Odisha: Upset over negative comments by locals, BJD workers assault Zee Media journalist, one arrested

Zee Media reporter assaulted by BJD workers in Odisha, Image credit: DNA

A Zee Odisha journalist was allegedly attacked in Odisha’s Kaktapur by supporters of BJD’s local MLA Surendra Sethi after a number of people he interviewed made negative remarks about the MLA.

An FIR has been filed against the assaulters at Astaranga police station and one person has been arrested in connection so far.

Zee Media reporter Chandan Paikaray was allegedly attacked by BJD worker’s when he was interviewing locals in the coastal village of Astaranga in Odisha’s Puri District regarding the Election Express programme.

During the interview, a number of locals said negative things about the MLA. Riled by these negative comments the supporters started blaming the media person for not conducting the interview properly.

Fearing that the negative remarks could affect Sethi’s chances of retaining the BJD ticket in the Kakatpur (SC) constituency, the BJD workers allegedly attacked the reporter. Chandan Paikaray alleged that he was assaulted with bricks and one of the BJD workers also tried to strangulate him.

The reins of Odisha which has been lying in the hands of the Biju Janata Dal for over 19 years, seems to be slipping out as BJP continues to surge in the state. The insecurities creeping in into the party ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls is intensifying as several veteran leaders have been reported jumping ships and joining the BJP.

The Naveen Patnaik’s much-hyped Cabinet reshuffle, an endeavour to counter the BJP’s surge, went against the party, as the reshuffle had reared serious resentment in the rank and file of the BJD over non-representation of several districts in the ministry.

Two senior leaders had quit the party and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. Veteran BJD leader Jayaram Pangi, who was suspended from the party last month, joined the BJP along with hundreds of supporters. Amar Nayak, another strong grassroots leader, belonging to Barchanana Assembly constituency, had also joined the BJP.

Moreover, BJP’s electoral prospect in Odisha got a further boost after BJD’s suspended leader Baijayant Jai Panda had officially joined the party.

Incidentally, after the Panchayat elections, there has been a huge influx of workers and leaders from the BJD into the BJP which left Patnaik in a complete tizzy. Speculations have been rife that a number of senior leaders of BJD are waiting to join the BJP in the run-up to the 2019 elections.

In the last Panchayat elections, the BJP succeeded in making a giant stride in Odisha politics, leaving Naveen Patnaik’s BJD in a tailspin. If things continue the same way, Patnaik will probably be staring at a strong anti-incumbency now.

After ban was allowed to expire in 1996 by previous govts, Yasin Malik’s JKLF banned by Modi govt

The Indian government has placed a ban on JKLF under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act
Terrorist Yasin Malik calling on the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on February 17, 2006.

According to the news agency PTI, the government of India has placed a ban on the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), a separatist organisation run by Yasin Malik. The ban on JKLF has been a demand for over decades considering it promotes secessionist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

JKLF’s chief, Yasin Malik is already booked under Public Safety Act and has been arrested and lodged at the Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail. The organisation has been banned under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). This is the second organisation after Jamaat-e-Islami which has been banned by the Centre under the anti-terror law.

Speaking about the action taken by the government against the secessionists and terror sympathisers, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba said that 37 FIRs have been registered by J&K police against JKLF. He also said that two cases including the murder of an IAF personnel have also been registered against the JKLF.

It is pertinent to note that JKLF was first banned under UAPA in 1992 for 2 years and its ban was extended for another 2 years in 1994. However, it appears that no restraining action was taken after its ban expired in 1996. JKLF, founded in 1987, played a vital role in fuelling Kashmir terrorism until the Indian security forces’ counter-terrorism operation neutralised most of its cadres.

How Caravan and Congress’ attempts to create ‘bribegate’ before 2019 election fell flat

Congress with its friendly media has since time immemorial tried to create controversy when there were none. Several such stories, be it the Rafale deal or fantastical tales of how Justice Loya died, have been first published by friendly media and then, picked up by Congress. This time too Congress tried to create a ‘bribegate’ episode sans facts after it was first published on Caravan Magazine.

The Caravan claimed that a diary with notes of Yeddyurappa having paid over Rs 1,800 crore to national BJP leaders such as Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, and Rajanath Singh as well a Chief Justice of India is in possession of the Tax department since 2017. Now, CBDT has come out to refute the story published by Caravan and used by Congress to attack the BJP.

