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Let noble thoughts come to us from every side

1 - 7 FEBRUARY 2020 - VOL 48 ISSUE 38

UK’S LOOK EAST POLICY

inside: The Economist's Redundant Provocation SEE PAGE 8

Cultural diversity, military and ‘Stree’ Shakti on display at Rajpath

Priyanka Mehta

SEE PAGE 16 - 17

The UK has finally left the EU. The Brexit countdown of the last 1,300 days ended the political careers of two prime ministers, witnessed three general elections in five years and saw the Pound plummet against the Dollar. But now that prime minister Boris Johnson has got Brexit done, the next question that remains is: If we – businesses, security advisors, bureaucrats- are Brexit ready?

Special plane ready to fly 250 Indians out of coronavirus - hit Wuhan SEE PAGE 26

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with Keith Vaz

1

Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in? I would have to say there are two places. London which is my current home and Mumbai the place where I was born and grew up. I have very fond memories of both these places.

Sunil Rohra

2

What are your proudest achievements?

Sunil Rohra is a management professional with 20+ years’ experience in media and entertainment industry. Currently, he is the CEO of Lyca Media and responsible for its 4 Radio stations, Lyca Radio (1458), Dilse (1035), Time FM (107.5) and Athavan Radio and Lyca TV. He is a Board Level Media Operations / Broadcasting Professional with strengths in the development of network media delivery strategies across international market environments. Previously, Mr Rohra served as Global Chief Executive Officer at B4U Network (Europe) from (2004 - 2014). In this role, he led strategic global expansion and growth of one of the leading Bollywood TV networks; developed and drove expansion of B4U Movies and B4U Music channels into the lucrative US, Canadian, UK, European, African, MENA, Indian and Far East markets. Before that, he was Chief Executive Officer at Asia TV Limited/Zee TV, UK from (2001 - 2004). He has detailed knowledge and experience of the distribution platforms (both DTH and Cable) in India as managed the Indian company with a hands-on approach. Also qualified as a solicitor in UK and India and have 15 years of legal experience. He is married and lives with his wife and two beautiful grown up kids, who make him proud every day!

There are quite a few and if I have to select, then it will have to be this one. Turning around a contract which was considered to be a loss and making over a £1 million profit for it. This was a huge achievement for me and a turning point in my career! It got me to successfully change careers from legal to management.

3

What inspires you?

When someone or something is considered impossible, I thrive on the challenge to make it possible. It gives me a great feeling of achievement!

4

What has been biggest obstacle in your career? Nothing that comes to mind right now.

5

Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? Changing technology. It taught me that nothing is permanent except change and you need to keep changing and innovating all the time, otherwise you will be knocked off your feet.

6

What is the best aspect about your current role?

Everyday is a new day and facing new challenges on a daily basis. The satisfaction of being able to deal with them. I have the opportunity to meet new people everyday who inspire me to bring about creative ideas for the Radio Stations.

7

And the worst?

Not being able for whatever reason to deal with the daily challenges.

8

What are your long term goals?

To be able to give back to the society in whatever way possible whether it be helping people with a job or how to progress in life. The larger perspective would be to do some charitable work which would give me a inner happiness that cannot be measured in terms of money! Putting a smile on someones face is priceless to me.

9

If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change? Amend the Human Rights bill, to recognise the rights of the victim rather than the rights of the accused.

10

If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why. Being in media for most of my working life, it would have to be Amitabh Bachchan. He is the icon of the Bollywood Industry and it would be an honour for me to speak to him about his contributions to the Indian film industry and his life's

Award-winning chef and Enfield resident honoured with a coveted owner of famous vegan British Citizen Award restaurant dies

Bindu Patel

Michael Underwood, Vinod Patel BCAc and Wendy Pretten, Places for People

Vinod Patel, from Enfield, Middlesex has been recognised at the Palace of Westminster with a British Citizen Award in recognition of his extraordinary endeavours. The British Citizen Award, in partnership with One Stop, is now in its fifth year and recognises exceptional individuals who positively impact their communities throughout the country. Vinod was honoured for his services to the commu-

nity, with a BCAc, at an official medal presentation held on 23rdJanuary 2020. 72 years old Vinod,for the past 40 years has been coaching local runners. Breaking away from the original organisation he coached, as they appeared to favour only ‘good’ runners, Vin felt everyone should be given the opportunity to reach their full potential, so started his own group called ‘Freedom Runners’. Vin coaches a group of runners of all ages, sizes,

nationalities and abilities. The group has just welcomed their youngest member who is pushed up and down in her buggy every Saturday morning by Vin, so her mum can run with the group. Some of the group run to keep fit and healthy, others to enjoy the social interaction and some take part in races all over the world. Vin treats everyone the same regardless. The coaching Vin contributes is completely free, with total inclusivity.

Bindu Patel, the awardwinning chef-owner of Sanctua vegan restaurant in Leicester, has died. Suddenly on Friday 24th January. She was 37. Since opening her planet-based restaurant in April last year, she won four prestigious awards. The launch was delayed due to her ill health and closed frequently due to her illness. She had recently been named a ‘Vegan Pioneer’ by Olive Magazine, because of her “low-waste, sustainable” approach to vegan cuisine with her fortnight-

ly changing set menus. Head Judge Laura Rowe said; “We really couldn’t believe Bindu’s dishes didn’t contain ghee and meaty stocks. In November Sanctua won two accolades: being named Asian Restaurant of the Year in the Great Food Club Awards in Leicester and Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurant at the Asian Curry Awards in London. In June last summer, Sanctua won Vegan Restaurant of the Year at the Asian Restaurant Awards in Manchester. Bindu fulfilled her long

held dream by opening Sanctua, in the Oadby district of Leicester, which offered a completely plantbased eclectic menu, employing mostly fresh, local and seasonal ingredients, including the use of ‘wonky’ vegetables. Prior to opening Sanctua, Bindu Patel, who spent spells in the kitchens of Michelin-starred and Gymkhana and Trishna restaurants and staged at Le Gavroche in London. She had also worked as a lawyer and farmer. Bindu leaves behind a husband Neil, and three children aged 8, 7 and 5.


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1 - 7 February 2020

Time to say goodbye! Friday January 31 will be a day for celebration or mourning, as we leave the EU finally after 3 years since the referendum. Though not much changes will be seen legally before 2021, Boris Johnson perhaps plans to mark the occasion with a discreet gathering of friends and colleagues at No 10, while Nigel Farage intends to lead loud festivities in Parliament Square, joined by his followers. A tiny island, technically and geologically speaking, Britain left the European continent 8000 years ago. Unlike most of West Europe, historically it has not really spent years in battlefields but has grown territorially overseas, mainly imperially through colonies and trade. After the second world war, Britain has transformed itself – with a social welfare state as a model and reinforced itself with much economic success without its colonies or much of assistance from EU. The Guardian in an article wrote that hardline Tory Euroscepticism emerged with Margaret Thatcher’s Bruges speech of 1988, it hounded the party into Opposition in the 1990s, and returned with a vengeance once Conservative rule was restored in 2010. Amidst the 2008 financial crash, increasing skepticism over growing number of migrants, political threat from Nigel Farage and his over enthusiastic anti-EU campaign, David Cameron’s 2015 election victory with a promise of in-out Brexit referendum and a bickering split within the Tory party led to a largely populist, emotionally driven, evidence free campaign. And the rise of Boris Johnson with his famous slogan let’s “take back control”. At one point after three years of exhausting negotiations, two Prime Ministers and two snap elections later, parliament refused to muster a majority in favour of a withdrawal deal

mainly over the future status of Northern Ireland- the Backstop. But Boris Johnson and Irish premier Leo Varadkar were not going to let it pass. They broke the impasse and essentially agreed to shift the border checks to between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. The deal is of course not popular in Northern Ireland. But it is one that gets the maximum support of the Conservative party and its 80-strong majority in the parliament. Meanwhile, Leo Varadkar himself is fighting an election on the basis that he had helped broker an agreement that is beneficial for the Republic. People, including many from the diaspora in UK, were motivated by the very thought of more from their ‘own’ community to displace the un-skilled migrants coming from the EU. India emerged as an important ally in the post-Brexit world for Britain, though no one knows where it stands exactly in the list of 53 such friendly Commonwealth countries. Though at the end 52% of Britons voted to leave for various reasons, Priti Patel (at that time unofficially leading the ‘Out’ campaign) inspired many, like the Bangladeshis in the curry industry. Boris Johnson continues with his usual pseudo-friendly gesture, with reinstatement of the post-study work visa and starting an exceptional talent visa- acquiring none of which is as easy as they sound. As many national newspapers have highlighted, over the last 47 years, British governments have cheered liberal economic policies and above all the single market, promoting growth of the EU, yet it avoided the Euro and the Schengen passport-free zone. The UK had the best of the two possible world, but now it’s gone.

Auschwitz to anti-Semitism Auschwitz in the 20th century was a Nazi-run concentration camp. In the 21st century, it has transformed into an educational tourist destination, preaching awareness about the mass murder of the Jews. Yet, this paradoxical symbolism appears to quell little of the rising wave of anti-Semitism. As the world commemorates 75 years of the holocaust, the UK government has announced a new fund to pay for 150 student leaders a year for the next three years to visit Auschwitz. Additionally, the Government may even stump public funding for universities and local councils if they refuse to adopt an internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism. But it must be noted that the Labour Party in the UK is challenged and perhaps, fractured by the growing antiSemitism within their political quarters. Labour leadership during the general election campaign may have apologised for the said anti-Semitism row which has been continuing within the Party for the last three years. But, this said apology was issued only after the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, publicly confronted the Party leadership, claiming that “a new poison- sanctioned from the very top- had taken root in Labour. It is interesting to note that none of the new Labour leader candidates have addressed anti-Semitism in their leadership pitches or speeches. In light of the recent spate of attacks on Jewish synagogues in London, to Nazi graffiti appearing in the Grangetown community in Cardiff two years ago, it is little wonder that the Jewish community feels isolated and perhaps, wary of our political corridors. Whilst this some may

argue be the anti-Semitic landscape in the UK, the feeling among some Jews in Europe can be quantified as perhaps even worse. A survey conducted by the European Commission last year noted that 50 per cent of Europeans consider antiSemitism a problem in their country, including majorities in Sweden, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Italy, Belgium and Austria. Attacks on Jews, from the French city of Toulouse in 2012 to Pittsburgh in 2018 and Halle in eastern Germany last October bear testimonies to the Jewish community’s concerns. There is no definite answer quantitatively or qualitatively to the question if anti-Semitism has been on the rise especially ever since the 1940s. However, some academics opine that anti-Semites feel more emboldened today whether as keyboard warriors in firing and misfiring abusive tweets or through drawing Swastika outside the building campuses. Social media and “biased” media reporting of incidents are perhaps as much to blame for the anti-Jewish sentiment being cemented within the community as the political corridors. But what remains unanswered today even after Jews were persecuted at Auschwitz nearly three-quarters of a century ago is this: What is the root cause of anti-Semitism? And in the 21st century, many academics have wonder if a comparison can be drawn between anti-Semitism and racism. The answers to these questions are subject to individuals’ perceptions. Seventy-five years later we may say that we are better educated about what happened in the 1940s in Poland but perhaps, we are still not better informed about it.

Alarm over outbreak of coronavirus The outbreak of coronavirus in China has caused alarm around the world as it is too early to know how dangerous and how easily it spreads among people. The outbreak that began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan has killed 81 people in China so far and infected more than 2,750 globally, most of them in China. Since it is new, humans have not been able to build immunity to it. Authorities in China expanded a travel lockdown in China by suspending transport in 10 cities, including the epicentre of a coronavirus outbreak, effectively penning in at least 30 million residents in an effort to contain the virus. The epicentre is a live animal market in Wuhan from where most cases have now been reported, alongside a few from other countries. The Chinese response this time is quite unlike the 2002-2003 SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) contagion that caused nearly 800 deaths in at least 17 countries. Having courted blame then for slow response and secrecy and now with an economy more integrated with the world, China has rightly upped the stakes. India has also made preparations like thermal screening at airports. Our public health system must also gear up. In recent years, outbreaks of H1N1, dengue, chikungunya, etc have kept state health departments across the country busy. During the 2018 Nipah outbreak, Kerala faced challenges like mobilising diagnostic facilities, planning treatment protocols, setting up

isolation wards, procuring protective gear and vaccines, spreading awareness and instituting community surveillance. Other states must also prepare for such contingencies. Meanwhile, India has opened a third hotline for its 250-odd students and other citizens caught in the virus-induced lockdown in Wuhan even as China offered to evacuate Americans stranded there, raising hopes of similar arrangements being made for Indian citizens. The government is believed to have requested the Chinese authorities to enable the evacuation of Indian students in Wuhan, most of them studying medicine. It bears underlining that zoonotic (animal to human) transmissions have been blamed for several recent viral outbreaks like SARS, MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), Ebola and Nipah. Virologists point to animals, some eaten as meat, carrying many more viruses waiting to invade humans. Plus, unhealthy practices like injecting excessive antibiotics/steroids and the climate emergency are rendering industrial livestock farming unsustainable. There is a way out: lab-grown and plant-based meats. Old ways of life are changing, so are the diseases, so we need new solutions. Ultra-processed foods that would once have been considered ‘unnatural’ are commonplace today. In like vein, the day should not be far when eating meat from actual animals would be outmoded and meat substitutes would be the norm.

Be selective in your battles, don't make every problem a war.

India shines on Republic Day Huge crowd gathered for India's Republic Day parade on Sunday, with women taking centre-stage at the annual pomp-filled spectacle of military might. For the first time, the riders performing difficult yet delightful daredevil stunts on motorbikes to the delight of the crowds lining New Delhi's central Rajpath, were women. Flypast by India Air Force fighter jets, and the newly acquired Apache helicopters enthralled the audience in New Delhi on Sunday. President Ram Nath Kovind unfurled the Tricolour, which was followed by the National Anthem and 21-gun salute at Rajpath. This year, Brazil President Jair Messias Bolsonaro was the Chief Guest for Republic Day celebrations. Outside India, the Indian embassies and Indian high commissions also celebrated India’s Republic Day with much pomp and gaiety. Indian High Commission in the UK held a spectacular event attended by government ministers in London’s Guild Hall. The Brazilian President as the Chief Guest however evoked controversy with many activists questioning the invitation to him. India-Brazil bilateral trade stands at $7.57 billion (2018). The two countries aim to increase it to $25 billion in next three-four years. While the government believed it to be a greater economic cooperation between India and Brazil, protesters criticised it for two main reasons: sugarcane farming and Bolsonaro's controversial personality. Brazil is a major competitor for India in global sugar market. The farmers in sugar-producing states and Left-linked associations led campaign against the visit of Bolsonaro. But bigger objection to Bolsonaro's visit has been on account of his personal views. A retired military man, Bolsonaro is a leader with known shades of misogyny and homophobia, and for targeting indigenous people. The parade also fell prey to further controversy about ‘brand India’, with Article 370, NRC and CAA protests, especially as states like Bengal and Kerala stayed out of the display of their culture. A scathing report by The Economist also added salt to injury, though it has now been challenged by the diaspora (see As I See It, p8), many of who strongly believe in Prime Minister Modi’s 'vision India'. However, the world certainly has far too many problems of its own and India is hardly on top of its agenda. May whatever British media stance be, it remains clear, issues like CAA or NRC- are India’s internal matter. Even republic day protesters in the UK, many of whom were Pakistanis, ensured they respected India’s constitution, despite much provocation to burn it publicly, triggering a riot. Britain’s colonial hangover does not give them a right to criticise what is clearly not under their jurisdiction. In fact European Union’s most important members, France and Germany, are still on India’s side. France has said several times that the CAA is an internal matter for India. Chancellor Angela Merkel restricted her comments on Kashmir during her visit late last year to the situation being “not sustainable”. With deals like Rafael with France and a possibility of FTA with European Union, Britain should be wary of what and how it deals with India, especially in this post-Brexit world. Editor: CB Patel Asian Voice is published by Asian Business Publications Ltd Karma Yoga House, 12 Hoxton Market, (Off Coronet Street) London N1 6HW. Tel: 020 7749 4080 • Fax: 020 7749 4081 Email: aveditorial@abplgroup.com Website: www.abplgroup.com INDIA OFFICE Bureau Chief: Nilesh Parmar (BPO) AB Publication (India) Pvt. Ltd. 207 Shalibhadra Complex, Opp. Jain Derasar, Nr. Nehru Nagar Circle, Ambawadi, Ahmedabad-380 015. Tel: +91 79 2646 5960 Email: gs_ahd@abplgroup.com © Asian Business Publications


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Shopkeeper challenges Sainsbury’s with ‘Singh’sbury Local’ store A UK shopkeeper who opened a store ‘Singh’sbury Local’, faces a backlash from national supermarket giant Sainsbury’s. Owner Mandeep Singh Chatha opened the small store in Wolverhampton in December last year, after registering the business with Companies House in November, under the name ‘Singhsbury Local Off License Ltd’. Mr Chatha claims the name derives from his address, Bushbury Road, and his his name, Singh, and that any relation to the famous supermarket is purely coincidental. The sign on the front of Chatha’s store has a similar orange lettering, and uses a similar typeface to that used by Sainsbury’s. Speaking to a UK outlet Mr Chatha said: “I have heard nothing from a super-

market which has a similar name, so I see no problem with it. It’s a different logo, a different colour, a different company. I don’t want any controversy from [Sainsbury’s]. The nearest Sainsbury’s is a couple of miles away, so it’s not exactly close and we are certainly not competition.” John Coldham, an IP partner at multinational law firm Gowling WLG, argued that “it is clear that [Chatha] had Sainsbury's in mind when he created his shop’s sign, and wanted his customers to do so too. If he really did not, it is naive of any business not to have a commercial awareness where IP protection rights and branding are concerned and he should perhaps have done some checks. “Whilst some consumers would see the shop and see Mr Chatha’s playful mimicry

Hardeep Kaur and Mandeep Singh outside their shop Singh'sbury

and perhaps no harm is done, others would see the shop and dash in thinking it was Sainsbury’s – at least initially. This is not giving consumers a free choice.” Superstore Sainsbury’s previously threatened legal action against other businesses who have tried similar tactics. One such legal

action took place in June 2017, against a north of England shopkeeper who opened a store called ‘Singhsbury’s’. After being threatened with leagal action the owner changed the name to ‘Morrisinghs’, which supermarket chain Morrisons hasn’t objected to.

Gambler jaimed for attacking disabled man Anjum Rahim, aged 39, has been jailed for three years and nine months for viciously assaulting a disabled man. Birmingham Crown Court heard that he attacked the man who was wheelchair-bound in an attempt to steal his £10,000 winnings after Rahim “lost all of his money.” On March 30, 2019, the victim had gone to the Grosvenor Casino in Broad Street and won a “substantial” amount of money consisting of £9,000 in cash and a cheque for £1,000. According to media reports during his winning spree, Rahim had been following the man around the casino as he played the tables. The victim used a wheelchair due to a spinal issue he had suffered years before. The man then exited the casino to have a

cigarette. Rahim then approached the man. He told him that he had lost all of his money and asked him for £20 so he could get home. The victim gave him the money but when the gambler asked for a further £20 he refused. Peter Grice, prosecuting, explained that Rahim then launched a violent attack on the disabled man. He grabbed the man’s jacket, dragged him out of his wheelchair and they struggled on the ground. However, the attempted robbery was prevented after two members of the public intervened. The attack was also captured on CCTV. The attack left the victim with bruising to his shoulders, back and arm. The court heard that Rahim pleaded guilty to attempted robbery. Judge Richard Bond told

Gambler Anjum Rahim

Rahim: “You saw your victim win thousands of pounds. It was obvious to you this man was vulnerable and you have followed him quite deliberately. You decided you were going to have it. Out of the kindness of his heart, the victim gave you £20. You can see on the CCTV you used substantial violence on your victim desperately trying to get the

money out of his jacket. Lewis Perry, defending, explained that his client was ashamed of his actions. Mr Perry went on to say that Rahim had worked in the restaurant business but lost his job as a result of the attempted robbery. He added that his client had lost a lot of money on the night. Anjum Rahim was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.

Tantra exhibition at the British Museum

The British Museum has unveiled plans for a Tantra exhibition – insisting it will be about more than sex and yoga. Curators said Tantra is associated with sex in the West, with rock star Sting’s comments about sevenhour lovemaking sessions partly to blame. The Fields Of Gold singer has previously spoken of his penchant for the ancient art of tantric sex. But Tantra is more than these “salacious stereotypes” – it is a misunderstood “radical philosophy”, according to experts. Tantra explores “female power, gender fluidity, religious pluralism, mindfulness and well-being,” museum director Hartwig Fischer said. And sexual “freedom and sexual rites” are just “one strand of this rich

Curators look at 'Yogini' sculpture (About AD900, Kanchipuram, northern Tamil Nadu), at the Tantra: enlightenment to revolution exhibition at the British Museum, London

philosophical tradition”. Objects on display will include a 9th century temple relief depicting the goddess Chamunda dancing on a corpse, which embodies the human ego. Many artefacts challenge conventional images of womanhood as passive

and docile. Some of the earliest surviving sacred instructional texts, called Tantras and dating from the 12th century, will be on show. They often described sexual rites and engagement with intoxicants, and the benefits of engaging in sexu-

al activity with a partner to transcend desire. Tantra: Enlightenment To Revolution will open its doors after five years of research on the subject. Curator Imma Ramos said misunderstanding about Tantra, which originated in 6th century India, began in the colonial period. The exhibition will explore Tantra’s links to the Indian fight for independence. Objects on show will include the goddess Kali wearing garlands of decapitated heads, which “successfully exploited British fears of the goddess as a bloodthirsty ‘demon mother'”. Supported by the Bagri Foundation, Tantra: Enlightenment To Revolution is at the British Museum from April 23 to July 26.

in brief GRENFELL TOWER INQUIRY PANEL MEMBER QUITS AFTER CRITICISM OF CLADDING FIRM LINK A newly-appointed member of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry panel has resigned after she was linked to a charitable arm of the firm which supplied the tower block’s deadly cladding. Benita Mehra tendered her resignation to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying she recognised and respected the "depth of feeling" among some about her appointment. Mr Johnson thanked Ms Mehra for her commitment and said he was "grateful for her sensitivity to the work of the inquiry". Ms Mehra’s resignation was welcomed by the bereaved families and survivors group Grenfell United – which had raised concerns about the link with the Arconic Foundation. They said Ms Mehra had "done the dignified thing by resigning", but said the Government "should never have put families in this situation". It was disclosed that Ms Mehra is an immediate past president of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) which, according to the society’s website, last year received funding from Arconic for an apprentice conference. Arconic supplied the cladding on the outside of the west London tower block, which went up in flames on June 14 2017, claiming 72 lives.

‘FLASH CRASH TRADER’ DUE TO BE SENTENCED IN THE US

A British trader who was accused of helping to cause the 2010 Flash Crash, which temporarily lopped off $1 trillion in stock market value, has been sentenced in the United States this Tuesday. Navinder Singh Sarao, 41, was arrested in 2015 for contributing to the volatility of May 6, 2010 when markets dropped five per cent in a five-minute period. He did this over five years using an illegal market-technique called spoofing using a software program he designed himself called the NAVTRader. From his parents’ home in west London, he would blast and then quickly cancel mammoth sell orders. In a case which has made headlines across the world, both the prosecution and the defence have recommended that Mr Sarao, who was extradited to the US, serve no additional jail time. After he pleaded guilty to wire fraud and spoofing in 2016, the government had originally recommended a prison sentence of between 78 and 97 months. Nicknamed the “flash crash trader”, Mr Sarao was diagnosed with autism after his arrest. His lawyers had argued he was too childlike to spend any time in prison and had treated markets like a computer game in his bedroom.

MAN CHARGED WITH GBH APPEARS IN COURT

A Chadwell Heath man appeared in court charged with a number of violent offences after the deaths of three men in Seven Kings. Sandeep Singh, 29, spoke only to confirm his personal details as he appeared at Barkingside Magistrates' Court Tuesday, January 28. Mr Singh is charged with conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Gurjeet Singh on January 19. His appearance comes after Narinder Singh Lubhaya, 29, Harinder Kumar, 30 and Malkit Singh Dhillon, 37, were found with stab injuries on Salisbury Road on January 19. They were pronounced dead at the scene. All three men were Indian nationals living in the Ilford area. Sandeep Singh was ordered to next appear in custody at Snaresbrook Crown Court on February 24.

WEXHAM TEEN STABBING

Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Unit has arrested three more men in connection with the death of 18-year-old Mohammed Aman Ashraq, from Slough, who was stabbed in Benjamin Lane, Wexham. The three 19-year-old men from Slough have all been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. The arrests follow warrants which were carried out today in Slough. They are in custody. Hamza Mahmood, 18, of Shaggy Calf Lane, and Mohammed Hussain, 18 of Benjamin Lane, both Slough, have already been charged with murder.


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Queen's honours for Kanti Nagda MBE An Honour for the Great Charity worker, Kanti Nagda - The social work legend, and newest Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), has helped thousands. “Honour is not just recognition of the work, but more responsibility too,” So said Mr. Rohit Vadhwan, the First Secretary at the High Commission of India in the UK. at a feast this weekend. “You have to reconcile with ourselves,” he said, “and provide the tools and leadership for the coming generation”.

Dipak Shah congratulated Kanti for “putting Sangat on the map” and told the gathering how Kanti’s total dedication brought about Sangat. Krishna Pujara herself a womens’ campaign, welcomed guests. “You are all here to celebrate the achievements of one of our hero, Kanti Nagda,” she said, “thank you all,

Padma Shri, Bob Blackman MP addressing the gathering and paying tributes to Mr Kanti Nagra

Supported by Mr. Bob Blackman, the community leaders present tonight and Member of Parliament for Harrow East, who standing with Kanti.” praised the through work Kanti does. “ When Mr Ravi Sharma, a well-known Radio I get a referral from Kanti I know it has gone presenter was the master of ceremony for the through the test and I do whatever is in my evening frequently cracking jokes. Throughout the proceedings, Kanti power to sort things out for my condidn’t speak, but he frequently nodded his stituents”. “Kanti is a legend and a “hero of the approval. He smiled a lot. Responding to all the praises Kanti said, community” for his work for the community and charities,” said Cllr. Anjana Patel who has “I was not alone in the work done and the know Kanti and his work for past many years. Speakers after speakers, all community leaders, took a trip back to Kanti’s work and their experience in helping either themselves or the clients they had sent to Kanti. A citation read Mr Rohit Vadhwana, IFS First Secretary (Economic) High Commission of India aloud by Mr Rohit addressing the geathering and delivering his keynote speech on, ‘The role and Wadhvan noted responsibility of a community leader’ Kanti’s “extraordinary determination and his ability to build results achieved to date, but it was a team Sangat Centre, many charities and successful effort. The currents against us were very projects for the benefit of the community strong. But I believed with dedication we coupled with raising a lot of money for the could reach our destination”. charites” Kanti has been awarded the He thanked Mr C B Patel who had perMember of the Order of the British Empire formed the “bhumi pujan”, foundation stone laying ceremony of the Sangat Centre going (MBE). The sitation was presented by Mr. back to November 2001. Wadhwan, Krishna Pujara and Jitubhai Patel C B Patel, delivered the vote of thanks. on behalf of the community leaders present at the feast.

