Now ED raids Lalu’s daughter Misa’s residence – find out the details

A day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted searches at 12 premises of the RJD supremo over irregularities in awarding tenders for hotel maintenance during his tenure as the Railway Minister, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday raided three farmhouses in Delhi owned by Lalu Prasad’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Misa Bharti in connection to a money laundering case.

The central probe agency swooped on Bharti’s farmhouses in Ghitorni, Bijwasan and Sainik Farms early this morning.

The raids were connected in connection to a racket involving two Delhi-based businessmen Surendra and Virendra Jain and others. The Jain brothers, who were arrested by the ED under provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, allegedly laundered a whopping Rs 8,000 crores using shell companies.

It could be noted that one of the firms that the arrested duo dealt with was Mishail Printers & Packers Private Limited, a company together owned by Bharti and his husband Shailesh Kumar.

According to the ED, 1,20,000 shares of Mishail Printers & Packers Private Limited were bought at a rate of Rs 100 per share by four shell companies – Shalini Holdings Limited, Ad-Fin Capital Services Private Limited, Mani Mala Delhi Properties Private Limited and Diamond Vinimay Private Limited – between 2007 and 2008. These 1,20,000 shares were further bought back by Bharti and his husband at a cost of Rs 10 per share, the agency said. The firm was registered at the address 25, Tughlaq Road, New Delhi till the shares were bought back by Bharti, the ED said.

Earlier, the ED had arrested Bharti’s chartered accountant Rakesh Agrawal in connection to the money laundering probe. Reports suggest that it was Agrawal who provided accommodation entries or black funds of about Rs 60 lakh to Mishail Printers & Packers Private Ltd.

Last month, the Income Tax Department had seized the benami properties of Misa Bharti and her husband Shailesh Kumar, her brother and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav in Gurugram, Delhi and Rewari.

Lalu’s family is also at the centre of another scam involving three-acre slice of premium land in Patna where “the biggest shopping mall of Bihar” is being developed by Meridian Construction Limited, a firm owned by RJD MLA Syed Abu Dojana.

According to an Indian Express report, quoting CBI records, a purported contract between Dojana and Lalu’s younger daughter Chanda shows that 57 per cent of the complex under construction on this land at Saguna More in Danapur would be owned by her while 43 per cent would be allocated to the developer.

Amid standoff with China, India to invite heads of ASEAN nations for Republic Day parade

Amid the ongoing standoff with China at India-China-Bhutan tri-junction, India has decided to invite the heads of 10 ASEAN nations for the Republic Day parade, 2018. The move will give a further boost to India’s Act East policy.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organisation comprising ten Southeast Asian states – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It is for the first time ever that leaders of so many states will be the chief guests in Republic Day, which showcases India’s military might.

It could be noted that 4 ASEAN countries – Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei – are currently engaged in disputes with China in the South China Sea. Philippines dragged China to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague over the dispute. The ICJ ruled against China in July last year and observed that China had violated international law in South China Sea.

India and ASEAN countries are marking 25 years of dialogue partnership, 15 years of summit-level interaction and five years of strategic partnership through “shared values”, and “common destiny”, reads a statement by Ministry of External Affairs.

India and ASEAN nations have successfully forged strong strategic partnership in areas of economy, defence and security. The Modi government has been emphasising on a “dynamic” and “action-oriented” relations with ASEAN countries.

At the India-ASEAN Delhi Dialogue, held in 4 July, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India and ASEAN share a common geographical space where they face common traditional and non-traditional security challenges.

“Freedom of navigation and respect for international law is therefore imperative in this context. Equally, we remain committed with ASEAN to enhance our maritime cooperation, to realise the full potential of our ocean economy. We will continue to step up cooperation in countering terrorism, piracy and other transnational crimes,” Swaraj had said.

Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh in his reply to the Parliament on 23 December, 2015 had said that there was a clear intent to engage with the ASEAN countries not just to promote economic cooperation and cultural ties, but also to develop a “strategic relationship”.

“On strategic issues, we have increasing convergence on security interests with key partners both in bilateral and multilateral format. Closer cooperation in combating terrorism, collaborating for peace and stability in the region and promotion of maritime security based on international norms and laws are being pursued,” Singh had said.

Mob threatens to kill Bihar advocate who had accepted Hinduism after renouncing Islam

Recently it was reported how Mohammed Anwar, a lawyer from Bihar’s Begusarai region had converted to Hinduism along with his sons, after he was being threatened by some radical Muslims for failing to follow the tenets of Islam. A few radicals were also unhappy with him because he didn’t eat beef and used to donate money for the construction of temples.

His house was reportedly attacked on 2nd July by a mob, which accused him of not performing the Namaz 5 times a day. They also reportedly expressed displeasure over the fact that his kids used to study in English medium schools and not in a madrasa. The mob had also reportedly beaten up his sons aged 9, 11 while they were there.

This prompted Mohammed Anwar to convert to Hinduism and become Anand Bharti, with the conversion ceremony taking place in a Shiva Temple.

Anand might have thought that after conversion he won’t be bothered by radical Muslims calling for him to be more pious, but as it appears that problems have only increased for him and his family after their religious conversion.

According to reports, soon after his conversion, tension increased in the area which has resulted in Anand getting continuous death threats from radical Muslims.

On Friday, a mob of 15-20 people surrounded Anand and his client at a town square. They proceeded to threaten them and the Bajrangi Dal’s District Chief Subham Bharadwaj with death. Bharadwaj was the one who had organised the conversion ceremony of Anand. The mob also hurled vile obscenities.

Soon the police came to know about the incident and dispatched station head Mohammed Ali Sabri to the spot. Seeing the police, the mob reportedly fled.

This has resulted in Anand being provided a bodyguard by local SP Ranjeet Kumar. The SP has also assured action against the mob if Anand provides a written complaint.

This isn’t the only time converted Muslims have received threats for converting from their religion. In 2015, a Muslim family from Uttar Pradesh who had converted to Hinduism in the infamous “Ghar-Wapsi” program had to accept Islam again, after facing threats and boycott from the Muslim community.

It needs to be seen how long “Anand Bharti” can retain his new religious identity.

Cow vs Kaaba – the missing spine of ‘liberals’ when it comes to Islam

Islamic extremism
Representational image

When a man was killed in Dadri on suspicion of cow slaughter and beef consumption, it elicited, and rightly so, concern and outrage from many. The leading outragers were those who self-identify as “liberals”.

Apart from absolving the state government and taking selfies outside the house of the murdered man, these liberals decided to attack the belief that supposedly was the central reason why the man was killed – the belief that cow is a sacred animal which shouldn’t be slaughtered for food.

In fact, they decided to attack the cow itself, even as they desperately tried to paint every crime as cow related violence.

If you are active on social media, you would remember that many of these liberals had changed their display pictures to that of a cow with blood on her mouth – the way lion’s mouth looks after a kill.

In fact, the expression on a lion’s face after a kill is that of a contentment, for the big cat has just satisfied its hunger, but that picture of the cow had a sinister look in its eyes with its nostrils blowing out anger, as if it were hungry for more. You know, a bloodthirsty cow.

Cow, the only being who can legitimately say ‘not in my name’, was made a symbol of hate.

This hate campaign resulted into a public slaughter of a cow by the Congress party workers in Kerala. If one is liberal enough to consider speciesism as a form of discrimination, what happened in Kerala was a ‘hate crime’.

It didn’t end with public display of hatred by killing of a cow. Only a few days back, “Cow is food” posters were flashed in ‘not in my name’ protests, because liberals were on a mission to drill some rationalism into the thick head of stupid people who think that cow is mother.

I don’t find it entirely wrong to attack a belief, if that belief is the central reason behind a crime. Except that I never find these liberals attacking Islamic beliefs when a crime has been committed due to that.

Where are “Kaaba is just a building” posters on the lines of “Cow is food” posters? Or worse, if the cow can be drawn as a man-eater, how exactly should one draw Kaaba or the Prophet? A man has died, just like a man had died in Dadri.

I’m referring to Muslim mobs going on rampage, destroying government and private properties and desecrating Hindu temples in the Basirhat region of West Bengal. All because the mobs believe that Kaaba is sacred and a Facebook post didn’t show it in good light.

But there is no outrage at all from the “liberals” directed at Kaaba the way they got all creative and aggressive with the Cow. The spine to take on a belief that leads mobs to indulge in violence is missing.

To be fair, this anatomical mystery is not unique to the Indian liberals. When Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and satirists were killed, even their western counterparts too largely focused on the cartoons rather than the belief that led to the killing. Similarly, a teenager’s Facebook post is being blamed than the belief that makes a mob bay for blood.

We don’t really know what exactly was the nature of the Facebook post that offended the Muslims so much. Some claim that Kaaba was shown as Shiva temple or Shivalingam.

Regardless of whether that Facebook post did show Kaaba as Shivalingam or not, it is anybody’s guess how many “liberals” will endorse such imagery. They will condemn it as “provocative”. The image will be argued to be “supremacist” as it would show Muslims bowing to a Hindu symbol.

Bad to tinker with the sacred of one by inserting another religion’s symbols, no?

How about a painting that shows Hindu god Krishna taking part in Eid celebrations?

That is apparently shared heritage.

Liberals can continue to dodge these questions by dismissing them as “whataboutery” (which is why I used “how about” – so smart of me) but they have to ask themselves why do they employ these double standards when it comes to the faith and beliefs of Muslims.

When a belief leads to violence, why do they choose to counter Hindu beliefs with rationalism (and not much quarrel I have there personally) but choose to avoid countering the Muslim beliefs?

Cow gets their tongue? Or the spine genuflects in sajda?

I can think of only four reasons why they have such glaring double standards:

First. They are scared of the repercussions. If they choose to change their display picture to a cartoon of Kaaba, their own picture will be seen garlanded with flowers the next day. In that case, for god’s sake, and for Allah’s sake, stop your “all religions are the same” nonsense. Clearly some religions are more intolerant and violent; have the guts to acknowledge that without false equivalences.

Second. They actually believe that considering a building or place sacred is more logical and rational a belief than considering an animal sacred. You know, that is not liberal, but Abrahamic belief; or a Hinduphobic belief. And in this case again, stop your “all religions are the same” nonsense as you clearly believe that Hinduism is a lesser religion. Again, have the guts to acknowledge that and be honest like the Jihadis who say the same openly.

Third. They believe that some acts are provocative enough to attract violence. In the current case, they believe that hurting religious sentiments through an image is more provocative than stealing cattle (one of the key reasons leading to cow related violence). Well, you should stop calling yourselves liberal then, for it is very conservative a thought to put religious beliefs over economic considerations.

And the fourth one. They are deluded hypocrites. In which case, you don’t need to do anything. Continue being the same, as you’re only helping your enemies.

