Petition for Guru Ravidas temple reconstruction referred to CJI for placing it before the same bench which had ordered the demolition

A Supreme Court bench of justices Banumathi and Bopanna referred the petition seeking reconstruction of Guru Ravidas Temple in Delhi to the Chief Justice of India on Monday. The bench said that only the CJI can pass an appropriate order regarding placing the case before the bench which had ordered the demolition of the temple in the first place.

On August 9, a Supreme Court bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice A R Shah had ordered the demolition of the Ravidas temple located at the Jahapanh forest area in Delhi’s Tughlakabad. As per the SC order, the Delhi Development Authority demolished the temple on August 10, which had led to massive protests by Dalits, who demanded it to be reconstructed.

Sant Ravidas was a 16th century spiritual leader who is worshiped by Dalits. According to Dalits, the temple in Tughlakabad was built around 1509 by Sant Ravidas during the rule of Sikander Lodhi. Therefore, the temple has special religious and spiritual importance for the community.

The temple was demolished following a 33-year long court battle between the temple committee and DDA. The committee claims it has ownership of the land while the DDA claimed that it was government land encroached by the temple. In 2018, the Delhi High Court had ordered demolition of the temple, and the Supreme Court upheld the same on April 8, asking the premises to be vacated within 2 months. On August 2, the temple committee informed the court that it has vacated the premises. But on August 9, the DDA alleged that the temple has not been vacated yet and the committee had misled the court, and was also creating hurdles on the ground.

On the same day, the Supreme Court ordered the premises to be vacated within a day, and also to ordered the temple to be razed within a day by taking the help of police. This order was complied with by authorities on the next day.

After the demolition, a writ petition seeking to re-construct the temple was filed by Congress leaders Ashok Tanwa and Pradeep Jain Aditya. They have argued that the temple was a site of historic and cultural significance for the followers of Guru Ravidas, and that its demolition has resulted in the infringement of fundamental right to worship guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution.

The land at the site is of utmost historical and religious importance to all followers of Saint Guru Ravidas as the Guru himself had lived at the site, stated the petition. Therefore, the temple deserved special protection as a site of historical and religious significance. Land laws and DDA zoning regulations which came subsequently cannot apply to the temple, which had been in existence for about 600 years, the petitioners argued.

The petition also cited the Allahabad High Court judgement on Ayodhya case to claim that like the Ram Janambhoomi site, the Ravidas temple site was a juristic person and that the divinity of land is inalienable and cannot be taken away. The petitioners claim that as the followers of Guru Ravidas are from oppressed class in society, the temple required special protection.

According to the Guru Ravidas Jainti Samaroh Samiti, the committee that managed the temple, the plot was occupied by one of their ancestors nearly 160 years ago. The Samiti was formed in 1959, and it built the Guru Ravidas Temple, an ashram, samadhis of saints, a dharmashala at the site. The committee told the court that the temple was inaugurated on March 1, 1959 by then union minister Jagjiwan Ram, a prominent Dalit leader of that time.

DDA claims that the land was acquired in 1963 under the Land Acquisition Act and due compensation was paid for the same. Despite that the committee continued to encroach upon the land, they alleged. DDA says that structured built on the land were completely unauthorised. It says that constructions were done on protected forest land which and these were illegal.

The Delhi High Court had found that temple committee could not submit any document to show that it ever owned the land, and as the land was acquired by the government and transferred to DDA, the land is owned by DDA now.

Pakistan: Hindu student found dead in hostel room, foulplay suspected even as college admin tries to pass it off as suicide

Image Source: Twitter
BDS student Namrita Chandani commits suicide in Pakistan

The brutalities against minorities continue unabated in the terrorist state of Pakistan as in another shocking instance, a medical student was found dead under mysterious circumstances inside her hostel room at a college in Larkana area.

Reportedly, Hindu student Namrita Chandani, a final year BDS student in the Bibi Asifa Dental College of Larkana, Pakistan was found dead in her room on Monday. Namrita Chandani was found lying down with a rope tied around her neck while her room was locked from inside.

According to a report in Pakistan-based The Tribune, she hailed from Mirpur Mathelo in Ghotki region and was pursuing medical education at Bibi Asifa Dental College. Reportedly, the college administration tried to pass it as suicide. However, the evidence points in the other direction.

There were signs that she struggled to save her life. Her phone also went missing which was later recovered by the police. Now, several questions are being raised as to why her body was lying on the bed instead of hanging from the rope, as generally happens in the cases of suicide by hanging.

The incident was reported to the police after other hostel inmates found her room locked. They knocked continuously and even shouted her name but Namrita did not respond.

The brother of the victim, Dr Vishal also said that there were signs of strangulation with a cable wire around her neck. He demanded that the case must be investigated fairly and citizens should support his family.

The mysterious death of Hindu student Namrita comes just a day after violence against minority Hindus was unleashed by Muslims from Ghotki, Pakistan, the region where the deceased hailed from. Ghotki, a city in Pakistan’s Sindh province has been known for the persecution of Hindus, who are in minority in Pakistan.

On Sunday, following an allegation of blasphemy against a Hindu school principal, Hindu temples, shops and homes of minority Hindus were ransacked by Muslim rioters. However, later it was revealed that the attack on Hindus was a pre-planned event to cover-up a child abduction incident. The school principal had thwarted efforts by giving refuge to one of the Hindu girls, who was abducted by associates of child kidnapper Mian Mitho.

Mithu is feared by the local Hindus as they accuse him of kidnapping and forced conversions of Hindu girls. The minority Hindus of the area claim that Mithu provides protection to those who kidnap underage Hindu girls and forcibly converts them to Islam before marrying them off to their kidnappers. Further, he also wields his political power to influence legal processes in case families of kidnapped girls decide to go to court.

Mian Mitho was also behind the abduction and conversion of two underage Hindu girls Raveena (13) and Reena (15) from Ghotki in Pakistan’s Sindh on the eve of Holi. The girls were later forcefully converted and married off to older Muslim men.

Attack on Hindus in Ghotki, Pakistan pre-planned by Islamic leader Mian Mithoo to cover up abduction of Hindu girl: Reports

The temple vandalisation and violence over blasphemy allegations were pre-planned to cover up kidnapping of a minor Hindu girl, claims media reports
Mian Mitho with Pakistan PM Imran Khan, image via Twitter

On Sunday, temples belonging to the minority Hindu community were vandalised and violence was unleashed against Hindus in Pakistan’s Ghotki after a principal Notan Das had allegedly made some ‘blasphemous’ remark. The violence had broken out after a student accused the school principal Das of making ‘blasphemous’ remarks.

In a new twist to the whole incident, a news report in Pakistani media outlet Naya Daur states that the attacks against the Hindu community were pre-planned by the goons of notorious Radical Islamic leader Mian Mithoo. Mian Mithoo is alleged to be behind the abduction and forced conversion of several Hindu underage girls in the area.

School principal Notan Das had reportedly saved an abducted Hindu girl by giving refuge to her and the attack against him was an attempt to cover up the crime by Mian Mithoo’s goons.

Reportedly, the recent incident of alleged blasphemy is linked to an earlier kidnapping and attempt to forcefully marry a Hindu girl. In 2018, an 11-year-old girl Monika was reportedly abducted from Hala with an aim to forcibly convert her. The girl had been recovered and the court had ordered that the girl should be returned to her parents because she was underage.

Naya Daur has claimed that local activists have informed them that the girl had been given refuge by Notan Das, the school principal, who has now been accused of committing blasphemy in Ghotki. Shockingly, Monika was again kidnapped a day before the riots erupted and immediately protests erupted against Notan Das for his alleged ‘blasphemy’.

The activists said that the allegations were made against the principal so that the abduction could be covered up and Hindu community of the area could not have a chance to protest against the kidnapping. Mian Mithoo was seen inciting and leading a mob which later vandalised the Hindu temple in Ghotki and unleashed an attack on Hindus.

According to the activist quoted by Naya Daur, Mian Mithoo is currently being backed by powerful people and his rampage against the Hindu community is being supported by those people.

Mian Abdul Haq, commonly known as Mian Mithoo, belongs to an influential family in the Sindh province and is an influential political and religious figure in Ghotki. He had been elected as a member of the National Assembly from Ghotki in the elections of 2008 on a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) ticket. He is also the custodian of a Muslim shrine, Barchundi Sharif.

Mithoo is feared by the local Hindus as they accuse him of kidnapping and forced conversions of Hindu girls. The minority Hindus of the area claim that Mithoo provides protection to those who kidnap underage Hindu girls and forcibly converts them to Islam before marrying them off to their kidnappers. Further, he also wields his political power to influence legal processes in case families of kidnapped girls decide to go to court.

Mian Mithoo, the chief of Bharchundi mosque is accused of systematically carrying out the kidnapping and forced conversions of underage Hindu girls in the area. Mian Mithoo was also behind the abduction and conversion of two underage Hindu girls Raveena (13) and Reena (15) from Ghotki in Pakistan’s Sindh on the eve of Holi earlier this year. The girls were later forcefully converted and married off to older Muslim men.

Pakistan is notoriously known for its persecution of not only religious minorities but also ethnic minorities within their own country. The forceful conversion programmes have often been unleashed against the minorities especially Christians, Sikhs and Hindus living in Pakistan with utmost brutality.

Sardar Sarovar Dam: The significance of Prime Minister Modi celebrating his birthday at Kevadia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Sardar Sarovar Dam in the background

Prime Minister Modi is celebrating his 69th birthday at Kevadia, in Narmada district, Gujarat. On September 15, the reservoir dam reached full reservoir level (FRL) of 138.68 metres for the first time. This is significant and a proud day for Gujaratis.