CITATION IN HONOUR OF KANTI NAGDA

Kanti Nagda has been honoured with Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year 2020 Honours List. A remarkable man, born in India, Kanti grew up in Kampala, Uganda. He was educated in Uganda and the UK and holds professional Social Worker’s degree. Before he was forced out from Uganda by Idi Amin he was a teacher in City High School, where during his schooling days he was a head-boy for three years, captain of school cricket team and head of school’s Gujarati debating society. Kanti is married to Bhanu and they have two sons, Dipen and Rupen and has three grandchildren. Thrown out by Idi Amin from Uganda in 1972 with nothing but his clothes and £50.00 in his pocket Kanti vowed to ease the suffering of his fellow refugees in an alien and unfamiliar land. With youth on his side, he immediately started a Drop-in Centre in North Harrow where elderly Ugandan Asians with nowhere to go could socialise out of the cold. He formalised the drop in Centre by founding the Anglo Indian Circle Charity and the Centre flourished for many years. He spent all his spare time working for charities assisting people and eventually got a job at Harrow Council as a social worker in 1982.The Council recognised his unique initiatives on refugee and minority problems and seconded him on various projects to help new immigrants settling in Harrow. Meals on Wheels serving 100 vegetarians a day was soon started by him, in spite of a challenge by the then Leader of the Harrow Council, as was a homeless hostel in Harrow Weald. He was also one of the

founders of the Harrow Race Relations Council. Kanti challenged Harrow Council when they were checking the passports of children. “When the children wanted to get admission in the schools, the council was checking their passports. Now the rule of the nation is that if you are under 16, you should be educated free. It does not matter where you come from. For these people to check passports was not on. We challenged them and in the end, they backed down. It was a struggle fighting and challenging lace curtain discrimination.” In 1982, the Charity through his efforts had purchased a building for £45,000 where regular activities for over 100 elderly took place, including a Day Care Centre for the disabled which was later named as Sangat Centre. He retired from the Council in 1994 to focus on his beloved charity. Sangat soon started specialising in free Legal Advice on issues of Welfare, Housing, Immigration, Race Relations and Matrimonial. A new larger building was desperately needed and in 2001 and 2002 Kanti worked tirelessly to raise £700k for the building half of which came from the Millennium Commission. It was opened by Prince Edward and Countess of Wessex. In addition to his other considerable charitable activities, Kanti served as the Secretary General of Confederation of Indian Organisations (UK) from 1974 to 1996, Treasurer of Harrow Community Relations Council, President of National Congress of Gujarati Organisation (UK), Chair of Harrow Refugee Forum, Chair of North West London Community Foundation, President of Greenford Lions Club, Trustee of Karma Yoga Foundation and continues to run the Sangat Centre and sits on a number of other charities. In 1982, Kanti was one of the few Asians who got a place in Debrett’s Handbook of distinguished people in British life and Marquis Who’s Who in the World in 1984. Kanti’s journey started 46 years ago to help Ugandan Refugees fleeing from Africa has truly resulted in being recognised by the British Government and has been awarded an MBE. This Citation presented by Krishna Pujara and Jitubhai Patel on behalf of servaral community organisations in the presence of eminent dignitaries at a gala reception on 18th January, 2020

Hindus urge fashion firm to remove Lord Ganesha’s portratit from boots Some Hindus are upset and urging Irton Holmrook (North West England) based brand Utopik for immediate withdrawal of boots carrying images of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to adorn one’s feet. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or

concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, also urged Utopik to offer a formal apology, besides withdrawing Ganesha boots from its online store. Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken

frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Rajan Zed noted. Zed further said that such trivialization of Hindu deity was disturbing to the Hindus. Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers, Zed added. Utopik states to be “passionate about providing unique artwork-printed

clothing, accessories and home decor to our valued customers” and calls itself “the most colourful festival, rave and casual apparel store”. Alex Tooth is the cofounder and designer. “Ganesha Combat Boots” and “Ganesha Faux Fur Boots” each were priced at $89. In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.


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UK’S LOOK EAST POLICY

Dolar Popat

Continued from page 1

Free Trade Agreements out of the EU “Brexit will be the biggest political change our country has faced since the Second World War. Adjustments will have to be made and there will undoubtedly be some challenges faced during our transition. “However, Britain is one of the most resilient countries in the world and I have no doubt that we are prepared for this transition, mainly because of the benefits Brexit will bring as demonstrated by the trade agreements signed recently with 11 African countries,” said Lord Dolar Popat. The UK-Africa Investment Summit conducted last week highlighted that these agreements cover over 40 per cent of the UK’s total trade with Africa. Now there are seven more in the pipeline alongside securing several other trade deals with a further 35 countries. More fundamentally, some politicians also believe that Brexit can open the trade corridors of other developing countries such as India. Conservative MP for Harrow East Bob Blackman in a statement to Asian Voice said, “If the UK and India were able to negotiate a free trade agreement once it leaves the EU, UK-India trade could increase by 26% per year.”

MAC Immigration advisors recommend lowering salary threshold to £25,600 But, it must be noted that the single largest deterrent in the culmination of a UK-India Free Trade Agreement is visa entry requirements for Indian professionals and students. On 27th January Monday, home secretary Priti Patel asserted that businesses were “far too reliant” on “lowskilled” and “cheap labour” from the EU. Reports earlier had also indicated intra-government tensions on postBrexit divergence from the EU rules as laid out in Brussels which the home secretary has emphatically denied. Patel’s idea of taking back control of “our borders” however, seems to be in a slight contradiction to the latest report published by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). The government’s immigration advisers have recommended that the main salary threshold for

Mike Cherry, FSB

Bob Blackman

Siobhan Benita

workers coming to the UK with a job offer should be slashed to £25,600 per year after Brexit. The current threshold is £30,000 a year, but it applies only to people from outside the European Economic Area. The Conservative MP for Harrow East, Bob Blackman has been aiming for developing better UK-India bilateral relations in a post-Brexit climate. He says, “More than 1 million people of Indian heritage live in the UK. However, skilled workers, students, and tourists find the migration system hard to navigate, expensive and unwelcoming. “Facilitating the movement of these groups is inseparable from the goal of increasing trade with India. Previous government policy has been driven by the singleminded objective of reducing net migration. And as a result, Britain has lost ground in attracting Indian students and tourists.”

“The Mayor of London previously said that if satisfactory migration proposals for London were not put forward, he would look at alternative options. We encourage him to bring London’s business and civic leaders together to discuss next steps.”

Brexit decade would herald increasing export opportunities for SMEs in the UK. Over 1000 SMEs had been interviewed for the survey. Ricky Kothari is the Founder and Head of international development and exports at T-Sticks, London. Amidst the Brexit uncertainty, his company has been scouting for a potential market space in the UAE and established some presence in the US as well. Speaking about operating his “tea-in-a-stick” start-up in the post-Brexit UK, he said, “Brexit has impacted our communications process with our existing clients based in the EU. These clients were asking for current prices and tentative prices post-Brexit before even placing their orders with us. Also, we realised that new clients were rather reluctant to conducting any business with us owing to the uncertainty. “Therefore, we have now set up our warehouse in the EU. So that materials and ingredients are sourced from the EU and now the bulk of our production is also placed in the region. But our warehouse team in the UK have all been granted residency here. Therefore, travelling to the EU remains my major concern.” However, travel agents are certain that after Brexit all transport systems will be operating to and from the EU, and around EU countries as usual. British passport holders will continue to be able to travel and work in the EU as the UK remains in the single market for the transition period up to 31 December and the freedom of movement of goods, people, services and capital over borders applies until then. New rules will come and apply only after 31st December 2020. The next date to watch out is January 1, 2021. “UK travellers won’t need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit. Valid passports can still be used. You do not need to have six months left on your passport to travel to the EU. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) also allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. But it is always advisable to recheck with your Travel agent when making bookings,” concluded Rajan Sahgal, Chairman of Skylord Travel Plc.

Scottish visa, London visa? In the meantime, the Liberal Democrats mayoral candidate for London is campaigning to ensure that London continues to maintain its business-friendly climate and remains open for all. Whilst SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon has called for Scotland to have its own visa (Scottish visa) and an immigration strategy for the country, Siobhan Benita is now campaigning for a London visa. In a statement to Asian Voice, she said, “We need to forge new partnerships and present London as a global leader. I am calling for London to have its own visa as part of the Government's new immigration system. That means as Mayor I would be able to target the specific needs of the capital and recruit the talent we need.” Responding to the MAC report, a spokesperson for the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said, “As a global city, London has a greater reliance on international workers than the rest of the UK, and LCCI and others have advocated that a new UK migration system should have a degree of regionalisation. But the MAC do not propose regional variations in the salary threshold and do not recommend, at this stage, reviewing the Shortage Occupation Lists tier.

“Boris bounce” perks up the property sector but SMEs? This continuing uncertainty around visa and immigration systems has stumped growth in various financial and hospitality sectors such as the curry industry. Whilst the “Boris bounce” seems to have perked up the property industry, the same perhaps cannot be said for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Raising his concerns around the salary thresholds for immigrants, Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses said, “Many small businesses are concerned about the Government’s plans to extend the £30,000 salary threshold to all skilled non-UK nationals, including EU citizens, once the Brexit transition period has finished. “With overheads for small firms mounting – not least due to rising business rates, utility bills and wider staff costs – the extension of the threshold threatens to cause serious disruption to a labour market already beset by skills shortages and limited vacancies. “The challenge now for the government will be to have a new, employer-responsive immigration system in place in time for the end of the transition period eleven months from now, and allowing sufficient time for small business employers to prepare. “Attention now also turns to negotiations of a new comprehensive trade deal with the EU and whether one can be struck within the challenging timescale. Securing this agreement is critical to the many small businesses that trade with the EU single market and EU customs union. We want these businesses to have tariff and quota-free access as well as seeing non- tariff barriers kept to a minimum.”

Travelling to the EU In light of this, a recent YouGov study commissioned by UK Export Finance, the government’s export credit agency, found that a post-

She Awards honouring women

Mayor of Havering Councillor Dilip Patel, presenting an award to Jo Varsani

Over 200 people recently gathered at The Grove Banqueting hall in London to celebrate the contributions that women continue to make across the spectrum from business to community and sports. These awards were presented by the mayors of Havering and Redbridge and BBC’s The Apprentice famed Jasmine Kundra. The awards were hosted for the first time last year

where the winners included household names such as Tasleem Ahmed and Shakira Ashraf. This year Jo Varsani from Chadwell Heath was presented with the unsung heroine award on the International Women’s Day for setting up the Perfect Moments Day Care in Rush Green. The She Awards are organised by Sharifa Begum alongside her husband Imdad Basit.

Fox apologises for "racist" comments on Sikh soldiers

Laurence Fox

A leading British singersongwriter and former Lewis star has apologised for his comments around the inclusion of a Sikh soldier in the latest Hollywood film 1917. Laurence Fox had earlier referred to "the oddness in the casting" of a Sikh soldier in Sir Sam Mendes' movie centred around World War One and later even called it “incongruous”. In an interview with the James Delingpole podcast, Fox had said. "It's very heightened awareness of the colour of someone's skin because of the oddness in the casting. Even in 1917 they've done it with a Sikh soldier, which is great, it's brilliant, but you're suddenly aware there were Sikhs fighting in this war. "It is kind of racist - if you talk about institutional racism, which is what everyone loves to go on about, which I'm not a believer in,

there is something institutionally racist about forcing diversity on people in that way. You don't want to think about [that]." According to the WW1 Sikh Memorial Fund, there were about 130,000 Sikhs who fought the war constituting about 20% of the British Indian Army. In light of their contribution, historians and academics across the board criticised the Fox who later appeared on ITV's Good Morning Britain, where he said 1917 was a "great movie" but that the casting "felt incongruous". He also said people "shouldn't be afraid to say how they feel". However, following widespread criticism, Fox tweeted. "Fellow humans who are Sikhs, I am as moved by the sacrifices your relatives made as I am by the loss of all those who die in war, whatever creed or colour. Please accept my apology for being clumsy in the way I expressed myself."


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Lawyer's cycling marathon for widows in Kashmir On 3rd February 2020, Chris Parsons, a philanthropist and lawyer at international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills will embark on a gruelling cycling journey to raise funds for widows of Jammu and Kashmir on behalf of UN accredited charity, The Loomba Foundation. Chris will cover over 4,500 kilometres in about 45 days starting from Kanyakumari in the southern India to Srinagar in the north. This is not the first time that Chris has decided to undertake such a challenge to raise funds for the vulnerable. He says, “I took my first sabbatical at the law firm in 2006 when I cycled to raise funds for a children’s charity. Later, when I was celebrating my 50th birthday in 2011, I decided to continue with my long-distance sporting

period, he was determined to support Indian charities having seen first-hand accounts of those suffering from lack of resources. This was the beginning of his association with Lord Raj Loomba, founder of The Loomba Foundation. He says,“I was keen to help the helpless. It was sheer happenstance when I first met Lord Raj Loomba

with the idea of cycling from London to Gibraltar for The Loomba Foundation.”

30th wedding anniversary, walking 30 marathons in 30 days In 2011, Chris raised $200,000 by cycling from London to Gibraltar. In 2015, he decided to celebrate his 30th wedding anniversary by undertaking yet another fundraising adventure. This time he decided to walk 30 marathons in 30 days and was successful in raising $300,000, again for The Loomba Foundation. He started from Mumbai along the coast of Maharashtra and Goa to Mangalore in Karnataka before turning east to cross the Western Ghats and into Bangalore, covering a distance of over 1200kms.

Mental challenges, exercise regimes, and traffic hazards

Chris Parsons

activities to raise funds for various other charities.” Over the next few years, Chris relocated to India where he headed his law firm whilst frequently visiting London. During this

at a business lunch in London where he told me that his charity was supporting widows in India. We discussed various collaborative ideas and later when I visited his office we came up

This will be his last adventure bearing in mind his health, fitness and training regime. Chris who has devoted almost a year of his time in training for this challenge was mindful of the changes in climate conditions across the length of India. Therefore, whilst training in London, he invested in a Peloton Bike to exercise indoors. In the meantime, he also spent two months in India to acclimatize himself with the hot and humid temperatures of the sub-continent. Outdoor

“Unlimited” fast-track visa for scientists On Monday 27th January, the Government unveiled an "unlimited" fast-track visa offer to attract top scientists, and researchers from across the world. The "Global Talent" route, is slated to start from next month. It will have no cap on the number of people who will be able to come to the UK from around the world and will provide an accelerated path to settlement for all scientists and researchers who are endorsed on the route. The reforms to this

route coincides with what the UK government claims is its ambitious investment of up to £300 million to fund experimental and imaginative mathematical sciences research by the very best global talent over the next five years. These changes are part of the initial-phase of wider post-Brexit immigration reforms to enable the "brightest and the best" access to the UK, with an end to European freedom of movement rules set to kick in after Britain leaves the

European Union (EU) later this week. This new route replaces the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route, with the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in charge of endorsing applicants from the scientific and research community. It will not require an applicant to hold an offer of employment before arriving or tying them to one specific job and ensure they are not penalised when they apply for settlement based on research-related absences from the country.

A Local Assembly Member has welcomed Harrow Council’s Planning Committee’s decision to approve plans for a new Synagogue on Stanmore Hill. On Wednesday, 22nd January, Navin Shah attended the Committee’s meeting to support the scheme, which he argues, “will help to promote and sustain Harrow’s interfaith values”. Shah had recently written to the Chair of the Planning Committee backing the Mosaic Reform Synagogue’s proposals to

relocate from its current site in West Harrow to Stanmore Hill. The scheme, which will see the redevelopment of an old petrol station, will include 20 car parking spaces and nine new residential units. Mr Shah argued that the new site will be more accessible for worshippers and will appeal to the wider local Jewish community. He said, “As a former resident of West Harrow, I know the Mosaic group very well and have had the privilege of working closely with the

Rabbi Kathleen Middleton and trustees of the organisation on a range of issues, including multifaith work in the community. I am delighted that Mosaic Synagogue will now have a new home in Stanmore in the midst of the Jewish community where it belongs. “This new site will bring together three existing synagogues, from different dominations to create a pluralist space for worshippers and will help to promote and sustain Harrow’s interfaith values.”

Assembly Member welcomes re-location of Synagogue to Stanmore

Lord and Lady Loomba

jogging sessions helped him acclimatize with the exertion that can result from dehydration and sweating. He says, “There will be adjustments that I will have to make. But beyond health and climate conditions, I believe it is the mental strength that gets tested the most. Based on my '30 Walking Marathons in 30 days' experience, I believe the mental challenge of completing this task will be the bigger hurdle. “I am also anxious about traffic hazards on Indian roads. With no special cycling lanes allocated on the roads in most locations, I am concerned about my safety. I have seen some statistics which report that India accounts for 11% of road deaths globally in spite

of only having a 2% share of cars on the road. That is concerning despite having a back-end logistics team to support me on the road.” In this expedition, Chris will be accompanied by Sachin, the physiotherapist who also supported him during the ‘30 Marathons in 30 Days’ expedition in 2015. Towards the end of the mission, Chris is aiming to raise US$450,000 to help impoverished widows and their children on behalf of The Loomba Foundation. Chris has been an ambassador for The Loomba Foundation since 2011. He says,“Unfortunately, many widows in India are left destitute when their husbands dies. Through empowerment programmes, The Loomba Foundation has

been providing skills training and other support to help widows become selfsufficient so that they can support themselves and their families. “I have personally visited schools in Delhi where the children of widows have been educated, and I have also met a number of widows – including in Varanasi – who have been empowered thanks to the tremendous support of The Loomba Foundation. And I believe we will be able to achieve the same results for such widows in Jammu and Kashmir.” In this venture, they have been supported by corporates like Oyo Hotels, and Unilever. You can lend your support by visiting: https://www.justgiving.com /fundraising/chris-parsons40 To receive regular updates of Chris Parsons and his cycling expedition you can visit his blog: https://cyclingwidows2020. home.blog The Loomba Foundation was set up in London in 1997 by Lord Raj Loomba CBE and his wife Lady Veena Loomba in memory of his mother Pushpa Wati who was widowed in 1954 at the early age of 37.


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As I See It CB Patel

The Economist's Redundant Provocation Dear Readers, The Economist has managed to grab attention with its latest piece on India, and its Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Released just a couple days ahead of India’s Republic Day, the timing was perfect for a sensational, reaction-provoking piece. Amongst various points I noticed, the article titled 'Intolerant India : How Modi is endangering the world's biggest democracy' includes the writers views on Kashmir, Hindu Rashtra, the CAA, NRC, and other topics. Let me save you the trouble of reading this biased piece of reporting and give you a gist of what The Economist seeks to convey through this sensationalist piece. It has portrayed that the Indian electorate is not capable enough of using its franchise properly. It has portrayed India’s media as being docile and submissive, and pelted its “expert” advice to the country's highest court – the Supreme Court of India and asked it to show some “unexpected spine”.

Okay I tried to refrain from making any comments on the article. But let's get real for a second here, The Economist hoped for some reaction, and I would not want to disappoint them. They seem to have forgotten the basic facts of Indian history. But worry not, when would I be of help? For the last 1000 years, India has not attacked any country or acquired their territories. On the contrary, it has given shelter to the early Christians about 2000 years ago. It also gave asylum to Jews, Parsis, even Muslims from other neighbouring countries who sought political asylum. The Economist does not even know the recent history of the Partition of India. India was divided because the Muslim League called for a separate homeland for Muslims. Mahatma Gandhi and other Congress leaders tried their best to placate the demand made by Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Gandhi was so keen on keeping the country together, he even offered Jinnah leadership of the newly independent India. However, imperial power Britain divided the country and the rest, is as we know history. I will spare you the details of all the gory deaths, violence, and destitution of hundreds of thousands killed on either side of the border. Millions of people migrated from India to Pakistan, and vice versa. Before The Economist talks about “Intolerant India”, it should very well know that it is the homeland of millions of people who live within India irrespective of religion, caste, or provinces of the country.

'Minority' with the force of a thousand horses Let's look at some population statistics. At the time of the Partition, there was a Muslim population of around 13 per cent, and Christians around one per cent. The latest Census statistics published by The Economist itself, reveals that the Muslim population has gone up by about 1.6 per cent. Christians have almost more than doubled, and the Hindu population has reduced consequently. In its monologue about the plight of the Muslim section in India, it has not only tried to undermine the community, it has,

in its own wisdom, completely ignored eminent Indian Muslims like Mohammed Arif Khan, the current Governor of Kerala, who had resigned during the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1986 over differences in the Shah Bano case and the tinkering of the Constitution, as a matter of principle. Yet another well-known figure, Salim Khan, and many others prominent Muslim figures – they all are vocally comfortable with the Modi government and present India. Let none of us, for a minute, think the Indian Muslim community is too timid to speak out. We all have seen on TV bold Muslim men, women and even children in their thousands openly and fearlessly denounce the CAA and proposed NPR. And what business does The Economist have been discussing NRC when in fact, it has not even been discussed by the Indian Cabinet, and nor been included in statute books? There are people in India protesting, openly, aggressively, and violently, every single day. If 'Freedom of Speech' was to be explained, what better way than to take a look at the masses of people voicing their opinions over the CAA?

Media Silence? The Indian media, both print and electronic, be it the NDTV, or The Hindu, along with others, leave no opportunity to attack Modi and his policies and, completely out of context RSS. Tarek Fatah, a Pakistani Muslim residing in Toronto, is known for his outspoken political views. He, and other commentators have exposed the hypocrisy of the Congress party, the Indian communists, and the so-called secularists. I should also bring The Economist's attention to Bangladeshi-Swedish writer Taslima Nasreen, who had to leave Bangladesh to save her life now lives in New Delhi!

Dear Economist I as a subscriber and an avid reader of The Economist for several decades, expect the journalism of such an eminent publication to follow in the footsteps of Walter Bagehot, son-in-law of the publication's founder James Wilson, who had laid down some noble ground rules of journalistic profession. Do not get me wrong. The Economist is fully entitled to opine on any subtexts of their choice, but I would have expected them to use facts and not a fabrication. That, to me, is something not expected of a magazine with such an outstanding pedigree. In its comments since the beginning of the article, The Economist has been misleading or seems misinformed. It talks about ”many of the  200m Muslims” who do not have their papers and risk being thrown out.  Let me say it a little louder so my voice goes all the way through. The Citizenship Amendment Bill only states that refugees ( Hindu, Sikh, Jain ,Parsis,   Buddhist, Christian) who arrived in India up to 2014, are entitled to acquire citizenship. Nobody is being thrown out here. It appears that The Economist, has been economic with the truth. The statement about the 200 million Muslims being made stateless is farfetched, highly provocative, and divisive. And to say blatantly that the government has ordered building of camps to detain those caught in the net? Dear Economist,

India is not China, which has detained some million Uighurs in Xinjiang province. It has alleged that Modi is trying to transform India to a “chauvinistic Hindu state” and talked about his “decades long project of incitement”. Their words, not mine. Let me remind The Economist, in case they have forgotten what they have printed several times about the communal riots of Gujarat, 2002. In the aftermath of a train compartment being burned by fanatic Muslims- 59 men, women, and children (all Hindus ) were burned to death. This was the statement of the then prime minister Manmohan Singh in the Indian Parliament, that The Economist had so readily published. The Congress-led government did their best to implicate Modi for this heinous activity, all based on incomplete and untruthful proof. With its recent-most masala piece, The Economist has made serious allegations, nothing but allegations. I ask why such an esteemed publication have to stoop so low in their anti-Modi campaign? I and many others would remember that in the aftermath of Godhra riots, it was The Economist, that called Modi the purveyor of genocide in Gujarat at one stage, and used several more such adjectives. In the Gujarat state elections and Indian parliamentary elections, The Economist had advised publicly not to vote for Modi or his party. Despite that, in the general elections last year, Modi and his party got a clear mandate from some 800 million voters. What the Economist could not achieve through provocation and propaganda, they are now hoping to win by undermining the government of India. Not knowing that in the bid, it is provoking violent protests through lies and innuendos or guilt by association. This is not expected of a publication which aspires or claims to follow the footsteps of the journalistic criteria laid down by Mr Bagehot. India is not the only country where the economic indicators are facing some severe challenges. To say that the removal of Article 370, CAA, and NPR are diversions, and to doubt the judicial capabilities of the SC is completely misleading and unacceptable. Let The Economist and such publications or so-called experts who have been proclaiming that the   democracy is in danger in India, come to their senses just enough to accept that India has remained democratic, secular and is developing much more rapidly within the framework of free enterprise. India has not followed the Chinese path  of centralised planning or dictatorship, to achieve rapid economic development. One of the most serious allegations in the comment tells us that Modi is “calculating a sizeable minority”. Why do you have to interpret the intentions of Indian govt, why not pay attention to facts? It is no use destabilising India or Modi gov-

ernment through complete lies and selective memories of your sources of information. In fact, I challenge The Economist to show one example where in Gujarat or in New Delhi or within the Central government in the last 17 years where Modi's govt followed any discriminatory policies against Muslims or any other minorities. There is no pro-Hindu or antiMuslim bias in the legislature or implementation in last 17 odd years. Yes, it is tragic that some Hindu die-hards took law into their own hands for cow or other causes. Their actions personally disgusted me. But what is the use of exaggerating numbers to emphasise your allegations? “A secular and impartial government, even if flawed in many other ways, protects all these groups. The deliberate and sustained persecution of one of them constitutes an implicit threat against alland so puts the political system at risk.” The article goes on to talk about Gandhi. What do you know about Mahatma Gandhi? Have you even read his biography? Gandhi himself says that sadly some Muslims have an element of aggression , even bullying against non-believers. Gandhi said it, not me! In fact, it was Gandhi, who when Pakistani soldiers went to attack Kashmir in 1947-48, approved the Indian government’s decision to send the Indian Army to defend its borders. If we want to talk about Gandhi, let me point out that he would not in the slightest approve of journalism purely based on falsehood or vendetta against Modi or his party. “By perpetually firing up Hindus and infuriating Muslims, the BJP makes fresh bloodshed more likely,” the article reads. I ask The Economist to find out just how many communal riots have taken place in the 11 years in Gujarat, or six years in India under the Modi regime. Please don't encourage Hindu-Muslim rivalry as provocation causes bloodshed. There is a mention of Hindu nationalists who are “not easily restrained as the slaughter in Gujarat showed”. Blaming one community over an unfortunate incident that involved two, does not read right. The Economist has even gone ahead and assumed it can advise the Supreme Court. Does it think it is so above the SC? Do they have enough qualifications or credentials to do so? They provoke and taunt the SC with the comments.   I will let The Economist know that like any other democracy working within its constitution, India is fully entitled to reclaim its sovereignty and the soul of its nation. The rude awakening of the publication has to be truthful, fair and proportionate in blaming Modi or Modi's govt. Vendetta against Modi will inevitably strengthen his hands because the new India with 1.3 bn people where some 80 per cent born in independent India are able to decide their own destiny. They don't give a damn to the old imperial power. 


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Inaugural ‘Ideas For India’ conference brings together NRIs and business leaders from around the world Given its diversity, everything about India, and it’s polar opposite, is true in unison. Think tank Bridge India, which set up its first office in London last year and will shortly to open another office in Europe, is seeking to highlight and celebrate this nuance, through the Ideas for India conference. The Ideas For India conference is a unique forum will take place on 22-24 April in London. It brings together policy makers, business leaders, leading NRIs and others to discuss India and where it is headed in the coming decades. The ‘India Story’ abroad is often presented through a narrow lens, be it focusing only on business and the economy, society or policy landscape. The vast majority of the diaspora across the UK and Europe do not have access to many of the existing such events that exist. This is what makes Ideas

For India different from other forums. It is inclusive and seeks to bring together all parts of the diaspora on the same platform as some of the leading CEOs and Ministers from India and elsewhere. Being a charity gives Bridge India the ability to focus on curating the content to exactly what attendees want to see. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Republic Day a few days ago, "We have to ensure that no person in India, no region is left behind. This is also the goal behind the Republic Day parade.” Confirmed speakers include Mohandas Pai, Lord Karan Bilimoria, Sitaram Yechury and several other senior leaders and CEOs

from India that will be announced over the coming weeks. Over the last year, Bridge India has organised over 20 events for its Members. Its membership includes business leaders, journalists, diplomats, academics and others. Bridge India is, in particular, really grateful to Asian Voice for the outstanding support it gives to the British Asian community. Since 1972, it has been at the forefront of engaging NRIs and connecting them to India through articles, editorials, events and a personal touch. The publication has been the heart and soul of the community for decades and that is why we are delighted to be working with them to curate this unique events.

1 - 7 February 2020

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City Corporation Policy Chair travels to India to promote UK strengths post-Brexit

The political leader of London’s historic ‘Square Mile,’ or financial district, traveled to Delhi and Mumbai for meetings with senior government and industry leaders to discuss how to boost relations and knowledge sharing in emerging common challenges like cyber security, green finance, and fintech. She met with representatives from the BSE stock exchange and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), as well as the Secretary of the Department for Water, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. During the visit the Policy Chair also held discussions on how the City Corporation can play a role in helping support women in India’s financial services sector. Collaborating with organisations and female leaders in both countries, conversations focussed on how to support women in

9

The prestigious Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards represent our modest effort to honour a number of outstanding individuals from different communities, walks of life and diverse political persuasions who serve society in their own special way, and who contribute significantly and making a big difference in their COMMUNITIES.

You can find out more about the Ideas For India conference on the Bridge India website at www.bridgeindia.org.uk.

The City of London Corporation’s Policy Chair Catherine McGuinness visited India from 27 to 28 January 2020 to discuss future relations with the UK in financial services.

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the industry with training, mentoring and a network that will accelerate their development to leadership. She chaired a meeting of the City of London Corporation’s India Advisory Council, a group of senior figures from Indian financial services that helps guide work in the country. The visit also aimed to highlight the fundamental strengths of London and the UK’s financial sector. Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, said: “India and the UK may be

rivals when it comes to cricket, but off the pitch relations between our two countries continue to blossom. “We have long recognised that a closer partnership with India is an attractive proposition for both countries, especially so if it covers financial services. There are many things we can do prior to a potential free trade agreement to boost our £20 billion plus relationship, especially in innovative areas like fintech, green finance, cyber security and insurance..."