Allowances paid to Jawans deployed in Siachen and Maoist areas hiked by more than double

The risk and hardship allowances for armymen posted in Siachen and forces deployed for counter-insurgency operations in Maoist infested areas have been more than doubled. The increased payments are among the higher allowances the government notified in the Gazette on 6 July.

According to an official statement, the allowance paid to soldiers deployed at Siachen – the highest battlefield in the world – has been increased from Rs 14,000 to Rs 30,000 per month and for officers it has been hiked from Rs 21,000 to Rs 42,500 per month. Similarly, the High Altitude Allowance has been raised from Rs 810-16,800 to Rs 2700- 25,000 per month.

The Counter Insurgency Operations Allowance has been hiked from Rs 3,000-11,700 to Rs 6,000-16,900 per month. The Command Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) Allowance, paid to CRPF personnel deployed in Maoist-infested areas, has been increased from Rs 8,400-16,800 to Rs 17,300-25,000 per month.

MARCOS and the Chariot Allowance, paid to marine commandos, has been increased from Rs 10,500-15,750 to Rs 17,300-25,000 per month.

For Sea Going Allowance, the conditionality of 12 hours has been reduced to four hours and the allowance has been increased from Rs 3,000-7,800 to Rs 6,000-10,500 per month.

The allowances for Modified Field, Field and Highly Active Field Area have been hiked from Rs 1,200-12,600 to Rs 6,000-16,900 per month. Flying Allowance has been raised from Rs 10,500-15,750 to Rs 17,300-25,000 per month and this has been extended to the BSF Air Wing also.

Aeronautical Allowance now has been extended to the Indian Coast Guard, Higher Qualification Incentive for Defence Personnel, Test Pilot and Flight Test Engineer Allowance, Ceilings of Deputation (Duty) Allowance for Defence Personnel, Detachment Allowance and Para Jump Instructor Allowance.

Lalu in fresh trouble as CBI raids his Patna home: Here’s all you need to know

RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav’s family literally woke up to to a shock today after they found the CBI at the doorstep of his Patna home. A similar raid was being carried out at 11 other locations.

This trouble follows similar scrutiny of Lalu’s family members by other investigative agencies. Recently Income Tax officials had seized an alleged benami house and plot of land owned by Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharti.

Even Lalu’s son Tej Pratap Yadav who is the current  minister for Health, Minor Water Resources, Environment and Forest in the Bihar government, had received a notice from BPCL for falsely claiming ownership of a land to start a petrol pump. He is also involved an a Patna Zoo Soil scam in which he allegedly gave a Rs 90 lakh contract via Patna Zoo to a company in which he, his mother and siblings were shareholders.

Now that the past has finally caught up with Lalu again, lets look at the whole development:

Why did the raids take place:

According to the CBI, this case pertains to Lalu tweaking a tender process in order to benefit certain hoteliers while he was the Railway Minister in the UPA government. CBI says that it could make out a case of conspiracy and fraud based on the evidence it has so far.

Apparently three acres of land in western Patna was transferred in 2006 to a company called Delight Marketing Private Ltd, which is known to Lalu’s family. The land was subsequently transferred to another company called Lara projects, which reportedly is owned by Lalu’s family. Even though the land was valued at about Rs 32 crores, it was transferred to Lara at just about Rs 65 lakh.

The CBI is also examining tenders that were awarded to private firms for operating railway hotels near stations. A tender awarded for the maintenance of IRCTC Hotels/BNR Hotels in Delhi and Puri in 2006 is also under scrutiny.

BNR hotels, which were dubbed as Heritage Hotels of the Indian Railways, were taken over in 2006 by IRCTC. But these were then transferred to M/s Sujata private limited for maintenance and upkeep. The transfer was done while disregarding the set guidelines.

So who all are accused in the case?

As reported by ANI, various big shots are under the radar of the CBI. This includes Lalu, his wife Rabri Devi and his son Tejashwi. PK Goel, the former Managing Director of IRCTC, the promoters of Hotel Chanakya and Hotel Sujata, and Saira Gupta, the wife of RJD leader Prem Chand Gupta are also among the accused.

Which places were raided by the CBI?

A total of 12 places were raided by the CBI today from 7:30 in the morning. These include Lalu’s Patna residence, residence of RJD leader Prem Chand Gupta, the New Friends colony in Delhi, Chanakya BNR hotel in Ranchi and residence of former IRCTC MD PK Goyal. Locations in Puri were also raided.

What does Lalu have to say about it?

Initially, nothing. He wasn’t even at his house when the raids took place. He was in Ranchi to appear in his fodder scam case, and said that he would speak later. Later he dubbed everything as a political vendetta.

What did alliance partner Nitish have to say?

Alliance partner Nitish doesn’t seem to have reacted yet and was reported to have had a meeting with Senior Officials. This comes at a critical juncture for him as he has already aggrieved his “Mahagathbandhan” partners by formally backing NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.

Things might have turned especially tricky for Nitish as BJP is calling for him to sack Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav and he won’t want to create an image of someone who shelters the corrupt.

The Congress though tried to provied full support for Lalu by questioning the silence of 13 years regarding this matter, thereby also possibly blaming their own government for inaction.

What next?

The news has broken that CBI  questioned Rabri Devi and Tejashwi Yadav so it remains to be seen if they do the same with Lalu.

Amit Shah confident about installing BJP government in Odisha in 2019

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah has charted the party’s Mission Odisha during his three-day-long tour to the eastern state. The master-strategist presented a road map for ousting Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government in the 2019 Assembly elections.

Shah’s Odisha visit aims at reviving the party’s infrastructure in the state at the grassroot levels. It was part of his 110-day-long countrywide whirlwind tour to galvanise the party cadre and expand the BJP’s footprints in the birth centenary year of party’s ideologue Deendayal Upadhayaya. 

Amit Shah’s tour across the nation focuses on taking stock of the party’s organisational strength, further expansion of ideology and electoral appeal. Odisha is the fourteenth state the BJP president has toured as part of his 110-day-long countrywide tour.

Odisha features prominently in BJP’s scheme of things. So far the state has been one of the unconquered territories. But the BJP president is confident of winning the state in the next Assembly elections in 2019.

“The BJP will secure two-third majority in the 2019 Assembly elections and form the next government in Odisha,” a confident Shah said while addressing party workers in Bhubaneswar as he winded down his three-day-long Odisha tour on Thursday. The BJP president exhorted party workers not to rest till the party captured the power in Odisha.

Shah travelled more than 400 km by road in three days. Taking on BJD supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is considered as a “high-flyer” in politics, the BJP president said, “I have travelled to various places in Odisha in these three days. But it was not like an aerial visit by Naveen Patnaik. I sensed the mood of people of Odisha in favour of the BJP.”

“The high-flying Chief Minister has failed to grasp and address the people’s problems,” he added.

Amit Shah launched his three-day-long grassroot connect drive from Patnaik’s home turf Ganjam on 4 July to deliver a message to the Odisha Chief Minister and his BJD. Ganjam is the district where Patnaik’s Hinjili Assembly constituency is located. Shah took part in the Mo Booth Sabuthu Majboot (My Booth is the Strongest) programme in Hugulapata village in Ganjam. He interacted with locals, addressed a public meeting and had lunch with at a Dalit household in Hugulapata village.

Shah went on a door-to-door campaign at Hugulapata village of Kukudakhandi Block in Ganjam district. He discussed with the villagers about various welfare programmes implemented by the Narendra Modi government.

At Berhampur, Shah addressed a huge gathering of party’s booth level workers from Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhamal districts.

At Hugulapata in Ganjam, the BJP chief launched a scathing attack on the Naveen Patnaik government. Shah lashed out at the BJD government for the migration of labour force from Odisha to other States.

“It is unfortunate that this labour force, which is helping in the development of other States, is not used for the development of Odisha,” he said.

On the second day of his Odisha tour on 5 July, the BJP president visited the historical Biraja Temple in Jajpur and offered prayer. Later addressing public meetings at various places, including Arei and Panikoili in Jajpur district, Shah attacked the “misrule” and “inefficiency” of the Naveen Patnaik government for the under-development of Odisha despite the State being endowed with rich natural resources.

“The BJD dispensation in Odisha has failed miserably to ensure development during its 17-year rule. It is a paradox that Odisha, which is endowed with abundant mineral and natural resources, is left far behind in terms of development,” Shah said.

At Panikoili in Jajpur, Shah addressed BJP’s booth level workers of north Odisha districts.

The BJP present said during the last three years of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, the grants for Odisha has increased many fold, but Naveen Patnaik government has failed to utilise the funds, leaving the state in the grip of poverty and backwardness.

On the last day of his Odisha tour, Shah held a massive road show from Kalpana square to Basantpur in the state capital of Bhubaneswar.

Later he visited Basantpur village – under in Ekamra assembly constituency – which is located at the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. The BJP president was given a traditional welcome there. Shah met people from different social and economic strata in the village. He went to Booth No-191 in Basantpur village and spent some time at a Dalit house and had famous Odisha snacks moodi.

Addressing a huge public rally in Bhubaneswar, Shah said, “BJP alone is capable of pulling Odisha out of the morass and steer the state on the path of rapid development.”

In Odisha, this time Naveen Patnaik is staring at a strong anti-incumbency as there are a galaxy of issues – ranging from corruption, to misgovernance – plaguing the state. In the last Pachayat elections, the BJP succeeded in making a giant stride in Odisha politics, leaving Patnaik’s BJD in a tailspin. With renewed hope and new vigour, the BJP is sanguine about riding a saffron surge in the land of Shree Jagannath and Amit Shah was seen wearing that confidence during his three-day tour.

Cricket and Dog – latest reasons of Hindu-Muslim clashes at two places in Meerut

Meerut Hindu-Muslim clash
Injuries after communal clashes following a cricket match

In two separate incidents in the last couple of days, Meerut in Uttar Pradesh has witnessed communal clashes between Muslims and Hindus that were triggered by petty fights between a few individuals. Police deployment had to be made in both the cases to stop the situation from getting uglier.

In the first case, a cricket match that took place four days back has now resulted into communal clashes with both group accusing each other of making targeted attacks. The incident happened in Sardhana area of Meerut where an altercation took place between two groups while playing cricket.

Youths belonging to the Muslim and Dalit communities were reported to have come to blows during the match, but the fight was contained on that day. However, a day later, Muslim group is alleged to have attacked the homes of Dalits and even fired at the youths from country made pistols.

Banti, one of the those injured in the attacks and firing, has claimed that the Muslims had organised a panchayat, where they decided to attack them in a planned way. Around 10 persons, including a woman, suffered injuries in this attack and they are being treated in a local hospital.

After this attack, Dalits are also reported to have carried out counter attack on the homes of Muslims, causing injuries to the other side. With situation turning worse, police forces had to be deployed in the area and cases have been registered.

