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Babri game in UP: BJP, SP show no signs of veering off the oft-trodden path

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It’s party time, but where’s the cheer?

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RINGING IN 2016 | Hospitality segment, hotels fear celebrations could be less than 30% this time

File picture (for illustrative purpose only)

It’s that time of the year when Mumbaikars get into celebrations. But look around, you will see the cheer missing. According to officials in the Entertainment Tax department, the dip in enthusiam could result in festivities coming down to around 30% this time.The officials point out that many organisers are backing out from organising big events this time. “Worried about the overall shortfall in revenue, we called a meeting on December 5 of all the organisers who had registered their events and parties with us last year. But almost all of them said they were not organising anything this year,” said a senior official. “If the world stops partying like this, how will we meet our target. Most years, we get nearly 60-65% of our revenues this season,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“The scenario, it seems, is very bleak,” said Ravi Ranjan, brand manager of Bright Outdoors, a leading hoarding brand. “The market is very sluggish. Everybody’s unsure of what lies ahead and holding on to whatever money they have,” he told dna.“By November itself, we used to get huge New Year party ad bookings. This year, it’s almost third week of December and only three have approached,” Ranjan said adding “It is said that market follows a seven-year cycle of highs and lows. This low cycle began in 2008 and I hope it ends with 2015.”Even the organisers are trying to play it safe. Mumbai’s first ‘all-veg’ New Year party, ‘Limbo Neon Nights’, being organised by Milesahead Multimedia at Byke Suraj Plaza, is a case in study. Brushing off suggestions that he has taken the beef ban too strongly, Milesahead director Hira Bulani said, “See, I am a businessman. I will only plan something which is feasible and works for the guests.”According to him, since the Hindu holy month of Margashirsh has begun, even families which consume non-veg normally will be abstaining from it. “Also, fasts are observed on Thursdays to please Goddess Lakshmi. Why should I lose out on customers who want to observe Margashirsh and still party,” he asks.Bulani felt customers would be willing to come out and party if organizers thought out-of-the-box despite the tough market conditions. “We are taking the neon theme to another level. Like glasses which light up, glow-in-the-dark ice, etc. When you inject novelty into the theme it draws people in. The moment the hoardings went up inquiries for group bookings began pouring in en masse.”And the bookings are coming from vigilante vegetarian communities known for deep pockets. Bulani doesn’t see a problem with this though. “People who think that vegetarian and Jain food are not meant for party time, don’t know how to cook,” he said.

Holiday season’s here but where’s the cheer?

That time of the year is here again but the cheer missing. According to the Entertainment Tax department officials, the number of parties being organised in the city has dropped by 30 per cent, mainly due to the big organisers backing out.”Worried about the overall shortfall in revenue, we called a meeting of all the organisers who had registered their events and parties with us last year on December 5. Almost all of them said they were not organising anything this year,” said a senior official, who added, “If the world stops partying like this, how will we meet our target? We get nearly 60-65 per cent of our yearly revenue in this season.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Brand manager of Bright Outdoors, a leading hoarding brand, Ravi Ranjan, agreed and said the scenario looked bleak. “The market is very sluggish. Everybody’s unsure of what lies ahead and holding on to whatever money they have,” he said and added, “By November, we have huge New Year party ad bookings. This year, it’s almost the third week of December and only three parties have approached us.” he added, “It is said that the market follows a seven year cycle of highs and lows. This low cycle began in 2008. I hope its over now with 2015.”Even those who are organising any party are trying to play it safe by keeping with the times. Milesahead Multimedia are hosting Mumbai’s first fully vegetarian New Year party, Limbo Neon Nights, at Byke Suraj Plaza. Director of Milesahead Multimedia, Hira Bulani, brushed off the suggestion that he was taking the beef ban too seriously. “I am a businessman. I will only plan something that is feasible and works for the guests,” he said.According to him, this year, the Hindu holy month of Margashirsha has already begun. “Even families where non-vegetarian food is otherwise consumed, abstain during this month, when fasts are observed on all Thursdays for Goddess Lakshmi. Why should I lose out on customers who want to observe the month and still party?” he asked.Bulani felt the customers would be willing to come out and party if the organisers thought out-of-the-box, despite the tough market conditions. “We are taking the neon theme to another level – with glasses that light up, glow-in-the-dark ice, and so on. When you inject novelty into the theme, it draws people in. The moment the hoardings went up, inquiries for group bookings began pouring in,” he said.No surprise that most bookings are coming from vigilante vegetarian communities, known for their deep pockets. Bulani doesn’t see a problem with this. “People who think vegetarian and Jain food is limited don’t know how to cook,” he said.

Stung by Modi govt’s ‘cold attitude’, VHP says Ram temple to be made by dharmacharyas, masses

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Almost six months after VHP announced its nationwide drive to collect stones for construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, two trucks of stones had arrived in the temple city earlier this week, even as police said it was monitoring the situation

AFP
Apparently miffed with the “cold attitude” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards the Ram Mandir issue, VHP leaders in Ayodhya said that the temple will be constructed by the ‘dharmacharyas’ (holy men) and masses.”We don’t take directions from Modi. Dharmacharyas use their own wisdom,” Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, president of Ram Janam Bhumi Nyas, who actively campaigned for the construction of Ram Mandir said. Das said that although they were hopeful that the temple construction work would pick up after the return of a Hindu party government, the NDA-led Centre “did not take any interest” in VHP’s Ayodhya movement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have thus decided to move forward with our agenda without any help,” he said. Another senior VHP leader Triloki Nath Pandey, seconded Das’s opinion. Pandey, who was awarded a part of Babri Masjid land by Allahabad High Court, said that the VHP never expected any help from the Prime Minister for the temple construction.The temple would be constructed by Dharmacharyas and Hindu masses, he added. Almost six months after VHP announced its nationwide drive to collect stones for construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, two trucks of stones had arrived in the temple city earlier this week, even as police said it was monitoring the situation.

India beef lynching suspects charged

Police in India file charges against 15 suspects, including a juvenile, over the lynching of a Muslim man accused by Hindus of eating beef.

Dawood Ibrahim’s car, sold at auction, to be burnt tomorrow

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At an auction of Dawood’s properties held in Mumbai on December 9, Chakrapai bid successfully for the green Hyundai Accent car for a mere Rs 32,000.

Dawood Ibrahim

Swami Chakrapani, the right-wing Hindu leader who successfully bid for a car belonging to fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim at an auction here earlier this month, today said it would be burnt publicly in Ghaziabad near Delhi on Wednesday.Speaking to PTI over telephone from Delhi, Chakrapani said, “Our organisation has decided to burn the car publicly at Indrapuram in Ghaziabad between 1 PM to 2 PM. “Burning the car would be symbolic of conducting the last rites of the terrorism that Dawood and his henchmen spread in the country, especially in Mumbai,” added Chakrapani, who claims to be the national president of ‘All India Hindu Mahasabha’ and is one of the petitioners in the Ram Janmabhoomi case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At an auction of Dawood’s properties held in Mumbai on December 9, Chakrapai bid successfully for the green Hyundai Accent car for a mere Rs 32,000. “Earlier I wanted to covert the car into an ambulance, but when D-company’s (Dawood gang’s) henchmen threatened me to be ready to face the consequences, I decided to give a reply to him in his own language. I am going to torch it in full publicview,” he said.The car, which is in a battered condition, was transported to Delhi from Mumbai a few days ago. Chakrapani said he didn’t need any security as he was not afraid of threats, though he filed a complaint with Mandir Marg police in Delhi on December 11 after receiving the threat calls.

VHP’s first lot of stones for Ram temple arrives in Ayodhya, police on alert

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“Now, the time has come for the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Lot of stones arrived today in Ayodhya. And now the arrival of stones will continue. We have signals from Modi Government that Mandir construction would be done now,” he said.

Indian activists of Hindu Bajrang Dal, along with Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) organizations, hold swords alongside a model of a Ram temple during a procession marking the 23rd anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid Mosque in Ayodhya, in Amritsar on December 6, 2015

AFP
Almost six months after VHP announced its nationwide drive to collect stones for construction of Ram temple here, two trucks of stones arrived in the temple city here today, even as police said it was monitoring the situation.”Two trucks of stones have been unloaded at Ram Sewak Puram, a VHP property in Ayodhya, and ‘Shila Pujan’ (praying of the stones) has been performed by Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the president of Ram Janam Bhumi Nyas,” VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma said.Meanwhile, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das told PTI that there was a “signal” from the Modi government that the temple will be build “now”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Now, the time has come for the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Lot of stones arrived today in Ayodhya. And now the arrival of stones will continue. We have signals from Modi Government that Mandir construction would be done now,” he said.Reacting to the arrival of stones at VHP headquarters, Faizabad Senior Superintendent of Police Mohit Gupta said that the police was monitoring the situation.”We are monitoring all the developments minutely. Stones have arrived and being kept in a private premises. Due to this development, if their was any breach in peace or communal harmony we will definitely take action,” he said.Asserting its resolve to build the Ram temple, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had in June announced a nationwide drive to collect stones for construction of the temple here and had also asked the Muslim community not to pose any hindrance.”About 2.25 lakhs cubic ft of stones are required for the construction of the Ram temple and about 1.25 lakh cubic ft of stones are ready at the VHP’s headquarter in Ayodhya. The rest one lakh cubic ft stones would be collected nationwide from Hindu devotees,” VHP leader Ashok Singhal, who died last month in Gurgaon, had said.The announcement had met with a quick reaction from the administration, which had said that it would oppose the move as the matter was sub judice.Principal Secretary (Home) Devashish Panda had said that the Uttar Pradesh government would not allow arrival of stones in Ayodhya for Ram Mandir.”Since the matter is sub judice, the government will not allow starting of any new tradition regarding Ayodhya issue,” he had said.

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VHP’s first lot of stones for Ram temple arrive, police on high alert

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Reacting to the arrival of stones at VHP headquarters, Faizabad Senior Superintendent of Police Mohit Gupta said that the police was monitoring the situation

Indian activists of Hindu Bajrang Dal, along with Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) organizations, hold swords alongside a model of a Ram temple during a procession marking the 23rd anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid Mosque in Ayodhya, in Amritsar on December 6, 2015

AFP
Almost six months after VHP announced its nationwide drive to collect stones for construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, two trucks of stones arrived in the temple city here today, even as police said it was monitoring the situation.”Two trucks of stones have been unloaded at Ram Sewak Puram, a VHP property in Ayodhya, and ‘Shila Pujan’ (praying of the stones) has been performed by Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the president of Ram Janam Bhumi Nyas,” VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma said. Meanwhile, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das told PTI that there was a “signal” from the Modi government that the temple will be build “now”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Now, the time has come for the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Lot of stones arrived today in Ayodhya. And now the arrival of stones will continue. We have signals from Modi Government that Mandir construction would be done now,” he said. Reacting to the arrival of stones at VHP headquarters, Faizabad Senior Superintendent of Police Mohit Gupta said that the police was monitoring the situation.”We are monitoring all the developments minutely. Stones have arrived and being kept in a private premises. Due to this development, if their was any breach in peace or communal harmony we will definitely take action,” he said. Asserting its resolve to build the Ram temple, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had in June announced a nationwide drive to collect stones for construction of the temple here and had also asked the Muslim community not to pose any hindrance.”About 2.25 lakhs cubic ft of stones are required for the construction of the Ram temple and about 1.25 lakh cubic ft of stones are ready at the VHP’s headquarter in Ayodhya. The rest one lakh cubic ft stones would be collected nationwide from Hindu devotees,” VHP leader Ashok Singhal, who died last month in Gurgaon, had said.The announcement had met with a quick reaction from the administration, which had said that it would oppose the move as the matter was sub judice. Principal Secretary (Home) Devashish Panda had said that the Uttar Pradesh government would not allow arrival of stones in Ayodhya for Ram Mandir. “Since the matter is sub judice, the government will not allow starting of any new tradition regarding Ayodhya issue,” he had said.

LS Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to attend ‘Vishwa Sangh Shivir’

Mohan Bhagwat will address a session presided by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G Madhavan Nair on January 2,

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat are among 700 representatives who will take part in the 6th ‘Vishwa Sangh Shivir’ (World Sangh Camp) to be held here from December 29 to January 3. The representatives from 40 countries across the globe will take part in the ‘Shivir’.”The event is being organised among others by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), which runs different social activities worldwide,” HSS international ‘Sah-Sanyojak’ (assistant coordinator) Ravi Kumar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Mahajan will inaugurate the mega event aimed at promoting Indian culture and values world wide,” he said.Bhagwat will address a session presided by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G Madhavan Nair on January 2, Kumar informed.Among others, representatives of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Sewa International and others organisations will take part in the camp, he said. Kumar further said that the first Vishwa Sangh Shivir was held in Bengaluru in 1990 and such camps had been organised at Vadodra, Mumbai, Gandhinagar and Pune.

Kamlesh Tiwari Row: Several protesters booked for shouting pro-ISIS slogans in Rajasthan

The rally was organised on Friday in Malpura town in protest against Hindu Mahasabha activist Kamlesh Tiwari’s alleged derogatory remarks on the Muslim community.

All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) supporters taking out a protest rally against Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari over his remarks against Prophet Muhammad in New Delhi PTI

Some people were booked for allegedly shouting pro-ISIS slogans at a rally in Rajasthan’s Tonk district, police said on Saturday. The rally was organised on Friday in Malpura town in protest against Hindu Mahasabha activist Kamlesh Tiwari’s alleged derogatory remarks on the Muslim community. “During the rally, which started from a mosque and passed through the town, some people shouted slogans favouring the terror organisation ISIS,” SP Tonk Deepak Kumar said. “The matter was brought to my notice by policemen, who were deployed in security arrangements. At least five of the accused were identified on the basis of a video footage,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An FIR was lodged today with Malpura police station against the identified as well as unidentified persons for shouting ‘ISIS Zindabad’ under section 153 (A) of IPC (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony). “There were inputs that they also shouted pro-Pakistan slogans, but this is not seen in the video footage. The matter is very serious and is being investigated thoroughly,” he said. On Thursday, a marketing manager in Indian Oil Corporation Mohammad Sirazuddin was arrested in the state capital for spreading the ideology of ISIS through social media. (Read: Here’s why 1 lakh Muslims are demanding death penalty for Kamlesh Tiwari)

Narendra Modi, Shinzo Abe attend ‘Ganga aarti’ in Varanasi

The ‘Ganga aarti’ held for the two PMs was far more wondrous and awe-inspiring than what Varanasi citizens had seen every day for the past two decades. The magnitude and grandeur of this event was nothing short of magical.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the evening aarti on the banks of the River Ganges

AFP
Varanasi hosted an audio-visual treat non pareil for PM Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on the banks of the holy Ganga on Saturday, marking a historic occasion in this oldest city of the world.The ‘Ganga aarti’ held for the two PMs was far more wondrous and awe-inspiring than what Varanasi citizens had seen every day for the past two decades. The magnitude and grandeur of this event was nothing short of magical.Union Minister Kalraj Mishra was heard telling reporters later that even though he belonged to Varanasi, such a magnificent experience was beyond his imagination.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The extravaganza was not limited to sights and sounds, lights and music, prayers and chants. It transcended into the divine, holding thousands of onlookers in a deep trance for almost an hour.Both Modi and Abe seemed to be under a spell as they sat together taking in the glory of the Ganga and its ritual worship from a special platform built 20 feet into the water at the famous Dashashwamedh Ghat.The PMs seemed in complete harmony with the goings-on as they offered prayers at the river bank, aided by the holy Hindu priests to the chanting of Vedic ‘mantras’. Modi in a serene ochre ‘kurta pyjama’ was contrasted by Abe in a similar black dress set off by a camel coloured waist coat.The ‘Ganga aarti’ started with the blowing of conch shells. As the chanting of the priests grew to a crescendo, Modi and Abe clapped to the beat of the ‘damru’ (hand-held percussion of Lord Shiva), clearly spellbound by the mystical experience. Modi was seen enjoying a perfect camaraderie with Abe, indulging in a friendly banter. At times, he spoke with a certain earnestness, perhaps explaining the intricacies of Hindu worship and its rituals.The entire ‘ghat’ was luminous with immumerable lamps, ‘diyas’ and candles lighting up the environs with a brilliance difficult to capture in words. Added to this were lights and laser beams which imbued the entire expanse with a million hues.As the priests danced with huge candelabras, as if in a trance, the divine merged into the sublime. The two PMs and everyone present was drenched in spirituality as the riverbank glowed with an ethereal radiance. The Ganga had submerged all in its ethereal spate.