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10 READERS VOICE

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1 - 7 February 2020

Our Republic Day Dear fellow fans of A.V. Please let me share my visit to India House on 26th to celebrate our Republic Day. I reached there at about noon and saw a big crowd of Kashmiris, Pakistanis, our Khalistani Sikhs and perhaps hardly any Indian but me from the Indian community. While leaving home, I took our national flag ( a small plastic one) with me. All the time while there, I was talking sensibly and politely with various people from the crowd which was getting bigger and bigger. All the time there, I had our national flag in my hands to let the crowd know I am Indian. Then all of a sudden a crowd of Khalistani sikhs gathered around me and started arguing aggressively. I fought my pitch single handedly but it was impossible for me to make them listen to me. Then out of the blue, a small boy of about 10yrs old snatched our Indian flag from my hands and tore it into pieces and then threw it on the floor. And they all started jumping over it with their feet ( what a shame). But please believe you me, I came home as a winner with a sense of great pride that I faced their aggressive attitude and was not frightened at all. I wish, the invited crowd by our H C to celebrate our Republic Day had a bit of a sense of duty to show a bit of solidarity by coming out and to let the crowd know they were there to support our great country and our democracy. Perhaps they were too busy mingling with each other after the ceremony and a cup of tea or came home early feeling themselves the cream and pride of India in the UK. But I came home with a great sense of achievement and joy by representing my mother land with my turban on but feeling sorry that there was hardly any Indian outside in the crowd while I was there. B S Grewal by email

Worsening NHS crisis The situation in NHS is getting worse by the day. Although the Boris government had promised to tackle the NHS crisis head on, but nothing concrete has been done so far. Six million people will be left waiting for crucial operations such as hip replacements and cataract surgery by 2024 because NHS hospitals cannot cope with rising demand, and the number of people on waiting lists for planned treatment in England will jump by 30 per cent from the current 4.6 million, according to a new forecast from a collection of private health firms. The chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network said as waiting lists expand, the proportion of people forced to wait longer than the benchmark 18 weeks will more than double to 19 per cent. Lists for elective surgery will swell as increasing numbers of seriously ill patients take up beds on general wards when they are moved from packed A&Es, said David Hare, chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network. At the same time, demand for surgical procedures is growing as the population gets older. On top of the crisis the NHS in England could reportedly have to pay £4.3bn in legal fees to settle outstanding claims of clinical negligence. The figure includes existing unsettled claims and projected estimates of future claims, the BBC has reported after getting details through a Freedom of Information request. The NHS receives more than 10,000 new claims for compensation every year and the Department of Health has said it will tackle “the unsustainable rise in the cost of clinical negligence”. The total cost of outstanding compensation claims was £83 billion, according to estimates published last year. What people is to find out what went wrong, why they received those injuries, also to make sure it did not happen to other patients Dr Christine Tomkin, of the Medical Defence Union, which supports doctors at risk of litigation, said: “We are now awarding compensation in sums of money higher than almost anywhere in the world. What we need is a fundamental change to the legal system.” This shows NHS is not yet out of woods and a lot has to be done to bring it up to speed, so that proper health services is provided to the people. The medical staff of NHS are doing their best but are unable to cope with the rising demand they are facing because of the austerity they suffered for the last 10 years. Baldev Sharma by email

Britain: Soft Touch Beyond Belief! One may wonder why refugees, both political and economic migrants risk their lives crossing busy English Channel when they are already in France, free, safe and democratic country where they could settle down. The reason, most of them believe, rightly or wrongly that Britain is a soft touch where they will be provided with Council homes and benefits without much struggle. They may be right, as hardly any one is sent back to France. This is belief, true on many fronts. The Fly-tipping crimes have more than doubled in a decade costing Councils £40 million to clear out rubbish left behind. One may wonder why? The answer is simple, starring in face; they get away more or less unscratched. Although judges have power to fine them up to £40 thousand, most fines are less than one thousand and loss of the vehicle which is only good for a scrapyard, one can easily buy for less than its scrap value! Watching Consumer day-time programme, I was indeed surprised that in Spain one was caught on CCTV camera, dumping a large fridge-freezer from the road verge into a deep valley below. They were caught, asked to bring the heavy object back on the road and forced to take it to a dump yard, given six months sentence each, suspended for two years and fined a staggering £41 K, even though it was their first offence. No wonder such crimes are rare in Spain and many EU nations! In Spain, most round about are beautifully decorated with statues, fountains and other art effects, beautifully lighted at night. There are also exercise machines everywhere for public use, more or less free and centre of motorways are planted with beautiful tropical plants, watered automatically through rubber pipes. This is only possible, as there is hardly any vandalism; Spanish people take pride in their country with traditional Spanish family values like respect for elderly, family evening meal together and such age old tradition much valued are passed on from generation to generation. It is high time British values are taught in schools! Kumudini Valambia by email

Peace In Our Time! Prince Charles, while paying courtesy visit to West Bank to meet popular Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with whom he spent fruitful 45 minutes. This was an extension of his visit to Israel to attend 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Death Camp in Poland, near Krakow, by advancing Soviet troops in 1945. This was the main Camp, along with Birkenau where one million Jews were brutally murdered, by any means but mainly gassed to save valuable ammunition! Prince Charles, who is extremely well informed on practically any subject, whether it is Climate Change, Religious Intolerance, Economy or Middle East, poured his heart out while attending a reception in his honour in Bethlehem, giving a speech that moved listeners to tears! He expressed his dearest wish to bring peace, prosperity, freedom, justice and equality to all Palestinians, living in religious harmony with neighbouring States, Prince Charles taking a symbolic walk through Bethlehem with Muslim and Christian elders, from mosque of Omar to Church of Nativity, a site well known as the birth place of Lord Jesus’s Christ, a revered holy place for some two billion Christians throughout the world. Before birth of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish people throughout the world had no homeland to retreat to when facing extreme danger to their lives in many European countries. Their success on the economic, cultural and educational front, giving them highest living standard was the envy and main reason for their persecution. So it is perfectly understandable the desire of the downtrodden Palestinian people to have their own homeland, in the West Bank, perhaps extending to part of Jordan, adjacent to West Bank where most of these people have moved to after Arab Israel conflict. Let us hope that peace plan prepared by President Trump is a fair solution that may lead to badly needed peace and progress in the volatile region! Bhupendra M. Gandhi by email What do you think? We want to know your views on any issue. Write to: Asian Voice, 12 Hoxton Market, London N1 6HW or e-mail: aveditorial@abplgroup.com

Kapil’s Khichadi Who Leads Labour?

Kapil Dudakia 12th December 2019 was a devastating blow to the Labour Party. It shook the very foundations of the party led by Jeremy Corbyn who championed ultra-left politics. The defeat incurred by Labour was on a scale that broke its very soul. Jeremy Corbyn had no choice but to stand down and that has sparked the race to find the new leader. Who leads Labour will no doubt decide whether Labour remains a force to reckon with in British politics or not? It will also determine whether it stands any chance of challenging the Tories at the next election. The consensus seems that the Labour at best can achieve some sort of parity with the Tories by the next election. Only that can give them hope of getting back into governance by 2029. Yes, 2029. Shocking to see that in print but that’s how far back Labour is currently. Emily Thornberry, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir Starmer are all hoping to be the chosen one to lead Labour to a new destiny of success. Rebecca LongBailey is seen as Jeremy Corbyn 2.0, whilst the others are probably more Labour centrist than out and out Blarites. The current two favourites at this point seem to be Rebecca Long-Bailey and Sir Keir Starmer. The debate now centres around whether Labour will persist with Corbynomics, or whether it has learnt the lesson of the General Election and will choose someone who might be a lot more palatable to the voting public? Whilst I accept all this debate on the candidates is important, I do fear that the fundamentals are being missed. So, let me share my concerns and why I feel no matter who leads Labour, the essential elements that will continue to haunt it, will still remain. Following are the concerns? A. There is still no evidence that any of the leadership candidates will rid Labour of its anti-

semitism cancer. There has been much discussion, a lot of rhetoric and plenty of platitudes thrown around. However, the key question, ‘how will you throw out the racists from the party?’ has still not been answered by any of the candidates. B. I feel the power and control of the ultraleft is still very strong. The public have rejected this type of politics. However, I have yet to find any of the candidates clearly express how they will rid the party of this militancy madness. C. Appeasement and playing votebank politics. For example, it is clear in my view that Labour has sided very much with the Sunni Muslim voters. This group has the capacity to impact as many as 30 seats. However, their allegiance is with Pakistan which has appeared to force Labour to support the Pakistani narrative on Kashmir and come across as anti-India. None of the candidates have even attempted to address this volatile issue. The challenge for Labour is to decide what it wants to be for the 21st Century. Either it’s a farleft protest party that will never be elected, or it has to become a true centrist party that will reject all forms of racism and appeasement politics. None of the leadership contestants seem to be ready to tackle the obvious issues. In the end all it will do is prolong the pain until it decides to split and allow each part to champion its ideology without reservation. In my view, Labour is in need of a Kinnock moment. Someone who can stare the fanatic ideology in the face and call it out publicly. Whoever it is, won’t make it to Number 10, but they will pave way for a Blair 2.0. Is Labour intelligent enough to make the hard choice now, is the big question? (Expressed opinions are personal.)

We are grateful to all letter writers for more and more versatile letters well within word limit. Please keep contributing as always. If you are new, then write to Rupanjana at rupanjana.dutta@abplgroup.com - AV


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1 - 7 February 2020

Girls more likely to pass GCSE 1 in 4 kids 'has too little sleep' in foreign languages A World Health Organization study suggests that one in four 11 to 15-year-olds in England have too little sleep. The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children report questions 3,398 11, 13 and 15-year-olds every four years. And 27% now say they are too tired to concentrate on their lessons 17% of 11-year-olds, 28% of 13-year-olds and 42% of 15year-olds.

A recent report has suggested that girls are twice as likely as boys to pass a GCSE in a modern foreign language. According to the report which was commissioned by the British Council just 38% of boys in England took a foreign language at GCSE in 2018, compared with about 50% of girls. By using statistical modelling, the Education Policy Institute study found when factors like background and ability were accounted for, boys were 2.17 times less likely to succeed. Researchers used a set of characteristics to model the likelihood of different types of pupils achieving a pass in a language GCSE, finding different results for different groups. According to the research n most areas of education, the biggest achievement gap is between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers. A pupil's gender has the biggest effect on the likelihood of whether they will succeed in languages. Boys, overall, had an odds ratio of 0.46, where one means success, while disadvantaged pupils had a ratio of 0.57. The report also found

that a girl from a poorer background was more likely to outperform a boy from a more affluent background in modern languages. The report also notes that many schools enter large numbers of boys for modern language GCSEs for accountability reasons, but only a small percentage of them pass. Researchers also highlighted that there was a need for a more inclusive, all-abilities approach as the reason behind the increase in boys studying and succeeding at languages in some successful schools. Overall entries in languages have seen a significant decline in recent years. The English Baccalaureate, a wraparound qualification which requires pupils to sit GCSEs in English, maths, two sciences, a humanities subject and a modern foreign language, aimed to address this

decline. The report urged the exams watchdog, Ofqual, to address the difficulty of languages at GCSE. It has already said that French and German will be marked more favourably from 2020, after a review of grading. It should look at whether changes are required in other modern foreign languages, the report said. The Department for Education said the introduction of the EBacc had helped halt the decline in take-up of GCSE languages, with 47% of pupils taking a language in 2019, up from 40% in 2010, and the proportion of boys remaining "broadly stable". "We are committed to ensuring more pupils are studying languages, which is why it is now compulsory in the national curriculum for all children between Years 3 and 9," an official said.

The proportion of 15year-olds who say they have have low moods at least once a week has also risen, from 40% to 50%. One in four 15-year-olds say they have self-harmed - and the proportion is rising faster among boys. Girls, though, are more likely to have too little sleep, 32% compared with 23% of boys.

Just one in six of the youngsters (15%) say they are physically active for at least an hour a day. But seven in 10 take part in "vigorous" physical activity at least two to three times a week, with boys (74%) more likely to do so than girls (63%). The study also suggests children are becoming less likely to take part in risky behaviour: - just 3% say they have smoked at least three times

in the past 30 days, while 7% have drunk alcohol - 21% of 15-year-olds have tried cannabis, while 20% have had sex, down from 41% in 2002 And when it comes to food: - 63% eat breakfast every day - 44% meet the government recommendations of eating five portions of fruit and vegetables every day - 39% usually eat a meal with their family every day, down from 51% in 2014

Super-rich elites making London 'off-limits' According to a social mobility charity London has become the "epicentre of the elites" in the UK, making it "off limits" for young people from poorer backgrounds. The Sutton Trust says the high cost of housing has become a social barrier. A report, using London School of Economics research, says social mobility is easier outside the capital.

Sir Peter Lampl, said the idea of going to London to "move up in the world" had become "a myth". The report entitled Elites in the UK: Pulling Away?says it is increasingly difficult for young people to move to London to get the high-paying jobs concentrated in the capital. This is exacerbated by practices such as unpaid internships, which are available only to

those who can afford to live and work in London without earning. The report highlights the rise of the ultra-rich in London in recent decades, with their wealth often deriving from finance and banking. The study suggests a lack of wider awareness among this wealthy elite reinforced by the small, selfreflecting circles in which they move.

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12 MEDIA WATCH

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1 - 7 February 2020

SCRUTATOR’S The Supreme Court has agreed to examine if political parties could be restrained from fielding people with criminal background in elections while expressing concern over growing criminalisation of politics despite several orders passed by the apex court to deal with the problem. A bench of Justices R F Nariman and S Ravindra Bhat said something needs to be done in national interest to control the problem after the Election Commission contended criminalisation of politics is going on unabated and SC’s previous verdicts have made virtually no impact. The court asked the EC and petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay to frame a proposal in a week’s time. The issue though remains contentious as barring a person who faces charges but has not been convicted may be seen as constitutionally questionable. However, the court has over the years considered the need to stop persons facing serious criminal charges from contesting polls. The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by BJP leader Upadhyay for noncompliance of a 2018 SC verdict by which both the candidate and parties were mandated to publish criminal record of a candidate in newspapers and TV channels at least three times after nomination papers were filed. Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the Commission, told the bench that the SC’s verdict had not made any impact in controlling the problem as more than 43% of winners in 2019 Lok Sabha elections face criminal proceedings. “The better way to deal with the problem is to ask political parties why they are selecting such candidates. Winnability should not be the only criteria for selecting a candidate and they should be asked not to select people with criminal background. It would have huge impact,” Singh told the bench. Agreeing with the EC’s contentions, the bench said, “You are right. It is a good suggestion.” Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for Upadhyay, also supported the plea of the Commission. The bench thereafter asked both lawyers to sit together and frame a proposal in a week. It said the court will examine the proposal on the next date of hearing. (The Times of India). Mumbai open for 24x7 The Maharashtra cabinet has approved the 'Mumbai 24 hours' policy, allowing malls, multiplexes

and shops in non-residential areas and inside gated mill compounds to remain open 24x7 from January 27 onwards. But no such relief has been given to bars serving liquor, which will continue to close at 1.30 am. The approval came after a presentation by tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray, who said later that it is not compulsory to participate and only those establishments willing may keep their premises open at all hours. He said two areas, Nariman Point and BKC, have been shortlisted for food trucks to be allowed to run through the night. “The proposal, first mooted in 2013, has now been cleared. London’s nightlife economy is worth £5 billion and we expect similar growth in Mumbai,” said Thackeray. “Mumbai is a 24x7 functional city. There are people who work in night shifts. There are tourists, too, in transit. Where do they go if they are hungry after 10pm?” Thackeray said there are provisions for security, including CCTV cover, at malls and mill compounds and if they need additional police presence, they will have to pay for it. Any violation of laws by any establishment may invite permanent cancellation of licence, he said. The state government had notified the amended Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Service Condition) Act in 2017, allowing 24x7 operations for establishments, but the police, under powers vested with it, didn’t allow operations beyond 1.30am for law and order reasons. The police will now have to issue a revised circular to comply with the government’s decision. Thackeray said the police will not be under stress because after 1.30am, their job till now was to check if shops and establishments were shut down. “But now they will be able to focus on law and order only,” he said. (The Indian Express).

SC reinstates woman who accused ex-CJI of sexual harassment A woman employee who had accused former chief justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual misconduct was reinstated by the Supreme Court. According to a report, the woman staffer had rejoined duty and proceeded on leave, adding "her arrears too have been cleared". Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, who was part of her legal team, said, “She has been reinstated from the time she was terminated. She hasn’t, however, reported for work and proceeded on maternity leave immediately.” In April 2019, the former woman SC staffer sent a letter, along with affidavits, to 22 apex court judges giving details of the alleged harassment. She claimed that as a junior court assistant, employed with the Supreme Court between May 1, 2014 and December 21, 2018, she was harassed at the CJI's home. She alleged that Gogoi had made unwelcome advances on her in October 2018, for which she was victimised after she resisted. Later on May 7, 2019, Chief Justice Gogoi got a clean chit from the Supreme Court’s In-House Inquiry Committee which “has found no substance” in the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by a former woman employee. The 3-member Committee, which completed its task in 14 days, proceeded ex-parte as the woman had opted out of the inquiry on 30 April after participating for three days. (The Indian Express).

Kerala forms 620 km long human chain A 620-km-long human chain from the northern part of Kerala to the southern part was formed last week, by the ruling CPI(M) led-Left Democratic Front, demanding withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The chain was formed from Kasaragod in north Kerala to Kaliyakkavilai in the

UP goons attack foreign couple A German and his Turkish wife touring India in their RV (recreational vehicle) were “bullied, harassed and attacked” by three bike-borne men in UP’s Jaunpur district. Acting on a complaint by Timothy Benjamin Hatton, a resident of Fliederweg in Germany, cops arrested two of the goons. Hatton and his wife Duyga Keskin Hatton had entered India from Wagah and were on their way to Rishikesh from Varanasi when they were attacked near Singarpur village, where they had halted. Hatton said the men began banging on the window panes of their caravan and later tried to force their way into the vehicle. “I then stepped on the gas, but the railway crossing nearby was shut. As we waited, the trio reached the spot and started hurling stones. They also tried to pull me and my wife out of the vehicle. They fled when a crowd gathered near the boom barriers.” The two arrested have been identified as Nitin Yadav and Ramashankar Yadav, residents of Jaunpur. The third, Sachin Yadav, is on the run. The accused were charged with assault, voluntarily causing hurt and mischief causing damage. (The Times of India). Magsasay award winner booked

Mumbai open for 24x7

Dr. Sandeep Pandey

inappropriate comments against Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar during his speech at the Aligarh Muslim University. The national vice president of Hindu Mahasabha Rajiv Kumar filed a complaint alleging that Pandey made the comments while addressing anticitizenship law protestors at AMU, police said. The FIR was lodged under sections 153 A (provocation with intent to cause riots) and 505 (1)b (inciting public or community to commit an offence). "Investigation is underway," police said. In his address, Pandey had also said that the same people are "dividing Hindus and Muslims" who had done the same thing during the British Raj. He had claimed that

A Blue Corner Notice is issued by the international police cooperation body to collect additional information from its member countries about a person's identity, location or activities in relation to a crime. Police are now trying to get a Red Corner Notice issued against the godman by the Interpol, a senior police officer said. Nithyananda is believed to have fled the country after an FIR was registered against him at Vivekanand Nagar police station in Ahmedabad district in November last year, he said. The chargesheet was filed on the basis of the FIR registered against the controversial godman and two of his women disciples on the charges of wrongful confinement and abduction of two girls and a boy living in his ashram in Hirapur village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. (The Times of India).

An FIR has been filed against Magsaysay Award winner and human rights activist Sandeep Pandey for allegedly making

Kerala forms 620 km long human chain

"masked goons" hired by some right-wing organisations have disrupted peaceful protests in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Milia Islamia and AMU and they were the real culprits behind the violence in these varsities. "The students are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in a disciplined manner, both in Jamia and in JNU. They can't be blamed for the violence," the report quoted him as saying. (The Times of India). Interpol issues Blue Corner Notice against Nithyananda Interpol has issued a Blue Corner Notice seeking information about controversial self-styled godman Nithyananda who is believed to have fled the country after registration of a case in November last year for wrongful confinement and abduction of three children living in his ashram near Ahmedabad, police said. The details about the Blue Corner Notice were mentioned in the chargesheet filed by the Ahmedabad Rural Police in a local court.

southernmost part of the state. CM Pinarayi Vijayan and CPI functionary Kanam Rajendran joined the protest in Thiruvananthapuram. Vijayan, who became part of the human chain, along with his family, thanked those who had joined the protest and said the state has stood as one against the CAA. “Today the whole Kerala stood as one and protested. I would like to thank everyone who joined in this protest. But it’s not the time to rest. We need to continue our protest. We had made it clear that CAA, NPR and NRC will not be implemented in the state. We demand scrapping of the CAA. This law is a danger to the country, its secularism,” Vijayan said in a public meeting after the human chain. LDF claimed that around 75,00,000 people participated in the human chain. The human chain was formed, following which the preamble of the Constitution was read out. An oath was also taken to protect the Constitution from the “attempts of the Central government” to destroy it. (The Indian Express).


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Indian envoy hosts spectacular Republic Day celebration in UK India after 70 years of progress Addressing a gathering of the Indian diaspora, UK ministers and officials at the annual celebration organised by the Indian High Commission in London's Guildhall on Monday to mark the 71st Republic Day celebration, the High Commissioner of India to UK, Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam hailed the UK and India as “natural partners” in many areas, including the fight against terrorism. She emphasised that false narratives and propaganda are being spread against India by mutating forms of terrorism to create disharmony, threaten peace and prevent progress in the country, the PTI reported. While expressing confidence in a young India innovating its way through the challenges, she particularly congratulated two Indiafriendly MPs in the UK, who have been recently honoured with the Padma Shri viz. Labour MP and shadow secretary of state for international trade Barry Gardiner and Conservative Party MP Bob Blackman.

which resulted in the “most desi Cabinet in history” with three Indian-origin ministers as a sign of the thriving bilateral ties, set to be further enhanced after Brexit. The minister also reportedly highlighted a 63% hike in Indian student numbers to the UK, which is expected to increase further with the introduction of the HE Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam addressing the audience post-study work visa offer from later this year. The event, marked by Lord Tariq Ahmad, the traditional Indian dance minister for performances from differCommonwealth Affairs in ent parts of India including the UK Foreign and the North East, also includCommonwealth Office, also ed an address by ministers in spoke of the strong “desi the UK government. flavour” in the UK governJames Cleverly, the ment and across both housChairman of the ruling es of Parliament as he Conservative Party, made a focussed on enhancing reference to the election of India-UK collaboration 15 Indian-origin MPs in last within the Commonwealth. month’s General Election,

Peaceful protest held outside Indian High Commission on Republic Day

Hundreds gathered outside the Indian High Commission office in London on 26 January to protest for India’s treatment of Kashmir following a similar event on 15th August which led to the arrests of four people. Crowds waving the green and yellow striped flags of Kashmir and raising signs with “end Indian occupation” were seen across the High Commission of India. Though thousands of protesters were expected to turn up in front of the Indian High Commission on January 26 but only a few hundred turned up. On Saturday, the eve of Republic Day, thousands were expected to gather outside Downing Street before

marching up to the Indian High Commission in London. The march by Indian diaspora groups that “United against Fascism in India" called for the repeal of the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India and was expected to be joined by activists and students from various universities and organisations. List of organising groups included South Asia Solidarity Group, CasteWatch UK, Co-ordinating Committee of Malayali Muslims, Kashmir Solidarity Movement, SOAS India Society, South Asian Students Against Fascism, Indian Workers Association (GB), Ghadar International, Indian Muslim Federation (UK), Federation of

Redbridge Muslim Organisations (FORMO), Tamil People in the UK and others UK Opposition Labour Party MP Sam Tarry addressed the demonstrators and said, “We are not here as any anti-India demonstration, we are here as a pro-India demonstration. It is incredibly important that our voices are heard against laws that are not good for the future of the country.” PTI reported that messages of support from Labour MPs Stephen Timms, Clive Lewis and newly-elected Indian-origin parliamentarian Nadia Whittome were also read out, calling on the UK government to take up the issue with Indian counterparts.

CORRECTION In our last week’s article 'Harrow Councillors awarded for selfless and helpful contributions' (on AV page 17), we have by mistake mentioned Cllr Anjana Patel as a recipient of an award and described her as a ‘star' in reference to her work with mental health issues. She was in fact not the recipient of the award but a colleague who described her fellow councillor Cllr Lammiman who received the award as a ’star’. We are sorry and regret any confusion created by this article.

Rohit Vadhwana

India celebrated 71st Republic Day on 26 January 2020. The country has achieved a lot in 70 years of its journey as a Republic. India became independent in 1947 but its constitution was drafted under the Chairmanship of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar by a Drafting Committee. After two years, eleven months and eighteen days the constitution was ready and was adopted on 26 November 1949. But given the historic importance of 26 January since 1930 when Indian freedom fighters adopted Poorn Swaraj Resolution, 26 January 1950 was decided for implementation of the constitution. Originally, the Constitution was divided into 22 Parts having 395 articles in addition to Preamble and 8 Schedules. Today it has almost 448 articles in 25 Parts apart from Preamble, 12 Schedules, 5 appendices after having about 103 Constitutional amendments. The constitution is recognised as the world's longest written constitution. It provides for Union of India which means union of states as units, with the separate demarcation of powers between the Centre and States. Now it has third layer - Panchayati Raj which was added by a constitutional amendment and has defined powers. More than 30 million people of Indian origin are living in 192 countries and on 26 January, the Indian flag is hoisted in most of them. More than 1.5 million people of Indian origin are living in the UK who take immense pride in India’s progress and achievement as a relatively young but largest democracy of the world. The country has an elected head - the President and so it is a Republic. In about seven decades, India has achieved tremendous success in almost every field. Chandrayan and Mangalyan have reached to the Moon and the Mars. Improving lives of millions has been a top priority of government and it is reflected in the message given by President on the eve of Republic Day where he mentioned: “The Government has launched a number of welfare campaigns, and what is especially noteworthy about them is the fact that citizens have voluntarily turned them into popular movements. The 'Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan' has achieved astounding success in such a short time. The same spirit can be seen in other endeavours. Be it giving up cooking fuel subsidy or pushing digital payments, the common man has made the government programmes his own, making them truly effective. The success of the 'Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana' is a matter of pride, as the target of 8 crore beneficiaries has been achieved. With this, those in need have access to clean fuel. The 'Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana', that is, 'Saubhagya' too has brightened people's lives. Under 'Pradhanmantri Kisan Samman Nidhi', more than 14 crore farmer families have become entitled to receive minimum annual income of Rs 6,000 thousand. This has enabled the farmers who feed us to live a life of dignity.” Progress made by India in all sectors is benefiting millions of people. Afterall, Republic Day is celebration of People’s rule as per the wishes of People.

(Expressed opinion is personal)

Do you have a story or suggestion for this column? Email at: livingbridgeasianvoice@gmail.com


14 R-DAY 2020

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Dr Kavita A Sharma India is a vibrant democracy, dynamic economy with a great potential as it has a population of 1.3 billion people of whom more than 65% are below the age of 35 years. It is a young country but an ancient civilisation that has successfully withstood the vicissitudes of time. While the country has embraced modern science and technology beliefs that come from its civilisational thought are ingrained in the people.

Concept of a Human Being In Indian thought, a person is seen as the microcosm of the whole or macrocosm. Therefore, an individual can only understand his relationship with the universe and other beings by studying and understanding his own self. Human beings share natural traits with animals motivated by instincts, or pravrittis. But unlike animals, they have Buddhi or intelligence to

discriminate between proper and improper in the exercise of natural propensities, strengthen some and weaken others while delaying the satisfaction of some others. According to Indian thought, human consciousness has three main aspects: awareness or gyana; desires and emotions or ichcha; and action or kriya. All three have to be perfected through yoga – yoga being nothing but the discipline of mind and its instincts to enable an individual to understand himself, his environment and his relation with all beings around him. Gyana yoga widens his consciousness; bhakti yoga controls his desires and emotions and karma yoga teaches him righteous and disinterested performance of his duties in action. This is the triune path explained in the Gita. Other kinds of yoga include Hatha Yoga for control and perfection of body; Kundalini Yoga, to awaken the dormant and potential

Aspects of Indian Heritage powers beyond consciousness; and Raja-Yoga to experience of Samadhi through gradual concentration of the mind. The yogas do not depend only on sensory observation but refine and perfect the processes of introspection, intuition and Samadhi or mystic experience. They make one realise that an individual is the centre of a circle whose circumference is nowhere i.e. it is infinite. Also, in his deeper nature, he is identical with the deepest spirit that sustains and pervades the universe. In his ultimate essence he is one with the essence of the world. Hence the Upanishads boldly proclaim Ayam Atman Brahman or this Self is the Absolute Reality; or

Aham Brahmasmi or I am the Absolute, or Tat TvamAsi or That thou art.

Interconnectedness All creation being rooted in the same Brahman, is necessarily interconnected although apparently isolated on the surface. That is why Isha Upanishad states that whosoever beholds all beings in the same Self and the same Self in all beings does not hate anybody. When a man knows that all beings are ultimately the Self and realizes this unity in experience, then there remains no delusion or grief for him. However, such a realisation can only come, through an awareness of the various experiences that every individual passes

through because of the structure of his being. He has three shariras or bodies. He is the physical body or the annamayasharira through which he functions in his waking state. The subtle body or the Sukshmasharira is constituted by the pranas or the vital energies, sensory and motor powers or gyananendriyas and karmendriyas and the subtle elements of mind, intelligence and ego. Through this, an individual functions both in the waking and in the dream state. Finally, the causal body or the karanasharir which is the deep sleep state when all cognizance comes to an end but potentialities remain. All of us pass through all the three states everyday in our lives giving a variety to our experiences.

