AV 24th March 2018

Page 1

First & Foremost Asian Weekly in Europe


Vol 46 Issue 45

24th March to 30th March 2018

Let noble thoughts come to us from every side 80p


In shocking news, the 39 Indians who were kidnapped in Iraq by terror outfit ISIS four years ago, have been confirmed dead. Addressing the parliament, India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj broke the news saying, “With full proof I can say these 39 are dead. We wanted to give the families closure only after concrete proof.” She said that it was confirmed on Monday, that the DNA of 38 had matched remains found underneath a mound, one of many in and around Mosul and Badush after their liberation from ISIS. One body was a 70 per cent match. “We used a deep penetration satellite... It had exactly 39 bodies with distinctive features like long hair, Sikh kadas, non-Iraqi shoes and IDs. It was a difficult task to get the proof. It was a pile of bodies. To track down the bodies of our people and to take them to Baghdad for DNA tests was a huge task,” Swaraj said. She also commended her junior, Minister of State VK Singh for supervising the challenging job. Soon after the announcement, the Opposition verbally attacked the minister, with the Congress accusing the government of giving false hopes to the families of the deceased, and misleading the nation. Swaraj had last year told the parliament that until evidence suggested otherwise, the workers would be presumed alive. Congress lawmaker Ghulam Nabi Azad reminded her that she had

Karnataka govt clears minority status for Lingayats

In a political gamble close to the assembly polls, the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka has decided to declare Lingayats as a religious minority and include the Veerashaivas who follow Basavanna as a group within the community. Continued on page 26

Relatives of the Indian workers who have been kidnapped in Iraq pose with photographs in front of Golden Temple

“assured us last year that the Indians were alive.” VK Singh responded saying, “We never misled anyone. We said unless we have evidence, we cannot declare them dead.” The victims were construction workers from Punjab, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, and Bengal. They were taken hostage when the IS invaded Mosul in 2014. They were caught trying to leave the city. One of the workers, Harjit Masih from Punjab, managed to escape after posing as a Muslim. He claimed that he saw his compatriots executed, but the government rejected the statement.

He also said that he was harassed by the Central government. In a press conference held later in the day, Swaraj said 27 of the 39 were from Punjab, six from Bihar, four from Himachal Pradesh, and two from West Bengal. Referring to criticism, she said she followed parliamentary procedures. “It was my duty to first inform the House. I never gave any false hope to anyone. I was not involved in any falsehood... she said, referring to her statements in Parliament in 2014 and 2017. Continued on page 26

Indian real estate partners linked to Trump accused of $147 mn fraud

Lalit Goyal and co-founder Anurag Bhargava

Full story on page 26



Asian Voice | 24th March 2018





Keith Vaz, MP

Alpa Soni Alpa Soni graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a BA (hons) in International Business and is a qualified CeMap certified broker. She has lived and worked across the globe facilitating new starts up in South Africa, UK and India. With 10 years plus experience in Business development in the financial/commercial/property service sector, Alpa has established a long standing global client base and diverse experience working across varied business cultures and is currently working as a Business Development Manager at Sanco Global. With a keen interest in Sales & Personal Development, her extended qualifications in NLP (Nuero Linguistic Programming) has enabled her to work with a greater understanding of people and working effectively in any environment. In addition, Alpa’s extracurricular stints have included hosting Financial Services Awards ceremonies namely at the House of Lords, Asian Achievers Awards, shows on Zee TV and property events respectively. A gym fanatic and committed vegetarian, she enjoys travelling the world, spending time with her friends and family, is an avid reader and enjoys writing. Alpa is also involved in philanthropic projects. 1) Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in? Anywhere and everywhere, but if we are narrowing it down, Cape Town and Mumbai come top of the list. 2) What are your proudest achievements? Standing tall in the face

of adversity. 3) What inspires you? I find inspiration every day in all sorts of things/situations. From human connections of all types. I am intrigued by how we communicate through writing and bring meaning to our experi-

ences. Little children can teach you some thing just as much as the wisdom of the elderly. Those that can express themselves and show me their soul, not through material connections but by being their true authentic selves. Spiritual babble, may be - but we are human beings, first right? Connection in all forms is a wonderful thing. Also I have an appetite for risk. Risks that people take to start up new projects/ business on their own. I have been a part of two new start-ups, not really being certain where they would lead other than seeing the potential and bigger picture then find my way. Facilitating the right people to make it grow. Life for me is all about progressive growth. 4) What has been biggest obstacle in your career? When I graduated from University most of my friends went and followed the route of securing roles in a Corporate Organisations. I chose to be a part of a new start up in 2001, with no security

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of an income and making the role successful on my own. I had no training and just got out there and secured business. This was challenging and daunting. After the crash of 2008 I was set back and had to start again. After many failures and not knowing which way to turn, opportunity found me. A new start up led me to move to South Africa for a year. I am happy to say 4 years of hard work is finally becoming worth it. 5) Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? My father 6) What is the best aspect about your current role? Flexibility, creativity and the fact I can pursue other interests. 7) And the worst? Too many nice restaurants within close proximity of my office! 8) What are your long term goals? I want to live as the best version of myself and continue my personal

interests, push forward in my development work, write my father’s story inspire others, and tick off as much as I can from my bucket list (it is long)! We only have this one life right? 9) If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change? Introduce yoga, mindfulness or personal development as part of the

curriculum for education. 10) If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why. Steven Hawkins. A true testament to how the power of your mind can achieve anything! Although he was told he only had two years to live, he left a fabulous legacy.

Diaspora celebrates Bihar Diwas in Scotland Consulate General of India, Edinburgh, in association with Bihari and Indian community in Scotland organised Bihar Diwas on 17th March 2018 in Patna, East Ayrshire, Scotland. High Commissioner of India to the UK, H.E. Mr. Y.K. Sinha was the Chief Guest at this special event that aimed at connecting two Patnas which are thousands of miles apart. Patna in East Ayrshire is a small township established in 1802 by William Fullarton in the memory of his father Surgeon William Fullarton who was associated with the British East India Company and served in India between 1744-66 during which time he established close contacts with local historians, painters, artists and traders. Provost of East Ayrshire Mr. Jim Todd and Provost of South Ayrshire Ms. Helen Moonie were the guests of honour and Minister for Social Security Mrs. Jeane Freeman, MSP represented the Scottish Government at the event. In his keynote address, High Commissioner, Mr. Y.K. Sinha traced the his-

High Commissioner HE Y K Sinha and Consul General Anju Ranjan felicitated by Patna Community and Council of East Ayrshire on the occasion of Bihar Day

tory of Patna, the ancient city of Pataliputra, capital of past empires, and highlighted the role of the city in India’s freedom struggle and in the making of modern India. He mentioned that Patna had always been an important centre of learning and trade, and made special mention of Nalanda University, one of the earliest and biggest centres of learning in the ancient world. Today, the modern Nalanda University revives the glorious academic heritage of India. High Commissioner spoke of the importance of strengthening links between the two Patnas and recalled memories from his own time in Patna in India. He promised to extend all possible support to the institutions linking

the two cities like the Patna School and the Patna Community Centre. Many members of the Bihari and Indian diaspora community participated in this event and presented an exhibition depicting culture and cuisine of Patna. Community members also presented glimpses of major festivals of Bihar like Chhat Pooja, Sama Chakeva, Teej and celebrated the lives of Lord Buddha, Lord Mahavira and Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Consulate made an audio-visual presentation on the culture and touristic destinations of Bihar and history of Patna. Robert Stevenson from Patna Community Centre, East Ayrshire also made a presentation on the history of Patna, East Ayrshire.