I have extended family in Bharuch, Gujarat. My grandmother was born and brought up there. “My brother used to swim across the river,” she would say. She taught me Narmadashtakam, a composition by Adi Shankaracharya offering salutations to Goddess Narmada. Whenever we would visit Bharuch, my father and grandmother will bow down to the Narmada while crossing the bridge and recite ‘Namami Devi Narmade’.

When UPA was at the Centre, Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. The Central Government under Dr Manmohan Singh was extremely partial and unjust towards Gujarat. He kept Gujarat deprived of Narmada water by sitting on the Sardar Sarovar dam height for years because the Congress government in the neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra felt they were at ‘disadvantage’. Little did they realise that the same Narmada water will bring irrigation and drinking water even to their states along with providing electricity.

Parts of Gujarat remained parched.

Finally, in June 2014, a month after Prime Minister Modi swore in, the final approval came which breathed a new life in the project. In May 2017, Narmada waters reached the parched Kutch.

At last in June 2017, the project whose foundation was laid in 1961 by then Prime Minister Nehru, was inaugurated by now Prime Minister Narendra Modi. When people of Rajkot received Narmada water they were overjoyed.

Dr Manmohan Singh, who wants the history to be kind to him for the ten years of policy paralysis that gripped India, then proceeded to lie.

Dr Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister, in 2017 said that he never met the then Gujarat CM Modi over Sardar Sarovar Dam

Except, Dr Singh lied.

February 2013 report where then Gujarat CM Modi had met Dr Singh over Narmada dam.

You see now why this dam holds a special emotional space in the hearts of Gujaratis? In 2012, as the Gujarat Chief Minister of Gujarat, PM Modi had launched ‘SAUNI’ (Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation) Yojana to supply excess water from Narmada dam to 115 dams across Gujarat.

Congress kept Gujarat thirsty for decades. Congress and anti-Narmada project activist Medha Patkar. For years, Patkar, who looks like she could use a comb, tried to stall the project which benefited crores of farmers under her ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’.

The foundation stone of the project was laid back in back in 1961 by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Ever since then it has been marred by protests by activists like Narmada Bachao Aandolan founder Medha Patkar, who have claimed that the dam’s water might displace about 40,000 families as their homes would be submerged. They have claimed that the rehabilitation process of these families is still not complete and that the water supply in the dam be stopped until its done.

In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the much publicised 138-metre Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river at Dabhoi, Gujarat. It was a landmark of sorts considering the amount of delays the project had experienced owing to protests by various activists. This increase in height from 121.92 metre to 138.68 metre has quadrupled the dam’s storage capacity led  to 4.73 million acre feet.

PM Modi, while inaugurating the project had said that when the World Bank (which had earlier agreed to fund the project), refused to give loan citing environmental concerns, the temples of Gujarat organised funds for the dam. He also claimed that no other project in the world had so many hurdles.

Today, that dam is flowing at its full reservoir level, it is a moment of pride for Gujaratis. And a humbling one for Prime Minister Modi who ensured the wrongs committed by previous regimes are undone.

नर्मदे, सर्वदे|

Not many countries want him, Modi didn’t ask me to return this man: Malaysian PM on Zakir Naik

Malaysian PM says Zakir Naik was not discussed during meeting with PM Modi, says not many countries want him
Zakir Naik(left), representational image

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday said that India Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not request him to hand over Radical Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is facing an arrest in India for money laundering and terror-related charges.

Reportedly, the Malaysian prime minister added that his Indian counterpart whom he met on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in Russia earlier this month, made no extradition request for the controversial Islamic televangelist despite official notice from New Delhi.

Speaking to local media, Mahathir Mohamad said, “Not many countries want him (Zakir Naik). I met Prime Minister Modi, he didn’t ask me for him.”

He also said that Malaysia is still looking for a place to send Zakir Naik who has made racially sensitive comments recently accusing Hindu Malaysians of being more loyal to PM Modi. “We are trying to find someplace he can go to but at the moment, no one wants to accept him”, said Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir Mohamad’s statement comes nearly a fortnight after Prime Minister Modi met his Malaysian counterpart in Russia at the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum meet. Media reports at that time had quoted foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale and stated that the issue of Naik was discussed between the two leaders.

Radical Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has also been causing trouble in Malaysia, a country where he was granted permanent resident status. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad mentioned that he was given the status by the previous government and now, due to his racially hateful speeches and statements, Malaysian authorities have imposed a nationwide ban on Zakir Naik stopping him from speaking in public.

It is notable here that many Malaysian states have also barred Naik from entering their jurisdiction.

After Priyanka Chaturvedi, Shiv Sena looking to induct ex-Congress leader Urmila Matondkar into party?

Urmila Matondkar

Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray’s close aide has reportedly met actor turned politician Urmila Matondkar according to a Times Now report. Urmila Matondkar had recently quit the Congress party after a brief stint with the party.

According to the report, Uddhav Thackeray’s close aide Milind Narvekar has been in touch with the ex-Congress leader perhaps in talks to join Shiv Sena after she quit Congress only last week.

However, the party seems to have clarified that as of now, it was only a courtesy call to Urmila Matondkar owing to the closeness that that Thackery family and Urmila Matondkar share.

While resigning from the Congress party, Urmila said that her political and social sensibilities do not allow her to let vested interests in the party to use her as a means to fight petty in-house politics. Urmila’s reason for offering resignation from the party reveals that everything is not going well in the Mumbai Congress and the party is plagued with internecine battles.

The resignation came merely after 5 months since she joined the party. The fallout among the Congress leaders in Mumbai has come out in open, especially after the party fared disastrously in the General elections 2019. Soon after Rahul Gandhi resigned from the post of Congress President, Milind Deora too had resigned from the post of Mumbai Congress President. Another senior Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam is at loggerheads with Milind Deora as he hailed Deora’s removal as Congress Mumbai President.

Interestingly, Urmila had spoken at length about how it was the Congress’ ideology that had attracted her towards politics. Now, if indeed the speculations of her joining Shiv Sena are true, it would be a diametrically opposite ideological stand that she would be taking. While in politics, there are no permanent enemies and friends, the change might even surprise her supporters.

Interestingly, Urmila, if rumours are to be believed, won’t be the first ex-Congress leader to join Shiv Sena. Earlier, Priyanka Chaturvedi who was the national spokesperson of Congress had also joined Shiv Sena after quitting the Congress party. For Chaturvedi, the reason for quitting was inaction on the part of the party on acting against Congress workers who had misbehaved with her earlier.

While Priyanka Chaturvedi and Urmila Matondkar both were in the party, it was rumoured that there was a rivalry brewing between the two. Both were vying for the North Mumbai seat, however, Congress had chosen to give a ticket to new entrant Urmila and not a party loyalist like Chaturvedi.

When Matondkar had quit the party, on the same day, Chaturvedi had tweeted about “Karma catching up” and many had speculated that it was meant for Urmila Matondkar.

If Matondkar does join Shiv Sena, it would interesting to see how this rumoured political rivalry pans out.

Rajasthan: 6 BSP MLAs meet speaker CP Joshi to join Congress

6 BSP MLAs in Rajasthan meet speaker CP Joshi to merge legislative party with Congress
6 BSP MLAs in Rajasthan meet speaker to join Congress, image courtesy: Rakesh Goswami via Twitter

All the six MLAs of the Bahujan Samaj Party in Rajasthan have given a letter late last night to speaker CP Joshi, requesting him to merge their legislative party with the Congress. Speaker Joshi has informed PTI about the letter.

As per reports, the MLAs are Rajendra Singh Gudha, Jogendra Singh Awana, Wajib Ali, Lakhan Singh Meena, Sandeep Yadav and Deepchand. The MLAs have decided to merge their legislative party in the assembly with the Congress. A congress leader has stated that all the six MLAs were in contact with Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and have now decided to come into the Congress fold.

There are 200 seats in the Rajasthan assembly. Congress holds 100 of them. With the support of 1 MLA from the Rashtriya Lok Dal, and the outside support of 12 out of 13 independent MLAs, Congress has the majority.

It is notable here that all the six BSP MLAs had also defected to Congress during Ashok Gehlot’s earlier tenure in 2009.

After the 2018 assembly elections in Rajasthan, BSP supremo Mayawati had declared that her party will stay out of government but will give outside support. Mayawati had supported Congress in Madhya Pradesh too. The BJP has 72 MLAs in Rajasthan.

One of the MLAs Jogendra Singh stated that the MLAs were in a dilemma because on one hand, they were to support the government at the state level and on the other, they had to fight against them during the general elections. He added that the BSP MLAs have taken this step keeping the welfare of their respective constituencies in mind.

State BSP chief Sitaram Meghwal and leader Dharmveer Ashok have stated that they had no idea about the MLAs joining Congress.

‘Professional Congress’ member posts promotional tweets for 500 rupees, blames ‘social media manager’ after having defended tweet

Andria D'Souza aka @RiaRevealed on Twitter (image: YouTube)

‘My manager did it,’ is the new ‘dog ate my homework’. Flipkart Big Billion Sale is here and well, ‘Congress supporters’ would like to earn a few quick bucks.

‘Professional Congress’ (yes, paradoxes exist) member, Andria D’souza, has found herself in a rather embarrassing situation after it was revealed that she charges Rs 500 for tweeting promotional tweets. ‘Social media influencers’ often charge a price to post promotional material on their platform. While there is nothing wrong in it, when the fact that Andria charged Rs 500 for her post got out, it rattled her a little. After that she disowned the post and blamed her ‘manager’ for the promotional post.

