A day after Delhi HC slammed Arvind Kejriwal govt for failure to tackle pollution, Congress accuses AAP of corruption in pollution mask purchase


The Delhi Congress on Thursday accused Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party of corruption in the name of controlling air pollution in the national capital and demanded a CBI inquiry.

According to the reports, Delhi Congress president Subhash Chopra launched an attack on the Aam Aadmi Party government, accusing them of involving in corruption in purchasing and distribution of masks among school children and also in extending financial benefits to the party volunteers during the odd-even traffic scheme.

Chopra said that Delhi government has spent Rs 10 crore to buy masks, but those masks have not been distributed. He also alleged that very poor quality masks have been procured which can’t be used more than 3-4 hours in such high pollution. He said that they demand CBI inquiry into the matter, and will also approach the Lokayukta.

The Congress party alleged that AAP government collected money from the people in the name of ‘Green Tax’ and instead of spending that money on checking pollution, the AAP government indulged in corruption by introducing the Odd-Even traffic regulation once again in the capital. The party accused Kejriwal government of spending the Green Tax money for its self-publicity.

Chopra said the AAP government, which has collected Rs 1,174.67 crore from the people as ‘Green Tax” since 2015 has spent only Rs 272.51 crore, out of which Rs 265 crore was spent on the orders of the Supreme Court for the Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System.

“The AAP government spent only Rs 7 crore for the repair of Delhi roads for pollution control, which was a big scam as the Delhi government has no account of the expenses incurred,” he said, adding around Rs 400 crore were lying with the Central government.

Chopra also said that 63,142 children had died due to air pollution in 2017. He said that according to available statistics, 58 children face death every day in Delhi due to pollution.

He added, “Despite this shocking revelation, the BJP government at the Centre and the AAP government in Delhi have not taken effective measures to control pollution in the Capital.”

Read: RTI reply reveals AAP government in Delhi has not spent almost 80% of the Green Tax collected in last four years

Questioning the basis on which the masks were purchased and distributed, Delhi Congress leaders said there were doubts about the manner in which the masks were purchased and distributed and demanded a high-level probe.

Just yesterday, the Delhi High Court had slammed Delhi Government and concerned authorities on the present state of air pollution in Delhi. The High Court had observed that if the government had followed its previous orders, the pollution level would not have reached present levels.

The High Court pulled up the Delhi government saying the problem lies in implementation and not lack of ideas. There is a complete lack of will, observed Delhi HC.

US congressmen warn their govt over possible nexus between American charity organisation and Pakistan-based terror groups

US lawmakers write to state department over US-based charity groups' links with terror funding to LeT and Hizbul
Representational image, via Twitter

Three Republican senators in the United States have cautioned their government over the possible nexus between social service organisations and Islamist terrorist groups, like the Hizb-ul Mujahideen and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, reported Times Now.

The Congressmen of the US’s Republican Party have written the letter to Ambassador Nathan Sales, the coordinator of counter-terrorism in the US State Department, said the Times Now report.

In their letter, shared by Times Now, the Congressmen have urged the Ambassador for a full investigation into “potential terror links between US-based groups like the Helping Hands for Relief and Development (HHRD) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) with UN Security Council designated terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Hizb-ul Mujahideen.

The Republican Congressmen, namely Randy Weber, Chuck Fleischmann and Jim Banks, have stated that the HHRD and the ICNA “sell themselves as innocuous Muslim civil society organisations when they are, in fact, arms of one of the most radical networks in the world.”

In the letter dated November 1, these lawmakers have stated that ‘there is no doubt that the ICNA and HHRD are part of Jamaat-e-Islami’s international network.’ They added that the evidence of these two organisations’ links with terror groups is extensive and overwhelming.

They have claimed that these organisations have openly worked with US-designated terror organisations operating in Kashmir under the guise of international aid. Asserting that the US government must work on stopping the money flow from these organisations to the terrorist groups working in Kashmir, the letter stated that both groups are ‘directly involved in terror funding’.

As per the report, the HHRD had organised a conference in Pakistan in December 2017, at a government college in Timergara, which was co-sponsored by the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation, a front of the LeT which was designated by the US Treasury Department as a terrorist organisation. Another co-sponsor was Al-Khidmat, which supports the Hizb-ul Mujahideen.

Read: OpIndia investigation: Tentacles of radical Islam, Pakistan, Khalistan in Houston anti-Modi protests ahead of ‘Howdy Modi’ event

The Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation is listed as a terror organisation by the government of India too under the UAPA. The HHRD’s links with internationally designated terror organisation through the guise of ‘charity groups’ has been documented by many sources.

Read: How Pakistan ensured that Hafiz Saeed’s JuD is removed from the list of banned terror outfits

The congressmen have also highlighted that the ICNA has received 10 million USD as a grant from the Trump administration.

The US politicians have urged their government not to ‘fan the flames of war’ and help to keep peace in the Kashmir region by taking solid steps to curb funding to these so-called ‘charity’ organisations.

Pakistan denies reports of amending the Army Act to help Kulbhushan Jadhav appeal against conviction in civilian court

Media reports had stated that the government of Pakistan is in the process of amending its Army Act in accordance with the decision by the International Court of Justice in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. Reportedly, the laws were to be amended to allow Kulbhushan Jadhav to file an appeal in a civilian court in Pakistan. However, now the Pakistan Army had denied all such reports and called them baseless.

The Pakistan Army has said that reports of Pakistan amending Army Act to allow Kulbhushan Jadhav to appeal his conviction in the civilian court is baseless and that they are ‘considering legal options’ to review and reconsider the Indian national’s case.

Earlier in the day, Pakistani government sources hinted at the amendment of the act under which no appeals can be made under civilian court. Earlier sources in Pakistan said Islamabad plans to amend the Army Act, section 133 which will give Jadhav right to appeal in a civilian court and also opens the door for India to provide legal aid to him.

Read: Pakistan violated the Vienna Convention in the Kulbhushan Yadav case: ICJ tells UNGA

As per existing laws under Pakistan’s Army Act, Kulbhushan Jadhav was forbidden from filing an appeal in Pakistan’s civilian courts. However, after the ICJ gave its verdict in India’s favour and stayed the death sentence pronounced for Jadhav, and further allowing consular access to India, the ICJ had asked Pakistan to allow Jadhav to file an appeal in civilian court.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) headquartered in The Hague, The Netherlands had in July directed Pakistan to stay Jadhav’s execution and allow him consular access. Based on ICJ’s verdict in a 15-1 decision on July 17, Pakistan had on July 30 sent its first proposal to India but with 2 riders attached. One that Pakistani security personnel will be present during the meeting and second there will be CCTV cameras present in the room.

Read: Kulbhushan Jadhav case: India wins at the ICJ, court says Pakistan violated Vienna Convention, orders review of case & consular access

After the ICJ verdict stayed the execution and allowed India consular access, India had declared that it will now push for shifting Jadhav’s case to a civilian court, to ensure he gets proper legal representation.

After the consular access was finally granted in September, India has stated that Jadhav is under extreme pressure by Pakistan to parrot a false narrative.

Share the names of ex MPs and MLAs who are yet to vacate govt bungalows: Delhi HC to centre

Delhi HC has issued notice to the centre over ex-MPs, MLAs and babus overstaying in government bungalows
Delhi High Court, image courtesy: IndiaTV News

The Delhi High Court issued a notice to the central government to file an affidavit within a week and share the names of all the ex-MPs, MLAs and other government officials who are yet to vacate their government accommodation in the national capital.

As per a report in Livelaw, a division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel, and justice Hari Shankar also asked the central government to mention the amount that needs to be recovered from these ex-MPs, MLAs and government officials towards the payments of dues for overstaying in government dwellings.

The notice was issued over the PIL filed by the Anti Corruption Council of India. The PIL included the demands that

  1. The central government provides the details of all the ex-MPs, MLAs and government officials who have been overstaying in government bungalows
  2. The centre provides the details of the expenses incurred by the government for providing accommodation to present MPs and MLAs, who have been staying outside due to non-availability of government dwellings

The petitioners reportedly also stated that over 100 ex-government officers are also overstaying in their government accommodations in an illegal manner as they are not authorised to stay in these bungalows after the completion of service.

The petitioners have also argued that due to non-availability of government accommodations, many MPs are staying in expensive hotels on the Taxpayers’ money. They also added that an RTI enquiry seeking the above details has failed to get any response from the government.

The Delhi HC’s notice also reportedly included that, if the central government fails to furnish the affidavit within a week, the secretary will have to make a personal appearance before the court.

It is notable here that after the 17th Lok Sabha took the oath, ex-MPs were asked to vacate their government bungalows in Delhi. In August, when many of the ex-MPs still did not vacate the bungalows, the Lok Sabha housing committee, headed by CR Patil, had served a notice to over 200 former MPs who continued to occupy Lutyens bungalows.

Read: Government serves eviction notices to over 200 former MPs who continue to occupy Lutyens bungalows

The 17th Lok Sabha saw more than 260 MPs who have been elected for the first time in the lower house of the parliament. The government of India has been constructing duplex flats to accommodate the new MPs in Delhi’s North Avenue.

After 2014 elections too, a larger number of MPs had refused to leave their houses and it took a long time and lots of efforts in getting the houses vacated to accommodate newly elected MPs.

As per reports, even till October, over 50 ex-MPs were still occupying government bungalows in Delhi’s Lutyens area. On October 17, the 12-member committee led by Patil had sought the help of Delhi police to evict the 27 ex-MPs who were still occupying the government bungalows.

Decision up to Sunni Waqf Board, but we will not accept alternate land for Mosque: Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind on Ayodhya verdict

Maulana Arshad Madani

The Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (JuH), a key Muslim litigant in the Ayodhya title suit, stated that they will not be accepting the 5-acre alternative land for building a mosque as mandated by the Supreme Court.

Reportedly, the decision by Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind comes two days before the crucial meeting of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board to discuss the future course of action following the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya.

Read: Give us 5 acres within 67 acres of Ram Janmabhoomi only, our kabristan and dargah are there: Muslim litigants demand

The working committee Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind met in Delhi on Thursday, stated that nothing would be acceptable as an “alternative” to a mosque, be it money or land. In another big decision, Jamiat did not rule out the possibility of going for a review of the Supreme Court verdict.

A five-member fact-finding committee to be headed by its president, Arshad Madani, would seek legal opinion on the issue.

Calling the Supreme Court verdict ‘baffling’, Jamiat president Maulana Arshad Madani said it was the prerogative of the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Wakf Board to decide on whether to accept 5 acres that the court ordered to build a mosque, but, he added that the Jamiat working committee has decided to reject the offer since there was no need for such “charity”.

Read: Evidences prove that Hindus have always believed Ram Janmasthan is the place where Babri Mosque was built: Addendum to Ayodhya Verdict

“Once a mosque is built, it remains a mosque till the end of time. So Babri Masjid is, was, and will remain a mosque. However, if the Supreme Court had said that Babri Masjid had been built after demolishing a temple, we would have forfeited our claim. Also, if we do not have a claim, why give us land at all? That is why this is a baffling verdict from the Supreme Court,” added Madani.

Uttar Pradesh JuH president Ashhad Rashidi, who was present in the meeting, said two crucial decisions were taken in the working committee meeting. “One was related to the five-acre alternative land for a mosque and the other was the possibility of filing a review plea,” said Rashidi.

Read: We don’t want a donation, we don’t need 5 acres land: AIMIM chief Owaisi whines after SC verdict on Ram Janmabhoomi

He added, “The working committee unanimously decided there can be no ‘badal’ (alternative) of a mosque for anything in the world, neither money nor land. It will not be right for any Muslim outfit to accept barter,” said Rashidi.

Founded in 1919, Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind is one of the most influential and financially sustainable Muslim organisations in the country. Recently, it had created a massive controversy after it had extended legal and financial aid to the Islamists accused in the Kamlesh Tiwari murder.

The Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, which roughly translates to Council of Indian Muslim Theologians belonging to the Deobandi school of thought, had said that it was willing to bear all the legal costs and also offered the held of their legal cell to defend the 5 Islamists, who were accused in the Kamlesh Tiwari murder.

Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena work on CMP: Sena drops Hindutva like a hot potato? Makes minorities and farmers the focus

Sharad Pawar (NCP), Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena), Sonia Gandhi (Congress)

Maharashtra has been in limbo post-Assembly elections. While BJP and Shiv Sena, the ideological allies had a fall out over Uddhav Thackeray led Shiv Sena demanding the Chief Minister position, the erstwhile Hindutva party has now allied with Sonia Gandhi led Congress and Sharad Pawar led NCP. According to media reports, the three parties have reached a broad consensus on a Common Minimum Program (CMP) where Hindutva has been dropped like a hot potato and the cause of minorities, farmers have taken the spotlight.