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India’s French connection President Emmanuel Macron’s three-day visit to India was a notable success. However, it would be an exaggeration to compare this to the seminal strategic partnership crafted by his predecessor Jacques Chirac in 1998 in the aftermath of India’s Pokhran nuclear tests. President Chirac well understood India’s reasons for so opting, when Britain and the United States put India under an embargo. For a while, the Blair regime in London put a ban on Indian physicists visiting the UK. Chirac was never popular with the Anglo-Saxon powers; for opposing Washington’s Iraq war, the French were ridiculed in America as ‘cheese-eating monkeys.’ Sarkozy and Hollande kowtowed their way back to favour in Washington. Macron is of a similar genre. Macron was a minister in the Hollande government. Within a restricted geopolitical paradigm, President Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a number of significant agreements on solar energy, climate change and cooperation on nuclear energy etc. President Macron attempted to hard sell more Rafele warplanes, to which there appeared to be a non-committal Indian response. The much touted French nuclear power plant at Jaitapur has been quietly shelved because the technology is as yet unproven and hence does not qualify for approval under the regulatory norms of the Indian Atomic Authority. More significant by far was the agreement to cooperate closely on issues of maritime security in the Indian Ocean with Mauritius as the fulcrum for both sides. The island of Mauritius owes its name to its French explorer Prince Maurice of Orange in 1628. Mauritius was lost to the British during the Napoleonic war. The introduction of Indian labour on the sugar plantations followed in next century. The British authorities permitted the co-existence of two languages,

English and French, hence Mauritian Indians – the country’s majority - are bilingual, a bridge between India and France. With a Chinese naval base in Djibouti on the horn of Africa, India and France have a convergence of national interests in protecting Mauritius from mischief. Indo-French security understanding is thus an accord to be warmly welcomed. France has international commitments to NATO, the European Union, not to speak of the United States, which do not square with India’s strategic interests. Geography is a key determinant of history, but this elementary truth has escaped the grasp of certain Indian newspaper editorials. Consider The Times of India editorial (March 12) ‘Macron in Delhi: Russia appears to be cooling towards India, can France replace it.’ One can only express kindly concern at such brain dead penmanship. On the global stage France at best is a middle ranking power with enough military clout to keep its former colonies in West Africa in order. To its unequalled territorial expanse, Russia is a military superpower, the beating heart of the Eurasian heartland. Its reserves of oil and gas and other natural resources exceed that of any country on earth. Its human capital is exceptionally rich and productive; the endurance of its people in the face of existential challenges legendary. When a Times of India interviewer asked Sergei Karaganov, a close adviser to President Putin, whether ‘Russia was ‘a sibling of China,’ the silly creature received a waspish reply: ‘Russia is not a junior brother to anybody and has never been so – from the descendants of Genghis Khan to Napoleon and Hitler; we have defeated them.’ This must be news to the paper’s wage labourers! Where ignorance is bliss ‘tis folly to be wise.

Supreme court upholds right to euthanasia In a landmark judgment the Supreme Court of India accepted the right of the terminally ill to die with dignity rather than prolong life in humiliating circumstances of helplessness when their every need is dependent on external care. Guidelines prescribed by the court upheld the legitimacy of passive euthanasia but placed the burden of responsibility on administering the euthanasia on the doctor or hospital. It would be for the doctor to ascertain the ‘genuineness and authenticity’ of a Living Will of a terminally ill patient. Once satisfied that that the affliction is beyond cure, the doctor should give due weight to the instruction left by the patient in his or her Living Will. The physician’s duty thereupon is to inform a close relative or guardian of the consequences of prolonging life. Thereafter a Medical Board has to be set up including the head of the treating department and at least three experts from the fields of general medicine, cardiology, neurology, nephrology, psychiatry or oncology with experience in critical care and a standing of 20 years in the medical profession. As significant are the moral and ethical considerations underlying the Supreme Court judgement. The former president of the Indian Medical

Association, S.K. Aggarwal explained: ‘Just as every person has the right to life, he/she also has the right to die with dignity. It is inhuman to force anyone to live on life support endlessly. It is torture for the person and the family and is known to push families into poverty and debt,’ The judges dealt with the philosophical issues admirably. Chief Justice Dipak Misra quoted the Greek philosopher Epicurus: ‘Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not.’ The Chief Justice asked ‘whether the Hippocrates oath should prevent us from entering the dark tunnel of death with dignity.’ Justice Chandrachud in tackling the question whether the ‘right to life includes the right to die’ answered thus: ‘We are in a state of flux, change being the norm. To be is to die. There is no antithesis between life and death. Death represents the culmination, dying is the process. As we age, simple tasks become less simple. The right to die without suffering is the last vestige of dignity we can afford ourselves,’ he concluded. The rule of law has its grand moments of wisdom and compassion, none surely grander than these words.

Charity at home and abroad Initially, the Indian charity Akshaya Patra Foundation UK/Europe, focused on providing 1.8 million schoolchildren in India with mid-day meals; now it has turned its attention to London’s poor. In Kentish Town, a northern borough of the metropolis, around 40 to 50 of the poorest queue for a plate of steaming vegetable curry and rice. ‘It’s a life-saver,’ said a middle aged man awaiting his turn to be served in the freezing cold. For the past couple of years, Akshaya Patra Foundation UK/Europe has been fund raising for Indian schoolchildren, before turning its attention to Britain’s poor, whose number grow amidst the plenty enjoyed by the majority of their brethren. The homeless now visible in Britain’s largest cities are taken for granted by the political establishment as necessary for economic efficiency, for sustained growth and prosperity. In this blighted environment, Akshaya P:atra has opened its first kitchen in London and is serving 2000 nutritious vegetarian meals a day for students with small pockets at the School for Asian and African Studies (SOAS) and the London School of Economics (LSE), and for the homeless with no pockets. Akshaya Patra, wisely, has decided to widen its

horizons by joining forces with another charity called Food for All to cater to the denizens below the expanding poverty line. The partners in this noble enterprise will concentrate on their respective strengths. Food for All outreach will cover London’s deprived schoolchildren, the elderly and hospital patients. A 2000 square feet of a basement in a building, in Holborn in central London, has been transformed it into a makeshift kitchen, where Food for All staff make vegetable stew, pasta, and porridge. ‘Food for All had the manufacturing licences and experience. We will scale it up and make it more organized,’ says CEO Bhawani Singh Shekhawat. Akshaya Patra both cooks and distributes through vans and rickshaws meals to three feeding centres for homeless people and poor students. A retired painter named Thomas explained that his state pension was swallowed in bills and left him little for food. At SOAS, a 23 year-old Polish student, Olga Iskra by name, says: ‘The food is delicious. I am here most days as I am on a low budget.’ Fellow student Anthony Krowicki, 22, adds: ’The quality of food is amazing and the university canteen is bad and expensive.’