It all started when BJP Delhi spokesperson Tajinder Bagga tweeted last night that the Flipkart Big Billion Sale promotion tweet which Andria had posted was a paid one and that too she was given Rs 500 for the same. The screenshot he shared showed a conversation between two people where a deal was carried out that ‘@riarevealed’ will post a paid tweet for Flipkart for Rs 500. When Andria tweeted the Flipkart Big Billion Sale tweet as mentioned in the conversation, Bagga shared the conversation and added how it is actually his birthday and not Flipkart foundation date as she mentioned in her tweet.

The ‘Kamasurta 3D’ actress then deleted her tweet and had a complete mental breakdown. At first, after deleting her tweet, she posted another tweet with changed date, pretending as if she just made a mistake.

Except, she goofed up here as well because Flipkart Big Billion Day sale for 2019 is between 29th September to 4th October and not between 10th – 14th October as the ‘Adults Only’ star tweeted. The above dates are from 2018.

This is where her meltdown started. When people started mocking how her tweets are up for sale, which could cast aspersions on her genuine support to Congress, she first came up with an excuse that she tweeted it as she wanted a ‘referral code’ for discount.

Soon she started indulging in character assassination of Bagga and filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri who had mocked her for making ‘millions’ by trolling him.

And then came a shocking revelation that she was once a ‘reporter’ before getting into ‘Professional Congress’.

While looking up for details on which publication she worked on, one also came across the fact that she worked in a Pakistani serial ‘Maati’ during her stint as an actress other than ‘Kamasutra 3D’ and ‘Adults Only’. I’m wondering if she took one of the ‘roles’ she played when she was an ‘actress’ too seriously by calling herself a ‘reporter. We were still not unable to locate which publication she worked for at the time of publishing this report.

Today morning, perhaps after a night of tossing and turning in her bed, Andria then claimed how Tajinder Bagga ‘honey trapped’ her ‘manager’ who posted the tweet for Rs 500 ‘without her knowledge’.

So over a course of 10 hours, Andria went from ‘I love Flipkart and I tweeted for Rs 2000 referral discount’ to ‘my manager tweeted and now I fired him’.

Somehow, this prank on her was ‘honey trapping’ her manager.

According to Oxford Dictionary, honeytrapping is “a stratagem in which an attractive person entices another person into revealing information or doing something unwise.” With this, Ria also revealed (pun intended) her low IQ.

She then referred to taking money in lieu of posting tweets for brands as ‘hacking into social media’.

Reminds me of the epic song from classic movie Padosan.

Ghoda-chatur-ghoda-chatur

She has been going on and on while people are just having fun on her expense.

She found support from fellow Congress supporter who told her not to be ashamed or embarrassed for taking money to tweet on behalf of a brand. She was still busy pushing her ‘manager’ under the bus.

Earlier, she had blamed Prime Minister Modi for an incident of violence in our neighbouring country Pakistan. With Divya Spandana, Congress’ former IT cell head gone incognito, one would like to recommend Andria D’Souza as a personal reference to take the reins of Congress’ social media in her hand. While Divya restricted herself to spreading fake news and goof-ups through the social media handle, Andria has set the bar higher.

Update: Responding to the OpIndia report, Professional Congress troll Andria D’souza has said that the Flipkart tweet was done by her manager, who has now apparently been fired because he got ‘honey trapped’. She has also revealed that her rate is no less than Rs. 5000 per tweet for promotional content.

Mann Bairagi: Akshay Kumar releases the poster of the film based on PM Modi, Sanjay Leela Bhansali to produce the same

Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Mann Bairagi' a film based on PM Modi. Poster launched today by film actor Akshay Kumar

After a series of biopics and teleshows featuring the story of Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit the screens earlier this year, another film on the PM Modi is on its way. Interestingly, the new movie will be produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and is titled Mann Bairagi.

The makers of an hour-long ‘special film’ released the first look posters of the movie on the 69th birthday of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The short film on PM Modi is being produced by filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Mahaveer Jain.

According to the report, Sanjay Leela Bhansali said what interested him the most in the story is its ‘universal appeal and message’. “The story was very well-researched, and the turning point of our PM’s life as a young man really intrigued me. I felt that it’s an unheard story which needs to be told,” said Bhansali on PM Modi and the movie.

The film which is being produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and is being written and directed by Ssanjay Tripaathy is based on an “untold story from the life of the Prime Minister which has not been in the public domain so far,” its makers said.

The poster the movie on PM Modi produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali was launched on Twitter by film star Akshay Kumar.

Talking about his latest production, Sanjay Leela Bhansali revealed that the reason he decided to produce the film was because of its “universal appeal and message”.

“Mann Bairagi brings out that defining moment in the journey of PM Modi which has not been in public knowledge so far. I am sure it will connect with and inspire young people deeply, and that’s what excited us to work on this film,” said Jain.

Writer and director Ssanjay Tripaathy said, “For me, it’s a human interest story about the self-discovery of a person who went on to become such a strong leader of our country.”

PM Modi to visit Sardar Sarovar Dam to evaluate projects, to launch ‘Namami Narmade Utsav’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Modi, who arrived in Ahmedabad on the eve of his 69th birthday, has reached Kevadia in Narmada district to evaluate the projects on Sardar Sarovar Dam. On September 15, the reservoir dam reached full reservoir level (FRL) of 138.68 metres for the first time. PM Modi will preside over celebrations to mark the water levels in the reservoir which makes for a spectacular visual treat.

PM Modi will also participate in the Namami Narmade Utsav, a state-wide celebration organised by Gujarat government and perform ‘Maa Narmada Poojan’. Single-use plastic dumped in rivers and streams will be collected as a part of the celebration. He will also assess the work on the Statue of Unity. At 282 meters  it is the world’d tallest statue and was inaugurated by the PM on October 31, 2018 as a tribute to Sardar Vallabhai Patel on his birth anniversary.

Like last year, the PM will spend some time in Varanasi, his parliamentary constituency with children with disabilities.

In the run up to PM Modi’s birthday on September 17, BJP is observing ‘Seva Saptah’ (service week) between September 14-20. Seva Saptah was launched by party president Amit Shah, working president JP Nadda, Vijay Goel and Vijender Gupta by cleaning the floors at AIIMS, New Delhi. Various social initiatives will also be undertaken by party leaders during this week.

BJP cadres are set to showcase various exhibitions across all districts in a bid to illustrate the social work done the PM. These exhibitions will highlight the achievements of the government of India under PM Modi’s leadership.

Not only the partymen but the common people are also excited to celebrate the birthday of their beloved leader. Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Goel flagged off a bike rally led by popular biker Raj Luxmi. The rally, aims at spreading awareness on the social messages by the PM, will cover a distance of 1,200 kms between Delhi and Vadnagar, the birthplace of PM Modi in Gujrat. Traversing across four states, it will touch down Vadnagar on September 20.

To commemorate PM Modi’s 69th birthday, a Surat bakery will bake a 700-ft cake. Weighing 7,000 kg, this cake would be cut by ‘700 honest people’ from Surat.

A day ahead of the PM’s birthday, NaMo app was upgraded with an aim to generate more traffic and the PM had informed the same through a tweet.

Child Rights Commission sends second notice to Mumbai police to investigate suspected torture on juvenile during Worli evangelical event

NCPCR

At the beginning of September 2019, an evangelist event was illegally organised in a school in Worli, Mumbai by New Life Fellowship mission which was exposed by a Bajrang Dal activist.

The Child Rights Commission, which had earlier taken cognisance of this incident and issued a letter to the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai on the Worli incident has now issued a second notice to Mumbai police to lodge an FIR and investigate the suspected torture on a juvenile which transpired during the course of the event.

The second letter issued by NCPCR says that this letter was in continuation to letter issued to Mumbai police dated September 3. In this letter, the commission said that a CD containing video recordings of the Evangelist program arranged in Mumbai School had been enclosed for the Mumbai Police’s reference. It further reads that the commission has also taken cognisance of the video in relation to the earlier complaint forwarded and requested Mumbai police to file an FIR as per provisions of law and investigate the said video in relation to the complaint.

NCPCR has asked Mumbai police to submit an action taken report to the commission in the next 7 working days from the date of receipt of the letter.

The Child Rights Commission had issued the first notice to the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai on the Worli incident on September 3, 2019.

The letter then issued by NCPCR said that prima facie, it looked like the event violated Article 28 (3) of the Indian Constitution and hence, the police is requested to investigate the matter. The letter then too mentioned that a report must be given to the Commission within 7 working days and that the report should include statements from the students and parents who attended the said activity.

Article 28 (3) of the Indian Constitution states, “No person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person or, if such person is a minor, his guardian has given his consent thereto Cultural and Educational Rights”.

NCPCR had in its first letter to the Mumbai police also spoken about the video in which a juvenile participating in the same program was screaming due to unknown reasons. “We suspect that the unknown juvenile present at the venue is either being exposed to inhuman torture or beating or sexual harassment which made her scream/ cry in deep pain for help”, had read the letter.

NCPCR had taken cognisance of the illegal event after Legal Rights Observatory, an activist group, on 2nd September, lodged a complaint with National Commission for Protection of Child’s Rights and raised an issue regarding the event being held in school premises. In its complaint, it stated: On September 1, 2019, The New Life Fellowship mission, an evangelist group has arranged a program at Mumbai Municipal School, Worli Mumbai.

Legal Rights Observatory had further said that the event came under the ‘Black Magic Act’ and was not merely a prayer meeting.