According to a report in the Times of India, a 40 point Common Minimum Program has been reached by the three parties. The CMP is now expected to be circulated to the party chiefs who will discuss the finer points over the weekend. A final word on CMP is expected to be reached on 19th November 2019. Interestingly, there were 3 meetings that took place to decide the CMP. In two of the meetings, Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP were all present, however, in one meeting, only Congress and NCP were present. According to TOI, Shiv Sena is likely to get 16 cabinet members, NCP 14 and Congress 12. The Speaker is likely to be from Congress and will get a deputy from Sena, while the legislative council chairman’s post will go to NCP, with the deputy’s chair, again, for Sena.

Read: Six things that follow from the new Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress govt and what the Hindus of India should learn from this

However, a report in India Today claims that Shiv Sena is going to get a full term Chief Minister with Congress and NCP electing one Deputy CM each. The report also says that Shiv Sena and NCP will get 14 Cabinet Ministers each while Congress is likely to get 12.

However, on the post of CM, TOI quotes a senior Congress leader as saying: “Shiv Sena has staked a claim for the CM’s post. It is not yet clear if it will be for five years or it will be by rotation for two and half years, or it should be for an equal period among Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP.”

Media reports have also given broad indicators as to what the agenda for CMP between the three parties is. Broadly, it appears that in their thirst for power, Shiv Sena seems to have given up on the Hindutva cause. In fact, if reports are to be believed, Congress and NCP want an assurance from Shiv Sena that their Hindutva agenda is going to take a back-seat once the government is formed. The demands are that Shiv Sena too needs to agree to be a part of a secular government, reported Jagran.

The reports indicate that the central focus of the CMP is going to be minorities and farmers. The CMP mentions the welfare of minorities, loan waiver for farmers, tracking of wet droughts, the revival of closed and sick industries, action plan for employment generation etc.

Read: 5% reservations to Muslims to be part of Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress govt in Maharashtra, journalist claims

Interestingly, a journalist had recently claimed that 5% reservation for Muslims was to be a part of the Common Minimum Program reached by the three parties.

Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan has reportedly said, “We took note of Shiv Sena’s manifesto as well as our own manifesto and drafted the CMP. It is not an election manifesto, but an action plan for providing clean and transparent administration. Contentious issues have been dropped”.

Recently, several Shiv Sena MLAs had revolted saying that the entire party is suffering because Uddhav Thackeray is hankering for the Chief Minister position. The revolting MLAs had reportedly left the resort they were being holed up in due to fear of poaching by BJP.

The drama is back: Trupti Desai says she plans to enter Sabarimala soon, urges Kerala police to escort her inside sanctum sanctorum

'Activist' Trupti Desai says she plans to enter Sabarimala in the next few days
Trupti Desai, image via Twitter

Controversial ‘activist’ Trupti Desai on Thursday said that women should be allowed entry into the Sabarimala temple till a seven-judge Supreme Court bench delivers the verdict on the issue.

According to the reports, Trupti Desai, who was stopped from entering Sabarimala shrine last year, and was turned back from Kochi airport, had ‘vowed’ to offer prayers at the shrine when it opens for worship this year.

“What I understand is that till the court order comes, entry is open for women and no one should protest against it. People who say that there is no discrimination at all are wrong because women of specific ages are not allowed there. I am going to offer prayers on November 16,” the Pune-based Desai said to the media after the SC verdict.

Read: SC order on Sabarimala is ‘complex’, will not provide assistance to women entering the shrine: Kerala Minister

Desai urged the Kerala government to ensure that police escort women right inside the temple, near the sanctum sanctorum, as per a report in The Hindu. Welcoming the Supreme Court decision, Desai said she was planning to visit Sabarimala in the next few days and added that mere police protection by the Kerala government was insufficient to ensure that women could worship at the Ayyapa shrine in peace.

“The judges today have referred the Sabarimala case to a larger Supreme Court Bench of seven judges by saying that Sabarimala was only part of a larger issue which included the question of entry of Muslim women in mosques and Parsi women in their fire temples. While we were expecting a final decision on Sabarimala today, we are nevertheless happy that the judges have not stayed the order,” said Desai.

Last year, after the Kerala police had stopped her from entering the shrine, Trupti Desai had announced that she will visit the Sabarimala temple “unannounced” in the future using “Guerilla tactics”. Desai, the founder of the ‘Bhumata Brigade’ had faced severe protest by Hindu groups last year after she attempted to enter the shrine in an attempt to violate and desecrate the age-old customs in the Sabarimala shrine.

The Supreme Court of India led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi on Thursday did not arrive at a conclusive decision in Sabarimala review petitions and referred the case to a larger bench by a 3:2 majority.

Hearing a batch of petitions seeking review of its September 2018 judgement on the Sabarimala issue, the Supreme Court on Thursday said restrictions on women in religious places were not limited to Sabarimala alone and was prevalent in other religions as well as it referred all review pleas to a larger seven-judge bench.

CJI Gogoi said the question of whether women of all ages should be allowed into Sabarimala is part of a larger debate that includes issues like allowing Muslim and Parsi women to enter religious practice and female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community.

SC order on Sabarimala is ‘complex’, will not provide assistance to women entering the shrine: Kerala Minister

LDF government is undecided on whether to get involved in the Sabarimala row after last year's massive public outrage
Representational image

On Thursday, following the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala, the Communist-led Kerala government LDF government described the verdict of the top court as “very complex” and refused to provide any assistance to women wishing to enter the Sabarimala shrine.

Reportedly, Kerala Law Minister AK Balan, speaking to the media on Thursday, said that the state is yet to decide whether it will provide assistance to a woman between the age group of 10-50 if they attempt to enter the Sabarimala shrine. The Kerala government also refused to spell out on the arrangements made to handle the situation if women attempt to enter the hill shrine in the coming days.

“The state government won’t provide any assistance for women in the 10-50 age group to enter the Holy shrine if they try to do so. We are yet to decide on what has to be done if any women in the 10-50 age group show interest. The order is highly complicated and needs to be studied further,” he said.

Read: Today’s judgement by Supreme Court has effectively dislodged the 2018 verdict in Sabarimala case: Advocate J Sai Deepak

Even Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who had received a lot of flak for his support for the desecration of Sabarimala shrine and the government’s atrocities last year, seems to have toned down his enthusiasm after Thursday’s SC verdict. Though Vijayan avoided direct questions on whether his government will escort women into the shrine, like it did last year, law minister Balan’s statement was indicative that the LDF government may not.

“There is ambiguity. The verdict has created more confusion and its implications need to be understood in depth. We will consult legal experts and formulate a stand. Whatever the verdict, the government is bound to implement that,” Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said to the media on Thursday.

The Kerala Congress, which had been against the LDF government’s atrocities on devotees and attempts to desecrate the temple, reacted soon after the SC verdict yesterday. Congress’ Ramesh Chennithala urged the LDF not to send any more ‘atheists’ into the temple claiming to be devotees.

Read: CPM admits Sabarimala row proved detrimental to party’s fortunes in the Lok Sabha elections: Report

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi could not come to a conclusive decision in Sabarimala review petitions and referred the case to a larger bench by a 3:2 majority. The Supreme Court had reserved its judgment in the Sabarimala verdict after hearing the review petitions in September this year, challenging the court’s verdict of lifting the ban on women of menstrual age to enter the shrine of Sabarimala.

Hearing the review petitions challenging the 2018 verdict, the Supreme Court had said that the issue of women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple is not just limited to Sabarimala, but to the entry of women into Mosques as well.

The apparent shift in the stand of the Kerala government on the issue of entry of women into Sabarimala shrine comes after the communists suffered a humiliating defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Following the election rout, the Pinarayi Vijayan government seems to have learnt the hard way that interfering and desecrating the age-old religious customs and traditions of the Hindus could prove costly in the elections.

In the garb of devotees, the Kerala government was seen escorting non-Hindu and atheist women, mostly communist workers, into the shrine last year.

In the guise of implementing Supreme Court judgement, the Kerala government, with the help of state police force had turned the area near Sabarimala into a war zone after some devotees had clashed with the police. The Kerala police had also unleashed violence against thousands of Hindu devotees by pelting stones and lathi charging as the situation went out of control.

As Kerala government forcefully attempted to enforce the controversial Supreme Court judgement, the state of Kerala saw huge protests organised by Hindu devotees. The massive protests had come as a result of the Kerala government trying to stop genuine devotees while allowing activists and non-Hindus to enter the Sabarimala shrine, even escorting them.

Interview with Sachin Tendulkar’s mother Rajni Tendulkar: Of his childhood, her life, dreams, the devout family and working women

Rajni Tendulkar - Sachin Tendulkar's mother, watched only match from the stadium, his last against West Indies in Mumbai. 2013

Ms Meenatai Naik, the interviewer, recalls her memories with the family:

It was a great pleasure meeting Rajanitai after ages. I remember the first time I saw Sachin when he came from the hospital, about 8 days old, directly to Sahitya Sahawas. Before that, the Tendulkars were living in Dadar. So when Rajanitai and Sir (Ramesh Tendulkar, Sachin’s father) came to Sahitya Sahawas they forgot the keys at Dadar and Rajanitai was waiting in the corridor holding the baby in her arms. We were staying next to Tendulkars. I heard some noise in the corridor and saw Rajanitai lingering in the corridor. I called them into my house, held Sachin in my lap. Sir then got the keys from Dadar after some time. Till then Rajanitai and the baby were with us. So Sachin entered our house first before his own. Sir always used to remember this incident. In fact today also our chat began with this sweet memory. When Sachin was 4 or 5 years old, he would hold children older than him. He was a very healthy, chubby and strong boy. Rajanitai had allowed his curly hair to grow for a long time. Once I asked Sachin who he was with this long hair. He answered, ‘I am Sardarjee’s son’. (Me Sardarjicha por ahe.) Sachin was about 15 or 16 years old when we had already returned to our Kalanagar house. There was a Kalavihar club only for the Kalanagar’s kids. But Sachin used to come to Kalavihar club to play carom or chess or sometimes table tennis. In 1998, I had produced one children’s play in which we required one cricket bat. Children’s theatre always runs on shoestring budgets. So I asked Sachin to give his old bat. The next day Sir came with three bats saying that Sachin had signed these bats, I could pick anyone. We took one appropriate for our play and returned the two. That bat is still with us in a showcase. The sweet memory of Bharat Ratna Sachin.

Interview by Ms Meenatai Naik

Q. When were you in LIC? In which branch?

Reply:-  I was in the Foreign Department in our Santacruz Branch. I served right up to my retirement. I had difficulty in walking for three years during 1992, 1993 and 1994. I was on leave during this period. Shri V. W. Patki had offered to transfer me to Yogakshema. I said no. It was possible to reach Santacruz by rickshaw. But I would do that only if I was late.

Q. Are your colleagues still in touch with you?

Reply:-  Of course, they come to meet me. I cannot go out and they know that. So instead they come to meet me. When I was working with LIC, Sachin would often say: ‘Ayee, leave your job.’ He did not like me working. But our doctor convinced him. He said, ‘How would you like your mother to be? Would you like her to be bed-ridden at home or limping to work? Does your mother go out otherwise? No. Is it not better that she goes to the office?’ Sachin said, ‘Ayee should keep a cook at least.’ The doctor said,‘ Is it not better that she kneads flour at home. Sachin was convinced.

Q. Did you ever take Sachin to your LIC office?

Reply:-  Many times. On Saturdays, his nanny would visit her son. So where could I leave Sachin? I would then take him to my office. He would play there. Runabout. Then he started playing Test matches. He started breaking and making records. My retirement became due. Then my colleagues insisted that I should bring him to the office once. They wanted to meet him. They had seen him as a child. I asked Sachin, ‘Will you come to my office one day?’ So, on my last day, Sachin and Anjali came to my office. They said this should not be publicized. But, I don’t know how the peon saw Sachin’s car and everyone – LIC employees from the adjoining buildings, employees from the nearby telephone exchange, residents from LIC quarters – gathered. Photographs were taken. It was all chaos.