Both the groups are accusing each other of starting the fight and denying any organised or planned violence on their part. The situation is reported to be tense but under control after police intervention.

Meerut Hindu-Muslim clash
Injuries after communal clashes following a cricket match (source: Amar Ujala)

In another incident that took place in Indira Chowk area of Meerut, police had to be deployed to contain communal clashes that happened after a hotel owner objected to a dog littering the area outside his hotel.

The Hotel is owned by two brothers Satish and Pramod, who were frustrated with one guy Nadeem who used to bring his dog daily outside his hotel leading to littering in the area. When the brothers objected to this, Nadeem went away but returned with a mob of 20-25 people from his locality.

Armed with sticks, the Muslim mob not only attacked the hotel owners and damaged the hotel property, they beat up others too who were in the hotel or in the vicinity. This led to the other group respond to the attack and the soon the incident took communal colours.

Police was informed as groups started stone pelting and soon the situation was brought under control. Police is reportedly scrutinising the CCTV footage of the hotel to identify the culprits and have registered cases against 24 people. Two have been arrested though Nadeem is still on run.

Police has claimed that while people are angry, situation is under control and police deployment has been done to stop any further violence.

65 years old Kartik Ghosh stabbed to death by Jihadi mobs in Basirhat, West Bengal

The mob violence in Basirhat in West Bengal over a Facebook post has now taken a life. 65 years old Kartik Ghosh became the first casualty of the violence being perpetrated in the region.

The Basirhat region in West Bengal has been on the boil since Monday, after Jihadi mobs decided to go on rampage, burning and looting Hindu establishments, assaulting villagers, and burning vehicles as a form of protest against the Facebook post, which allegedly denigrated their religion.

Even though Jihadi mobs were wrecking havoc all around, which also included the desecration of Hindu temples and symbols like Lord Jagannath’s Rath, the only consolation people were holding on to, was that there were no casualties yet reported due to the clashes.

This too diminished on Thursday morning after it was reported that 65-year-old Kartik Chandra Ghosh had succumbed to his injuries. According to his son, Kartik was stabbed multiple time by unknown assailants on Wednesday.

Clashes had broken out in their Bhayabla locality which is a part of ward number 20 of Basirhat sub-division. Around 1 PM Kartik was walking back to his home when the area was attacked by “members of the minority community”.

The mob stabbed Kartik multiple times and fled the spot. He was rushed to a local hospital which in-turn referred him to R G Kar Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata. Kartik unfortunately didn’t respond to the treatment and breathed his last on 8:07 AM Thursday.

Kartik was described as a small businessman who used to sell chicken and groceries to earn a living for his family. His body has now been sent for autopsy.

This death has drawn political reactions. The BJP claimed that Kartik was their party member, which was disputed by the family, either as a fact or possibly in fear of further repercussions by radicals.

West Bengal’s top BJP leadership of Dilip Ghosh and Locket Chatterjee were denied entry into the Kolkata hospital by TMC members when they came to meet Kartik’s grieving family. This resulted in a scuffle between the BJP and TMC workers outside the Hospital, which reportedly resulted in a BJP worker getting dragged inside and then getting beaten up.

Apparently 21 people have been injured till now in the Basirhat violence and 8 are undergoing treatment in the Kolkata hospital.

The situation in Basirhat continues to be tense with police having to use tear gas shells and batons for calming things down.

What could be Pakistan’s response to the deepening India-Israel friendship?

On 4th of July, India and Israel embarked upon a new historic chapter, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first ever Indian Prime Minister to touch down on the shores of Israel.

The Israeli establishment left no stone unturned in providing the best possible welcome for PM Modi. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his whole cabinet were at the airport to welcome him and there were a lot of inter-personal touches given to the communication and events.

India as a nation has a whole lot to gain from Israel. Today Israeli startups are leading the tech world, Israel leads the world when it comes to agri-tech and has been also dubbed as an agricultural superpower in recent years. Its military is considered one of the most highly trained in the world and Israel has also been called a key to solve global terrorism.

So there is lot to learn from Israel as we try to find solutions to India’s job, agriculture and national security woes.

Also in an interview to Arnab Goswami, PM Netanyahu stated that the way to eliminate terrorism was by sharing intelligence and by cooperating in classified ways. He, in the same interview, stated that India and Israel are natural allies and a great partnership would come out of the visit.

All this would be music to the ears of million of Indians, but obviously it is not going to amuse many in Pakistan.

Pakistan as a nation has always thrived on internal conflict, socio-political instability, and compromised national security of India. With Israel possibly helping India in rectifying it, the response of Pakistan to this new relationship would be one to watch out for.

As it turns out, Pakistan hasn’t been sitting idle and as a response to this shift in India’s policy towards Israel, has decided to rake up the one and the only issue it can think of that it feels can be the proper response to the development – Kashmir.

Even as PM Modi hasn’t yet left Israeli soil, Pakistan’s leading daily The Dawn has come out with an op-ed regarding the the Indo-Israeli embrace. The article cited Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni’s decision to ask for support for the ‘oppressed Muslims in Kashmir’ on Monday, which the article speculated was a reaction to the impending visit by PM Modi to Israel.

The article then tried to draw similarity between oppressed Palestinians and the so-called oppressed Kashmiris, who have been denied the ‘freedom and dignity they desire’.

The report tried to see a silver line in by arguing that Indo-Israeli partnership has provided an opportunity for Pakistan to ‘highlight the Kashmir issue with Iran and others’. Pakistan appears to be in a hurry and reports suggest that it is already planning to escalate the Kashmir issue to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Now there aren’t as such many options in front of Pakistan. Knocking on the doors of ICJ in itself might not do any good as it has been time and again reiterated by India that both the countries are bound by the Shimla and Lahore agreement to find a “Bilateral” solution to the unresolved issue. Also external-affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has just a month back stated that, no third party can be involved in the Kashmir talks.

What Pakistan hopes to achieve is an anti-India nexus of Islamic countries thanks to the friendship with “Jewish” Israel. And there are some reasons why Pakistan’s hopes might appear real and reasonable.

For example, normally Saudi Arabia and Iran’s diplomatic relations are steeped in conflict and disagreement, which is fundamentally based on the Shia-Sunni divide, but when it comes to Israel, both the countries have similar views.

Saudi Arabia hates Israel. So much so that both the countries have no diplomatic relations and even don’t have any direct air-routes. When US President Donald Trump took a direct flight – in the dedicated airline for the US president – from Saudi Arabia to Israel, it was touted as a great symbolic step. Going a step ahead of Saudi, Iran’s Ayatollah has laid out legal and religious justifications to kill all the Jews and annihilate Israel.

It might be a dream scenario for Pakistan if such unbridled hatred could be directed towards India, because India and Israel are now friends. But would it happen?

Even though Modi’s critics like to paint him anti-Muslim and some in Indian media tried to link his Israel visit as extension of his alleged anti-Muslim politics, he has always received very warm receptions from Saudi Arabia and Iran during his official visits there, with no Israel type hostility ever being on display. This will end just because Modi got a rousing welcome in Israel may remain a wishful thinking of Pakistan.

The next stop for Pakistan might be to turn the UN against India. When it comes to Kashmir the UN has largely favoured India, as evident by Nawaz Sharif’s disappointment with the UN’s non interfering stance when it comes to Kashmir.

But when it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict, UN continues to pass resolutions like Israel’s settlements in the so called Palestinian territory having no legal validity. The resolutions even called the settlements “a flagrant violation under international law”. This is at a time when PM Netanyahu had called for “direct bilateral negotiations with Palestine”.

This means that Pakistan will need to do a lot to equate India with Israel on the Kashmir issue, which it has been trying, though without success.

One of the major reasons why Pakistan has failed is because that country is increasingly being seen as a terrorist-friendly nation. There has been a marked departure in US policy regarding Pakistan, and it is no longer a ‘natural ally’ in the ‘war on terror’.

This means, that Pakistan needs new ‘agents’ to push its narrative where terrorism in Kashmir is whitewashed and stone-pelting is romanticized as Intifada (Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation), for which it would need the help of its accessories in the media and in the establishment.

Ironically, some in the Indian media and ‘intelligentsia’ are doing this job better than Pakistan in whitewashing Islamic terrorism in Kashmir, through acts such as equating Indian Army chief with General Dyer. No wonder, Pakistan had decided to reach out such sections in India as part of its new Kashmir policy.

Overall, all these options in front of Pakistan might not even take off if India plays its cards right and maintains the right balance between the Islamic countries and Israel, which it appears to be doing by being in favour of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Even if India forsakes this balance, it might not have anything to worry about as Pakistan itself has virtually no credibility in the eyes of Middle Eastern countries. This was evident after Saudi Arabia planned to scrutinise Pakistanis before letting them in or Pakistan being utterly humiliated during Donald Trump’s recent Islamic summit.

18 Maoists killed in Chhattisgarh under ‘Operation Prahaar’ last month

As many as 18 Maoists were killed in a joint counter-insurgency operation in Tondamarka area of Sukma district of Chhattisgarh between 23 June and 25 June, the police said. Tondamarka area, situated deep inside the forest under Chhintagufa police station limits, comes under the Red Corridor.

The counter-insurgency operation named ‘Prahaar’ was conducted by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) and Special Task Force (STF) of Chhattisgarh Police and District Reserve Guard (DRG) of Chhattisgarh.

“We have received confirmed reports that 14 Maoists were gunned down in the exchange of fire with the security personnel during that operation, while another four injured cadres succumbed later,” Sukma Superintendent of Police Abhishek Meena said.

All the slain Maoists, identified so far, belong to the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), local intelligence sources say.

While three DRG jawans were martyred during the counter-insurgency operation, six security personnel were injured.

Sukma district is situated near the tri-junction of three states — Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. It could be noted that the Maoists have inflicted maximum causalities on security forces in Sukma district.

The Maoists had killed 25 CRPF personnel in a deadly ambush in Burkapal area of Sukma district when the jawans were engaged in securing an under construction road. This was the second major attack by Maoists on a road opening CRPF party in the recent times. On 11 March, a similar attack in Bhejji area of Sukma had killed 12 CRPF personnel.

Chinese state-controlled media calls for promoting anti-India sentiments in Bhutan, Sikkim’s ‘independence’

In the wake of stand-off between Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at India-China-Bhutan tri-junction, the Chinese state-controlled media called for a disintegration of Sikkim from the rest of India and promoting anti-India sentiments in Bhutan.

“Beijing should reconsider its stance over the Sikkim issue. Although China recognised India’s annexation of Sikkim in 2003, it can readjust its stance on the matter. There are those in Sikkim that cherish its history as a separate state, and they are sensitive to how the outside world views the Sikkim issue. As long as there are voices in Chinese society supporting Sikkim’s independence, the voices will spread and fuel pro-independence appeals in Sikkim,” a brazen editorial in state run Chinese newspaper Global Times said.