However, in its effort to subtly further the agenda that the Christian prayer meet was disrupted due to hate, the Mumbai Mirror had published a report on September 4th 2019, headlined “Bajrang Dal workers barge into Christian Prayer meet at Worli School” which detailed how activists from Bajrang Dal ‘disrupted’ an ‘innocent prayer meet’ being held inside the school premises. The report had claimed that Bajrang Dal suspected that the prayer meeting was a front for religious conversion and after they barged in, the first video recorded the event and then, called the police.

EC forms Media Monitoring Committee in Haryana to keep paid news under check ahead of assembly polls

Ahead of Haryana assembly elections, media monitoring committee formed to keep paid-news under check
Election Commission

Chief Electoral Officer of Haryana has constituted a state-level Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) ahead of the Haryana assembly elections with immediate effect.

According to a news report, a spokesperson of the office of Chief Electoral Officer said the committee will be chaired by Anurag Aggarwal, the Chief Electoral Officer for Haryana.

MCMC will comprise members including Director (M&C), Chandigarh, PIB, Pavitra Singh, Senior Technical Director, NIC, (Scientist F), Ganesh Dutt and Deputy Director, Information, Public Relations and Languages Department, Anita Dutta. However, Inder Jeet (Media Incharge), Joint Chief Electoral Officer has been appointed as Member Secretary of the committee, the press release stated.

“This committee will decide on the appeal made for certification of the advertisements of committees constituted under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Electoral Officer at the district level as per the guidelines of Election Commission,” added the spokesperson.

All appeals for paid-news against the decision of the committee will be monitored by the district level MCMC, besides investigating cases independently.

NCW takes suo moto cognisance of alleged rape of Muzaffarpur shelter home survivor, asks Bihar police to investigate on a priority basis

NCW takes suo moto cognisance of the alleged rape of the Muzaffarpur shelter home inhabitant
National Commission for Women(Source: deccanchronicle)

Taking suo moto cognisance of the alleged rape of a Muzaffarpur shelter home survivor, on Friday night, the National Commission for Women(NCW) has issued a notice to Bihar DGP requesting him to treat this case on an urgent basis and commission a speedy probe in the matter.

In addition to this, the NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma will visit Muzaffarpur on September 19 and 20 to evaluate the progress of actions taken by officials in this case. She is also set to meet the victim to inquire upon her welfare and provide her with all the possible help and support.

In a shocking incident, Muzaffarpur shelter home survivor, who was reunited with her family following a court order after a sex scandal broke out in May 2018, was allegedly abducted and gang raped in a moving car by four members of the same family on the Bettiah-Pakhnaha road in West Champaran district. The girl has already identified two of the perpetrators.

An audio clip has gone viral, which apparently contains the confession of the accused of the heinous crime. In the audio clip, the younger of the two brothers alleged to be involved in the brutal crime can be heard recounting the entire incident to someone. He is heard talking about the involvement of five people including himself. However, he denied his elder brother’s involvement in the case.

The police is yet to establish the authenticity of the clip. However, the accused can be heard admitting that the victim was gang-raped in a moving Scorpio car. The victim was a survivor of the Muzaffarpur shelter home run by Brajesh Thakur. 42 girls were allegedly mentally and physically abused at this government-aided shelter home.

Imran Khan, the ‘ambassador of Kashmir’, slammed by President of World Uighur Congress for ignoring the plight of Uighur Muslims in China

Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan who also juggles as a self-styled ‘ambassador of Kashmir’, has been slammed by Dolkun Isa, President of World Uighur Congress. Isa exposed Khan for his bigoted views on human rights violations stating that though he talks about the Kashmir issue, he prefers to stay mum on the plight of the Uighur Muslim community in China.

Talking to news agency ANI, Isa said that, “Pakistan Prime Minister brings up the Kashmir issue all the time but when it comes to the Uighurs he closes his eyes and supports China’s policy, this is a double standard, it is a shame.”

Isa added that the “Pakistan Prime Minister very well knows what the Chinese government is doing to Uighur Muslims but he doesn’t want to talk on this”. He also denied the claim made by the Chinese government that the detention camps where Uighur Muslims are kept are actually vocational training camps. “They are trying to hide things and are committing crimes against humanity”, he said.

It is a known fact that the abrogation of Article 370 has added to the anxiety of the PM Khan. Having been left red faced, he is now trying hard to keep his political identity afloat amid the cacophony. As the PM of the country that is the epicentre of terrorism, Khan found solace in declaring himself as the messiah of Kashmiris. Amidst the noise, he conveniently chose to brush aside the atrocities meted out to Uighur Muslim community, by his all weather friend China, under the carpet.

Recently, in an interview with Al Jazeera, Khan unravelled his naivety and duplicity in  response to a question on Muslims in China. He was asked if he had the opportunity to discuss the matter with the Chinese administration, to which he admitted that he had not. He went a step further and claimed that he didn’t have much knowledge about the persecution of Uighur Muslims in China.

“And frankly, we have been facing so many of our internal problems right now, that I don’t really know much about this problem. And since we have been in power for one year, domestically, apart from the economy, and now with Kashmir, we have been inundated with problems. But I will say one thing for China, for us China has been the best friend,” he told the news organization.

The PM who claims to be the messiah of the Muslims of Kashmir and feigns ignorance about the gross hardships faced by Uighurs in China reeks of prejudice.  Ironically, his focus seems to be hinged on a false narrative around Kashmir whereas he hasn’t cared to updated himself on the plight of Uighurs. Even in March, in response to Uighurs, Khan had claimed to know nothing about their persecution.

Given Pakistan’s economic condition, it appears that the parody nation doesn’t want to offend it’s trusted accomplice for the fear of getting into its bad books!

Suvarna news anchor wants scientist arrested for his sarcastic Tweet about ‘Mysore Pak’, claims his act was ‘seditious’

Dr Anand Ranganathan offering Mysorepak to FM Nirmala Sitharaman (image: @aranganathan72)

The sarcasm in the tweet made by Dr Anand Ranganathan on the issue of ‘Mysore Pak’ is surely being missed by some of the anchors in the Kannada media. Taking it to the next level, an anchor of Suvarna news, Jayaprakash Shetty has now asked for the arrest of scientist Ranganathan for claiming Mysore Pak belonged to Tamil Nadu.

In an angry tone, the anchor questioned the credentials of Dr Anand Ranganathan as a professor and shockingly calls him a ‘Thikla’ meaning a deranged man. He further goes on to say that Anand Ranganathan was the one who gave the idea to Nirmala Sitharaman to declare GI tag for Mysore Pak in favour of Tamil Nadu.


Shockingly, the anchor then asked for the arrest of Dr Anand Ranganathan for falsely attributing the origins of Mysore Pak. Calling his tweets ‘seditious’, the anchor questioned why can not he joke about Dr Ranganathan having connections with Pakistan. Shetty in the video expressed his anger over Anand Ranganathan as he claimed that the JNU scientist was attempting to create a divide between two states.

In an unnecessary attack against Ranganathan, Shetty further misled the viewers by referring to a tweet made by Anand Ranganathan where he had promptly requested the people of Karnataka to end the issue. The anchor states that it was because of the pressure exerted by the media, Dr Ranganathan sought to apologise for his gaffe.

Magnifying the issue, the anchor further stated that Dr Anand Ranganathan has tried to hurt the feeling of Kannadigas. However, after his attempts backfired, he sought the help of Bangalore South MP Tejasvi Surya to save him from the wrath of Kannadigas, said the anchor while personally attacking Dr Anand Ranganathan.

The whole Mysore Pak incident concerning Dr Anand Ranganathan was totally uncalled for. The sarcastic tweet made by the scientist was deliberately picked by the Kannada media to target him. In doing so, many Kannada news channels resorted to fake news to mislead people over the issue.

The Mysore Pak has been one of Dr Ranganathan’s long time gags on Twitter. Ranganathan is a big fan of the delicacy, had said that after meeting Finance Minister Sitharaman that talks are proceeding smoothly over granting of GI tag to Tamil Nadu, his home state. However, no one had expected that a huge controversy would erupt over the issue of Mysore Pak, which originated in Mysuru during the rule of Wodeyar dynasty.

Dr Anand Ranganathan is one of the foremost genetic engineering and biotechnology scientists of the country. An alumnus of Cambridge University, Dr Ranganathan is known for his objectivity over a range of issues and is also one of the highly respected individuals across the social media platforms. A man of varied interests, he is currently researching dengue and tuberculosis at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Delhi and Special Centre for Molecular Medicine, JNU.

Amidst allegations of stealing govt furniture and corruption, Andhra Pradesh ex-speaker commits suicide

Former Andhra Pradesh assembly speaker K Siva Prasad Rao allegedly committed suicide
Former Andhra Pradesh speaker and senior TDP leader K Siva Prasad Rao. Courtesy: India TV

Andhra Pradesh former speaker K Siva Prasad Rao passed away today while undergoing treatment at Basavatarakam hospital, Hyderabad. The senior TDP leader, who was reportedly under depression for some time, has allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself at his residence.

The senior leader was rushed to the Indo-American Cancer Hospital in Hyderabad in an unconscious state by his guard and driver from where he was shifted to the Basavatarakrama Hospital in a serious condition and later pronounced dead.

The 6-time MLA in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly had served as the Speaker from 2014 till 2019 and a minister in the cabinets of TDP founder NT Rama Rao and present party chief N Chandrababu Naidu.

Rao had several corruption charges registered against him, his son and daughter after Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP came to the power.

The YSR Congress Party government in Andhra Pradesh had levelled serious allegations on Kodela Siva Prasad Rao. The government accused Rao of stealing a Nizam-era table, designer chairs, sofas, air-conditioners and some ‘personal’ computers among other things from his Speaker’s office in Hyderabad.

According to officials of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, many items of furniture were found in a motorcycle showroom owned by Rao’s elder son, Kodela Sivaram, in Guntur city.