Q. When did you first realize Sachin’s talents?

Reply:-  Sachin was very naughty as a child. He would forever be playing in Sahitya Sahawas. There was a mango tree in the compound. All children, including Sachin, would pluck raw mangoes. Sachin would climb the tree and the other children would stand below to catch the mangoes. One day when Sachin had climbed the tree the watchman came and started shouting. All the children ran away. Sachin was on the tree. As the watchman turned his back, Sachin jumped down. Priyolkar Ajji was watching all this from the opposite balcony and she told me saying, ‘Take care of this boy.’ That night we were all worried. We wondered what to do with such a child. All the family members discussed this and Ajit said, Sachin plays good cricket, his cricketing talent should not go waste in the four walls of the compound ‘Let us send him to play cricket’ I said, ‘All boys handle a bat and ball and girls handle dolls. I don’t think this boy has any special liking for cricket.’ Ajit said, ‘No, he really plays very well.’ So I said OK. At least the two summer months would be peaceful. And Ajit then started taking him for cricket training and practice. Then Ramakant Achrekar, Sachin’s coach and teacher, realized Sachin’s talents and made him change his school. Sachin’s training began as a child.

Q. Did you have any special dreams in those days? Did you want Sachin to be a professor like his father?

Reply:-  Every mother feels that her child should reach the top in any field that he chooses. I too felt that way.

Q. Now Sachin has got the highest Indian award of Bharat Ratna. Did you ever feel that he would get this award?

Reply:- Last year, Lata Mangeshkar had said that Sachin should get the Bharat Ratna. Hopes kindled in my heart then. This year in an interview on some channel she said it again. Later, the award was announced. I was very happy.

Q. Sachin has immense respect for you. He has dedicated his award to you. Tell us about any incident which shows his respect for you.

Reply:-  Sachin was in the first or second class and there was a parents’ meeting in school. I went. A girl in his class, Shefali, commented on me saying, ‘Sachin’s mother looks so funny. Then the next day I got a message from the school calling me to meet the teacher. I went and the teacher complained saying, ‘Sachin hit Shefali in the chest and Shefali was crying.’ Shefali’s mother had also come to school with her. I said I will find out, ask Sachin. I asked him. Sachin told me what Shefali had said about how I looked. And he said that is why he had hit her. Shefali wouldn’t say a word. She kept quiet. I told the teacher that I did not mind what Shefali said about how I looked. But Sachin got very angry. And he hit her. Then we convinced both of them. That is how Sachin was as a child. After many years when both had grown up, Shefali stopped Sachin on the stairs once and asked him whether he recognized her saying that he had once hit her in the chest. Sachin said ‘No’, and Shefali, in turn, told him the entire story. Both laughed. By the way, Shefali is the daughter of the famous journalist and novelist, Arun Sadhu. Now Shefali is also well placed, working for ABP Maza.

Q. Sachin is very considerate, mature in thought. How did you train him to be so? No one ever criticizes him for his behaviour. His success has not gone to his head. How is it so?

Reply:-  No mother knows what her child is going to be when he grows up. She behaves in the same manner with all her children. Sachin also grew up in the same way as his siblings. And he loves his entire family. Sachin changed his school and went to Sharadashram Vidya Mandir at Dadar. He had to change buses. But he was prepared for that. Sachin’s uncle lives at Dadar. As changing buses started becoming difficult his uncle invited Sachin to live with him at Dadar. Sachin agreed. But he had a proviso. He wanted all of us to visit him every day. So Nitin, Savita, and Ajit would go to meet him after college. His father taught in Kirti College and so he too could go every day. My office was at Santacruz, I had to go back to Dadar. But I would go daily. Sachin still goes to meet his uncle and aunt. He demands that his aunt should make his favourite dishes for him. Sachin loves all his siblings. He would sleep between Nitin and Savita when he was small.

Q. I remember that Prof. Tendulkar’s friends and his family had stayed with you for a year. So there were two families staying in your flat for a year.

Reply:-  Yes, A friend was told that his flat would get ready by May in Sahitya Sahawas. So he changed the schools of his children. The school of two girls was in the morning and of two in the afternoon. So the friend’s wife would be out with her daughters for the whole day and return home at Goregaon late every evening. The girls would be sitting on the steps for the whole day until the other girls had finished their classes. Sachin’s father realized that one day. He told me, ‘See, these girls sit on the steps for the whole day. Their home is far away from the railway station. Their new house is getting ready. Shall we call them to stay with us till then?’ I said, ‘Yes’. He said, ‘Ten men can happily live in a 10’ x 12’ room. But two women cannot live in one house.’ I said, ‘Call them and watch.’ Then one day the friend, his wife and the four daughters came home to live with us. I told the friend’s wife on the very first day: ‘Look when our children quarrel with each other we shall not quarrel. They shall quarrel and make up. We should ignore that.’ She conformed and so did I. Her four and our four children would all sleep on the floor in the drawing-room. The family was with us for almost one year. Then their flat got ready and they went to live there. The children had become such good friends that they felt very bad at the parting. Sachin grew up in such circumstances. All this had its effect on him.

Q. Sachin’s nanny, Laxmibai, was with you for 10-12 years. Sachin loved her.

Reply:-  Oh! Yes! when Sachin grew up, she started working elsewhere. She would come to see Sachin. The women of Sahitya Sahawas would tell me, ‘Sachin gives her thousand rupees. Advise him.’ I would say, ‘He earns. He wants to give money. So let him. Why should I stop him? She has done a lot for Sachin.’

Q. Is Sachin very devout?

Reply:-  I will tell you a story. I was operated upon on the abdomen. I was getting admitted into the hospital and was going up in the lift. There was a photograph of Sai Baba in the lift. I casually said, ‘If I survive the operation I shall visit to you.’ I came out of the lift and there was a Ganapati picture there. I said the same thing again. Then I was operated upon. The next day early morning Sachin went to Siddhi Vinayak temple. He also visited a Sai Baba temple nearby. He had once taken me to Shirdi in a helicopter.

Q. You did not watch a single match during Sachin’s entire career. Then you saw the 200th test match. The crowd was huge. What did you feel then?

Reply:-  I had never been to any match. I used to be very tense. We used to watch it on television. This time Sachin said, ‘Ayee, you must come this time. I have asked them to have this match in Mumbai for you. What will they feel if you don’t come?’ This time I had a physical problem. I cannot climb steps. Then Sachin got a ramp made especially for me. But because of the huge crowd which was expected, Sachin also got a wheelchair for me. I remember another incident. That was in the early days. It was the 4th test match. It was in Pakistan. He was hit on the nose, and he fell down. I was very scared. He was very young then. But his colleagues reassured us. They said that Sachin got up in two minutes and wanted to play. And he played quite well.

Q. The mother retires, the father retires. Now Sachin is retiring at a young age. What do you feel? Do you feel worried? How would he spend his time now? How do you feel?

Reply:-  Now he is touring. He went to Delhi, then Kolkata. I asked him to visit our family deity. So he went to Goa. He is travelling.

Q. Anjali, Sachin’s wife. How do you get along with her?

Reply:-  Anjali comes from an educated, noted family. She is the only child. But she is modest, good-natured and devout. She takes very good care of all of us, also her parents. She does a lot for her children as well.

Q. Tell us something about Sara and Arjun, your grandchildren.

Reply:-  Sara is very quiet and well behaved. Arjun is always active. When they were small and Sachin and Anjali would be out, Sara would take care of Arjun, reassure him. When she was in the 10th class she would be always studying. My cousin would ask her, ‘Why do you study so much?’ She would say, ‘Everyone knows my father. If I get bad marks everyone would comment. What would they say to Mamma? Shouldn’t I get good marks?’ Arjun is very lovable. He loves people. When he was young, his friends would come home to play. He would not allow them to come near my room. He would say, ‘This is Ajji’s room. Do not play here.’ Then his friends would say, ‘So what? Even we have grandmothers. Arjun would say, ‘But my Ajji is different. Her legs ache. If she is pushed she will fall. Her bones will break. So let us not play here.

Q. Do you feel that Arjun will also make a notable cricket career?

Reply:-  He loves the game now. I don’t know what will happen later.

Q. These are the children of the world-conquering cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. There has been a halo around them from birth. Yet they are as well balanced as Sachin. What have you done to nurture them?

Reply:-  One should do this when they are young. I used to tell Arjun that he should share his meals with his friends in school. Mix with everyone. Others will then do the same with him. Anjali’s mother also works for poor children. She goes to slums also. Our children see that.

Q. I remember that you left Sahitya Sahawas and went to live in Le Mer. But Sara and Arjun would still come here to play. I think the idea was that they should grow with normal children, that they should not get ideas.

Reply:-  Yes, they would love to play in Sahitya Sahawas. So Anjali would send them there.

Q. I have heard that you cook very well. What does Sachin like?

Reply:- Sachin likes non-vegetarian food. He likes my dishes. Arjun and Sara also like our kind of food. Sara likes fish. Sara and Arjun were visiting Anjali’s uncle in London when they were young. Anjali’s aunt is British. She made food very quickly from tins. Sara said that ‘Ajji does not do this. She uses coconut, onions.’ Sachin felt awkward. But Anjali managed to save the situation. Children are so innocent.

Q. Did the top dignitaries of LIC come to meet you after learning about Sachin’s Bharat Ratna?

Reply:- Yes, Sachin was at home that day. They said to him, ‘Sachin, your mother was in LIC with us. LIC is a family. You are also a part of our family.’ Then they got themselves photographed with Sachin. I was very happy.

Q. What would you say to working women?

Reply:-  Sachin’s father would say that women should go out and work. Do not confine your self to your home. Expand your horizons. I worked until my retirement. So I feel, even if you have a job, you should keep some time aside for your children. You owe that to them.

(This interview was first published in March 2014).

Tom Lantos HR Commission hearing: Sunanda Vashisht shines, calls out ISIS level Islamic terror in Kashmir, plight of Hindus et al

Sunanda Vashisht at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Hearing

On 14th November, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission congregated for a hearing to examine the human rights situation in the former state of Jammu and Kashmir in India in a historical and national context. The Commission acknowledged in its official brief that though India’s move to abrogate Article 370 was sudden, Kashmir has always been a troubled state. Mentioning the communication restriction and the preventive detention of leaders, the commission sought to examine the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the context of the region’s history and larger patterns of rights violations in India and Pakistan, and also offer recommendations for action by Congress. The hearing was open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. One of the witnesses testifying in the commission was columnist Sunanda Vashisht.

Vashisht started off by talking about Tom Lantos himself, after whom the commission is named. She said that the late Congressman was a Holocaust survivor and had said that Indians and Jews share a passionate commitment for the rule of law and the mindless, vicious Islamic terrorism (indicating how Jews and Hindus are both persecuted by Islamic terrorism).

Invoking the late journalist Daniel Pearl who was beheaded by Islamic terrorists, Sunanda Vashisht tweaked his last words and said, ‘My mother is a Kashmiri Hindu, my father is a Kashmiri Hindu, I am a Kashmiri Hindu. Our homes are lives in Kashmir were destroyed by radical Islamic terrorism”.

Read: US House Hearing Committee: An exercise in genocide denial and how ‘Kashmiri Hindus’ contributed to the disgrace

Sunanda went on to say that as she speaks at the Commission, she is choked by the memory of those she represents as they voice was brutally extinguished in the most brutal fashion. She said she is a member of the minority Hindu community from Kashmir and the community is the victim of the most brutal ethnic cleansing in independent India. She said is a survivor, but the young lab assistant from Kashmir was not so lucky. She recalls a brutal murder of Girija Tickoo, a lab assistant who was abducted, gang-raped and cut in two halves on a chain saw while she was still alive by Islamic terrorists in Kashmir.

In a booming voice, Sunanda Vashisht, while recalling the brutal murder of Girija Tickoo said that her only crime was her faith.

She then remembers BK Ganjoo. Another Kashmiri Hindu who was murdered brutally at the hands of Islamic terrorists in Kashmir. He was an engineer who hid inside a rice container and would have still been alive had his neighbours, who he trusted, Hindus trusted, did not give up his location. He was shot through the container and his wife was made to eat the blood-soaked rice, remembered Sunanda.

In a booming voice yet again, Sunanda Vashisht says that BK Ganjoo’s crime was his faith.

Sunanda Vashisht then says that the Kashmiri Hindu community of Kashmir has seen ISIS level of brutality 30 years before the US was even introduced to the concept of radical Islamic terror.

