Gift from Your

Yo Yo .. Love to all." He also unveiled the song's

official poster on the social media platform. In the

poster, Honey is seen donning a fur coat.

Produced by T-Series' Bhushan Kumar, co-produced

by Bobby Suri and Honey Singh, the music

video is directed by Ben Peters.

New Delhi : Filmmaker

Rohit Shetty is confident his

upcoming cop drama

"Sooryavanshi", which stars

Akshay Kumar and Katrina

Kaif, but he says he never tries

to cash on his brand image.

"Sooryavanshi" is the next

instalment in Rohit Shetty's

cop drama universe. It is slated

to hit theatres in March.

According to an IMDb finding

released

recently,

"Sooryavanshi" is became the

most anticipated Indian movie

of 2020.

"I think what we are happy

about is the expectation with

what people will come to the

theatre. Many times people try

to cash on the brand.

'Sooryavanshi' or for any other films for that matter...

We never tried to cash on the brand. We have

worked hard," Rohit told IANS.

"When people will come with expectation that

'Sooryavanshi' will be larger than life, there will be

action and chemistry between

these guys... Everything is there

in the film. I am pretty confident

about that. Whether they like the

film or not, it is a different story.

If you are coming in with family

with tub of popcorn (expecting)

action and all the stuff you

want from 'Sooryavanshi', then

that is there in the film," he

added.

In the film, Akshay plays the

title role of Sooryavanshi, a

character that was introduced

as an anti-terrorist

squad officer as a

cameo character in

the Ranveer

Singh-starrer

"Simmba".

Katrina Kaif

will be seen as Akshay's love

interest. The film also features

Neena Gupta,

Gulshan Grover and

Sikander Kher.

SANA shares

personal texts after

ex-beau's cryptic post

Mumbai : Actress Sana Khan has shared

screenshots of a string of personal messages

after her former beau Melvin Louis shared

a cryptic post on social media.

Sana took to her Instagram Stories to

share screenshots of some personal

messages wherein a person told her

about Louis and the girl, who he is in

contact with. In the message, the

anonymous person did not disclose

the other girl's name but shared how

they both met and talked to each other

on Whatsapp, according to timesofindia.indiatimes.com.

Louis had

also posted a cryptic post on his

Instagram account which went viral on

Hyderabad : Actor Nithiin, who is best

known for his roles in movies like

"Srinivasa Kalyanam" and "Chal Mohan

Ranga", recently got engaged to his long

time girlfriend Shalini. The pre-wedding

function was held in Hyderabad in the

presence of close friends and family

members. Nithiin shared a few pictures

from the ceremony on his Instagram

account.

"Pelli panulu started.. Mussssikk

starts...Need your blessings," Nithiin

captioned the pictures. In the images,

Nithiin can be seen donning a white

dhoti. His fiancee Shalini chose an

embellished lehenga for the occasion.

Shalini has pursued Master's in Business

Management from a UK university. She

has known Nithiin for over eight years.

social media. In the post, Louis can be seen

wearing a t-shirt with a caption that reads:

"Bulati hai magar jaaneka nahi (she calls...

but don't go.)"

To which, Sana too shared a cryptic

response.

She shared a meme, which read: "Jo ladke

status daal rahe hai 'bulati hai magar jaane ka

nahi'... unko bata du sachai to ye hai... 'jaane

ka hai per koi bulati hi nahi' (guys who are

uploading statuses 'she calls but don't go'...

the truth is 'they want to go but in real there

is no one to call them)..." Sana has recently

opened up about her break with choreographer

Melvin Louis. She accused Louis of regularly

cheating on her.

Telugu actor Nithiin gets engaged


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

‘81% Delhi voters

received fake news

during elections’

New Delhi : Over 81 per cent of Delhi’s population received

fake news through various

social media platforms as the The Delhi Assembly

Assembly elections neared, elections were held on

according to a new survey by February 8. The results

non-profit Social Media declared on February 11

Matters and Institute for saw the Aam Aadmi Party

Governance, Policies and

winning 62 of the 70

Politics. Facebook and

WhatsApp were the leading

seats, bringing the Arvind

platforms that were used for the Kejriwal-led government

dissemination of misinformation,

showed the results. “The massive victory.

back to power with a

epidemic of fake news is threatening

the basic fragment of our democracy. When the voter is in a

constant state of cognitive dissonance how are they expected to

make an informed choice. As a nation, it has to be our priority to

bring an end to it,” Amitabh Kumar, Founder, Social Media

Matters, said in a statement. The Delhi Assembly elections were

held on February 8. The results declared on February 11 saw the

Aam Aadmi Party winning 62 of the 70 seats, bringing the Arvind

Kejriwal-led government back to power with a massive victory.

The survey “Delhi – #DontBeAFool” was conducted on a sample

size of 400 people to interrogate dissemination, penetration and

impact of fake news spread via social media on the elections.

Rumours spread ahead of the elections included allegations that

women participating in the sit-in protests at Shaheen Bagh were

being paid to demonstrate against the Citizenship Amendment Act

(CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Moreover, tweets of renowned individuals proved to be volatile

before elections. A tweet by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra along

with a video clip of AAP leader Amanatullah Khan falsely claimed

that Khan was talking about creating a “Sharia” law.

About 40 per cent of the people who participated in the survey

were between 18-25 years of age. While 63 per cent of the respondents

were males, 36 per cent were females and 1 per cent were

transgenders. The survey, however, revealed that 60 per cent of the

population stated that they made efforts to authenticate the news

with a search on Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Nearly 62.5 per

cent of the respondents suggested that they have never been affected

by fake news, but 72 per cent of them said they knew about people

who have been misled by misinformation.