“After independence, New Delhi inherited the brutal colonial policies of Britain and pursues regional hegemony at the sacrifice of tiny Himalayan nations,” it ranted.

In a clear attempt to incite violence in Sikkim, the editorial called on Chinese citizens to “fuel” pro-independence movement in the Indian state bordering China.

It could be noted that the opinion pages of the state run Chinese newspaper are often used by Chinese authorities to send out signals to India during standoff between the two countries.

The editorial suggested that Beijing should rally the world for the abolition of treaties that New Delhi had signed with Bhutan.

“India has startling control and oppression over Bhutan, and as a result, Bhutan has not established diplomatic ties with its neighbour China or any other permanent member of the UN Security Council. Through unequal treaties, India has severely jeopardised Bhutan’s diplomatic sovereignty and controls its national defence,” the editorial said.

“China should lead the international community in restoring Bhutan’s diplomatic and defense sovereignty. Unfair treaties between India and Bhutan that severely violate the will of the Bhutanese people should be abolished. China needs to put more efforts into establishing diplomatic ties with Bhutan at an earlier date as well,” it added.

India has often claimed that Beijing provides arms, funds and logistical supports to insurgent groups operating in the northeastern states and Global Times editorial is a validation of that very fact.

“With certain conditions, Bhutan and Sikkim will see strong anti-India movements, which will negatively affect India’s already turbulent northeast area and rewrite southern Himalayan geopolitics,” the editorial said.

Indian Army and Chinese troops are locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation at the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction after China’s attempts to forcefully build a strategic highway through the Doklam plateau, which is Bhutanese territory. The 269-sq km Doklam plateau is strategically located at the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction, the place where borders of the three countries meet.

Meanwhile, India has asked China to pull back its troops from Bhutanese territory.

“The Chinese troops should stay where they were earlier… They have entered Bhutan’s territory… they should not intrude into Bhutanese territory. This is our security concern and this is our stand,” Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said while speaking to reporters in New Delhi.

Infiltration down, more terrorists killed in the Kashmir Valley than last year

over 60 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC in Rajouri and Poonch last week
Pakistan continue the ceasefire violations

Counter terror operation in Kashmir Valley is gaining momentum. According to reports, as many as 92 terrorists were killed till 2 July this year. This is against 79 in the corresponding period of 2016.Of the 92 terrorists killed till 2 July, most of the targets were big and prominent terror operatives.

Similarly, there is an increase in the number of terrorists killed in counter-insurgency operations during the BJP-led NDA rule at the Centre in comparison to the Congress-led UPA rule. While 72 and 67 terrorists were killed in anti-terror operations in Kashmir Valley during the UPA’s tenure of 2012 and 2013 respectively, the number rose to 110 in 2014, 108 in 2015 and 150 in 2016 during the NDA’s tenure.

Number of incidents of infiltration has also shown a marked decline. While 124 infiltration incidents have been reported till May-end this year, 371 incidents were reported in 2016.

Further, incidents of stone-pelting witnessed a dip. While 142 stone-pelting incidents have been reported till June this year, there were as many as 820 stone-pelting incidents in July last year alone following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

The improvement of the figures is largely to do with Indian Amry’s strategy to actively engage with the terrorists and other anti-India forces in a seamless coordination with para-military forces, intelligence agencies and state police with a full backing of the Central government.

“The forces have been given a free hand to track and intercept the terrorists holed up in the valley, before launching intelligence-based operations with due mapping of the target and how to neutralise terrorists with minimum collateral damage,” a senior Home Ministry official was quoted as saying.

The government has given a free hand to the Army to take stern actions against those who are spreading terror and vitiating the atmosphere in the Valley. The Army has launched Operation Clean Up to flush South Kashmir of terrorists. At the same time, the Army has been carrying out “punitive fire assaults” against Pakistani posts along the Line of Control (LoC).

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had expressed satisfaction over the “aggressive domination” and “readiness” of the troops along the LoC in Jammu & Kashmir. “The aggressive domination and readiness of troops for befitting response to any misadventure by enemy is very satisfying,” Jaitley had said.

The intelligence agencies are simultaneously taking steps to choke terror funding in Kashmir. In a first, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided Kashmiri separatist leaders in connection to the funding they reportedly received from Pakistan to spread terror in the Valley. The amount received by the Kashmiri separatists from Pakistan in last one year, to keep the turmoil in Kashmir active, could run into several hundred crores. The funds are used for attacking security forces by carrying stone pelting, burning schools and other government buildings.

Janta Ka Reporter, in a legal offence, reveals identity of the minor whose FB post led Jihadis to riot in Basirhat

AAP leaning propaganda blog Janta Ka Reporter, notorious for spreading unverified information, looked like sinking to a new low on Wednesday, after it revealed the name and photo of the minor, whose allegedly offensive Facebook post triggered the riot by Jihadi mobs in West Bengal’s Basirhat.

The Basirhat region in West Bengal has been on the boil since Monday, after Jihadi mobs decided to go on rampage, burning and looting Hindu establishments, assaulting villagers, and burning vehicles as a form of protest against the Facebook post, which allegedly denigrated their religion.

While a few media houses were reporting things as it is and other were trying to water down things, Janta Ka Reporter (JKR) decided to take things to a whole different level.

They published an article (still live on their website; we are not linking it back as it can compromise the safety of the minor) titled “What really happened in Bengal and how it was designed to cause riots”, which began with mentioning the full name of the boy. The article also removed all the ambiguity about him being a minor by introducing him as a 17 years old, and proceeded to share his picture:

The name, age and picture have been revealed by JKR. We at OpIndia.com have blacked out those information as it is against law.

In the rest of the article, it tried to insinuate that it was actually the RSS and the BJP, which decided to use the boy as a pawn in order to instigate riots in the region. While the article not even once condemned the Muslim mobs for their rampage and painted them as ‘poor from a very backward area’, it decided to cast aspersions on the integrity of the West Bengal governor by calling him abusive and a BJP block President.

Coming back to the issue of disclosing the identify of the minor student who has been arrested, JKR is clearly violating the section 74(1) of the Juvenile Justice Act by ‘revealing the identity of the minor’.

As per the section 74(1) of the JUVENILE JUSTICE (CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN) ACT, 2015 [PDF]:

Section 74 which JKR is violating

The section explicitly mentions that no media publication shall disclose information that may lead to the identification of the minor in conflict with the law. The JKR has clearly violated it by openly publishing the name and picture of the accused.

The act specifies that such an action can only be undertaken after proper permission is given, provided such a disclosure is in the interest of the minor, which clearly isn’t the case here. In fact, the safety of the minor has been compromised by revealing his identify, who could now be attacked by some overzealous Islamist after being released from jail and after the matter has subsided.

The section specifies that anyone violating the section 74(1) shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term stretching up to 6 months or a fine which may extend to Rs 2 lakh or more.

It remains to be seen if the Ministry of Women and Child development would take adequate action against the publication.

JKR had added a disclaimer in the end of the article that it didn’t endorse the views of some ‘award winning author’ who is supposed to have written it. But that can hardly be an excuse for carrying out a legal offence. They could have blackened the name and face of the accused while republishing that article, especially when they knew that the boy was under 18 years of age as per that article itself.

(with inputs from Srikanth and Ananth)

Syama Prasad Mookerjee – The maker of modern India whom we shouldn’t forget

We must live and die for India and her liberty. This is an article of faith with us and it admits of no compromise.”

These words of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee speak volumes about what he really stood for. Today, India is celebrating the birth anniversary of its leading nationalist leader.

In the annals of Indian history, the historiographers deliberately suppressed the rightful place that Syama Prasad deserves in the making of modern India. A selfless patriot, Mookerjee’s commitment to the democratic spirit of India was unparalleled. He left his mark not only on the history of India, but also on the future of the nation. Mookerjee’s grand vision for India’s national progress could be read in his own words:

“Nations live or die according to the character of the people. Wealth, arms, munitions, disciplined armies and navies and air forces are of splendid service but the character of the people, the character in to which the youth is growing, determines the life or death of the nation.”

Rarely India saw such a leader of Mookerjee’s stature who had left imprints on a galaxy of fields – politics, policy, national interest, education and cultural nationalism. Those who carefully read his life and times could agree with the fact that Syama Prasad had a significant contribution in shaping the modern India.

As the President of Hindu Mahasabha, Mookerjee united the Hindu voices and protected Hindus against the divisive agenda of the Muslim League. However, he did not want the Hindu Mahasabha to be restricted to Hindus alone, so he used it as a platform to render service to the masses.

Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who was initially a strong opponent of partition of India, had supported the partition following the widespread communal riots of 1946 in Punjab and Bengal. Mookerjee foiled Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s plan of Greater Pakistan which proposed to include the entire West Bengal.

When India got its independence, Syama Prasad joined the interim central government, led by Jawaharlal Nehru, on an invitation from Mahatma Gandhi. He was made Union Minister for Industry and Supply. As the Industry Minister, Mookerjee sowed the first seeds of India’s industrialisation. He laid the foundation for India’s Industrial Policy and prepared the ground for the nation’s industrial development in the years to come. It was during Mookerjee’s tenure as the Union Industry Minister, All-India Handicrafts Board, All-India Handloom Board, Central Silk Board and Khadi and Village Industries Board, Textile Research Institute and Industrial Finance Corporation were set up.

It was the year 1949. The Hindu minorities were brutalised in Pakistan, resulting in flooding of millions of Hindu refugees to India. To address the issue, Nehru invited then Pakistani Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan for talks in New Delhi, which led to the signing of Delhi Pact in 1950. The joint pact, which claimed to ‘alleviate the fears of the religious minorities on both sides’ stated to establish Minority Commissions and guarantee minority rights in both India and Pakistan. But Mookerjee, who was firmly against the invitation to the then Pakistani PM, had strongly objected to the policy of Indian Government towards Pakistan as stated in Nehru-Liaqat Pact and resigned from Union Cabinet.

Along with Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Mookerjee is considered as the godfather of modern Hindutva. He saw Hindutva as an instrument to awake the national spirit. For him, it was a source to India’s rich civilisation and its sacred culture, which carries the message of universal brotherhood. It was Mookerjee who took the first step in applying Hindutva in India politics by forming Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS) in 1951 which later became Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Hindutva, cultural nationalism and free-market economy were the edifices on which Bharatiya Jan Sangh stood.

Political independence becomes meaningful only if it is accompanied by realisation of the National Self.”

This was what the first manifesto of the BJS observed. Through Jan Sangh, Mookerjee created an alternate political narrative in India. BJS was the first real opposition to the Congress. In the first general election in 1951, Jan Sangh managed to send only three members, including Syama Prasad Mookerjee to the first Lok Sabha. Jan Sangh, together with other small parties, formed the National Democratic Party (NDP) in Parliament and Mookerjee was unanimously elected as its leader. His role in the Lok Sabha as an Opposition leader earned him the title of ‘Lion of the Parliament’.