However, this ‘bribegate’ that Congress and The Caravan tried to cried fell flat on its face on several counts.

Yeddyurappa’s signatures don’t match

BS Yeddyurappa’s signature in the so-called documents published by The Caravan and used by Congress to attack BJP don’t match with Yeddyurappa’s signatures on record.

Comparison of Yeddyurappa’s signatures (source: Prof Anand Ranganathan)

The first signature in the image above is from the document published by The Caravan and the second one is from the official website of BS Yeddyurappa as affixed in an official document.

As revealed by Professor Anand Ranganathan on Twitter, the two signatures are wildly different. The ridges and deviations as marked by the red arrows prove that the two signatures are not identical and perhaps, the signature on the diary papers published by Caravan are fake.

Why were the judge’s names not there?

Following are the purported ‘diary entries’ published by Caravan Magazine.

Images published by Caravan Magazine

If one notices, the names of the politicians have been written with remarkable clarity in the purported diary entry. LK Advani, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Arun Jaitley have been mentioned. However, when it comes to the money given to the Judges and Advocates, there is a lump sum amount mentioned but no names written.

This begs an important question: If indeed these are diary entries by BS Yeddyurappa, why would he name everyone else and leave out just the Judges and Advocates? Unless, this is a forged document that left out adding the names of Judges and Advocates just to be safe, in case the forgery is found out?

Who starts a diary entry with a preamble and then signs his own diary?

The Diary entry starts with a declaration that Yeddyurappa had paid the amount to leaders and others to become the chief minister of Karnataka.

Now, if someone was running a clandestine project where he was illicitly paying politicians, judges and advocates off in order to buy the Chief Minister seat, one has to ask why he would start with an incriminating declaration in his own diary entry as if it were being made to a third party.

Also, one would be incredibly silly to believe that Yeddyurappa would, after declaring his nefarious designs in his own diary, sign the document as well. How many people actually sign all their scribbles in a personal diary?

CBDT statement, the final nail in the coffin

After Congress held a press conference based on this dubious story, the CBDT came out with an incriminating statement that acted as the final nail in the coffin of the elaborate Bribegate that Congress and Caravan Magazine were trying to create.

The CBDT made the following incriminating points:

1. These so-called diary entries were given to the raiding party during IT raids at DK Shivakumar’s residence.

2. The loose sheets of papers were photocopies and despite several reminders, DK Shivakumar never submitted the original.

3. DK Shivakumar refused to divulge how he got these papers.

4. When asked why he didn’t go to the authorities, Shivakumar categorically said that he cannot vouch for the genuineness of these papers.

5. BS Yeddyurappa asserted that these documents were forged. He did not keep a diary.

6. The CBDT itself said that these documents seem questionable and were acquired from someone being raided for IT fraud.

Earlier, BJP leader Rajeev Chandrashekhar had also asserted that these fabricated papers are being leaked by Congress leader DK Shivakumar to conceal steal flyover scam diary that named several Congress leaders.

With this mounting evidence, it is obvious that the papers published by Caravan Magazine were in all probability, forged. It is thus intriguing that Congress too relied on these papers to conduct a press conference and hurl unsubstantiated allegations at the BJP.

Kerala: 21-year-old says she was raped inside CPI(M) office

Woman alleges of being raped in the CPI(M) office in Kerala
Representational Image(Source: Dhaka Tribune)

A 21-year-old woman has alleged that she was raped inside the ruling CPI(M)’s area committee office at Cheruplassery in Kerala. A case was registered following which the police have started their investigation in the matter.

The police had filed a case after a newborn was abandoned on a road last Saturday. The police traced the mother of the abandoned newborn who had left the baby on the roadside. The woman claimed that she was raped by a youth activist inside the party office 10 months ago. The woman said that the incident happened when she had visited the party office for the preparation of a college magazine. The Police have admitted both the mother and child for medical care.

One of the local CPI(M) leaders reportedly said that the woman was an SFI activist and her family had close ties with the party. The same leader also assured that the party would probe into the incident, demanding police to conduct a “truthful” and “scientific” investigation.