National Herald case: Smriti Irani calls Rahul Gandhi’s views an ‘insult’ to democracy

Irani, who had unsuccessfully contested 2014 Lok Sabha polls against Gandhi from Amethi constituency, said, courts in the country are “independent and there is no individual, who is bigger than the law.”

Smriti Irani
File Photo

Smriti Irani hit back at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over his remark that the National Herald case is a “hundred per cent vendetta coming out of PMO”, saying there cannot be a bigger “insult” to country’s democracy than his views on it.Speaking during a media conference here, Irani also targeted Congress leaders over disruption in functioning of Parliament. “There cannot be a bigger insult to country’s democracy and judiciary. If he thinks country’s judiciary functions at someone’s instructions, then there can’t be a bigger insult of country’s court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The kind of comments Rahulji is making, the only message nation is getting is that if country’s law and judiciary don’t kneel before Gandhi family the Parliament will not be allowed to work,” she alleged. Irani, who had unsuccessfully contested 2014 Lok Sabha polls against Gandhi from Amethi constituency, said, courts in the country are “independent and there is no individual, who is bigger than the law.” On the issue of “intolerance”, Irani claimed, no one returned award if something went wrong during Congress’ regime.She added the foundation of the country’s democracy was in allowing one to express him/herself. “When someone asks me about tolerance, I say I am a Hindu woman, married to a Parsi. My children will not be Hindu, but Parsi. There can’t be bigger example I can give to the nation,” she said citing her own example. On another question, the minister maintained education will play an important role in curbing terrorism and said the government is taking efforts to see students from class IX to XII were exposed to socio-political happenings in the world.She also stressed the Centre is making efforts to increase standards of education imparted by government schools and also added that government is taking measures to strengthen base of country’s education system.Congress leaders, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul have been summoned by a Delhi court on December 19 on a complaint by BJP’s Subramanian Swamy against them, for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the now-defunct newspaper.Rahul Gandhi had on December 9 said that the National Herald case is “hundred per cent political vendetta coming out of PMO” but declared that he had full faith in the judiciary. “One hundred per cent political vendetta. Pure political vendetta coming out of PMO. It is their way of doing politics. Pure 100 per cent vendetta,” Gandhi had said.

Eying Dalits and backwards, RSS plans campaign for Hindu unity

“We are going to hold discussions on ‘samajik samrasta’ (social harmony) in our shakhas (morning get-together classes) from January 3 to 10 in which all the participants have been asked to be present,” RSS Madhya Bharat Pranth Sanghchalak Satish Pimplikar said.

RSS will run a nationwide campaign next year to promote “social harmony” among Hindus apparently with an eye to win over Dalits, tribals and other backward classes, communities which are key to BJP’s hopes of wresting power in Uttar Pradesh where elections are due in 2017.The move also assumes significance in the wake of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Chief Mohan Bhagwat’s suggestion that the reservation policy needs to be reviewed – a statement that had boomeranged as it was blamed by many for BJP’s drubbing in the recent Assembly polls of caste-ridden Bihar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are going to hold discussions on ‘samajik samrasta’ (social harmony) in our shakhas (morning get-together classes) from January 3 to 10 in which all the participants have been asked to be present,” RSS Madhya Bharat Pranth Sanghchalak Satish Pimplikar said.”The members (volunteers) of the shakhas will spread the Sangh’s viewpoint on ‘samrasta’ in the society thereafter,” he said.Besides, on Makar Sankranti (January 14), the RSS will organise lunches in which food stuff of ’til’ (sesame seeds) made by different families will be served, he said referring to an apparent symbolic gesture of breaking traditional caste-related restriction that have plagued the society.”People of different castes including Dalits, creed and languages will sit together and take lunch. By doing so we want to promote samajik samrasta in the Hindu society,” he said.”We will also hold several ‘samajik samrasta yajnas’ on February 7 in which people of different castes, including Dalits, across the Madhya Bharat Pranth, will participate,” he said.The RSS functionary, however, stressed that “nothing deeper” should be read into this move. It is primarily aimed at Hindu ‘samrasta’, he said adding that RSS has been promoting harmony among Hindus since decades.”We are doing this exercise following a decision of our central body. Such functions are going to be organised in our 11 ‘kshetras’ spread across the country. The different pranths of the kshetras will chart out their functions,” Pimplikar said.Meanwhile, the RSS is circulating a Hindi booklet titled ‘Sabhi Hindu Sahodar Hai’ (all Hindus are siblings), containing its views on ‘Hindu samrasta’ in Bhopal, Gwalior, Chambal and Narmadapuram revenue divisions of MP which it refers as Madhya Bharat Pranth.The 32-page booklet praises Dr B R Ambedkar, the architect of Indian Constitution, and contains lectures of former RSS chiefs late Balasaheb Deoras and late M S Golwalkar vehemently opposing untouchability.The BJP too has been stressing on the legacy of Dalit icon Ambedkar with the Narendra Modi Government marking Constitution Day on November 26 which saw a special two-day discussion in both Houses of Parliament as a tribute to Ambedkar.In a stunning comeback in Uttar Pradesh, BJP had swept the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in the state, which was mainly attributed to the consolidation of Dalit votes, and the party has been hoping to continue the trend in the 2017 Assembly polls in the politically crucial state.However, the recent debacle in Bihar Assembly polls despite the fact that it won a major chunk of Lok Sabha seats in the state jolted the party.

Dawood’s Mumbai assets auctioned, ex-scribe, Hindu outfit win bids

Other four properties owned by the don outside Maharashtra were also auctioned.

Dawood Ibrahim

An eatery once owned by dreaded underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in South Mumbai besides his green sedan and tenancy rights to a property in suburban Matunga went under the hammer today, with a former journalist emerging as the top bidder at Rs 4.28 crore for the food joint notwithstanding a threat from the don’s aide Chhota Shakeel. Other four properties owned by the don outside Maharashtra were also auctioned. However, details of these assets and their bidders are not known. Journalist-turned-activist S Balakrishnan, who runs NGO ‘Desh Sewa Samiti’, plans to start a computer education centre for poor children on the premises of the property.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Balakrishnan pipped Durhani Trust of Bohra community in an aggressive bidding that lasted for over one hour at Hotel Diplomat in South Mumbai. Interestingly, Hindu Mahasabha won the bid at Rs 3.32 lakh to purchase Dawood’s Hyundai Accent, which was priced at measly Rs 15,700. This green sedan has been parked at a government society in Ghatkopar for the past four years and is in bad shape with burst tyres and shattered windshield. Besides Balakrishnan, a Delhi-based lawyer Ajay Shrivastava and president of Hindu Mahasabha Swami Chakrapani were among the bidders for the assets on block. The government had appointed a private firm to hold the auction under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Properties) Act, 1976. However, the winner of the tenancy rights for Dawood’s room, situated in Mahavir Building in Matunga, is not known. The base price for the 32.77 sq metre room was fixed at Rs 50.44 lakh. Delhi Zaika, earlier hotel Rounak Afroz, is located at a short distance from Dawood’s house in Dambarwala building in Pakmodia Street where his younger brother Iqbal Kaskar resides. “Our only competitor was Durhani Trust which works for redevelopment work in Bhendi Bazar. The bidding went on for one-and-half hours and finally our bid for Rs 4.28 crore was accepted in open auction,” Balakrishnan told reporters. The reserve price of the property was Rs 1.18 crore. “My NGO wants this property (eatery on Pakmodia) to help underprivileged women and children of Bhendi Bazar to learn computers. This will help the people in society and give a strong message to gangsters like Dawood that Indians are not afraid of him and he can no longer unleash terror in the country,” he said. When asked about funding for the property, which he has to manage within a month, Balakrishnan said he would arrange money from the common people of the country.

Objectionable tweet case: Gujarat HC exempts Teesta Setalvad from personal appearance

Apart from exempting Teesta from appearing in person, the HC also asked the police to inform her seven days in advance to appear before them whenever she is needed here for the purpose of investigation.

In a relief to activist Teesta Setalvad, the Gujarat High Court on Monday exempted her from personal appearance before police every month in connection with a case in which she is accused of posting objectionable pictures of Hindu deities on a popular social networking site. Justice JB Pardiwala passed the order while hearing Setalvad’s plea seeking exemption from personal appearance. A lower court had imposed the condition of personal appearance on Teesta after an FIR was filed against her at Ghatlodia police station here in August last year.Apart from exempting Teesta from appearing in person, the HC also asked the police to inform her seven days in advance to appear before them whenever she is needed here for the purpose of investigation. The FIR was filed against Teesta by a VHP activist, Raju Patel, for allegedly putting objectionable pictures of Hindu god and goddess on Twitter. Ghatlodia police are investigating the case. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Teesta had later removed the objectionable posts following an outcry. She was booked under sections 153(a) (promoting enmity between two religious groups, and 205(a) (committing a deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings by insulting religion or religious beliefs) of IPC, besides various sections of IT Act. She was granted a pre-arrest bail by the city sessions court with a condition that she will have to appear before Ghatlodia police station on the fifth day of every month.Teesta then approached the HC in August seeking modification of the bail condition. Granting her an interim relief, the HC had in September allowed Teesta to appear at the police station on any day in the first week of every month instead of the fifth day. In the same case, she had filed a plea before the HC seeking setting aside of the case against her, which is pending.

15 things you need to know about the Father of Constitution BR Ambedkar

Some highlights from Ambedkar’s life .

December 6 is the death anniversary of BR Ambedkar, best known for being the architect of the Indian constitution and for his struggle against untouchability in the Indian society. Ambedkar passed away in 1956, when he was 65 years old.Here are 9 facts you need to know about this great man, who made the Indian constitution possible. 1. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born on April 14, 1891 in Mhow ( currently in Madhya Pradesh). He belonged to the Mahar caste, considered as untouchable and dalit. A young Ambdekar faced blatant discrimination in school. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Ambedkar’s father served in the Indian army and his ancestors had worked with the East India Company.3. Ambedkar was a student par excellence. He had degrees in law and economics from iconic places like the Columbia University and the London School of Economics. 4. He was the first Union Minister of Law and Justice in the Nehru government. 5. Ambedkar wrote a short autobiography called Waiting For a Visa in 1935-36. It chronicled his experience with untouchability, including his struggles after he returned to India and started working in Baroda. 6. While working in Bombay at Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, he faced hostility from colleagues for being from a lower caste. 7. Ambedkar strongly spoke out against Manusmriti for justifying caste discrimination and untouchability and even burnt its copies. 8. In 1936, Ambedkar formed Independent Labour Party, to give a voice to the downtrodden. 9. In 1942, he formed the Scheduled Castes Federation. However, his party had very limited electoral success.10. Ambedkar was the Chairman of the constitution drafting committee. 11. He resigned as the Union Law Minister when his Hindu Code Bill failed to pass in the Parliament. 12. Ambedkar was the man behind the setting up of the Finance Commission of India. His ideas were also used when the Reserve Bank of India was founded. 13. He was fervently against Article 370, which grants special status for Jammu and Kashmir. 14. He converted to Buddhism in 1956 along with his wife.15. He suffered from severe diabetes towards the end of his life.

Modi government most anti-intellectual India has ever had: Ramachandra Guha

Guha said Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and M M Kalburgi “almost certainly” were murdered by Hindu fundamentalists.

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Renowned historian Ramchandra Guha on Saturday said he believes that the government at the Centre led by Narendra Modi is the most “anti-intellectual” the country ever had and is manifested in the appointments it had made in various educational and cultural institutions.”I believe, as a student of history of contemporary India, who has watched every government for the last 45 years, the government in power in Delhi is the most anti-intellectual we ever had, and this is manifested in appointments,” he said while giving a talk on “Eight Threats To Freedom of Expression” on the first day of the fourth Bangalore Literature Festival here. “Just look at the appointments of Pahlaj Nihalani and Gajendra Chauhan. What do their appointments show? It shows absolute contempt for scholars, literature and the arts. “The Prime Minister does not believe intellectuals, writers and artists contribute anything to the society because that’s his own impression and that’s his own experience, and that goes right down the line,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Guha further said “if the country has such a government, profoundly anti-intellectual and philistine, and whose educational and culture are ruled by RSS, besides what you have in public discourse being shaped by bigots and chamchas. Bigots and chamchas and are appointed by the government for academic and cultural posts.” Guha said Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and M M Kalburgi “almost certainly” were murdered by Hindu fundamentalists.”Pansare, Dabholkar and Kalburgi were murdered for their atheistic and rational views and their critical and skeptical understanding of the tradition. Almost certainly all three were murdered by Hindu fundamentalists,” he said. Guha also attacked Congress and Communist rule by saying that no major and minor politician and political party has ever supported writers, artists and filmmakers against thugs and bigots.”In 1989, Rajiv Gandhi banned Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, and it took 25 years for Chidambaram to talk about it in a Delhi meeting. Why did he not resign in the last 25 years?” he questioned. “Jyoti Basu and Buddadeb Bhattacharya, could not protect Taslima Nasreen for her work. No Left wing intellectuals protested,” he said. Even during the rule of Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister, incidents of vandalism took place at Hussain Doshi Gufa, Guha said.

Husband duty-bound to take care of wife’s health: Supreme Court

The court also rejected husband’s submission to accept their mutual settlement agreement, in which the man agreed to give her Rs 12.5 lakhs as full and final amount, and grant decree of divorce.