She then said that she is glad that these hearings are happening today because when she and her family lost everything to Radical Islamic terror, the world remains silent. She painfully asks where the Human Rights Commissions were when her rights were being taken away. Where they were on the night of 19th January 1990 when there were voices blaring from the mosques that they wanted Kashmir with Hindu women but without Hindu men. She goes on to question the Human Rights protectors and asks where were they when her feeble grandfather stood with two kitchen knives ready to kill her and her mother to save them from the much worse fate that awaited them had they landed in the hands of the terrorists.

Sunanda then said that Kashmiri Hindus were given three choices – flee, convert or die and around 400,000 Kashmiri Hindus fled.

Read: Read 10 bizarre anti-Hindu, anti-India comments made in written submissions by ‘Hindus’ to US House Foreign Affairs’ Committee

Talking about how she is still not welcome in Kashmir and not allowed to practise her faith without fear, she says her home is occupied illegally like those of countless others and those who haven’t been occupied have been burned down. She spoke about the Hindus temples of Kashmir that were broken, desecrated and lay in ruins in Kashmir.

She said that every attempt has been made the eradicate Hinduism from the valley and today, Kashmir is home to only one religion (Islam) and that this is by design. Sunanda then speaks about how it is not just the Hindus but also Sikhs and Christians who have been cleansed from Kashmir.

“The Islamist State of Kashmir where other religions are not welcome & tolerance of any other viewpoint is absent is no citadel of Human Rights. Terrorism is the ultimate opponent of Human Rights. Human Rights cannot & should not take precedence over Human Life”, Sunanda said.

She then spoke about how apple traders and shop keepers are shot by terrorists in Kashmir and the simple act of earning their livelihood is threatened. She attributed this brutality to the fact that if traders and businessmen earn their livelihood, it would show that Kashmir is moving towards normalcy and hence, they are not allowed to do so by terrorists.

“Today I’m delighted that Kashmiris have the same rights as Indian citizens. If something as serious as Women’s right to own property and granting LGBTQ rights amongst many others has been accomplished by abrogation of Article 370, internet restoration isn’t far”, she said.

Countering a Sikh witness who furthered the same agenda of demonising India, Sunanda said that it breaks her heart that her Sikh colleague spoke about the rights of Sikhs but failed the mention the Chattisinghpura Massacre of Kashmir. She said that the massacre happened when Clinton visited India and he didn’t mention that because it would go against his agenda. She said there is no proof that Sikhs are looking for their right to self-determination.

She further said, “Path forward we have to help India in eradicating radical Islamist terror in Kashmir. We’ve to be cognisant of this fact. Why is it that nobody on this panel except me talked about Islamist terror? Is Islamist terror a figment of my imagination? No, it isn’t”.

She said that all deaths have happened in Kashmir since 5th August by Islamic terrorists and not one person has been killed by Indian security personnel.

The full Commission hearing can be watched below:

Trouble mounts for Azam Khan as Rampur Court issues non-bailable warrant against him over violation of MCC

The Rampur court has issued a non-bailable warrant against Samajwadi Party leader and Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) Azam Khan for an alleged violation of model code of conduct. The court issued the warrant after the MP failed to appear before a district court judge November 13 (Wednesday), even after its order.

The next hearing date, in this case, has been set for November 26.

Case registered against Azam Khan during 2019 Lok Sabha polls:

Rampur Police had registered a case against Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan and party chief Akhilesh Yadav during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, for holding a roadshow in Swar Tanda Assembly on April 4 for more than the permitted time. Police said the case was registered against the duo for violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

Later, the police filed the charge sheet and the matter was heard in a Rampur court which issued a warrant against both leaders. The SP chief was granted bail but Azam Khan did not appear in the court.

Read: After buffaloes, Samajwadi Party leader and land mafia Azam Khan now booked for stealing goats

The SP leader is already in neck-deep trouble as almost 80 cases are pending in his name. It was first land-grabbing, then lion statues, followed by books and valuable manuscripts, then buffaloes and electricity and then something as petty as stealing goats. Adding salt to his injuries, Azam Khan’s bail application in as many as 34 cases has already been rejected which mostly includes land grabbing cases and also the case registered against him for his sexist jibe against BJP leader Jaya Prada.

Interestingly, the Uttar Pradesh Police has also registered an FIR against the wife of senior Samajwadi Party leader and Rampur MP Azam Khan, Tajeen Fatima. Azam Khan’s wife has been accused of electricity theft.

Liberals write to PM Modi, want him to give Aatish Taseer an OCI card because he is as privileged as them

Aatish Taseer
Aatish Taseer

‘Eminent’ writers, journalists, creative artists, academics, and activists have urged the Indian government to review its decision to revoke the OCI card of hatemonger Aatish Taseer. The names include Salman Rushdie, Christiane Amanpour, Amitav Ghosh and Margaret Atwood.

They say, “We are extremely concerned that Taseer appears to have been targeted for an extremely personal form of retaliation due to his writing and reporting that has been critical of the Indian government.” The statement continues, “We urge that the spirit of the OCI regulations, which are designed to provide status and connection to their roots and family to citizens of other countries with Indian heritage, are upheld, and do not discriminate against single mothers.”

Consistent with their approach towards issues of legality by propagating doomsday theories, the statement asserts, “Denying access to the country to writers of both foreign and Indian origin casts a chill on public discourse; it flies in the face of India’s traditions of free and open debate and respect for a diversity of views, and weakens its credentials as a strong and thriving democracy.”

Read: Aatish Taseer and his cheerleaders go loco: Here is how they are lying and deceiving about him losing his OCI

First of all, Taseer’s OCI card has been revoked because his father is a Pakistani. It makes him ineligible for an OCI card. This is an indisputable fact. Furthermore, he has chosen to keep his father’s surname which flies in the face of the argument that his father hasn’t had a bearing mark upon his personality and his life. Furthermore, he has himself said in public discourse that for a time, he and his father did share a semblance of a relationship for some time. It eventually did break down but it would be disgracing the memories of his late father, whether by his absence or his temporary presence, by disassociating Aatish Taseer from his father completely.

The letter claims, “In his application for the OCI status, Taseer listed his father’s name and never tried to hide his identity”. One wonders how the writers learnt of this despite the Home Ministry’s clear message that Aatish Taseer had failed to mention his father’s name. Furthermore, Aatish Taseer has himself not claimed any such thing. In an article that he wrote following the incident, he didn’t ‘dispute’ the government’s assertion.

Read: NYTimes columnist Aatish Taseer displays Hinduphobia in full glory, speaks the language of the very Islamists who killed his father

Aatish Taseer wrote, “While the government did not initially reveal their motivations behind this action, they have now stated their reasons for removing my OCI: “concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistani origin.” But it is hard not to feel, given the timing, that I was being punished for what I had written.” Facts are no substitute for feelings. Aatish Taseer’s ‘feelings’ cannot be interpreted as him disputing the government’s statement.

The argument, essentially, appears to be simple. The ’eminent intellectuals’ have reached the conclusion based on their narcissism that Aatish Taseer is only being targeted because he wrote against Narendra Modi. Here’s a reality check: Plenty of people say plenty of abusive words against the Prime Minister all the time. Some people sitting abroad even peddle complete slander against the Prime Minister. And yet, the government has not ever taken any action against them. Aatish Taseer was targeted for a reason. And the reason is simple, he violated Indian laws.

‘Eminent intellectuals’, who invariably happen to be liberal, want India to ignore its laws simply because it adversely impacts one of them. It is a crass display of narcissism and liberal privilege. An individual can be an ’eminent intellectual’ and violate the law. These are not mutually exclusive. And yet, whenever one of them happens to violate one, they always claim that the person has been targeted for his or her political views.

Read: All you need to know about the assassination of Salman Taseer and what Aatish Taseer’s response to it says about ‘Liberal’ worldview

Will these ’eminent intellectuals’ argue that Jeffery Epstein was ‘targeted’ because he was entrenched to the political establishment? Would these people argue that Harvey Weinstein was ‘targeted’ because of his political opinions? Would these people argue that Michael Avenatti aka Creepy Porn Lawyer is being ‘targeted’ because of his opposition to Donald Trump? Obviously not, because all these men committed serious crimes (Creepy Porn Lawyer did not commit a sex crime) that violated laws of the country they resided in, not because of their liberal political opinions. Similarly, Aatish Taseer, too, violated India laws, although he did not commit any serious crimes like the other men mentioned here.

The elitist mentality as demonstrated by the ’eminent intellectuals’ is the same reason why they were so shocked when Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump. Every attack against Hillary was reduced to her gender. Hillary lost because she was one of the worst candidates to have ever run for Presidency. Compared to her, even Donald Trump seems like an angel. That is why she lost.

‘Eminent Intellectuals’ such as the people here who are urging the Indian government to reconsider their decision are entitled brats who believe they are above the laws of the land. They also have such a fancy opinion of themselves that they can’t think of any other reason than their political opinions for governments acting against them. Second reality-check: They are humans and the people from their class often violate laws. Acting against people for violating laws has nothing to do with their political beliefs.

The only controversy amidst all of this is how did Aatish Taseer acquire the OCI card in the first place. Aatish Taseer is not above the law of the land. Liberals keep shouting ‘Not even the President is above the law’ when it’s convenient for them but when one of their own violates any law, they attempt to shield him from the consequences. Aatish Taseer is not above the law either and the Indian government must stand by its decision or else risk setting a very bad precedent.

Read how Rahul Gandhi and Congress continue to lie and misrepresent even after SC throws out Rafale review petitions

Rahul Gandhi

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of India dismissed the review petitions against the December 14th judgement of the SC which declined to order a probe into the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets by the Modi government from Dassault Aviation.

The Supreme Court bench had held that the review petitions filed by Prashant Bhushan, Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha lacked merits. With Supreme Court ruling to not order a probe on the so-called irregularities in the Rafale deal, a major embarrassment has struck Congress party and its leader Rahul Gandhi.

Read: Rafale Saga: A sinister attempt to undermine Democracy by the liberal media-political establishment has been crushed

However, the Congress party seems to be in no mood to accept the Supreme Court judgement as it has now unleashed a fresh wave of attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government, stating the Supreme Court order has “paved way for a comprehensive criminal probe” in the Rafale deal.

Speaking to the media after the apex court passed the judgement, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala stated that Supreme Court judgment is not a clean chit, but paves way for a full investigation on the issue.

“BJP is in habit of celebrating without going into details of verdict. The Supreme Court order has paved the way for a probe into the Rafale deal. The verdict has opened a window for a detailed enquiry into the matter, it has said that 14 Dec 2018 or today’s verdict is not an obstacle in way of the CBI from taking action in the case in future,” Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference.

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who is on a lying spree to target Prime Minister Modi over the issue of Rafale deal, took to Twitter to launch his tirade against the Modi government.

Read: Here is a compilation of the lies spread by Rahul Gandhi about the Rafale Deal in the run-up to 2019 Lok Sabha Elections

In a tweet, Rahul Gandhi stated that the Supreme Court’s Justice KM Joseph has left open a “huge door” for an investigation into the Rafale deal and demanded that a probe must begin in full earnest. He also called for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the fighter jet contract.

However, in doing so, Congress party including Rahul Gandhi resorted to their usual propaganda and the peddling half-truths when they claimed that the statements made by Justice Joseph left a huge door to investigation in the Rafale deal.

Contrary to the claims of Congress party, the Supreme Court has actually passed a unanimous judgement on the Rafale issue, observing that the Court has elaborately discussed all the issues to find that there is no need to register FIR.

Justice KM Joseph wrote a “separate but concurring judgment” stating that scope of judicial review on such matters is very limited making the judgement on the review petition unanimous. 

Read: SC verdict on Rafale deal: Read scathing comments made by Court while dismissing petitions for inquiry

The ‘separate opinion’ written Justice KM Joseph, as mentioned by the Congress party, states that the dismissal did not preclude the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from looking into any complaints received. However, the opinion is seen as a technical observation for certainty in the event that the verdict is seen as a bar on investigations of any kind.

Citing Justice Joseph’s remarks, Rahul Gandhi attempted to mislead the public on the issue of future investigation on the issue of Rafale deal. According to lawyer Nikhil Mehra, Rahul Gandhi has made a ‘pitiable interpretation’ of a crystal clear order of the top court.

According to Mehra, the Supreme Court of India, for the purposes of the CrPC exercised their magisterial powers. In exercising such powers the Court held that they see no fit case for registration of an FIR under Section 156(3). Under Section 156(3) of CrPC, a magistrate has the power to order an investigation into a matter.

An investigation officer can take up an investigation on any such issues even if the magistrate has dismissed an application for an investigation under Section 156(3). However, the investigation has to take a prior sanction under Section 17(A) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, which has been clearly stated by Justice Joseph’s order.