Asian Voice | 24th March 2018


The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned - Antonio Gramsci (1891- 1937)

Seema Malhotra MP

Labour and Co-op Member of Parliament for Feltham & Heston Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

The Government is running out of time to strike the best deal for Britain The Select Committee on Exiting the European Union on which I serve in Parliament has this week has published its third report on The progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal: December 2017 to March 2018. It’s a sobering report which shows in stark terms the consequences of Theresa May’s failure to get a grip on the divisions at the heart of her Government. Whether it’s on the withdrawal agreement, transition arrangements or future partnership, fundamental questions still remain for our nation’s prosperity and security and indeed the vision of a global Britain. Over the last few years I have talked to businesses across the world about how we can increase trade links with Britain. Feedback from Indian businesses including through meetings with CII members has been that one of the attractions of investing in the UK has been access to the EU single market. This means the ability to get the best talent from and sell goods to a market of 500million. Britain of course will be navigating new waters as it withdraws from the EU. But those advocating a hard Brexit have failed to also answer the question as to what the investment losses could be and over what time scale new trade arrangements will fill the gap. It is just over six months to go till October when we expect a final deal which will be put to Parliament for a vote. But it’s increasingly apparent that the Prime Minister has mishandled and miscalculated the last 21 months. The risk to our businesses and jobs is now greater than ever. EU negotiators have recently confirmed their belief that not everything will be negotiated by March 2019. If substantial aspects of the Future Partnership are still to be agreed in October, it will be time to consider seeking an extension of Article 50. The Government has miscalculated the complexities of Brexit and the time it will take to address them. It has failed even to model the impact of its own preferred plan on the economy. That is unacceptable – Britain’s families and businesses deserve better. The Treasury’s own forecasting of the main Brexit options shows all options leave our nation worse off. Last week the Chancellor in his Spring Statement also confirmed that any savings from Brexit will go to paying for ourselves for much of what the EU does now. Other EU nations are now planning how to take the most of the opportunities that Brexit will provide for them. It was not a surprise that President Macron wooed Prime Minister Modi by saying he wanted France to be India’s “closest strategic partner in Europe”. A deal was signed worth $16bn on security and defence matters. Macron himself is undertaking major immigration reforms. Continued on page 6 Editor: CB Patel

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Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

3 Coventry University student face jail for imported weapons plot Three university students face being imprisoned for allegedly planning to import ammunitions and guns from the US through an arms dealer in Arizona with whom they communicated with on WhatsApp. Students from Coventry University, Shajee Buhary, Gabriel Addai-Brmpah and Matthew Sidhu, all 23 years of age, appeared at Warwick Crown Court. Prosecutor Charles Crinion told the jury, “This case concerns three Coventry University students, intelligent young men who have willingly got themselves involved in serious criminality, the importing and selling

of prohibited firearms. Why did they get themselves involved? Perhaps they thought it was cool, perhaps it was for the money.” All three had initially

denied the allegations but Buhary changed his plea to guilty and the others were convicted. However, Sidhu was cleared of conspiracy to import the weapons, but was

found guilty of the other two charges against him. Judge Sally Hancox told Sidhu, “This jury has found you guilty of your part in two conspiracies, one to import ammunition from the US into the UK, and one for your part in the criminal selling of what by then would have amounted to illegal firearms. There can only be one type of sentence to be imposed, and that is a custodial sentence. These types of offences attract a minimum term of custody of five years. The sentence you receive will exceed that figure.” All the were remanded in custody. Sentencing will take place on a later date.

Aaron O'Farrell

dent it did not contain peanuts. I thought it was made with semolina or almonds and broke off a piece. I had a little and I popped some into Aaron's mouth. He said he did not like it and spar it out. Then he asked for a drink and I gave him some Vimto and a tangerine. But he started complaining about his throat and then started running wildly around the house, I was trying to calm him down.” Aaron's father, James O'Farrell told the court, “My son came running into the lounge and said 'Dad, dad I can't breathe, I can't breathe. The next thing we knew he just collapsed on the floor and everything went into a panic. His eyes were open, but he was just staring through me. But as they put him into the ambulance he was conscious. Aaron looked back at me and the house and I thought he was going

to be okay. Then I was sat in my car waiting to follow the ambulance to hospital, but we didn't move. Then after we drove off the flashing lights went on. We got to the hospital and waited. After an hour or so the doctor came out and told us Aaron had died.” He went on to criticise Suraj Sweet Centre in Sparkhill, Birmingham, for not clearly labelling the boxes. He said, “There is so much negligence about not putting a warning on the box. They should be aware about this. They should have done this at the source. I just cannot understand it.” Bhikhu Odedra, director at Suraj Sweet Centre said that the boxes supplied were not the ones they normally used. The festival organisers wanted to reduce the cost and hence, opted to use a different type of box and put both sweet and savoury treats together.

Gabriel Addai-Brmpah

Matthew Sidhu

Inquest heard how mum accidentally fed sweet contaminated by peanuts to son

Chesterfield Coroner's Court heard how a heartbroken mother accidentally fed her 11-year-old son an Indian sweet which triggered a severe allergic reaction to peanuts, leading to his death. An inquest heard how Aaron O'Farrell went into anaphylactic shock after his mother, Jaywantee had put the Indian sweet into his mouth before he quickly spat it out. Moments after tasting the sweet, Aaron started to complain that he was feeling unwell and began struggling for breath and just over an hour later, he passed away. The sweet from a gift box had come from temple in Birmingham where his relatives had celebrated Navratri. He passed away on 28th September 2014. The court heard that the sweets may have been contaminated by “Bombay-mix style” treats inside the car-

ton box. The box contained no allergy warning labels and there were no indications that there was anything containing peanuts in the box. Aaron's mother tearfully told the inquest, “If I had seen any peanuts in the box I would not have given it to him. And I would still have my son here today.” She continued, “I took out one of the sweets, a white one. It looked like one we'd had before. I was confi-


Participate in the Leicester Fundraising Walk for Diabetes

A five-day, six-point upliftment programme was designed by al-Vazaratus Saifiyah during Ayyam al-Ta’abbudaat al-Mubaraka 1439. A 'Health & Diabetes Awareness' camp was part of the programme. Various Health Awareness Camps and Diabetes Clinics were organised by Mumineen doctors, with the support of the Saifee Burhani Medical Association (SBMA). The cause also found strong support from the Leicester Jamaat, under the patronage of the UK & Europe Jamiyat, which has organised a 'Walk for Diabetes' and invites Mumineen from all over the country to participate in the event. The walk is to be held on March 25, at the Victoria Park, Leicester, from 1.00 pm to 4.00 pm. The event includes free diabetes check ups, refreshments, goodie bags, and bubbles. Those who want to register and donate, can visit their website www.walkfordiabetes.uk. You can also contact your local jamaat khidmatguzar.

Paedophile grandfather sold children for sex in 'rape house'

A grandfather was revealed as the paedophile who sold children for sex in a 'Rape House' where perverts queued down the stairs to abuse youngsters. Shahzad 'Keith' Khan ran the peadophile ring from an ex-council house in Telford, West Midlands, where he sold girls for up to £2,000 a night. Police were tipped off about him in 1996, but he continued to run his depraved business, taking a 14-year-old's virginity and picking up one of his sex slaves from outside a police station. Another chance to catch Khan fell through in 2013, when a police case against him collapsed, Mirror Online reports. On Sunday brave survivors of his abuse exposed the terrifying ordeals he put young girls through. One victim described feeling 'dead inside' as she was sold for up to £2,000 in the house, where Khan's nephew and son would regularly stay.