Ruling that it is the duty of husband to take care of the health and safety of his wife, the Supreme Court directed a man to pay Rs five lakh immediately to his estranged wife, who is suffering from breast cancer, in a matrimonial dispute case.The court also rejected husband’s submission to accept their mutual settlement agreement, in which the man agreed to give her Rs 12.5 lakhs as full and final amount, and grant decree of divorce.A bench headed by Justice M Y Eqbal said “it is a primary duty of the husband only to provide facilities for the treatment of the wife. This is a pre-existing duty of the husband, provided the husband has sufficient means and he is diligently doing his part in taking care of her. In the present case, by the settlement agreement the man is promising to do something which he is already duty bound, is not a valid consideration for the settlement.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noting that “it seems that the wife agreed for divorce by mutual consent on the condition that the husband will pay her Rs 12,50,000 as full and final settlement. The woman is suffering from such a disease which has compelled her to agree for the mutual consent divorce.””The fact that the wife is ready for the mutual consent divorce after knowing about her medical condition raises a suspicion in our mind as to whether the consent obtained from the wife is free as required by law for granting the decree of divorce by mutual consent,” the bench also comprising Justice C Nagappan said.The bench referred to the study of Hindu Law and different religious books, saying that after marriage law enjoins the “corresponding” duty on the husband to look after her comforts and not only to provide her food and clothes but to protect her from all calamities and to take care of her health and safety.The court was hearing a petition filed by the woman seeking her matrimonial dispute case to be transferred to Hydrabad from a family court in Mumbai.In the course of hearing, the parties were allowed to go for mediation. The wife and husband mutually agreed to for divorce after the man agreed to pay her Rs 12.5 lakh as full and final settlement.Allowing her plea, the court said after the wife is fully cured from the disease or within six months whichever is earlier, the Family Court at Hyderabad shall take up the case along with a fresh application that may be filed by the parties for divorce by mutual consent.

Race to rescue Chennai flood victims

A massive rescue operation is under way to reach stranded people in the flood-hit southern Indian city of Chennai (Madras).

Astonished with Kumari Selja’s remarks about Dwarka temple: Parimal Nathwani

Selja Kumari on Monday, while participating in debate on ‘Commitment to the Constitution’ in the Rajya Sabha, had said that she was asked about her caste when she had visited Dwarka temple in Gujarat as a Cabinet Minister, leading to arguments between the ruling and opposition sides.
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Reacting to Congress leader Kumari Selja’s statement in the Rajya Sabha over being enquired about her caste during a visit to Dwarka temple in Gujarat in 2013, Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani on Wednesday said he was “astonished” at the former Union minister’s remarks as she had then praised the temple authorities for its management and seemed to be happy.Kumari on Monday, while participating in debate on ‘Commitment to the Constitution’ in the Rajya Sabha, had said that she was asked about her caste when she had visited Dwarka temple in Gujarat as a Cabinet Minister, leading to arguments between the ruling and opposition sides.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nathwani, also the vice chairman of the Dwarkadheesh Devsthan Samiti, said the Congress minister during her visit to Dwarka temple in February, 2013 as a cabinet minister, she had mentioned about the cleanliness and maintenance of the temple premises in the visitors book.”Kumari Selja, during her visit on February 22, 2013, she had written in the visitors book that with Lord Krishna’s blessing they had a very good ‘darshan’ and maintenance of the premises was excellent. It reflects that she was happy and appreciated the temple authorities,” Nathwani, independent MP from Jharkhand, told PTI.Terming Selja’s remarks as “astonishing”, he said there was nothing “humiliating” in being asked about caste as it is “customary” practise at Hindu temples or shrines.”With due respect to her, I would state that there is nothing humiliating in Tirth Panda asking devotees about their ‘Gotra’ (family root). This is a normal practise at all major Hindu shrines and pilgrim places,” he said.The MP said raising such issues only creates flutter and controversy on the issue, therefore, is unnecessary.”I am a Dalit but I am Hindu. I feel like visiting temples. I wanted to go to Dwarka temple. I have visited hundreds of temples. (I visited) Dwarka temple when I was Cabinet minister. I was asked about my caste,” Selja had said during the debate on ‘Commitment to the Constitution’.

Chennai floods stop 137-year-old paper

The Hindu newspaper, published daily since 1878, does not come out on Wednesday as workers fail to access the printing press due to floods.

Intolerance debate: PM remains silent when rationalists get killed, Rahul Gandhi’s salvo at Modi

He countered PM Modi’s speech about Constitution Day saying that according to him common man – Hindu, Muslim, rich and poor were the real authors of the Constitution. He noted that the PM did not mention this in his speech.

Rahul Gandhi on Tueday addressed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday as the intolerance issue was discussed. He said, “When I heard PM yesterday, I realised how broadly we differ.”He countered PM Modi’s speech about Constitution Day saying that according to him common man – Hindu, Muslim, rich and poor were the real authors of the Constitution. He noted that the PM did not mention this in his speech.Slammimg the BJP on the Intolerance issue, he said, “Kalburgi and Dabholkar were killed by fanatics and the PM did not break the ice.” <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that VK Singh after being sworn as an MP and holding the post of General of Indian Army compared Dalit children to dogs. Gandhi said he directly challenged the Constitution.Rahul also spoke about various personalities speaking about intolerance and facing severe backlash. He also added that Arun Shourie faced flak for being critical of PM Modi. “I would like to tell you that Arun shourie, who is BJP man, was trolled on Twitter because he criticised Modi,” said Gandhi.He spoke about Dadri saying, “A Muslim man is killed in cold blood. The man ultimately responsible for his protection, the PM, remained silent.”He said that while government talks of ‘Skill India’ voice of FTII students complaining about ‘mediocre man’ heading the institute was ‘crushed.’ Talking about Aamir Khan speaking out on rising intolerance he said, “Modi ministers are trying to send Bollywood star to Pakistan…Pakistan failed because they crushed the voice of their own people.”

Rajnath Singh seeks apology over allegation of ‘Hindu Prime Minister’ comment

Salim claimed he was only quoting from the November 16 issue of English magazine “Outlook” and tabled the magazine authenticating it.

The Lok Sabha on Monday plunged into pandemonium with four adjournments, as the MPs from both sides turn intolerant during the debate on rising incidents of intolerance in the country. The treasury benches took objections on CPI(M) member Mohd Salim’s remarks that Home Minister Rajnath Singh while hailing Narendra Modi had said ‘he is the first Hindu ruler after 800 years after Prithviraj Chavan.’ Home minister Rajnath jumped to his feet to deny any such comment and challenged Salim to tell the House when and where he had said so, or apologise. As Salim tried to fight back, claiming “this is tyranny of majority,” Rajnath said he was badly hurt as never such a serious charge was levelled on him, asserting that “no home minister can continue in his post after making such a statement.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Salim claimed he was only quoting from the November 16 issue of English magazine “Outlook” and tabled the magazine authenticating it. The ruling benches refused to let him go as minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy kept pleading with him to withdraw the remarks until his charge is verified, particularly after the Home Minister has flatly denied it. “Do not push the nation into a dangerous situation, making difficult for us to sit in the House.”Rajnath asserted that even his political opponents would not accuse him of making the statement attributed to him. He was right as the BJP leaders outside the House endorsed him, noting that the magazine had misquoted him.Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, who had allowed the debate urging members not to themselves become intolerant while discussing intolerance, sought to end the controversy by adjourning the House for lunch break, after declaring that particular allegations of Salim are “not kept in debate.” Noting that Salim had also not given notice to Rajnath as per the rules, particularly when such a charge is made on the home minister of the country, she repeated that “it will not be on record.”

While Narendra Modi does a Rajiv Gandhi in Nepal, China might have the last laugh

If they are laughing at you, then it’s all over. And Nepal is. Cracking jokes at India’s, particularly Narendra Modi’s expense that is. Stand-up comedian Manoj Gajurel used to have his audience doubling up with his “positive” impersonations of Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister who made Kathmandu his first port of call in his soon-to-be overbooked foreign itinerary and the only country he has visited twice in his first eighteen months. Last month Gajurel changed his act. He has been, he says, going to their hallowed Pashupatinath Temple, where Modi had offered prayers last August, and performing the kshama puja on behalf of Modi for “putting Nepal through such hard times”.

PM Narendra Modi. AFPPM Narendra Modi. AFP

PM Narendra Modi. AFP

That Narendra Modi is doing nothing to ease Nepal’s troubles is undeniable. It’s over two months now since Nepal passed the new constitution that New Delhi so disliked that it tried to scuttle it on the very eve of its passage and showed no grace in bowing to the inevitable when faced with a fait accompli. Since then things have only gone from bad to worse. The India-Nepal border is practically closed for goods and Nepal is starving for fuel, medicines and other essential items, a crisis that will snowball into a humanitarian catastrophe now that winter is nigh; incipient border clashes are breaking out, violence outbursts are taking lives in the border areas; the UN has been witness to first-ever skirmishes between the two countries initiated by New Delhi; while at home the Modi government is maintaining a hands off policy, it’s foreign ministry officials practically saying, they didn’t listen to us, now it’s their funeral, let them deal with it.

The big mystery still remains is why. Why is the NDA government being so obdurate? Why is Narendra Modi hellbent on doing a Rajiv Gandhi in Nepal? In 1989-90, differences over the renewal of trade and transit treaties and Kathmandu’s procurement of anti-aircraft guns from China had led India to impose a 15-month embargo on goods coming to Nepal. Rajiv Gandhi, with his misadventures in Nepal and Sri Lanka, can hardly be a role model for the man who could barely bring himself to mention even Jawaharlal Nehru’s name until forced to do so with gritted teeth only to save the GST Bill.

What does India gain by pushing Nepal into the arms of an eagerly waiting China? A much stronger, more emboldened and far more ambitious China than in Rajiv Gandhi’s days? China’s offer to send oil to Nepal is only the thin end of the wedge. Already more entry points have been opened up between the two countries, soon, going by China’s track record, more roads will be built, swifter means of communication will be in place, Nepal will slide away from India’s ambit of influence.

True, geography favours India. Transit is easier, cheaper and well established between these two countries. The reason why there is a richer history between these two neighbours, closer cultural and social ties. That may also be why India is happily playing this cat and mouse game. They are waiting for Nepal to be humbled, to surrender. Probably keeping fingers crossed too that the current, unyielding Oli government will fall under its own contradictions and India will be able to dictate terms again. And the biggest test may have just begun.

Indian television channels have been blocked in Nepal since yesterday. Whether the government has strong-armed the cable operators or the cable operators have become ultra-patriotic and stopped them by popular demand, as Kathmandu claims, is of course the big question. Whatever the answer, the unfolding saga is bound to be quite nail-biting. Will the people of Nepal, already suffering from shortages of cooking medium and heating fuel and life-saving medicine, be ready to do without their daily soaps, their daily fixes of saas-bahu serials too? If yes, then India has reason to worry. The tide will have turned, Nepal’s fury against India will become inflexible, implacable. The jokes about Narendra Modi will get louder and more raucous and Beijing will have the last laugh.

Maybe that is when Narendra Modi will feel impelled to hold out the olive branch to the only other Hindu majority country in the world. As he did to Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. But brinkmanship can hardly be the best way to run a government. Maybe it’s time someone gifted him a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People. No one likes bullies.

If Sardar Patel had become PM, India would have become Pakistan: Author Kancha Ilaiah

Dalit activist and author Kancha Ilaiah has stirred a controversy by saying that India would have gone on the lines of Pakistan had Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel become the nation’s Prime Minister.

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Dalit activist and author Kancha Ilaiah has stirred a controversy by saying that India would have gone on the lines of Pakistan had Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel become the nation’s Prime Minister.Speaking at the Times LitFest on Sunday, Ilaiah said that Patel was close to the Hindu Mahasabha and added that he wouldn’t have allowed Ambedkar to draft and write the Constitution.The Congress Party said everyone had a right to have an opinion.”What Kancha Ilaiah has said is his personal view. One leader cannot be compared with another as every leader has his own stature. I would not like to comment on his views,” Congress leader PL Punia said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

PM Modi govt ‘promoting Brahmanism’, alleges Arundhati Roy; ABVP protests

Irked by Roy’s presence at a function in Pune, where she was presented an award instituted after social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, activists of BJP’s student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staged a noisy protest at the venue.
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Noted author Arundhati Roy on Saturday alleged that the Narendra Modi-led government was “promoting Brahmanism” in the name of “Hindu Rashtravad”, and word like “intolerance” is inadequate to describe the “fear” in which the minorities are presently living, prompting protest from right-wing activists, who dubbed her an “anti-national.Irked by Roy’s presence at a function in Pune, where she was presented an award instituted after social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, activists of BJP’s student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staged a noisy protest at the venue. After receiving the Mahatma Phule Equality award, she claimed the word “intolerance” is inadequate to describe the “fear” in which the minorities in the country are now living.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Slamming the Modi government, she alleged it was promoting “Brahmanism” in the name of “Hindu Rashtravad.” Roy, a Booker Prize winner, also alleged that the BJP was trying to “glorify” social reformers in the country as “great Hindus” and cited Dr B R Ambedkar as one of them, though he had left the Hindu religion.”The history is being re-written and national institutions are being taken over by the government,” she further alleged.Raising slogans against Roy, ABVP activists called her “anti-national, pro-Pakistan and anti-Indian Army”, before they were rounded up by police. The ABVP, in a memorandum handed over to the organisers, Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad, alleged that Roy, by her “anti-national” stand, had hurt the sentiments of all Indians.On the occasion, NCP leader and former Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal said the BJP need to learn its lesson from the Bihar Assembly polls result and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should control the party’s “fringe elements” indulging in “intolerant talks”.

There is tolerance in India, says PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti

Mufti said there is tolerance in India and the scientists, authors and historians returning the awards in protest is the biggest proof of this.

Mehbooba Mufti

Amid the ‘intolerance’ debate, PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti, a constituent of ruling NDA, on Friday lashed out at those saying “go to Pakistan”, asserting that the “nation owns us and we own the nation”.At the same time, she underlined that there is tolerance in India and compared the situation to countries like Pakistan and Syria where Muslims are killed but “one cannot even open the mouth”. “To those who ask (Muslims) to go to Pakistan, I want to say that the nation owns us and we own the nation,” she said in the Lok Sabha while participating in the debate on the Constitution. Her comments assume significance over the attacks on actors Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan for their opinion on intolerance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mufti said there is tolerance in India and the scientists, authors and historians returning the awards in protest is the biggest proof of this. “Indian Muslims follow the real Islam. This is also because the Hindu majority (community) is very tolerant. Babasaheb must have taken tolerance from Hinduism. The way Hinduism has the tolerance, perhaps no one has it. The historians, authors and scienitists have been protesting and returning their awards. The way they came out in protest keeps the nation alive.”In Pakistan or Syria even if Muslim is killed one cannot open their mouth,” she said. Referring to the Dadri incident where a Musim man was lynched over rumours of eating beef, she said that in incidents like this and also in the past communal violence like the ones in Meerut, Bhagalpur and Gujarat riots, it was the system that failed, but the people kept the spirit alive.Lauding Ambedkar for his contribution in making the Constitution, she said unlike the present day politicians who think about next election, he thought about future generations while drafting the constitution.