Interestingly, on the same day news had broken out that the Andhra Pradesh Skill Development Corporation has lodged a police complaint against Sivaram for allegedly stealing 30 laptops and a printer from a Rural Skill Development Centre in Sattenpalli, in July 2018.

Banjara Hills ACP K Srinivasa Rao said that it was too early to divulge any details related to the case. “We are investigating what happened. Further details will be revealed soon,” he said.

TDP Telangana President L Ramana said: “As per what we saw, there were injury marks on his neck. However, the true cause of death will be revealed after the police conduct an autopsy.” Meanwhile, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu has expressed grief on Kodela’s death.

Meanwhile, the BJP which is at the opposition has also expressed shock at Kodela death. In a statement, Telangana BJP spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao has said: “Shocked to know that former minister, former AP speaker Shri. Kodela Siva Prasad has committed suicide. I extend heartfelt condolences on the unfortunate demise of this senior politician. May his soul rest in peace.”

He added, “I believe this forced death is a testimony to the ongoing bitter & contemptuous politics of Andhra Pradesh. It’s quite unfortunate.”

Facing criticism after making hijab mandatory for girl students, Assam school withdraws the decision

AB Hannan goes back on his order making it compulsory for girls to wear hijab
(Source: Barak Bulletin)

Being under intense fire for enacting a draconian move asking the girl students to compulsorily wear hijab, AB Hannan, the school principal in Assam’s Karimganj has now taken a u-turn on his hijab order. The school has withdrawn its decision of making hijab mandatory for the girl students and Hannan has issued an apologetic note for hurting the sentiments of the people with his Facebook post.

In the Facebook post with grammatical errors, he had written, “to protect my students from evil eyes and as a part of the best personality of girls today I made compulsory wearing Hijab for my all girl students at East Point Public School, Karimganj”. The school principal, AB Hannan had defended the medieval practice of enforcing hijabs for girl students saying that it will protect the girls from ‘evil eyes’.  Hannan stated that the ill-mannered boys in the neighbourhood cast an evil glance on the girls studying in the school and to protect the girls from such miscreants he had taken the decision of making it mandatory for them to wear hijabs.

His Facebook post stirred a furore as many on social media censured him, terming the move as narrow-minded act. Responding to the flak that Hannan’s post attracted on the social media, school management convened an urgent meeting in which the decision of enforcing hijab for girl students was immediately withdrawn. Hannan was also directed by the school management to immediately delete his social media post and issue a formal apology instead.

Hannan has deleted his social media post and posted a new one in Bengali which says-“The school administration has not given its approval on the decision to enforce Hijab so it remains optional as it was. Since my earlier post on social media about making Hijab compulsory had hurt many people, I am deleting now with an apology. Jai Hind.”

While speaking to a local news agency Barak Bulletin, Hannan expressed his remorse and apology over the decision announced by him earlier. He said that he felt he is taking the right step to stop harassment of the girls in his school. He also added that at present all students in the school are Muslim, and he had said while announcing the ruile that if in future non-Muslim students join the school, he would look at the decision. However, after outrage over the decision, he admitted that he was wrong and tendered his apology for hurting the sentiments of his well-wishers who were anguished by his decision.

Pakistan govt arrests 11 youths in PoK for chanting anti-Imran Khan slogans during his flop Friday fad in Muzaffarabad

Khan’s speech laced with blatant Hinduphobia and terror threats against India had zero effect as the people of PoK , who reciprocated with
Imran 'Taliban' Khan

To choke the voices of dissent, Pakistan government has now registered FIR against students and youth in PoK for chanting slogans against the PM during his rally. 11 arrests have been made so far and their homes have been raided by the Pakistani forces.

On the day of the rally also the Pakistani forces arrested a child raising anti-Imran Khan slogans. In visuals captured during the day of the event, the Pakistani security officers were seen taking the young boy away.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s humdrum rally organised on September 13 (Friday) in Pakistan occupied Kashmir’s (PoK) Muzaffarabad had turned into a major embarrassment for the self-proclaimed ‘ambassador of Kashmir’ as he met with protests wherein anti-Imran Khan slogans were raised.

Khan’s speech at the Friday rally was laced with blatant Hinduphobia and terror threats against India. His mundane discourse had zero effect on the people who instead reciprocated with “Imran Khan go back” slogans.

After his call of ‘standing for 30 mins’ for the sake of Kashmir flopped, Khan had planned this rally in Muzaffarabad to add some more noise against India. The Indian government keeps giving zero attention to his frustrated rants.

Though Khan has been hallucinating that his gibberish rants are making him come across as a Messiah of Kashmiris, his bubble has been bust quite a number of times but somehow the Pakistani PM refuses to capitulate.

On one hand, Khan is trying hard to show to the world that Pakistan is standing in solidarity with people of Jammu and Kashmir, while on the other hand the locals in PoK are rebelling against Pakistan. The people there are standing against the atrocities meted out to them by Pakistani authorities.

Recently, local residents belonging to various regions of PoK including Tatta Pani, Rawalakot, Poonch, Hajira, and Tatrinote today raised slogans in protest against the illegal occupation and atrocities by the Pakistani Army near the Line of Control (LoC) with India. The protests were aimed at claiming independence for the region.

The protesters can be heard sloganeering,“Pakistani fauji chod do Kashmir ko” and “yahan jo maara maari hain uske peeche wardi hain,” which roughly translates as “Pakistan Army, leave Kashmir alone” and “army is behind the atrocities here.”

The Pakistani police, in turn, had mercilessly assaulted and fired at the demonstrators. In the ensuing panic, several Kashmiris were injured.

Earlier also, media reports had mentioned the police breaking up several pro-independence marches in the Hajira region of PoK.

Since the time India has gone ahead to revoke Article 370, which provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir, India and Pakistan’s already strained relationship has worsened. The abrogation of Article 370 has rattled Pakistan, which has since stepped up its efforts to create unrest in Kashmir. In the wake of this development, it has resorted to multiple ceasefire violations.

In fact, Defence Expert, PK Sehgal today asserted that Human rights violations are taking place on a large-scale in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), Sindh and Balochistan.

“If there are human right violations taking place, they are taking place on a large-scale in PoK, Sindh, and Balochistan and not in Kashmir,” Sehgal told news agencies furthering that Pakistan has been desperately trying to push infiltrators into Jammu and Kashmir.

Moreover, NSA Ajit Doval had also in a wide-ranging interaction with journalists in New Delhi Saturday reiterated the same.

ED summons Chidambaram’s personal secretary KVK Perumal for the third time, seeks answers to 40 questions

Chidambaram's personal secretary summoned by ED
P Chidambaram(Source: India Today)

The troubles of former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram seem to increase further as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned his former personal secretary KVK Perumal to appear before them for the third time on Wednesday, reports ANI.

According to the reports, the Enforcement Directorate has asked KVK Perumal to appear before them for further questioning about the dealings of Chidambaram and to seek financial, property and company details.

Reportedly, the ED has sought answers to 40 questions from KVK Perumal. The ED has also sought the property details of his family members, photocopies of their passports. Enforcement Directorate deputy director Manish Gupta and R S Thapilial will examine KVK Perumal.

Perumal had reportedly evaded questions during the earlier two questionings.

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram is under probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and ED over alleged alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during his tenure as the Finance Minister at the alleged insistence of his son Karti Chidambaram.

Chidambaram and his son were named by INX Media co-founders Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently in jail in Mumbai in connection with the murder of Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora, in February last year.

P Chidambaram had earlier gone on to great lengths to first evade the CBI arrest and then desperately tried to skirt his judicial custody in Tihar Jail. He is currently lodged in Tihar jail and his plea to surrender before the ED has been dismissed by a Delhi Court.

Shekhar Gupta’s The Print says Muslims silent over Tabrez Ansari, after multiple violent protests by Muslim mobs rocked parts of India

Propagandist Zainab Sikander, who is considered one of the faces of the ‘moderate’ sections of the Muslim community, wrote an article for Shekhar Gupta led The Print where she again spread insidious lies that are verily a threat to our country’s communal harmony. In the article, titled ‘Indian Muslims are silent over Tabrez Ansari because of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’, The Print argues that the Indian Muslim community has been beaten into silence by the all-encompassing Evil Hindu Fascism.

Amusingly enough, the very first sentence of the article is a lie. “Sahil was killed on Delhi streets because the mob thought he was Muslim,” it said. In reality, the Police ruled out a communal angle and the unfortunate boy was murdered by a drunk man and his juvenile son during a brawl.

One of the most insidious lies in the article is where The Print claims that rifleman Aurangzeb who was martyred in Kashmir could never be a hero for Indians. The memory of rifleman Aurangzeb is honoured by every nationalist who holds the sacrifice he made for the nation in extremely high regard.

Sikander conveniently forgets to mention the perpetrators of the heinous crime. Rifleman Aurangzeb was murdered by terrorists from the supposedly peaceful and oppressed Kashmiri Muslim community we keep hearing about. Interestingly enough, the family of the martyr has immense faith in same India that the propagandist so grievously denigrates. His brothers, since then, have joined the Indian Army to avenge the fallen.

However, the greatest lie of them all is certainly the claim that Indian Muslims were silent over Tabrez Ansari’s death. They were not and such denial in the face of obvious evidence to the contrary is harmful to the country. We need to face facts as they are, not how we wish them to be. Such denial of reality is precisely why the Muslim community continues to struggle with terrorists in their midst.

A Muslim mob, protesting the death of Ansari, attempted to set a bus ablaze, a bus full of engineering students. If they had been successful, it would have been a repeat of what happened at Godhra in 2002 when Hindu pilgrims were burnt to death in the coach of a Train.