TECHNOLOGY

San Francisco : Hundreds of people in

the US face job losses as Amazon is severing

relationships with several small delivery

contractors across the US apparently due to

"safety" concerns, the media reported.

While Amazon delivery partner Bear

Down Logistics was cutting 400 jobs,

Seattle-based Delivery Force was laying off

272 workers, according to the reports.

According to a report in GeekWire,

Amazon said these firms were found short of

meeting the safety or performance requirements.

In a bid to help entrepreneurs start

delivery businesses, Amazon launched an

initiative called Delivery Service Partners in

2018. Although they operate independently,

the DSPs receive support and training from

the e-commerce giant. "Prior to launching

the DSP programme to empower entrepreneurs

to build their businesses with Amazon,

we contracted with a number of small logistics

companies," Amazon was quoted as saying

in a statement. "Some of these companies

have not met our bar for safety, performance

or working conditions, and we're in the

process of exiting them from the programme.

We are planning for there to be zero or very

little net job loss in these communities

because nearly all impacted employees of

these companies will have an opportunity to

move into other delivery driver roles with

Amazon partners," the statement added.

16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020

Coronavirus: Facebook cancels summit, IBM pulls out

San Francisco : After the flagship

Mobile World Congress (MWC)

Barcelona 2020 conference,

Coronavirus has derailed Facebook's

Global Marketing Summit in San

Francisco.

According to a report in The San

Francisco Chronicle, Facebook has cancelled

the event scheduled from March

9-12 here. Over 5,000 participants were

expected to attend the event.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we

cancelled our Global Marketing Summit

due to evolving public health risks related

to coronavirus," a spokesperson was

quoted as saying in the report on Friday.

"Facebook is committed to holding the

event in San Francisco in the future," the

company added. IBM said it has cancelled

its participation in the RSA cybersecurity

conference here from February

24-28 due to concerns over China virus

outbreak. "The health of IBMers is our

primary concern as we continue to monitor

upcoming events and travel relative

to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)", the

company tweeted.

The RSA, however, said it will continue

with the event despite IBM pulling

out. On Thursday, the organiser of the

world's biggest phone show 'Mobile

World Congress' 2020 cancelled the

annual event in Barcelona in the wake of

the Novel Coronavirus fears which saw

19

several top exhibitors and tech companies

pulling out of the event.

Other events postponed or cancelled

include Chinese Grand Prix, the Black

Hat information security conference's

Asia summit; London Metal Exchange's

annual Asian gathering in Hong Kong

and Art Basel's annual art fair in Hong

Kong, among others.

The novel coronavirus that originated

in the Wuhan area of China in December

2019 has spread to over 25 countries,

raising safety concerns and impacting

businesses in many parts of the world.

The virus has so far killed over 1,300

people and left several thousands infected.

Amazon ends ties with several

delivery contractors in US

Amazon is now delivering 50 per cent of

packages itself, according to recent Morgan

Stanley estimates reported by CNBC. Global

courier company FedEx last year decided not

to renew its air shipping contract with

Amazon.

Indian PC market at 6-year high

with 11mn shipments: IDC

New Delhi : India’s traditional PC market

saw a six-year high with 11 million shipments

of desktops, notebooks and workstations

in 2019 — an impressive 18.1 per cent

year-over-year (YoY) growth, the

International Data Corporation (IDC) said on

Thursday. HP regained the top position in Q4

as its shipments grew 8.6 per cent from the

same time a year ago. The growth in the

fourth quarter of 2019 was driven by the fulfilment

of few education deals and strong

growth in the enterprise segment, said the

IDC report. “We remain strongly focused to

understand the need of our customers and

innovate to provide them the best in class

experience across our product offerings,”

Vickram Bedi, Senior Director, Personal

Systems, HP Inc. India said in a statement.

Lenovo slipped to second position in Q4 of

2019 but remains the leader for the overall

year. Lenovo’s commercial segment grew

32.1 per cent (YoY) and the consumer segment

witnessed 13.5 per cent annual growth in

the last quarter of the year. Dell Technologies

maintained its third position in Q4 2019.

“While large businesses were the volume driver,

vendors invested in building new teams,

exploring new channels, and educating the

customers to tap the SMB segment,” said

Bharath Shenoy, Market Analyst, PC, IDC

India. “India’s SMB market provides a large

opportunity for PC vendors in the next few

years, as SMBs strive to adopt new technologies

for their digital transformation journey,”

he added. The PC growth was largely propelled

by the government-driven education

projects and upgrade purchases for Windows

10. “In absence of any fresh mega-deal, lingering

concerns around component shortage,

and supply uncertainties due to recent novel

coronavirus outbreak, it would be difficult for

vendors to maintain this level of growth in

2020,” said Jaipal Singh, Associate Research

Manager, Client Devices, IDC India.


20 16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020 TECHNOLOGY

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Hacker creates new device that can unlock any luxury car

Mumbai, In the wake of the novel

coronavirus outbreak, sales of smartphones

in China may decline 20 per

cent in the first quarter of this year,

according to an estimate by

Counterpoint Research on Thursday.

While companies like Huawei,

OPPO and Vivo could suffer the most

due to this decline, the impact may be

limited on smartphone makers like

Xiaomi, OnePlus and Realme as they

are more online-centric and overseasfocused

. The novel coronavirus

(COVID-19), which originated in

China s Wuhan area in December 2019

has impacted social and production

activities in the country.

To curb the spread of the coronavirus

epidemic, the Chinese government

issued a strict travel ban on January 24

following which retail and commerce

activities slowed sharply, Counterpoint

said. Demand-wise, we see the market

getting impacted severely. We estimate

more than a 50 per cent YoY (yearonyear)

decline in offline smartphone

sales during the lock-down period.