York found to be best place to live in UK

York has officially been named the best place to live in the UK, according to The Sunday Times’ annual list. Praised for its metropolitan culture and rich architectural history, the 105 sq mile city was also lauded for its thriving tech scene, boasting the fastest internet speeds in Britain. Jobs, green spaces, transport links, schools and community spirit all factor into the newspaper’s decision-making process for the list, which is supported by statistical data and compiled by an expert panel. In addition to its trendy food scene which boasts a mix of fine-dining European restaurants and quirky Polish brunch spots York also happens to be Britain’s first “gigabit city” with the fastest broadband speeds in the UK, making it one of the nation’s most wellconnected hubs.

Leicester’s Dawoodi Bohras prepare for new mosque opening

By Dhiren Katwa Plaudits have been bestowed upon Leicester’s Dawoodi Bohra community for its longstanding and significant part in the overall peace and prosperity of the city. The city’s Bishop, The Rt Rev Martyn Snow, described the community, also known as Anjuman-eSaifee, as “a nucleus of our community”. The Bishop was guest of honour at a momentous event to mark the end of a final construction phase of a new “masjid” mosque in Leicester last Wednesday. The self-funded mosque, which will have cost an estimated £3mn once finished, is a dream come true for the community which

has persevered on this project for almost 30 years. Considering there are just around 100 Dawoodi Bohra families in Leicester this is a remarkable achievement. The community’s first mosque on British soil was officially opened in Northolt, London, by HRH Prince Charles in February 2009. The Leicester mosque – which is scheduled to open this Summer by the community’s spiritual world leader, His Holiness Syedna Muffaddal Saifuddin - will be the fifth in the UK, with one in Birmingham which opened last year. One in Nottingham has been granted planning permission. Guests were invited to an optional guided tour of the new site on Bath Street, then asked to meet at, within walking distance, the community’s

centre. Upstairs, an army of volunteers introduced guests to an exhibition showcasing the work and achievements of their community. Guests were then led downstairs to a room with round tables, each with their names on. Following a prayer, a short video about the community was screened. Then came the speeches, which lasted for just over an hour following which sumptuous inhouse prepared hot traditional south Asian meals were served. Guests included: Pankaj Sharma from the Indian Embassy in Birmingham, Leicester Councillors Ted Cassidy MBE, Bhupendra Dave, Mohammed Parvez Sheikh, Ramanbhai Barber MBE DL, Smitaben Shah,

Mukeshbhai Naker, Sakilbhai Khan Pathan, Abdul-bhai Gheewala, George Ballentyne from the City Mayor’s office. Also in attendance, representing London’s Dawoodi Bohra community was Farazdaq-bhai Zainuddin and Manchester, Dr Zulfikar Husain. The vote of thanks was given by community “role model” Jaffer-bhai Kapasi, Uganda’s honorary consul in the Midlands, who this week is in the Ugandan capital Kampala as part of a delegation which will meet Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni. Dawoodi Bohras, a sect of Islam, mostly originate from the north west Indian state of Gujarat. The name ‘Bohra’ comes from the Gujarati word ‘vohra’ which means trader; for

Rt Rev Martyn Snow and Cllr Mohammed Parvez at the new mosque site

the community essentially was then and remains an enterprising and entrepreneurial community although a substantial number, mainly the younger generations, have branched out into all professional sectors. Readers are being encouraged to sign up to a charity walk, Let’s Walk for

Diabetes, which will take place this Sunday (March 25) between 1pm and 4pm at Victoria Park, Leicester. The event has been organised by the city’s Dawoodi Bohra Community in partnership with other organisations. To donate, register or for more information visit www.walkfordiabetes.uk


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Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

Communities secretary is 5th MP 770,000 people in England to get “Punish a Muslim” parcel unable to speak English well

Sajid Javid

Afzal Khan

Rushanara Ali

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid has become the fifth MP, and first from the Conservatives, to have received a suspicious package and a letter demanding for “Punish a Muslim” Day. Labour MPs who have been recipients of the packages are Rushanara Ali, Mohammad Yasin, Afzal Khan, and Rupa Huq. The packages include “a sticky substance”, as well as copies of letters sent to Muslims in London, the Midlands, as well as Yorkshire in recent days demanding that 3rd April is declared as Punish a Muslim Day. The letter, which is being investigated by counterterrorism police” promises to give “points” for carrying out attacks against Muslims, such as “nuke Mecca”, “throw acid in the face of a Muslim”, or “burn or bomb a mosque”.

Rupa Haq

Mohammad Yasin

The letter also states, “They have hurt you, they have made your loved ones suffer. They have caused you pain and heartache. What are you going to do about it? Are you a sheep like the vast majority of the population?” A Metropolitan Police Spokesman said, “Police were called to reports of a suspicious package delivered to an office at the Palace of Westminster. Specialist officers attended and the package was assessed, The substance contained in it was

deemed not to be hazardous. London Ambulance Service attended and two people have been taken to hospital as a precaution, The incident has been stood down.” Prime Minister Theresa May said, “I am sure that the whole House will join me in condemning this unacceptable and abhorrent behaviour, which has no place in our society. An investigation is under way and steps are being taken to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

ship with China. I hope my visit will lead to even closer cooperation in this Golden Era of relations between our two great countries. Following Prime Theresa May's successful trip earlier this year, a key part of my visit will be promoting London's role as the natural Western hub of the Belt and Road Initiative, for which firms in the City have much to offer. I will also be delivering the message that London is truly open for business, and that the City's position as an international financial centre will very much continue after the UK leave the European Union. We will remain a hub of creative energy and financial

Lord Mayor of the City of London, Charles Bowman

excellence, helping Chinese firms realise their international ambitions and build the relationships and support they need to retain and expand their UK operations.”

Changes to UK visa fees come into effect in April On 16th March, legislation was laid in Parliament which set out a number of changes to visa, immigration and nationality fees, which will come into effect on 6th April 2018. Careful consideration is given to individual fees to help reduce the funding contribution of taxpayers in the UK, whilst continuing to provide, as well as

Sajid Javid

his Pakistani mother when they would visit the GP. However, after 15 years of being in England, his mother decided to learn English – a decision that “transformed her life”. This decision, in turn, enabled her to work for the family clothing business, as well as make new friends. And years on, it

also meant that she could communicated freely with her daughter-in-law, Laura, as well as with her grandchildren. He shared, “I used to go to the doctor’s surgery with her – not because I was ill, but because I had to interpret for her. I was six or seven and an interpreter. But when the family moved to Bristol, which was more integrated, and his father opened up a clothes shop, his mother was persuaded to take up English. “She started working and made friends... All her grandchildren speak English. She speaks to my wife in English. It is transformative in every way.”