In Surat, Gujarat, a Muslim mob went on a rampage during an apparent rally to protest the death of Ansari. Several vehicles were damaged by the mob and officials were injured in the process. 49 arrests were made by the Police and a Congress councillor was booked over the matter.

Violent protests were witnessed in Agra too. The protest, carried out by Muslim organizers, demanded that Hindu shops be shut. When Hindus refused, they started pelting stones at them. Several platoons of police forces had to be deployed to restore some semblance of normalcy in the area.

The situation in Meerut was even worse. Demanding that the alleged bike thief Tabrez be declared a martyr and his family be compensated adequately, the protesting mob started altercations with the Police. The Police had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the unruly crowd. Internet services had to be shut down for days to prevent rumour-mongering.

Therefore, to remain in denial of all such violence and claim that Indian Muslims have been cowed into silence by intolerant Hindus is malicious. Sikander isn’t much different from the Muslim Tik Tok artists who were trying to fan communal tensions using Ansari’s unfortunate death. In fact, she is the female intellectual version of Ajaz Khan.

The fear-mongering that Sikander indulges in, without any basis, could have grave consequences for the country. The greatest threat that India faces today is Radical Islam. The denial of the fact that Radical Islam has great support from significant sections of the Indian Muslim community by even so-called ‘Moderate Muslims’ makes it even worse. Under such circumstances, portraying a dystopian present of the country where Hindus are the ones responsible for the great fissures within could very well be the final nail in the coffin.

CBI visits WB secretariat to inquire about Ex-Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s whereabouts, asked to come on a working day

Former Kolkata Commissioner Rajeev Kumar with West Bengal CM, Mamata Banerjee

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday visited Nabanna, West Bengal secretariat, to hand over letters addressed to the director-general of police (DGP), chief secretary and home secretary, to know about whereabouts of Kolkata’s former top cop and the Saradha scam accused, Rajeev Kumar. But they were turned away and asked to come on a ‘working day’.

Sources said that the CBI officers were carrying four letters, of which two meant for the DGP were received by his office. They, however, were asked to come on Monday for the letters addressed to the chief secretary and home secretary as their offices were closed on Sunday.

“We cannot disclose the contents of the letters. The letters for the chief secretary and home secretary were not accepted. They (Nabanna officials) have asked us to come again on Monday,” said a CBI officer, while leaving the state secretariat.

The CBI had gone looking for the Kolkata police’s ex-chief and Mamata Banerjee’s close aide after he failed to turn up for questioning before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam case.

The CBI officers served another notice to Kumar to appear before them on Saturday for questioning after the HC had on Friday withdrawn Kumar’s protection from custodial interrogation.

In a major jolt to the IPS officer, the High Court withdrew the interim protection giving the CBI an immediate chance to ask him to appear before the agency in connection with the ponzi scam probe. Rajeev Kumar is accused of shielding and destroying evidence in the chit fund scam which saw thousands lose their hard-earned money with some pushed to the extreme level to end their lives.

This attempt by the WB government to protect Rajeev Kumar is not new. Mamata Banerjee has earlier too shown her endearment for the ex-cop by not only reinstating him as the additional director general of the state Criminal Investigation Department but also by sitting on a 72 dharna in his defence when a CBI team reached Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s residence in connection with Saradha scam on February 3, 2019.

Kumar, a 1989-batch IPS officer, was part of a Special Investigation Team set up by the state government to investigate the Saradha scam, before the Supreme Court handed over the case to the CBI in 2014, along with other chit fund cases. Rajeev Kumar is accused of shielding some of the accused and destroying evidence in West Bengal’s Saradha Chit Fund scam case.

Back Again: Pondy Lit Fest back for its second edition, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Kiran Bedi among distinguished guests

After a hugely successful first edition, the Pondy Lit Fest is back for its second. The dates have been announced and the three-day Lit Fest will commence on the 27th of September. The event, organized by Partha Hariharan, Alo Sud, Ajit Datta and Gayatri Iyer will be hosted at the Shenbaga Convention Centre in Puducherry.

This year, the Lit Fest will be inaugurated by Kiran Bedi, the Governor of the Union Territory, and V. Narayanasamy, the Chief Minister. The events will be curated by senior Columnist Kanchan Gupta and Professor Anand Ranganathan. The architect of the Saffron Surge in the North East, Himanta Biswa Sarma, will address a keynote session. The Lit Fest will also feature a one-on-one conversation with Arif Mohammed Khan, the Governor of Kerala. Popular lyricist Prasoon Joshi and Baijayant Panda will speak at the event as well.

Editor of OpIndia.com, Nupur Sharma, and its founder, Rahul Roushan, will also speak at the Lit Fest. Other speakers include Aashish Chandorkar, the author of The Fadnavis Years, Ashish Dhar, Founder of UpWord and Pragyata, Harsh Gupta, an expert on Public Policy, Historian Meenakshi Jain, author of The Battle for Rama, R. Jagannathan, Editor at Swarajya Mag. Vikram Sampath, author of Savarkar: The Echoes of a Forgotten Past and Swati Goel Sharma, a journalist at Swarajya Mag.

Last year, during its very first edition, the Pondy Lit Fest had caused significant anguish among the Liberal crowd. Efforts were made to have it cancelled. An alliance of left parties including the Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and Communist Party of India (Marxist) ( CPI-M ), along with Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and the Dravida Kazhagam (DK) had demanded the cancellation of the Lit Fest because it promoted ‘right-wing ideology’.

State secretary of the CPI, A.M. Salim, announced at a press conference in Puducherry that the five parties would write to the French Consulate complaining against the president of Alliance Francaise for allowing the institution to be used as the venue for the event. Eventually, Alliance Francaise was forced to issue a statement disassociating itself from the event. However, despite all such attempts, the event was organized successfully.

Entry to the Lit Fest is free, however, due to limited space, people who intend to attend the events are requested to register for it beforehand. People can register for the events at the Lit Fest’s Website: pondylitfest.com. Further details regarding the content and speakers are available on the Website as well.

Muzaffarpur shelter home survivor gang raped in a moving car, audio clip with accused’s confession goes viral

Image Courtesy: iPleaders blog

In a horrific incident, Muzaffarpur shelter home survivor, who was reunited with her family following a court order after a sex scandal broke out in May 2018, was reportedly kidnapped and gang raped in a moving car by four members of the same family on the Bettiah-Pakhnaha road in West Champaran district on Friday night. The girl has identified two of the perpetrators.

Now, an audio clip with the accused’s confession has emerged where the younger of the two brothers alleged to be involved in the heinous crime is heard narrating the entire incident to someone. He is heard talking about the involvement of five people including himself. However, he denied his elder brother’s involvement in the case.

Though the authenticity of the audio clip is being ascertained by the police, the accused is heard mentioning that the victim was allegedly raped in a moving Scorpio car.

Muzaffarpur shelter home had hit the headlines in June 2018 after a social audit report highlighted that over 42 girls were allegedly mentally and physically abused at a government-aided home, run by Brajesh Thakur.

According to reports, the victim was on her way to her sister-in-law’s house at Kotwali Chowk when four people came in a car and forcibly pulled her into the moving vehicle. The victim confirmed that though all the four accused had their faces covered the victim managed to unmask two of them in the tussle and identify them.

The victim said that the accused first gang-raped her in the moving vehicle and then once again repeated the heinous crime near the Santghat canal after which they brought her back to her locality and dumped her out of the car and fled. The accused had threatened the victim with dire consequences if she went to the police.

Following the complaint, an FIR has been registered against the four accused, Akash Kumar, Raj Kumar, Dinanath Kumar and Kundan Kumar, and investigations have begun. No arrests have been made so far.

Bettiah town police station SHO Shashi Bhushan Thakur said that the woman was admitted in the ICU ward of the government medical college on Saturday evening and a medical examination was conducted by a team of doctors on Sunday, he said. The girl’s condition is said to be critical.

Ayodhya land dispute: Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Waqf Board willing to resume negotiations, permission sought from top court

Mediation panel submits in SC that both The Hindu and Muslim parties are seeking to resume the mediation process
courtesy: Patrika.com

The three-member mediation panel on Ayodhya has moved a memorandum seeking directions on a request for resumption for negotiations by the opposing parties themselves in the Ram Janambhoomi title suite.

The Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara have reportedly expressed their willingness to continue with talks to amicably resolve the Ram Janambhoomi title dispute between the Hindu and Muslim sides. The memorandum apparently seeks permission to continue with the talks on the matter which were abruptly stopped on July 29.

If the apex court gives the green light, then it will be the second attempt at mediation between the parties. Earlier in August, the Supreme Court had declared that the mediation process had failed. The mediation panel was chaired by former Supreme Court judge Justice FMI Kalifulla, along with spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior Advocate Sriram Panchu.

Day to Day hearings on the dispute is currently ongoing in the Supreme Court. Friday marked the 23rd day of the day to day proceedings in the top court. It remains to be seen whether the Court will allow negotiations to resume given the fact that the first round of mediation had failed to reach any concrete solution.

It is, however, notable here that the panel has specified to the court that neither party is seeking the court to stop the ongoing proceedings.

Make every effort to restore normalcy in Kashmir but keep national security in mind: SC tells union govt

The Supreme Court has asked the union government to take every effort to restore normalcy in Kashmir while keeping national security in mind. The apex court issued this direction while hearing a petition regarding filed by Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times, seeking to withdraw the communication blockade impose in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370. The court also took up a few other petitions in regard to Jammu and Kashmir.