Therefore, we have lowered our sales

forecast 20 per cent for Q1, Brady

Wang, Associate Director at

Counterpoint Research, said in a statment.

The situation may worsen and

we may lower our forecast even more

depending on the February sales. The

plummet in Q1 is likely to generate a

surge in channel inventories and further

influence shipments and new products

launches through Q2, Wang said. The

coronavirus outbreak has led to the

death of over 1,300 people in China.

Huawei group is likely to suffer as

China has accounted for over 60 per

cent of its total smartphones sales.

OPPO and Vivo will also be impacted

San Francisco : A hacker named

"EvanConnect" has developed a

device which helps users break into

any luxury car that uses a wireless

key fob system.

He named the device "keyless

repeater" which he sells for $9,000

and demonstrated that how it works

in a video which he released recently.

The video shows him approaching

an unattended car which belongs to

his friend who gave him permission

to use it and using the small handheld

device with an antenna to unlock the

driver’s side door of the car and start

the engine, dailymail.co.uk reported

CORONAVIRUS : Now,

Nokia-maker HMD Global

withdraws from MWC

New Delhi, HMD Global, the

maker of Nokia-branded smartphones,

on Wednesday announced it

was withdrawing from the Mobile

World Congress (MWC) due to the

outbreak of coronavirus (2019-

nCoV).

HMD Global has been carefully

monitoring the situation following

the outbreak of Covid-19. After much

deliberation, we have decided to cancel

our participation at MWC Barcelona,

2020, the company said in a statement.

We believe the prudent decision is

to cancel our participation at MWC and

want to express our sincere thanks to

the GSMA and other authorities for

their tireless efforts to address the challenges

resulting from Covid-19, and

they have our full support as they move

forward, the company added.

Meanwhile, MWC organiser and telecoms

lobby GSMA is going to hold a

meeting on Friday to decide on the fate

of the world s biggest tech event.

According to a new report coming

out of Spain, GSMA is holding a meeting

on Friday, February 14, to decide

the fate of MWC 2020, GSMArena

reported on Tuesday.

Cisco and Facebook have become

the latest big tech firms to drop out of

the world s largest mobile industry

exhibition. Both the companies have

joined the growing list of companies

including LG electronics, Ericsson,

Nvidia, Sony, Amazon, Intel, Vivo, and

NTT Docomo to not attend the mobile

trade show.

Chinese health authorities on

Wednesday said it received reports of

2,015 new confirmed cases of novel

coronavirus infection and 97 deaths

from 31 provincial-level regions and

the Xinjiang Production and

Construction Corps.

With this, the overall confirmed

cases on the Chinese mainland has

reached 44,653 by the end of Tuesday,

and 1,113 people died of the disease.

Sennheiser launches new headphones at Rs 29,990

New Delhi, German audio brand Sennheiser on Wednesday launched its new

headphones PXC 550-II for Rs 29,990 in India.

PXC 550-II is built to offer the best in class audio for both music and calls.

This headset has been created to provide unrivalled experience of sound quality

and wireless freedom to its consumers on the go, Kapil Gulati, Director,

Consumer Segment, Sennheiser Electronics India, said in a statement.

The PXC 550-II is the right blend of superior comfort, style, elegance and

sound output. This extraordinary headset is going to revolutionise the way we

experience sound as well as ambient noise and will be taking the audio experience

to the next level, he added. According to the company, the new headphone

is upgraded with Bluetooth 5.0 compatibility and support for the high-quality

AAC codec. Alongside aptXTM support, these enhancements help to deliver

uncompromised sound quality. It features a Voice Assistant button that offers

convenient, one-touch access to voice assistants such as Siri, Google Assistant

as well as Amazon Alexa, and also features a triple microphone array that makes

it easy to stay connected while on the move.

because of their greater reliance on

offline sales channels. The influence on

sales of Xiaomi, OnePlus and Realme

will likely be less severe as they are

more online-centric and overseasfocused,

Flora Tang, Research Analyst

at Counterpoint Research, said.

As Apple announced a shutdown of

its offline stores across China until

February 15, the company could face a

sales loss of about one million units of

iPhones.

Apple s new product development

plans will also be affected as engineers

from the USA and Taiwan cannot travel

to China. The iPhone SE2 set for a late

March launch is likely to have troubles

in ramping up volume due to the insufficient

labour force in Foxconn s

Zhengzhou factory, Mengmeng Zhang,

Research Analyst at Counterpoint

Research, added.

on Friday.

In the video, he admits there is no

guarantee as to how his customers

might use the device.

He said in an interview that his

device works on all luxury cars

except for those that use frequencies

between 22 and 40 khz, such as

Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, Bentley

and Rolls Royce models released

after 2014. Additionally, he also mentioned

about the upgraded version of

the same for $12,000 which can

unlock any car that uses a wireless

fob system.

"Honestly I can tell you that I have

not stolen a car with technology, it is

very easy to do, but the way I see it,

why would I get my hands dirty when

I can make money just selling the

tools to other people," he said. Samy

Kamkar, a security expert Vice after

reviewing EvanConnect’s footage,

said the keyless repeater technology

is commonly known in the field.

"I ca not validate that the video is

legitimate but I can say that it is 100

per cent reasonable (I have personally

performed the same attack on more

than a dozen vehicles with hardware

I’ve built and very easy to demonstrate),"

the report quoted Kamkar.