Mayor launches new fund to reduce social isolation

Lord Mayor's nine-day visit to China From 19th to 28th March 2018, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Charles Bowman, will be visiting China to promote trade and investments, as well as London's role in the Belt and Road initiative. During his nine-day visit to China, in his role as an ambassador for the UK's financial and professional services and head of the City of London Corporation, The Lord Mayor will be meeting business leaders and senior members of the Chinese government. Speaking ahead of his trip, Lord Mayor Charles Bowman stated, “The City of London has enjoyed a long and fruitful relation-

In an interview, the communities secretary, Sajid Javid revealed that 770,000 people living in England speak little or no English at all, and warned that up to 70% of them are women from the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities. Javid was critical of the statistics which were derived from census data. He said, “If you don’t speak English then there is no way you can take full advantage of the opportunities that modern Britain has to offer you.” Sajid Javid gave his personal experience as an example where he described being a “sixyear-old interpreter” for

invest in a service that remains attractive to those seeking their these services. Some of the key changes are the increase in fees on growth routes (work, study and visit) by 4%. Most non-growth routes, such as for family, settlement and nationality, and most associated with premium services has

also increased by 4%, while the fee for the overseas optional “Priority Visa” service for entry clearance will be increasing by 15%.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched the “London Family Fund” last Friday, that will help parents across the city build social networks and support each other when embarking on one of life’s greatest challenges – becoming a parent. The funding was announced at MumSpace in Camberwell, a local support group for parents, with £600,000 being invested in projects to help parents from all backgrounds build relationships and set

up support networks. Khan said: “Social integration is an issue for all of us – because it benefits all of us. It goes to the heart of who we are – how we treat each other and what kind of city we want London to be in the future. To achieve a truly integrated society, we must face up to some of the changes that have shaped our city. “I am proud that London is one of the most diverse and progressive cities in the world. But our

communities are changing rapidly, inequality across the capital is increasing – in these unsettling times our sense of social cohesion is being put to the test like never before. “I strongly believe that we can tackle the barriers to social integration and the inequalities which divide people. We can ensure that all Londoners can become active citizens, participating fully in the life of the best city in the world.”



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Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

More strokes are now occurring at an earlier age Public Health England’s statistics show that over a third (38%) of first time strokes happen in middle aged adults (between the ages of 40 – 69). More first time strokes are now occurring at an earlier age compared to a decade ago and South Asian people are at a greater risk of experiencing a stroke at a significantly younger age.

Amit Amin

Ranj Parmar

Stroke survivors, Amit Amin and Ranj Parmar both had a stroke in their late thirties. Amit said “Although I had seen the Stroke Act F.A.S.T adverts I never thought it would happen to me. I was a young man, I led a healthy life – I didn’t drink or smoke and was not overweight. It was a huge shock to my family and I.” Amit experienced weakness on his left side and he couldn't raise his arms. His speech was slurred too, he said “I sounded as though I was drunk but I hadn’t been drinking.” Amit’s fiancé noticed these signs and acted FAST, “When I got to the hospital I was quickly seen to by a nurse and neurologist. I had a brain scan which revealed a blood clot on the right side of my brain. It was then I knew I had a

stroke.” He goes on to praise the NHS team that treated him “They were brilliant. I was helped by stroke specialists, nurses and psychologists. I also had speech therapy and physiotherapy. I made a good recovery, regaining my motor skills and ability to speak which is amazing. I had issues with my memory but that is getting better. The only residual issue I have is impaired vision which means I can’t drive.” At the time Amit wasn’t aware that South Asians are at a higher risk of stroke and were more likely to have a stroke at a younger age than the white population. Neither did he know how important it was to act FAST when you notice any one the signs of stroke. Now he strongly advocates the importance of South Asians being aware of the signs of stroke and

acting FAST “Because of the heightened risk within our community we need to be more aware of the signs of stroke – facial weakness, arm weakness and slurred speech. Calling 999 as soon as you see even one of the stroke signs in yourself or others is essential. Speedy treatment will help prevent deaths and disability.” Ranj Parmar said “At the time I didn’t know how serious stroke was until it happened to me and I certainly didn’t think I could have a stroke in my thirties.” “The day I had a stroke I was walking around the shops and suddenly it felt like someone hit me at the back of my head with a club. I felt an intense pain and started to lose mobility in both arms and neck. It was a terrifying experience.” “I was rushed to hospital where I had a brain scan that revealed that I

had a stroke.” Like Amit his experience of the NHS team was positive “They were great, the way they quickly got me the medical attention I needed.” Nine years on, he said “To look at me now, I look normal. I socialise, play light sports and can do most things I want to but the road to rehabilitation was challenging and took a lot of time and effort.” Following his stroke Ranj co-setup a support group for other stroke survivors and their families – Different Strokes Southampton, affiliated to the national charity Different Strokes. He is committed to raising awareness of the disease “Stroke is still one of the leading causes of death in England. It’s often associated with older people, however the latest research from Public Health England and my story shows that people are having strokes at a younger age. Everyone needs to be aware of the signs.” “Every minute counts when you have a stroke and calling 999 straightaway can make a significant difference to someone’s recovery and rehabilitation.” For more information on stroke visit nhs.uk/actfast

Man convicted after racially attacking black and Indian supermarket staff Said Boussaoud, 36, of Wembley, has been convicted of racially-aggravated assault after he slashed a black security guard and threatened to kill an Indian cashier at Iceland, in Harlesden. It is said that Boussaoud had allegedly consumed around 10 cans or bottles of beer before entering Iceland on 17th February, at around 9pm. Boussaoud was allegedly heard saying “black people are the lowest of the low, and Indian


people, I hate them”. The security guard asked him to leave but he insisted that he wanted to buy a few items, hence the security guard accompanied him as he continued through the store while using racist and abusive language. Again, the security guard asked him to leave however, Boussaoud is said to have become “confrontational and aggressive” and as he moved towards the tills, he focused his attention on


On Sunday 25th March 2018, the clock will go forward by one hour. Don't forget to change the time!

an Indian female employee who was working on checkouts. It is alleged he unzip his trousers while looking at the Indian woman and yelled, “I will pi** at you.” He exited the store only to return a few moments later to threaten the staff saying “I am going to wait for you, I want to kill you” and spat on the guard's face. He also slashed the security guard's face with nail clippers, leaving two wounds. Boussaoud is said to have also kicked the store's door and broke a panel of glass, which cost around £500 to replace. Police arrived at the scene at 9:20pm and arrested Boussaoud, who also had cannabis on him. He was charged with possession of an offensive weapon, possession of a class B drug, criminal damage to property, racially-aggravated harassment, as well as two counts of racially-aggra-

vated common assault. Boussaoud admitted all charges and will be sentenced at a later date at Harrow Crown Court. As part of the bail conditions, Boussaoud is prohibited from going back to the Iceland store in Harlesden.