Four Goals of Life There are four purushastras or goals to guide the individual through life. These are dharma or duty, artha or wealth, kama or desire

including sexual desire, and moksha or ultimate liberation from all desire. There are many interpretations of these terms but in essence, any thought or action that supports, nurtures, consoles, and uplifts is dharmic or right conduct. Hence, it is human duty to attain wealth and fulfil desires but in a way that is dharmic, that is it must sustain and contribute to the good of all. And moksha is not some sterile cessation of desire but a state of perfect equilibrium, indifference to both pain and delight; like and dislike; without any prejudices or biases aware that everything is rooted in the self same Brahman. The final resolution to all ambiguities and contradictions is the reliance on one’s own Buddhi or reason or intelligence to determine the truth or falsity of a judgement. (Dr Kavita A. Sharma is the President of South Asian University, New Delhi).

India’s concept of Indo-Pacific is inclusive and across oceans Huma Siddiqui The acceptance of the Indo-Pacific as a single strategic construct linking the contiguous waters of the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean has gained currency in the last few years with the shift in the geopolitical centre of gravity to this region. Globalisation, trade dependence, the seamless connectivity of the maritime domain and the changing nature of the maritime threat becoming more transnational in nature has blurred physical boundaries and raised awareness of the importance of ensuring secure seas for the unhindered movement of trade and energy. This has also coincided with the remarkable rise of China, unprecedented historically by its sheer scale and ambition. It's territorial claims in the South China Sea, its belligerence in the East China Sea and its rapid advance into the Indian Ocean through ambitious strategic and economic initiatives like the Belt-andRoad Initiative have challenged the established an international rules-based system which respected the oceans as the common heritage of mankind. The Indo-Pacific construct means different things to different people. For the US, it extends up to the west coast of India which is also the geographic boundary of the US IndoPacific command whereas for India it includes the entire Indian Ocean and the western Pacific as highlighted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his keynote speech at the Shangrila Dialogue in 2018.

What did Prime Minister Modi say at Shangrila Dialogue in 2018? In his speech he had clearly indicated the geographical reach of India’s idea of the Indo-Pacific starting from Africa to the Americas, which covers both the Indian and Pacific Oceans, in tandem with that of Japan. He had also emphasised on a few major aspects which reflect India’s policy perspective on Indo-Pacific, which included “inclusiveness”, “openness”, “ASEAN centrality” and that the concept was not directed against any country. Similarly, while the US does not consider China a part of its Indo-Pacific construct, India has gone to great length to highlight it as an inclusive construct for the whole region, a fact also highlighted by Prime Minister Modi at the same Shangrila Dialogue. The other major powers which can shape the regional maritime environment like Japan, Australia, South Korea and the ASEAN nations too have differing

perspectives. The focus of the Indo Pacific initiative is on connectivity, enhancing maritime security, counterterrorism, non-proliferation and cyber issues. Last November, senior officials from the US, Australia, India, and Japan had met in Singapore for consultations on the Indo Pacific region. And all had re-affirmed a shared commitment to maintain and strengthen a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific in which all nations are sovereign, strong and prosperous. And shared support for a free, open and inclusive region that fosters universal respect for international law, freedom of navigation and overflight and sustainable development.

Indo-Pacific Maritime Cooperation The major focus of the IndoPacific is based on oceans, which is the common thread that connects all. Countries including India, Indonesia, Singapore, and Sri Lanka, primarily maritime nations occupy the most important strategic positions in the

Indian Ocean. The government has introduced the concept of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region) and believes in an Indo-Pacific that is free, open and inclusive, and one that is founded upon a cooperative and collaborative rules-based order.

Indo-Pacific Maritime Dialogue & Exercises In continuation of the process of engaging the global strategic community in an annual review of India’s opportunities and challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, the second edition of Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) - 2019 was held in New Delhi in March this year. The participating countries discussed five main issues including solutions for achieving cohesion in the region through maritime connectivity; what steps can be taken to attain and maintain a free-andopen Indo-Pacific; a regional approach to the region’s transition from the existing ‘Brown’ to a ‘Blue’ economy; what is the opportunities

and challenges arising from the maritime impact of ‘Industry 4.0’; and India’s ‘SAGAR’ and ‘SAGARMALA’ could be made mutuallyreinforcing on a regional level. Countries of the IndoPacific — Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America participated. The theme of this annual dialogue is a review of India’s opportunities and challenges in the IndoPacific region. Being extremely careful of its relationship with China, India has tried to keep away from several military and naval exercises. From the economic point of view, relationship with China, as it is India’s largest trading partner — and from a security perspective, the standoff in the Doklam valley which brought the two countries to a confrontation, followed by the Wuhan informal summit, efforts are on to improve ties. Though it is one of the major Indo-Pacific powers, it has not allowed countries like Australia to participate in the annual, Indian-led multinational Exercise Malabar. The first Malabar naval exercise was a joint Indo-US Naval exercise which started in 1992. However, there was a gap from 1998-2002 when the exercise was suspended due to India’s nuclear weapons tests. Since 2002, every year there has been the naval drill and Japan became a permanent participant in 2015. In the 22nd edition of the Malabar naval exercise in 2018, held for the first

time in waters off the coast of Guam, involved aircraft and ships from the Indian Navy, the US Navy, and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF). And once again India refused Australia’s bid to take part in the drill. The next round of Malabar Exercise is slated for late August-early September, where again it will be a drill involving India, US and Japan. Also, later this year in November, a tri-service exercise `Triumph’ involving the Armies, Navies and Air Forces of these three countries will take place. The Naval component of this exercise will take place at the Indian Naval base in Kakinada. Australia on its own has been participating in various exercises in the region, which is driven by Canberra’s 2016 Defence White Paper which talks about increased engagement in multinational exercises across the Indo-Pacific. And has been cautious in engaging in activities in the IndoPacific that may directly confront and anger China. Hence while the IndoPacific construct is the USled maritime initiative and is yet to find the right direction amongst its partners, it has actually been taken to heart by China which, in the meantime, has extended its naval footprint from Djibouti at the western extremity of the Indian Ocean where it has established a base to the eastern extreme of the western Pacific where it stakes a claim to the land and sea features. (Huma Siddiqui is a Senior Correspondent in The Financial Express Newspaper, New Delhi).


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The India way in foreign policy Manish Chand Purposeful, Pragmatic, and Proactive. Shaper, not an abstainer; stabiliser, rather than a disruptor; a net security provider and a dispenser of global good. India’s foreign policy has found a new vocabulary and framework, as articulated with masterly precision by the country’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar at the 5th edition of the Raisina Dialogue held in New Delhi recently. In foreign policy words matter, and hence this new lexicon of a rising India fittingly encapsulates the current form and trajectory of the country’s foreign policy in a world undergoing unprecedented transformation.

Shaper & Stabiliser A new India is emerging in the second decade of the 21stcentury, which is proactively shaping the international agenda on a wide array of cross-cutting issues. This new India, with its around $3 trillion economy and surging aspirations of over 1.3 billion people, is poised to reclaim its place under the global sun. In a wide-ranging conversation on The India Way at the Raisina Dialogue, Dr Jaishankar illuminated key features of a new foreign policy for a new India. “The India way would be to be more of a decider or a shaper rather than an abstainer,” he said while stressing that India has made a difference in the last few years on issues like climate change or connectivity. Most important, he fleshed out the kind of power India will be in the next few years. “It is not the India way to be a disruption-

ist power internationally, we should be a stabilizing power. It’s also not the India way to be self-centred and to be mercantilist. The India way would be a country which brings its capacities to bear on the international system for global good,” he said. Driven by the ethos of mutual empowerment, India has shared funds, technology and expertise with countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. In the spirit of South-South solidarity, India has committed around $29 billion in Line of Credit for a host of development projects in 160 countries.

Diplomatic Outreach As India’s global stature rises, the Indian government has also embarked on an unprecedented diplomatic outreach to mobilise global support for national resurgence. Cutting across hemispheres, the last few years have seen a record number

PM Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump

of high-level incoming and outgoing visits at the level of President, Prime Minister, Vice-President, External Affairs Minister and ministers. PM Modi alone has travelled to over 70 countries in the last five and a half years.

the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, as promised by PM Modi. Doubling GDP to $5 trillion economy is not possible without a conducive international environment and supportive external partnerships.

Diplomacy for a New India

Shaping Global Agenda

What animates this multifarious diplomatic outreach is the mantra of diplomacy for development which seeks to promote national resurgence. With the Indian government setting an ambitious target of creating a $5 trillion economy, the foreign policy is being directed to harness the network of partnerships with all friendly countries to create a ‘New India’ by 2022,

Looking ahead, with its growing global stature and rising expectations the world has of a resurgent India, PM Modi has advocated reformed multilateralism to create a new world order that reflects the ongoing shift of power and realities of the 21stcentury. India has also taken the lead in combating climate change by fulfilling its commitments under the Paris accord and taking a series of initiatives

for promoting a low-carbon economy. In a recognition of New Delhi’s leadership role in this area, more countries are joining the International Solar Alliance that seeks to usher in a white revolution for a clean and green world. India has launched a new international initiative called the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, which is finding greater global support.

Brand India Home to all major religions and diverse cultures, the idea of India as a vibrant pluralistic society has struck a chord making the world more amenable to India’s aspirations. This cultural connect is reflected in myriad ways, ranging from the

worldwide celebrations of the International Day of Yoga and the designation of Kumbh Mela as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. In building a New India, the 25-million strong Indian diaspora, spread across different countries and continents, will play an important role. As Dr Jaishankar puts it: “The India way would be really Brand India. Brand India in terms of what is unique to us as a power,” he said while alluding to the extraordinary Indian diaspora and Indian culture and heritage. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hasalsoencapsulated the essence of Brand India in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this year. Going forward, as it scripts its global ascent on its own terms, India will have to relentlessly assert its strategic autonomy as it navigates geopolitical rivalries to make independent decisions that benefit people of the country. This will entail dovetailing diplomacy with development and interweaving foreign policy with an unclouded vision of India as a leading power with a unique voice and narrative in a rapidly transforming world order.

(Manish Chand is Editor-in-Chief of India and the World magazine and India Writes Network, a portal focused on global affairs).

India’s Climate Change Policy: Towards a Better Future Shyam Saran As a populous, tropical developing country, India faces a bigger challenge in coping with the consequences of Climate Change than most other countries. Climate Change is a global phenomenon but with local consequences. There are both external and domestic dimensions to India’s Climate Change policy which has been articulated through two key documents. One is the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) adopted on June 30, 2008. The other is India’s Intended Nationally Determined Commitments (INDC) submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on October 2, 2015. The NAPCC has an essentially domestic focus. The INDC is a statement of intent on Climate Change action announced in the run up to the Paris Climate Change summit held in December the same

year. The NAPCC incorporates India’s vision of ecologically sustainable development and steps to be taken to implement it. It is based on the awareness that Climate Change action must proceed simultaneously on several intimately inter-related domains, such as energy, industry, agriculture, water, forests, urban spaces and the fragile mountain environment. This was the backdrop to the 8 National Missions spelt out in the NAPCC. This need for inter-related policy and coordinated action has been recognized, only several years later, in the adoption by the UN of the 17 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). The National Missions are on Solar Energy, Enhancing Energy Efficiency, creating a Sustainable Urban Habitat, Conserving Water, Sustaining the fragile Himalayan Eco-system, creating a Green India through expanded forests, making Agriculture Sustainable and

creating a Strategic Knowledge Platform for serving all the National Missions. The NAPCC acknowledged that Climate Change and Energy Security were two sides of the same coin; that India had to make a strategic shift from its current reliance on fossil fuels to a pattern of economic activity based progressively on renewable sources of energy such as solar energy and cleaner sources such as nuclear energy. Such a shift would enhance India’s energy security and contribute to dealing with the threat of Climate Change. Thus a cobenefit approach underlies India’s Climate Change strategy. The NAPCC constitutes India’s response to Climate Change based on its own resources but recognises that it is intimately linked to the parallel multilateral effort, based on the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC, to establish a global Climate Change regime. It was India’s hope that the ongoing multilateral negotiations under

the UNFCCC would yield an agreed outcome, based on the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibility and Respective Capabilities (CBDR), which would enable developing countries like India, through international financial support and technology transfer, to accelerate its shift towards a future of renewable and clean energy. While India has made significant progress in implementing several of the National Missions, its expectations of a supportive international Climate Change regime based on equitable burden sharing among nations, has been mostly belied. It is in this context that one should evaluate India’s subsequent NDC submitted on the eve of the crucial Paris Summit on Climate Change of December 2015. Prime Minister Modi has been one of the world leaders who has taken a keen interest in Climate Change issues. Under his leadership India decided to adopt a more proactive, ambitious and forward looking approach in the

run-up to the Paris Climate summit. This is reflected in the country’s INDC. India is actively reducing the component of coal based thermal power in its energy mix. It is not widely known that the country has a very high cess on coal, of the order of Rs.400 per tonne, proceeds from which go into a Clean Energy Fund. India is also committed to not building any new thermal plants which are not of the most efficient ultra-supercritical category. India played a major role in assuring the success of the Paris Climate summit and Prime Minister Modi’s personal intervention in the adoption of the landmark Paris Agreement was acknowledged by several world leaders. His initiative on the setting up an International Solar Alliance for promoting solar power worldwide was welcomed. India is advancing on a broad front to ensure a clean energy future for its people, drawing upon its ingrained civilisational attributes and

putting in place a wide range of policy interventions under the legal framework of the Energy Conservation Act, covering 15 energy intensive industries and the Energy Conservation Building Code, covering all new urban infrastructure. 32 states of the Indian Union have formulated and begun implementing their own State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC). There is also an active and vibrant civic society which is promoting citizens’ awareness of the threat of Climate Change and what each of us can do as individuals to meet this threat. It is hoped that India’s leadership in dealing with its own challenges of Climate Change and Energy Security will act as a spur to other countries to raise their own contributions to meeting this global and existential challenge. Failure to do so condemns humanity to an uncertain and possibly catastrophic denouement.

(Shyam Saran was a former Foreign Secretary of India).


16 R-DAY SPECIAL

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R-DAY SPECIAL

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

1 - 7 February 2020

17

1 - 7 February 2020

Cultural diversity, military and ‘Stree’ Padma Vibhushan for Jaitley, Sushma Shakti on display at Rajpath India’s cultural diversity and military prowess were on full display during the 71st Republic Day celebrations on Sunday at Rajpath. Though the climate was not very conducive - a thick fog had engulfed the city in the morning and tight security restrictions could not deter the enthusiastic crowd from gathering at the venue. Like every year, the armed forces took centre stage, parading an array of weapons and the state-of-the-art technology at their disposal. As many as 22 tableaux - 16 from states and union territories and the rest from various ministries and departments took part in the parade. The day saw many firsts: Brazilian president Jair Messias Bolsonaro, the chief guest, was received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at ceremony itself. the Bolsonaro, the third Brazilian head of state to grace a Republic Day parade, was accompanied by his Indian counterpart, Ram Nath Kovind. This was followed by the customary 21-gun salute and hoisting of the tricolour. Earlier, in another break from tradition, PM Modi accompanied by newlyappointed chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs, General M M Naravane, Admiral Karambir Singh and Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria, paid tributes to the country’s fallen soldiers at National War Memorial, instead of Amar Jawan Jyoti, ahead of the parade. Indigenously-developed battle tank T-90 Bhishma tank, infantry combat vehicle Ballway Machine Pikate, selfpropelled K-9 Vajra gun and the Akash weapon system were the main attractions in the mechanised columns. Indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which is under development at Kochi Shipyard, and the newlyinducted Chinook heavy lift and Apache choppers were the other major attractions. Captain Tania Sher Gill, an officer serving with Army’s

President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Chief Guest of the Republic Day, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro.

Indian Army's Captain Tanya Shergill leading the 71st Republic Day parade at Rajpath

Corps of Signals, led an allmale marching contingent during the 90-minute parade, drawing admiration from the audience. Sher Gill had recently made history by becoming the first woman parade adjutant to lead an all-

men contingent during the Army Day function. Major Sheena Nayyar, the first Army officer in her family, led a contingent

of the transportable satellite terminal. The satellite system provides fail-safe secure communication to the forces on the move.

Women personnel were also part of the navy and air force marching contingents. At the end of the parade, an allwomen team of CRPF showcased their daredevil skills on motorcycles. For the first time, a DRDO

missile used during ‘Mission Shakti’ anti-satellite weapon test, which put India in the elite counter-space capability club, was shown during the parade. A 155mm “make-inIndia” Dhanush gun, developed by Ordnance Factory Board, was also displayed for the first time during the parade. Initial clearance has been given for bulk production of the 155mm indigenous gun. A model of fourth generation multirole fighter jet Rafale, which France will be delivering to India in phases as per the £5.9 billion deal for 36 aircraft, was part of the parade. A “Saravatra Bridge” system, a five-metre short span bridge system and an air defence tactical control radar made their debut at the parade. In all, there were 16 marching contingents, six from Army and the rest from Navy, Air Force, Central Armed Police Forces, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme. Apart from this, the 61st Cavalry in the uniform of the erstwhile Gwalior Lancers, the only active horse cavalry regiment in the world that was raised in 1953, took part. The flypast by IAF aircraft was unique this time as USmanufactured heavy-lift Chinook helicopters and deadliest attack helicopters Apaches, which were used in Iraq and Afghanistan war, made their debut. Both the imported helicopters, recently inducted into the IAF, flew in different formations over Rajpath. They were followed by Dornier aircraft, C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, an Airborne Early Warning and Control System aircraft and the “Globe” formation comprising three C-17 Globemasters, which left the viewers spellbound. Five Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft and five upgraded MiG-29 air superiority fighters in “Arrowhead” formation displayed their aerial manoeuvres. At the end, a fleet of Sukhoi-30 MKI jets split the sky with a breathtaking “Vertical Charlie” aerobatic manoeuvre.

BJP stalwarts Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj and socialist icon George Fernandes, all of whom passed away last year, have been honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second highest civilian honour after Bharat Ratna, in recognition of their services to public life and as parliamentarians. Another BJP luminary Manohar Parrikar, who had held the defence portfolio and was chief minister of Goa till he passed away in March 2019, has been awarded the Padma Bhushan posthumously.

The Padma Vibhushan list also includes the late Udupi Pejavara Math leader and votary of Ram Mandir Shri Vishveshateertha Swamiji, who worked for abolition of untouchability and had once thrown open the doors of his mutt for Muslims to host iftaar, Olympian boxer and Rajya Sabha MP Mary Kom and former Indian-origin PM of Mauritius Anerood Jugnauth. Padma list has 141 awards The Padma Awards list this year has 141 awards, including 7 Padma Vibhushan, 16 Padma Bhushan and 118 Padma Shri. There are 34 women among the awardees and 18 from the foreigners, NRI, PIO and OIC categories. As many as 12 awards were given

Arun Jaitley

posthumously. From Bollywood, actress Kangana Ranaut and producers Karan Johar and Ekta Kapoor, apart from singers Adnan Sami and Suresh Wadkar have received the Padma Shri honour. British MPs Bob Blackman and Barry Gardiner were among the Padma Shri award winners. Among the interesting picks are PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig, who has been at cross purposes with party leader Mehbooba Mufti and is seen as political factor in Jammu and Kashmir, and Congress veteran S C Jamir. Both have been honoured with Padma Bhushan. The honours for Jaitley and Swaraj are in keeping with the central role they played in BJP and Modi government and their long record as parliamentarians and eminent persons in public life. Swaraj was a charis-

Barry Gardiner

Sushma Swaraj

matic campaigner who made an early mark in electoral politics. Jaitley strode the world of law as a top-notch lawyer and was a well-regarded parliamentarian in opposition and government. The recognition to Fernandes is significant as he, along with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, broke ranks with socialist and Mandal parties to become BJP allies. Unsung heroes’ honoured At least five on the list of ‘unsung’ 21 Padma Shri awardees happen to be Muslims. The Modi government has gone beyond the traditional catchment area for awarding civilian decorations. Among the commoners honoured this year is late Abdul Jabbar, a 1983 Bhopal gas leak victim who ran an advocacy group for other victims and survivors. He provided vocational training to 2,300 widows of gas leak victims and fought for medical

rehabilitation of victims in courts. Kerala-born Sathyanarayan Mundayoor or ‘Uncle Moosa’, also awarded Padma Shri for social work, has been honoured for promoting education and reading culture in Arunachal Pradesh by starting a home library movement. Tribal woman from Karnataka, Tulasi Gowda, with no formal education, has been awarded Padma Shri on account of her vast knowledge of various species of plants and herbs. The services of Javed Ahmad Tak, a ‘divyang’ or physically challenged person from Anantnag (J&K), who has been working with specially-abled children for 2 decades, have also been recognised with a Padma Shri. Mohammad ‘Chacha’ Sharif from Uttar Pradesh, who has performed last rites of over 25,000 unclaimed bodies in and around Faizabad for past 25 years, has been honoured

Bob Blackman

for being “an apostle of communal harmony”. Another ‘divyang’ on the list includes S Ramakrishnan from Tamil Nadu, who has rehabilitated over 14,000 speciallya-bled people over four decades across 800 villages. ‘Langar Baba’ Jagdish Lal Ahuja, a Padma Shri winner, has been serving food daily to hundreds of poor patients and attendants outside PGIMER hospital in Punjab. He sold off his properties to fuel his mission and was undeterred even by his stomach cancer. Father-daughter awardee duo from Odisha - Radha Mohan and Sabarmatee - run a resource centre where they exchange seeds and learn organic farming. Doctor Arundoday Mondal who travels 6 hours everyday to treat patients in remote Sundarban villages in West Bengal, has been recognised for his selfless service after

having treated more than 4,000 people. Another doctor, oncologist Ravi Kannan who has treated over 70,000 cancer patients free of cost in Barak valley of Assam, has been awarded Padma Shri. Harekala Hajabba who educates poor children in his Dakshin Kannada village for 20 years through meagre earnings from selling oranges, has also been given Padma Shri. He had set up a Hajabba school initially at a mosque but later converted into into a zila panchayat higher primary school with the help of people and government. He now plans to upgrade it to a pre-university college . Popatrao Pawar, a sarpanch of Hiware Bazaar village in Maharashtra, transformed it from an impoverished, drought-prone village to a role model of village development. The village now has no BPL families, no alcohol consumption and is open defecation-free. Usha Chaumar, a Dalit woman from Rajasthan, who was a manual scavenger since seven years of age but was rescued by Nai Disha NGO of Sulabh International and now heads Sulabh International Social Service Organisation and leads the fight against manual scavenging, is also on the Padma Shri list.

Eight from Gujarat get Padma awards It was a moment of elation for eight from Gujarat who were selected for Padma honours. The awardees said that the recognition will inspire them to work harder. While B V Doshi, selected for Padma Bhushan, could not be contacted, he had said earlier that his work is an extension of his life, philosophy, and dreams. Prof Sudhir Jain, the founder-director of IIT-Gn, said that the prize is a great

honour. “I am humbled. Much of my earthquake engineering work happened in Gujarat after 2001,” he said. “And I got a chance of institution building at IIT-Gn. Thus, I owe a lot to Gujarat.” He said the award was a recognition of his colleagues too. Two stalwarts from performing arts have been selected for Padma awards. Shahbuddin Rathod, the renowned humourist from Thangadh, charted a new path in Gujarati

dayro and narrative style. Yazdi Karanjia from Surat keeps the Parsi theatre tradition alive. “Today, the nation has appreciated me and my work in the fields of arts and culture,” Karanjia said. “I humbly accept this and thank all my colleagues and family.” Gaffur Bilakhia, a Vapi businessman, has been recognized for his contribution to trade and industries. Dr Gurdip Singh has been honoured for his contribution to medicine. Narayan

J Joshi ‘Karayal’, the founder of Kachchi Sahitya Kala Sangh, works for the revival of Kachchi language. Dr H M Desai, the vicechancellor of Nadiad-based Dharmasinh Desai University (DDU), said that he will accept the award on the behalf of the entire staff of the university and the hospital his institution runs. “It’s collective work for excellence and we are hopeful that the recognition will bring focus to our initiatives,” he said.

(Clockwise) BV Doshi, Sudhir Jain, Gafur Bilakhia and HM Desai

Indians across the world celebrate R-Day Thousands of Indians across the world enthusiastically celebrated the 71st Republic Day on Sunday and participated in various cultural events with unfurling of the tricolour and singing of the national anthem.

Enthusiastic Indian Americans celebrated the RDay outside the country's embassy in Washington DC with much fervour, even as a dozen pro-Khalistani supporters tried to dampen their spirit by raising anti-India slogans. While the diaspora celebrated the Republic Day, about 10-12 pro-Khalistani supporters present outside the embassy raised anti-India slogans and attempted to burn the tri-colour along with copies of the Indian

Constitution. Amit Kumar, India's Charge d'affaires at Washington, unfurled the tricolour and reading out President Ram Nath Kovind's Republic Day address. A flag-hoisting ceremony was held with much gaiety at the Embassy of India, Berlin to mark the 71st Republic Day. The ‘tiranga’ was unfurled by the Ambassador of India to Germany Mrs. Mukta Dutta Tomar, followed by singing of the National Anthem. The Ambassador conveyed warm greetings and felicitations to the Indian community and read out President’s address to the Nation which is traditionally delivered on the eve of the Republic Day. Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka

Republic Day celebrated outside embassy in Washington

Taranjit Singh Sandhu led the Indian community during the celebrations at the India House on Sunday. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, along with his wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa, joined the Indian diaspora to celebrate the day organised by the Indian High Commission at

the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall in Colombo on Saturday. The High Commission of India in Canberra, Australia, organised the event at the India House. Celebrations to mark the day were also organised by the Consulate Generals of India in Sydney

and Melbourne. The Indian High Commission in Pakistan celebrated the day with Charge d'affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia hoisting the tricolour and reading out President Ram Nath Kovind's address. "High Commission of India in Pakistan celebrated the 71st Republic Day with great enthusiasm and joy," the Indian High Commission in Pakistan tweeted. "A cultural program presented by members of the High Commission of India enthralled the audience. The performances brought out the beauty, diversity and the idea of India contained in the Constitution," it said. In Bangladesh, Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das unfurled the national flag and read out President Kovind's address.

"Young Children from the Indian Community presented a cultural program. Members of the Indian Community participated in large numbers," the Indian High Commission in Dhaka tweeted. The Mahar regimental band of the Indian Army, which was specially flown in for the occasion, played the national anthem. In Nepal, members of the Indian community, friends of India and officials participated in the Republic Day celebrations at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu. Indian Ambassador to Israel Sanjeev Singla hoisted the national flag and read out the President's message as he joined the Indian community during the Republic Day celebrations at the Embassy in Tel Aviv.


16 R-DAY SPECIAL

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

www.asian-voice.com

www.asian-voice.com

AsianVoiceNews

R-DAY SPECIAL

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

1 - 7 February 2020

17

1 - 7 February 2020

Cultural diversity, military and ‘Stree’ Padma Vibhushan for Jaitley, Sushma Shakti on display at Rajpath India’s cultural diversity and military prowess were on full display during the 71st Republic Day celebrations on Sunday at Rajpath. Though the climate was not very conducive - a thick fog had engulfed the city in the morning and tight security restrictions could not deter the enthusiastic crowd from gathering at the venue. Like every year, the armed forces took centre stage, parading an array of weapons and the state-of-the-art technology at their disposal. As many as 22 tableaux - 16 from states and union territories and the rest from various ministries and departments took part in the parade. The day saw many firsts: Brazilian president Jair Messias Bolsonaro, the chief guest, was received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at ceremony itself. the Bolsonaro, the third Brazilian head of state to grace a Republic Day parade, was accompanied by his Indian counterpart, Ram Nath Kovind. This was followed by the customary 21-gun salute and hoisting of the tricolour. Earlier, in another break from tradition, PM Modi accompanied by newlyappointed chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs, General M M Naravane, Admiral Karambir Singh and Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria, paid tributes to the country’s fallen soldiers at National War Memorial, instead of Amar Jawan Jyoti, ahead of the parade. Indigenously-developed battle tank T-90 Bhishma tank, infantry combat vehicle Ballway Machine Pikate, selfpropelled K-9 Vajra gun and the Akash weapon system were the main attractions in the mechanised columns. Indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which is under development at Kochi Shipyard, and the newlyinducted Chinook heavy lift and Apache choppers were the other major attractions. Captain Tania Sher Gill, an officer serving with Army’s

President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Chief Guest of the Republic Day, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro.