Unwanted contact, sexting among

top online risks in India: Microsoft

NEW DELHI : Unwanted contact, unwanted sexting, hate speech, trolling

and being treated meanly are the top five online risks in India which has seen

a dip in digital civility, according to a new research from Microsoft. The

results which were released in conjunction with the international Safer

Internet Day on Tuesday revealed that 45 per cent of those who faced online

risks knew the perpetrators. Among teenagers, 71 per cent faced a risk, while

81 per cent worry risk will happen again, said the study, adding that social

media sites are the most common online space for risks.

However, 67 per cent of those surveyed said that they believe technology

and social media companies will create tools and policies that will encourage

respectful and civil behaviour. In the Microsoft Digital Civility Index (DCI),

a measure of the tone and tenor of online interactions as reported by consumers

in 25 countries, India fared poorly in 2019. A higher DCI score means

lower perceived civility.

The India DCI Index increased 12 points to 71 per cent in 2019 the highest

in four years, the results showed. The report, based on the views of 12,520

adults and teenagers questioned across 25 countries including India, showed

that physical appearance and politics are the primary drivers of online incivility,

with 31 per cent of all respondents pointing to both of these two topics

as problematic. Sexual orientation was close behind at 30 per cent, while religion

and race came in at 26 per cent and 25 per cent respectively, Jacqueline

Beauchere, Global Digital Safety Advocate at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post.

The top five for online civility were the UK, the Netherlands, Germany,

Malaysia and the US. Those with the lowest online civility readings were

Vietnam, Russia, Colombia, Peru and South Africa, the research showed.

China smartphone sales may decline 20% in Q1: Counterpoint


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020

21

Who will listen to four-month

olds ? : DR APARNA

The Supreme Court of India, in all its wisdom, quizzed the mothers of Shaheen Bagh

with the query – Can a four-month old decide to participate in a protest?

Dr Aparna, National

President, Indian Federation of

Trade Unions, penned the following

response. You may find it

thought provoking.

Who will listen to

four-month olds?

* A four month old cannot protest, as

the Supreme Court has noted.

* A four-month old can’t be a construction

worker either.

* And its absolutely true_ a fourmonth

old can’t speak, can’t protest.

For if a baby could, the four-month

old might complain to the Supreme

Court that despite the law for creches

at workplace, the law is unimplemented

in 90% sites in the National

capital itself. The baby would complain

that construction worker mothers

lay down four-month olds right

within construction sites in all

months of the year!

* And the four-month old might complain

on how babies are forced by

Govts to live under the open air.

Delhi’s homeless mothers-they

don’t bother! Can a four-month old

be out exposed to the vagaries of the

weather and sleep on streets? Or can

a four-month old accompany the

mother to sleep in those shelters

under battered quilts and the breath

of tens of others around the little

babies! The govts have failed to give

a right to at least a one room home

to every family even 72 years since

1947. But the four-month old can’t

protest. The baby can’t complain to

the Supreme Court either.

* A four-month old surely cannot

protest. If babies could, they would

complain about Govts and Courts to

the Supreme Court. They take no

action against the powerful polluters

who dirty Delhi’ air and kill the cells

of the lungs of babies. They would

reject their mothers’ submissions

that they are too poor to exercise the

option of leaving Delhi or even

using air cleaners. They would

refuse to stay in a Delhi where govts

or courts give a free hand to real

estate owners and car owners and

cause irreversible lung damages in

little babies.

* A four-month old baby cannot even

refuse to be shoved into a detention

camp along with the mother. Fourmonth

olds cannot even refuse to be

labelled’ suspicious citizens’ if their

parents are unable to prove where

they were born. The Supreme Court

must reckon, four-month olds can’t

even protest then, that is why all this

is has been on in Assam.

Who will protest the patriarchy inlaid in

the questioning of why a four-month

old baby accompanies a mother to a

protest? Why don’t they question

the unequal economic conditions

under which four-month old babies

live and grow up? A woman then has

no right to work, no right to protest,

just because she has no alternative

but to carry her baby along?

The Supreme Court is entertaining such

a question in the second decade of

the twenty first century. Women’s

fight against denial to them of support

structures by society and

against stifling their exercising of

democratic rights by demagogic and

patriarchal discourse, has a long

way to go. Much gratitude to the

Supreme Court for pushing us to

realize this. We do get the message,

only the materially well-endowed

women with money to pay for support

structures may protest. Only

limitedly though, as four-month olds

must be breast fed. And four-month

olds cannot protest.

Birmingham Thyagaraja Festival 2020, Sustaining

the cultural heritage of India in the Midlands

The Birmingham Thyagaraja

Festival is the most popular annual festival

of Indian Classical Music and

Dance in the West Midlands.

The annual festival, organised by

ShruthiUK, in its sixth year is a celebration

of Indian classical music and dance

to commemorate the 173nd birthday of

the South Indian Singing Saint &

Composer Thyagaraja. The festival is

vibrant and colourful and reminds us of

our rich cultural heritage and our

respect towards the legendary composer

for his contribution to Carnatic Music.

The festival this year featured artistes

and professionals, including aspiring

children and young adults participating

from all across the UK, and abroad,

showcasing their brilliant and extraordinary

talents with great enthusiasm and

paid homage to the great Singing Saint.

‘I am delighted to be able to support

ShruthiUk and the Birmingham

Thyagaraja Festival in bringing its

wonderful Indian Classical Music &

Dance to a wider audience for a 6th

year, and to celebrate the bringing

together of musicians and dancers from

all over the world to perform at this

event, and am sorry I am not able to be

with you on this occasion.