Government to tackle inequalities in youth unemployment Prime Minister Theresa May has announced the launch of an innovative new programme to address ethnic disparities in youth unemployment and to help disadvantaged young people get into work. The announcement comes after Theresa May’s challenge to society to ‘explain or change’ disparities in how people from different backgrounds are treated, following the publication of the Race Disparity Audit, launched last October. The £90m youth programme, designed jointly by the Big Lottery Fund, DCMS, DfE and DWP, will be shaped by evidence from the Race Disparity Audit. It will offer young people the chance to work directly with educators and youth and community organisations. Figures from the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website show that young people from ethnic minorities between the ages of 16 and 24 are almost twice as likely to be unemployed (23%) as their white peers (12%) – despite having similar qualifications. Prime Minister Theresa

May said: “...Evidence from the Race Disparity Audit clearly shows that while the educational attainment gap between people of different backgrounds has narrowed over time, this has not been reflected in getting jobs. Talent, ability and hard work should be the only factors affecting a young person’s ability to get on in life – not their background or ethnicity. “The launch of this ambitious programme, which has young people at its heart and draws on their direct experiences, will help to address the barriers holding many young lives back, and will support young people furthest from the labour market into employment, so they can achieve their full potential.” Simon Woolley, Chair of the Race Disparity Advisory Group and Director of Operation Black Vote, said: "This intervention is driven by the Prime Minister's leadership with support from NGOs. Our role is to find out where and how we can make the biggest impact on a range of issues including youth unemployment and the ethnic disparities within it."

21-year-old Mohammed Abdul, of McMillan Street, London, has been charged with attempted murder for allegedly driving into a busy nightclub after having been thrown out of it. The crash caused at least 13 people to be injured – seven people were taken to hospital, three with serious injuries but not life-threatening injuries, Kent Police said.

11:50pm. Police arrived shortly after midnight and arrested Abdul on suspicion of attempted murder. The manager of the nightclub expressed, “Although we are deeply saddened that injuries occurred, we are grateful that no one was fatally hurt. Thank you to the heroic actions of our door team and guests to apprehend the individual before further harm was caused.” Mohammed Abdul appeared before Medway Magistrates' Court where he was remanded in custody. He is next due to appear before Maidstone Crown Court on 16th April 2018.

Man charged with attempted murder after driving into nightclub

Witnesses described “panic” and “chaos” after a Suzuki Vitara crashed into Blake's nightclub in Gravesend on Saturday 17th March at about

The Government is running out of time to strike the best deal for Britain Continued from page 3 It is still impossible to understand why May’s Government refuses to review its net migration target or exclude students from the figures – a policy that has impacted students from India also and has been damaging to our economy. The last Labour government granted 60,000 Indian student visas. After 7 years of a Conservative Government, the figure now at just over 14,000 after 7 years of a Conservative government. Students in our universities today are often the foundations of our trade links tomorrow. We have also seen the plight of Tech high-skilled workers from India on a Tier-1 visas are being subjected to confusing treatment of the Immigration Rules under paragraph 322(5). Recently I called for the Home Office to have a full investigation to why this has heavily affected Asian workers, and will be seek-

ing a debate in the House of Commons to highlight the matter further. If Theresa May wants to make real her promise of global Britain, it’s got to be done by deeds not words. Her words are undermined by the choices her Government which are weakening our place in the world. Our strong relationship with India over culture and the economy should be a beacon for how we move forward with stronger relationships with growing economies and it won’t be France alone that seeks to benefit from Britain’s own goals. But Britain’s strength and attractiveness to other countries will in part be affected by how May handles Brexit and how strong our ties with the EU remain. She must genuinely puts the needs of our economy first, not the ideology of the Eurosceptics in her party. The next 12 months are set to be critical.


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Amnesty International awards Indian-origin surgeon in the UK An Indian-origin surgeon from Burton, who has helped saving many lives, has been honoured by Amnesty International as part of International Women's Day. Dr Jyoti Shah, pictured, one of the two female surgeons at B u r t o n ' s Q u e e n ' s Hospital, features on a map highlighting the extraordinary work of women across the country, the Burton Mail has reported. Amnesty International UK, the Human rights organisation, launched its Suffragette Spirit Map of Britain to celebrate the ground-breaking work being carried out by women in their communities, 100 years on from first winning the right to vote. It then worked with newspaper groups including Archant, Newsquest, Trinity Mirror, Johnston Press, m e t r o . c o . u k , marieclaire.co.uk and stylist.co.uk to spot women who continue to personify the suffragette spirit 'today's female human rights defenders'. The search found

women all across the UK who are setting up support groups to help refugees, tackle issues of domestic abuse through theatre, tackle bullying in schools, establish charities to deal with period and clothing poverty, stand up for pensioners' rights, campaigning for better facilities for disabled people and many other initiatives. Dr Jyoti a Macmillan consultant urological surgeon, has helped saved many lives with her campaign 'Inspire Health – Fighting Prostate Cancer' which she set up with advanced nurse practitioner Sarah Minns. The campaign has seen hundreds of men in the community educated on and tested for prostate cancer. Jyoti and Sarah also appeared on BBC's One Show to raise awareness of their project. Jyoti told Burton on Mail: "I'm very humbled and very surprised, I wasn't expecting it. "There are some amazing people on the map so what am I doing on there?! It's lovely and very kind, its very kind of everyone."

Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

MPs ask Government to raise concerns about Jagtar Singh Johal during Modi's visit to UK Last Tuesday in Parliament, MPs debated the case of Jagtar Singh Johal, a 30-year-old British Sikh from Dunbarton in Scotland who is currently being held in Nabha Central Jail on murder and conspiracy to murder charges. They have urged the UK government to raise concerns around the case of the British Sikh who is held in a maximum security jail in Punjab at ‘senior levels’ in India. MP Press Kaur Gill, as chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs, had organised this debate to raise Johal's case. While the Indian government maintains that all due processes has been followed in that case, which was raised with Indian Home Minister Kiren Rijiju, when he visited London, but Johal's local MP, Martin DochertyHughes, said he had spoken to the British High Commissioner to India, Sir Dominic Asquith, and has now received an update on the case. Therefore Preet Kaur Gill and Tan Dhesi, the two Sikh MPs, along with Hughes, have asked the UK government to

Mps Preet Kaur Gill and Tan Dhesi

raise the matter with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the UK for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) meeting next month. The Prime Minister can also expect a protest from the Sikh community, demanding Johal’s release. She gave the background of the case since Johal's arrest in Punjab in November 2017, claiming that he had faced severe torture while in custody. Gill reportedly said, "Indian authorities have prevented Jagtar having private access to British consular staff," adding that his case has become a "farcical trial by media". Dhesi then said: "It is

incumbent on all us to stand for the human rights of all British citizens. The UK government's failure to condemn the series of abuses (against Johal) has left all British citizens travelling abroad vulnerable". Mark Field, Minister of state in charge of Asia and the Pacific in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), said he would "try" to see that happens, adding that he would "continue to raise this case at senior levels with Indian authorities”, the PTI has reported. He explained that the UK government had handled nearly 5,000 detentions involving British nationals abroad in the last year alone with

Jagtar Singh Johal

"comprehensive, responsive" consular service but stressed that it is important that the legal systems of other countries are respected. In his response to the debate entitled 'British Nationals Imprisoned Abroad’, Field reportedly said, "India as a partner in the Commonwealth and also as a partner in many other ways has a strong democratic framework which is designed to guarantee human rights. However, it also faces numerous challenges related to the size of development and when it comes to enforcing fundamental rights enshrined in its Constitution."