Mookerjee will always be remembered for integrating Jammu & Kashmir with the rest of India. He scripted an uprising with his famous slogan — Ek desh mein do Pradhan, do Vidhan, do Nishan nahi chalenge, nahi chalenge. (The country will never accept a system which allows two Prime Ministers, two Constitutions and two National flags).

To protest against the dubious ‘permit raj’ in Jammu & Kashmir, Mookerjee went to Kashmir in 1953 as an Indian citizen without seeking any permission from the State Government. The idea was to prove the point that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India and thus there is no need for an ‘entry permit’ for an Indian citizen. But, while crossing the border into Kashmir at Lakhaanpur, Mookerjee was arrested by the then Jammu & Kashmir Government and jailed in a dilapidated house. A month after his arrest, his health worsened and the patriot died while in custody paying price for his effort to integrate India.

Mookerjee’s mysterious death in custody raised resentment and suspicion. There were demands for independent enquiry, including earnest appeals from his aged mother Jogmaya Devi to then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. But unfortunately no inquiry commission was set by the Nehru government. The event became yet another chapter in history of mysterious political deaths in India.

But Mookerjee’s martyrdom compelled the Nehru government to remove the ‘permit raj’, the post of Wazir-e-Azam (Prime Minister) and Sadr-e-Riyasat (President) in Jammu & Kashmir. His sacrifice forced the Indian government to bring Jammu & Kashmir under the ambit of Indian Constitution, Union Parliament, Supreme Court of India and the Election Commission of India. Till 1953, these institutions did not have any role there.

Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s services were lost to the country at a time when they were required the most. However, his legacy will stay on to guide the nation, nationalism and nationhood. It will inspire the lives and times for generations to come.

Mookerjee was a nationalist to the core. ‘Country comes first’ was his watchword and ‘Live and let live’ was the motto of his life. He lived and died for the cause of the nation.

As a progressive political thinker, Mookerjee will always be remembered for his forward-looking views on education and women’s rights. As a leader with a vision, his opinion on nuclear energy was much ahead of his times. As a philosopher-statesman, Mookerjee had his own vision of establishing strong bilateral ties with the neighboring countries.

Here are some highlights of his speeches on a range of issues. Though the speeches are old, but its content and message are still invigorating and relevant.

  • On education

“Indian universities must play a role in rebuilding a new India. Indian varsities must not regard themselves as exclusive institutions which exist apart from the currents of the country’s life. They must saturate their alumni with the lessons of India’s history and civilisation and instill into them the essence of unity, strength and dauntlessness, and inspire them with skill and knowledge and teach them to apply themselves for the service of the nation.”

  • On foreign relations

“Indians have lived peacefully side by side with her neighbouring peoples and races for millenniums together. When Indian nationals visited foreign lands, they carried with them not arms, not ammunitions, but messages of peace and goodwill.”

  • On Nuclear energy

“India cannot remain a mere spectator, particularly when she has all the raw materials in plenty for the development of atomic energy. Within our own lifetime, we may find the results of atomic energy research affecting all the phases of human life.”

“Nuclear power can create paradise on earth and relieve mankind of much of the drudgery. Atomic energy could be a source of power, limitless in quantity, transportable to every region of the world and usable for every need of mankind.”

***

References:

The life and times of Syama Prasad (By Tathagata Ray)
The Lion of Parliament (By Dr Anita Arya)
Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Indian politics (By Prashanto Kumar Chatterji)
Portrait of a Martyr: Biography of Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerji (By Bal Raj Madhok)

Azam Khan’s Private University constructed using govt funds worth Rs 3000 crores

Azam Khan, the senior leader of Samajwadi Party, seems to be landing in a new controversy on a daily basis. Just recently he had invited the wrath of the public after he had virtually termed the Indian army personnel as rapists. This had invited a complaint from the wife of a serving army officer, who termed the whole statement as derogatory.

Now even as the ink on the last complaint is barely dry, Azam Khan might be in for another after it was reported that government funds worth Rs 3000 crores were spent on his private university.

According to the report, an inquiry carried out by the State Minority Department has found that the Rs 3000 crores were spent on Mohammad Ali Jauhar University in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh of which Azam Khan is the Chancellor.

The MLA from Rampur and MOS of the Minority Welfare department, Baldev Singh Aulakh has now demanded a CBI probe into what he calls, “usage of public money for private welfare”.

Aulakh has claimed that government agencies have actually constructed parts of the Private University. He claims the PWD department had invested Rs 20 crores in the construction of the University buildings, which was then handed over to the Jauhar Trust at a token price of just Rs 100 per year.

Aulakh also claims that the PWD used a whopping Rs 236 crores to build a luxurious Guest House inside the campus and Rs 1310 crores to build a road outside the campus. He also pointed out that crores were spent by the power department in constructing a sub-station, by Jal Nigam in constructing a water tank, and by the culture department for building a pandal for the University.

Aulakh has also made clear his intention to recommend to Yogi Adityanath that the Jauhar University be changed into a government institution.

Not only this, there have also been allegations of the University having been built on illegally acquired land. In 2013, there were reports of Azam Khan grabbing 450 bighas worth of Waqf land for the part construction of the University.

Reports also claimed that most of the University land initially belonged to the Waqf board and various government agencies, which was then forcibly acquired using political clout. The report mentioned an alleged instance were the Rs 30 crore research centre of the University, was actually built on land initially owned by a jail.

Dear Madhur Bhandarkar, this is why you are wrong

Greetings Mr. Bhandarkar,

I have recently seen on television your utter confusion in trying to decipher what it is about your upcoming movie that has got the Congress party in knots. You repeatedly assert that you, as a film maker, are known to take up inconvenient plot lines in your attempt to educate the society of national issues through your cinema.

I write this letter as an attempt in explaining their predicament.

I admit, the ones that question you today, haven’t watched the movie. But you must understand that they do expect you to cater to their delusions of grandeur and endure their insufferable insecurities because they consider their claim on this country, her citizens and its narrative, absolute and indisputable.

You must be wondering why they must feel insecure about a movie when they have gone to town beating their chest about Freedom of Expression?

You see, it is difficult for dynasts to wrap their head around the fact that the Country has changed and is moving beyond the hollow rhetoric that they have furthered for so long. They can’t imagine, for example, the citizenry asking for measures of poverty alleviation and not trusting their “Gareebi hatao” slogans blindly. It is difficult for them to understand that a population as young as India’s is far more astute in sniffing the facts.

Your research might have led you to a certain “State of Uttar Pradesh vs. Raj Narain” case which was fought in the High Court. The research might have said that after Indira Gandhi’s 1971 electoral win, Narain filed a petition alleging that Indira Gandhi has used bribery, government machinery and other resources to gain an unfair advantage in the elections.

Owing to this petition, Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha found Indira Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractice, declared Indira ji’s win from Rae Bareilly null and void and having found our leader guilty of gross malpractice, barred her from contesting elections for 6 years. At that time, the court gave Congress 20 days to replace Indira Gandhi. Indira ji then got a stay order on 24th June 1975.

What you fail to understand is that between 24th June (when Indira ji got the stay order) and 25th June (when the Emergency was declared), the Economy had plummeted to abysmal lows. The dark shroud of economic distress had gripped the Nation in those sinister 24 hours. It is in these 24 hours, that their great leader realised how terribly the Country had been plummeted after the 1971 war. She realized we were dealing with widespread drought and oil crisis as an aftermath of the 1971 war.

You might wonder why it took Indira ji so long to realize all that ails our economy, considering 4 years had passed after the war? Don’t be fooled. The Gandhi family has a long history of concentrating on issues and making informed decisions that take time. It’s in their genes. Why else do you think Rahul Gandhi ji takes these long vacations?

Perhaps you think Indira Gandhi ji imposed the emergency a day after she got the stay order in order to postpone impending elections and pass a bill that amended the law under the provisions of which she was held guilty by Justice Jagmohanlal? This couldn’t possibly be further from the truth.

You must research the benevolence of Indira ji and her suputra, Sanjay Gandhi ji. The two luminaries, after imposing the Emergency, came up with a 20 point program to help the Economy fight poverty and illiteracy. For example, illiteracy was fought with a long term vision. Sanjay ji rationalized that the reason there was such widespread illiteracy is because the unwashed Indians were reproducing like bunnies. So he decided to catch hold of all unsuspecting plebeians and forcefully perform vasectomy on them. Na rahega baas, na bajegi bansuri.

And to shoot two birds with the same policy arrow, they also distributed Ghee to the poor people after they had enforced, nay, endowed nasbandi on them. It is both horrifying and upsetting for them, that you would misunderstand such visionary steps taken during this revolutionary period to rid the country of it’s problems.

The bhagwadhari liars spread many lies. One such is how the country had been going through a terrible economic crisis even before the 1971 war, right from the early 1970s. They talk about widespread discontent among the people about rising prices. corruption, fall in supply of essential commodities and unemployment. In fact, such is their lies that they just created an entire movement that never happened, and pompously called it the “JP Movement”. They even concocted an “All India Railway strike of 1974”. Tell me Mr. Bhandarkar, how can any strike or protest be “all India” when their leader and her followers firmly believed that Indira was India and India was Indira?

The Emergency was imposed because pesky little Jay Prakash Narayan wouldn’t listen. He thought it is acceptable for him to ask Indira ji to resign simply because she was accused of electoral malpractice. He thought it was his right to ask accountability for widespread corruption and economic distress. And also, because the judiciary had to be shown its true place when it tried to assume they had the right to dictate what the Gandhi’s could or couldn’t do. What else was Indira ji suppose to do at the face of such insubordination, Mr. Bhandarkar?

It is only a matter of coincidence that Indira ji and her trusted senanis had originally met to hatch a plan to arrest pesky JP Narayan and mere fiction that S.S.Ray had suggested that she could impose internal emergency. It is also mere coincidence that the first people to be arrested after the imposition of the Emergency (imposed to rectify the failing economy) were Raj Narain, JP Narayan, followed by Morarji Desai, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani. Yes. It was only economics and nothing else.

It is almost gruesome that you choose to focus on the declared internal Emergency of 1975 and not the undeclared one we are going through right now. In Congress’ reign, nobody could think of even writing the letter I am writing today, let alone make a movie about politicians. The Congress was sensitive about what the country needs to know, and doesn’t. They ensured that the country never knew the harsh facts about our first family and their vote-bank. To that end, they generously and astutely banned the books that could shatter the citizenry’s dreams. From the “Rangeela Rasool” to “Red Saree”.

