OpIndia Evening Dispatch: Saturday, 26th January 2019

Selected reports from the day.

In the hustle and bustle of the day, it is only natural to miss some of the biggest developments that impact the nation. The OpIndia Evening Dispatch will catch you up on the day’s event even if you have been busy thus far.

1. Padma Bhushan for Nambi Narayan, scientist whose life was destroyed by India’s ‘secular’ govts

In the 1990s, Nambi Narayanan was one of India’s top scientists, working on the indigenous cryogenic engine. Earlier, India had tried to buy some of this technology from the Russians, but the Americans fought tooth and nail and blocked it.

In 1994, Nambi Narayanan was suddenly accused of being a spy and leaking sensitive rocket information to foreign agents. He was arrested and thrown into jail. His career was over. With his arrest, India’s dream of building an indigenous cryogenic engine was set back by decades.

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Nambi Narayanan, who was awarded the Padma Bhushan yesterday. Read more about him and how he was hounded.

2. Fact Check: Is the newspaper clip headlined ‘Rajiv Gandhi’s daughter joins family firm’ genuine?

After Priyanka Gandhi’s appointment as Congress party General Secretary of Uttar Pradesh East, a newspaper clip went viral on social media. The article printed in a newspaper reports the elevation of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with a rather unusual headline, “Rajiv Gandhi’s daughter joins family firm”.

But is the clip referring to the Congress party as ‘family firm’ true? We have seen several cases of fake newspaper clips circulated on social media. Therefore, we decided to check if this particular news item was genuine or fake.

3 ‘Timing of the award might be misconstrued’: CM Naveen Patnaik’s sister, Gita Mehta, declines Padma award

New York-based author and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s sister Gita Mehta has declined to accept the prestigious Padma Shri award that the Narendra Modi led government had conferred on her claiming that the timing of the award just months before elections may be “misconstrued”.

Gita Mehta in a statement has said that accepting the award at this time will embarrass both her and the government. “I am deeply honoured that the Government of India should think me worthy of a Padma Shri but with great regret I feel I must decline as there is a general election looming and the timing of the award might be misconstrued, causing embarrassment both to the Government and myself, which I would much regret,” the statement said.

4. AgustaWestland case: Lawyer Gautam Khaitan arrested by ED on money laundering charges

Lawyer Gautam Khaitan, a co-accused in the Agusta Westland Chopper scam has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on charges of money laundering. Earlier, sleuths had raided several offices and premises related to Khaitan in the Delhi-NCR area. Per reports, the sleuths have uncovered evidence that Gautam Khaitan not only got kickbacks in the AgustaWestland chopper scam but also in various other defence deals during the Congress era.

Gautam Khaitan has been chargesheeted by both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the AgustaWestland Chopper scam where the direct involvement of the Congress party and the Gandhis is suspected.

5. Twitter suspends young boy’s account after he was doxxed and harassed by AltNews founder Pratik Sinha and Islamists

Altnews founder Pratik Sinha today stirred a hornet’s nest after he doxxed several unsuspecting users on Twitter simply because he did not agree with their political views.

Hours after Sinha disclosed the identities of these anonymous accounts, a barrage of threats and invectives have started being hurled at them, evidently by coordinated Islamist radicals online opposing the ideology professed by these social media users. One of the influencers, who goes by the Twitter handle of @squintneon, has already started receiving threats from online jihadists, abusing him and forewarning him of dire consequences since his identity is now established.

Now, in a strange twist of events, after being doxxed and hounded by AltNews founder Pratik Sinha and receiving death threats by the trolls that were unleashed on him, Twitter has chosen to suspend SquintNeon’s account instead of acting against trolls like Pratik.

6. Fact-check: On Republic Day 2019, Sitaram Yechury lies about the Constitution of India

On the 70th anniversary of India’s Republic Day, many politicians including the Communist Party of India’s chief Sitaram Yechury took to Twitter to convey their greetings to the Nation. However, his message has had a subtle underlying tone implying that the government is not preserving the sanctity of the Constitution which was enacted on 26th January 1950 and in the process, ended up lying and misrepresenting facts.

The CPI(M) chief in his tweet claimed that India, through its Constitution declared itself Sovereign, Socialist, and Secular 69 years ago. This is partially true. India declared itself Sovereign but Socialist and Secular were not mentioned in the initial Preamble of the Constitution. Staying loyal to his communist roots, Yechury also cleverly dropped ‘DEMOCRATIC’ from his tweet.

7. MP Minister fails to read properly, asks the Collector to finish the Republic Day speech on her behalf

On the occasion of Republic Day celebrations in the country, a bizarre event took place in Madhya Pradesh (MP) which has caused huge embarrassment for the Congress party after Imarti Devi, Woman and Child Development Minister, failed to read her Republic Day speech and instead asked the district collector Bharat Yadav to continue her speech.

A video of the incident has been shared by the news agency ANI, has now gone viral on social media, in which it can be seen that the Congress leader Imarti Devi finding difficult to read her speech after which she stopped and said ” Collector saheb padhenge (collector will read)”.

8. Shocking comments from Former Kerala DGP on Nambi Narayanan: ‘Rapists and murders will also get Padma awards next year’

Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist Nambi Narayanan has been awarded Padma Bhushan for his exemplary service to the nation. However, reacting to the NDA government’s decision to award Narayanan, Former Kerala DGP TP Senkumar has said that even rapists could get an award in the future.

In shocking statements, former Kerala DGP has criticised the decision to award the former ISRO scientist with Padma Bhushan, while resorting to derogatory abuse and comparing Narayanan with rape and murder convicts. Senkumar went on to claim that giving Narayanan that award was like “a drop of poison in the nectar.”


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