Hence, the question of the Supreme Court allowing or not allowing to investigate further on the ‘irregularities’ in the Rafale deal does not arise as there is no bar for any such future investigation even though SC has clarified that there are no irregularities in the multi-crore jet deal.

So according to Mehra, Justice Joseph’s order clarifies two things. One, the review petition filed by the petitioners has failed to prove any irregularities prima facie in the Rafale deal and hence they are not ordering an investigation pertaining to Rafale deal. Secondly, the order states that an investigation can be still launched but prior permission is needed to do so.

Today’s judgement by Supreme Court has effectively dislodged the 2018 verdict in Sabarimala case: Advocate J Sai Deepak

Lord Ayyappa, Advocate J Sai Deepak

The Supreme Court on Thursday pronounced its verdict on the much anticipated Sabarimala issue. In 2018, the Supreme Court had allowed to the entry of women of menstruating age into Sabarimala Temple. This is strictly against the traditions of Sabarimala since Lord Ayyappa is considered to be a ‘Naishtika Brahmachari’. The 5-judge bench referred the review petitions to a larger 7-judge bench and clubbed a host of issues together.

Reading out the majority judgment, CJI Gogoi mentioned that issues such as the legality of Female Genital Mutilation in Dawoodi Bohra community, Muslim women mosque entry, right of Parsi women who married outside the community to access towers of silence etc, have been referred to a larger bench. The Sabarimala issue has been tagged along with these other issues and referred to a larger bench. The Supreme Court has decided that Sabarimala review petitions to remain pending until the issue is decided by larger Bench.

Read: Sabarimala is NOT about ‘impurity’ being associated with menstruation, stop repeating that lie

Justices Rohinton Nariman and Chandrachud dissented and said that compliance with Supreme Court judgments is not optional.

Justice Nariman, who read out the dissenting opinion, said that the issues of Parsi women and Muslim women were not before the Sabarimala bench and hence the matter could not be tagged with them. The original judgment was based on a bona fide PIL which raised the issue of women being denied entry on the basis of their physiological features, said Justice Nariman.

OpIndia.com spoke to J Sai Deepak, the advocate representing the Pandalam Royal Family and the group People for Dharma who had initiated the ‘Ready to Wait’ campaign to get more clarity on the judgement delivered by the 5-judge Supreme Court bench and what it means for the Sabarimala traditions.

Following are the questions OpIndia posed to J Sai Deepak and his responses.

The Supreme Court has clubbed the Sabarimala issue along with other issues such as Female Genital Mutilation and the entry of women into Mosques. Since the Supreme Court said that the Sabarimala matter will remain pending until a larger bench determines questions related to essential religious practices? Are you worried about the Supreme Court judging practices related to Hinduism with Abrahamic lenses? 

It is not a setback that the matter has been clubbed with the issue of entry of Muslim women into Mosques and the issue of FGM since I don’t believe the Court seeks to draw parallels between these entirely different issues. I think the Court wants to understand broadly to what extent can secular Court wade into issues of religion and theology and decide for any community what is the essential religious practice of the community.

That, I believe, is the spirit behind the reference to a larger Bench for these issues to be taken up together. I am confident that in light of the specific ground raised in the Review Petitions filed on behalf of the Pandalam Royal Family, People for Dharma and Chetna that the Judgement of September 28, 2018, ends up Abrahamising the Hindu faith, a larger Bench of the Supreme Court will be conscious of this ground and not apply the yardsticks of one faith to another.

The court said that Sabarimala matter will be on hold till the 7 judge bench decides on the question of “essential practice to religion”. What does that mean for the current status? Does 2018 verdict allowing women entry into Sabarimala stay in effect or is that judgement put on hold as well? 

A clear reading of today’s majority opinion from Paragraphs 4-8, according to us, makes it abundantly clear that the questions identified by the majority view directly affect and take away the fundamental factual and legal underpinnings and assumptions of the verdict of September 28, 2018. That coupled with the fact that the Court has referred all review petitions and writ petitions to a larger Bench lead to the clear and reasonable conclusion that the Judgement of September 28, 2018, cannot be enforced pending adjudication of all issues by a larger Bench. Consequently, the judgement that currently holds the field on the issue is the 1991 judgement of a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court in S. Mahendran vs The Secretary, Travancore wherein it was held that the practice of the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple of not permitting the entry of women of a procreative age group was constitutional and directly relatable to the nature of the Presiding Deity. Following were the operative conclusions of the Kerala High Court which, according to us, bind the State Government of Kerala:

“44. Our conclusions are as follows:

(1) The restriction imposed on women aged above 10 and below 50 from trekking the holy hills of Sabarimala and offering worship at Sabarimala Shrine is in accordance with the usage prevalent from time immemorial.

(2) Such restriction imposed by the Devaswom Board is not violative of Articles 15, 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India.

(3) Such restriction is also not violative of the provisions of Hindu Place of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Act, 1965 since there is no restriction between one section and another section or between one class and another class among the Hindus in the matter of entry to a temple whereas the prohibition is only in respect of women of a particular age group and not women as a class.

45. In the light of the aforesaid conclusions we direct the first respondent, the Travancore Devaswom Board, not to permit women above the age of 10 and below the age of 50 to trek the holy hills of Sabarimala in connection with the pilgrimage to the Sabarimala temple and from offering worship at Sabarimala Shrine during any period of the year. We also direct the 3rd respondent, Government of Kerala, to render all necessary assistance inclusive of police and to see that the direction which we have issued to the Devaswom Board is implemented and complied with.”

Sabarimala issue has now been referred to a larger 7-bench. What do you think would be the time frame now?

I am not sure of the time it would take for the next CJI to constitute a seven Judge Bench. These things cannot be predicted. However, in light of the fact that multiple such issues are before the Supreme Court, it may be in public interest to do so expeditiously so that the religious communities and their traditions are accorded the protection guaranteed to them by the Constitution.

An interesting dissenting note was presented. Justices Chandrachud and Nariman said, “Let every person remember that the “holy book” is the Constitution of India. “It is with this book in hand that the citizens of India march together as a nation, so that they may move forward in all spheres of human endeavour to achieve the great goals set out by this “Magna Carta” or Great Charter of India”. Your thoughts? 

To my mind, the minority dissenting opinion in today’s verdict fails to address any of the infirmities pointed out in our Review Petitions. What is concerning is that the minority dissenting opinion appears less detached than it perhaps ought to have been and could have attempted to specifically meet the arguments and grounds raised in the Review Petition as opposed to being dismissive of the legitimate concerns and rights of Ayyappa Devotees in particular, and religious practices in general. Be that as it may, the minority view helps us understand what to expect when we address arguments before a larger Bench.

All said and done, we are of the view diversity of opinions, religious and judicial, must be respected. We do not deny at all the Constitution is what we must all measure up to and we believe that the views represented by us are squarely within the four corners of the Constitution, which we believe were not done justice to in accordance with the Constitution by the verdict of September 28, 2018. In short, our position is not unconstitutional or extra-constitutional. We are protected by the Constitution, which the minority dissenting opinion has referred to as “the Holy Book”.

What is your future course of action? 

Our future course of action will depend on the conduct of the State Government of Kerala. If the State Government interprets today’s verdict mischievously and attempts to circumvent it by citing any technicality instead of complying with its substance and spirit, we will explore all remedies available under the law and leave no stone unturned to ensure that today’s verdict is respected in letter and spirit.

In 2018, representing People For Dharma, J Sai Deepak had argued before the bench that if the deity of the Sabarimala shrine can be taxed as a juristic person, he also has rights under articles 21, 25 and 26. He added that the deity’s right to remain a ‘Naisthika Bramhachari’ comes under article 25. Deepak further added that the case is not men vs women, but it is men vs men and women vs women. Sai Deepak asserted that if they allow dismissal of age-restrictions for women, tomorrow even men can seek exemptions from the 41-day ritual.

The Hindu’s passive-aggressive stand on Rafale: Malini Parthasarathy vs N Ram’s ‘lofty ideals’

Malini Parthasarathy, N Ram, The Hindu

Infighting within ‘The Hindu’ resurfaces with its two distinguished journalists, Malini Parthasarathy and Narasimhan Ram coming face to face yet again, this time over Rafale. Parthasarathy, who heads the content and editorial strategy at the Hindu took to twitter to welcome the apex court’s decision dismissing the review petitions.

She hailed PM Modi and said the integrity of the Prime Minister is unimpeachable and unquestionable as regards the Rafale issue. Malini in her tweet said that the controversy surrounding the Rafale deal, which the Congress and its chattels had devised to target the government, be put to rest after today’s judgement gave a clean chit to Modi.

This is in stark contrast to her colleague N Ram, former managing director and editor-in-chief, who claims exclusive rights to lofty ideals of professional journalism.

Read: N Ram of The Hindu blatantly picks up the work of another journalist on Rafale to brand it an “exclusive”

During the run-up to 2019 general elections, he had shared cropped and incomplete pictures of documents in the Hindu to allege government wrongdoing in the Rafale deal. Narasimhan Ram, a prominent member of the Kasturi family that owns The Hindu group, wrote a shoddy article in The Hindu about the Rafale deal which the Congress had been trying and failing, to discredit. In that article, he had shamelessly taken the work of a defence journalist called Manu Pubby and not only passed it off as his own but also presented a skewed version of his reportage.

Nevertheless, by now, readers are quite familiar with this emulous passive-aggressive stance, taken by the two senior folks at the Hindu. Similar discord amongst the two was witnessed over an Akshaya Patra article in the month of June this year. That time too, Malini had reiterated her commitment as director, editorial strategy, at The Hindu, to promote fact-based, value-driven and agenda-free journalism. She added in her response to N Ram’s tweet that The Hindu’s article on APF was an example of shoddy, one-sided journalism.

Priyanka Gandhi shares a story about Jawharlal Nehru, but Twitter wants to know more

On the occasion of Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday, Priyanka Gandhi shared a story about her great-grandfather on Twitter. It was about how one night, the first Prime Minister of India came back to his room and found his bodyguard sleeping on his bed. Upon seeing him asleep, Nehru supposedly pulled a blanket over him and slept on an adjacent chair.

The tweet sparked the curiosity of people on the social media platform. They had numerous questions with regards to the story that they sought an answer to. The most common among them was why wasn’t the bodyguard accompanying Nehru that late into the night.

Others wondered what kind of work was it that required Nehru to venture outside that late at night without his bodyguard.

Then there were those who wanted to know if there was only one bedroom at the Prime Minister’s house during those days. Some even dismissed the story on that account as Nehru could have easily gone and slept in a different room. The question obviously implies another question: Why didn’t Nehru sleep in another room?

People are also sceptical of the story shared by Priyanka Gandhi about Nehru and believe it is ‘made-up’. Some even wanted to know which ‘idiot’ had manufactured the story.

Then there were those who wanted AltNews to verify the story.

According to one user, Priyanka Gandhi’s story has more plot holes than the last season of Game of Thrones which was considered to be a huge let down by fans worldwide.

While many comments were made in jest, some of the pertinent questions do remain unanswered. While on the face of it, it appears to be an innocent story shared by Priyanka Gandhi about her great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, it has opened a can of worms on the social media platform.

Muzaffarpur: Cleric in village Mosque raped minor girl repeatedly, panchayat asks her to sell her child

A minor girl in Muzaffarpur who was raped repeatedly by the village cleric, was allegedly asked by the panchayat to sell her baby
Representational image, via Twitter

The Muzaffarpur Police on Monday ordered a probe into a case wherein a 15-year-old rape survivor was allegedly asked to sell her baby on the orders of local panchayat. The minor girl had given birth to the baby last month.

Shockingly, the local panchayat in Katra, Muzaffarpur, whom the girl had approached with a demand that a DNA test is conducted to identify the baby’s father, had blamed the girl and her family for rape and asked the victim to sell her baby for Rs 20,000.

The police had lodged an FIR under sections of the IPC and POCSO Act after the minor rape victim, who was allegedly repeatedly raped by a local Muslim cleric at Muzaffarpur mosque and later by an electrician, filed a complaint in July.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Jayant Kant said, “We have ordered a probe into the entire case, including allegations against the local panchayat, under additional SP (East) Amitesh Kumar. The team would intensify the search for the two accused,” said Kant.

As per the FIR, the villagers used to send food for the cleric of the Mosque on a rotational basis. In what transpired in January 2019, the victim, who was illiterate, had gone to deliver food to the cleric at the mosque where he allegedly sedated her and subsequently raped her. The accused had also made a video of the heinous act and used it to blackmail the minor girl to rape her repeatedly. A local electrician who came to know about the matter had also raped the girl later.