Congratulations and my very best wishes

for a successful celebration.’ Mr John

Crabtree OBE, Lord Lieutenant of the

West Midlands

The BTF 2020 is supported by the

Consul General of India in Birmingham

and the West Midlands Combined

Authority, in partnership with

Touchwood Solihull, Solihull Chamber

of Commerce, Solihull Bid, Asian

Chambers of Commerce and other premier

educational institutions and corporates.

Mr Andy Street, CBE, the

Combined Mayor of the West Midlands

was the special guest of honour and

awarded the inspiring women award to

Ms Swarnalaskhmi Ravi.

The festival was presided by Dr

Aman Puri IFS, Consul General of India

in Birmingham as the Chief Guest.

Dignitaries at the festival included Mr.

John Hudson OBE and his wife, Cllr

Stuart Davis and Mayoress Sara

Johnson, Cllr Stephen Reynolds, Mayor

of Telford and Wrekin, Mr. Gurpreet

Bhatia, DL, Mr. Robert Elliot,

President, Solihull Chamber of

Commerce, Mr Tony Elvin, General

Manager of Touchwood and member of

the festival committee, Professor Martin

Levermore MBE DL, Professor Paul

Cadman, Cllr Raj Mehta and his wife.

Celebrating Women and honouring

women achievers

Every year, at the BTF, in lieu of

International Women’s Day honours

women achievers at the awards ceremony,

recognizes outstanding women, who

have made a positive impact and contribution

to the society through their skills

and passion.

The inspiring women honoured

during the BTF 2020 were:

Ms Anjum Khan, Director, Asian

Business Chambers of Commerce, in

recognition of her contribution in bringing

together business communities representing

diverse cultures and to

encourage diversity in leadership. Ms

Anita Chumber, Director Birmingham

Awards, for her contribution towards

her services to diverse communities

through broadcast journalism and

inspiring other women as a great role

model. Melanie Palmer, Operational &

Strategic Lead, Solihull Bid, in recognition

of her contribution towards her

wonderful services and commitment to

the business community of Solihull and

inspiring other women as a great role

model.

Professor Clare Mackie, Deputy Vice

Chancellor BCU, in recognition of her

contribution towards fostering academic

excellence, as a strategic leader and

great role model and for her outstanding

services to Higher Education.

Ms Swarnalakshmi Ravi, Student at

Aston University, Ms Swarnalakshmi

Ravi is the president of the children’s

parliament in India . she has been an

advocate for the specially abled and also

for the rights of women and children.

She is a Student pursuing her

Master’s degree at Aston University.

The patron and the governing members

of ShruthiUK would like to express

their heartiest congratulations to all the

inspiring women who were honoured

this year. I am once again delighted to

be able to support ShruthiUk and the

Birmingham Thyagaraja Festival in

bringing its wonderful Indian Classical

Music & Dance to a wider audience and

to celebrate bringing together musicians

and dancers from all over the world to

perform in Solihull. My congratulations

on your 6th festival and I wish you

all the best for a very successful celebration.

Councillor Stuart Davis, Mayor of

Solihull.

“Festivals such as the BTF, strengthens

the cultural collaboration between

the UK and India, defining India’s culture

and its national identity and help to

sustain the Indian culture and heritage

in the Midlands. It enables successful

partnerships and helps people to connect

and relate in a much better way

through their culture and traditions.

These classical Indian festival and art

forms have evolved and passed on from

generation to generation and are still

practised with great respect and fervour

globally and to wider Communities,

making it culturally diverse and distinct.

It helps them give the rich experience to

learn, enjoy and to unite all of us

through the Indian arts.

“Dr Chithra Ramakrishnan

FRSA, Founder & Artistic Director,

ShruthiUK


22 16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020 WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

A Dalit should not accept trusteeship in Ram Mandir Trust

Chandigarh : Punjab Chief Minister

Amarinder Singh, here on

Sunday, commended 14-yearold

Amandeep Kaur for rescuing

four children from the

burning school van at

Longowal town in the Sangrur

district. Four minors died in

the accident on Saturday. "I

salute the extraordinary bravery

& valour of Amandeep

Kaur who risked her life to put

out the fire and rescued 4 children

from the burning van," the Chief

Minister said. "I am so proud of you. I am

looking forward to meeting you," he said.

The LPG-fuelled modified but discarded

New Delhi : Vodafone Idea

is currently assessing the AGR

dues and will pay this in the

next few days, the company has

said in an exchange filing.

"We wish to inform that post

the hearing yesterday, the company

has received letters from

the Department of

Telecommunications (DoT)

directing immediate payment,"

Vodafone Idea said in a regulatory

filing.

"The company proposes to

pay the amount so assessed in

the next few days. As disclosed

in the company's financial

statements for the quarter ending

December 31, 2019, the

company's ability to continue

as a going concern is essentially

dependent on a positive outcome

of the application for

modification of the

Supplementary Order", it said.

The company is currently

assessing the amount that it will

be able to pay to DoT and it

proposes to pay the amount so

assessed in the next few days,

Vodafone Idea said.

Though the company said it

will pay up but the fact that it

has again mentioned the company's

ability to continue as a

going concern is essentially

dependent on a positive outcome

of the application for

modification of the

Supplementary Order, also raises

doubts over its long term

ability over sustaining on

account of huge losses and paying

such large amount of dues.

The company did not disclose

how it plans to raise the

money and how much it would

pay. This comes after the

Prime Minister Narendra

Modi`s government announced

to set up a trust for construction

of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. The

proposed trust is to have 15

members, including one Dalit.