As the incident came to the fore, state Congress functionaries have started attacking CPI(M) and its leaders. Senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala declared that the party offices of the CPI(M) have become “rape centers”. Youth Congress workers also took out a march to the CPI(M)’s Cheruplassery area committee office and reportedly raised slogans to register their protest against the incident.

It is notable to mention that the Communist Party of India CPI(M) has faced criticism for its alleged inaction when it comes to prosecuting rapists. Bishop Franco Mulakkal’s delayed arrest and his subsequent bail too had earned negative remarks for the ruling party.

The CPI(M) government in Kerala has also failed in safeguarding the rights of the nuns who came out publicly to protest against Bishop Franco. The nuns who protested against Bishop Franco have been left to fend for themselves by the state government. In fact, Kerala MLA PC George had called the victim nun a ‘prostitute’ for ‘enjoying’ rape 12 times.

After questioning Balakot airstrikes, Sam Pitroda now likens PM Modi to Hitler

Sam Pitroda likens Pm Modi to Adolf Hitler
Sam Pitroda (Source: India Today)

The Congress ideologue and advisor to Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Sam Pitroda finds himself in the eye of the storm after his remarks trivialising the terror incidents and calling out the Indian government’s move to attack terror camps in Pakistan as ‘wrong’.

Pitroda had also questioned the casualty count of the Balakot airstrikes, carried out by the Indian Armed Forces to avenge the deaths of 40 CRPF personnel killed in a terror attack in Pulwama by Pakistan based JeM terror outfit.

If this was not enough, Sam Pitroda had descended further and compared the democratically elected Prime Minister of the country to a dictator like Hitler. Questioning PM Modi’s leadership, Sam Pitroda asked, “PM Modi represents strong leadership, even Hitler was very strong. Even the Chinese leader is very strong. Is this what India wants?” Pitroda implied that Modi and Hitler are similar and warned the country if they needed someone like Hitler to govern them.

Earlier today, Pitroda had shielded Pakistan by asserting that terror attacks happen regularly and it was wrong to ‘attack the entire nation’ for an act committed by a few. Pitroda also asked for proof of the number of terrorists killed in the Balakot Airstrikes referring to the “doubts raised by foreign media”. Congress has so far been conspicuously silent on the remarks made by Pitroda.

PM Modi had taken to Twitter to lambast Congress ideologue Sam Pitroda for questioning the veracity of the Balakot airstrikes. He also asserted that the Congress loyalist had kickstarted the celebrations of Pakistan National Day on behalf of Congress by undermining the Indian Armed Forces. Union Minister Arun Jaitley had also slammed Pitroda and his protege Rahul Gandhi for Pitroda’s objectionable remarks echoing Pakistan’s stance.

Yeddyurappa’s diary given by Congress leader during I-T raid, he refused to vouch for authenticity, CBDT discloses

Congress president Rahul Gandhi

Mounting an offensive against the BJP, the Congress party today convened a presser to attack the BJP and its senior leaders in a supposed ‘corruption case’ published in a report by the Caravan. The Caravan claimed that a diary with notes of Yeddyurappa having paid over Rs 1,800 crore to national BJP leaders such as Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, and Rajanath Singh as well a Chief Justice of India is in possession of the Tax department since 2017. Now, CBDT has come out to refute the story published by Caravan and used by Congress to attack the BJP.

Statement released by CBDT
Statement released by CBDT

CBDT says that during their 2017 raids against Congress leader DK Shivakumar, they had found several incriminating pieces of evidence. During the raid, some loose papers were given the raiding party that had such entries, but the original was never provided. The papers seem to be a photocopy.

DK Shivakumar was confronted with these papers during interrogation and he had asserted that these papers were diary entries of BJP leader and former Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa giving money to other BJP leaders, judges and advocates. When asked about the source of the document, DK Shivakumar said that he cannot disclose the source of the document. He also asserted that he doesn’t know the timing of these alleged payments and neither does he have the original papers.

When the authorities asked him why he didn’t bring these documents to any authority’s notice, DK Shivakumar, according to CBDT said that he did not because was not sure of the authenticity and genuineness of these papers.

When BS Yeddyurappa was confronted, he denied the allegations. He said that he was not in the habit of making diary entries of keeping loose sheets. He also said that the handwriting on the note was not his. He reportedly provided a sample of his handwriting for comparison and also said that the documents were fabricated to malign him.