Indian Army's Captain Tanya Shergill leading the 71st Republic Day parade at Rajpath

Corps of Signals, led an allmale marching contingent during the 90-minute parade, drawing admiration from the audience. Sher Gill had recently made history by becoming the first woman parade adjutant to lead an all-

men contingent during the Army Day function. Major Sheena Nayyar, the first Army officer in her family, led a contingent

of the transportable satellite terminal. The satellite system provides fail-safe secure communication to the forces on the move.

Women personnel were also part of the navy and air force marching contingents. At the end of the parade, an allwomen team of CRPF showcased their daredevil skills on motorcycles. For the first time, a DRDO

missile used during ‘Mission Shakti’ anti-satellite weapon test, which put India in the elite counter-space capability club, was shown during the parade. A 155mm “make-inIndia” Dhanush gun, developed by Ordnance Factory Board, was also displayed for the first time during the parade. Initial clearance has been given for bulk production of the 155mm indigenous gun. A model of fourth generation multirole fighter jet Rafale, which France will be delivering to India in phases as per the £5.9 billion deal for 36 aircraft, was part of the parade. A “Saravatra Bridge” system, a five-metre short span bridge system and an air defence tactical control radar made their debut at the parade. In all, there were 16 marching contingents, six from Army and the rest from Navy, Air Force, Central Armed Police Forces, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme. Apart from this, the 61st Cavalry in the uniform of the erstwhile Gwalior Lancers, the only active horse cavalry regiment in the world that was raised in 1953, took part. The flypast by IAF aircraft was unique this time as USmanufactured heavy-lift Chinook helicopters and deadliest attack helicopters Apaches, which were used in Iraq and Afghanistan war, made their debut. Both the imported helicopters, recently inducted into the IAF, flew in different formations over Rajpath. They were followed by Dornier aircraft, C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, an Airborne Early Warning and Control System aircraft and the “Globe” formation comprising three C-17 Globemasters, which left the viewers spellbound. Five Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft and five upgraded MiG-29 air superiority fighters in “Arrowhead” formation displayed their aerial manoeuvres. At the end, a fleet of Sukhoi-30 MKI jets split the sky with a breathtaking “Vertical Charlie” aerobatic manoeuvre.

BJP stalwarts Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj and socialist icon George Fernandes, all of whom passed away last year, have been honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second highest civilian honour after Bharat Ratna, in recognition of their services to public life and as parliamentarians. Another BJP luminary Manohar Parrikar, who had held the defence portfolio and was chief minister of Goa till he passed away in March 2019, has been awarded the Padma Bhushan posthumously.

The Padma Vibhushan list also includes the late Udupi Pejavara Math leader and votary of Ram Mandir Shri Vishveshateertha Swamiji, who worked for abolition of untouchability and had once thrown open the doors of his mutt for Muslims to host iftaar, Olympian boxer and Rajya Sabha MP Mary Kom and former Indian-origin PM of Mauritius Anerood Jugnauth. Padma list has 141 awards The Padma Awards list this year has 141 awards, including 7 Padma Vibhushan, 16 Padma Bhushan and 118 Padma Shri. There are 34 women among the awardees and 18 from the foreigners, NRI, PIO and OIC categories. As many as 12 awards were given

Arun Jaitley

posthumously. From Bollywood, actress Kangana Ranaut and producers Karan Johar and Ekta Kapoor, apart from singers Adnan Sami and Suresh Wadkar have received the Padma Shri honour. British MPs Bob Blackman and Barry Gardiner were among the Padma Shri award winners. Among the interesting picks are PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig, who has been at cross purposes with party leader Mehbooba Mufti and is seen as political factor in Jammu and Kashmir, and Congress veteran S C Jamir. Both have been honoured with Padma Bhushan. The honours for Jaitley and Swaraj are in keeping with the central role they played in BJP and Modi government and their long record as parliamentarians and eminent persons in public life. Swaraj was a charis-

Barry Gardiner

Sushma Swaraj

matic campaigner who made an early mark in electoral politics. Jaitley strode the world of law as a top-notch lawyer and was a well-regarded parliamentarian in opposition and government. The recognition to Fernandes is significant as he, along with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, broke ranks with socialist and Mandal parties to become BJP allies. Unsung heroes’ honoured At least five on the list of ‘unsung’ 21 Padma Shri awardees happen to be Muslims. The Modi government has gone beyond the traditional catchment area for awarding civilian decorations. Among the commoners honoured this year is late Abdul Jabbar, a 1983 Bhopal gas leak victim who ran an advocacy group for other victims and survivors. He provided vocational training to 2,300 widows of gas leak victims and fought for medical

rehabilitation of victims in courts. Kerala-born Sathyanarayan Mundayoor or ‘Uncle Moosa’, also awarded Padma Shri for social work, has been honoured for promoting education and reading culture in Arunachal Pradesh by starting a home library movement. Tribal woman from Karnataka, Tulasi Gowda, with no formal education, has been awarded Padma Shri on account of her vast knowledge of various species of plants and herbs. The services of Javed Ahmad Tak, a ‘divyang’ or physically challenged person from Anantnag (J&K), who has been working with specially-abled children for 2 decades, have also been recognised with a Padma Shri. Mohammad ‘Chacha’ Sharif from Uttar Pradesh, who has performed last rites of over 25,000 unclaimed bodies in and around Faizabad for past 25 years, has been honoured

Bob Blackman

for being “an apostle of communal harmony”. Another ‘divyang’ on the list includes S Ramakrishnan from Tamil Nadu, who has rehabilitated over 14,000 speciallya-bled people over four decades across 800 villages. ‘Langar Baba’ Jagdish Lal Ahuja, a Padma Shri winner, has been serving food daily to hundreds of poor patients and attendants outside PGIMER hospital in Punjab. He sold off his properties to fuel his mission and was undeterred even by his stomach cancer. Father-daughter awardee duo from Odisha - Radha Mohan and Sabarmatee - run a resource centre where they exchange seeds and learn organic farming. Doctor Arundoday Mondal who travels 6 hours everyday to treat patients in remote Sundarban villages in West Bengal, has been recognised for his selfless service after

having treated more than 4,000 people. Another doctor, oncologist Ravi Kannan who has treated over 70,000 cancer patients free of cost in Barak valley of Assam, has been awarded Padma Shri. Harekala Hajabba who educates poor children in his Dakshin Kannada village for 20 years through meagre earnings from selling oranges, has also been given Padma Shri. He had set up a Hajabba school initially at a mosque but later converted into into a zila panchayat higher primary school with the help of people and government. He now plans to upgrade it to a pre-university college . Popatrao Pawar, a sarpanch of Hiware Bazaar village in Maharashtra, transformed it from an impoverished, drought-prone village to a role model of village development. The village now has no BPL families, no alcohol consumption and is open defecation-free. Usha Chaumar, a Dalit woman from Rajasthan, who was a manual scavenger since seven years of age but was rescued by Nai Disha NGO of Sulabh International and now heads Sulabh International Social Service Organisation and leads the fight against manual scavenging, is also on the Padma Shri list.

Eight from Gujarat get Padma awards It was a moment of elation for eight from Gujarat who were selected for Padma honours. The awardees said that the recognition will inspire them to work harder. While B V Doshi, selected for Padma Bhushan, could not be contacted, he had said earlier that his work is an extension of his life, philosophy, and dreams. Prof Sudhir Jain, the founder-director of IIT-Gn, said that the prize is a great

honour. “I am humbled. Much of my earthquake engineering work happened in Gujarat after 2001,” he said. “And I got a chance of institution building at IIT-Gn. Thus, I owe a lot to Gujarat.” He said the award was a recognition of his colleagues too. Two stalwarts from performing arts have been selected for Padma awards. Shahbuddin Rathod, the renowned humourist from Thangadh, charted a new path in Gujarati

dayro and narrative style. Yazdi Karanjia from Surat keeps the Parsi theatre tradition alive. “Today, the nation has appreciated me and my work in the fields of arts and culture,” Karanjia said. “I humbly accept this and thank all my colleagues and family.” Gaffur Bilakhia, a Vapi businessman, has been recognized for his contribution to trade and industries. Dr Gurdip Singh has been honoured for his contribution to medicine. Narayan

J Joshi ‘Karayal’, the founder of Kachchi Sahitya Kala Sangh, works for the revival of Kachchi language. Dr H M Desai, the vicechancellor of Nadiad-based Dharmasinh Desai University (DDU), said that he will accept the award on the behalf of the entire staff of the university and the hospital his institution runs. “It’s collective work for excellence and we are hopeful that the recognition will bring focus to our initiatives,” he said.

(Clockwise) BV Doshi, Sudhir Jain, Gafur Bilakhia and HM Desai

Indians across the world celebrate R-Day Thousands of Indians across the world enthusiastically celebrated the 71st Republic Day on Sunday and participated in various cultural events with unfurling of the tricolour and singing of the national anthem.

Enthusiastic Indian Americans celebrated the RDay outside the country's embassy in Washington DC with much fervour, even as a dozen pro-Khalistani supporters tried to dampen their spirit by raising anti-India slogans. While the diaspora celebrated the Republic Day, about 10-12 pro-Khalistani supporters present outside the embassy raised anti-India slogans and attempted to burn the tri-colour along with copies of the Indian

Constitution. Amit Kumar, India's Charge d'affaires at Washington, unfurled the tricolour and reading out President Ram Nath Kovind's Republic Day address. A flag-hoisting ceremony was held with much gaiety at the Embassy of India, Berlin to mark the 71st Republic Day. The ‘tiranga’ was unfurled by the Ambassador of India to Germany Mrs. Mukta Dutta Tomar, followed by singing of the National Anthem. The Ambassador conveyed warm greetings and felicitations to the Indian community and read out President’s address to the Nation which is traditionally delivered on the eve of the Republic Day. Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka

Republic Day celebrated outside embassy in Washington

Taranjit Singh Sandhu led the Indian community during the celebrations at the India House on Sunday. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, along with his wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa, joined the Indian diaspora to celebrate the day organised by the Indian High Commission at

the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall in Colombo on Saturday. The High Commission of India in Canberra, Australia, organised the event at the India House. Celebrations to mark the day were also organised by the Consulate Generals of India in Sydney

and Melbourne. The Indian High Commission in Pakistan celebrated the day with Charge d'affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia hoisting the tricolour and reading out President Ram Nath Kovind's address. "High Commission of India in Pakistan celebrated the 71st Republic Day with great enthusiasm and joy," the Indian High Commission in Pakistan tweeted. "A cultural program presented by members of the High Commission of India enthralled the audience. The performances brought out the beauty, diversity and the idea of India contained in the Constitution," it said. In Bangladesh, Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das unfurled the national flag and read out President Kovind's address.

"Young Children from the Indian Community presented a cultural program. Members of the Indian Community participated in large numbers," the Indian High Commission in Dhaka tweeted. The Mahar regimental band of the Indian Army, which was specially flown in for the occasion, played the national anthem. In Nepal, members of the Indian community, friends of India and officials participated in the Republic Day celebrations at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu. Indian Ambassador to Israel Sanjeev Singla hoisted the national flag and read out the President's message as he joined the Indian community during the Republic Day celebrations at the Embassy in Tel Aviv.


18 FINANCE - UK

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Britain to launch 'global talent visa' days after EU exit

The British government has announced it will launch a “global talent visa” on February 20 to encourage scientists, researchers and mathematicians to come to the UK, with no limit on how many people can be accepted. Prime Minister Boris Johnson added that he was making a £300m package available for research into advanced mathematics. It will double funding for new PhDs and boost the number of maths fellowships and research projects. As Brexit day, January 31 inches closer, BoJo said, “As we leave the EU I want to send a message that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world, and stand ready to support them to turn their ideas into reality.” The fast-track visa comes as a replacement of the old tier-one “exceptional talent” visa route that allowed applicants to be endorsed by the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, the British Academy, Tech Nation or Arts Council England. Applications were previously capped at 2,000 per year, however, the limit was never reached. Under the new scheme, the UK Research and Innovation funding agency will also be able to recommend applicants. It has been mentioned that applicants will not need a job offer before arriving in the UK under the visa and it will provide an accelerated path to settlement for all scientists and researchers who are endorsed.

UK must create 120,000 green energy jobs by 2030 to meet targets The National Grid has warned that UK must recruit more than 100,000 people to fill green energy roles within a decade if the government hopes to meet its binding climate targets. A report by the company found that Britain needs to fill 120,000 roles in the green energy industry by 2030 to help develop projects that can cut greenhouse gas emissions to near zero. That number is likely to reach 400,000 by 2050, when the government expects to have developed a clean energy system based on renewable electricity, green heating systems and electric vehicles. The growing need for new recruits to power the UK’s climate targets is expected to emerge as Britain faces a green energy jobs crunch over the next 10 years. The report warned that a fifth of employees in the energy sector are due to retire by 2030. The UK’s energy industry faces stiff competition from other sectors and has a narrow pipeline of young people pursuing Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) qualifications to draw from, it said. The UK’s plan to cut emissions to virtually zero, and offset unavoidable pollution through carbon capture schemes, will require major investments in offshore wind, clean heating schemes, electric vehicles and carbon-capture technology. The energy industry is expected to use its role in tackling the global climate crisis to encourage young graduates into the industry. Nicola Shaw, the executive director of National Grid, said: “The time is now for the sector to rise to the challenge and overcome the longstanding issues we face in recruiting a diverse workforce with the right skills to deliver on the UK’s ambitions.” Research carried out by YouGov has found that people of all ages, from all regions across the UK, are “looking for a job with environmental purpose”. More than eight in 10 women and seven in 10 men have said they are keen to play their part in tackling climate change. Over half of adults are specifically looking to work for an organisation that is helping the UK to achieve its climate goals. The rising need for green energy jobs could bring opportunities for skilled tpeople, engineers and other specialists “across every region of the country”, the report said.

Former chancellor Hammond joins OakNorth as adviser Former British chancellor Philip Hammond just scored his second job since quitting national politics last year. He will be joining British business bank OakNorth as an adviser. The organisation lends to small businesses and operates a technology platform that helps lenders make decisions, which it has licensed to banks worldwide. It is funded by A-list investors including the Japanese SoftBank Vision Fund, which in turn is backed by Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund. OakNorth was valued at $2.8 billion at the time of its last fundraising. Founded by British entrepreneur

Philip Hammond

Rishi Khosla, the bank gained regulatory approval five years ago and unlike several fintech startups it is profitable, and made £34m in 2018. Also accumulating $17 billion in assets. Other members of OakNorth’s advisory board include the Tory grandee Francis Maude, the former CBI director general Adair

Turner and the former Bank of England director Martin Stewart. In a statement, the bank said, “As an adviser, Hammond will bring his passion for small and medium-size businesses, financial expertise and global perspective to the business as it continues to expand internationally.” Meanwhile, Hammond said, “Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of the British economy and communities globally. The development by OakNorth of a platform to deliver cost-effective lending to

them is a major boost to the potential of not only the British economy but economies worldwide.” Hammond was expelled from the Conservative party last September after voting to prevent Boris Johnson from taking Britain out of the EU without a deal, and he quit as an MP before last month’s general election. A week after stepping down, he was named as a non-executive director of the Irish metal and glass packaging firm Ardagh. Prior to becoming an MP in 1997, Hammond had a series of business ventures ranging from a medical devices company to a building business that specialised in homes and doctors’ surgeries.

UK banks approve highest number of mortgages since 2015 In the latest sign of a revival in the housing market, the number of mortgages approved by Britain's high street banks jumped to the highest level for almost five years in December. UK Finance reveals mortgage approvals for house purchases increased to 46,815 in December as compared with 44,058 a month earlier. The organisation that represents major high street banks across the country said the value of mortgage lending increased the most since March 2016, rising by a net £3.8bn. The brand new figures come at a time when the Bank of England weighs up cutting interest rates after

the UK economy flatlined at the end of last year amid intense political uncertainty over Brexit and the snap general elections. Retail sales unexpectedly dipped last month, while inflation dropped. However, a rise in mortgage borrowing, a jump in employment levels and increasing business confidence since Boris Johnson's election victory is expected to encourage BoE to leave rates on hold. Chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, Howard Archer, said it was likely that mortgage approvals were lifted by increased confidence since the election. He said, “Prior to November, mortgage approvals for house pur-

chases had fallen back for three successive months to be at a seven-month low in October, indicating that activity was being pressurised by heightened uncertainties over the domestic political situation and Brexit.” Consultancy Capital Economics quoted rate on a five-year fixed, 75 per cent

loan-to-value mortgage fell from 2.05 per cent in January 2019 to 1.69 per cent in December. Assistant Economist at Capital, Gabriella Dickens said, “So instead of reflecting a broader expansion in credit, much of the annual rise recorded by UK Finance reflects these lenders competing for market share.”

Former minister asks authorities to halt smart motorways scheme Former roads minister Mike Penning, who signed off on Britain's smart motorways has called for the scheme rollout to be halted immediately, accusing Highways England of killing motorists by “casually ignoring commitments” on safety systems. Penning, along with several MPs have published a report on the motorways, that allow motorists to drive on the hard shoulder to increase capacity. The report suggests that the admission made by Highways England chief executive Jim O'Sullivan that radar technology could have saved lives was “a gross public policy failure and a damning indictment of the agency's on-the-hoof approach.” Made by the allparty parliamentary group on roadside rescue and

recovery, the report described the recordings of 999 calls of motorists who had broken down in live lanes and were trapped in fast-moving traffic were “harrowing” and underscored that “many motorists don't know what to do in such situations.”

The report found that the proportion of smart motorway breakdowns that came to a halt in lanes of moving traffic was almost twice than that of normal motorways. It said that some recovery operators “knowing that many such stranded motorists have

been killed or seriously injured... choose to put their vehicle between the stranded motorist and the oncoming traffic. This impulse is understandable... however, it is completely unacceptable for them to be put in this position.” The MPs called for emergency refuge areas to be built every 800m, rather than the average spacing of 2500m in a bid to improve safety. Penning said the report's findings would be of “little succour to the families who are without loved ones today because of design faults in all lane running smart motorways.”


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REAL ESTATE VOICE

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A ROOM WITH A VIEW I was recently booked in to see a property in a popular block in W2. The property was a two bedroom flat, on the upper floors. I had an investor in mind with regards to this property, having sourced a few for him previously. He seemed to be on a mission to purchase up most of the block. Perhaps he was aiming to be the majority owner of the block which would then allow him to purchase the freehold. This then would open up planning opportunities; which would be very lucrative given the location.

Suresh Vagjiani Sow & Reap London Property Investment

We had been monitoring this property for several months now, and been watching the price. It had recently dropped to a level where we could make an offer. Looking at a two bedroom property in a block we are familiar with wasn’t really necessary; as all you’re doing is seeing a small rectangle shoe box, which is part of a larger rectangular box. Therefore, for us the process is driven primarily by price not by sight. The description of the property on the particulars were pretty standard: location, local amenities……blah blah. It was only when we got into the property, which took about 15 min – did I appreciate the real beauty of this flat. It was smack bang looking over the beautiful communal gardens and it was south facing. The benefit of this is it translates to a good level of sunlight all day. This means the property will have a good feel to it. None of this was not mentioned at all in the particulars. Instead, you had some generic information which could have been used to describe any flat in the block.

This property cannot be put into the same league as any of the other properties in the block. It is a cut above the rest.

Without even showing it to my investor, I know this will be a done deal. This deal nearly fell through the cracks. If the price hadn’t dropped we would not have looked at it.

Testimony to this will be its ability to rent out; and when it comes to the resell. I’m of the opinion this will not translate to a higher valuation for mortgage purposes. I’m doubtful they will consider the aspect and the direction the property is facing.

This is clearly a downside, as properties in this location at least deserve a view. One would have at the very least expected the agent selling it to highlight these massive plus points which actually will stand on their own legs and sell the property for you.

After the viewing it was clear this property had fallen through the cracks and had to be purchased.

The importance of view and aspect was recently reemphasised when I had a request from a client who wanted to look at the river on a Sunday morning, eating ghantia and chai; and why should he not enjoy such things? We have sourced him a property which does just this, and within the realm of his price range. He is yet to view the property, but I’m confident he will close the deal once he has viewed the property next week.

The agent was transparent enough to tell us the owners, who were from the Middle East, were there to do a deal. There is little point in throwing low ball offers back and forth. You and the agent lose credibility in the process. Instead, it’s better to get them on your side and then work with them to close the deal; which is what I am attempting to do.

AGONY AGENT IS HERE TO HELP! Q: Am I allowed to short let my BTL? A: First, check if your mortgage terms will allow you to short let the property, some will not, others may only allow it for a short period of time, for example one month. Second, check your lease, as the majority

of leases will not allow you to sublet or short let; or there may be a clause within the lease that says you must seek consent in order to do this.

how long you can short let your property for, before you have to apply for change of use from residential home to guesthouse.

Another point you need to be aware of, even if you do have consent from your mortgage provider and the freeholder, is that there is an actual law that governs

A property can be short let for a total of 90 nights in any 12 month period. For example, if you rent your property out for 1 month in January, 1 month in March

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No coercive action against telecom cos for dues: DoT The department of telecom (DoT) said that it won’t take coercive action against telecom firms to immediately recover dues, providing some relief to operators such as Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel. The decision came just before the deadline for payment of adjusted gross revenue (AGR). A fresh petition by telecom operators is to be heard by the Supreme Court next week. Reliance Jio, however, decided to pay its dues of around £19.5 million. The company had a much lower outstanding amount. The older companies, especially Vodafone Idea, are pinning their hopes on a relief on the payment schedule, and have said that lack of a sympathetic hearing could mean the end of their business. While Vodafone Idea

needs to pay £5.30 billion to the DoT in past dues following the October 24 AGR judgment, the amount due on Airtel is £3.56 billion and that on Tata Tele is nearly £1.40 billion. Overall, the Supreme Court had ordered the telecom industry to pay £14.7 billion on the matter while an amount of similar nature was also slapped on many stateowned utilities. The last date of payment was fixed as January 23. The DoT asked its administrative department to take “no coercive action” against the telecom companies in relation to the dues “until further orders”. It asked the ministry to file a “detailed status report of compliance, or otherwise.” Facing huge payment dues, both Vodafone Idea and Airtel had sought relief from the government. Both the companies, that had reported record losses in the

third quarter of fiscal 2019-20 (Vodafone Idea suffering the worst quarterly loss for any company in corporate India), are running huge debt running to over £10 billion. In their fresh plea this week, the companies said that they will pay up the AGR dues but need

an easy payment schedule to help them survive. A host of senior advocates had requested a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde for urgent hearing on their fresh pleas for working out a reasonable payment schedule to help the industry tide over difficult times.

Infy eyes more campus recruitment in US Infosys has been strengthening its base of college graduates in the US over the past two years, leveraging strong university connects. The idea is to mirror the strategy in India, where IT services companies have a broad base of young employees, a base that is built through campus hiring. Infosys has already surpassed its commitment, made in 2017, to hire 10,000 American workers at its US operations. The company does not disclose how many of these are campus recruits, but sources say a growing number is from universities. It has set up half a dozen technology centres to onboard the

talent pools of the future, including the newest one in Arizona where it plans to hire 1,000 people by 2023. Phil Fersht, CEO of USbased HfS Research, said Infosys is investing in a unique model in the US where they are building

the base of the pyramid via astute alliances with local community colleges where students are offered an Infosys digital qualification as part of their apprenticeship programme. “With client demands shifting to more business aligned needs enabled by technology, with closer intimacy and geographic placement of staff, the use of subcontractors is less appealing as they are often not aligned with Infosys culture and changing client needs (not to mention they are costlier). I see their evolving approach as gen-

uine innovation in global service deliver and others are trying to follow suit,” he said. Under pressure from the US administration to localise fast, Indian IT services companies have so far tended to depend on subcontractors who supply staff. But subcontracting expenses are rising fast. For Infosys, this expense rose by 40% to £603.1 million in 2018-19, compared to £429.8 million in the year before. In the first three quarters of this fiscal, the rise has been only 13% compared to the corresponding period last fiscal, a result of the company focusing on building its own employee base through campus recruitment.

Too many obstacles to do biz in India, says Tata Sons chief Chandrasekaran Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran said that India is fraught with micromanagement and suspicion, and upping the growth trajectory requires removing the obstacles that impede businesses.

Growth cannot come by merely pushing people to move fast and requires a transformative vision and a change in the culture, he said while delivering the Nani Palkhivala Memorial Lecture. His comments came when the growth in the country is likely to slip to 5% in the current fiscal, and also years after the Narendra Modi government made ease of doing business as its priority. “We need to reimagine our economic and business culture. Culture is most critical. Growth must not come from pushing hard. There is no point to tell people ‘drive fast’. It (growth) will come by removing obstacles,” he said. A “transformative vision” which will ensure we move away from “a controlled vision of micromanage-

N Chandrasekaran

ment” is the need of the hour, he said. “We need supervision, we don’t need suspicion. And we have suspicion. All our rules start from suspicion,” Chandrasekaran said. He rued that people who work hard and honestly are put through enormous difficulties and Indians excel in making an ordinary task into an extraordinary one. There is a massive risk aversion within

the system, which has led to an “undesirable equilibrium” where it is safer to avoid or delay decisions, he said, pitching for better oversight and supervision of work. Achieving growth inherently involves risk taking and we need to applaud the risk takers, he said. The biggest aspect which India needs to sort out at the earliest is ensuring that we deliver jobs for society at large, he

said, warning that 90 million people will be joining the working age in the new decade. From a sectoral perspective, Chandrasekaran flagged construction, real estate, infrastructure, power, banking and tourism as the areas which need policymakers’ attention. Chandraseakaran, who sits on the central board of the RBI, also pitched for reducing the state ownership in the public sector banks through stake sales as a measure which will ensure they perform better. Discoms are losing over £14 billion every year due to poor distribution and there is need to privatise them at a city level, he said. Referring to the government’s $5 trillion GDP target, he said none of the milestones can be achieved without ensuring educated, skilled and vibrant workforce. He also advocated policy efforts on sustainability, inclusion, health and education, and added that creativity, collaboration and problem solving become the “second nature” for the youth.

in brief

TCS FASTEST GROWING BRAND OF THE DECADE

TCS has made it to the fastest growing brand of the decade and positions it among the top three brands in IT services globally, according to brand valuation firm Brand Finance in its 2020 Global 500 report. Its brand value increased nearly six-fold since 2010 to $13.5 billion in 2019. TCS’s year-onyear brand value grew from $12.8 billion to $13.5 billion, making it the fastest-growing among the top three IT services brands for the second year running. “Our principal goal is to be the primary growth and transformation partner for our customers,” said its COO N Ganapathy Subramaniam. “This accolade is further recognition of the strength and depth of our Business 4.0 framework, which underpins everything we’re doing to transform industries and business models.” Brand Finance’s Brand Guardianship Index has named TCS CEO Rajesh Gopinathan among the top 100 global CEOs worldwide. The index rates CEOs on how well they measure up as brand ambassadors, based on marketing investments, growth in stakeholder equity and business performance. However, Gopinathan’s 2020 ranking has dropped to 69, from 53 in 2019.

GOVT CLEARS 100% FDI IN AIRTEL

The department of telecom (DoT) has approved raising of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Bharti Airtel to 100% from existing 49%, a move that is expected to give flexibility to the loss-making company in raising foreign funds. The company also has received an approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that allows foreign investors to hold up to 74% stake in a company, it said in a stock exchange filing. “Bharti Airtel has received the approval from the DoT for increasing the limit of foreign investment up to 100% of the paid-up capital of the company,” the filing said. The approval comes one day before the company has to clear statutory liabilities of up to nearly £ 3.56 billion, of which £2.17 billion is licence fee and another £1.39 billion is spectrum dues (excluding dues of Telenor and Tata Teleservices). These dues come after the October 24 Supreme Court order related to Adjusted Gross Revenues (AGRs).

BOB SUFFERS £140.7 MN LOSS IN Q3

Bank of Baroda reported a loss of £140.7 million for the quarter ended December 2019 as against a net profit of £47.1 million in the corresponding quarter last year. The main reason behind the loss is a £662 million provision toward defaults and stressed loans, nearly double of last year’s £341.6 million. While the results were signed by newlyappointed CEO Sanjiv Chadha, the bank has been without a chief for most of the quarter under review after former managing director & chief executive officer P S Jayakumar completed his term in October 2019. In a statement, the bank said its fresh slippage of loans into default category rose to £1.039 billion. As a result the bank’s gross NPA (GNPA) was £7.31 billion as on December 31 compared to £6.99 billion as on September 30.

INDIA'S MOBILE EXPORTS GROW IN APRIL-NOV

Amid falling exports, mobile phones have emerged as a bright spot, with shipments out of India trebling to nearly $2.5 billion (over £1.7 billion) during April-November with over half the cellphones shipped to the UAE. Data pointed to a spurt in mobile exports after several assembly units came up in the country. The list of exporters includes Apple, which is shipping iPhones, as well as other prominent brands such as One Plus and homegrown ones such as Lava and Karbonn.