The dalit women and men are

not safe in the state of Uttar

Pradesh under Chief Minister

Yogi Adityanath. Dalits are further

marginalized by the Yogi

government. Police under the

nose of Yogi government is committing

heinous crimes against

the poor and marginalized

Dalits. The number of landless

van was being run by Simran Public

School. When the van caught

fire, 12 students were in it on

their way to home from the

school. The school authorities

had purchased the discarded van

a day earlier. The dead included

two children of a family and a

Vodafone Idea to pay in next

few days, informs exchange

Supreme Court on Friday

slammed mobile service operators

and the department of

telecommunications (DoT) for

failing to comply with its verdict,

which mandated telecom

companies to pay the adjusted

gross revenue (AGR) dues of

over Rs 1 trillion to the DoT by

January 23.

This came as a fresh blow

for Vodafone Idea and doubts

were being raised over its continuation

as a going concern.

As per DoT calculations, Airtel

has to pay Rs 35,500 crore,

Tata Teleservices has to pay Rs

14,000 crore and Vodafone

Idea's dues are Rs 53,000 crore.

Airtel told DoT on Friday it

will deposit Rs 10,000 crore by

February 20 and for rest before

the next hearing of March 17.

But much of the focus is on

Vodafone Idea as its extremely

weak financial position with

the latest Q3 losses over Rs

6,000 crore, Rs 1.20 lakh crore

debt, declining customer base

and revenues. Its chairman

K.M. Birla has sounded out

multiple times that if it doesn't

get any relief from government

it will have to look at shutting

operations. One of the parents

of VIL - UK-based Vodafone

has already ruled out any equity

infusion in VIL.

Vodafone Idea owes DoT

over Rs 53,000 crore.

Dalits in India is increasing day

by day since all the government

and private land is usurped by

the Hindus in all states of India.

Dalits are not allowed to go to

the Hindu temples even in 21st

century. Dalits are beaten mercilessly

by the goons of the RSS/

Bajrang Dal under the protection

of Modi government. Dalits are

not allowed to take marriage

procession in the Hindu localities.

If they dare to file an FIR

against the Hindu criminals who

stop marriage procession undertaken

by Dalits, they do not get

Punjab CM commends 14-year-old

for rescuing 4 from burning van

two-and-a-half-year-old child

who was returning home after

first day at the school.

According to eyewitnesses,

passers-by raised alarm when they

noticed fire on the rear side of the vehicle.

They also pulled out children after breaking

the windowpanes. Meanwhile, the police

booked van driver Dalbir Singh and ownercum-principal

of the school Lakhwinder

Singh on charge of murder on the complaint

of a victim's father. He alleged gross negligence

on the school authorities' part to use

the unfit van. Earlier, a case under Section

304 (punishment for culpable homicide not

amounting to murder) was registered against

the school management, the principal and

the van driver. Punjab has announced Rs

750,000 compensation to the next of kin of

the dead. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak

Committee (SGPC), the apex religious body

of Sikhs, has announced Rs 1 lakh to the

next of kin of the each victim. SGPC chief

Gobind Singh Longowal demanded strict

action against officials whose negligence led

to plying of unfit vehicles.

legal protection but penalized by

the Police department which

works under the patronage of

Brahmin Police.

Since 2014, atrocities against

Dalits under the Modi government

increased manifold. The

prevailing atmosphere in the

country under the Modi government

is not safe for dalits. The

cancer of caste and untouchability

is taken by the Hindus to the

rest of the world. The Hindu

society is a sick society. It is no

use of joining a sick society. It is,

therefore, a dalit must not accept

a trusteeship of Ram Mandir

trust. Babasaheb writes “It is sad

that it was done in the name of

religion. But for those who have

understood Brahminism, there is

no need to despair. Brahminism

uses religion as a front for its

greed and for selfish political

gains.’ This Brahminism

became part of the Hindu religion

and for thousands of years

forced shudras, ati-shudras and

women to lead a hellish life.

Dr Rahul Kumar

Senior Correspondent, the

Asian Independent UK

Fire at wholesale rice

market in Kolkata

Kolkata : A fire broke out at the wholesale rice market in north

Kolkata's Raja

Bazar on

Sunday. No

casualty or

injury was

reported. Smoke

was seen billowing

from a factory

premises

around 2.15 p.m.

Eleven fire

engines fought

the blaze and

controlled it in an hour. "Chemicals stored in the factory helped

fan the fire. Since the area is densely populated, fire-fighters faced

problems in controlling the fire," said West Bengal Fire Service

Minister Sujit Bose. Cooling operation was on, Bose said.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

WORLD

16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020

23

Celebration of Sant Guru Ravidass Birthday

On 9th Feb, 2020, Dalits across India

celebrated Sant Guru Ravidass birthday

with pomp and show. I had the opportunity

to see a huge gathering of people on

the streets of Jalandhar (Punjab). People

across all Dalit communities marched

together happily. It was good to see a

wonderful spectacle on the streets.

Shops were set up alongside the main

road from Bootan Mandi to Ambedkar

chowk in Jalandhar (Punjab). There are

two prominent Sant Guru Ravidass temples

in the area. These temples are controlled

by different Dalit political

groups. Politically and socially they are

highly divided among themselves.

It is significant to note that Jalandhar

area is politically active. Partly because

of Ambedkar movement under the leadership

of a staunch Ambedkarite and

Buddhist LR Balley. Politically, Dalits

are divided between Congress and BSP.

The different fractions of Bahujan

Samaj Party(BSP) has divided the vote

base of Mayawati in Punjab. In future,

there are fewer chances for the BSP to

win state assembly elections. Mayawati

except once never visited Punjab. The

Dalits now feels that Mayawati has sold

herself to the Manuwadi politics. The

Dalits now also feels that Mayawati is

highly corrupt. She has no moral ground

on which she can recover the confidence

of the Dalits. Some educated

Dalits while discussing politics with me

informed that, “Kanshi was an RSS

agent”.