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Asian Voice | 24th March 2018


Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani: An exceptionally inspiring woman

Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani is perhaps one of the the most inspirational woman I have ever known. I read with interest a very well written and informative article by Shuchita Sonalika, the UK Director and Head, CII, in Asian Voice last week. Shuchita described 11 outstanding women who have in a way done us all proud. Equally I believe there are many more in the UK from Indian background who have made us walk tall in various ways- by building up their own businesses, helping their spouses and family in their entrepreneurship besides raising their children, family members and most importantly the cohesion of the households. Shuchita’s article encouraged me to refer to 346 pages of Kokilaben's book, on the life story of her husband, titled 'Dhirubhai Ambani: The Man I knew'. The book is full of factual information narrated frankly. Perhaps very few successful people would allow the reader to dwell into their very humble beginning, challenges and hardship along the way. Let us look at some important time line event in their life. Dhirubhai was born on 28 December 1932 at Chorwad, Gujarat. His father was a primary school teacher in the village. In 1950, Dhirubhai migrated to Aden with the help of one Mr Patel who secured him a job and permission to work. His first and only job was at Abess & Co, in

CB Patel

told his daughter Dipti, that in his vocabulary two words did not exist - 'impossible' and 'retirement'. Equally when Dipti asked her father what he attributed his success to, he said two other words again, 'guts' and 'luck'. Perhaps he was too modest when he attributed his success to luck, because many other would not reach where he did, just with luck. Kokilaben was successful in persuading her husband to give up a reasonably well paid job in Aden and return

Anil, Dipti, Nina, Kokilaben, Mukesh and the doyen of the family Dhirubhai

haps is hyperbole but Kokilaben to her credit has put the photograph of their first ever residence in Mumbai, which in common

into Art Silk Yarn trading, then manufacturing, then industry and eventually Jamnagar Refinery and many other enterprises.

First home in Aden where Mukesh was born

Aden, where at one stage he was a petrol pump attendant. After 5 years he returned to India and married Kokilaben Patel of Jamnagar in 1955. The couple returned to Aden immediately and on 19th April 1957 son Mukesh was born. In 1958 Dhirubhai, Kokilaben with son Mukesh returned to India for good and moved into a one room flat at the Jai Hind estate in Bhuleshwar, Mumbai (this per-

parlance is called 'chawl', one room with kitchen and communal washroom and toilets). Kokilaben’s story speaks about subsequent 3 residences of the Ambani family. The current and the most expensive house of Mumbai is unique in many ways. Dhirubhai started a spice trading company and named it Reliance Commercial Corporation - proving the visionary he forever was. Subsequently the business went

A petrol pump in Aden like the one where Dhirubai once worked

tic success, comes competitive temperaments resulting into rifts. In 2005 Reliance split into two. Mukesh and Anil though agreed to look after individual businesses, the separation itself brought many painful problems. To me that is the most delicate moment when Kokilaben’s real leadership as a matriarch of the family, especially in the absence of Dhirubhai, was able to steer two brothers correctly, as well as diplomatically. I have met Kokilaben in India and attending events where she was present abroad. One event I distinctly remember, in 1998. There was International Gujarati convention in Mumbai and Kokilaben was invited as the Chief Guest. Mr Krishnakant

It was a spice market like this one that provided Dhirubhai his first trading commodities

to the insecurities and challenges of restarting a life from scratch in Mumbai. It must not have been easy. Securing a modest accommodation was a very big achievement in itself, all thanks to the network of Kokilaben - her girlfriends and distance relationships. Once a small base was available in Mumbai, Dhirubhai put his heart and soul and there was no looking back. From the small counter

Vekaria, a childhood friend of Dhirubhai (he accompanied Dhirubhai when he went to see Kokilaben for the first time at Jamnagar in 1955) and the Chairman of Vishwa Gujarati Samaj introduced me to her as the Vice President. It was short ceremony, but the presence of a beautiful and powerful woman, full of grace and dignity, touched me. She is the woman which has the capacity and charm to be the bridge-builder, to heal the wounds of family feuds and above

Jai Hind Estate, Bhuleshwar, the first home of Ambanis in Mumbai (then Bombay) The present residence Antilia

The important contribution of Kokilaben was her tremendous inputs in motivating Dhirubhai to give up that humble job in Aden and decide to return to India; especially to settle in Mumbai, the commercial capital of the country. It was the footwork and perhaps thinking of Kokilaben as a house wife in Aden to locate the potential of exporting spices, condiments and other things from Mumbai to Aden and then other destinations in the surrounding area. Though Dhirubhai had a humble beginning, his moto was 'Growth is Life'. He once

all to inspire, encourage and energise the spouses and family to scale heights beyond one’s normal imagination. Dhirubhai passed away on 6 July 2002, but Reliance has proved to be of great significance to the progress of India both at home and abroad. Dhirubhai created it but Kokilaben nourished it in my view. There are many many Kokilabens in our world today and this column is my humble tribute to all those Kokilaben holding hands with Mukesh (left) unsung heroes. and Anil (right)

to his trading activity, Dhirubhai built up the largest Indian conglomerate in the shortest time. But as it happens into most of such families, with gigan-

CHOGM 2018

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Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

Two Indians named as finalists in 2018 Commonwealth Youth Awards

Rupanjana Dutta

Mrinalini Dayal and Yogesh Kumar, two Indian youngsters have been shortlisted as finalists for the Commonwealth Youth awards 2018. They are among the 20 talented young people who have been shortlisted for the this year's awards. The awards recognise outstanding young people aged 15 to 29 whose innovative projects and programmes have had a significant impact on their communities. This year’s focus is on celebrating young people’s contribution towards a fairer, more sustainable, more secure and more prosperous future for the Commonwealth: the four sub-themes of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) taking place in London in April.

Mrinalini Dayal

The 20 finalists span every region of the Commonwealth, including Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, Europe, and the Pacific. They were shortlisted from more than 400 applications from across the globe. The programme is being coordinated by the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Regional Young Persons of the Year will be selected, with one exceptional entrant being recognised as the

Commonwealth Young Person of the Year during the Commonwealth Youth Forum, in London in April. In addition to a grant of GBP £1,000 to continue their development work as c a m p a i g n e r s , entrepreneurs, and innovative industry experts among others, finalists will each be awarded a trophy and certificate. The Regional Young Persons of the Year will receive £3,000, and the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year will pick up £5,000. The PanCommonwealth adjudication panel for the final shortlisting of the overall regional and overall winner of the 2018 awards , convened by the C o m m o n w e a l t h Secretariat, , included the High Commissioner for Saint Kitts and Nevis, representatives from the High Commissions of Fiji,

Commonwealth Chief believes CHOGM will mark a ‘great time’ for India The Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland told a gathering at Marlborough House, London on Wednesday, that next month marks a “great time” for India and they will get a chance to have "very personal and direct" interactions. She also said the institution is looking for “opportunities” from Brexit and highlighted how trade between member states could be worth a trillion dollars. The Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held on April 19 and 20 will be preceded by the Commonwealth Business Forum between from April 16-18, which will bring together hundreds of delegates from across the 53 Commonwealth countries, including the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A Commonwealth Trade Review published that before the EU referendum had found that businesses dealings between the Commonwealth member countries was on average 19% cheaper than between a non-Commonwealth country, for reasons like a shared language and similar legal systems. Speaking at the gathering, she told the press, "It is a great time for India and it is exciting to see the energised way in which new opportunities are being taken up. "India has done a lot on innovation and in every