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PAKISTAN

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in brief INDIAN STUDENT STABBED IN TORONTO

An Indian student, Rachel Albert from Tamil Nadu, has been stabbed by an unidentified assailant in Canada's Toronto. India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar asked MEA officials to arrange a visa for the family. “Family members may immediately contact us," Jaishankar said in a tweet. The 23-yearold sustained stab wounds to her neck during the assault, local media reported. She was subsequently rushed to a trauma centre with life-threatening injuries. Although she underwent surgery, she remains in hospital in critical condition. The Toronto Police in a tweet described the suspect as an Asian male in his mid-20s. The police Operations also tweeted phone numbers to seek any information about the case.

PAK HINDU BRIDE ABDUCTED; FORCIBLY MARRIED TO MUSLIM

In yet another case of forced conversion in Pakistan, a Hindu girl was abducted during her wedding ceremony and was married off to a Muslim man after being converted to Islam. The woman - Bharti Bai - was abducted by a group of people during her marriage ceremony in Hala, a city located in Matiari district in Sindh province. She was then married to Shah Rukh Gul. The authorities have not taken any action against the abductors. According to reports, the police helped the men in forcibly taking away the bride. Every year, around 1,000 young Sindhi Hindu girls between the age of 12 and 28 are abducted, forcibly married and converted to Islam, US-based Sindhi Foundation has said. Over the past few months, several incidents have come to fore highlighting the miserable condition of minorities in the country. In August last year, 19-year-old Jagjit Kaur remained missing for several days. Later she was forcibly married to a Muslim man by her abductors.

US DIPLOMAT WARNS PAK AGAINST CHINA INVESTMENT

Renewing her criticism of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), senior US diplomat Alice Wells has claimed that Chinese financing was adding to Pakistan’s debt burden and Islamabad should rethink its involvement with the project, local newspapers reported. China was quick to reject Wells’ remarks, saying “they were nothing new.” Speaking at an event in Islamabad, principal deputy assistant secretary Wells criticised China’s flagship project ‘One Belt One Road Initiative’, which CPEC is a part of. She said there was no transparency in CPEC projects and claimed that Pakistan’s debt burden was growing due to Chinese financing. “By getting Chinese financing for the projects, Pakistan was buying expensive loans and, as a buyer, it needed to be aware of what it was doing as this would take a heavy toll on its already struggling economy,” she was quoted as saying.

US TO IMPOSE VISA RESTRICTIONS FOR PREGNANT WOMEN

The Trump administration is coming out with new visa restrictions aimed at restricting “birth tourism”, in which women travel to the US to give birth so their children can have a US passport. Visa applicants deemed by consular officers to be coming to the US primarily to give birth will now be treated like other foreigners coming to US for medical treatment, according to state department guidance. The applicants will have to prove they are coming for medical treatment and they have the money to pay for it. The state department planned to publicise the rules, according to two officials.

India slams Pak for spewing venom and false narrative on Kashmir UNITED NATIONS: India has slammed Pakistan for 'spewing venom and false narratives' of monumental proportions in the United Nations, saying it takes to hate speech like fish takes to water and 'obfuscates' the international community from the truth as Islamabad yet again raked up the Kashmir issue at the world body. Pakistan consistently rakes up the Kashmir issue at various UN platforms in a bid to internationalise it but has repeatedly failed to get any support. Last week, Islamabad failed in its efforts to get any traction from the membership of the UN Security Council when its 'allweather ally' China made another pitch to raise the issue in the 15-nation Council. There was consensus among the rest of the Council members that Kashmir is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan. India's Deputy Permanent

K Nagaraj Naidu

Representative to the UN Ambassador K Nagaraj Naidu, speaking at a session of the General Assembly on 'Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization', said Pakistan 'indulges in confabulations and obfuscates the international community from the truth' instead of putting an end to the 'bellicose and vitriolic diatribe' and taking steps to restore normal ties. 'It's extremely surprising that a country that has completely decimated its minority population talks about protect-

ing minorities. Pakistan's practice of using false pretenses to distract from addressing the malaise that afflicts it has run its course. Pakistan needs to reflect that there are no takers for its false rhetoric and should get down to the normal business of diplomacy,' Naidu said. The Indian diplomat's strong response came after Saad Ahmed Warraich, Counsellor at Pakistan mission to the UN, raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in his remarks during the session, saying no other situation reflects the 'abdication' of the UN's responsibility to discharge its responsibilities more than the decades-old Jammu and Kashmir issue. China's latest attempt to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Security Council on

Pakistan's behalf failed last week, with an overwhelming majority of the body expressing the view that it was not the right forum to discuss the bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. It was China's third such attempt to raise the Kashmir issue at the UNSC since August last when the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution was scrapped by the government, and the state was bifurcated into two union territories. 'We once again saw an effort made by one member state of the UN, fail in plain view of all others. We are happy that neither alarmist scenario painted by the representatives of Pakistan nor any of the baseless allegations made repeatedly by representatives of Pakistan in the UN fora were found to be credible today,' India's Permenent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said last week.

Pak court sends Hindu girl to shelter home KARACHI: A 15-year-old Hindu girl, who was forcibly converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man in Pakistan's Sindh province, has been sent to a women protection centre following a court order, officials said. Mehak Kumari, a class IXth student, was allegedly abducted from Jacobabad district on January 15 by Ali Raza Solangi who later married her. Her father Vijay Kumar filed an FIR, claiming that Solangi had abducted and married her forcibly. He also said that her daughter was 15-year-old when she was abducted. Kumari and Solangi were produced before a court from where she was sent to the women police protection centre, according to court officials. The court also directed the Chandka Medical College Hospital to submit a report

about her age by February 3. According to a report, the Sindh Minorities Affairs Minister Hari Ram Kishori Lal has assured Kumari's family of full support. In a telephonic conversation with the leader of a Hindu group of Jacobabad district, the minister said that the Sindh government fully supports the stance of the family and the Hindu group. Lal said that forced conversion of minor Hindu girls has become a common issue, adding that Hindus of Sindh are its oldest inhabitants, and their lives and deaths are linked deeply with the soil of the province. He appealed to the authorities to take notice of the brutality and injustice being committed against Hindu girls and take measures to ensure security for the minority community. Lal, pointing out that Kumari could not marry until she was 18

Sikhs, Hindus hold protest in Jacobabad

under the legislation of the Child Marriage Restraint Act, said that her marriage was a crime as per the law. The minister praised the court's decision to send the girl to the protection centre, saying that girls in such

cases should not be handed over to those who were involved in their abduction. Abduction and conversion of Hindu women has been a major issue in Sindh province where the majority of Pakistani Hindus live.

Pak non-committal on participating in SCO meet in India ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi remained non-committal over Islamabad's participation in the SCO Heads of Government meeting in India later this year. "We will have to wait for the invitation," Qureshi said. On January 16, India's Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said that India would extend invitations to all members of SCO, including Pakistan as well as to the observer States for the 19th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Heads of Government meeting. "It is now a public knowledge that India will be hosting the SCO Council of Heads of

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Government meeting later this year. The meeting is held annually at the Prime Minister's level. It discusses SCO's program and multilateral economic and trade

co-operation. As per the established practice and procedure within SCO, all eight members of SCO as well as four Observer States and other international

dialogue partners will be invited to attend the meeting," Kumar had said when asked whether Pakistan will be invited for the meeting or not. India for the first time will host the next meeting of the SCO Heads of Government. Kumar said that all Heads of the Government of member States, including Prime Minister Imran Khan will be invited as per the standard procedure. In June 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan attended the SCO summit in Bishkek. During the summit, Modi made a veiled attack on Pakistan while addressing the plenary session, stating that the countries which support and finance terrorism must be held accountable.


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Lanka Prez seeks probe into civil war disappearances COLOMBO: Gotabaya Rajapaksa wants a probe into the disappearances of over 20,000 people in the country's brutal civil war with Tamil Tiger rebels, his office has said in a clarification after the Sri Lankan President declared the missing persons 'dead' in a first-ever admission to a UN official. Gotabaya, the former wartime defence secretary who played a key role in ending Sri Lanka's nearly 30-year civil war with the Tamil separatist rebels, told UN Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer last week that after the necessary investigations are completed steps would be taken to issue death certificates to the missing persons. The President's office has said Gotabaya had explained to the UN official that he will have the matter investigated, but added, 'however, I can't bring back the dead'. The President told the UN official that as a result of the census carried out by the government at the end of the conflict in 2009, it had emerged

that most of the missing persons had been conscripted by the LTTE, the statement said. 'Their families attest to being witnesses of their loved ones being taken by the LTTE. However, thereafter they do not have any information as to their fate. Therefore, as far as they are concerned these people are missing,' the statement quoted Gotabaya as saying. 'The unfortunate truth is that these people had died during the battles. Even in the security forces there are about 4,000 personnel listed as missing. But in reality these people had died during the fights, but their

bodies had not been recovered,' it said. Gotabaya told the UN official that after the conclusion of the necessary investigations, steps would be taken to issue death certificates and after that the families would be given the necessary support to rebuild their lives. According to the government figures, over 20,000 people are missing due to various conflicts, including the three-decade separatist war with Lankan Tamils in the north and east which claimed at least 100,000 lives. The Tamils alleged that thousands were massacred during the final stages of the war

that ended in 2009 when the government forces killed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) chief Velupillai Prabhakaran. The Sri Lankan Army denies the charge, claiming it as a humanitarian operation to rid the Tamils of LTTE's control. At the end of the civil war, the United Nations accused both sides of atrocities, especially during the conflict's final stages. International rights groups claim at least 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians were killed in the final stages of the war, but the government has disputed the figures. Several mass graves containing skeletal remains have also been found, but only a handful have ever been identified. The UN and other rights groups have pressed Colombo to establish a war crimes tribunal to investigate allegations of human rights abuses - both by the military and the LTTE. Successive Lankan governments have resisted such attempts, saying it is a domestic issue and the allegations should be probed internally.

West softens stand, may allow Pak to escape FATF hook NEW DELHI: With Pakistan getting the all clear on 14 out of 27 action plans by the FATF at a recent review meet, chances of it escaping the blacklist are bright as geopolitical considerations and some clever diplomatic moves by Islamabad might make things easier at February’s FATF plenary in Paris. Sources at the meeting of the Asia-Pacific Group which wrapped up in Beijing last week said it was left to India to ask tough questions of Pakistan on its compliance of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regulations. The four initial sponsors for Pakistan’s greylisting - the US, UK, Germany and France - had been more demanding earlier. According to sources, there is a definite softening of the western position on Pakistan.

China has pushed to get Pakistan off the hook at FATF and will continue to make efforts in the next meeting. However, French diplomatic sources, when questioned about a possible softening of stance, said, “France is determined to continue combating money laundering and terror financing, and on this occasion, will objectively evaluate, without any concession, Pakistan’s actions.” They said the meeting in Beijing “analysed Pakistan’s situation from a technical point of view.” Report on actions undertaken by Pakistan for implementing its plan of action will be presented in February, during the FATF plenary meeting in Paris. However, other sources suggested the US and the EU had moved quite a distance to accommodate Pakistan, even being critical of India’s repeated questioning of

Islamabad’s compliance record. The current desire to give Pakistan a reprieve may have its roots in the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan. The US needs Pakistan Imran Khan to deliver the Taliban on the peace deal, which would allow Donald Trump to bring back US troops from Afghanistan before the elections scheduled for November. The Pakistani foreign minister was in the US requesting assistance with the FATF - that quid pro quo may be in play. According to media reports from Pakistan, it would need an extra 12 votes to stay out of the grey list and in the white list. Pakistan has submitted a 650-page review report to the

FATF on January 8. The report was submitted in response to 150 questions raised by the FATF regarding new Pakistani policies on money laundering. The report outlined the steps taken by Pakistan between October 2019 to January 2020 to implement the group’s recommendations. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at a media briefing in Washington said that Pakistan hoped the US would back its efforts to get it off the list at the FATF’s Beijing meeting.

the court's Great Hall of Justice, judges also ordered Myanmar to report to them in four months on what measures the country has taken to comply with the order and then to report every six months as the case moves slowly through the world court. The International Court of Justice heard a case brought by the African nation of Gambia on behalf of an organization of Muslim nations that accuses Myanmar of genocide in its crackdown on the Rohingya. At public hearings last month, lawyers for Myanmar's accusers used maps, satellite images and graphic photos to

detail what they call a campaign of murder, rape and destruction amounting to genocide perpetrated by Myanmar's military. The hearings drew intense scrutiny as Myanmar's former pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi defended the campaign by military forces that once held her under house arrest for 15 years. Suu Kyi, who as Myanmar's state counselor heads the government, was awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for championing democracy and human rights under Myanmar's then-ruling junta. The Buddhist-majority Myanmar has

long considered the Rohingya to be "Bengalis" from Bangladesh even though their families have lived in the country for generations. Nearly all have been denied citizenship since 1982, effectively rendering them stateless. They are also denied freedom of movement and other basic rights. In August 2017, Myanmar's military launched what it called a clearance campaign in northern Rakhine state in response to an attack by a Rohingya insurgent group. The campaign forced more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

UN court orders Myanmar to prevent Rohingya genocide THE HAGUE (Netherlands): The United Nations' top court ordered Myanmar to take all measures in its power to prevent genocide against the Rohingya. The court's president, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, said the International Court of Justice "is of the opinion that the Rohingya in Myanmar remain extremely vulnerable.” The court added that its order for so-called provisional measures intended to protect the Rohingya is binding "and creates international legal obligations" on Myanmar. At the end of an hour-long sitting in

in brief IRAN MP OFFERS REWARD FOR KILLING TRUMP

An Iranian lawmaker has offered a $3 million reward to anyone who killed US President Donald Trump, amid Tehran's latest standoff with Washington. US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood dismissed the reward as "ridiculous", telling reporters in Geneva it showed the "terrorist underpinnings" of Iran's establishment. Tensions have steadily escalated since Trump pulled Washington out of Tehran's nuclear agreement with world powers in 2018 and reimposed US sanctions. The standoff erupted into tit-for-tat military strikes this month. "On behalf of the people of Kerman province, we will pay a $3 million reward in cash to whoever kills Trump," lawmaker Ahmad Hamzeh told the 290-seat parliament. He did not say if the reward had any official backing from Iran's clerical rulers. The United States and it Western allies have long accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. Tehran insists it has never sought nuclear arms and never will, saying its nuclear work is for research and to master the process to generate electricity.

TURKEY QUAKE KILLS 39

The death toll rose to 39 from the earthquake that struck eastern Turkey last week, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said, as rescue teams continued the search for two others who remained under a collapsed building. The magnitude 6.8 quake caused 35 deaths in Elazig province and four in neighbouring Malatya. More than 1,600 others were hurt, including 86 still being treated in hospitals, though none were in serious condition, the government said. The two remaining people were under the remains of a building in Elazig, about 550 km east of Ankara. Forty-five people had been rescued from under the rubble so far in the search. Authorities have warned residents not to enter damaged buildings because of the danger of collapse and further aftershocks, leaving many without a home in a region where temperatures fell to -6 C. Addressing reporters, Soylu said the government would provide financial support to those whose homes were damaged. Some 1,000 temporary homes would be built, and some schools and mosques were now being used as shelters, he added.

MAN FAKES INJURY TO GET FREE BUSINESS UPGRADE ON FLIGHT

An Australian YouTuber has come under fire for faking a broken ankle in order to get a free flight upgrade. Jamie Zhu, whose YouTube channel has more than 7,00,000 subscribers, recently posted a video called “How To Fly Business Class For Free!”. In it, he describes how he plans to bag a free upgrade from economy to business class on a Cathay Pacific flight by pretending to have an injury. In the video, Zhu pretends his orthopaedic won’t fit in his economy seat. He requests the flight attendant find him another seat and the ploy works. The video, which had more than 57,000 views, got many negative comments. Zhu and Cathay Pacific have not commented.

TOO MANY TWINS HINDER LANKA’S BID FOR RECORD

Thousands of twins packed two-by-two into a stadium in Sri Lanka’s capital - so many that officials struggled to count them in time to prove they had organised a recordbreaking gathering. Huge queues built up at the venue in Colombo as sets of siblings waited to get their birth certificates checked. Many appeared to leave before they could be added to the tally. There was no comment from the Guinness organisation.


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1 - 7 February 2020

in brief

450 SCHOOLS SHUT AS POLLUTION CHOKES THAI CAPITAL

Authorities in the Thai capital ordered closure of nearly 450 schools as pollution levels reached dangerously unhealthy levels. Bangkok, the world's most visited city, saw levels of PM 2.5 particles at 78.3 pg/m3. A level above 35 is considered unhealthy, according to independent air quality monitor AirVisual. PM 2.5 particles can include dust, soot and smoke and are so small they can lodge deep in the lungs and enter the bloodstream. "Students get affected a lot by air pollution because they are exposing to outdoor all the time even waiting for the bus or just walking,” Panpimon Jumsook, a teacher at one of the schools said. Like many growing Asian cities, Bangkok is plagued by vehicle fumes, dust from construction sites and emissions from industry but the burning of stubble and undergrowth in fields in surrounding rural areas is believed to contribute to much higher pollution levels in the dry, winter months.

MAN STRANGLES COYOTE AFTER IT ATTACKS HIS CHILD A father saved his two-year-old son’s life by killing a wild coyote with his bare hands after the animal attacked the child in New Hampshire, US. The coyote leapt from woods where Ian O’Reilly was walking with his wife and three kids, and grabbed the child’s hood. O’Reilly kicked the coyote before wrestling it to the ground and suffocating it, police said. The coyote bit O’Reilly twice. His son was unharmed.

US WOMAN DRIVES INTO TRAFFIC TO ‘TEST FAITH’

A woman allegedly drove her car into oncoming traffic, hitting a car with three passengers in a bid to “test her faith”, said Pennsylvania police. Nadejda Reilly, 51, was arrested. Trooper Bruce Balliet said: “Reilly related God took care of her by not letting her (get) injured.” One of the victims has been released from hospital while the other’s condition is not known. The other passenger was unharmed.

S AFRICAN WEDDING VENUE REFUSES TO MARRY GAY COUPLE

A wedding venue in South Africa is refusing to host a ceremony for a lesbian couple because of its Christian beliefs, sparking a row in the only African country to permit gay marriage. Sasha Lee Heekes and Megan Watling said they found the perfect venue for their wedding planned for April 2021. But, the owners of Beloftebos Wedding Venue told them they do not host same-sex weddings because of their Christian beliefs. The couple is considering some kind of action, a friend said. South African Human Rights Commission’s official Andre Gaum suggested the decision taken by Beloftebos was discriminatory. But Michael Swain, spokesman for Beloftebos and director of Freedom of Religion South Africa, said it would be unfair for the venue owners to be forced to celebrate something that goes against their beliefs.

S KOREA MILITARY DISMISSES ITS 1ST TRANSGENDER SOLDIER

South Korea’s first transgender soldier said she would sue the military after it announced it would dismiss her for undergoing gender reassignment surgery last year. Byun Hui-su, who holds the rank of staff sergeant, had the operation in Thailand last year while on leave, and had expressed hope of continuing to serve in the female corps. Byun said she would pursue a lawsuit against the army. The army said that while it will make efforts to protect soldiers’ human rights and prevent discrimination, the surgery left Byun unable to continue to serve.

Indian-American faces murder charges in car crash NEW YORK: An IndianAmerican man is facing multiple murder charges after he intentionally rammed his vehicle into a car ferrying six teenagers in California, killing three of them and injuring the rest before fleeing, according to US media reports. Anurag Chandra, 42, a resident of California's Corona city, was arrested shortly after the crash that sent the car into a tree in Temescal Valley, southeast of Los Angeles, where police officials found his vehicle with front-end damage. 'It was an intentional act,' California Highway Patrol Lt David Yokley said. 'Our investigation led us to believe Chandra intentionally rammed the Prius, causing the driver to lose control. The investigation has now changed from a hit-run collision

Toyota Prius at the scene of a deadly crash in the Temescal Valley. Accused Anurag Chandra (inset)

to homicide,' Yokley was quoted as saying. Chandra, 42, faces multiple counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon, Riverside County jail records show. He is being held without bail. One

person was pronounced dead at the scene, the statement said. The others were taken to a hospital, where two died later. It wasn't immediately clear whether the teens were wearing seat belts.

The Riverside County Fire Department posted a statement on Facebook saying that a single car with six occupants hit a tree and that three of the car's occupants had to be extricated. The injured teens are expected to survive. All six had attended Olive Branch Church & School in Corona. 'They were bright young kids that had so much to look forward to and it was taken far too early,' said the institute's spokesman Tim East. Yokley did not disclose a motive for the crash. 'We really don't know,' the officer said. 'Obviously, there was some sort of contact. We are looking into those exact same questions, of whether or not he was known to the victims' Yokley said. Alcohol or drugs did not appear to be a factor in the crash, but toxicology tests are still pending.

Rare honour for Sikh constable in US Houston: Amrit Singh, an Indian-American law enforcement officer, has scripted history by becoming the first-ever turban-wearing Sikh to be sworn in as Deputy Constable in Harris County in the US state of Texas. Singh, 21, will be the first in his profession to wear his articles of faith - a turban, beard, and uncut hair in the line of duty. It was a historic day as Singh's swearing-in coincided with the adoption of a new policy that allows law enforcement officers in nearly every single Harris County Constable's Office to wear articles of their faith while in uniform. For Sikhs, that means being able to wear a turban and beard while on duty. Singh always wanted to work as a peace officer. He spent years in law enforcement explorer programmes and five months in a police training academy. 'Growing up, I always wanted to be a deputy and my Sikh faith was also very important to me,' Singh said. Constable Alan Rosen was the first one to give me a callback. He opened this agency with open arms for me,' he said. Speaking at Singh's swear-

The 21-year-old Amrit Singh, will be the first in his profession to wear his articles of faith - a turban, beard, and uncut hair - in the line of duty.

ing-in ceremony, Precinct 1 Constable Rosen said the county's eight constables supported accommodations for Sikhs to serve while adhering to their religion. 'As a man of the Jewish faith, I know how it feels to be religiously targeted and how important it is to teach inclusion, understanding and tolerance,' Rosen said, standing in front of representatives from the county's other constable offices. 'To me, wearing a yarmulke or him wearing a turban really doesn't impact the quality of work he's going to do. It should have zero impact on public safety or what job we do. Are you

going to care if the person showing up to your door to help save you has a turban or yarmulke? You're not. You're just happy they're there to save you and keep you safe,' the officer said. Singh will now go on to months of field training, after which he will be assigned to patrol within Precinct One. In 2015, Harris County made national headlines after sheriff's deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal fought for and won the rights to wear his turban and beard on duty. At the time of the deputy's murder last year, just a few dozen law enforcement agencies across the United States -

and the US Army - had uniform policies with religious accommodations allowing Sikhs to serve in accordance with their faith. 'Legacy of Dhaliwal is not far removed, it clearly recognised and acknowledge his service and this is a gift that continues to give in his recognition and legacy,' said Bobby Singh, a Sikh community leader. In 2009, Dhaliwal was the first Sikh to join the Harris County Sheriff's Office and in 2015, he became the first Sikh law enforcement officer to be allowed to wear his articles of faith in uniform. He was shot and killed during a traffic stop last year. In the months since Dhaliwal's death, law enforcement agencies in California, Washington and in Texas have signalled willingness to change their policies, said Manpreet Singh of the Sikh Coalition, which advocates for religious accommodations for minority communities in public and private sectors. 'It makes me proud to be a Houstonian, and a Texan. I hope the rest of the nation follows Texas,' she said. He made our community proud,' said Suhel Singh, Singh's father.

PIO gets 66 months' jail for role in US opioid crisis BOSTON: John Kapoor, the founder of Insys Therapeutics Inc, was sentenced to 66 months in prison for his role in a bribery and fraud scheme that contributed to the US opioid crisis. Kapoor, 76, is now the highest-ranking pharmaceutical executive to be sentenced in a case linked to the opioid crisis. His was the harshest sentence in a case in which several former Insys executives will go to prison.

Forfeiture and restitution in Kapoor’s case still needs to be determined. Government prosecutors are asking for about $113 million in forfeiture from a man who grew up poor in India, but became a billionaire before founding Insys. Prosecutors asked US district court judge Allison D Burroughs to sentence Kapoor to 15 years in prison. Victims told the judge they were prescribed a highly addictive opiate that they did not need. They described losing

their teeth and being unable to put two thoughts together as they lived in a haze of a d d i c t i o n . Burroughs said her lesser sentence took into account his role in the John Kapoor crime, his many good works as a philanthropist and his age. Nevertheless, Kapoor is due to serve more prison time than

other former Insys executives. Earlier, former Insys CEO Michael Babich, 43, was sentenced to 30 months in prison.


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SOUTH INDIA

Periyar's statue vandalised in TN after Rajinikanth's remarks

CHENNAI: Days after actorpolitician Rajinikanth stirred the hornet’s nest with his remarks about rationalist leader EV Ramasamy Periyar, the statue of the social reformer was vandalised near Chengalpattu and in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu. The vandalism occurred after Rajnikant, on the 50th anniversary event of a Tamil magazine on January 14, had reportedly said that at a rally in 1971 led by late Periyar, idols of Lord Ram and Sita were taken out without any clothes on them and that the deities also featured a garland of sandals. The remarks soon triggered a political slugfest, with Dravidian outfits demanding that the actor apologise. Rajinikanth, however, said whatever he had said was true and he stood by his statement. “Whatever I spoke about has

become a controversy. I read out from what was printed in Hindu and Outlook. I didn't say anything out of imagination. I'll not apologise for what I said…I have not said anything out of imagination. I'm saying what I have seen and they (Dravidian outfit) are saying what they have seen," he said. Members of a Dravidian outfit accused him of "uttering a blatant lie" about Periyar, burnt the actor’s effigies and filed a

police complaint against him. Wading into the controversy, DMK president MK Stalin had said he had a “piece of advice” for Rajinikanth. “I have an advice for him. When he talks about Periyar, who fought for almost 95 years for the Tamil people, he should think and speak,” Stalin was quoted as saying. Periyar, who launched the self-respect movement in the state, was a staunch atheist and had founded the Dravidar

Kazhagam, the parent organisation of the DMK. This is not the first time Periyar’s statue has been targeted. In April 2019, a life-size statue of Periyar was found vandalised at Aranthangi in Tamil Nadu. The statue located near the government hospital was found with the head dislodged and lying on the ground. In Vellore in March 2018, another Periyar statue was broken after senior leader H Raja said all statues of the social reformer should be vandalised. Case against Rajinikanth dismissed The Madras High Court has dismissed a case filed against Rajinikanth over his remark on Periyar. Dismissing the case, the court asked the petitioner why they were rushing to the high court instead of approaching a magistrate court first. The case was filed by a Dravidian outfit over his remarks.

PUNJAB

Sukhbir dismisses reports of SAD-BJP rift CHANDIGARH: Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said that the alliance with the BJP was in place in Punjab, days after its ally decided to contest the Delhi election alone. Asked whether the SAD and BJP would fight the 2022 Assembly election separately, Badal said, “such reports are just in the media and I have been hearing such reports for the past 20 years.” Hitting out at the Congressled state government for not sticking to its election promise of giving free smartphones on January 26, he said, “I want to tell you that they (Congress-led government) will not give anything (to people). They are just giving dates. People of Punjab will send them packing after two years.”

Sukhbir Singh Badal

Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla had said in Patiala that he was expecting that the free smartphones would be given to the youth before March 31. Badal alleged that drug and sand mining mafias were “proliferating” in Punjab under the alleged “patronage” of Congress ministers. “The DGP has no control over Punjab Police while lower-rank officers are working at the behest of

Congress leaders. I can give you details of many cases in which Congress leaders got drug suppliers released,” alleged Badal. Lashing out at the state government, the SAD chief said the Congress-led government was hiding its “failures” on the pretext of empty coffers. “We ran government under the leadership of (Parkash Singh) Badal sahib and never gave a statement of empty coffers,” said Badal, adding that the state saw “unprecedented” development under their rule. “But Captain sahib is not accessible,” he said slamming Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. On the issue of CAA, Badal said his party was in favour of the amended Citizenship Act which was why it voted in favour of it. But at the same time, his party wanted the Muslims to be

included in the CAA. “The SAD follows principles of Guru Sahib who always preached ‘Sarbat da bhala’ (welfare of all) and no discrimination. This nation is a united country and it belongs to people of all religions,” he said. The SAD had earlier announced in Delhi that it would not contest the Delhi polls next month after it was asked by ally BJP to change its stand on the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act. On the Punjab CM opposing the CAA, Badal asked Amarinder if he did not want thousands of persecuted Sikhs, Hindus, Jains and others in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to get relief under the amended Citizenship Act. Badal accused Singh of following “orders” of the Gandhi family to “save his chair”.