According to 2011 census, Punjab

has the highest population of Dalits. It

is important to understand why Dalits

having a huge majority in the state of

Punjab are unable to elect their own

brother or sister as Chief Minister of

Punjab. The answer to this question is

their political and social division.

Except elderly, a very few Dalits have

left among the Dalit communities who

understand what Sant Guru Ravidass Ji

and Dr B. R. Ambedkar had left a message

for them. Youths from the Dalit

communities hardly read the books

written by Baba Saheb Ambedkar who

liberated them from the Brahminical

slavery. Youth from the Dalit community

hardly reads the revolutionary poems

written by Sant Guru Ravidass Ji. In the

Sant Guru Ravidass temples, there are

hardly any intellectuals who can teach

and guide them. In this situation, the

Dalits in Punjab particularly are losing

the battle against Brahminism.

The Modi government is snatching

reservation meant for the Dalits. Baba

Saheb Ambedkar achieved Reservation

for the Dalits with struggle but the Modi

government in connivance with the

Supreme Court of India is making it

redundant. The end result will be further

marginalized of the Dalits. RSS has

fully succeeded in dividing the community

on caste lines. Let the Dalits of

Punjab should know that the BJP is

playing a football game between the

courts and Dalits over the demolition of

Sant Guru Ravidass temple in Delhi.

There is an urgent need to pose united

opposition to the BJP dirty politics.

There is no use of celebrating the

birth of Sant Guru Ravidass Ji unless or

until the Dalits follows his revolutionary

teachings. There is no use of celebrating

the birth of Sant Guru Ravidass

Ji unless or until the Dalits remains united

and follow the legacy of Baba Sahib

Dr B.R. Ambedkar. There is no use of

celebrating once in a year the birth of

Sant Guru Ravidass Ji unless or until the

youths from the Dalit community read

and understand the philosophy of Sant

Guru Ravidass Ji and Baba Saheb Dr B.

R. Ambedkar. Let all the Dalits keep in

Mind that their social and economic salvation

lies only in the teachings of Sant

Guru Ravidass Ji and Baba Saheb Dr

BR Ambedkar. Let the Dalit youths

must understand that politics is a temporary

game. One can become an MP,

MLA for a short time but if they remain

socially and culturally united no

Hindutva force can destroy them.

– Dr Rahul Kumar

Senior Correspondent

Delayed by Brexit, on 28th January

2020, All Party Parliamentary Group

(APPG) – Indian Traditional Sciences

hosted Ayurveda Day 2019 colloquium

supported by Geoffrey Van Orden CBE

MEP and Her Excellency the

Ambassador of India to the Belgium,

Luxembourg and the European Union

Ms Gaitri Issar Kumar in the European

Parliament at Brussels. Geoffrey very

warmly welcomed all the guests and

congratulated the APPG Indian

Traditional Sciences and its Secretariat

Amarjeet S Bhamra to hold this historical

colloquium, since its inception by

Prime Minister of India Narendra

Modi, continuously in the EU

Parliament. Ambassador Kumar was

equally impressed by the dedication of

Mr Bhamra and the British

Parliamentarians group to raise the profile

of powerful medicine systems of

Ayurveda and Yoga in the European

Parliament and assured her support to

further develop the focus of the APPG

Indian Traditional Sciences into the

EU.

Amarjeet S Bhamra spoke passionately

on the support, which the APPG

Indian Traditional Sciences has

received over the years for hosting

Ayurveda and Yoga colloquiums particularly

from the above chief guests and

was sad to see the British parliamentarians

leave as Britain exists the EU, as

they have rendered un-stinting support

for the incorporation of Indian

Traditional Sciences into the health of

the European nations. He proposed the

creation of Ayurveda Centre of

Excellence for Research, Education and

Practical Application in continental

Europe. Together with Prof Madan

Thangavelu, he handed a statement of

intent between the EU and India to all

chief guests. Amarjeet S Bhamra also

took the privilege to thank Ambassador

Kumar and all her staff at the Indian

AYURVEDA DAY AT EUROPEAN

UNION PARLIAMENT

Embassy in Brussels for their support

and providing vegan buffet and fruit

juices to all the delegates.

Ms Neena Gill CBE MEP spoke of

her visits to India’s and felt the effects

lasted for a long time after receiving

Ayurveda treatments. It’s important that

the benefits are recognized across

Europe in that they are cost saving and

healthy she said. Parliamentarians

Dinesh Dhamija Head of EU-India

Delegation and Jo Linen echoed similar

visions on the benefits of ‘prevention is

better than cure’ approach to wellness.

Dr Tony Nader and Dr Nagendra

presented their speeches via Skype and

addressed Ayurveda being the science

of life and immortality not just at physical

level, also on the mental level and

most profoundly on our human reality

being the value of consciousness.

Gita Desai participated from United

States of America exhibiting a trailer on

her new documentary of a 5-hour

Ayurveda Unveiled and spoke briefly

on the benefits of accepting everyday

should be an Ayurveda day.

Dr Carolyn Peters a Research scholar

from Austria, Yannick Pots from

Belgium,

Dr Martina Ziskova from Czech

Republic, Durlabh Vasudeva from

France, Gayatri Puranik and Dr Peter

Kath from Germany, Dr Partap Singh

Chauhan from India spoke on the benefits

of incorporating Ayurveda into the

national health systems of Europe along

with Ragasudha Vinjamuri from UK

who performed a Dance of Ayurveda.