The minor victim, who initially kept quiet about the doings, had approached the police at an advanced stage of her pregnancy and also sought the panchayat’s intervention recently to seek help for the maintenance of her and the child. Both the cleric and the electrician have been absconding.

Why Sabarimala temple issue should not be clubbed with women entry to mosques

Today, a five judge bench of the Supreme Court decided to refer a bundle of cases to a larger seven judge bench: the Sabarimala Temple case, petitions relating to entry of women into mosques as well as the matter of female genital mutilation within the Dawoodi Bohra community.

At first sight, these might appear like similar issues, all related to the common theme of dignity and rights of women. They are not.

Read: SC refers the Sabarimala matter to a larger bench by 3:2 majority, pegged with issues like women entry into Mosques and FGM

One of the things that has been missing from the public discourse surrounding Sabarimala Temple has been moral clarity. So here is my humble effort to explain things, carved into a simple Q & A format.

Isn’t it wrong that Sabarimala Temple denies entry to women (of certain ages)? 

That is not for us to decide. That is for the management of the temple to decide in consultation of devotees of Ayyappa.

But still, isn’t it always discriminatory to admit people of one sex and not another? 

Let’s make this simpler. Suppose that Sabarimala were not a temple but a school exclusively for boys. Or for that matter, a school exclusively for girls. Would you still call it discrimination? Would you still ask the state to intervene and make sure that the Sabarimala school admits students of all sexes?

Read: Sabarimala is NOT about ‘impurity’ being associated with menstruation, stop repeating that lie

Shouldn’t the state act to end discrimination in public spaces?

The Indian Constitution does allow for an ‘activist state’ : where the state intervenes to ensure social justice and dignity for all.

However, a temple is not a public space in the same way as a public park or even a privately owned shopping mall. This is intuitively clear to all. For example, beef is legal in Kerala. If you think of a temple as a public space similar to a park, then should it be legal to eat beef inside the temple? What if someone wanted to enter the temple wearing a shirt carrying abusive slogans against the gods? Can they be denied entry for that?

I believe most people would agree that the temple should be allowed to ban beef eating within its premises.

Read: Sabarimala: Consent of the Governed vs Divine Right

The truth is that the status of Hindu temples in India is based on a tricky compromise between religion and state. The state takes over the temple and in return agrees to respect religious sentiments in the running of temple affairs.

So the state should never intervene just because a temple says they have a tradition? What if they try to deny entry to Dalits?

The question is under what circumstances should the state intervene. When there is a systemic social injustice that denies dignity to a group of people, the state should intervene and set it right.

Denying temple entry to Dalits has a long and painful history in our country. If a temple tried to deny entry to someone based on caste, the state should intervene and act against them immediately.

The Sabarimala case is exactly the opposite. It is *one* temple with one specific tradition grounded in ancient faith.

How is the Sabarimala case different from women seeking entry to mosques?

Because women are uniformly denied entry to mosques. This is a systemic injustice that is happening everywhere. State intervention is needed to correct this.

Read: No Mr Owaisi, the oppressive practice of Triple Talaq and the traditions of Sabarimala cannot be equated. Here is why

In the case of Sabarimala, this is one temple making a choice based on a specific tradition. There is no history of Hindu women being denied entry to temples as a general rule.

If Sabarimala is allowed to uphold its tradition, why not triple talaq? 

Again, triple talaq is a systemic injustice that humiliates women, which could affect almost any Muslim woman anywhere.

Sabarimala is one temple in one corner of Kerala.

The reality is that, once you strip away the rhetoric and agendas, the Sabarimala Temple issue is quite simple. The matter has been unnecessarily caught up in the rhetoric of gender justice. At the heart of all this is just one temple in one place with a specific tradition. The existence of this temple and this tradition causes no systemic harm or humiliation to anyone. If you do not like the tradition, you don’t have to be in their face with your business. You can always go to the hundreds of thousands of other Hindu temples all around the country. No harm done.

ISIS shifting base to Afghanistan, poses threat to South Asian countries including India: Iran Minister

Representational Image, Courtesy: The Hill

Days after ISIS chief-terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed during the raid conducted by the US military in northwest Syria, Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in an interview to India Today that the terror organisation is shifting its base to Afghanistan.

He said that the recent attacks which were carried out in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan border were done by ISIS while operating out of Afghanistan. The deadly gun battle left at over a dozen people dead.

Zarif said that his government is in regular touch with the Indian agencies reprising about the updates of ISIS. ISIS shifting base to Afghanistan also poses a threat to other South Asian countries like Pakistan, Russia and China. “This (fight against terrorism) is an issue that can unite all of us,” Zarif said, asserting all these countries need to unite to fight the threat emanating from the terror group.

Read: ISIS terrorist from Kerala killed in US drone strike in Afghanistan, was ‘missing’ since 2017

He added that ISIS’ revival and its move of base from Syria to Afghanistan is a matter of great concern for all. Zarif added that not just his country but entire region will face the threat with this.

Indian youth have also been vulnerable as hundreds have joined the terror organisation. As reported by India Today, Indian agencies believe that key areas in Afghanistan were on the radar after 21 youth from Kerala went missing in 2016 and later joined IS. However, despite Iran’s anti-Islamic State stand, IS operatives in India have been using the country to escape to neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had uncovered a modus operandi where it found that over two dozen IS operatives, mostly from Kerala, used Iran as a route to hoodwink Indian agencies. Between 2016 and 2018, several IS operatives have tried to dodge the Indian authorities in a similar fashion.

Catholics, including an Archbishop, equate Pagan Gods to Demons, condemn Pope Francis for promoting ‘idolatry’

Pope Francis receives Pachamama during pagan rite in Vatican Gardens prior to opening of Amazon Synod, Oct. 4, 2019. Source: LifeSiteNews

Pope Francis has spoken out against “envy” and “gossip” amidst protests against him by prominent sections of the Catholic community for allegedly promoting ‘sacrilege’, ‘idolatry’ and ‘superstition’ by consecrating the Amazonian fertility Goddess Pachamama. The ceremony took place in the Vatican Gardens at Rome during the Amazon Synod with the Pope’s active participating and apparent support.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò heavily criticized the Pope on Tuesday for his participation and called upon him to “repent publicly and unambiguously of these objectively grave sins” and asked bishops across the globe to “offer fraternal correction to Pope Francis for these scandals.” The eminent members of the Catholic community claim that they “protest against and condemn the sacrilegious and superstitious acts committed by Pope Francis, the Successor of Peter, in connection with the recent Amazon Synod held in Rome.”

The Catholics claim that the ‘sacrilegious acts’ of the Pope include “idolatrous worship of the pagan goddess Pachamama.” Their statement claims, “When wooden images of this pagan deity were removed from the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, where they had been sacrilegiously placed, and thrown into the Tiber by Catholics outraged by this profanation of the church, Pope Francis, on October 25, apologized for their removal and another wooden image of Pachamama was returned to the church. Thus, a new profanation was initiated.”

Read: Being gay is ‘fashionable’, homosexuals should leave the Church: Pope Francis on gay clergy

The statement also cited the words of St. Paul. It said, “St. Paul taught the early Church that the sacrifice offered to pagan idols was not offered to God but rather to the demons when he said in his First Letter to the Corinthians:

What then? Do I say, that what is offered in sacrifice to idols, is any thing? Or, that the idol is any thing? But the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God. And I would not that you should be made partakers with demons. You cannot drink the chalice of the Lord, and the chalice of demons: you cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord, and of the table of demons.” (1 Cor. 10:19-21)”

The Catholics claim that Pope Francis has incurred the ‘reproach’ uttered by the Second Council of Nicaea. The ‘reproach’ says, “Many pastors have destroyed my vine, they have defiled my portion. For they followed unholy men and trusting to their own frenzies they calumniated the holy Church, which Christ our God has espoused to himself, and they failed to distinguish the holy from the profane, asserting that the icons of our Lord and of his saints were no different from the wooden images of satanic idols.

In a recent interview with LifeSiteNews, Vigano had called Murthi-puja (idol worship) “appalling idolatrous profanations.” “The abomination of idolatrous rites has entered the sanctuary of God and has given rise to a new form of apostasy whose seeds, which have been active for a long time, are growing with renewed vigor and effectiveness,” he stated.

He further said, “The process of the internal mutation of the faith, which has been taking place in the Catholic Church for several decades, has seen with this Synod a dramatic acceleration towards the foundation of a new creed, summed up in a new kind of worship [cultus]. In the name of inculturation, pagan elements are infesting divine worship so as to transform it into an idolatrous cult.”

Read: Pope Francis and Catholic Church shamed after Chile gets tough against child sexual abuse scandal

Earlier, the Idols were thrown into the Tiber river. It was reported that thieves had stolen the Idols and thrown them into the Tiber river. It was later recovered and consecrated in the ceremony that Pope Francis attended and participated in. Even ahead of the Amazon Synod, Catholics had slammed the occasion as a ‘heretical celebration of paganism’. Pope Francis had personally apologized for the incident.

On Wednesday, the Pope said that the “envy of that proud angel who refused to accept the incarnation” led him “to destroy humanity” and added that this is how “jealousy, envy [and] rivalry” entered our hearts. He also said, “When you talk badly about someone you destroy them. The tongue is a fearsome weapon – gossip kills, slander kills, but the jealousy and the envy of the one destroyed the other.”

The statement is clearly not an apology amidst demands that he”repent publicly and unambiguously … of all the public offences that he has committed against God and the true religion”. However, the Pope has clearly not addressed the core doctrines which pave the way for bigotry of the worst kind.

Driver of Tej Pratap Yadav’s BMW beats up auto driver, demands Rs 1,80,000 as compensation for car damage

The driver of Tej Pratap's BMW allegedly beat up an auto rickshaw driver after the BMW hit it and suffered damages
Tej Pratap Yadav

On Thursday, Tej Pratap Yadav, the eldest son of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, found himself in yet another controversy after his BMW car reportedly got involved in an accident with an autorickshaw in Varanasi’s Rohaniya area.

According to a Dainik Bhaskar report, the incident took place today on Thursday morning in which a BMW car belonging to Tej Pratap Yadav suffered damages after it hit an autorickshaw in Rohaniya’s Karnadadi road.

Soon, an argument broke out between Tej Pratap’s driver, Jayapal and the man driving the auto as the former asked the latter to pay compensation of Rs 1,80,000 towards damages of the luxury car.

SO Parshuram Tripathy has been quoted by the report as saying that the car was travelling to bring Tej Pratap. As per reports, Tej Pratap is in Vrindavan nowadays and the car, along with other escort vehicles, was travelling to bring him to Bihar.

As the auto driver could not pay the damage, Tej Pratap Yadav’s driver had allegedly resorted to vandalism and attacked the auto driver. Though no one had been injured in the accident, local eyewitnesses have stated that it was the car that had hit the autorickshaw and it was not the auto driver’s fault. The police were informed by the local people who had also mediated and rescued the auto driver.

The police have also stated that if the auto driver wishes to press charges, they will file a complaint. Local people have stated that the car driver was threatening the auto driver repeatedly.

As per reports, Tej Pratap, who was not in the car at that time, later called up both the parties involved in the incident and inquired about their well being. Varanasi police have reportedly informed that both parties have agreed not to press charges and have compromised.

BRICS Summit: PM Modi and Xi Jinping meet, hold bilateral talks in Brasilia over key issues to ensure co-operation

PM Modi and Chienese president Xi Jinping held bilateral meetings in the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Brasilia
Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping during the 2nd informal summit at Mamallapuram, image via Twitter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Brazil for the 11th BRICS Summit, met Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday on the sidelines of the meeting. The two leaders met over a month after they held their second informal summit in India on October 11-12.

Addressing the bilateral meeting, PM Modi stated that the informal meets between the two leaders to ease relations without any set agenda has been great in maintaining healthy ties between the nations.

Meeting in Brazil on the sidelines of meeting the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa,  Xi told Modi that he was willing to maintain close communication “to guide a better and more stable development of China-India relations.” The two should “increase political mutual trust, properly manage differences and expand practical cooperation so as to guide a better and more stable development of bilateral ties,” Xi was quoted as saying.

President Xi also reiterated the next year’s informal summit between the two leaders. “2020 will be here soon, and I hope China-India relations will achieve new and greater development in the new year,” the statement quoted Xi as saying. “I welcome you to come to China for another meeting next year.”