WEST BENGAL

Muslim infiltrators will be chased out: Bengal BJP chief KOLKATA: Amid the ongoing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh claimed that 50,00,000 Muslim infiltrators will be identified and thrown out of India if needed. Ghosh made the statement, which is set to spark a political debate, while addressing a rally in the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. Launching a direct attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Ghosh said that the removal of names of Muslim infiltrators will stop Mamata from appeasing the people of a particular community. "Firstly, the names of Muslim infiltrators

will be removed from voters` list then Didi cannot appease anyone," he said. The West Bengal BJP chief asserted that the removal of the names from of infiltrators from the voters' list will reduce the number of votes to Mamata in the 2021 state assembly election. "Once this is done Didi`s votes will be reduced and in the coming elections, we will get 200 seats, she will not even get 50 seats," he said. Ghosh also slammed the Congress and other opposition parties for protesting against the CAA and NRC, saying "their hearts bleed for infiltrators". The BJP leader, last week, sparked a major row by saying that those involved in damaging public property should be shot

dead. He had also attacked Mamata of failing to take action against the rioters because "they are her voters". Protests were held in different parts of West Bengal, many of which turned violent, Dilip Ghosh against the CAA. The new government to repeal the legislation grants citizenship to amended citizenship law and Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, revoke plans to implement Buddhists and Christians fleeing National Register of Citizens religious persecution from (NRC) and update National Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Population Register (NPR). The Bangladesh and who came to law has emerged as the latest India on or before December 31, flashpoint in the state, with the 2014. TMC opposing the contentious Anti-CAA resolution in Assembly legislation tooth and nail, and The West Bengal government, the BJP pressing for its meanwhile, tabled a resolution implementation. Incidentally, against the Citizenship Kerala, Rajasthan and Punjab (Amendment) Act in the have passed resolutions against Assembly. The resolution the new citizenship law. appeals to the Union

in brief ON WAY BACK FROM TRIP, 8 KERALITES DIE IN NEPAL RESORT

Eight tourists from Kerala died in Nepal after they fell unconscious due to a possible gas leak in their resort room in Pokhara, a popular mountainous destination. On their way back to Kerala, a group of 15 tourists had checked into Everest Panorama Resort in Daman in Makawanpur district. According to the resort manager, although they had booked four rooms, eight of them, including two couples and four children, stayed in one room. Once they checked into their room, they turned on a gas heater to keep themselves warm, the manager said, adding that all the windows and the door were bolted from inside. Police suspect they might have died due to lack of ventilation.

ANDHRA ASSEMBLY PASSES BILL FOR THREE STATE CAPITALS

TDP leader and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s dream project, lost the status as Andhra Pradesh’s capital, as the state Assembly’s special session passed the AP Decentralisation and Equal Development of All Regions Act, 2020. The Act paves the way to set up three state capitals. The state Cabinet decided to relegate Amaravati as the legislative capital and make Visakhapatnam the executive capital, where the secretariat and Raj Bhavan would be located. Kurnool in Rayalaseema will be developed as judicial capital, where the AP High Court would be located. The AP Decentralisation and Equal Development of All Regions Bill was introduced and passed amid protests from Opposition Telugu Desam Party MLAs.

HC STAYS CAT ORDER AGAINST APPOINTMENT OF PUNJAB DGP

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the Central Administrative Tribunal’s order nullifying the appointment of Dinkar Gupta as Punjab Director General of Police. Punjab government and Gupta had on moved the High Court against the CAT order and sought an immediate stay on the verdict. While staying the operation of CAT verdict, the high court asked the Chief Secretary to explain the criteria followed for fixing the number of officers sent for consideration to the UPSC and also the material sent to the Commission for assessment of the officers regarding their ‘range of experience’. Senior Advocate Nidesh Gupta and Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda argued that the Tribunal has misread the judgment of Supreme Court in Prakash Singh’s case, which lays down the procedure for appointing a DGP.

TRAIN MOWS DOWN GIRL TAKING SELFIE ON TRACKS A college student, who was part of a 100member group picnicking on the dry bed of the Ghish river near Odlabari, was knocked down by a train while she was taking selfies with her friend on a railway bridge. While Rumki Roy died on the spot, Jayashree Roy was injured when she jumped off the tracks and fell on the riverbed. Sources said a group of students from Maynaguri College had been on the river bed of the Ghish river for a picnic. While the organisers were serving food, Rumki and Jayashree walked up to the nearby railway bridge. “The two girls were so engrossed in clicking selfies that they did not notice the Alipurduarbound passenger train approaching them. The train hit Rumki and she fell on the riverbed.


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The writer is a Socio-political Historian - E-mail: haridesai@gmail.com Dr. Hari Desai

Political significance of Chhatrapati Shivaji

• Eyes are set on whether 19 February is celebrated as Maratha King’s birth anniversary • Maratha King’s only aim was to overthrow Mughal rule and establish Maratha empire

E

ven after more than three centuries Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, the self-made Maratha king, remains omnipresent in today’s political and administrative platform of Maharashtra, the most progressive state of India. February being the month of Shivaji’s birth day, it is going to be significant to observe how and when it is being celebrated as the parties in the coalition government headed by Uddhav Thackeray, especially Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress (NCP)-Congress, differ on the day of Shivaji’s birthday. Shiv Sena President and now the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had in the past issued a clear directive to his party members to celebrate the Shivaji jayanti (birth anniversary) on March 8 instead of February 19. Sena believes 19 February has no sanctity. It should be as per the Hindu calendar which varies every year. However, state government headed by Devendra Fadanvis had fixed the date of Shivaji’s birth as 19 February. ways despite the Union Government The Shiv Sena’s plea to government to being headed by the BJP. For the first reconsider the birth anniversary as per time anyone from Thackeray family Hindu calendar was not heeded by the came in the front to lead the government BJP-led government. The BJP-led and contest the election leaving aside government did not want another row backseat driving. Aditya, the grandson of over the birth date of warrior king and Balasaheb, who is a Cabinet Minister in felt 19 February, which had been his father’s ministry contested the endorsed by the earlier government Assembly election and his father Uddhav should be continued. In the year 2000, has to get elected to either House i.e. Congress and NCP government took a Vidhan Sabha (Assembly) or Vidhan decision to put an end to the subject. It Parishad (Council). Shivaji, the national had constituted an expert committee to hero, established a royal name for study the matter and come out with a himself in history with his administrative date which would be observed every year skills by upholding the Swarajya values as birth date of Shivaji. As the per and the Maratha heritage. He was known committee’s report, which had the for his bravery and tactics with which he consensus of several Shivaji mandals won numerous wars against the across the state, 19 February was fixed as Mughals. Remembering the greatest the birthday. However, Shiv Sena had Maratha ruler on his birthday, here are launched a protest and refused to accept some interesting facts about the Maratha the government’s date. King presented by a leading magazine of The symbolism is found everywhere. India to clear doubts. From airport to railway terminus, you 1. Known as the Father of Indian will find Shivaji’s name everywhere in Navy, Shivaji was the first to realise the Mumbai and across Maharashtra. importance of having a naval force, and Speeches of leaders across party lines are therefore he strategically established a incomplete without singing the praises navy and forts at the coastline to defend of the Maratha king and his lieutenants. the Konkan side of Maharashtra. The While there is nothing wrong with Jaigad, Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg and other drawing inspiration from history, this such forts still stand to testify his efforts political game has brainwashed many and ideas. who begin to idolise it. No political party 2. Contrary to popular belief, Shivaji is an exception. Even when Maharashra was not named after Lord Shiva. In fact, had the Congress Government headed by he was named after a regional Goddess Abdul Rehman Antulay he along with his Shivai. His mother prayed to the goddess cabinet colleague Shalinitai Vasantdada for a son and was blessed with one. The Patil gave prominence to Shivaji and god-like stature was given to him for his Jijamata, his saintly mother, and deeds, and not his name. sanctioned special grants for the 3. The secular ruler was very renovation of the Forts historically accommodating of all religions. He had attached to the Great Maratha King. The numerous Muslim soldiers in his army. BJP-Sena government took up a mega His only aim was to overthrow Mughal project of Shivaji Memorial in the rule and establish Maratha empire. He Arabian sea near Mumbai. Following was also very supportive of recent controversy Next Column people who converted to about the book, titled PM Moraraji Desai Hinduism. "Aaj ke Shivaji: Narendra who made a 4. Shivaji was a Modi", written by BJP difference dependable supporter of leader Jay Bhagwan women and their honour. He opposed all Goyal, the BJP had to distance from kinds of violence, harassment and comparison of Modi with Chhatrapati dishonour against women. Anyone Shivaji.The Shiv Sena, NCP and under his rule caught violating woman's Congress, which are part of the Uddhav rights was severely punished. In fact, Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas women of captured territories were also Aghadi government, have criticized the released unharmed, and with integrity. book.Recently the Sena-NCP- Congress 5. Chhatrapati Shivaji was called as government was installed in the 'Mountain Rat' and was widely Maharashtra headed by Uddav known for his guerrilla warfare tactics. Thackeray, a son of late Balasaheb He was called so because of his Thackeray who established Shiv Sena in awareness in geography of his land, and the name of Shivaji Maharaj in 1966. guerrilla tactics like raiding, ambushing Thackeray Sr. had an alliance or some and surprise attacks on his enemies. He sort of understanding with the Indian knew the importance of a good army, National Congress of Prime Minister and with his skills, expanded his father's Indira Gandhi till 1986. Then SS-BJP 2000 soldier army to 10,000 soldiers. alliance came into existence. Till the last Even though all the political parties Assembly elections in October 2019, the try to woo the support of people in the Sena was in coalition with BJP in the name of , unfortunately hardly any state government. Now both the follows the ideals of Sihivaji. proponent of Hindutva have parted

Mahant Swami in Navsarai The head of BAPS Mahant Swami is currently in Navsari. In Navsari a new temple was constructed in place of an old temple. The new temple is in white marble. On Republic Day (26th January) the temple was decorated and the national flag was unfurled by the Swami. Sant Ashram was also inaugurated. He came to Navsari from Surat. Daily morning pooja and darshan were conducted. On 26th Sunday assembly was held.

India ups bid to counter CAA move in European Parliament With the European Parliament due to discuss a resolution sharply critical of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, India is ramping up diplomacy in Brussels and Strasbourg to counter the move by hundreds of MEPs. Though European Parliament resolutions don’t affect decisions of the European Council or European Commission, they could impinge on bilateral relations at a time when India and the EU are looking to reset their relationship. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Brussels in March for the India-EU summit while foreign minister S Jaishankar is expected to visit in midFebruary. The six draft resolutions moved by several groups have coalesced into a single joint motion resolution and a simple majority of those present and voting is required for the resolution to go through. The movers of the resolution are also looking to criticise Indian policy in Jammu & Kashmir. Evidently conscious of the potential fallout on bilateral ties, EU spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy Virginie Battu-Henriksson said, “The European Parliament is currently planning to hold a debate on legislation adopted by the government of India last December establishing a fast-track procedure for irregular migrants belonging to certain religious groups originating from neighbouring countries.” The spokesperson added, “The Supreme Court of India is currently assessing the constitutionality of this law. As per its regular procedures, the European Parliament published the

draft resolutions. It is important to recall these texts are only drafts tabled by various political groups in the European Parliament.” She reiterated that the EU will host its 15th summit with India on March 13 in Brussels with a view to strengthen its strategic partnership. “India is a key partner for EU to address global challenges and to jointly promote rules-based multilateral order... opinions expressed by the European Parliament and its members do not represent the official position of the European Union,” the spokesperson said. Gaitri Kumar, India’s envoy to Brussels, met the groups who sponsored the drafts in the past couple of days to explain the Indian perspective. Some of the groups are now more convinced of the Indian argument, it was claimed. The resolutions, sources here believe, have been sponsored by Pakistan via some British Labour and Liberal Democrat MEPs who belong to groups like S&D and Renew Europe, who put up the motions. The 73 MEPs from the UK will leave European Parliament on January 31 when Brexit comes into force. So, in a sense, this is a last opportunity for many of these representatives to target India. For Pakistan, the exercise keeps issues in play, particularly as they are portrayed as violation of human rights and Islamophobia. The Indian defence centres on the argument that the CAA process is internal to India and is being debated hotly in the public sphere and the courts as in any democratic set-up. There are 60 petitions pending in the SC against the amendment. The government’s view has been that the entire

process would be allowed to run the course of popular and judicial scrutiny. For the European Parliament to be passing resolutions on something that is undergoing scrutiny in India would be disingenuous. Government sources said, “The CAA is a matter that is entirely internal to India. Moreover, this legislation has been adopted by due process and through democratic means after a public debate in both Houses of Parliament.” The EU delegation in Delhi told journalists, “The European Parliament is an independent institution, sovereign in the organisation of its work and in its deliberations. The text referred to are draft resolutions by political groups in the EP.” But within the Indian government, certain quarters said the commission and member states should do their bit with their own MEPs given the extensive briefings their diplomats were accorded by India. “As fellow democracies, the European Parliament should not take actions that call into question the rights and authority of democratically elected legislatures in other regions of the world,” a source said. In addition, India said European countries have their conditions for naturalisation dependent on certain criteria. India’s context in the circumstance of Partition and its aftermath was not discrimination, the source said. “Every society that fashions a pathway to n a t u r a l i s a t i o n contemplates both a context and criteria. This is not discrimination. In fact, European societies have followed the same approach,” the source added.


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Special plane ready to fly 250 Indians out of coronavirus - hit Wuhan

India will request China for a possible evacuation of over 250 Indians from Wuhan, the government said after a review meeting by the cabinet secretary to evaluate the situation arising out of the new coronavirus outbreak in the neighbouring country. “It was decided that steps may be taken to prepare for possible evacuation of Indian nationals in Wuhan. Accordingly, the ministry of external affairs will make a request to the Chinese authorities,” the government said. Ministries of civil aviation and health will make arrangements for transport and quarantine facilities, respectively. Air India is preparing to operate a special flight on its Boeing 747 from Mumbai to Wuhan to fly out Indians from there. While the flight was scheduled to depart on Monday, the airline was awaiting clearances from various places, including the airport in Wuhan, to operate the special flight. ‘Clearances awaited to operate flight’

A source said, “We are in a state of preparedness. Our crew, medical teams and supplies are ready for the flight. But Wuhan is in a state of lockdown and services there, including at the airport, are hit. There is the issue of how people will reach the airport. All these issues are being sorted out with the help of the Indian embassy. As soon as we get all the clearances, we will operate the special flight.” Many Indians, mostly medical students, are stuck in Wuhan - the epi centre of the new China virus – triggering concern for Indian authorities. With the number of cases increasing rapidly and amid mounting scare of a wider outbreak, Chinese authorities sealed Wuhan along with 12 other cities last week to stop the virus from spreading. The death toll climbed to 81 with 2,744 confirmed cases. The virus has now also spread to other countries with cases reported from the US, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Nepal. On Monday, cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a high-level review meeting to assess India’s preparedness to deal with

coronavirus. The meeting decided to take a raft of precautionary measures, including the screening of people at international ports having traffic from China. The Shipping Ministry, it is learnt, has been asked to start screening ports which have traffic from China and the Ministry of Civil Aviation has been asked to distribute health cards to all passengers travelling from China, ensure in-flight announcements and instruct airlines on reporting illness. The Home Ministry has been asked to ensure that integrated checkposts initiate screening of visitors across Nepal border. States have been requested to provide health staff for these checkposts. In another meeting, Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan spoke to chief secretaries and DGPs of five states bordering Nepal Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim - over video conference. Two from Vadodara stuck in Wuhan Two students from

Vadodara are stuck along with other students of India in China’s Wuhan city. Shreya Jaiman and Vrund Patel, who are second year students of MBBS in Hubei University in Wuhan city, are stuck inside their hostel room on the university campus in Wuhan which has been quarantined with all routes in and out of the city closed or highly regulated due to the outbreak the corona virus. The parents of Shreya and Vrund have appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, union home minister Amit Shah to intervene and ensure that the kids return to India safely. “The students are not infected by the virus. But their condition is very bad. They are all put inside the rooms of their hostel campus with not much to eat or drink,” said 18-yearold Shreya’s father Shashi Jaiman, who works with Indian Railways. The girl’s father sent out desperate appeals to the PMO, home minister’s office apart from Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani through twitter. Vrund’s father Ramesh Patel said that the students,

who were wearing masks, were all put up inside their rooms and had to walk one and a half km just to fetch water. “Since the last two days, markets have been closed. Even getting proper drinking water has become difficult. Presently, they are surviving on whatever stock they have with them,” said Patel, who works as a primary school teacher at Jesingpura primary school in Tilakwada taluka of Narmada district. Gujarat gears up to deal with situation With a doctor returning from China put under observation for suspected coronavirus infection, Gujarat has geared up for a possible first case in the state. The international airport at Mumbai is one of

seven screening passengers returning from China. State health department officials said they are coordinating closely with central agencies to watch the situation. Dr Kamlesh Upadhyay, professor and head of medicine department at BJ Medical College, said that training on coronavirus protocols has been completed at all medical colleges in Ahmedabad and the medical college at Vadodara. “Medical colleges in Surat and Rajkot are next. We will cover all medical colleges and departments handling critical care at government hospitals in phases. Isolation wards at major hospitals are ready,” said Dr Upadhyay.

individual companies or consortia with a minimum net worth of £350 million down from £500 million last time - can submit their bids for the airline by March 17. Indian carriers with negative net worth, which includes most of them except IndiGo, can also bid if they have a JV partner with whom they meet the minimum criteria norm. Qualified bidders will be announced on March 31, after which the request for proposal will be issued. If all goes well, by July or September, the Maharaja may have a new owner, who will need to retain the brand name AI. AI’s land & building are not part of selloff While the AI has a debt of over £6 billion, bidders will be expected to take £2.33 billion, which the written down value of AI and AI Express aircraft. Since the government has decided net assets will be equal to net liabilities for bidders, the latter will need to take over

£877.15 million as of March 31, 2019. This exact figure will be decided on the date of the transaction though the total burden is expected to be about £3.24 billion. The government will take over the remaining £5.63 billion of debt and liabilities and transfer them to a specially-created special purpose vehicle AI Assets Holdings Ltd. Describing AI as a “great asset” with a young fleet of planes, especially widebody aircraft that fly across the globe, aviation minister H S Puri said: “Despite infusing £3.05 billion in the AI since 2012, the airline has been running into losses year after year. Due to its accumulated debt of about £6 billion, its financial position is very fragile. AI is in a debt trap that can be turned around by privatising it and we have learnt lessons from the 2018 bid. Lots of people have directly come to us and there is tremendous interest in AI (among potential buyers).”

Centre, Assam, Bodo outfits Govt renews push to sell Air India sign landmark peace pact A tripartite accord signed between the Centre, Assam government and Bodo representatives, including all factions of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) that has waged a violent struggle, holds out prospects for peace with all sides reaffirming faith in the state’s territorial integrity. The pact, described as “historic” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, provides for setting up of a commission to reconstitute the Bodo Territorial Areas District (BTAD) by including new Bodo-dominated villages contiguous to the existing BTAD area and excluding villages with a predominantly non-tribal population. The BTAD will be rechristened as Bodo Territorial Region. Bodo language will be notified as an associate official language in Assam. Over 1,500 NDFB cadres will shun the path of violence, surrender arms coinciding with Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary on January 30 and disband their armed outfits within the next one month. A Rs 500,000 compensation is being offered to the kin of Bodo rebels killed in their violent struggle. The surrendered cadres too will

The government of India offered for sale its 100% stake in Air India and AI Express - instead of 76% in the first attempt - and the entire 50% it owns in ground-handling joint venture AI-SATS.

Union home minister Amit Shah with Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and others after the signing of a historic agreemenet.

get a rehabilitation package. This is the third Bodo agreement to date, but seen as viable due to armed factions agreeing to be party to the settlement. Cases against NDFB cadres involving nonheinous crimes will be withdrawn by the Assam government, while cases involving more serious offences will be reviewed on a case-to-case basis. The total number of assembly seats in BTC will go up to 60 from 40, though this will be relevant only from 2026 assembly polls. It has been agreed that a £150 million economic package shall be released over the next three years for Bodo areas, with the Centre and the Assam government contributing equal measure. Deputy commissioners and SPs of districts within BTAD will be posted in consultation

with BTAD chief executive member. Signatories to the accord - signed in the presence of home minister Amit Shah, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma - included Bodo Territorial Council (BTC) chief executive member Hagrama Mohilary, representatives of All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), United Bodo People Organisation (UBPO) and leaders of NDFB factions headed by Gobinda Basumatary, Dhirendra Boro, Ranjan Daimary and B Saoraigwra. In a series of tweets after signing the accord, Modi said: “Bodo Accord inked today (Monday) stands out for many reasons. It successfully brings together leading stakeholders under one framework.

Learning from the 2018 experience, eligibility terms have been relaxed for bidders too and they will be expected to take on £3.24 billion of debt-cumliabilities - essentially current value of 146 aircraft they will be getting - of the total amount of £8.88 billion with the government keeping with it £ 5.63 billion. Unlike the 2018 divestment attempt, there is no Jet Airways around this time (it shut down last April), making AI the only Indian carrier with mediumand long-haul wide-body aircraft, crew for them, flying rights and slots at airports across North America, Europe, Australia, Far East and Africa - a perfect buy for someone like Vistara or IndiGo to spread their wings overseas quickly instead of years it takes to have a network as widespread as the Maharaja has. With this USP, the government issued the preliminary information memorandum (PIM) for AI’s strategic disinvestment where bidders, whether


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HEALTH & LIFESTYLE

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1 - 7 February 2020

Surgeon suggests forget fads in favour for 'great-granny's diet'

in brief

A top weight-loss surgeon who has watched thousands of people try – and fail – to shed the poundsat like your great-grandma should be the mantra for dieters.

PATIENTS MAY SUFFER INVASIVE TREATMENTS FOR HARMLESS CANCERS

According to NHS doctor Andrew Jenkinson people should avoid seemingly healthy low-fat options and stick to traditional fare such as a full English breakfast and advises them to buy all their food at traditional stores, such as a greengrocer, butcher and fishmonger, as our ancestors would have done. Speaking to media Mr Jenkinson said: ‘Imagine you are taking your great-grandmother around the shops. If there’s any food she doesn’t recognise, don’t buy it.’ The bariatric surgeon has written a book, Why We

Eat (Too Much), explaining what he has learned over decades of practice and having spoken to 2,000 obese patients during the course of his practice. What they told him about dieting was ‘always the same story’, he said. ‘They all say they lose weight to begin with, but then put it on again and end up heavier than when they started.’ While crash diets might

appear to work in the first few weeks, he says, they usually backfire because they trick the body into believing it has to cope with a famine – and save energy. As a result, weight-loss stalls, and eventually rebounds as the dieter is driven to eat more by powerful hunger hormones. The dieter then ends up blaming their lack of willpower, when the real culprit is a diet that is destined to fail.

In his book, Mr Jenkinson says a far better approach is to ditch the quick-fix solution in favour of an old-fashioned approach: buying fresh food daily and cooking it yourself. People should start the day with a traditional full English breakfast, which he maintains will ‘set you up for the day’. Mr Jenkinson stresses that it is not a ‘no-carb diet’, but he does recommend reducing carbohydrates – which means no trips to the bakery and no toast with your eggs, bacon, sausage and tomato. Dieters must also accept they need an hour or two a day to shop and cook from scratch – but Mr Jenkinson says many people waste that much time ‘mindlessly watching Netflix or scrolling through social media’.

BP issues linked to heart disease risk in youths According to a new study wide swings in blood pressure readings among young adults are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease by middle age. The findings, which were published in the journal JAMA Cardiology, suggests that the current practice of averaging blood pressure readings to determine whether medications are necessary could be masking a potential early warning sign from the fluctuations themselves. Study lead author Yuichiro Yano from Duke University in the US said: "If a patient comes in with one reading in December and a significantly lower reading in January, the average might be within the range that would appear normal. But is that difference associated with health outcomes in later life? That's the ques-

tion we sought to answer in this study, and it turns out the answer is yes." The researchers analysed 30 years of data from a large and diverse cohort of young people who were enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study between March 1985 and June 1986. Of the 3,394 people who participated in the study, about 46 percent were African American and 56 percent were women. The patients had regular blood pressure checks, with patterns evaluated across five visits, including at two, five, seven and 10 years. At the 10-year mark, the average age of the patients was about 35. The main reading of concern to Yano's research team was the systolic blood pressure level, the upper number in the equation that

measures the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart pumps. A systolic blood pressure reading over 130 is considered hypertensive and

has long been a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The researchers were able to identify which young people had variations in systolic blood pressure by the

age of 35 and then track them over the next 20 years and see whether there appeared to be a correlating increase in cardiovascular disease. Over those years, study participants reported 181 deaths and 162 cardiovascular events, which included fatal and nonfatal coronary heart disease, hospitalisation for heart failure, stroke, transient ischemic attack, or a stent procedure for blocked arteries. The researchers found that each 3.6-mm spike in systolic blood pressure during young adulthood was associated with a 15 percent higher risk for heart disease events, independent of the averaged blood pressure levels during young adulthood and any single systolic blood pressure measurement in midlife.

Air pollution linked to more severe rhinitis symptoms Researchers have found that the nasal symptoms of rhinitis are more severe in people exposed to higher levels of outdoor air pollution. Rhinitis, a condition that affects between 20 per cent and 50 per cent of the world's population, is a disorder of the nasal mucosa characterised by congestion, sneezing, rhinorrhoea, nasal irritation and, in some cases, a reduced sense of smell. "Rhinitis is associated with asthma, which is closely linked to air pollution. That is why we thought it would be interesting to investigate whether longterm exposure to air pollution also plays a determining role in rhinitis," said study researcher Benedicte Jacquemi from Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain. For the findings, pub-

lished in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers analysed data from 1,408 patients with rhinitis from 17 different European cities, including Barcelona and Oviedo (Spain), Paris (France), Antwerp (Belgium), Umea (Sweden) and Erfurt (Germany). The participants answered a questionnaire regarding the severity of each one of their rhinitis symptoms and the extent to which the condition interferes with their day-to-day lives. According to the researchers, airborne particles, the diameter of which can vary from micrometres to millimetres, are solid or liquid bodies present in the air.

Particles with a diameter under 2.5 (PM2.5) and under ten micrometres (PM10) are of particular interest in this context. As the study shows, people living in cities with higher levels of PM10 and PM2.5 report the most severe rhinitis symptoms. An increase of

5 µg/m3 in PM2.5 was associated with a 17 per cent higher probability of severe rhinitis. These particles were associated with increased severity of congestion, nasal irritation and sneezing, whereas exposure to NO2

increased the severity of nasal discharge and congestion, the study said. Airborne particulate matter and NO2 are both traffic-related pollutants. "The role of these pollutants in the severity of symptoms is probably linked to oxidative stress, apoptosis (a process by which irreparably damaged cells are eliminated) and inflammation," said study lead author Emilie Burte. "Our findings suggest that the effect of airborne particulate matter differs from that of gaseous emissions (NO2), probably because their respective mechanisms of action provoke different inflammatory responses in the respiratory tract; however, more studies are needed to validate this hypothesis," Burt added.

Researchers have revealed that Australians are increasingly being diagnosed with potentially harmless cancers, which if left undetected or untreated, may expose them to unnecessary surgeries and chemotherapy. The research, which has been published in the Medical Journal of Australia, draws on data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to compare how the lifetime risk of five cancers had changed between 1982 and 2012. The study shows that compared to 30 years ago, Australians today are much more likely to experience a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. The figures suggest that in 2012 24 per cent of cancers or carcinomas in men were overdiagnosed and included 42 per cent of prostate cancers, 42 per cent of renal cancers, 73 per cent of thyroid cancers and 58 per cent of melanomas. For women, 18 per cent of cancers or carcinomas were overdiagnosed, including 22 per cent of breast cancers, 58 per cent of renal cancers, 73 per cent of thyroid cancers and 58 per cent of melanomas. These figures are believed to be significant because of the harm that can occur from cancer treatment of patients who would never have had symptoms in their lifetime. The authors of the study also refer to separate studies showing overdiagnosis could be linked to psychological problems.

LIVING NEAR HIGHWAYS LINKED TO HIGHER DEMENTIA RISK

According to a study of more than six million adults in CanadaLiving close to a motorway or highway may increase the risk of developing dementia. Tracking these people over a period of 11 years found a clear link between dementia incidence and living near a main road, comparable to the M1 or M4 in the UK, or major state or interstate highways in the US. Compared with those whose homes were more than 300 metres away from a busy road, people living within 50 metres of heavy traffic had a 7 per cent higher risk of developing dementia. This increase falls to 4 per cent in people living between 50 to 100 metres of a busy road, and 2 per cent in people living between 101 and 200 metres. At greater distances, there was no evidence of a link with the condition. “Our findings show the closer you live to roads with heavy day-to-day traffic, the greater the risk of developing dementia. With our widespread exposure to traffic and the greater tendency for people to live in cities these days, this has serious public health implications,” says Hong Chen, at Public Health Ontario, who led the study. The study also found that long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide and fine particulates – two common components of air pollution – is associated with dementia, but that other factors are likely to be involved too. Other studies have also linked air pollution to dementia risk. However, the study was not able to determine whether roads and air pollution themselves help cause dementia. It’s possible that something else that is associated with these factors may instead be to blame.