Today, books by Barkha and Sagarika are being given bad reviews, which is worse than books being banned. Sanghis like you are free to research and make movies and Sanghis like me are free to write articles, giving the crass unwashed masses a chance to vitiate the atmosphere with their opinions.

It is shocking that you are not interested in making a movie about how Press freedom is being curbed today by unleashing IT sleuths on owners of news channels accused of tax frauds, but you rather focus on how all news articles had to be cleared by the government in 1975 and how the electricity supply had been cut off to newspaper printers.

Your motives stink of bias, when you ignore protests like #NotInMyName (however one sided), and focus on the imposition of Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) by which all sorts of dharnas and protests were banned during the Emergency.

It is depressing to watch you talk about arbitrary arrests during the Emergency and focus on reports like that of Amnesty International that says over 140000 people were arrested without trial and how due to lack of jail capacity, some were just tied to poles and pillars. It is depressing because you ignore today’s undeclared emergency where if one criticises the Modi government, people are trolled on Twitter.

It is indeed disconcerting that you have not focused on how today, fundamental right to eat cow is in danger, but instead choose to focus on 24th amendment of 1971, where it was expressly provided that the parliament could change any part of the constitution including that of Fundamental Rights.

You forget how people are brainwashed to support PM Modi today, and focus on 39th Amendment (26th September 1975) that made the election of the Prime Minister exempt from Judicial scrutiny.

Yes, Mr. Madhur Bhandarkar, you deserve to be hounded and abused. You deserve it because you have dared to break the code of silence. Breach to honour among thieves. Shatter the Omerta.

You have dared to assume that you have a voice. That the story of India lies beyond what we have been fed so far. You have the temerity to presuppose that you, as a movie maker, can move beyond cliched love stories.

You, Mr. Bhandarkar, have committed a sin. Your sin is to consider yourself a citizen of this country who has the right to speak of dark chapters of our existence. You have committed the sin of being a voter who has made his political choice known and the “liberals” must impose punitive measures till you fall in line.

You chose wrong. You made the mistake of going against the first family. And now, the ones who call the current political dispensation fascist, will hound you till you break. Till they silence you and beat you into submission.

They will if you let them, sir. Stand firm and steady your heart. The “liberals” are yet to show you how “liberal” they really are. Stick to your fascism. Stick to your convictions. Keep the faith.

People slam media’s attitude as Jihadi mobs go on a rampage in Bengal’s Basirhat

West Bengal is again witnessing horrific communal violence being perpetrated by Jihadi mobs as a form of “protest against a Facebook Post”, which allegedly made offensive and disparaging comments on a shrine.

Numerous houses and shops belonging to local Hindus have reportedly been looted and burnt, vehicles have been set on fire, roads have have blocked and a large number of villagers have been assaulted and molested.

The trigger was a Facebook post by a boy in his teens, who was soon arrested by the police. This failed to assuage the mob, who demanded that he be handed over to them so that they could stone him to death as per Sharia. A similar incident had taken place in Mumbai earlier this year when a Muslim mob wanted to provide justice themselves to a ‘blasphemer‘ even though police had acted in the case.

The mob in Basirhat has since also disrupted the final Rath Yatra procession of Lord Jagannath and even destroyed and desecrated some Raths according to reports. Even as the situation continues to be very tense, the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is reportedly still refusing help from the centre, maintaining that all is well.

Even now situation continues to be tense with the train services in the region remaining disrupted for 4.5 hours due to obstruction by agitators.

All this while some media outfits didn’t mince their words and reported things as it is, but there was a large section of the media which chose to maintain utter silence or reported a watered down version of the whole incident, as we had witnessed earlier too.

This caught the attention of various netizens who reacted aplenty:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

A also journalist went ahead to claim that there was no Communal Violence in Basirhat:

People didn’t take this assertion too kindly:

There was some acknowledgement of the troubles later in the day after Mamata Banerjee chose to attack the West Bengal governor and the center demanded a report from the state.

Basirhat communal riots: Centre seeks report from Mamata government

The Union Home Ministry has directed the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal to submit a report on the communal clashes in Baduria town of North 24 Parganas district in the state, which comes under the Basirhat Lok Sabha constituency.

On Tuesday, West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi spoke to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh over telephone and apprised him about the situation in North 24 Parganas district.

The communal clashes broke out after a teenager, a Class X student, allegedly made offensive remarks in Facebook on a Muslim shrine. Even though the police arrested the teenager, the situation remains tense as the arrest has failed to assuage the Islamists, who want him handed over – a disturbing trend that we had earlier seen in the Kamlesh Tiwari episode and in a few other cases.

According reports, several shops and houses – belonging to Hindus – were ransacked and police vehicles were torched by violent mobs, which also put up road blockades at several places.

Section 144 has been imposed in the violence-hit Basirhat. The Centre, meanwhile, has rushed three companies of paramilitary forces to the region for assisting the state police in containing the situation following an appeal from the Mamata government.

The BJP alleged that the state police has failed to bring the situation under control. The party has urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to intervene. BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is in-charge of party affairs in West Bengal, alleged that over 2,000 Muslims attacked Hindu families in Baduria.

“Bombs went off at many places and information of Hindu sisters and daughters being raped have been received,” he alleged.

Baduria/Basirhat communal clash has sparked war of words between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, which unfortunately is attracting more media interest than the riots themselves.

 

People react as Narendra Modi becomes the first ever Indian PM to visit Israel

On Tuesday, India notched a diplomatic milestone after Narendra Modi became the first ever Indian Prime Minister to pay a official visit to Israel.

His Israeli counterparts tried to make this occasion as special as possible, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with his whole cabinet were in attendance to receive him at the airport. This special gesture is usually reserved for the US President and the Pope.

PM Netanyahu also decided to give things a personal touch:

PM Modi also made a symbolic gesture by referring to the martyrdom of PM Netanyahu’s brother during the Operation Entebbe 41 years ago on 4th on July 1976. This operation was carried out by Israeli forces to rescue 106 hostages from Entebbe airport in Uganda after their flight was hijacked by terrorists belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – External Operations and the German Revolutionary Cells.

The historically significant visit comes 25 years after both the countries established diplomatic relations. This understandably resulted in a lot of excitement on Social Media and ensued a lot of positive reactions:

People also praised the PM for embarking on a new foreign policy by not adding Palestine to the itinerary:

While most were looking forward to the new era of Indian foreign policy, a journalist decided to add a needless spin to the whole affair:

Soon people responded to his tweet regarding Sonia Gandhi and the late Palestinian leader’s funeral:

India becomes the 11th country to be extended the expedited entry facility by the US

Indian travellers to the US have a reason to cheer as the United States of America has decided to start extending its Global Entry Programme to Indian nationals, which allows an expedited entry into the US for pre-approved low-risk travellers.

With this announcement, India becomes the 11th country to be provided this facility. The Indian Ambassador the US, Navtej Sarna became the first Indian national to enroll into this program.

Under this program, the eligible Indian travellers won’t have to stand in long queues to get themselves approved by an immigration officer but can just take the help of an automated kiosk. At the Global Entry Kiosk, the travellers would then need to insert their passport or permanent residency card plus their fingerprints for a successful clearance.

The added condition of ‘low-risk’ though entails the Indian nationals to go through a rigorous background check along with an in-person interview before the enrollment.

Currently there are 53 American airports and 15 pre-clearance locations with this facility. The persons eligible for the program are US citizens, Green Card holders and citizens of Argentina, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, UK and now India.

Recently the Indian government too had decided to make things easier for the Indian citizens going out of the country by discontinuing the practice of them having to fill up departure cards, which contained information like name, date of birth, passport number, address in India, flight number and date of boarding.

This facility though was only extended to air travellers, and those travelling by land, sea, rail would still have to fill an embarkation card. Last year too the Indian Customs department had decided to do away with the declaration form, which an Indian citizen had to fill even if they weren’t carrying any goods eligible for custom duty.

TMC and Congress legislators from Tripura set to support Ram Nath Kovind

'Congress' dropped from TMC logo
Mamata Banerjee's party gets a Congress mukt logo

On Sunday, it was reported that the Trinamool Congress had been hit by a rebellion of sorts in its Tripura unit after its party leader in the state were quoted as stating that 6 of their MLAs were likely to cast their vote in favour of NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, even though Mamata Banerjee had announced her party’s support for the opposition backed candidate Meira Kumar.

It should be noted that anti-defection laws don’t apply in the presidential elections, and thus an MLA or MP is free to vote going against the party’s choice.

According to the Tripura TMC President Ashish Saha, they took this decision in a meeting on Saturday night. They decided to oppose Meira Kumar as she is being backed by the CPM. According to Saha, it was decided that none of them will cast their vote in favour of a nominee who has been backed by the Marxist party.

The report also claimed that it was likely that all the 6 TMC legislators would also join the BJP sometime in July. This stance of the TMC legislators from Tripura is somewhat true to the initial ideology of the party, which grew in response and opposition to the Communist and Marxist establishment in the West Bengal.

Even the Mamata Banerjee of 2011 might have taken the same stance of boycotting any candidate supported by the CPM, as back then, she used to even claim that Marxists and Maoists were planning to kill her.

But TMC is not the only one to disappoint Meira Kumar in the state. Two more MLAs, this time from Congress, her own party, are reportedly set to vote for Kovind.

Kovind is scheduled to tour the North-East states on 6-7 July, and media reports claim that during this time, his support could further swell. Kovind reportedly enjoys the support of the National People’s Party of Conrad Sangma and also from the 15 Independent MLAs of Meghalaya.

Video of Ayub Pandith’s lynching destroyed as it was found ‘too gory’

The lynching of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mohammed Ayub Pandith, which sent shockwaves throughout India (though failed to get mentioned in #NotInMyName activism), was more violent and inhuman than it was initially believed to be.

A Hindustan Times report says that Ayub Pandith’s gruesome killing was captured on a video by a civilian who has been an informant for several agencies operating in the Kashmir Valley, but it was not released for being too gory.

A top official, who saw the video, was quoted as saying, “DSP Ayub Pandith was stripped naked and then violently pummelled. His arms and legs were bent and broken just as someone breaks sugarcane before eating it.”

The video was so violent that the Jammu & Kashmir government reportedly bought and destroyed it in fear of public repercussions.

57-year-old Ayub Pandith, a DSP posted in the Security Wing of the Jammu & Kashmir Police, was lynched by a mob outside Jamia Masjid in Srinagar on 23 June night. The officer was keeping an eye over crowd movement outside the Jamia Masjid where thousands of people had gathered for night-long congregational prayer on Shab-e-Qadr, which is considered as the holiest night of Islam.

Pandith, a resident of Nowpara district of Jammu & Kashmir, is survived by his wife, a 28-year-old son and a 22-year-old daughter. Pandith is known as an honest and upright cop who always kept duty before himself. A MCom and LLB, Pandith had joined Jammu & Kashmir Police in 1990. After serving as an SHO for a long time, he was promoted to the rank of DSP and was posted in the 3rd battalion for security duties.