Bhasin’s lawyer Vrinda Grover said that communication blackout is still continuing in the state. When the court asked why the High Court was not approached with this petition, Grover said that it was difficult to approach the High Court as communication lines were not working.

But the government rejected this claim, adding that there are no restrictions on publication of newspapers. The Attorney General said the several newspapers are being published regularly, and the petitioner had chosen to stop the publication voluntarily.

The AG informed the court that mobile phone networks are kept shut due to security concerns. He said that terrorists and local terrorists are getting financial support from abroad, and from even the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi.

On the issue of access to judiciary, the SC said that it will seek a report from the High Court chief justice. ‘If required, I will go to Jammu and Kashmir and personally check’, CJI Ranjan Gogoi said. The court also allowed Congress leader and former J&K CM Ghulam Nabi Azad to visit Srinagar, Baramula and Jammu for social and welfare works. Azad himself volunteered that he will not do any political rallies or such activities.

After hearing the arguments, the court asked the government to unsure that normal life restored in Jammu and Kashmir, keeping national interest in mind. The court also asked to keep schools, hospitals and public transport should function properly. The Attorney General was asked to file an affidavit giving details of steps taken by the government to restore normalcy in the state.

The apex court didn’t issue any specific instructions to the government, and didn’t order the withdrawal of restrictions currently in place in the state. This has come as a major relief for the central government.

Alwar: Madarsa cleric accused of kidnapping and raping a minor girl multiple times

A Madarsa cleric accused of kidnapping and raping a minor girl in Alwar
Representational Image(Source: India Today)

A Muslim cleric from Kathumar village of Alwar district in Rajasthan has been accused of abducting a minor girl from the village and forcibly taking her to Hyderabad where he raped her multiple times in a guestroom of a mosque there. The victim’s relatives had lodged a complaint of their girl missing but for over a week, the police were unable to make any breakthrough in the case, says a report in Dainik Bhaskar.

However, the police claim that because of their continuous lookout for the girl, the accused developed cold feet and left the girl in the nearby village on Sunday. The Muslim cleric fled after abandoning the minor girl in the region’s Khudiana village. The details of the case came to light after the girl was recovered from the village. According to police officer Rajesh Kumar, the girl’s brother had registered a case on September 7 that his 17-year-old sister was forcibly taken in a Bolero car by one Yusuf, a resident of Dinu village of Bharatpur region.

After registering a case, Yusuf’s house and several other locations were raided to ascertain his whereabouts, but he was not found. Being scared of the police case and investigation against him, Yusuf allegedly escaped leaving the victim near the Khudiana village.

The victim was rescued by the police and was sent home after medical tests. The victim has alleged that Yusuf took her to Hyderabad on the pretext of getting married. In Hyderabad, she was kept in a guest room of a mosque where Yusuf raped her multiple times, alleged the girl.

Yusuf was a cleric at a madarsa in the victim’s village. As per the report, Yusuf had shown objectionable behaviour earlier too and was fired from the Madarsa by the locals.

After Andhra Pradesh, Congress govt in Rajasthan to reserve 75% jobs in private sector for locals

The government of Rajasthan is considering a 75% reservation for locals in private sector jobs. The Congress government has decided to hold a meeting with stakeholders on the matter on the 19th of September.

Companies that receive financial incentives from the government and those established under public-private partnerships will have to comply with the new rule should it be implemented. Such a reservation would require a new law and as per reports, the government has already made up its mind to implement it.

The officers in the sector aren’t too excited about the proposal. There are numerous industries such as Pharma, Automobile and Chemical where workers are recruited at a national level. There is also the possibility that there won’t be enough individuals with the requisite qualifications to fill the entire quota reserved for locals.

Earlier, Andhra Pradesh had become the first state to reserve 75% of its private-sector jobs for local youths. The State Assembly had passed the Andhra Pradesh Employment of Local Candidates in Industries/Factories Act, 2019, in July which reserves 75 percent jobs in industrial units, factories, joint ventures and projects set up under public-private partnership mode.

Kannada media spreads fake news, accuses Nirmala Sitaraman of ‘giving’ Mysorepak to Tamil Nadu

Dr Anand Ranganathan offering Mysorepak to FM Nirmala Sitharaman (image: @aranganathan72)

A sarcastic tweet on the famous Karnataka delicacy ‘Mysore Pak’ has now become the part of a huge controversy. Few Kannada media picked up the sarcastic tweets made by scientist and columnist Dr Anand Ranganathan on the origins of Mysore Pak leading to a fresh outrage against neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

The controversy began when noted scientist Dr Anand Ranganathan made sarcastic claims on the origins of Karnataka delicacy Mysore Pak. In a tweet, Dr Ranganathan tagged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while stating that he had received a token of appreciation ‘on behalf of the one-man-committee’ for granting of the Mysorepak GI tag to Tamilnadu.

Tamil Nadu is home state to Dr Ranganathan and Finance Minister Sitharaman, both and the tweet was meant to be a joke. It has been one of Dr Ranganathan’s long time gags on Twitter. Ranganathan is a big fan of the delecacy had said that after meeting Finance Minister Sitharaman that talks are proceeding smoothly over granting of GI tag to Tamil Nadu, his home state.

However, no one had expected that a huge controversy would erupt over the issue of Mysore Pak, which originated in Mysuru during the rule of Wodeyar dynasty.

It first caught the eye when last night former Karnataka Home Minister and senior Congress leader MB Patil tweeted Dr Ranganathan’s tweet with a surprised/shocked emoji.

Unable to pick up the sarcasm made by Ranganathan, few Kannada media began to outrage against Tamil Nadu, for falsely claiming their rights over Kannada delicacy ‘Mysore Pak’.

The media soon targeted Nirmala Sitharaman for ‘backstabbing’ the people of Karnataka for siding with Tamil Nadu over the issue of Mysore Pak despite being elected from Karnataka on a Rajya Sabha ticket. Nirmala Sitharaman, whose home state is Tamil Nadu, was elected as Rajya Sabha member of Parliament from Karnataka.

Popular Kannada news channel, TV9 reported that Mysore Pak no longer belonged to Karnataka as Union Government awarded the GI Tag to Tamil Nadu. It further stated that the Narendra Modi government has constituted an one-man committee to grant Mysore Pak’s GI tag to Tamil Nadu.

Digvijaya News also slammed Nirmala Sitharaman as they took offence over Anand Ranganathan’s tweets. Digvijaya News claimed that they have exposed the hypocrisy of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who represents Karnataka in the upper house.

Mysore Pak or Mysuru Paka was first prepared in the kitchens of the Mysore Palace during the regime of Krishna Raja Wodeyar IV, by a palace cook named Kakasura Madappa. He came up with the name when he was asked its name, Madappa had simply named it as ‘Mysuru Paka’, which means ‘sweet from Mysuru’.

This is not the first time Dr Anand Ranganathan has been in a soup over food (pun intended). That too Mysorepak. In August 2015, he had put up a satirical tweet claiming Mysorepak is a Tamilian invention, as endorsed by Lord Macaulay.

Two years later, some of the media houses had taken the tweet on its face-value and credited Lord Macaulay for gifting the sweet to Tamilians. The ‘news’ made it to Times of India (TOI) and to many publications after that.

And now, four years after he first credited Tamilians for ‘inventing’ Mysorepak, it has come back to haunt him.

My home by the Jhelum: Story of a Kashmiri Hindu who, along with his family was attacked and thrown out of Kashmir by Islamists

Kashmiri Pandit protest

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you -Maya Angelou

It’s an old story from the 90s. Many may not have heard it. Some who may have heard it would have probably forgotten. Others may have just ignored. So, I have to retell it. With the hope that this time you hear – hear with all your heart and soul.

As a Kashmiri Hindu, it is all the more important to retell our stories now when there is a malicious and perverse attack to erase and distort our history and rewrite it to project the Muslim atrocities as a freedom struggle and not as an Islamist jihadi movement (for what it is). Our counter-narrative is being chipped at, slowly and steadily, by the Kashmiri Muslims, our own intellectuals, and minority leaning political parties. Our barbaric genocide is being discounted as Jagmohan’s/central govt’s ruse and the Kashmiri Muslims are being painted as the victims of Indian atrocities. Difficult as it may be because of a dispersed community to voice our protest, it has never been more important in our 5000+-year-old existence to speak out and speak up.

This series is an attempt to share our narrative- our stories and struggles with the new world. – one story at a time.

My home by the Jhelum

As a child of around 11, I was angry at something. Angry, I had marched out of the lunch as it was being served in the kaenie (living room). Dashed through the mud stairs to the first floor of my house, pulling at the dried straw sticking out from the walls. Stomped through the richly carpeted neel kuth (blue room) that had a design of intersecting hexagons on the blue ceiling. Big French windows ran across one complete side of the room and opened to the daab (wooden balcony). Angry, I banged open the carved, walnut window. The delicate frame and the multicoloured panes shook violently for a while and brought me back to the present – did I break any of the glass?

Thankfully no.

Assured, I stepped back on the daab.

In front of me, Jhelum flowed in all its glory. A mass of quietness plodding through a noisy city. The boat women from the houseboats were washing clothes in big iron chillumachis (broad buckets) at the yarbal, the river bank. The carpet makers next door were weaving their song in the carpet. From our side of the daab, one could hear the constant thak-thak as the loom opened and closed, and the shuttle scurried from one end of the loom to another. The white minaret of the nearby mosque seemed to stoically observe the scene from a distance. Though the idgah was just in the next lane, the half-a-minaret was the only part of the mosque visible from my house.