Both sides of the are argument flawed: Why the great secularism debate is a waste of time

The great secularism debate begins all over again. Rest assured, it will take us nowhere. There will be plenty of theoretical drivel from both sides of the secular divide justifying respective positions. And as usual there won’t be a point of convergence. Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Congress president set the ball rolling on day one of the winter session; Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take it forward on Friday. The end result is not expected to be dramatic.

There have been two competing narratives of secularism in the country since the days of Independence, one which goes by the generic description of Nehuruvian secularism, and the other is that of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Both narratives dig into history for sustenance and both link themselves to the wider issue of nationhood. The difference is one looks at the symmetries in our history, the other at asymmetries. One stresses the assimilative, adaptive and syncretic traits in it, while the other digs out the several conflicts, fault lines and entrenched grievances the other narrative tries to gloss over.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Given the fundamental contradiction in approach, an agreement is impossible. That makes the renewed debate waste of time. The real issue in India is not a singular theoretical description of secularism, but the way it’s actually practiced or sought to be practiced on the ground and its impact on people. That is where political secularism – the way parties look at the subject and go about it — kicks in. Irrespective of how India was or has been through centuries, it’s political considerations that have driven secularism in the country. And it needs elaboration.

The brand of secularism followed by the so called secular parties in the country has been hypocritical at the best and devious at the worst. They have been accused of appeasing the Muslims at the cost of the majority. It’s factually wrong. If it was truly the case, it would reflect in the living standards and other social parameters of the community. The Sachar report offered a stark reminder where they actually stand after six decades. The fact is such parties have only exploited the sense of insecurity among the Muslims and done little to mainstreaming them.

That the Congress – the biggest champion of secularism – has lost the Muslim constituency entirely over the decades is instructive in this context. It’s not clear yet what makes it, and other similar parties, squeamish about criticising Muslim organisations involved in terrorist activities and vocal when Hindu organisation get involved in acts of vandalism. If they are perceived to be anti-Hindu now, it’s a situation of their own making. This secularism is not of the Nehruvian variety by a long stretch.

On the other hand, the brand of secularism the RSS-BJP emphasises on is equally pernicious, if less hypocritical, for the simple reason that there’s too much hate and anger in it. It operates through foot soldiers who give it a completely negative colour through their illiberal, coercive and fundamentally anti-intellectual approach to everything. With excessive accent on Hindutva and the past it appears inherently exclusive and loaded with majoritarian tendencies. Worse, it is yet to develop a precise line of thinking to win over new converts. It would be still be acceptable with its imperfections if it didn’t evoke fear, not only in minorities but also in liberal Hindus.

Both versions of secularism being presented to us are full of flaws. And given the contentious nature of the subject and the political games involved we can hardly expect a meeting point coming out of any debate — remember we are talking of two entirely different readings of history. So why waste time over it?

Intolerance debate: Hindu Sena buys Aamir Khan, family tickets to Pakistan!

Speaking to dna on Thursday, Gupta said that tickets for Khan’s family were brought after the actor revealed during an interview that his wife felt insecure in the country.

Even though Aamir Khan has already issued a public statement in response to the flak he received over his remarks on growing intolerance in the country, the backlash against his observations reached a new level on Thursday with a Hindu right-wing group booking air-tickets to Pakistan for the actor and his family. Hindu Sena, the group that booked a one-way ticket for Khan, his wife Kiran Rao and their son, was in news last month after they led a Delhi police patrolling team into Kerala House claiming that a restaurant there was serving cow meat. Vishnu Gupta, the head of the group, was arrested and later released on bail.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to dna on Thursday, Gupta said that tickets for Khan’s family were brought after the actor revealed during an interview that his wife felt insecure in the country. Gupta also said that their group had initially thought of booking a one-way ticket to Syria “where ISIS would welcome the star’s family but an advisory issued against travelling to Syria made Islamabad, Pakistan the preferred choice”. “If he doesn’t feel safe in India then he should go to Syria where ISIS will welcome him just how they welcome fellow Muslims. Or he can take his family to Pakistan where Taliban will make him feel safe,” said Gupta.According to him, members of the Hindu Sena contributed money for Khan’s air ticket to Pakistan. “The tickets cost us 50,000 rupees and we have already sent it by speed post to Aamir Khan’s Mumbai home,” Gupta said.The ticket was booked with Oman Air and is supposed to depart on November 30 from Mumbai and reach Islamabad on the same day after a brief halt in Muscat.

Indian higher education crisis: More Indians go abroad to study, and fewer international students come to India

Even as reports last week suggested that the number of Indian student going to the US had increased by 30 percent, the inflow of foreign students to India has declined sharply, according to government data.

According to a report by The Times of India, data from the Union Ministry of Home affairs shows that the number of students coming to India from US, Germany, France, South Korea, Australia, China and Singapore had dropped by 73 percent from 13,961 in 2013 to 3,737 in 2014.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The report also indicates that the number hadn’t just dropped for countries better placed than India, but even from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and African nations fewer people are turning to India for higher education.

Adding to this is a report in DNA which suggested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s bonhomie with Barack Obama had seen a huge surge in students from India studying in the US.

According to the report Indian students going to the United States had risen by 29.4 percent within a year, compared to the six percent previous year following three years of consistent decline. There are, as of now, 1.33 lakh Indians studying in universities across the United States.

In fact, it is not just to the US, more and more Indian students are looking to go abroad for higher education. According to a government report, India saw a huge jump in internationally mobile students with only 39,626 students in foreign countries in 1995 to 1,89,472 students going abroad in 2012.

While the US has remained the top destination abroad to go for higher education, the government date shows that UK replaced Australia in 2012 as the second most coveted destination for getting a higher education.

Though the Modi-Obama bonhomie and more students going to the US is well and good, the fact that lesser students are coming to India and more students are going abroad raises several questions about the quality of education in our country.

Hindustan Times in a report points out, “a part of the reason may have to do with perceptions of insecurity, owing to the attacks on women that inhibit parents from sending their children to the subcontinent.”

Another problem faced by those coming from other countries is racial discrimination. South Sudanese students had complained to Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the issue at Pune’s Symbiosis International University in September. Singh had hence appealed, “From this platform, I want to appeal to all Indian students in Pune as well as in other parts of the country not to discriminate anyone and consider every one as brother. It is very unfortunate if any such incident takes place in our country.”

The Hindustan Times also pointed out that declining level of education because of shortages of capable faculty and lack of government efforts is also a reason why fewer students are coming to India for higher education. This, may also be one of the reasons why more and more students are going out of India for their higher education, apart from may be a more prosperous middle class and easily available education loans.

However, another reason for Indian students going abroad may be better scope and opportunity. As pointed out by Philip G Altbach in a report in The Hindu in 2014, “Not only are overseas programmes and departments more prestigious, they also have far better facilities, laboratories and a more favourable culture of research. Top faculty members are often more accessible and it is easier to become affiliated with a laboratory or institute. Academic politics exists everywhere, and Indians may suffer from occasional discrimination abroad, but overall academic conditions are likely to be better than at home.”

With numbers projecting a pretty bleak picture of the Indian education system, the quickest solution could be government hiring better faculty members in universities, setting up more universities, labs and research centers across the country.

Political uproar over Aamir Khan remark

Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan’s remarks on growing “intolerance” in India has sparked criticism, including from the ruling Hindu nationalist BJP.

Intolerance row: Shiv Sena hits out at Aamir Khan, says if he feels suffocated then he should release films outside India

“Speaking of leaving the country is a language of treachery. Leave whatever glory this country has given you, here only,” the BJP ally said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.

PTI
Shiv Sena on Wednesday hit out at actor Aamir Khan for his remarks on intolerance, saying he was speaking the “language of treachery” and asked the ‘Khan clan’ in the film industry to explain what calamity has befallen them.Dubbing Aamir ‘Ranchhoddas’, a character he played in the film “3 Idiots”, Sena said, “This Ranchhoddas should explain in which country is he going to live.””Speaking of leaving the country is a language of treachery. Leave whatever glory this country has given you, here only,” the BJP ally said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Only Aamir knows why he wanted to leave the country and why did he take his filmy wife’s remarks so seriously,” the Sena said.”Those who don’t feel that India is their own, should not speak of patriotism and of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ (referring to Aamir’s popular TV show),” it said.Attacking the powerful ‘Khan clan’ in the Bollywood, Sena said, “The Khan community in the film industry speak of fleeing the country. Let it be known what calamity has befallen them. The film ‘PK’ which ridiculed Hindu deities garnered hundreds of crores. Was this because the country is intolerant.”The Sena said if the actor feels suffocated over ‘intolerance’, then he should release his films outside India.”Aamir and his wife should go to Kashmir and see the war which our jawans fight. Should families of martyred jawans flee the country,” it said.The 50-year-old actor had said, “Kiran (his wife) and I have lived all our life in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India…She fears for her child, she fears about what the atmosphere around us will be.”

A stitch in time saves nine: Aamir Khan’s statement is neither hyperbolic nor motivated

Actor Aamir Khan chipped in on the debate over intolerance and expressed alarm and despondency over the rise in such cases in the last six to eight months. Khan added poignancy and alacrity to his assertions and further stated, “(Wife) Kiran and I have lived all our lives in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India? That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make to me. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day. That does indicate that there is a sense of growing disquiet,” he said.

The context to Aamir Khan’s assertions is the growing chorus over intolerance and actual incidents of violence in India. The most prominent of these that hogged the headlines are the Dadri lynching of an elderly Muslim man and the murderous arson attack on a Kashmiri trucker. The former was mobbed and lynched over rumors of having stored beef in his house and the latter after the beef ban controversy erupted in Kashmir. Both were innocent victims of a whipped up mob frenzy; not isolated, vigilante attacks that could be brushed aside as aberrations.

Aamir Khan. IbnliveAamir Khan. Ibnlive

Aamir Khan. Ibnlive

While there has been a wide ranging response to Aamir Khan’s assertions — ranging from the churlish and rude to the sober — Khan’s statements should focus and concentrate the minds of sober and thoughtful people.

Deconstructed, Aamir Khan’s statement is neither hyperbolic nor motivated.

Khan’s expression of alarm and then despondency is carefully thought out. He is a Muslim, in fact, a celebrity Muslim that many sections of the media have not ceased to tout as being representative of India’s secular and plural polity. Given the ubiquity of Aamir Khan and other assorted Khans in Bollywood and their celebrity nature, these people were inevitably plum pickings for propaganda and presenting a distorted picture of the Muslim condition in India. It needs to be pointed out here that the abysmal Muslim condition in India has been well documented to belabor any further discussion on Muslims in the country. Aamir — being an astute person — appears to know and understand his status and stature; hence the bombshell he drops. The propagandists have ‘egg on their face’. But this is not the main or major point of Aamir Khan’s assertions. It is more profound.

Essentially, Khan’s statements appear to be in the nature of a plea and need for course correction and review of the contemporary thrust and drift of the country’s polity and politics. It is not rocket science to understand and feel the undercurrents of multiple transitions that India is contemporarily undergoing. The major and the most significant transition is the ‘work in progress’ metamorphosis of the nature of the country’s polity and its politics. The premise of this metamorphosis is the political ideology that seeks to revert India to its ‘Hindu essence’. Admittedly reductive as all ideologies are, this ideology also seeks to ‘purify’ India of accretions and allegedly alien ideas and themes. Broken down and rudely stated, it seeks to cleanse India which, among other things, means the rule of the majority, a second or third class status for minorities especially Muslims and a more aggressive and chauvinistic posture-within and without. Or, in other words, a wholesale transformation and mutation of the idea of India – a new India of India that is Hindu in nature and essence.

This is the broad philosophical tour de force of the this ideology termed as Hindutva. The rest is mere corollary. That is, pedestrian application and crystallisation of this ideology into the entrails of the state, polity and society in India. Axiomatically, the fallout and consequence of all this would be intolerance. And once intolerance sets in and is not offered a contrapuntal and corrective, it becomes normative. It is to these normative implications and consequences of intolerance that Aamir Khan is throwing his status and eminence to. And it should be read and understood against this perspective. Laying out, delineating and deconstructing Aamir Khan’s statement in this essay is not in the nature of a defense of the man; it is an explication of the statement as I understand these to be. I then validate and whole heartedly endorse what Aamir Khan is stating and implying and that is , ‘a stitch in time saves nine’.

Divine Bovine controversy: While battling the demon of intolerance, let’s not forget the monster of literalism

The recent controversy over the Divine Bovine, an installation mounted at the Jaipur Art Summit, underscores the threat literalism poses to our imagination, in the process negating symbolism, stifling irony, and insisting on affixing one meaning to our reading of texts, works of art, and even our past. The rise of intolerance in the country is indeed linked to the rise of literalism.

All these dangers emanating from literalism came remarkably to the fore at the Jaipur Art Summit, evident from a bewildering exchange of meanings there. For those late on the story, the Bovine Divine had its creator, Sidhhartha Kararwal, suspending a life-size plastic cow mid-air using a balloon. Spurning literalism, Kararwal did not provide a caption to explain to his viewers the meaning of his installation.

Art often lies in its ambiguity. To explain to the viewers the meaning of his artistic expression was to tell them that they had to see it the way Kararwal did. Once the installation kicked up a storm, and it was summarily brought down, Kararwal thought it prudent to explain the intent behind the Divine Bovine.

Kararwal said, “The purpose of the display was to draw attention to the plight of abandoned animals who end up scavenging, eating plastic and choking to death.” Considering the raging debate over cow-slaughter in the country, it should have been construed as an artistic intervention pleading for better treatment of the cow, not leaving it to feed on what could kill it.

Divine Bovine takes flight. IBNLive

The Divine Bovine installation in Jaipur. IBNLive

But this wasn’t how the Divine Bovine was necessarily viewed. There were some who claimed it had hurt their religious sentiments, prompting the police to bring down the cow to the ground. Puja was performed before the cow was garlanded – and, subsequently, removed from the venue.

What hurt their sentiments? The Indian Express quoted Deputy Commissioner of Police Kunwar Rashtradeep thus: “According to the calls that we received, people were confused whether it was a real cow, whether the message was to kill and hang cows.” What people wanted was an explicit explanation, bewildered as they were by their own incomprehension of the installation.

Instead of taking the challenge their bewilderment posed to them, and seeking to tease out the possible meanings of the installation, they chose to impose one meaning on it — that the Divine Bovine was a show of disrespect to their religious sentiments. Literalism fuelled their anger: cows are supposed to have their four legs on the ground; any other posture is demeaning of the cow — and, therefore, of those who worship it.