The post-mortem report of Pandith had suggested a high degree of violence on his body. According to the post mortem report, Pandith had multiple fatal injuries on head, multiple contusions, abrasions near the shoulder and haematoma which resulted in his death.

“It is time for Kashmiri people to introspect on how they as a society have stooped to such level of violence and that too on a day of forgiveness. The killing of Pandith is akin to the killing of humanity. All those involved will face the law,’’ SP Vaid, Director General of Police of Jammu & Kashmir Police, was quoted as saying.

GST impact: 22 States remove border check-posts to facilitate smooth transport

Within days of the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), as many as 22 states have abolished commercial check-posts at state borders to ensure smooth movement of trucks across states.

The states that have abolished the check-posts are Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Puducherry.

According to a Finance Ministry statement, eight more states are in the process of removing the commercial check-posts. The states are Punjab, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura.

These check-posts used to scrutinise goods for location-based tax compliance before GST came into effect. In the process, the trucks had to queue up for hours to get clearance to move to their destinations. This was resulting in delay in transporting and delivering goods, which in turn was impacting the economy. With the abolition of check-posts, there would be smooth movements of goods across the country.

The GST, which came into effect from July 1, aims at making India a single market where goods and services can flow seamlessly. The GST has removed as many as 17 different taxes including entry tax, octroi tax and central sales tax (CST).

Top government officials had earlier met yesterday to review the implementation of the new tax regime and its impact on the consumers. The stock taking meeting was chaired by Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha. Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia, secretaries of 30 key departments, and senior members of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) among others attended the meeting.

A similar review meeting will be held every week to keep a close watch on the GST rollout.

Temple desecrated in Goa a day after Holy Cross was desecrated

A Temple in the South Goan town of Curchorem was desecrated a day after similar incident was reported about Holy Cross at two places in the state.

The Kal Mharu Devasthan Ghumti is believed to have been desecrated by miscreants in the wee hours between Sunday and Monday. The damage was noticed by a local woman who had gone to light a lamp at the temple. According to a local panchayat member Sushant Naik, a similar incident had happened at the same temple three years back.

Naik has called this incident as a cowardly act of a few anti-social elements with the intention to disturb the peace in the area and urged the police to nab the vandals.

The president of the temple though has decided not to file a police complaint and the police inspector Shivram Vaigankar also stated that nobody had approached the police station to lodge a complain till date.

This incident follows similar desecration of a Holy Cross in two areas of the Salcete subdivision, also in South Goa. The crosses desecrated in St. Jose de Areal and Gudi Paroda were reported by the locals on Sunday morning. This reportedly led to people gathering at the St. Jose de Areal, while there was no such picketing at Gudi Paroda where only the platform was damaged.

The police were apparently patrolling the area near the St. Jose de Areal till 6 AM on Sunday so authorities believed that the desecration only happened sometime later. A similar incident was also reported recently from Chandor in South Goa but the culprit was found to be a man with mental health issues. This incident had resulted in police starting a patrol in similar areas.

The report regarding the desecration of the crosses also quoted the Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who has reportedly asked the Director General of Police to track down the culprits and intensify police patrolling.

Speech impaired boy reunited with family, thanks to Aadhar database

In a heart-warming incident that took place in Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh, a family was reunited with their missing boy due to him having enrolled for Aadhar card before he had gone missing.

The speech impaired boy was found in the Mahua Kola village of Benigunj region four months ago, crying after having been chased and bitten by street dogs. He was neither able to provide passersby with the details of his family nor could he come up with any other suitable information that could lead him back to his home.

Finding him at the mercy of fate, a kind family of a person named Drona Shukla gave him shelter. Since they could not trace the boy’s original family, Shukla thought to take care of him and raise him. Mr. Shukla even decided to get an Aadhar card for the boy, and that’s when he got a lucky break.

As the authorities were taking the biometric details of the boy, like his fingerprints and retina scans, they realised that the biometrics were already registered i.e. the boy already had an Aadhar card to his name. After the pin was entered into the system, the name of the boy (Nitesh Yadav) and his address were revealed. It was also found that he was 15 years old.

Unfortunately as the original Aadhar card didn’t contain any mobile number of Nitesh’s parents, Shukla decided to send a letter to Nitesh’s family intimating them of their boy’s whereabouts.

Nitesh’s family, which lived in Shahjahanpur, immediately reached Drona Shukla’s home on Monday, and were reunited with their kid.

This isn’t the only case of missing persons being traced due to their enrolment in the Aadhar scheme. Recently, another such incident had come to light from Latur district in Maharashtra, where a speech impaired boy, who had fled his home and lost his way was reunited with his family after two years.

Junaid murder case: Panchayat demands release of 4 arrested, terms them innocent

A grand panchayat was held on Sunday in Khambi village in Palwal district in connection with Junaid’s murder case. According to an Amar Ujala report, this maha-panchayat strongly resented the arrest of four youths from the village and held that these youths were innocents and had no role in killing Junaid.

“The police is yet to arrest the real culprits. In order to hide its inability to bring Junaid’s murderers to justice, the police is framing innocent people in this case,” the panchayat said.

Panchayat also decided to hold massive protests if the four arrested were not released by the 11th of this month.

“The manner in which the police raided the village and arrested four people on June 26 midnight is barbaric and highly objectionable,” the panchayat said. According to a Tribune report, the police allegedly misbehaved with women and children. Villagers allege the same.

Sarpanchs of various villages of Palwal district and social workers were among those who attended the maha-panchayat. The maha-panchayat had a sizable representation from the Muslim community too.

The panchayat, which assembled at a Temple, prayed for Junaid’s departed soul to rest in heaven. Lekhraj Sharma, Palwal district president of Brahman Sabha, presided over the maha-panchayat. Stating that it is deeply saddened by the killing of Junaid, the panchayat said it wants the real culprits be brought to justice the earliest.

“This pachayat will fully cooperate the police and administration in bringing the real culprits to justice. But no innocent should be punished. The police must immediately release the four innocent people arrested in connection to the case,” it said.

The panchayat demanded an independent probe into Junaid lynching case. The panchayat said it is vociferously against those who try to create a communal divide following Junaid’s killing. It called for boycotting those who were looking to score political brownie points on the issue and disturb the communal harmony.

A committee of 51 members too reportedly has been formed, which will try to meet the Chief Minister and share their concerns. The maha-panchayat was addressed by women too, who reiterated that police misbehaved with them, and warned that they will strike back if police tried to enter the village and force their way again.

17-year-old Junaid, a resident of Khandawali village of Palwal district, was returning home along with his brothers after Eid shopping in Delhi when he was stabbed onboard Delhi-Mathura passenger train between Ballabgarh and Mathura stations on 22 June. Junaid succumbed to his injuries in Civil Hospital, Palwal. His brothers – Hashim and Sakir – were also injured in the bloody fight.

According to reports, the fight started over seat sharing, but took communal colour as the assailants identified religion of Junaid and his brothers from their attire. Haryana Police has so far arrested five people in this case. A local court in Faridabad sent four of the five arrested accused to a 14-day judicial custody. The main accused is believed to be still at large.

Haryana Police has also announced a reward of Rs 2 lakh for anyone giving information on those involved in the murder.

Former SP govt accused of showering favours on Mulayam’s daughter-in-law’s NGO

The former Akhilesh Yadav led Uttar Pradesh government is in the news for the wrong reasons after an RTI query has revealed that 86% of the funds reserved for the NGOs carrying cow welfare activities were granted to an NGO run by the Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter -in-law.

The RTI query initiated by activist Nutan Thakur revealed that the Gau Sewa Aayog had sanctioned a total amount of Rs 9.66 crores from 2012-2017 out of which 8.35 crore or about 86.4% were sanctioned to Jeev Ashraya an NGO run by Aparna Yadav.

The Gau Sewa Aayog falls under the State Animal Husbandry department and gives grant to cowsheds and organisations which work for the welfare of cows. Interestingly, a total of Rs 1.05 crores has been granted by this Aayog in 2017-18 out of which Aparna Yadav’s NGO has not received any penny. This duration coincides with the departure of the SP government and the arrival of the Yogi led BJP government.

Apart from this the RTI applicant Nutan Thakur has also claimed that the initial lease of land allotted to Aparna Yadav’s NGO was extended to 5 years by the SP government.

Aparna Yadav who is the wife of Prateek Yadav, the step-brother of Akhilesh Yadav, has reacted and come out with a simple defence regarding all the allegations. She has stated that if some organisation is doing good work, why shouldn’t it be helped out financially.

It remains to be seen if the authorities decide to further investigate the matter to find out if any rules were broken in giving away the funds. This issue though might just add to the already sizeable tally of skeletons which are tumbling out of the former UP government’s closet.

In the past, we had reported how the Agra Lucknow expressway, which was dubbed as Akhilesh Yadav’s pet project, got riddled with allegations of illegal land conversion. Apparently few of the land sellers had colluded with government officials to show their plots as residential land to earn more compensation.

The Yogi government has also announced a probe into Akhilesh’s Gomti riverfront project for financial irregularities. Plus it has been reported that constructions worth Rs 1280 crores carried out under the SP government could have instead been done at 1/4 the the total cost.

Beware! Don’t fall for the ‘data’ lies like ‘97% of cow related violence happened after 2014’

Representational Image

It is often said that a lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can get its pants on. If you have been watching the  media over the last few days, you might have come across a puzzling statistic that “97%” of cow related violence happened after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India.

Not surprisingly, the mainstream media has been actively promoting this number and here are just a few examples of media outlets that have made it to the roll of dishonor thus far.

Untitled.png

Untitled.png

Where did this 97% number originate? It turns out that all these articles are referencing a report compiled by an organization called IndiaSpend :

Untitled.png

I visited their website and discovered that they claim to do something called “data journalism”. Which is shocking, because the methodology behind their “data” of 97% cow related violence happening after 2014 is so dishonest that it can only be considered a lynching of statistics:

Untitled

A “database” on crime compiled not by looking at police records, but by running Google searches with certain keywords! Worse, they decided to stick to English language media only, taking pride in saying that a “cursory search” through Hindi media “appeared” to throw up the same incidents.

Well, the Hindi media should count its blessings. At least they got a “cursory search”. Everyone knows that nothing worth talking about is ever reported in media in any other language.

So, if the English media chooses not to cover an incident, it doesn’t get counted! Of course, they found that 97% of cow related violence happened after 2014! Because the English media only began talking about this after 2014.

Hey IndiaSpend, why stop there?

For your next “data journalism report”, perhaps you could save some more effort and just search the NDTV website instead of all of English language media.

Why do that even? Why not just collect all your “data” from searching Rajdeep Sardesai’s Twitter timeline? There’s no way that could throw up a fake, distorted picture of India, right?