Elizabeth Wright from Ireland, Dr

Naveen Gupta, Christel Fontaine,

Sebastian Blanchard, and Ilinca

Dumitru-Blanchard from Belgium, Dr

Ameya Bysani, Tamara Slijepcevic,

Carla van Dijk and Maria Peters from

The Netherlands, Marketa Lacikova

and Roman Cada from Czech Republic,

Joaquim Da Costa Jorge from Portugal,

Florin Bebsel from Romania, Mary

Raynard from Singapore, Dr Maria

Ramon Cueto and Dr Vijay Carolin

from Spain, Payal Dwivedi from

Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Kiran Lal, Dr

Rolf Wachsmuth, Stephan Hein, and

Martin Rickinger from Germany,

Vincenzo Valenzi and Albina Pisani

from Italy, Gordon Brennan, Dr

Mauroof Athique, Dr Venkata Joshi,

Ranjula Madhani MBE, Varsha Mistry,

Romany Rix, Angela Schroeder and

Paul Raynard from the United

Kingdom made a fitting contribution to

the success of this colloquium.


24 16-02-2020 to 29-02-2020 WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Japan confirms 70 new coronavirus cases from cruise ship

Tokyo : Another 70 people aboard the virushit

Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in

Japan's Yokohama have been tested positive for

coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total to

355 cases, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato confirmed

on Sunday.

The health ministry said that the 70 new cases

came out of 289 people tested, bringing the total

number of those who have undergone tests to

1,219, Japan Times reported. The cruise ship

arrived in Japan earlier this month with more

than 3,700 passengers and crew members from

more than 50 countries and regions. With global

attention increasingly focused on the situation,

the US Embassy sent a letter on Saturday to

Americans aboard saying that a chartered aircraft,

set to arrive in Japan on Sunday, would

repatriate those who wished to leave the ship.

The US aircraft is set to depart from Haneda

Airport in Tokyo on Monday, according to

New Delhi : An AAP supporter with

coconut brooms tied around his waist

like peacock's

spread plumes

caught the

attention of all

amid a sea of

party supporters

during the oathtaking

ceremony

of Arvind

Kejriwal at the

Ramlila Maidan

here on Sunday.

Uday Veer, a resident of Gokulpuri area,

said he had dressed up like a peacock to

Japanese officials Japan will also cooperate with

other countries that make similar arrangements

to evacuate their citizens on the ship, Japanese

government officials said.

More than a week has passed since the cruise

ship was put under a two-week quarantine at

Yokohama port after a passenger who disembarked

in Hong Kong was found to be infected

with COVID-19, the pneumonia-causing coronavirus.

Japan's health ministry had initially

planned to keep all of the passengers and crew

confined on the vessel until Wednesday, when

the quarantine is scheduled to end. But the ministry

decided last Thursday to let passengers 80

and older, as well as their traveling companions,

leave before the end of the quarantine after they

were screened for infection.

Those with pre-existing conditions or who

were staying in cabins without windows were

prioritized for disembarkation.

AAP supporter comes dressed

as peacock at swearing-in event

"celebrate" the occasion. Veer, a ladies

tailor by profession, had put pictures of

Aam Aadmi Party

leader Kejriwal

cut in teardrop

shape on the

broom splinters

for the peacock

look.

"It was my

wish to dress up

like a peacock to

express my support

to Kejriwal.

We're happy that he has become the

Chief Minister again," he said.

Delhi's air quality

in poor category

Rajendra Pal Gautam takes

charge of SC/ST Department

New Delhi : Delhi Cabinet

Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam on

Sunday took charge of the SC/ST

Department, soon after taking the

oath of office.

While the departments are yet

to be divided among the six

Cabinet ministers and Chief

Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the

SC/ST department has been

given to Gautam.

He said he will finish the

pending works and will also start

a few works. An advocate by

profession, Gautam was a minister

in the last Kejriwal Cabinet as

well. "Like the last term, the aim

this time will be to improve the

lives of people.

We will try to work as much

as we can for the people." The

others who took the oath of

office on Sunday were Kejriwal,

Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain,

Gopal Rai, Kailash Gehlot and

Imran Hussain.

New Delhi : The pollution level in the national

capital on Sunday stood in the "poor" category,

and the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was

at 208, said the Centre-run System of Air Quality

and Weather Forecasting And Research

(SAFAR).

An AQI between 0-50 is marked good, 51-100

is satisfactory, 101-

200 moderate, 201-

300 poor, 301-400

very poor and 401-500

is considered severe.

According to the

SAFAR: "Everyone

should reduce heavy

exertion. People with

heart or lung disease,

older adults, and children

should avoid

longer or heavy exertion."

Major pollutants

such as PM 2.5 and

PM 10 in the city

docked 93 and 178,

respectively. SAFAR

further stated that

there will be a significant

increase in respiratory

problems and

everyone may experience

health effects on Sunday. Meanwhile, cold

conditions continue to persist in the Delhi-NCR

region with the minimum temperature touching

nine degrees Celsius, two notches below the season's

average, the India Meteorological

Department (IMD) said.

The weather department said that coming

days would be warmer compared to previous

occasions as northwestern winds carrying cold

winds have gone weaker and winds are expected

to stop for the next two

days. "Cold conditions

continued so far as

there was snowfall due

to

Western

Disturbances and northwestern

winds were

blowing. But coming

days are expected to be

warm as winds will not

blow for next one-two

days." There was mainly

clear sky in the

morning with mist, the

MeT office said, adding

the humidity at 8.30

a.m. was 91 per cent.

The maximum temperature

on Sunday is likely

to hover around 27

degrees Celsius.

Saturday's maximum

temperature settled at

25.7 degrees Celsius,

two notches above the season's average, while

the minimum temperature was 11.5 degrees

Celsius, one notch above the season's average.

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