Literalism demands adherence to the certitudes of the reader or viewer, obvious, for instance, from the remarks of the Jaipur-based animal rights activist, Suraj Soni. He said, “There was no slogan (meaning caption) accompanying the art work and one could easily misconstrue the installation as a portrayal of cruelty on animals.”

The viewer should have thought that there might be other meanings he or she couldn’t grasp. On seeing the cow, the question Soni should have asked was: What purpose would the artist have had in suspending a plastic cow mid-air? But literalism eschews questioning and asks us not to think, not to hit upon answers that challenge our existing notions and prejudices. This is why literalism insists there can only be one meaning to a text or work of art.

Then there was the VHP, the ever-keen arbiter of what hurts sentiments. Its Jaipur chief, Narpat Singh, seemed to ostensibly accept Kararwal’s explanation that his installation sought to highlight the plight of cows dying because of eating plastic. But he was opposed to the method Kararwal chose to depict his message. As Singh said, “The artists should express their emotions after weighing them. Rather than the controversy, there should have been a discussion on how to arrange a place to live and fodder for them.”

Indeed, literalism demands expressions without ambiguity. This was evident in Kararwal’s recapitulation of the questions the police asked of them. As he said to the press, “A key issue that seemed to bother them was: ‘Why fly a dead cow?’… When we explained that the cow was not dead, we were asked if it was alive.” Literalism seeks answers in the binary of either this or that, black or white.

Against this backdrop, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s reaction should be commended. She said she was “saddened” by what happened at the Art Summit, spoke and apologised to the artist-supporters of Kararwal who were mishandled and whisked away for questioning, and transferred the SHO who had taken action against them.

In Jaipur at least, literalism has claimed more famous victims earlier, quite a paradox for a city which hosts India’s most famous literary festival. In 2013, for instance, political psychologist Ashis Nandy had a case of foisted on him for declaring, in a panel discussion, that “most corrupt people come from Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes.”

Nandy had intended his remark as an irony in a discussion on corruption, pointing out that the corruption of the upper caste is invisible, largely because they rely on the elite network to promote their interests. For instance, when an influential bureaucrat or academic pulls strings to get his or her child admitted to an elite institution, that’s not considered corruption, he said.

By contrast, OBC, SCs and STs resort to corruption because it is their method of “equalising” the advantages that accrue to the upper caste because of their network, inherited wealth and privileges. The furore his remark created had him issue a statement saying the corruption of Dalits, tribals and OBCs gives them “access to their entitlements. And so long as this equation persists, I have hope for the Republic.”

The irony of his statement didn’t dissuade the then Congress government from instituting a case against him. And the case continues, taxing his energy and resources. Anyone who has read Nandy would know he couldn’t have possibly aired caste superiority. But it is impossible to argue against the literalist who abhors ironies, and who is disinclined to read a statement in its context. No wonder the literalist lacks humour.

It was, again, literalism which drove out from India the late painter MF Hussain, who painted Hindu Goddesses in the nude. His paintings were deemed disrespectful even though it wasn’t his intention. Hussain was dipping into the tradition of Indian art for his artistic expression.

Or take Salman Rushdie, who was once denied participation in the Jaipur Literary Festival because of vociferous protests from local Muslim leaders. It was literalism which prompted the Congress government to ban his Satanic Verses. The novel was labelled offensive because it sought to probe, through the device of fiction, the question scholars had already discussed: Was the Quran revealed to Prophet Mohammad or was it a case of him hallucinating?

Then again, it is literalism which has the BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to insist that ancient India had mastered modern technology such as plastic surgery, aerodynamics, and cloning. Their very mention in ancient texts is taken as proof of these technologies having existed then, ruling out the possibility of authors having imagined them.

Literalism abhors imagination. This is because imagination enables us to portray the world in shades other than black and white, making it difficult for us to judge it in simplistic terms of right and wrong. It is indeed literalism which is at the roots of our disputes over history. From the literalist’s perspective, either Muslim rulers were tolerant or they were intolerant. It can never be a mix of both, driven by the exigency of circumstances.

This is why the literalist must rewrite history, efface or underplay evidence which creates a fuzzy picture of the past. For instance, long before the Muslim came to India, Hindu kings too plundered and destroyed temples their rivals patronised, and often ferreted away the deities the vanquished ruler worshipped. Were the Muslim rulers merely subscribing to policy extant in pre-modern time? How do we reconcile their destruction of temples with them giving land grants to maintain other Hindu sacred sites?

Or again, how do we square the fact that the largest number of those who converted to Islam lived on the margins of the Muslim empire, far away from the Doab region which was directly under the control of Muslim power? Shouldn’t the incidence of conversion have been the highest closer to the centre of power of the Muslim empire?

The literalist will not ask these questions because he or she can’t, like the modern-day judge, then deliver a verdict on the past. Passing judgement is the defining trait of the literalist. India’s paradox is that as it has become increasingly literate, it has also become less educated.

The author is a journalist in Delhi. His novel, The Hour Before Dawn, has as its backdrop the demolition of the Babri Masjid. It is available in bookstores.

Bring law in Parliament for building Ram temple: Pravin? Togadia

Pravin Togadia

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) general secretary Pravin Togadia on Monday called for building of Ram Temple at Ayodhya by passing a law in Parliament.”Ashok Singhal was synonymous to Ram Temple Movement. The real ‘shrandhanjali’ (tribute) to him will be to build Ram Temple,” Togadia said at the condolence meeting for Singhal held here. Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and Governor O P Kohli were also present at the meeting. “We demand that to build the temple, way of Sardar Patel should be used. For building Somnath Temple, Sardar Patel did not go to talk to people, nor did he wait for court order, but he brought a resolution in the Parliament,” Togadia said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In the same way, present Parliament should bring in a law for building of Ram Temple,” Togadia said. The Ram temple issue is presently before the Supreme Court. “Following western culture there was an attempt before and after independence to separate religion from social and political life of India contrary to its age old tradition. However, Singhal’s main contribution was he succeeded to bring religion back to social and political life of the country,” Togadia said.Togadia went on to describe Singhal as one of the “tallest” Hindu leaders of the time and listed many movements started by him. Kohli said, “Before Singhal, Hindus were feeling ashamed to assert their identity but after his various agitations now Hindus proudly assert themselves.”The Chief Minister heaped praise on work carried out by Singhal to revive Hinduism in the country and remembered how he was instrumental in imparting training to thousands of Sangh Parivar workers.Many saints who had come from various parts of state also offered condolence to Singhal.89-year-old Singhal passed away on November 17 following cardio-vascular failure and septicaemia after he was admitted to a hospital in Gurgaon with complaints of acute breathlessness and pneumonia.

Supreme Court to hear Subramanian Swamy’s plea on Ram Sethu on November 26

The Sethusamudram shipping channel project has been facing protests from some political parties, environmentalists and several Hindu religious groups.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear on Thursday BJP leader Subramanian ​Swamy’s plea to withdraw his 2009 petition against the Sethusamudram project, following a recent decision of the Centre that the mythological bridge Rama Sethu would not be dismantled.”List it for hearing on Thursday. We will hear it provided all parties agree,” a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Amitava Roy said when Swamy mentioned the matter for urgent listing. Swamy said his prayer for scrapping of the project stands satisfied after the Centre took a decision and hence, he wanted to withdraw his plea.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Sethusamudram shipping channel project has been facing protests from some political parties, environmentalists and several Hindu religious groups. The mythological Ram Sethu is a continuous stretch of limestone shoals that runs from Pamban Island near Rameshwaram in South India to Mannar Island off the northern coast of Sri Lanka.Under the Sethusamudram project, a 83-km-long deep water channel would have been created linking Mannar with Palk Strait by extensive dredging and removal of the limestone shoals which constitute the Sethu.

India police apologise for cow art raid

Police in India’s Rajasthan state apologise to artists for raiding an exhibition which featured a polystyrene cow dangling from a helium balloon.

Assam Guv PB Acharya stokes controversy with alleged ‘divisive’ remarks

“Hindustan is for Hindus. There is nothing wrong with that. Hindus from different countries can stay here. They cannot be outsiders,” the Governor was quoted as saying by media.

Acharaya today said that what he meant was that all Indian-origin people, including Muslims, persecuted in any foreign lands were welcome in the country.

Image Courtesy: Twitter (ANI)
Assam Governor P B Acharya has stoked a controversy after he reportedly said that “Hindustan is for Hindus”, drawing sharp criticism from Congress which alleged that it was reflective of the divisive ideology of RSS and BJP which has led to incidents like Dadri lynching. Acharya’s attempt today to clarify the alleged remarks he made yesterday at a book launch function further stirred the row after he said that “Muslims in India are free to go anywhere”.”Hindustan is for Hindus. There is nothing wrong with that. Hindus from different countries can stay here. They cannot be outsiders,” the Governor was quoted as saying by media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As his reported remarks came under fire, Acharaya today said that what he meant was that all Indian-origin people, including Muslims, persecuted in any foreign lands were welcome in the country. “We should keep in our mind, only because a person is persecuted because of his religion in any country, if Indian Christian is persecuted in Pakistan, he has to come to India. Where else will he go? Indian Christian, Indian Buddhist, Indian Jain, Indian Hindu. “If a European Christian is persecuted or a European Hindu…if he is persecuted in Belgium, he cannot come to India…”Indian Muslims are free to go anywhere. They can stay here if they want to stay here, many have gone to Pakistan. If they want to go to Pakistan, Bangladesh, they are free to. If they are persecuted there, Taslima Nasreen (author) was persecuted there, she came here. If they come we’ll give them shelter. India is big-hearted,” he said.Congress today termed Acharya’s remarks as “unfortunate and shocking” as they came from a person holding a “constitutional post”. “It is clearly indicative of the way RSS and BJP functionaries think and continue to think even when they are in a constitutional post. Bondage or umbilical cords with parent remote organisations, be it RSS and BJP should be severed when you assume a Constitutional post,” he said. Singhvi said that the same ideology and philosophy has led to a culture of absolute divisiveness, intolerance, mutual enmity, trust deficit in the last 18 months and incidents like Dadri. “You have been hearing from MPs, MLAs, ministers and now from Governor,” he said.

Govind Pansare case accused alleges pressure for agreeing to narco-analysis

Gaikwad, a follower of the conservative Hindu group `Sanatan Sanstha’, also alleged that he was even offered Rs 25 lakh and told that he would be made an approver if he agreed.

Pansare, a CPI leader and a noted rationalist, was shot dead near his house here by two unidentified men in February this year.

Sameer Gaikwad, arrested in the communist leader Govind Panasare murder case, on Saturday claimed that an unidentified person tried to pressurise him to agree to a narco-analysis test. He made the complaint during a court hearing which he attended through a video conference from Kalamba central jail. Magistrate S S Yadav today extended his judicial custody till December 5. Gaikwad, a follower of the conservative Hindu group `Sanatan Sanstha’, also alleged that he was even offered Rs 25 lakh and told that he would be made an approver if he agreed. The incident took place on October 9, when he was being brought to the court, he said, adding that he couldn’t see the man’s face as he (Gaikwad) had a veil on his face at the time. The court asked the police to investigate Gaikwad’s claim and file a report.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pansare, a CPI leader and a noted rationalist, was shot dead near his house here by two unidentified men in February this year.

Tamil Nadu: 3,16,000 consumers opt out of LPG subsidy

A person can opt out of the subsidy through IVRS, online or visit the dealership personally.

File photo

PM Narendra Modi has been urging people to opt out of the LPG subsidy, if they can afford to do so. The ‘Give it up’ campaign seems to have struck a chord with people in Tamil Nadu as 3.16 lakh people have reportedly now given up their subsidy.A report in The Hindu states that Chennai had the highest number of people who opted out of the subsidy – 60,000. Tamil Nadu has about 1.54 crore LPG customers with 30 lakh consumers in Chennai alone. However, sources from the oil companies have told the daily that many people are still not willing to give up the subsidy as there is the fear that the rate of an LPG cylinder may shoot up. It costs Rs 600 at this point.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report says that 20,000 people opted out of the subsidy in Cuddalore and 17,500 in Tiruchi.People wishing to opt out of the subsidy can do so through IVRS, online or visit the dealership personally.

Fight against intolerance will be balanced when Muslims eat pork in the open: Tripura governor Tathagata Roy

In one of the more controversial and communal statements made in the debate on intolerance in India, Tripura Governor and former president of the Bengal BJP Tathagata Roy has said that the fight against intolerance will only be balanced when Muslims have pork in the open.

Tathagata Roy. Image courtesy: @tathagata2/Twitter

Tathagata Roy. Image courtesy: @tathagata2/Twitter

“People have the right to eat what they want but the scales would be even when Muslims come out and have pork in the open. And that day, we can really call it war against intolerance,” Roy said in an exclusive interview to The Economic Times.

On being asked what he thought about the emergence of a ‘secular Grand Alliance’ in Bihar, Roy gave a vague answer and said that he does not accept the definition of the word ‘secular’.

Roy is infamous for his communal remarks. He had earlier said that many of the people present at the funeral of Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon after he was hanged were “potential terrorists”.

“Intelligence should keep a tab on all (except relatives and friends) who assembled before Memon’s corpse. Many are potential terrorists,” Roy had tweeted.

Later, Roy, while responding to questions, had said that he had excluded Memon’s relatives and friends. “Why did others come to see a man who was hanged? They must have sympathy for him,” he had said.

In another tweet, the governor had said, “It is my constitutional duty to bring matter of public interests to public notice. My position as governor is not thereby compromised.”

Facing criticism that he appeared to target a particular community, Roy had defended his tweet with another post, “When I suggested intelligence keeping a tab, I mentioned no community.”

Roy had been appointed as Tripura Governor in May. He had previously posted controversial tweets on Gujarat riots, ‘love jihad’ and the Hindu population.

When he had spoken to journalists after taking oath as Tripura Governor, he had said he would not allow his personal views to come in the way of discharging his official duties as governor and that he will leave “no room for political affinity”.

Asked about his pro-Hindutva views, he had said, “That was a different person, a political person, I said things which my politics dictated, my beliefs dictated. I don’t regret them. But after becoming Governor, I have constitutional duties.”

Clearly, though, nothing seems to have changed about Tathagata Roy.

With inputs from PTI

Ashok Singhal’s journey from engineer to VHP chief

In 1980, he was deputed to VHP and became its Joint General Secretary. In 1984, he became its General Secretary and later elevated to the post of its working President, a role in which he continued till December 2011.