If only IndiaSpend had bothered with a “cursory” search regarding the ethical methods of data collection….

This 97% number and the media fanfare surrounding it is something of a watershed moment in the history of fake news. Liberals couldn’t find the actual data to prove their accusations against the Modi government. The IndiaSpend report is the first attempt that I know of where liberal outrage itself has been recycled into “data”.

Considering the furious pace at which the mainstream media has fanned this piece of fake news, it is only a matter of time before this number of 97% becomes a fixture as well in international reports about India.

This first wave of  “reports” in the Hindustan Times, Economic Times, Firstpost and Business Standard will soon be referenced by BBC and New York Times.

In turn, future articles in Indian media will reference this second wave of “reports”, firmly establishing this fake 97% number in the discourse.

The final stage will consist of academics and court poet historians whose job it is to turn the fake news into accepted historical fact.

It is up to the common people to resist. And it’s a good thing that the criticism over IndiaSpend’s figure of 97% lynchings occurring after 2014 (see examples here and here) seems to have reached some of the usual suspects.

One of these social “science” eminences put out a series of tweets, apparently defending IndiaSpend’s practise of using media reports to generate its now (in)famous “data” (We also note with some amusement Prof. Varshney’s possible bid for self promotion):

Let’s quickly examine this line of reasoning. Prof. Varshney’s main claim is that media reports would be more reliable than the “useless” government records when it comes to cow related violence.

So, why not check this assumption quickly with respect to the “data” that IndiaSpend has put out here? In its list of 63 incidents of cow related violence, IndiaSpend itself admits that charges have been filed in as many as 61 cases. In another case, IndiaSpend says that the police didn’t file a case, but the High Court acted severely transferring the District Magistrate, the SP, DSP and the SHO of police and even the CBI took note of the case. That makes 62 of 63 where the case of cow related violence is present in official government records.

Or as IndiaSpend would have said, 98.4% of cases of cow related violence appearing in English media have been recorded by the government.

This blows apart Prof. Varshney’s core argument that government data would be “useless” for cow-related violence.

Thus far, IndiaSpend seems to only have discovered instead that there is little reason to suspect that the government records are leaving out cow related violence. This means that real unknown in the data put out by IndiaSpend is the extent to which the “English media” might have left out other incidents of cow related violence.

If anything, IndiaSpend’s data seems to make a stronger case for reliability of government records. Instead, the question mark shifts firmly to IndiaSpend’s approach of using media reports instead of government records.

But wait, let us not forget that IndiaSpend did much worse than scan media reports, they only scanned English media reports.

Scientists and in fact even social scientists are trained to spot every qualifying word. As such, it is rather shocking that Prof. Varshney fails to even notice the leap of faith from “media” to “English media”.

Data from the Audit Bureau of circulations [pdf] shows that only one out of the top 10 most circulated newspapers in India is published in English. That would be The Times of India. Incidentally, the ToI is referred only once in IndiaSpend’s alleged dataset, further underlining how spectacularly unrepresentative their search effort was.

Instead, there are 5 newspapers in the top 10 that are published in Hindi and the Hindi media gets only a “cursory search”.  Other languages which make for 4 of the top 10, don’t even get that much.

Imagine if you were faced with an opinion poll that surveyed only Indians who speak English…

Not to mention that IndiaSpend did not even make an attempt to define the term “English media”. Their list of sources seems to include plenty of links from outlets such as Catch News and The Wire.

To summarize, we see:

  1. No attempt to define the source (“English media”) that has been studied.
  2. No attempt to explain why the subclass (“English media”) that has been studied is representative of the whole class (“media”).
  3. No justification provided as to why media reports are to be preferred to government records.

No. (2) is particularly surprising in light of the fact that publicly available data proves their implicit assumption to be spectacularly false. And No (3) is totally unforgivable in view of the fact that their own data blatantly contradicts the idea that government records on cow related violence are useless.

I don’t know about Prof. Varshney, but I think it is recognized worldwide that such sloppiness should be the kind of blunder that ends careers.

Of course, the more deep seated evil here is the assumption that English media, written by the elite, can be used to exonerate the elites who are themselves in the dock here.

Remember that the issue at hand here is branding of the country as Lynchistan, and that branding happens through narrative setting, which is the main job of the English media. The accusation is that the English media selectively highlights instances of cow-related violence in certain years and in certain states with a specific agenda.

Remember ghar-wapsi reports and debates in English media? They always happened but somehow never made their way into English media reports before 2014, but you just needed to look into Hindi media (e.g. here and here) and you knew it was an annual affair.

When English media itself is the accused party here, how exactly can you use media reports to give it a clean chit? This is worse than AAP’s internal Lokpal.

It is understandable that certain eminent personalities, who have thus far comfortably and cyclically quoted each other through decades of agreement under a Congress-fed establishment feel irritated that their assumptions are being questioned. But the challengers are here, whether the consensus likes it or not.

Cultural Marxism, and how it is similar to other ‘prophet driven’ industries

The left needs to realise that new red lines have been drawn in India and they have to adapt
Representational image

Let’s begin with Marxism. For most of a century, it had a craggy, bearded Prophet staring down at you from everywhere. For half a century, world’s best universities produced apostles interpreting Marx’s word as the key to a Utopian future of economic equality.

When Gorbachev and Deng abandoned Marxism, you’d have thought Marx’s flock would have dispersed and merged into the emerging capitalist societies.

But no. It morphed into ‘Cultural’ Marxism.

If classical Marxism was about the haves pitted against have-nots, Cultural Marxism pits the ‘oppressed’ against the ‘oppressors’.

And you know what? The morphed version of Marxism is hugely successful. It in fact penetrated the West in ways the original version could not. Today, it thrives in academia, the social sector and enjoys patronage from wealthy Foundations.

Our purpose here of course is to understand how this Cultural Marxism is not any different from other Prophet-driven industries. We’ll also explore the reason why India might be proving to be a formidable territory for it to conquer.

But, first let’s try and answer two questions: one, why does Cultural Marxism (or whatever the movement now calls itself) attract huge funds from wealthy capitalists and two, why it is not to be underestimated.

Lone-wolf capitalists are deep thinkers. They are not content with their personal wealth having grown past all possible vulnerabilities. George Soros and Pierre Omidyar are shrewd strategists who think long term. They want a future that is just a bit less than stable but not entirely unstable. It is when nations are not entirely settled that big profits are to be made. They payroll media, NGOs and staged events to keep things tense.

Here’s a quick read on how and why the Omidyar Network funds NGOs and India-focused media. [Indian industrialists are no match to these but are beginning to learn. Many run media houses and a titan among them, buys into every media house he can.]

With funds in ample flow, sepoys for Cultural Marxism are not hard to recruit. Tenures and chairs in universities, fellowships, seminar junkets, NGOs, media fronted events, over-paid jobs are among the many inducements. What is required of them is not stupid, bare faced propaganda, -though there is also plenty of that – but sophistry couched in research-ese and mangled statistics.

Western Universities have been steadily training oppression researchers. Curriculum probably includes – and I am guessing here – how to identify oppressors and victims, create new oppressed classes, counsel them, inspire them to rise, publicise and stage summit events to show-case unrest. In order that the industry may endure, the mission is defined as ‘eternal warfare between increasingly, narrowly defined victim groups and their oppressors’. Women, sexual variants, minorities, nomads, tribals… heck anyone with a marketable grievance is an opportunity for a scholar or his NGO to champion.

Pardon my seemingly trivialising tone. I am not saying suffering does not exist or does not require redressal, especially in a diverse society like India, but I do charge that there is wanton mischief that’s on parade here sporting altruistic airs.

Be all that as they may, how is this a ‘Prophet’ industry? See, a Prophet’s job is to ‘save’ people. To stay in business he needs people to save. He can point to born-with sins in them and ‘save’ them. He can call them idolatrous kafirs and ‘save’ them.

Since every Prophet craves the whole world for himself and wants exclusive rights to ‘saving’, competition in the industry gets severe. There’s only a finite supply of people who can be persuaded they are born with sin or worshipping in any and every way is a sin.

A new Prophet must therefore create a narrative all his own that has an eternal appeal. Enter ‘Cultural’ Marxism. By it’s credo anyone can be persuaded he is a victim. And then saved.

Western universities’ humanities departments are the neo-madrasas from which issue a stream of victim-finders.They serve their Prophet’s mission. The pitch of the Prophet of Cultural Marxism is different and novel. It is this: “You have not sinned; but you have been sinned against. You need to be saved.” Voila, you have victims in endless supply.

Another claim I made was, India exasperates Prophets. Why? Because there is no concept of everyone’s a sinner. Nor, that worshipping Murtis can be evil – far from that. Here, everyone errs in his own way, and for each, there’s an amelioration in the form of an explanation, a rite or a god to invoke.

There are a thousand Murtis to choose from and worship. A Hindu is pretty much left to himself. He has choice. He must take personal responsibility for his own errors. He’s guided but not trussed. He exercises his free-will. He may if convinced, go to a dargah, have peacock feathers blessing him and directly from there saunter into a church and genuflect.

These deviant ways were a hurdle for the Prophets of Peace or Love. But the new Prophet has a better chance of success with his liberal definition of people he’s looking to save – as long as funds flow to feed his projects.

That’s where he hits a new wall. The wall is Laws – or rather, their enforcement. Things have changed lately: a bearded threat has been ruling in Delhi since 2014. Fund flows are now required to be – eeks! – legal. Prophets don’t like laws except the ones they lay down. Like see, democracy is a man made system but sharia is the Prophets’s. There’s a clearly perceived threat to the whole industry.

A deal is struck to carve territories, much as mafia dons used to. Cultural Marxists will grow its own victims. Human Rights, nuclear power, food fascism, Dalit suppression, linguistic pride, sub-nationalism, lynching, suspect EVMs… anything and everything is a nursery bed.

There are rentable troopers aplenty in academe, media, politics, and there’s a ready choir of familiar Indians that can be switched on to auto-fulminate. Political parties turfed out of office are ever eager to join. Pastors have been having slow days, and can be rewarded to mobilise their parishes for victimhood. Muslims will offer victims too, in return for not being named oppressors under any circumstances. So there: Prophets have synergies. New victims can now have dual membership. Thus it is, the project to declare India to have become an evil land in the last three years is underway.

George Friedman in ‘The Next 100 years’ is candid: when America wages a war, the idea is not to win but to shake the enemy up so that he’s slowed down. Likewise, the current idea for India is not a broken nation but a frequently shaken one.

I doubt if the bearded man in Delhi will be amused. Besides, you see, he has the nasty skill of finessing any opponent by playing the biggest victim of them all.

Latest articles

Connect with us

181,307FansLike
172,762FollowersFollow
90,979SubscribersSubscribe