Jinping also thanked PM Modi for India’s substantial participation in the just-concluded China Import Export Expo in Shanghai.

The meeting between Modi and Xi comes days after India decided not to join China-backed mega Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) over unresolved “core concerns”. Conveying India’s decision not to join the China-backed RCEP deal at a summit meeting of the 16-nation bloc PM Modi had on Monday said that the proposed deal would have an adverse impact on the lives and livelihoods of all Indians.

It is notable here that despite differences over many issues, from BRI to blacklisting Pakistan and taking a pro-Pakistan line in the issue of Kashmir, Modi and Xi have been successful in skirting these differences and ensuring co-operation over key issues of bilateral trade and relations.

Read: Air strikes by India: Pakistan’s ‘all-weather friend’ China urges to observe ‘restraint’

In the meanwhile, India, under the Modi government has also successfully conveyed to China that as far as national interests are concerned, India will meet China as equals and will no longer be bullied by it. The Doklam standoff between India and China had delivered the message well.

Read: After constant criticism over Doklam, Shashi Tharoor led parliamentary panel which included Rahul Gandhi, praises govt’s handling of the standoff

After the Modi government effectively abrogated Article 370 and accorded Union Territory status to J&K and Ladakh, Pakistan and China had criticised India’s bold move. Then too, India had reacted sharply to China’s ‘concern’ asking China not to interfere in the internal matters of India.

Mumbai: Minor girl lured on the pretext of Eid procession and raped, Chand Babu Sheikh arrested

A 19-year-old man named Chand Babu Sheikh has been arrested in Wadala for raping an 8-year-old girl inside a public toilet
Representational image, via Twitter

A 19-year-old resident of Wadala in Mumbai was arrested on November 11 (Monday) for allegedly luring an 8-year-old on the pretext of showing her an Eid procession and later raping her in a public toilet.

A case has been registered against the accused, Chand Babu Sheikh, under section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence (POCSO) Act.

On Sunday, November 10, Sheikh saw the minor girl playing near her home in Kamala Nagar and asked her whether she wanted to see the ‘Eid E Milan’ procession. The girl readily agreed to go with him. Sheikh then allegedly took her to a public toilet in suburban Walada and raped her.

When the victim’s family could not spot her for some time, they inquired about the girl’s whereabouts with one of her friends who allegedly informed the family that she last saw the victim with Sheikh. After failing to locate their minor daughter, the victim’s family filed a complaint at the Wadala Truck Terminal police station.

The girl returned home late on Sunday night and had narrated her ordeal, following which the police launched a manhunt and checked CCTV footage where they found the man walking away with the girl. Locals immediately identified him as Chand Babu Sheikh. He was arrested on Monday.

Sabarimala is NOT about ‘impurity’ being associated with menstruation, stop repeating that lie

Barkha Dutt, Sagarika Ghose

The Supreme Court, in a split verdict, referred the review petitions challenging the Sabarimala verdict to a larger bench. The Supreme Court said that the issue of women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple is not just limited to Sabarimala. It involves the entry of women into Mosques as well. The Supreme Court referenced to larger Bench of issues arising in case of entry of Muslim women into a mosque, female genital mutilation cannot be ruled out.

Needless to say, the usual suspects like Barkha Dutt and Sagarika Ghose were not too happy with the Supreme Court’s decision. Some called it ‘disappointing’ while others claimed that the tradition labels menstruating women as ‘impure’.

In reality, the tradition has absolutely nothing to do with ‘impurity’ whatsoever. It is based on the celibate nature of the presiding Deity Swami Ayyappa. At Sabarimala, Swami Ayyappa is worshipped in His manifestation as a Naishtik Brahmachari. It was never argued by any party in the Court that the basis of the tradition lies in the belief that menstruation is impure. The basis was simple: The Brahmachari character of the Deity would be violated if women of a reproductive age enter the Temple.

Read: Right to worship: The good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of the ‘debate’

The pilgrimage to Sabarimala also imposes various other restrictions on the devotees. A strict 41-day penance and celibacy is observed by the devotees and various other associated rituals are also performed. K Parasaran, who had recently won the Ayodhya dispute in favour of the Hindus, said quite clearly that it cannot be achieved by women when they are menstruating and when men are travelling with them.

J Sai Deepak argued that the exclusion was not ‘men vs women’ but rather ‘men vs men and women vs women’. Even a man will not be permitted to enter merely because of his gender. He has to observe a set of rituals in order to become eligible for the pilgrimage. He argued that if exceptions are made for women on the basis of their age, then men could in the future argue for exemptions of the 41-day ritual.

Furthermore, he argued that Swami Ayyappa Himself took a vow of Naishtik Brahmachari and He is worshipped as such at Sabarimala. The vow carries with it certain restrictions which include the avoidance of contact with the opposite gender. Sai Deepak further argued that the rules are the same for a Brahmachari as well as a Brahmacharini. Therefore, such rules can not be painted as misogyny or misandry.

Read: No Mr Owaisi, the oppressive practice of Triple Talaq and the traditions of Sabarimala cannot be equated. Here is why

Therefore, quite clearly, the restriction on the entry of women of menstrual age is not imposed as a consequence of opinions on menstruation. It flows from the necessity of protecting the Brahmachari character of the Deity. Sai Deepak further asserted that ‘Naisthika Brahmacharya is, not a men-only practice and hence the rituals associated cannot be regarded as patriarchal’. Essentially, he argued that not all forms of exclusions are discrimination, a position that was complimented by the then CJI Deepak Mishra himself.

Swami Ayyappa Himself said that He will grace only those devotees at Sabarimala who observe the 41-day penance and live the life of a Brahmachari during that period. Therefore, quite clearly, the traditions are based on the will of the Deity and not on perceptions that consider menstruation impure. Thus, quite clearly, it is a straw-man argument that has been propped up by those who seek to desecrate the Temple.

Moreover, women of reproductive age are not prevented from worshipping Swami Ayyappa at other Temples dedicated to God. Those women who wish to worship Him can still very well worship Him at Temples where the rules of celibacy do not apply. Sabarimala is a very special Temple and the rules and regulations pertaining to the pilgrimage are what make the Temple so special. Permitting the entry of women of reproductive age at Sabarimala serves no other purpose than the desecration of it.

Read: Sabarimala: Consent of the Governed vs Divine Right

There is a diversity of traditions within Hinduism. There is a multiplicity of the Divine within the polytheistic traditions of Hinduism and the numerous traditions unique to particular Temples are a reflection of it. For instance, The Panchubarahi temple in the coastal village of Odisha’s Satabhaya permits only married women of the local sabar community to enter the sanctum sanctorum and touch the five idols. The daily rituals of the temple deities are exclusively performed by these women. Men are allowed darshan but not entry into the sanctum sanctorum.

The advocacy for the indiscriminate entry of everyone at a particular Temple with utter disregard for the unique practices and lore associated with the Temple itself would destroy the diversity of traditions within Hinduism. Sai Deepak had argued the same in the Court. It essentially demonstrates that there is a fervent desire to view Hinduism through the lens of Abrahamic faiths.

Unlike Abrahamic religions, which are universal in nature, Hinduism is nativist in its interpretation of the Divine. Our Temples have their own sacred traditions and these traditions will not be universal in nature as, quite clearly, the emphasis is always on the manner in which local communities worship the Gods.

Most importantly, our Temples are not a battleground for modern ideologies. They are the sacred abodes of our Gods. Temples are where we go in order to pay obeisance to the Divine. Ideological battles end where the rights of the Deities begin. Failure to understand such a simple matter shows the extensive manner in which Abrahamic ideals are still engraved in the institutions of our country. Our Gods and the manner of worship should not and does not fall under the purview of the state machinery.

Shiv Sena MLAs get into an abusive argument over Uddhav Thackeray’s insistence on CM post: Reports

Uddhav Thackeray

In a significant development in Maharashtra politics, massive unrest is being reported within Shiv Sena resulting in party chief Uddhav Thackeray allowing the legislators to return to their respective constituencies, reports Times Now.

According to the reports, amidst the ongoing power tussle in Maharashtra, a fight erupted between Shiv Sena elected MLAs as they engaged in abusive arguments over Uddhav Thackeray’s insistence on the post of Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Shiv Sena MLA Aaditya Thackeray had to rush to the hotel on Tuesday night following a revolt by Sena MLAs.

Shiv Sena MLAs are currently kept at The Retreat Hotel in Mumbai’s Malad due to the fear of poaching. Reportedly, the fight between Shiv Sena MLAs took place at the resort on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Read: 5% reservations to Muslims to be part of Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress govt in Maharashtra, journalist claims

The Shiv Sena MLAs were reportedly angry about the entire party being held to ransom over the whims of Uddhav Thackeray. The alliance between BJP and Shiv Sena failed because of Shiv Sena’s insistence that the Chief Minister post should be reserved for Shiv Sena’s Aditya Thackeray. The party MLAs were reportedly angry because the entire party was paying the price for a post that would only benefit one person from the Thackeray clan.

Shiv Sena, which emerged as the second-largest party in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, quit its alliance with the BJP after it decided to tie-up with NCP-Congress in an expectation that the party could get the post of Chief Minister. However, NCP-Congress alliance dumped Shiv Sena, forcing the Maharashtra governor to enforce the President’s rule in the state.

Read: Six things that follow from the new Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress govt and what the Hindus of India should learn from this

In a hurry to form the government in Maharashtra by joining hands with NCP-Congress, Shiv Sena had even pulled out its MP Aravind Sawant from the NDA government. However, both NCP and Congress backtracked regarding their support to Shiv Sena and clarified that they have not sent any letter of support for Shiv Sena.

After facing a huge embarrassment for failure to garner enough number to form a government and getting dumped by NCP-Congress, the defeated Shiv Sena has now hoped for a reconciliation with its pre-poll alliance partner BJP.

Govt asks NIA and other security agencies to sensitise the courts on NGOs with anti-India agenda

The central government has asked probe agencies like CBI and NIA to keep watch on the anti-India activities of NGOs
Protests against NGOs, image via Aljazeera

In a bid to fight the menace of NGOs and think-tanks that involve in anti-India activities, the Narendra Modi government has asked the security agencies in both centre and the state to brief the courts regarding the involvement of NGOs in anti-India activities.

According to the New Indian Express report, the Union government passed the directive on Wednesday that after it discovered that many NGOs are resorting to campaigns against the country’s interest, leading to serious security problems.

The Central government has also directed security agencies to keep an eye on the activities of such NGOs and think-tanks. The government has also asked them to prepare a detailed report and submit it to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Similarly, the state police forces and central investigative agencies like NIA and CBI have also been asked to take initiative in sensitising the judiciary on activities of NGOs from the national security perspective.

Reportedly, the directive was essential as some NGOs has been carrying out campaigns and mass mobilisation against the government “in the guise of humanitarian work”. A senior government official said that judiciary needs to be apprised of the hidden agenda of such NGOs that indulge in subversion and public mobilisation with a hidden agenda to destabilise the security of the country.

According to reports, the Centre has asked agencies to pay special attention to the expanding tentacles of Naxal activities across India. The Centre has directed the chiefs of state police forces and the Central investigating agencies to identify the roots of left-wing extremist ideas and think-tanks involved in motivational activities, legal help, financing and other activities related to left-wing extremism.

Read: Modi government has cancelled the registration of 14,800 NGOs in the last five years for FCRA violations

According to MHA documents, in the last five years, the government has cancelled the registration of more than 14,800 NGOs after they committed violations of the provisions of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. The NGOs had received Rs 17,803.21 crore as the foreign contribution in 2015-16. In 2016-17, the NGO’s received Rs 15,343.15 crore and in 2017-18 it was Rs 16,894.37 crore.

MHA had stated in Lok Sabha that there are certain established institutional and procedural mechanisms and safeguards are in place to check anti-national activities by individuals, associations and organizations.

“The government, in coordination with security agencies of the Centre and states, maintains vigil in order to detect individuals, associations and organisations indulging in anti-national activities. Inputs in this regard are shared with state governments and Union territories’ administrations from time to time and appropriate action is taken as per law,” the MHA had stated in Lok Sabha last year.

In its report in 2014, the Intelligence Bureau had also stated that there are concerted efforts by foreign-funded NGOs to take down various developmental projects across the country.

Read: Stalling developmental projects is the worst form of obstruction of justice for the poor: Piyush Goyal on NGO lobbies

In a report marked to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the IB had stated that a significant number of Indian NGOs funded by donors based in the US, UK, Germany, Netherlands and Scandinavian countries, have been noticed to be using people-centric issues to create an environment which lends itself to stalling development projects.