Ashok Singhal

PTI
A metallurgy engineer, Ashok Singhal metamorphosed into a Hindutva warrior who as VHP chief played an adequate foil in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement when the BJP led the political campaign in the late eighties and later.The 89-year-old right-wing firebrand leader dedicated his life for the Hindutva cause adopting an aggressive style and played a key role in mobilising support for the Ram Janambhoomi as well as the Ram Setu movements.It was under his stewardship that the international branding of VHP was conceptualised for which he recruited supporters and established offices abroad. The VHP got immense contribution from outside India for its campaign.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singhal was instrumental in the “kar sewak” campaign that led to the bringing down of the 16th century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.Born in Agra on October 2 in 1926, Singhal has a Bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Banaras Hindu University Institute of Technology in 1950.Having been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since 1942, he became a full-time pracharak after his graduation. He worked in various locations around Uttar Pradesh, becoming a prant pracharak for Delhi and Haryana.In 1980, he was deputed to VHP and became its Joint General Secretary. In 1984, he became its General Secretary and later elevated to the post of its working President, a role in which he continued till December 2011.Attached to the RSS he was inspired by its ideology throughout his life and was a prominent member of the Sangh Parivar. VHP leaders considered him their “guide and visionary” as he led many a movement during his lifetime. He was instrumental in playing a key role in launching an Andolan in Uttar Pradesh against the Emergency and also the ‘Gau-Raksha Andolan’ for the protection of cows.Singhal continued to play an active role in VHP and remained its patron till the end. Incidentally, a few days prior to being admitted to the hospital, Singhal undertook a 30-day tour of various countries to oversee the VHP activities.Entrusted to work for VHP in 1980, Singhal turned active after the Meenakshipuram conversions in 1981 in Tamil Nadu when VHP built 200 temples for Dalits specifically and claimed that conversions stopped thereafter.Singhal played the role of a key organiser of VHP’s first ‘Dharma Sansad’ in 1984 in Delhi that attracted hundreds of Sadhus and Hindu Saints to discuss the rejuvenating of Hinduism.It was here that the movement for reclaiming the Ramjanambhoomi temple at Ayodhya was born and Singhal soon emerged as the chief architect of the Ramjanambhoomi movement.The VHP opened branches in 40 nations from east to west, including in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany to Indonesia and Japan among other countries under Singhal’s leadership.The VHP leader was also a trained vocalist in Hindustani music, who had his training from the legendary Pandit Omkarnath Thakur.As RSS Pracharak, he remained a bachelor.

VHP leader Ashok Singhal passes away at hospital in Gurgaon

Gurgaon: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Ashok Singhal died here on Tuesday, doctors said. Singhal breathed his last at 2.20 p.m. at Medanta-The Medicity hospital, doctor Yatin Mehta told IANS.

File photo. Image courtesy: ReutersFile photo. Image courtesy: Reuters

File photo. Image courtesy: Reuters

Singhal was undergoing treatment in a Gurgaon hospital after he was admitted there in early hours of Saturday with complaints of acute breathlessness. He had been on a life support system.

89-year-old Singhal was admitted on 14 November to Medanta with complaints of acute breathlessness and was diagnosed with right lower Lobe Pneumonia. He had been on a ventilator from the evening of 14 November 14.

A number of BJP and VHP leaders had visited the ailing leader in the hospital.

Agencies

Andhra Pradesh: Chittoor Mayor Katari Anuradha shot dead, husband Mohan critical

The couple was attacked in her office in the Chittoor Municipal Corporation office in Chittoor on Tuesday at noon.

Katari Anuradha, the mayor of Chittoor

TV Grab
Chittoor Mayor Katari Anuradha has been shot dead while her husband Katari Mohan, a senior TDP leader, has been injured seriously. According to The Hindu, the couple was attacked in her office in the Chittoor Municipal Corporation office here on Tuesday at noon.The mayor was apparently in her office with her husband when gang members barged in and attacked them. The couple was shot at and also attacked with knives. Though municipal staff tried to stop the gang members, they didn’t succeed. The mayor died on the spot while her husband suffered grievous injuries. Mayor Anuradha had gunshot wounds and knife injuries. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Katari Mohan, her husband, is now at the Christian Medical College Hospital at Vellore as his condition deteriorated at General Hospital at Chittoor. The three men who attacked them first fired at them and then attacked them with knives. They managed to escape from the spot.The police at Chittoor has deployed personnel all over the town to prevent any violence. The report also adds that Katari Mohan was the prime accused in the attempt to murder former Chittoor MLA CK Jayachandra Reddy alias CK Babu a decade ago. CK Babu escaped in the attack but two of his gunmen were killed.Katari Mohan had contested on the TDP ticket from Chittoor for the Legislative Assembly but he lost. Katari Anuradha became the Mayor after the party won a majority of 36 wards out of a total 50 in the corporation.

Food authority challenges lifting ban on Nestle’s Maggi – media | Reuters

The food safety authority has appealed in the Supreme Court a regional court’s order in favour of the Indian unit of Nestle SA in its battle to overturn a nationwide ban of its Maggi instant noodles, local media reported on Monday.

Nestle India resumed selling its popular Maggi noodles this month after getting the green light from government laboratories, as mandated by the Bombay High Court in August.

The company faced its worst public relations crisis after Indian regulators reported in May that some packets of the Maggi noodles contained unsafe levels of lead.

On Monday, local media reported that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) filed a plea in the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court’s verdict in favour of Nestle.

The FSSAI petition in the Supreme Court said the regional court erred by asking Nestle itself, instead of asking a neutral authority, to provide the fresh Maggi samples for testing at the government laboratories, according to the Hindu newspaper.

FSSAI chief Ashish Bahuguna declined to comment on the media reports when contacted by Reuters. An India-based spokesman for Nestle, the world’s largest packaged food company, did not immediately respond to request for comment.

(Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee and Devidutta Tripathy in MUMBAI and Suchitra Mohanty in NEW DELHI)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Here are the important Chhath puja muhurat timings

People offer their prayers to the setting sun, and then the rising sun in celebrating its glory as the cycle of birth starts with death.

Chhath is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated in IndiaPeople offer their prayers to the setting sun, and then the rising sun in celebrating its glory as the cycle of birth starts with death.The festival is celebrated for four days, which includes various customs such as holy bathing, fasting, standing in water for long, offering Prasad and prayerto the sun.Here are the timings considered auspicious to celebrate the festival: Panchami: November 16Sunrise on Chhath Puja Day: 06:44Sunset on Chhath Puja Day: 17:27<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shashthi: November 17Sunrise on Chhath Puja Day: 06:45Sunset on Chhath Puja Day: 17:27

#dnaEdit: Jolts in Kerala politics- KM Mani’s bribery scandal and the resurgence of CPI-M

The corruption scandal around KM Mani and the resurgence of the CPI-M in the local polls are shifting poll equations in the southern state.

Image courtesy: Kerala Assembly website

Close on the heels of its recent panchayat poll defeat, the Congress-led UDF government has now lurched towards a fresh controversy even before it could review its electoral performance. The seriousness of the charges against Kerala Congress (M) leader KM Mani, of extracting bribes from bar owners, could well upset the calculations of next year’s assembly polls. In the wake of concerns expressed by the Kerala high court about the integrity of the bribery probe as long as Mani occupied the state’s finance minister’s post, the Congress leader has resigned. But by backing Mani for so long, the Congress has ended up damaging itself and failing to address important political developments that have been unfolding in the state. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The recent panchayat poll outcome mirrors the volatility in the state’s politics and the challenges facing both the UDF and its main opponent LDF. After years of incessant factional infighting, the CPI-M was expected to do poorly in these polls, losing the support of the OBC Ezhava caste to a resurgent BJP. But the spate of recent controversies has finally pushed the party to fire on all cylinders and script a comeback act. The CPI-M-led LDF won a majority of gram and block panchayats, while sharing control of other local bodies almost equally, with the UDF. The BJP’s hopes of a Hindu consolidation, on the other hand, were dashed, with the party doing marginally better in the Hindu-dominated Thiruvananthapuram corporation and the Palakkad municipality. But the BJP’s marginal rise is not what captures the real story of the polls. Of crucial significance is how the opposing fronts, the LDF and the UDF, have tackled the new challenge posed by an ascendant BJP. The Congress’s gameplan rested on a split in Hindu votes, and sailing home with the help of minority votes as well as a slice of Hindu votes it hoped to secure. Unlike the arithmetic strategy of the Congress, the CPI-M launched a direct political campaign against communalisation of politics. The party’s veteran leader VS Achuthanandan, staring at his own irrelevance after being dropped from top party forums, was drafted back into the party to lead the LDF charge. He frontally targeted the BJP for its beef politics, the Congress for corruption, and the SNDP leader Vellapally Natesan, for an old murder allegation. The CPI-M’s vigorous campaign paid off. In most of the 34 wards recently won by the BJP in Thiruvananthapuram, the UDF was pushed to the third spot: a clear indication of Congress votes shifting to the BJP. In its silence, the Congress appeared to contribute to an important BJP victory. While, by overtly criticising all hues of communal politics, the CPI-M shored up its Ezhava vote base, scoring impressive wins even in the Muslim League-dominated Malappuram district. Unlike in West Bengal, where Muslims used to be integral to the CPI-M’s support base, the Left in Kerala has largely been unable to break the stronghold of the Congress, the Muslim League and the Kerala Congress, among Muslims and Christians constituting nearly 50% of the state’s population. The difference in vote share between the LDF at 37.36 and UDF at 37.23 is minimal, indicating the closeness of the contest. The BJP’s vote share, on the other hand, steadily increasing from 6.4% to 10.3% in the 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections, now stands at 13.27% in the local polls. This rapidly shifting political dynamic in Kerala has set the stage for an electrifying assembly election campaign in 2016.

Dalai Lama’s remarks on Bihar polls aimed at extremist groups: JD(U) leader KC Tyagi

Terming the remarks of the Dalai Lama as an attack on “extremist elements”, JD(U) leader K C Tyagi said the Tibetan spiritual leader has been in India for long and is aware of the Indian culture.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama’s comments that Bihar poll results had “proved” that a majority of Hindus still believed in communal harmony was seized upon by the JD(U) on Sunday to say that it was an attack on “extremist elements”.The BJP, which suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of JD(U)-led Grand Secular Alliance in the Assembly polls, on its part played down the statement by the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace laureate, saying Bihar for long has seen communal harmony.”India has a long tradition of peace and amity. The people of Bihar in the recent Assembly polls have proved that a large section of the Hindu community still believes in peace and amity,” the 14th Dalai Lama had said in Jalandhar on Saturday without naming any political party or leader.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the remarks of the Dalai Lama as an attack on “extremist elements”, JD(U) leader K C Tyagi said the Tibetan spiritual leader has been in India for long and is aware of the Indian culture. “The statement made by him has given a strong and befitting reply to the extremist groups in India.The results of the Bihar polls show that forces of tolerance are not only active but are in majority,” he told PTI.He pointed out that President Pranab Mukherjee too has flagged the issue of intolerance and the Bihar verdict has proved that “intolerance has been defeated.” “We have ensured that communal harmony in the state is maintained at all costs. We have worked to ensure that any attempt to disrupt the harmony is defeated…we fought the Bihar assembly polls on the agenda of development.”We won four states but lost in two. This is part of democracy…the grand alliance had the arithmetics in its favour. But the chemistry favoured us,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters here.Asked whether the Dalai Lama’s remarks on intolerance should be a matter of concern for BJP, Hussain said his statement “should not be misinterpreted.”Attacking the grand alliance constituents, Congress, JD(U) and RJD over the 1989 Bhagalpur riots, the BJP leader said, “The blame for the riots is on Congress. Lalu Prasad buried the file and Nitish Kumar did not go ahead with the probe. Let us not forget that.”

Bihar poll results shows hindus still believe in peace and amity: Dalai Lama

“It is because of this amity that India is known worldwide as a country of religious tolerance. All religions and individuals are given equal respect here,” Dalai Lama told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Saturday said India is a nation of non violence and noted that a majority of the Hindus believes in peace and amity.”India has a long tradition of peace and amity. The people of Bihar in the recent Assembly polls have proved that a large section of the Hindu community still believes in peace and amity,” the 14th Dalai Lama said without naming any political party or leader.”It is because of this amity that India is known worldwide as a country of religious tolerance. All religions and individuals are given equal respect here,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Religious tolerance not only means respecting all religions but also the people. Buddhism too started in this nation and because of this, India is the guru and all Buddhists are students,” he said.Asked about terrorism, the Tibetan spiritual leader said, “First we must create an atmosphere of peace and it should be initiated from one’s own home. Encouraging religious tolerance is the need of the hour and should be done through schools and universities.”Speaking on climate change, the Dalai Lama said, “This is everyone’s responsibility. We all need to work together and give primacy to it. The big nation gives main importance to its own profit while the issue of climate change comes way down its agenda.”

Britain, India sign over 9 billion pounds in deals despite protests | Reuters

LONDON Britain and India welcomed more than 9 billion pounds ($13.7 billion) in commercial deals during a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but his arrival was overshadowed by protests over a perceived rise in intolerance back home.

Modi got a warm welcome by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has tried to cultivate closer ties with India to secure business opportunities in a fast-growing economy at a time when Modi has been prioritising other relationships.

For his part, Modi is seeking to restore his authority on the world stage after a defeat for his Hindu nationalist party in populous Bihar state on Sunday. He appealed to business to invest in a more transparent India in a speech at the Guildhall, a historic building in the heart of London’s financial district.

While Cameron said he wanted to support Modi in his efforts to transform India with improved infrastructure, the Indian leader signalled he wanted Britain to stay in the European Union, saying the country was India’s gateway to Europe.

“We want to become your number one partner for supporting the finance needed for this ambitious plan, making London the world’s centre for offshore rupee trading,” Cameron told him during a news conference, adding that plans were in place to issue more than 1 billion pounds in bonds.

He later said in a statement: “During this visit, British and Indian companies are announcing new collaborations, together worth more than £9 billion pounds.”

The British government listed more than 20 deals and collaborations, including a 1.3 billion-pound ($1.98 billion) investment by Vodafone (VOD.L).

The two prime ministers also welcomed a package to promote clean energy worth 3.2 billion pounds of commercial agreements, joint research programmes and initiatives to share technical, scientific, and financial and policy expertise.

Before the visit, diplomats said the Indian leader was keen to buy 20 more BAE Systems (BAES.L) Hawk trainer aircraft to be made in Bengaluru.

Cameron has visited India three times since taking office in 2010 to try to climb up the diplomatic pecking order, but Modi is the first Indian head of government to pay an official visit to Britain, the country’s former colonial ruler, in almost a decade.

His visit comes at a time when a debate is raging in India over accusations that Modi is failing to rein in Hindu zealots trying to impose their values on all Indians.

POMP AND PROTESTS

As Modi and Cameron shook hands for the cameras outside Number 10 Downing Street, a crowd of about 200 protesters could be heard shouting anti-Modi slogans nearby.

“Our main concern is that minorities are not safe in India,” said Sikh protester Kuldip Singh.

The demonstrators held up banners with messages such as “Modi you are killing Indian democracy” and “Stop religious persecution in India”.

Asked about these concerns at his joint news conference with Cameron, Modi said India was a vibrant democracy in which individual rights were guaranteed by the constitution.