Pursuant to this, when the documents were sent for Forensics, the original papers were demanded for analysis. According to CBDT, DK Shivakumar refused to provide the originals.

The CBDT ends its statement by saying that the papers provided by DK Shivakumar seem dubious and were provided by someone who was being raided for tax violations.

Earlier, BJP leader Rajeev Chandrashekhar had also asserted that these fabricated papers are being leaked by Congress leader DK Shivakumar to conceal steal flyover scam diary that named several Congress leaders.

The day media houses invented a ‘Simbhal’ Lok Sabha constituency

Oops moment for media houses

We have all had that moment when we have misheard lyrics of a song and sang it in front of an audience to much of our embarrassment. Something like that happened earlier today when Manoj Jha, National Spokesperson, RJD announced list of candidates and said that Sharad Yadav would contest on ‘RJD symbol’.

However, Jha’s ‘symbol’ was misheard as ‘simbhal’ by many mediapersons who thought that it is an actual constituency from which Sharad Yadav would be fielded.

Kapil Sibal backed HTN/Tiranga TV

Congress leader Kapil Sibal backed HTN, which is now Tiranga TV, tweeted that Yadav would contest from ‘Simbhal’ constituency.

Scroll inventing ‘Simbhal’ constituency
ANI’s ‘Simbhal’ constituency tweet, now deleted

A Twitter user also pointed out how many media houses got the name wrong.

Divya Bhaskar ‘Simbhal’
Other media houses reporting ‘Simbhal’ constituency

Later on, most of the social media handles deleted the tweet upon realising the mistake of pronunciation error but it did bring a comic relief in the otherwise stressful election season.

Sharad Yadav is a former Janata Dal (United) President who was removed from the party for anti-party activities. Following that, he founded Loktantrik Janata Dal, which he has decided to merge with RJD once 2019 elections are over.

Differently abled athletes create history in Abu Dhabi: Best ever tally of 368 medals won in Special Olympics

India bagged a whooping 368 medals at the special olympics in Abu Dhabi
Winners at the special Olympics 2019

India scripted history as it finished with an impressive 368 medals at the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2019 at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Special Olympics 2019, which is held once in two years alternatively between the Summer and Winter Olympics, are organised to celebrate the sporting endeavor of athletes with disabilities. The 2019 Special Olympic was held from March 14 to March 21. India’s medal tally included 85 gold, 145 silver, and 129 bronze medals. The Indian contingent that took part in the Special Olympics 2019 comprised of 284 athletes.

PM Narendra Modi congratulated the Indian athletes who have brought glory to the nation.

Indian won its maximum number of medals in powerlifting category with athletes clinching a total of 96 medals, which includes 20 gold, 33 silver, and 43 bronze. The Indian contingent had participated in various sports categories like- athletics, golf, volleyball, aquatics, cycling, judo, powerlifting, table tennis, roller skating, badminton, basketball traditional, handball traditional and football 7-side female and secured medals in all these sports.

Women athletes have made the country proud not only with their participation but also by winning medals in various sports events. 18-year-old Anu Chennekota from Andhra Pradesh won her maiden Special Olympics World Games gold in the 16-21 years’ division-3 category in table tennis. Sabita Yadav, from Goa, won a singles gold in the division-4 category while Reshma Shaikh clinched a silver in the same event.

Another athlete, Muskaan has won gold in deadlifting, a silver each in squat and bench press, and also a bronze. Santoshi Vijay Kauthankar from Goa won four silver medals in the female category (Judo), while Priya Prakash Gada from Maharashtra also won a silver in the 100-metre roller skating event. 19-year old Manali Manoj Shelke from Maharashtra won a gold in a combo of three in powerlifting and a bronze too.

After powerlifting, India’s second best performance was in Roller Skating with 49 medals including 13 gold, 20 silver, and 16 bronze. In cycling, India bagged 45 medals with 11 gold, 14 silver, and 20 bronze. From track and field events, India has won 39 medals with 5 gold, 24 silver, and 10 bronze.

It was also the first time India participated in Judo and Futsal winning 3 gold medals, 1 silver, and seven silver medals respectively.