‘F*ck BJP’, ‘Bhagwa jalega’: JNU goons vandalised soon to be inaugurated statue of Swami Vivekananda on campus

JNU goons vandalise Swami Vivekananda's statue before its inauguration (image: @aranganathan72 on Twitter)

Goons at one of India’s premiere educational institutes, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), vandalised a soon-to-be inaugurated statue of Swami Vivekananda on campus. The images were shared by Dr Anand Ranganathan, scientist and columnist, who is also associated with the JNU.

As seen in images above, JNU goons had painted abusive slogans like “F*ck BJP” and “Bhagwa Jalega”.

Read: NSUI goons vandalise Savarkar statue inside Delhi University campus, put shoe garland

Last night Dr Ranganathan had shared images of other places where JNU goons had resorted to vandalism. JNU goons had spray painted “You are not our VC”, “Go back to your Jan Sangh”, “VC get lost” and other slogans demanding his resignation.

Pakistan provided terrorist training to Kashmiris, Osama bin Laden was our hero: Parvez Musharraf

Parvez Musharraf says Pakistan has bee training and sending terrorists into India and Afghanistan
Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf admitted that Kashmiris were 'trained in Pakistan' as Mujahideen to fight against India, courtesy: Dawn

Former Pakistani President retired General Parvez Musharraf in an interview admitted that Pakistan has trained Kashmiris to wage a war against the Indian Army in Jammu and Kashmir and has always taken pride in these ‘ Mujahideens’, touting them to be “Pakistan’s heroes’.

Terrorists like Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Jalaluddin Haqqani, and others were always considered to be “Pakistan’s heroes”, confessed the Retd General.

Pakistan politician Farhatullah Babar on Wednesday shared a snippet from an undated interview on Twitter in which Musharraf can be heard saying: “…In 1979, we had introduced religious militancy in Afghanistan to benefit Pakistan and to push Soviet out of the country. We brought Mujahideen from all over the world, we trained them, supplied weapons. They were our heroes. Haqqani was our hero. Osama bin Laden was our hero. Then the environment was different but now it is different. Heroes have turned to villains.”

Sharing the video clip the Pakistani politician wrote: “Gen Musharraf blurts that militants were nurtured and touted as ‘heroes’ to fight in Kashmir. If it resulted in the destruction of two generations of Pashtuns it didn’t matter. Is it wrong to demand the Truth Commission to find who devised self-serving policies that destroyed Pashtuns?

In an obvious revelation, which goes on to add another evidence that Pakistan has been providing safe heaven to its trained and nurtured terrorists to fuel tensions in the region, Musharraf said: “Kashmiris who came to Pakistan received hero reception here. We used to train them and support them. We considered them as Mujahideen who will fight with the Indian Army then various terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba rose in this period. They were our heroes.”

Earlier, in another interview when Musharraf was asked to comment on Pakistan’s pretence of cracking down on terror, the former military ruler had admitted that Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, ISI, were hands in gloves with Jaish-e-Mohammad to carry out bomb blasts in India.

Read: Musharraf admits that Pakistan Intelligence was hands in gloves with Masood Azhar led JeM to carry out bomb blasts in India

India has time and again reiterated, on various international platforms, that Pakistan has been creating, nurturing and supplying terrorism in the region to create unrest in neighbouring nations.

Rafale Saga: A sinister attempt to undermine Democracy by the liberal media-political establishment has been crushed

Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi with their Rafale theatrics

The Supreme Court on Thursday put an end to the farcical ‘Rafale scam’ drama and dismissed all review petitions which sought an investigation into the defence deal. The Court also closed the contempt petition against Rahul Gandhi by asking him to be more careful about the comments he makes.

In the aftermath of the verdict, we have the opportunity to look back at the whole Rafale saga and the sinister attempt that it was at hijacking our democracy. The allegations and the propaganda that was hyped were designed with one single purpose: maligning the character and personal integrity of the Prime Minister. It was a malicious attempt at swaying the mind of the voter going into the elections.

The saga also reveals the extent of collusion between the media and a particular faction of the political establishment. Rahul Gandhi and the secular-liberal political establishment invented allegations out of thin air and the mainstream media was more than eager to provide them with a platform to appeal to the electorate with their lies. The media served as the propaganda wing of the Congress party and it used its massive resources to effectively campaign against the ruling government.

Read: Here is a compilation of the lies spread by Rahul Gandhi about the Rafale Deal in the run-up to 2019 Lok Sabha Elections

In the aftermath of the Uttar Pradesh elections, the mood of the nation was pretty clear. The people were overwhelmingly in favour of the BJP and they registered their optimism on the ballot by awarding BJP over 300 seats in the state assembly. It was clear that the Opposition was in disarray and merely stitching opportunistic alliances won’t work. They needed something more, something that could undermine the image of Narendra Modi among the electorate as an honest man with great personal integrity.

The Rafale Deal was perfect to serve its purpose. By its very nature, the government was not at liberty to disclose all the details pertaining to the deal. Moreover, the details of defence deals are very complicated for the average citizen. And the ordinary citizen is much too busy with earning his or her livelihood, one cannot afford to spend too much time studying one particular issue that does not affect his immediate livelihood in any significant manner. Therefore, on such occasions, the citizen trusts the media to tell him accurately about everything that is happening.

Read: How Lutyens’ Media shielded Rahul Gandhi on his lies about Rafale after Arun Jaitley’s speech

However, there was a great betrayal of the trust that the citizen of this country puts in the media. The politicians with the help of their friends in the media took the country on a joyride. N Ram of The Hindu, at one point, was competing with Rahul Gandhi in spreading lies about the deal. The newspaper not only cropped a ‘dissent note‘ about the deal but also digitally manipulated it. His conduct was perfectly understandable considering the fact that he and P Chidambaram go way back.

Ultimately, it came down to a matter of trust. And during the General Elections of 2019, the people of this country demonstrated that they had more faith in Narendra Modi than they had in Rahul Gandhi and the Mahagathbandhan. Not even the promise of a basic minimum income of Rs. 12,000 per month could sway them from their trust in the Prime Minister. It is an indictment of the media as much as it is an indictment of the political establishment.

Following Narendra Modi’s immense victory in 2019, the media and the political establishment went extremely quiet about the whole Rafale Deal. Now that the elections were over and people had made their choice, Rafale was not an issue anymore. Even when Defense Minister Rajnath Singh performed the Shastra Puja while receiving the Rafale in France, the media and the Opposition had nothing to say about the allegedly huge ‘scam’ that had occurred during its procurement. It clearly shows that there was never any ‘scam’ involved and the Opposition parties and their friends in the media had no dirt whatsoever on the government.

Read: Rafale cacophony: NDTV gives a masterclass in how pliant media is expected to behave

The inevitable death of the Rafale Deal proves incontrovertibly that the supposed ‘watchdogs’ of the government have themselves been corrupted beyond recognition. Maybe there was a time when the media truly was what it claimed to be (I doubt that), but now, they certainly are in bed with one particular section of the political establishment. There’s a reason for this.

The media and the political establishment now belong to the same class: The Ruling Class. As part of the same class, they share a lot of common interests. The people in the current ruling disposition are obviously not considered ‘one of them’. The ideals and the values of the secular-liberal media-political establishment will never be in alignment with that of the ‘Sangh Parivar’ and people in both the competing factions realize that.

Thus, with no viable options available at the table, the media-political establishment essentially tried to pull a ‘coup’ using their combined resources to fool the public on the basis of complete lies and slanders. The media served as the propaganda wing of the political establishment led by Rahul Gandhi while pretending to be neutral on the Rafale matter. What the Judiciary dismissed today were not merely review petitions, it can verily be compared with an attempt at a coup by the media-political establishment.

After SC verdict on Rafale, ‘belly dancer’ spokesperson of Congress says ‘sorry’ to Anil Ambani, then says it was sarcastic

The Supreme Court has delivered a stunning blow to Congress and career activists who wished to cast aspersions on not just the Rafale deal but also Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally. The SC today dismissed review petitions against its 2018 judgement that refused to order a probe into the Rafale deal. With this, the curtain falls on one of the most motivated and vicious campaigns launched against the Modi government that cast a shadow even on India’s national security. After the Supreme Court delivered the Rafale verdict, Sanjay Jha, the National Spokesperson of the Congress party took to Twitter to apologise to Anil Ambani in a strangely cryptic, yet arrogant tweet.

Sanjay Jha said, “Now that the Supreme Court has given the Rafale Verdict, I would like to publicly apologise to the Honourable Shri Anil Ambani Ji for making bogus charges against him on TV shows. Sir Ji, you are a personification of integrity, honesty and transparency. Sir Ji, please forgive”.

Soon, many people started mocking Sanjay Jha considering the Supreme Court had not just shut down the Rafale drama, but also rebuked Rahul Gandhi.

Anil Ambani has proven that he is not averse to pulling up the rumour mills that peddle falsehoods against him.

In August 2018, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence had sent a legal notice to Congress national spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill asking him to refrain from making unverified, frivolous and defamatory statements on the Rafale deal. In a ‘cease and desist’ notice addressed to Jaiveer Shergill, Reliance said that freedom of expression of politicians does not mean that they have a license to behave irresponsibly and make distorted statements to suit their political interests.

The Reliance named other Congress leaders viz Randeep Surjewala, Ashok Chavan, Sanjay Nirupam, Anugrah Narayan Singh. Oommen Chandy, Shaktisinh Gohil, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Sunil Kumar Jakhar and Priyanka Chaturvedi and furthered that the company reserved the right to resort to legal recourse for the protection of their name, brand, reputation, and goodwill in case of any scurrilous statements being made against them.

The Reliance group of industries, headed by Anil Ambani had earlier too sent a Rs 1,000 crore defamation notice to Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam for making “false and baseless” allegations against the company and demanded an apology within 72 hours after the receipt of the notice. The company also demanded that Nirupam “desist from making any such statements concerning the Reliance Group without first ascertaining the facts.”

Not just that, Anil Ambani had also sued The Wire for Rs 6000 crores for their lies in the Rafale case.

Anil Ambani-led Reliance group had sued leftist propaganda website The Wire for Rs. 6,000 crore over its coverage of the Rafale deal. The case pertained to a video discussion about the Rafale deal which was published by The Wire. The video featured The Wire Founding Editor MK Venu, Jawaharlal Nehru University Associate Professor Happymon Jacob and journalist Ajai Shukla. In the Rs. 6,000 crore defamation suit, the company claimed that the programme is ‘false’. It further claims that the statements made during the discussion are “wholly incorrect and misleading, made with a deliberate pre-determined motive to harm and injure the reputation.”

It is thus entirely possible that Sanjay Jha is trying to shield himself from further action by Anil Ambani considering several Congress leaders including Jha have made several defamatory statements against Anil Ambani and the Rafale deal.

With the Supreme Court burying the baseless allegations against PM Modi, the Modi government, the Rafale deal and Amil Ambani once and for all, Sanjay Jha could be hedging his bets by issuing an apology to Anil Ambani and making it sound arrogant just to play to his audience.

However, Sanjay Jha soon tweeted a ‘clarification’:

He claimed that his tweet was “sardonic, scalding and sarcastic dig at Shri Ambani Ji on the Rafale verdict” and that it is being deliberately twisted by “BJP cheerleaders”.

Considering the Rafale verdict was a scathing indictment of Congress lies, one certainly does wonder how Sanjay Jha could use that to take sarcastic digs at anyone connected with the Rafale deal.

One wonders if the mocking got to Sanjay Jha and he then issued this ‘clarification’. Or that when he tweeted the “sarcastic” tweet he forgot that the Supreme Court also came down hard on his master, Rahul Gandhi.

Sanjay Jha who is fondly called a ‘belly dancer’ by several netizens after he had claimed that if Nirmala Sitharaman is the Finance Minister, he is a belly dancer, however, could not catch a break. After the ‘clarification’, the mocking only got worse.

While we will never know whether Sanjay Jha issued a genuine apology and then flipped later or was being sarcastic from the word-go, what we know with certainty is that Sanjay Jha should have no problem either issuing a genuine apology or making a complete fool of himself by tweeting ‘sarcastically’ when it is his party that has been rapped by the Supreme Court.

In 2014, Jha had issued an unconditional apology to BJP MP Subramanian Swamy for calling him a CIA agent and thus, Jha has had enough practice in apologising when he sticks his foot in his mouth.

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