“There is something that is deeply entrenched in our culture, in our traditions, which is that of not accepting anything that has to do with intolerance,” he said, adding that violent incidents would not be tolerated.

Critics have accused Modi of remaining silent about incidents such as the recent deaths of four people attacked by Hindus enraged at reports of cows being slaughtered, smuggled or consumed, and the separate shootings of two prominent atheists.

Before his arrival in Britain, more than 200 writers, including Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan, signed an open letter to Cameron urging him to raise concerns about freedom of expression in India during his talks with Modi.

About 45 British members of parliament, including opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, signed a motion to debate India’s human rights record.

The British government, however, rolled out the red carpet for Modi, who was greeted in the grand courtyard of the Treasury by a guard of honour wearing ceremonial bearskin headgear.

Modi was due to have lunch with Queen Elizabeth on Friday, before the emotional high point of his visit, a mass rally at Wembley Stadium where Modi will address about 60,000 supporters from India’s 1.5 million-strong diaspora in Britain.

(Additional reporting by Kate Holton and William James,; Writing by Estelle Shirbon,; Editing by Elizabeth Piper, Larry King)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Here’s why Anish Kapoor is wrong about India being ruled by a ‘Hindu Taliban’

To suggest that the Indian electorate is a bunch of ‘Hindu fascists’ voting for a ‘Hindu Taliban’ is not just incorrect, it is also unfair.

Reuters
Noted British sculptor Anish Kapoor wrote a piece in the Guardian on Thursday, on why he thinks India is being ruled by “Hindu Taliban”. While the piece is emotive and strong, here are some (of the many) reasons why his statement is not true:- The Indian electorate makes informed and wise decisions – it may not be as literate or as sophisticated as its western counterpart; it may neither be as wealthy, nor as involved – but, the Indian voters have tended to surprise Indian politicians, political parties, and the world at large with their choices. We vote for a direction. We vote to teach rulers a lesson. We participate in the electoral process with joy and involvement. And, we vote because it is our right to do so. There are those who many not like the outcome, but that does not mean that the voters are wrong or have voted ‘fascists’ or ‘communists’ or whatever. Accepting the Indian voters’ choice is the first step of understanding and participating in Indian democracy. The political parties have to do so, in all humility. It is time supporters of those parties did so too. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>- To question the Indian voter, and the Indian Republic’s choices, is of course a right of everyone – and we do this all the time within India, without being woken up by a midnight knock by the ‘thought’ police. The media questions the government, the opposition does, civil society does, and individuals do. We have embraced this right with gusto and delight. We have been vocal about every government since emergency– possibly learning from our mistakes there. The last government faced vocal criticism, this one does too. We criticise because it is our right. We laugh at our government too. If there is any nation that has embraced democracy, no matter how chaotic it is, it is India. And, it is completely unfair to the Indian voter, to believe we have traded our rights for a mirage.- While there is intolerance, it is not new. And, just because it is not new, doesn’t mean it should either be justified or ignored. Both statements are equally valid. But to look at every crime and link it to the current Central government, when law and order is a state issue, is rather daft. Can the government curtail vocal fringes – yes. But, doing so may impinge on their freedoms. And, when the government (of any land) impinges on the rights of minorities – even that of vocal fringes – it ends up curtailing the rights of everyone else. What the government can do, is have fast track courts to deal with riots and violence – but, that means a certain level of judicial reform.- India is a federal republic. It is not a unitary state, like Great Britain. Which means, the powers of the Centre are limited, by the Constitution. And, in many vital areas – including law and order – the Centre works in conjunction with the state. Should the Centre revoke the rights of the states and intervene directly in law and order by imposing President’s rule? The jury is open on that. But, having too strong a Centre may end up creating another set of problems that we are ill-equipped to deal with.It is completely alright, in a democracy, to dislike your government, and distrust the Prime Minister or elected President. We see this world over. The Right in the USA is still reeling from Obama’s election. The Left in Great Britain doesn’t think much of David Cameron. In fact, the only country where there seems to be universal ‘love’ for the leader is North Korea. But that is a special case in point. But the fact to remember is that India is not North Korea, it is not Saudi Arabia, or any of the repressive regimes you can name. I am as comfortable criticising this government as I was criticising the last one. Conflating action taken against FCRA violations with fascism is neither right nor correct. While a Greenpeace faces shutdown for these violations, there are many others, within India, working with the same zeal on environmental issues. The same is with issues taken up by the Sabrang Trust. There are rules of the land – and part of those rules include getting your accounts right. It applies to those who support the government, and it applies to those who oppose it. It applies to NGOs and it applies to private limited companies, and it applies to private individuals. For the record, 4,470 NGOs had their licenses cancelled because of FCRA violations, not just two. However, there are 4 areas where the government can improve its performance and build confidence amongst the people. Communication – for a party that came to power after being able to communicate and energise the voters to elect it, the government seems to be floundering in basic communication. And, when I say communication, it does not mean supporting pitched battles on social media. It means the government of India talking to the people of India, and listening to it. Broadcast or one-way communication is not the only mode of communication, the government needs to interact. It needs to make the right noises at the right time. And, it needs to be seen and heard talking in one voice. This is especially true about communally sensitive issues. A big reason why the government’s image is getting tarnished is because its own ministers have been jumping the gun to give statementsCurtail the publicity seekers – in government and the party. The media has not created these people, nor has it hypnotised them to make statements. They have done so on their own accord. Assign party spokesmen and spokeswomen, who are talking to India (or Bharat), not to their fan base on social media. Communicating the government’s viewpoint is neither about sound bytes nor about 140 character communication – it is about building confidence.Get out of campaign mode – The government of India cannot be in campaign mode almost 18 months after it has won the elections. It needs to leave electoral campaigning to the party, and be seen (and heard) tackling issues of governance.Get inclusive to govern effectively – The campaign is over, the BJP has won the elections. Now it has to deliver on its promises. To do this, it has to take people along in the Parliament to ensure that vital Bills are passed. It cannot work forever on ordinances. This means reaching out to the opposition and trying to have a ‘chai pe charcha’ with it.Lastly, whether you voted for this government or not is immaterial. This is the government that the voters of India, in their wisdom, have voted into power. And, in their wisdom, the same Indian electorate has voted for others in Delhi and Bihar. To suggest that the Indian electorate is a bunch of ‘Hindu fascists’ voting for a ‘Hindu Taliban’ is not just incorrect, it is also unfair. The fact remains that in India, there is a process we follow. That process is called free and fair elections, where people come out, exercise their right to universal franchise, and vote as equals, for a verdict. Respect that verdict.

Tipu Sulta celebrations: VHP activists block roads in several parts of Karnataka

Vishwa Hindu Parisahad on Friday blocked roads across Karnataka protesting against the state government observing the birth anniversary of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan and over the death of its functionary in violence during the celebrations in Madikeri.

Members of Vishwa Hindu Parishad along with BJP supporters staging a rasta roko protest against the recent violence in Madikeri over Tipu Sultan’s Birth anniversary celebration in Madikeri on Friday.

PTI
Vishwa Hindu Parisahad on Friday blocked roads across Karnataka protesting against the state government observing the birth anniversary of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan and over the death of its functionary in violence during the celebrations in Madikeri.VHP and Bajrang Dal activists blocked roads during the hour-long protest in various parts of the state including Mysuru, Mangaluru, Tumakuru, Chitradurga, Shivamogga and Hassan with undeclared bandh in some cities, police said.In Bengaluru, the protest was held in front of the Town Hall in the heart of the city where VHP activists vented their anger at Chief Minister Siddaramaiah whose government decided to celerbrate Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary from this year. The celebration was held on November 10.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the controversy persisted, two men were stabbed, one fatally, near Mangaluru late last night after a meeting organised by Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) supporting the celebrations turned violent. Police, however, did not link the stabbing incidents to the Tipu controversy.Harish, aged 28, was stabbed to death at Vagga Halegate, Bantwal Taluk, 25 k.m away from Mangaluru, by unidentified men, who came in a car, when he was on his way home. His friend Samiulla, who was with him, was also stabbed. He had been hospitalised in Mangaluru, police said.Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been clamped in Dakshina Kannada district for three days after VHP and Bajrang Dal called a bandh today in protest against the Tipu Sultan Jayanti celebrations. The bandh call was given late last night after the stabbing incident. The two Hindutva outfits had earlier decided to stage protests against the death of VHP leader Kuttappa in Madikeri in Kodagu district on November 10.Mangaluru wore a deserted look today as the bandh call received a total response. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses and private vehicles were off the roads and all shops and business establishments remained closed. Police said stray incidents of violence were reported from some parts of Mangaluru today. Four parked buses were stoned by miscreants in Pumpwell area.Madikeri was rocked by violence over the celebrations during which 60-year-old VHP activist Kuttappa died with the circumstances of his death not being clear. A youth who had received bullet wounds had also died. Supporting VHP’s protest, BJP leader and Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Assembly R Ashoka said Siddaramaiah and his government have to take responsibility for “disturbing” communal harmony in the state. He accused the government of purposefully selecting Deepavali day to celebrate Tipu jayanti to hurt Hindu feelings.”Siddaramaiah is playing vote bank politics; ….he follows an anti-Hindu culture,” he charged.Karnataka government has ordered an inquiry into the death of two persons during the Madikeri violence.

Heavy rains in Tamil Nadu force Anna University and Madras University to postpone exams

According to the registrar of Anna University the colleges affiliated to the university was scheduled to have exams on November 12, 13 and 14. These will now take place in December on 21, 22 and 24.

A waterlogged subway after heavy rains in Chennai on Monday. Heavy rains continue to lash several parts of the city as the Meteorological Department alerted a cyclone warning on the Bay of Bengal coast.

PTI
The heavy rains in Tamil Nadu have had the state government declaring a holiday for all schools and colleges on November 13. Schools and colleges in Tirunelveli, Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai and Vellore districts are closed while it is only schools that are shut in Kanyakumari district.A report in The Hindu states that Anna University and University of Madras affiliated colleges have now postponed the exams that were set to take place this week.According to the registrar of Anna University the colleges affiliated to the university was scheduled to have exams on November 12, 13 and 14. These will now take place in December on 21, 22 and 24.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>R Thandavan, vice-chancellor, University of Madras, has stated that they will announce the new exam dates at a later point.

Mangaluru: Youth stabbed to death, violence erupts in city

The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) had called for a state-wide protest against the death of Sahil, 24, after he died due to a bullet wound.

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
A 28-year-old motorcyclist and his friend, Samiulla, were attacked at Manihalla in the unrest that broke out at BC Road, Mangaluru on Thursday evening.Harish was stabbed and succumbed to injuries in the hospital while Samiulla was injured. The Social Democratic Party of India was protesting near the Bantwal Tahsildar Office and thus there was tension at BC Road.A report in The Hindu states that the SDPI had called for a state-wide protest against the death of Sahil, 24, after he died due to a bullet wound. He had gone to Madikeri on Tuesday for the Tipu Jayanti celebrations and was returning home when he was shot. They also claimed that the Kodagu district administration was negligent and hence tension erupted at Madikeri. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As soon as Haneef, SDPI activist, finished his speech, stones were thrown at him states the report. Stones were being thrown from behind the Bantwal Tahsildar Office. Thus, people apparently ran in all directions causing panic. Shops and offices were shut down immediately. The police are now investigating who started throwing stones adds the report. The SDPI activists also staged a protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Mangaluru on Thursday evening.

Travancore’s temple entry proclamation of 1936 for ‘lower’ castes: Why nobody questions egalitarianism in Kerala

On November 12, 1936, the birthday of the young Maharaja of Travancore, Sri Chitra Thirunal Balarama Varma, he issued a proclamation in his capital, Trivandrum. The proclamation said, in its entirety:

‘Profoundly convinced of the truth and validity of our religion, believing that it is based on divine guidance and on all-comprehending toleration, knowing that in its practice it has throughout the centuries, adapted itself to the needs of changing times, solicitous that none of our Hindu subjects should, by reason of birth or caste or community, be denied the consolation and the solace of the Hindu faith, we have decided and hereby declare, ordain and command that, subject to such rules and conditions as may be laid down and imposed by us for preserving their proper atmosphere and maintaining their rituals and observances, there should henceforth be no restriction placed on any Hindu by birth or religion on entering or worshipping at temples controlled by us and our Government.’

To us today, this may seem commonplace, but for that time and place it was revolutionary. For this was Travancore, which Swami Vivekananda had called “a lunatic asylum” for the indignities heaped on its lower castes. Today, Kerala is probably the least (overtly) casteist part of the country, although it is almost certainly the most (covertly) communal part as well. But nobody questions egalitarianism. This edict was as powerful as the ideals of the French Revolution: liberty, equality and fraternity.
But just as the revolution had its dark side, so does Kerala’s social revolution: the egalitarianism of this proclamation brought with it a reverse discrimination, so that today the Hindus are at the receiving end of what is for all practical purposes an apartheid: in every way, they are behind the Christians and Muslims, who also benefit from official benefits for them.

Image: Rajeev Srinivasan/FirstpostImage: Rajeev Srinivasan/Firstpost

At the entrance to the Travancore royal palace on the 103rd birthday of Sri Chitra Tirunal. on 10 November, 2015. Image: Rajeev Srinivasan/Firstpost

Be that as it may, a little history lesson is in order. What is now Kerala was, like most of South India around 1500 years ago, heavily Buddhist and Jain: and there are occasional discoveries of seated Buddhas by farmers tilling the fields. There is evidence from Xieun Tsang, the Chinese traveler, who described his trip to Sabarimala where he said the presiding deity was worshipped simultaneously as both Siva and the Avalokitesvara Padmapani.

And I am quoting Communist leader EMS Namboodiripad, so those of you about to outrage at me may calm down. An army of Hindus arrived circa 600CE, headed by Nambudiri Brahmins and defeated the Buddhists, imposing Hindu culture again over the area. Those Buddhists who collaborated became ‘high-caste’ sudras (eg Nairs), and those that didn’t became ‘low-caste’ (eg Ezhavas). This invasion is immortalized in the story of Mahabali, who ‘ruled over a kingdom where all were equal’, and was sent to Patala: thus exiled.

This situation continued for over a thousand years, partly because it was a stable equilibrium wherein all parties knew their roles in society, even those who were oppressed and at the bottom of the pile as feudal peasant untermenschen. There were also small groups of Christians (the first of them arrived around 345CE, contrary to popular mythology, as refugees led by Thomas of Canaan, a Syrian merchant), Jews, and Muslims.

The next big disruption was when the Portuguese, instigated by Francis Xavier, invaded and converted at gunpoint most of the coastal fisherfolk. They were annoyed to find the Syrian Christians who had never heard of the Pope (their allegiance was to the Patriarch of Antioch, Syria) and so proceeded to persecute and forcibly convert them as well.