Two big drops raced along my cheeks and splashed on the weathered planks of the daab, creating dark grey dots in the otherwise grey wood. Still angry and now defiant, I paced towards the forbidden side of the five-generation old daab; the floor planks had cracked from years of weathering and were yet to be replaced. “No one cares for me even if I fall.” I cried loudly hoping for some attention from the people downstairs. The noises from down continued unaware of what I thought was an outright crisis. Just to be safe, I quickly placed my hands on the wooden railing of the daab. Mushrooms had grown on the railing yet again.

When I had first seen the mushrooms growing in a crack in the wooden railing, I had excitedly reported it to my mother, “Can we cook them?”

“Throw them away. Not all mushrooms are edible… these could be poisonous” My mother had replied.

I didn’t eat them, though it took me a while to throw them. “So beautiful” I remember feeling, touching their velvety skin, breaking them bit by bit, and flinging them in Jhelum.

Removing the defiant mushrooms was now a routine activity.

“Are you trying to eat my house, you evil mushrooms?” I flung the pieces in Jhelum. Almost on cue, a gentle breeze from the river enveloped me.

My anger pacified.

A sense of magical calm.

Light, beautiful, and fresh everywhere.

I promptly returned to the safer part of the daab. On the farther extreme of the Daab, in big ceramic martaban (jars), was a motley arrangement of raw pickles. A faint smell of raw mounjhe aachar (knol knol pickles), displaced by the light breeze, was lazily floating in the air now. I opened one of the jars carefully and ate the still unripe aachar, giggling with indescribable happiness.

This one, right here, is one of my happiest childhood memories… my patronous charm. The one I keep going back to – this very scene of looking at the expanse of Jhelum, while eating raw pickles, with my back against the coarse, red brick wall of my house.

A distant house on the opposite side of the bank was my favourite. It had the daab projecting right over the river. “It’s like living in a houseboat” I had told my father once. After my father explained floods, I realized it’s better to maintain some distance from the river. A few meters from the river, my ancestral house was indeed much better – It was safe.

It took a little more than a year for this assumption to be broken. A jaloos near the masjid threw bricks at our house, breaking the beautiful glass panes, shouting “Aazadi ka matlab kya. La illahi ill ill ha”. I hear, the first time they threw a brick, my uncle came out on the daab and shouted back at the mob. The mob did disperse. The gang was bound to come back. And come back they did – a mob of friends, neighbours, and acquaintances joining the loudspeaker on top of the white minaret “raleav (convert), chleav (run), or ghaleav (die)”, marking the Hindu houses in the area, and reviewing the Friday hitlists of Hindus-to-be-killed-this-week pasted on the mosque doors after the Friday namaz.

The three to four Hindu houses among a hundred plus Muslim houses in the colony were no defence after all. As the situation worsened, my extended family moved to the safer part of the city – Karan Nagar –perhaps the only Hindu majority area and then later to Badami Bagh, the cantonment area. While we were at Jammu, my grandparents toggled between staying with my uncle in the summer months to escape the scorching heat of the plains and staying with us in the winter.

The next few months of staying in the rented accommodation at Srinagar were extremely difficult for everyone – especially my uncle. He had to buy all household items anew. They had left the house discretely – one by one, not altogether.

No one should know we are leaving – the distrust between Hindus and Muslims was light year deep after the female neighbour of a Hindu government servant disclosed his hiding place to militants who were searching for him.

None should know we have left (for as long as possible) – an empty Hindu house was an open invitation for the looters.

Most of all, it was my grandparents who drove him mad by returning to our ancestral house often and at all sorts of time – through the curfews and juloos which were becoming more and more common now. In their minds, the situation was normal or going to be normal. They had borne the brunt of the Muslim mobs earlier, however, the graveness of the situation this time evaded them as it evaded most other Hindu families.

Aush aesh nazaar din ghamit..(we went to have a look (if everything was ok))

Ghar oush ghandea gomouit (our house had become dirty)

Gas oush khatam gomouit (the gas cylinder had emptied)

The next time my grandfather made a solo cycle trip to get an iron box, my uncle packed their bags and send them to Jammu to stay with us. When they arrived in Jammu, my grandparents, though in their early 50s, had shrivelled and aged. As my grandmother emerged from the 10-hour bus journey in a crumpled green saree, she handed me a frilled cloth bag to be kept at a sruooch place (ritually cleaned such as puja rooms or kitchens while fasting). She had travelled the entire journey with the Gods in her lap. I took the cloth bag jiggling with a few Gods from our thokur kuth(puja room) in Srinagar and arranged them as properly as I could in their new residence- our home at Jammu. Our Gods had become homeless too.

As the stay in Jammu moved from an interim arrangement to a more and more permanent one, any news on Kashmir especially the state of our house became an event. At one occasion, a Hindu doctor (or staff – I don’t remember what he exactly did) was kidnapped, blindfolded, and taken to an abandoned Hindu house. Moving through the house, the militants asked him to explain the various pictures of Gods on the walls. He was then taken to a big room, with a line of torture equipment, and asked to strip. Sensing this as his last moments, he expressed his wish to take a leak. The militants asked him mockingly to pee on any of the dead bodies in the bathroom close by. The person could not get himself to pee on the dead and requested to be taken outside. Outside, he saw the Jhelum and realized the house was on the river bank. In the meantime, someone at the hospital had put in a ward and he was released without any further physical harm.

My mother was convinced that his description of the JKLF torture centre matched exactly that of our house. For a while, this became the sole conversation point – discussed over breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This stopped much later. One day, someone-someone-knew came and mentioned that the tin roof of our house was dismantled and looted. “The house won’t last half a winter. Better to sell it off now while it still fetches some money.”

“That place (Kashmir) is not worth living now (for Hindus)”

I remember the person who came – an old man wearing a stone-coloured khan dress and a karakul cap. My mother severed tea in the verandah and asked me to carry the biscuits. As most conversations were at that time, he was speaking to my father about the situation in Kashmir, while my grandfather observed with muted anger from the adjacent chair.

Till our house was sold in the late 90s, we never knew if it really was being used as a torture centre or was in ruins. Looted it must have been as all other Hindu houses were during that time. I often wonder what would have happened to our house and all our things.

The braer kaenie (attic – used as a store) with its thousand and one secrets – out of bound for the children; the library next to the neel kuth, where I first read Grimm’s fairy tale from a red hardbound book that I still have; the outhouse where my grandfather prepared hookah using an entire paraphernalia of tongs; the garden where we pretend played our fingers being eaten by the evil dog flowers, the dried cherry tree near the plastic tap, the plastic tap which would freeze during winter, and the thousand other knick-knacks – dregs from the last 5 generations.

One day, just on a random hunch, I open Google Earth. Post many long sessions, I realized that the image resolution and my memories of the Jhelum, our locality – safa kadal, the two temples around our locality, and the idgah were not good enough. I went to my parents with a list of possible matches. While I was focused on finding my house, my parents had a virtual tour of the entire Kashmir. Like a bunch of kids, who have recently being given an Xbox and complete freedom, they went berserk searching for everything – the dal, Shankaracharya, Hari Parbat, the schools and colleges they had attended, the houses of aunts, uncles, and cousins, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, the white ferocious laedher, the calm yarbals on Jhelum – a lifetime of memories relived thanks to Google.

We spoke excitedly for hours that day. They remarked how new localities have sprung where there used to be forests earlier, how the lakes have shrunk to one fourth, and how so many places with their century-old Hindu names now had new Islamic tags.

After much meandering, they did find our house. My father snap closed the laptop and asked me not to waste time on it.

Lagnes naar (Let it burn) – reminding me of my grandmother.

I realized that time has not healed Kashmir.

It never will.

Every time I close my eyes to think about my house, I don’t see the happy times – not the Jhelum glowing in the mild sun nor me giggling at the daab. All I see is this recurrent scene of a belligerent mob throwing bricks at our house while my grandmother, shrivelled and frail, is closing the planked wooden door of our house. My grandfather, stoic and angry, with an iron box in hand, watching over her curled frame.

Kashmir plays like a broken record – refusing to move to a happier song.

Chidambaram celebrates birthday in Tihar jail, tweets ‘May God bless this country’

P Chidambaram sent to Tihar Jail till September 19
Representational image, Chidambaram sent to Tihar jail

Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram celebrated his 74th birthday at the Tihar jail today. Ironically, the Congress leader, who is now lodged in Tihar jail since September 5 by a Delhi court in connection with his involvement in INX Media case expressed his concerns over the state of Indian economy.

In a series of tweets, P Chidambaram, who is an accused in several multi-crore scams, said that he has asked his family to tweet a message on his behalf. The message read, “My family have brought me greetings from friends, party colleagues and well-wishers. I am reminded that I am 74 years old. Indeed I am but at heart I feel 74 years young. Thank you all, my spirits have been lifted higher.”

“May God bless this country,” tweeted P Chidambaram. 

This is not the first time Chidambaram has tried to show that he is worried about the economy, not about himself being in jail. Earlier, he had taken a jibe the government after the GDP growth rate fell to 5%.

Earlier in the day, Karti Chidambaram wrote a two-page letter on Chidambaram on his 74th birthday. “Your birthday is not the same without you with us. We miss you, and your absence tugs at our hearts, and we wish you were back home to cut the cake with us. But of course, in today’s day and age, turning 74 is nothing compared to turning 100 days old,” Karti said in the letter.

Chidambaram is currently held under judicial custody in Tihar Jail for his alleged role of misusing his cabinet position to grant several clearances to the INX Media house while he was the finance minister in the UPA era. Chidambaram had earlier gone on great lengths to first evade the CBI arrest and then desperately try to skirt his judicial custody in Tihar Jail. P Chidambaram had earlier sought protection from arrest by the ED but the Supreme Court had then turned down his anticipatory bail application.

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