INDOOR DUST BACTERIA HAVE TRANSFERRABLE ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE GENES

A study of Northwestern University (NU) found that bacteria living in household dust can spread antibiotic resistance genes, and the researchers believe these genes could potentially spread to pathogens, making infections more difficult to treat. Bacteria can share many different types of genes as long as the genes have mobile segments of DNA. NU researchers were the first to find that antibiotic resistance genes in dust microbes have mobile capabilities, the Xinhua news agency reported. Speaking to media Erica Hartmann, an assistant professor of environmental engineering in NU’s McCormick School of Engineering said: “We observed living bacteria have transferable antibiotic resistance genes. A nonpathogen can use horizontal gene transfer to give antibiotic resistance genes to a pathogen. Then the pathogen becomes antibiotic resistant. Microbes share genes when they get stressed out. They aren’t equipped to handle the stress, so they share genetic elements with a microbe that might be better equipped.” Hartmann recommends dusting with a damp cloth instead of using antimicrobial solutions, which can make bacteria more resistant to antibiotics.

To Our Readers We are publishing these items in good faith, kindly consult your Doctor before you try to implement any advice. We do not hold any responsibility for its efficacy...


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Shraddha sets record straight on wedding rumours Bollywood grapevine has been bubbling rumours of a possible wedding between Bollywood actor Shraddha Kapoor and celebrity photographer Rohan Shrestha. If speculations are to be believed, wedding bells are on the horizon for the couple. However, Shraddha set the record straight and said that she is too busy with her professional commitments to even think about marriage. She said, “Right now, I don't have the time to think about anything apart from the movies that I am doing. And like you said, it's only 'buzz'.” Just last

year, her father and actor Shakti Kapoor called the rumours of her wedding were “bulls**t”. He said, “There is no truth to it. Shraddha has no plans of marrying anyone for coming 4-5 years. She has too much on her plate at the moment and is totally focused on her upcoming projects. Her calendar is chock-ablock for the next two years. All this is crap.” He said the link-ups are a part and parcel of the film industry and that he is unaffected by the rumours about his daughter. “Shraddha has been linked to many actors in the past. This is the

film industry, link-ups don't matter.” He added, “His father, Rakesh, is a dear friend of mine. We all are family friends. My daughter tells me everything what is happening in her life. She will never marry without her parents' consent.” Shraddha is currently gearing up for the release of Remo D'Souza's dance drama 'Street Dancer 3D'.

Kangana wants to make film on Chandragupta Maurya Father-son duo Jackie Shroff and Tiger join hands in 'Baaghi 3'

Actor Kangana Ranaut has revealed her desire to make a movie on founder of the Maurya dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya. She noted that the film industry has “not done enough justice to our history.” In an interview, the National Award winner, when asked if she

would like to be associated with a film on any historical figure from Bihar, she said, “It would be Chandragupta Maurya. The film industry has not done much justice to our history.” Kangana also confirmed that she has turned producer and her first venture is based

on the theme of Ram temple in Ayodhya. Regarding her controversies in Bollywood, Kangana said she has always had a rebellious streak since childhood and shared an anecdote about her breaking her teacher's stick upon being hit for chatting with a classmate in school.

Father Jackie Shroff and son Tiger are set to star in 'Baaghi 3.' Jackie will play the role of a father to his off-screen son and Riteish Deshmukh in the film. He has already finished shooting in the suburbs of Mumbai. The remaining team has, meanwhile, just returned from a 40 day long schedule in Serbia. Shot under extreme weather conditions, the Ahmed Khan directorial will surely deliver some high-octane action scenes. Reuniting the original 'Baaghi 3' pair, Tiger and Shraddha Kapoor are all set to mesmerize their fans with their chemistry yet again.

Aishwarya set to play Binodini Das in upcoming Sarkar movie If reports are to be believed, ace actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will next be seen in Pradeep Sarkar's next, a biopic based on Binodini Das. Aishwarya will be seen in the role and

characterisation of the 19th century courtesan and actor. Sarkar said Aishwarya has agreed to the film but is yet to sign it, according to reports. He said, “Aishwarya was

always on my mind for the biopic. I did reach out to her a few months ago. In the first narration itself, she liked the story and has said 'yes' to the project.” When asked whether she has signed the project yet, he said she has not and added, “I seriously think that she will.” Binodini Das began her life as a courtesan, later turning towards acting at the age of 12 until 23. She has also written a biography titled 'Amar Katha', published in 1913. Regarding the film, Sarkar said, “It is quite a tough story to crack, as there is hardly any material to read up on her. I have a person who is helping me with the

research from Kolkata. It's about a woman who wanted to become a producer.” He added, “Today we

have actresses who have launched their production houses, but here we are talking about a different era

altogether. This lady was the first person in Bengal, who had the idea of having her own theatre.


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1 - 7 February 2020

Shilpa Shetty receives Champion of Change Award Actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra has been awarded the Champion of Change 2019 Award by honourable former President of India Pranab Mukherjee. Sharing a post on social media, she wrote, “I am really honoured to receive this award and I feel it's every citizen's duty to keep their country clean. Cleanliness starts from the mind. When we keep our homes clean, then why not our country! This year I have planted 480 trees to offset my entire carbon footprint. It's every citizen's responsibility to take care of our precious planet not just for the present but also for our future.” Chairman of IFIE, Nandan Jha said, “We are happy to announce that Shilpa Shetty Kundra has been selected for the Champions Change of Award 2019 for her contribution in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.” Shilpa is currently busy with promoting her film 'Hungama 2' and is preparing for 'Nikamma'.

Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher lock horns If you aren't aware of the ongoing tiff between veteran actors Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher, you may well have been living under a rock. With ongoing protests against the CAA, NRC, and NPR, Shah gave his views about other actors taking a stand and voicing their opinions. In the now viral video, he criticised Kher and called him a clown, which did not sit well with the latter. Shah said, “I am not on Twitter. These people, the Twitterati, and I really wish they would make up their minds in what they believe in. Someone like Anupam Kher has been very vocal. I don't think, he needs to be taken seriously, he is a clown, any number of his contemporaries from NSD, NFTII can test to his psychopathic nature, it is in his blood, he can't help it. The others who are opposing it should really decide about what they want to say and don't remind us of our responsibilities, we known our responsibilities.”

Kher later hit back with a video he posted on his social media, claiming Shah has been frustrated with his life. He went on to talk about Naseeruddin

Shah criticising Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Virat Kohli to name a few and he feels fortunate to have joined their ranks.

29

by Vallisa Chauhan

Genre: Romantic Comedy Duration: 103 minutes

Is Mummy always right?

Jai Mummy Di is the story of two teenage love birds who are madly in love but pretend to be sworn enemies because their mums are at constant war with each other. The story is based on two neighbours Lalli played by Supriya Pathak and Pinky played by Poonam Dhillon. These mums like quintessential Indian mums do not get along although they were once upon a time best friends when they were teenagers. Their children Puneet played by Sunny Singh and Saanjh played by Sonnalli Seygall are high school sweethearts who pretend to hate each other but ultimately want to find out what has made their mums so hostile towards each other. The two kids plan to confess their love to their mothers but as all Bollywood films have recorded in the past (Hint: 2 States) these love-birds face obstacles and the confession does not happen. They then decide to have a court marriage but change their minds and instead plan to get married to other people to please their families even as they continue to love each other. In a little surprise plot it is later revealed that the two mum’s were actually lovers in the past. The title of the movie builds you to expect a lot of interaction between the two mothers who are played by brilliant actresses. However, the plot is

'Happy Hardy And Heer'

Happy (Himesh Reshammiya) and Heer grow up together and become close friends. Later on, Happy develops feelings for Heer but she moves away to London before he could confess his feelings for her. He decides to head to London to woo her but finds out she already is close to Hardy, an NRI. The film is being directed by Raka. Besides, Himesh Reshammiya, Trupti Khamkar and Sonia Mann also play crucial roles in the movie.

Sunny Singh

'Jawaani Jaaneman' 'Jawaani Jaaneman' marks Saif Ali Khan’s second release of the year. In the film, Saif Ali Khan and debutante Alaia Furniturewala will be seen playing a fatherdaughter duo. Tabu is also said to have an interesting role in the film. It is being directed by Nitin Kakkar.

Sonnalli Seygall

mostly based on the children with funny one liners that are placed in the wrong places and do not mix well in the whole story. Singh had a bad run with his last film Ujda Chaman and this film has not helped him revive himself even though he has the skills to be an amazing actor. Seygall does not fit the role of a happy go lucky girl at all, she is just too posh to pull it off and it becomes tedious to watch. The one thing that works for the film is the songs, they have reworked Sunanda Sharma’s Mummy Nu Pasand and Lamborghini which work really well in the film. The other thing the director Navjot Gulati has done right is the showing a typical over the top Punjabi Delhi family with flashy clothes, lots of shiny jewellery and very loud wives. Apart from that the film has a very boring storyline and it does have a good premise that could have worked well with lots of laughs but instead it is tiresome and feels like it needs to finish before it even starts.


30 KOLLYWOOD

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1 - 7 February 2020

Nana Patekar gets crucial role in Jayam Ravi's next film Last seen playing a conniving politician in Rajinikanth's 'Kaala', actor Nana Patekar has been signed for a pivotal role in Jayam Ravi's upcoming Tamil spy thriller. While the makers are yet to make an official announcement, sources close to the team have confirmed that Nana has already been signed. This will be Nana's first project since he was named in 'Me Too' by actor

Tanushree Dutta. Tipped to be a remake of Akshay Kumar starrer 'Baby', Nana is the latest addition to the film which will also star Taapsee Pannu, Shriya Saran, and Arjun among others. Directed by I Ahmed on a lavish budget, the movie marks the maiden collaboration of the filmmaker and Ravi, who is basking in the phenomenal success of 'Comali'. Makers of the film

also recently signed Iranian actor Elnaaz Norouzi for a key role in the film. “Elnaaz has done several ad films for top brands in the country. She became a household name, thanks to her performance, especially in dual roles, in a popular Hindi series. Soon after, she was flooded with offers from the south and now, she's set to make her debut in Kollywood,” a source said.

Title of Dhanush's upcoming movie upsets Sivaji Ganesan fans

In an exciting new role, Andrea Jeremiah will be next seen playing an important role in Sundar C's 'Aranmanai 3', the third instalment of the successful horror series. The project will be bankrolled by Kalanithi Maran under the banner Sun Pictures. This is not the first time that the actress has teamed up with Sundar. She

had initially amazed everyone with her brilliant skills in the first instalment of the upcoming movie. It has been reported that the main cast of the movie includes Arya, Sundar C, Raashi Khanna, Vivekh, and Yogi Babu and the shoot will commence on February 20. Music will be composed by C Sathya.

TV Listing 13:54

FILM: BLUE ORANGES

16:22

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23:00

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FRIDAY FEB 07, 2020

02:18

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TUESDAY FEB 04, 2020

* Schedule is subject to change

SATURDAY FEB 01, 2020 02:36

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06:00

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11:46

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SUNDAY FEB 02, 2020 00:28

FILM: KYON KI…ITS FATE

03:10

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06:00

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08:30

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17:41

FILM: KYON KI…ITS FATE

20:51

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MONDAY FEB 03, 2020 02:15

FILM: YEH HAI MUMBAI MERI JAAN

06:00

FILM: PRITHIPAL SINGH... A STORY

08:00

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10:44

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01:42

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13:17

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16:32

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19:24

LIFESTYLE : STAR STOP

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23:00

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WEDNESDAY FEB 05, 2020 01:45

FILM: COVER STORY

06:00

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08:08

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11:02

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13:53

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17:25

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23:40

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06:00

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10:37

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14:02

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In an exciting new role, Andrea Jeremiah will be next seen playing an important role in Sundar C's 'Aranmanai 3', the third instalment of the successful horror series. The project will be bankrolled by Kalanithi Maran under the banner Sun Pictures. This is not the first time that the actress has teamed up with Sundar. She had initially amazed everyone with her brilliant skills in the first instalment of the upcoming movie. It has been reported that the main cast of the movie includes Arya, Sundar C, Raashi Khanna, Vivekh, and Yogi Babu and the shoot will commence on February 20. Music will be composed by C Sathya. 06:00 08:15 11:43 14:34 17:24 20:28

FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM: FILM:

BLUE ORANGES RAM BALRAM MAST ROJA HASEENA MAAN JAYEGI PUKAR

20:00 21:30 23:00

INDIAN IDOL THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW DUS KA DUM

18:30

VIGHNAHARTA GANESHA

19:00

MERE SAI

19:30

TARA FROM SATARA

20:00

ISHAARON ISHAARON MEIN

20:30

PATIALA BABES

21:00

BEYHADH 2

21:30

MERE DAD KI DULHAN

22:00

CRIME PATROL

19:00

MONDAY KAREEB

MON 3TH JANUARY- FRI 7TH JANUARY

* Schedule is subject to change

SATURDAY 1ST JANUARY 16:30 18:00 18:30 20:00 21:30 23:00

SUPER DANCER CHAPTER 3 THE CHEF THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW INDIAN IDOL THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW DUS KA DUM

19:00 TUESDAY THE BURNING TRAIN

16:30

SUPER DANCER CHAPTER 3

19:00

WEDNESDAY PUKAR

18:00 18:30

THE CHEF THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW

19:00

THURSDAY AAP KE SATH

19:00

FRIDAY SILSILA

MON 3RD FEB - 07TH FEB2020

* Schedule is subject to change

16:30: 17:30: 18:00: 18:30: 19:00: 19:30: 20:30: 21:00:

RASOI SHOW CHHUTA CHHEDA TUM KAUN PIYA DIL KA RISHTA MERE HUMRAHI KITCHEN CHAMPION MOHE RANNG DO LAAL BALIKA VADHU - LAMHE PYAAR KE

SAT 01ST FEB 2020

11:00: MAHAKALI 13:30: HALO MANVYU NA MELE 17:00: DHARAM THI GUJARATI 17:30: DIVINE DESTINATION 18:00: BIGG BOSS (SEASON 13) WEEKEND KA VAAR 19:30: DESI BEAT RESET (SEASON 3)

8:00: 8:30: 13:00: 13:30: 15:00: 15:30: 16:00:

TERE NAAL ISHQ BHARADWAJ BAHUEIN SWARAGINI BIGG BOSS (SEASON 13) STRICTLY STREET JAI SHRI KRISHNA DHARAM THI GUJARATI

20:00:

THE BOLLYWOOD ROUNDTABLE 2019 21:00:00 DANCE DEEWANE (SEASON 2)

SUN 2ND FEB 2020

11:00:

SHRIMAD BHAGWAT

14:00:

MOTICHOOR CHAKNA CHOOR (COLORS RISHTEY TELEVISION PREMIERE)

17:00:

DHARAM THI GUJARATI

17:30:

DIVINE DESTINATION

18:00:

BIGG BOSS - SEASON 13 -

19:30:

DESI BEAT (SEASON 3)

20:00:

KHATRA KHATRA KHATRA

21:00:

DANCE DEEWANE (SEASON 2)

WEEKEND KA VAAR

21:30: BIGG BOSS - SEASON 13 22:30: BEPANAH PYAARR

SAT 01ST FEB 2020

SONY MAX 2 PRIME TIME

SUNDAY 2ND JANUARY

THURSDAY FEB 06, 2020

02:20

Andrea Jeremiah joins Sunder's 'Aranmanai 3'

* Schedule is subject to change

MON 3RD FEB - 07TH FEB2020 18:30: VIDYA 19:00: RAM SIYA KE LUV KUSH 19:30: CHOTI SARDAARNI 20:00:

SHAKTI ASTITVA KE EHSAAS KI

20:30: SHUBHARAMBH 21:00: NAATI PINKY KI LAMBI LOVE STORY

18:30: 19:00: 20:00: 21:00: 21:30:

VIDYA CHOTI SARDAARNI NAAGIN (SEASON 4) FEET UP WITH THE STARS BIGG BOSS (SEASON 13) WEEKEND KA VAAR

SUN 2ND FEB 2020

11:00: 11:30: 14:30: 19:30: 20:00: 21:00: 21:30:

MOTU PATLU PAKDAM PAKDAI GABBAR IS BACK FOOD HIGHWAY NAAGIN (SEASON 4) DESI BEAT RESET BIGG BOSS (SEASON 13) WEEKEND KA VAAR


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TRAVEL & EVENTS

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

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1 - 7 February 2020

What’s on

An evening in

Paris

An evening in Paris is a glittering landscape of monument-lined boulevards, flea markets, museums, bistros and boutiques. These are now amalgamated by a new hub of artists’ corners, creative wine bars, and design shops. Whilst some may feel that Paris is a disappointing and an ageing old lady in the afternoon, the same lady transforms into a diva during the evening when the lights illuminate the once upon a time wonder of the world Eiffel Tower. Experience the Eurostar Whilst frequent flights operate from London Heathrow to Paris-Charles De Gaulle, hopping on to the Eurostar and crossing the English Chanel is an experience in itself. Operating from London’s Kings Cross St. Pancras, the train takes you to Paris Gare du Nord with ticket prices starting from as cheap as £50 per person. A city for romantics The city that professes love across every lock on the bridge is home to Arc de Triomphe guarding the glamorous avenue des ChampsÉlysées. It guards the Notre Dame cathedral which also hosts the point zero. Myth has it that when one stands in the middle of the circular point zero and wishes for something then it may come true. Some also believe that all distances from that point are measured equally and if you step on that circle then you are bound to return to the city. But besides Notre Dame, is Montmarte and Basilique du Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Basilica), a trek on the hillside and a place of pilgrimage for romantics as well as the religious. This place is particularly enchanting during the evening when it paints the city in hues of rose gold sunsets that bleed into the illuminating lights of the city’s downtown. If you are a romantic wanting to lounge to some

blues, then this might be the perfect spot to spend the evening at. If you happen to be an art connoisseur, then you can also admire works by the painter Delacroix in the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay or the much renowned Mona Lisa at these museums. But if one is travelling to the city during Spring, then perhaps, one may want to spring down to Jardin du Luxembourg. Napoléon dedicated the 23 gracefully laidout hectares of the Luxembourg Gardens to the children of Paris. Dozens of varieties of apples grow in the orchards in the gardens’ south, while bees have produced honey in the nearby Rucher du Luxembourg since the 19th century. This city wafts with art almost in every corner. The

1977-opened Centre Pompidou brings together galleries and cuttingedge exhibitions, hands-on workshops, dance performances, cinemas and other entertainment venues, with street performers and fountains outside. The Musée National d’Art Moderne, France’s national collection of art dating from 1905 onwards, is its main draw. But if you enjoy morbid humour then perhaps, you might want to skip to the Les Catacombes. The skull- and bone-lined underground tunnels are perhaps, the city’s most macabre sight. Paris is one of the world's great art repositories, is at the forefront of international trends, with Parisian fashion highlighting the emerging and established designer boutiques and flagship haute couture houses. And apart from Renoir, Rodin, Picasso, Monet, Manet, Dalí and Van Gogh, Paris also boasts of Parisian cheese.

● Birmingham Walking Tour: Migration Stories - Immerse yourself in true stories hidden inside abandoned Irish pubs and woven into the Asian fabric shops. The Stratford Road in Sparkhill has seen many migrants settle along it through the years. From the Irish to the Somalian community; their memories will be brought to life by our friendly walk leaders who will talk you through the changing scene of the road. Date: Saturday 1st February Time: 11.30am Venue: The Bordesley Centre, Stratford Road, Birmingham, B11 1AR Tickets: www.awin1.com/awclick.php?mid=8735&id=85386&clickref=k 5n1hp49yl01a50505ext&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadviso r.co.uk%2FAttractionProductReview-g186402-d19867559Birmingham_Walking_Tour_Migration_Stories_from_the_Strat ford_Road-Birmingham_West_.html%3F%2C Price: £10 ● The Identity Of Modern South Asian Women - This Forum/Workshop is designed to be a confidential and a nonjudgemental safe space, to understand and learn. Guest Speaker Ravideep Kaur a presence-based coach, anti-racism consultant and educator who is incredibly passionate about owning and representing the wholeness of who you are. Support women of colour to recognise how navigating through a dual identity shows up for them and provide tools to build freedom and liberation from internal and external oppression. Her mission is to truly empower fellow women of colour to stand firm in their own light and showcase real, raw and diverse representation, supporting them to take up space unapologetically. Workshop – • Identity and what it means to be south Asian in 2020 • Identity, race and self-worth • Intro to mindfulness • Redefining your own success • 10 minute, mindfulness wind down practice Date: Wednesday 5th February Time: 6.45pm for 7pm start Venue: Free Word, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-identity-ofmodern-south-asian-women-tickets-90666900139 Price: £7 ● Buddhism Conference: 'Unlocking Buddhist Written Heritage' - From the beautiful illuminated manuscripts of Thailand to the medical texts of the Silk Roads, our speakers examine how collection items give context to our understanding of Buddhism and its practices. This ticket is for both days of the conference. Separate Friday and Saturday tickets are also available. Date: Fri 7th and Sat 8th February Time: 8.30am till 5pm Venue: Knowledge Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546 Price: Full Price: £35.00 ; Student: £15.00 ; Registered Unemployed: £15.00 ; Under 18: £15.00 ; Senior (60+): £30.00 Tickets: Box office enquiries boxoffice@bl.uk https://www.bl.uk/events/?eventsubtype=Conference

MAC BOOK PRO Apple has built a well-designed professional laptop with the MacBook Pro 15inch (2019). It has upgraded its internal components but the lack of port variety stops it from being a truly flexible consumer device. But It has a much improved keyboard, and specs-wise, the highest configuration of the line now boasts some incremental changes, more than enough to make it worth the upgrade if you’ve got a 2017 or an older MacBook.

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C), 3.5mm headphone jack Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-F, Bluetooth 5.0 Camera: 720p FaceTime HD webcam Weight: 4.02 pounds (1.83kg) Size: 13.75 x 9.48 x 0.61 inches The laptop lasts only 7 hours and 36 minutes and this involves looping a 1080p video at 50% brightness and volume. Apple claims the MacBook Pro

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15-inch (2019) can handle 10 hours of wireless internet browsing, which seems to be its default claim for MacBook Pros these days. Therefore, you’ll be wise to carry around the MacBook Pro’s charger just in case you do run out of battery. All the MacBook 2019 models can be configured to add more powerful components if you want – and can afford – them.

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Lint Group's football initiative for BAME community Lint Group will sponsor West Ham’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Fans Group, the first ever in the UK. On Saturday 18th January BAME Hammers held a launch alongside ‘Kick it out’ day. Former professional footballer Carlton Cole who supported the launch as the West Ham BAME ambassador is a passionate advocate of inclusivity and diversity. Latest statistics from the annual survey 2018/2019 by the Inclusive Board Ltd indicates 40% of BAME respondents felt that their experiences in sports was negative, whereas only 14% of white British individuals felt this way. This is a huge disparity, which may mean ethnic minorities encounter more barriers in sports. Lint Group and BAME Hammers are committed to ensuring tha young people from a BAME background are provided with a range of

facilities and are given a voice in Football. A key initiative is the provision of a multi-faith room, a new thought process in sports. Lint Group's sponsorship will allow young BAME supporters to attend and recommend new concepts and facilities that will benefit them. This encourages more local children to attend and form a sense of belonging. Not only does this help by giving

them an opportunity but it contributes to community cohesion. Rizz Patel, Lint Group Managing Director highlighted; "it's great to see that West Ham United and BAME Hammers have decided to take racism head on and combat it from within. West Ham is a great London club and to see it taking positive steps in this direction is something that Lint Group is

100% supporting. I’m glad to see BAME Hammers promote and encourage diversity and inclusion in the club". Sam Chand, Lint Group Managing Director emphasised “I believe helping young people from a BAME background with an interest in football is beneficial as it gives them direction and they have something to aspire to. Therefore, sponsoring BAME Hammers is a fantastic way to bring about awareness, equal opportunities and provide individuals with the facilities they need”. BAME Hammer’s Founding Member, Sam Saleh emphasised "for BAME Hammers, we are hoping to get many local children from a BAME background involved with West Ham United and football in general. Within the next six months we plan to set up summer camps during the holidays to get underprivileged children to play football'.

Sachin, Courtney Walsh to coach teams in ‘Bushfire Cricket Bash’ Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar and West Indies fast-bowling great Courtney Walsh will coach the Ponting XI and Warne XI respectively in the Bushfire Cricket Bash set to be played on February 8. The bushfire relief cricket match is one of three headline acts on the cricket's day of giving 'The Big Appeal' with Tendulkar and Walsh joining former Australian captain Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne as leaders of the two sides. "We are absolutely honoured to be welcoming Sachin and Courtney back to Australia, where they both enjoyed a lot of success as players, and we can't wait to have them involved in what is going to be a special day," said

Kevin Roberts, Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer. “Both in the ICC Hall of Fame, Sachin is the greatest run-scorer of all time in

international cricket, and we all remember what Courtney could do with the ball, taking more than 500 Test wickets. The charity match will be the curtain raiser to the Big

Bash final on February 8, with the venue yet to be determined. Both matches, as well as Australia's women's T20 match against India at Junction Oval on the same day. Former Australian cricketers confirmed to play include Ponting, Warne, Justin Langer, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Shane Watson, Alex Blackwell and Michael Clarke. Steve Waugh and Mel Jones will be involved in a nonplaying capacity. The remaining players and further details about The Big Appeal will be announced in the next two weeks. All match profits and funds raised on the day will go to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.

Kohli sits atop, Rahane climbs the ladder in ICC Test rankings India skipper Virat Kohli maintained his top spot in the ICC Test rankings for batsmen. Cheteshwar Pujara has been able to retain his sixth position whereas Ajinkya Rahane moved up by a place and is currently at the eighth spot. In the latest rankings update that also includes the Port Elizabeth Test, which England won by an innings and 53 runs to go 2-1 ahead in the four-Test series against South Africa, sees Ben Stokes equal his career-best second ranking among all-rounders after his

knock of 120. Stokes has moved back to the spot he had occupied in August last year while he is presently ranked 10th among batsmen and 29th among bowlers. Off-spinner Dominic Bess's five-wicket haul in the first innings has lifted him 49 places to 62nd, while Curran, Jack Leach and Stuart Broad have gained one slot each in the bowlers' list. Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews has advanced eight places to reach 16th position after his unbeaten 200 in Harare helped his side win by

10 wickets in Harare to take a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series against Zimbabwe. The former Sri Lanka captain's best ranking was third, achieved in August 2014, while he has also been among

the top 10 among batsmen in ODIs. Team India's next assignment in Test cricket is against New Zealand where both the teams will contest in two matches beginning February 21.

Cherry Talk

Monty’s Spin Monty Panesar

England outclass Proteas England's series win against South Africa was the first for skipper Joe Root. As captain he has come into his own and has led the team, especially the youngsters, admirably. In the final Test match I believe it was England’s positive attitude that was key to winning. Whenever England played in a rain effected game, I remember as a player, my tendency was to get lazy and switch my mind off the game. You start to play card games in the dressing room and forget that you are playing a Test match for your country. Players can get into that mindset but Joe Root seemed like a captain hungry to win. It was evident that he wasn’t satisfied with a 2-1 series win but wanted a 3-1 scoreline. It just suggests how dominant England were after the first Test. What changed England's fortunes after the first Test match was that they were able to post big totals. Whenever England are able to score big they seem to have the ability to take twenty wickets in the match. Also, the emergence of Ollie Pope, Dom Bess and Dom Sibley was key. The youngsters gave Joe Root an opportunity to captain the team his way. I think England are a better team with Mark Wood in the side. He reminds me of myself when I played for England. He is full of energy and enthusiasm and is always involved in the game. For England to win the Ashes in Australia they will need Mark Wood to be fit throughout the series. His fitness is always going to remain a big concern but England have excellent options in Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes. England were looking for a solid opener and they have one in Dom Sibley. He finally showed his potential. Since the retirement of Alastair Cook England have struggled to find a replacement. Sibley is able to bat long periods of time. But it remains to be seen if has has a solid game against spin in Sri Lanka? For me, the find of the tour was Ollie Pope. He looks like a batsman of international class. He has the shots on the offside and the onside and is able to read the game well and switch gears when required. Should he be batting higher than number six or should he remain in the same position is something worth considering. With the tour of Sri Lanka coming up if he has a solid game plan against spin I would put him up the order. But he is still young and needs to find his feet in international cricket. Number six is a good position to bat and learn about the game. Dom Bess has surprised everyone with his bowling performance. His work with Rangana Herath and his new bowling coach Jeetan Patel has worked well for him. He has a good action and looks like a confident cricketer. I still feel he is more of a batting all-rounder than a bowling all-rounder. I still believe Moeen Ali should be part of the squad in Sri Lanka because he has the experience whereas both Jack Leach and Dom Bess are relatively new comers to international cricket. You can follow Monty Panesar @MontyChannel

Profile for Asian Business Publications Ltd

AV 1st February 2020  

Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 38 Vol 48)

AV 1st February 2020  

Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 38 Vol 48)

Profile for abpl