Next came Tipu Sultan around 1790. He conquered Malabar and parts of Cochin, but was thwarted from entering Travancore by the use of a ‘river bomb’, wherein Travancore soldiers purposely burst a dam, causing a wall of water to course down the Periyar river. This flooded Tipu’s batteries and killed his troops, forcing him to retreat. But Tipu’s advance had caused a large number of Hindus to flee persecution and settle in Travancore. Many Hindus were also converted at swordpoint.

The net result of Tipu’s invasion was that Travancore became impoverished and thus dependent on the British, who took full advantage of the situation. They forced the regent queen in 1819 to donate Rs. 10,000 (an astronomical sum then) to set up the Valiya Palli church at Kottayam, and large-scale conversions of Hindus began, because they offered poor, low-caste people basic education if they converted.

In 1819, there were, according to the Travancore Manual, 6% Muslims and 6% Christians in Travancore. But under the stress of British overlordship, high tributes extracted by them, and the threat of conversion, paradoxically Hindu society turned destructively inwards and became dysfunctional, even suicidal. Lower castes bore the brunt of it, leading to extraordinary practices such as not only untouchability, but also un-seeability. Also, bizarrely precise laws of untouchability and even un-shadowability were in effect: a Nair must stand at least 5 feet away from a Nambudiri, an Ezhava 10 feet, a Pulaya 15 feet, and so on.

One of the most ridiculous laws prevented lower-caste Hindus from not only going to temples, but even walking on the public roads around them. Unbelievably, they had a simple way around it: just convert, and then you can use the public roads. Thus a Sankaran merely had to become a Thomas or a Bashir, and he could automatically enjoy a lot more freedom! As a result of all this, by 1930, Travancore was 33% Christian, up from 6% in 1819: Ezhavas and Nadars converted in huge numbers (data from the Travancore Manual).

Increasing awareness of their rights by the lower-castes, especially the Ezhavas, led to agitations for more rights, including entry into government jobs and the Praja-sabha (Assembly) for them. The leadership of Sree Narayana Guru and the poet Kumaran Asan ensured this anger was constructive, and not destructive. But the Vaikom Satyagraha, 1924, about access to the roads around the Vaikom Siva temple, crystallized the anger, and Ezhavas began to discuss en masse conversion to Christianity.

It was in this situation that the wise Maharaja, supported by his brilliant prime minister C P Ramaswamy Iyer, decided that natural justice and sheer decency indicated that temple entry should be granted. Thus the events of November 12, 1936. All Hindus could now, with dignity, go to all temples. In fact, police officers were required to escort low-caste people there. A great-uncle of mine, a dentist, recounted how the very lowest caste people had been led to believe that their eyes would burst if they entered temples, and so it was necessary to demonstrate to them that no such thing would happen.

The net result of all this, unfortunately, was that the previously oppressed became enamored with the siren song of radical egalitarianism and became Communists. To this day, they remain so, thus enabling Communism to retain a foothold in Kerala.

The royals of Travancore, who ruled as regents to the real sovereign Sri Padmanabha, had defeated the Dutch (Colachel 1741) and Tipu (Aluva 1790), and remained one of the best kingdoms in the country, retrieved their lost honor by this far-sighted and bold move in 1936. It was a landmark declaration, no less remarkable than the successes of human rights movements elsewhere.

Tipu Sultan row: After Girish Karnad, BJP MP Pratap Simha receives death threat

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has been protesting against the Congress government’s decision to honour Tipu Sultan.

BJP MP Pratap Simha

http://pratapsimha.com/
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Kodagu district in Mysuru, Pratap Simha filed a complaint on Thursday alleging that he has received a death threat for opposing the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan. Sinha had said earlier that the state government was spreading hatred by celebrating Tipu’s birth anniversary.The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has been protesting against the Congress government’s decision to honour Tipu Sultan, who according to them was a tyrant who persecuted Hindus and Christians.Earlier, playwright Girish Karnad received a death threat for his campaign to rename Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport after 18th century Mysuru king Tipu Sultan. Karnad, who participated in the Congress-led Karnataka Government’s ‘Tipu Jayanti’ celebrations, was threatened that he would ‘meet the same end as murdered writer M M Kalburgi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bengaluru Police also confirmed that they had received a complaint against Karnad for ‘insulting Hindus and the Vokkaliga community (to which Kempegowda belonged to) and disrupting social harmony’.”I feel that if Tipu Sultan was a Hindu and not a Muslim he would have attained the position in Karnataka that Shivaji Maharaj enjoys in Maharashtra,” Karnad had said. He added that it would be apt if the Kempegowda Airport is renamed after Tipu Sultan instead of Kempegowda.Related Read: Tipu Sultan controversy: Girish Karnad gets death threat, told he will ‘face the same end as MM Kalburgi’He also said, “Kempegowda was never a freedom fighter. Still, the Bengaluru International airport has been named against him. Instead, it should have been named against Tipu Sultan.” Protests against the state-sponsored celebrations have led to violence in Karnataka where a VHP activist succumbed to his injuries.Following the controversy, Karnad issued a public apology: “If anybody has been hurt by my remarks, I apologise…. What will I gain by giving such comments?” The VHP has called for a state-wide bandh in Karnataka on Friday. Related Read: Tipu Sultan row: BJP demands Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah’s resignation

Why India’s policy on N-liability reduces the potential of the civil nuclear deal with US

There has been a lot of discussion about civil nuclear liability in India over the past four years. The new law promulgated by the government in 2010 as one of the requirements for making the Indo-US nuclear deal operational two years earlier has proven to be controversial and been the subject of much scrutiny. Nuclear vendors, both foreign and domestic, have been dismayed at the unorthodox stipulations of India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLNDA) and have generally stayed away from the country’s potentially lucrative market, scuttling what had promised to be a nuclear renaissance in 2008. The most offending clause – and there are a couple – is that in case of an accident, nuclear operators shall have recourse to legal measures against their suppliers. This goes against nearly six decades of internationally accepted practice of making the operator solely responsible for all liabilities.

Representational image. GettyImages

Representational image. GettyImages

Proponents of India’s new interpretation of nuclear liability have argued that the present insurance regime makes little sense and goes against the entire body of tort law. No other industrial insurance system allows suppliers immunity from legislation even in case of fault. Nuclear vendors have so far enjoyed a risk-free ride that serves as an indirect subsidy to the entire industry. Some of this support is, no doubt, built on the experience of the Union Carbide tragedy in Bhopal in 1984 that killed about 4,000 people and injured over 550,000 according to government estimates. The horrific accident, followed by bitter legal battles and what many see as insufficient compensation, has left many Indians wary of foreign corporations and their technology.

There are, of course, reasons for the unusual evolution of nuclear liability. They begin in 1954, when the United States decided that the private sector may be invited into the nuclear energy market. Until then, there were no civilian nuclear reactors and all military facilities would be the responsibility of the government under various environmental and tort laws. Initially, there was reluctance to enter into the market because of the substantial risk involved and the difficulty of calculating insurance premiums for such low-probability yet high-risk events. The Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act (1957) simplified these issues by investing all liability in the nuclear operator, capping compensation limits, and including a no-fault condition. This was seen as an equitable distribution of risk and benefit between supplier, operator, and consumer.

Economic channelling of liability to the operator was efficient; if multiple vendors all had to take out insurance against a potential nuclear accident, not only would it raise the price of components but also lock down larger financial assets. Furthermore, smaller suppliers would hesitate to take on risk that could be orders of magnitude more than the value of their contract. Similarly, the public is guaranteed compensation without delay because of a no-fault liability – if legal disputes arose over who is liable for damages, victims may spend years waiting for the courts to decide on the case. The operator is also afforded some level of protection by capping damages. Thus, the benefits to each party in the nuclear concord are not insignificant. Though not a consideration when the Price-Anderson mechanism was formulated, it can additionally be argued today that nuclear power serves a public good by offering bountiful and reliable low-carbon energy.

Economic efficiency is not necessarily the prime consideration in policy-making but in the case of the nuclear industry, it might be the sensible yardstick. The notion is certainly not novel – governments frequently interfere in the market to prevent, break up, or regulate monopolies. For example, power distribution is a critical part of modern infrastructure; however, it would be foolish for companies to duplicate power lines simply to remain loyal to a strict textual reading of free market theory. Consequently, governments usually award a regulated monopoly to power distribution companies, thereby achieving economic efficiency and consumer protection as well as infrastructure development.

In India, of course, the traditional course of action has been for the government to have a powerful presence in business. However, recent legal amendments have opened the door to consider regulated monopolies in India. The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act (1969) was replaced by the Competition Act (2002). In a significant departure from the former, the latter does not categorically disallow monopolies but concerns itself with merely the effect on the market in terms of consumer benefits and potential competitors. Clearly, Delhi has shown that it is not averse to economic efficiency if it is in the general interest of the public; the international nuclear liability norm is similarly another case of economic efficiency.

It is not that India’s decision makers do not understand economics. The real fear for politicians is the astronomical cost of a nuclear accident, however rare. The insurance pool established by the Price-Anderson Act has grown to approximately $14 billion today. This is by far the richest insurance pool available for awarding damages arising from a nuclear accident. Yet even the Price-Anderson nuclear insurance pool pales before some of the estimated costs of a nuclear cleanup. Fukushima, for example, where not a single death was caused by radiation, is still predicted to cost Japanese taxpayers around $100 billion. Nuclear suppliers have deeper pockets than nuclear operators, particularly in India, where the only legal operator is an autonomous government agency. Leaning on the vendor, as the Indian legislation does, will help defray the cost that the state as the guarantor of last resort will have to ultimately pay.

This strategy has not borne fruit – all international vendors have shunned the Indian market despite its potential. The only exception, the Russian state-owned Rosatom, has renegotiated its contract and drastically hiked the price of their reactors. While the cost of the first two reactors at Kudankulam was Rs 17,270 crores, the third and fourth reactors will cost India Rs 39,747 crores – more than double the original price when economies of scale should have actually lowered the price. Moreover, it is unlikely that suppliers will budge from their positions for the global precedent that would set. The cost of this impasse hurts India not just in the price per reactor but also environmentally and economically. The public interest would be better served were Delhi to accede to the standard international interpretation of nuclear liability.

This is not to delegitimise India’s fears of the cost of an improbable nuclear mishap. Rather, the solution must be found elsewhere. One possibility is to allow private sector entry into the nuclear power industry, allowing some of the costs of a nuclear accident to be borne by industry. In congruence with privatisation, a nuclear insurance pool may be set up that all operators would contribute to depending upon the number of reactors they own. A greater amount of reactors will create a bigger pool and if India were to modestly aim at even half of its electricity to be derived from nuclear power, substantial funds could be accumulated. In addition, suppliers can be called upon to contribute to the pool as well in the form of a small annual licensing fee per reactor. As long as they are not exposed to liability, most suppliers should accept this modest proposal.

An unpopular but required measure is to also assess how many of the safety precautions are psychological and how many are truly needed. To take just one example, evacuating a zone 50 km in radius always sounds better than clearing out an area 20 km in radius. However, how much is necessary is a decision scientists can make better than others; nuclear power plants already come with exclusion zones and evacuation beyond that should be dictated only by necessity.

If Delhi truly wanted to worry about liability, there are other aspects it can look at. For instance, its neighbours have shown increasing interest in nuclear power; Pakistan is acquiring reactors from China, Bangladesh has inked an agreement with Russia, and Sri Lanka is considering joining the nuclear club as well. If an accident were to occur at any of these sites, the trans-boundary implications could be severe. None of these states are party to any of the international liability conventions yet and responsibility for any accident will fall on each state for its own domain. Expanding Indian’s national nuclear pool to these countries is one solution but the sheer number of reactors India will have means that the Indian share in any compensation would be disproportionate. Nonetheless, this is an important conversation South Asia needs to have.

India’s stubbornness on nuclear liability seems to have the purpose of punishing foreign vendors rather than achieving a pragmatic system. For all its interest in holding suppliers liable for damages, one wonders why Delhi has not asked coal and oil companies to compensate the over 100,000 deaths per annum and millions afflicted by respiratory illnesses. India is wrong on supplier liability and it takes political courage to walk back a mistake. But that is what this government must do.

Tipu Sultan controversy: Girish Karnad gets death threat, told he will ‘face the same end as MM Kalburgi’

Later, the Bengaluru police also received a complaint against Karnad for ‘insulting Hindus and the Vokkaliga community (which Kempegowda belonged to) and disrupting social harmony’.

Playwright Girish Karnad

Playwright Girish Karnad has received a death threat for his campaign to rename Kempegowda International Airport after Tipu Sultan, reports a news daily. Karnad, who participated in the Congress-led Karnataka government’s ‘Tipu Jayanti’ celebrations, was threatened that he would ‘meet the same end as (murdered writer) MM Kalburgi’.Later, the Bengaluru police also received a complaint against Karnad for ‘insulting Hindus and the Vokkaliga community (which Kempegowda belonged to) and disrupting social harmony’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: Tipu Sultan would have enjoyed same status as Shivaji if he was Hindu, says Karnad”I feel that if Tipu Sultan was a Hindu and not Muslim he would have attained the position in Karnataka that Shivaji Maharaj enjoys in Maharashtra,” Karnad had said. He added that it was apt if the Bengaluru airport had been named after Tipu Sultan instead of Kempegowda’.”Today, when we are celebrating this day as Deepawali and Tipu Sultan day, we can also celebrate it as Bihar day,” Karnad said.He also said, “”Kempegowda was never a freedom fighter. Still, the Bengaluru International airport has been named against him. Instead, it should have been named against Tipu Sultan.”His Bihar day remark was an apparent jibe at BJP, which was routed in the Assembly polls. Karnad has always made known his ideological opposition to BJP.Protests against the state-sponsored celebrations have led to violence in Karnataka. In Madikeri, a VHP sympathiser died during a clash on Tuesday. A 26-year-old man who sustained a bullet wound on his head during police firing succumbed on Wednesday.Related Read: Was Tipu Sultan a secular king or a murderer of Hindus? The answer isn’t very simpleFollowing the controversy, Jnanpith award winner Karnad issued a public apology: “If anybody has been hurt by my remarks, I apologise…. What will I gain by giving such comments?”Speaking about the threat to Karnad, a senior police officer said, “A tweet was posted by someone with the user name Intolerant Chandra…. We are aware of the tweet and action will be taken if necessary and if a complaint is lodged.”The tweet, later deleted by the user, read: “Girish Karnad will meet the same end like kalburgi if he enrages kannadigas by replacing in Kempe gouda (sic) with Tipu Sultan.”About the complaint against Karnad, police said MT Girish Gowda, state president of a certain ‘Human Rights and Non- Corruption Committee’, an NGO, has demanded the immediate arrest of the playwright, said the English news daily.Karnad has now demanded immediate action against those who issued death threats and said he would begin a protest if this was not done. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who was on the dais with Karnad when he made the controversial remark, however said the government has no intention to rename Bengaluru airport and it was Karnad’s personal opinion.

Is Narendra Modi facing a mutiny?

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