This was India’s ninth appearance at the event, which takes place every two years. With a vision of treating all athletes equally, the Special Olympics event offers a chance to individuals with not just physical but also intellectual disabilities to compete in any sport. The next Special Olympic Games are set to take place in Sweden in 2021.

‘Hindus are our enemy’ says Pakistani politician in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly

Sher Azam Wazir later apologised for his remark after two Hindu legislators walked out in protest
PPP leader Sher Azam Wazir, Image via Twitter

Pakistan People’s Party leader Sher Azam Wazir made a highly controversial and anti-Hindu remark while speaking at a provincial assembly in Pakistan. Addressing the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly in the wake of Pulwama terror attack, Wazir said,” Hindus are our enemy”.

Wazir’s anti-Hindu remarks were criticised by two Hindu members of the Assembly Ravi Kumar and Ranjeet Singh who walked out of the Assembly in protest.

Wazir’s remarks were expunged by Speaker of the Assembly Mushtaq Ghani from the Assembly proceedings. Wazir later apologised for his remarks and said that he should have used the word ‘Hindustan’ instead. The two protesting Hindu members of the Assembly were taken into confidence by the rest of the members and were brought back to the session.

Ravi Kumar said that the Hindu community in Pakistan is not hostile towards the country. There are a total of three minority members in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

This is not the first time that the Pakistani leaders’ abhorrence for Hindus found an expression. Several times Pakistani leaders have targeted Hindus by addressing them with derogatory remarks like cow urine drinker. Ali Muhammad Khan, a minister in Imran Khan’s government, had recently called ‘Ghazwa-e-Hind’, while another minister Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan had addressed Hindus recently as “Cow urine drinkers”.

Recently Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan’s former wife Reham Khan had alleged that Imran Khan himself routinely uses derogatory words for Hindus. She said that Ministers like Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan who had called Hindus cow urine drinkers after the air strikes in Balakot, enjoy the patronage of Imran Khan and therefore this is not an isolated phenomenon.

ED under the FEMA imposes over Rs 14 lakh penalty on Kashmiri separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani

Syed Ali Shah Geelani

Hurriyat Conference leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani has been charged with a penalty of over Rs 14 lakh by the Enforcement Directorate under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) for illegally possessing foreign exchange of USD 10,000.

The ED has also ordered confiscation of the forex of USD 10,000 (nearly Rs 6.8 lakh based on existing exchange rates) that were seized in the year 2002 from his premises during an Income Tax raid at his residence in Srinagar’s Hyderpora area.

The case investigated by the ED under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) pertains to Geelani in illegal possession of foreign exchange.

The agency had issued a notice under various sections of FEMA to the 87-year-old separatist leader. Earlier, last year, the ED summoned Syed Ali Shah Geelani for adjudication proceedings related to the foreign exchange violation case.

The case was taken up by the ED on the basis of an Income Tax Department complaint against Geelani.

A similar proceeding against former Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik, who was recently booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and transferred to a Jammu Kot Balwal jail, is also underway.

According to recent reports, the Enforcement Directorate, which is also probing charges of money laundering against the separatists based on an NIA FIR that alleged their activities were being funded by money from Pakistan-based terror groups, are likely to attach the properties of these Kashmir separatists.

The ED had identified properties belonging to accused such as Zahoor Watali and some others associated with Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. “These properties will be attached in due course,” an ED official had said.

In the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, the NIA tightened its noose on the Kashmiri separatists, following Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s media address in which, making obvious reference to these separatists he asserted that there are some elements which are in connivance with terrorist organisations and are involved in terror conspiracies. He had furthered that these links would be probed.

Following this the NIA on February 26, the day the Indian Air force conducted ariel airstrikes bombing Jaish terror camps in Pakistan, conducted raids in seven locations including residences of Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, in Srinagar.

Apart from these, houses of Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Zafar Akbar Bhat, Naseem Geelani, son of the senior separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Masrat Alam, and Shabir Ahmed Shah were also raided.

These raids were in connection to the agency’s investigation in the alleged terror-funding case. A statement by NIA said that letterheads of different terrorist organisations, as well as documents relating to recommendations for a visa for admission in Pakistan educational institutions, were found during the raids.

In the massive crackdown, almost the entire leadership of Jamat-e-Islami and several other top separatist leaders had been detained. The security cover provided to separatists was withdrawn too.

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