Narendra Modi

ministerial Commonwealth meeting, we see strong commitment from India. In welcoming that strong commitment from India, I am so happy to see it matched by the other 52 countries and the southsouth cooperation taking place. "Looking at the opportunity, we have launched a small and medium enterprise network in India and we are hoping to have a branch of that in the Pacific, said Scotland, who hailed India as the biggest democracy with 1.1 billion of the 2.4 billion people within the organisation's membership landscape.” Baroness Scotland also highlighted India's active role and "great generosity" during the recent Commonwealth education ministers' meeting in Fiji, where the country shared its Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) platform for education, innovation and change with other member-states. Speaking about opportunities after Brexit, Baroness Scotland added, “We are looking for the opportunities, accepting this is where we are. So now

Baroness Patricia Scotland

where do we go together, how can we go faster? “I think one of the real issues is we’ve got the potential for having about 1 trillion dollars (£716 billion) worth of business in the Commonwealth.” The 2018 summit will mark the launch of a new trade review, which will show that the Commonwealth is likely to miss its target of $1 trillion of trade between its members by 2020. Richard Burge, CEO of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), who will be leading the trade and business strand of the agenda said, "India is a huge nation, it is bound to have a huge impact with its incredibly diverse economy. It is a really knock-yoursocks-off economy and we should be really proud of it as a member and take every advantage that we can.” This year's theme of CHOGM is "Towards a Common Future". It is divided into four sections, including Youth, Women, People and Business.and it is focusses on building on the strengths of the Commonwealth.

Yogesh Kumar

Malaysia, and Kenya, a trustee of the British Youth Council and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum. Last year’s Commonwealth Young Person of the Year was Krystle Reid, an advocate for empowerment of young persons living with disabilities in her native country Sri Lanka. Speaking about her experience of winning the award, she said, “It was a highlight of my life and a great opportunity and platform to further scale up the work of the Enable Lanka Foundation for an incubator space for young entrepreneurs with disabilities. This award will

allow me to reach out to even more marginalised groups and communities. It is an opportunity no young person should miss.” The finalists this year have initiatives and projects that aim to build a more secure, prosperous, fairer and a sustainable future for all in the grassroots levels and exemplify the outstanding contribution of young people from across the Commonwealth in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and realising the CHOGM2018 aspiration “Towards a Common Future” Mrinalini Dayal from India is the campaign leader for ‘Health Over Stigma’, an organisation which aims to challenge the stigma of accessing sexual health services and create a safe haven for women to reproductive health facilities. The organisation also supports women to gain the skills to run advocacy campaigns and positively impact the lives of other women. To date, ‘Health Over Stigma’ has trained

more than 450 young activists. Yogesh Kumar who is also representing India, is the founder of ‘Even Cargo’, a social enterprise which promotes gender equality through the employment of women couriering, which is a traditionally male profession in India. The organisation works to overcome the barriers of unemployment through skill development of women, training female drivers in motorcycle driving, self-defence and logistics. Besides them, other Indian-origin finalists representing other countries in this awards are Vanessa Paranjothy of Singapore, Elvis Anal Kumar of Fiji and Kehkashan Basu of Canada. Commonwealth Youth Council Also Ravi Theja Muthu, originally from Chittoor village in Andhra Pradesh, has been nominated as one of the contesting candidates for the position of a Vice Chairman of the Commonwealth Youth Council.



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Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

Let’s use cancelled Indian currency for a better cause

In November 2016 the Indian government suddenly cancelled currency notes of RS 500 and 1000. Whatever the pros and cons that is not the main issue of my letter. We are all relieved and rather happy that inspite of the turmoil in the market at that time the Indian GDP is growing very well. My husband Nitin and myself are professionals who were both born in East Africa and have now settled in the UK and are proud of our Indian heritage. Recently in our group discussion this matter of cancelled currency was an important subject. For various reasons overseas Indians travel to India. Between October 2015 and September 2016 possibly a total of one million overseas Indians had been to India from various countries. Most of them would have been intending to go back to India. Conseqently for ease of immediate transactions they would have been carrying Indian currency per family on average of about £50-100 - after all passangers who were going abroad were allowed to carry Indian currency of up to about RS 25,000 per head. In my family alone we would have had about £100 worth of Indian cancelled currency in our possession. Potentially the million or more overseas Indians would be carrying a very substantial amount which is right now not worth the paper it is been printed on. We believe that authorities in India could have organised that vast sums of money to be put aside for better use through say a charitable cause approved by the Indian government with the necessary protocols to help ensure clarity. This money could then have been deposited with Indian banks abroad with proper checks and procedures having been put in place. After all when the currency as at now is useless we would have been agreeable to have it donated towards worthwhile causes such as the betterment of deprived Indians through some human service activity. Dear editor, we write to you believing that you have some contacts with the government which would listen to this subject as a matter of urgency and develop an appropriate strategy to involve overseas Indians for which we hear Prime Minister Narendra Modi always expressing warm sentiments. I would urge other readers to engage with this humble suggestion and express their opinions through the “Readers’ Voice” section of Asian Voice as a matter of urgency. Nira and Nitin Patel Edgware, Middlesex

Russian Paranoia?

This is not the first instance that we have drawn daggers with Russian President Vladimir Putin. One may wonder why we find it difficult to carry on normal business with Putin when so many other countries, like Germany, France, China, India, Brazil and many more get on well with him. One reason is that London is the honeycomb that attracts all kind of criminals, whether they are Chechen war lords, Taliban, ISIS or Spies who have betrayed their motherland endangering lives of their fellow spies or financial crooks from countries like India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Congo who all find safe haven not only for themselves but also for their illgotten gains. No wonder so many Russian billionaires, oligarchs have made London their home with their ill-gotten gains that puts them in Putin’s badbook! London is the money laundering capital of the world! While PM is absolutely right to take tough line with Putin for attempted murder of two people but for the media to describe double agent Serge Skripal as innocent is beyond belief. Let us not be fooled by lip service on international stage, as words are cheap. But not many will stand up to scrutiny when it comes to crunch. French President Macron is scheduled to visit Putin in May to sign lucrative trade deals. Would he cancel it? I am glad we will not boycott “World Cup” as no one would have joined us, hurting us more than Russia. Political and Royal boycott, although toothless, is appropriate action while expelling diplomats is nothing more than diplomatic dancing! Media has field day with Jeromy Corbin, although as leader of opposition, it is his duty, indeed his obligation to scrutinize government action, especially after illegal Iraq war based on lies and our fiasco in Libya! I am surprised that so many MPs are taken in by the media! Bhupendra M. Gandhi By email

Patching up their differences

It is good to know that the war of words between two men who are wielding nuclear power, Donald Trump of the USA and Kim Jong-Un, the North Korean leader, seems to have come to an end. Trump had threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea in a recent speech to the UN. He had said that Kim was “obviously a mad man who would be tested like never before”. In response, Kim had accused Trump of being “mentally deranged and would pay dearly for his threats”. Kim had said in a televised statement, that North Korea could test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean. In retallation, Trump had said that his “nuclear button was much bigger and more powerful and it worked”. In effect that would have meant that the future of the world and our lives, and the lives of our posterity, were in the hands of one or two persons. These two leaders were at logger heads not too long ago. The coming to terms of these leaders is good news for the world at large since the triggering of a nuclear weapon by either of these two would mean the end of the world as we know it now. It now transpires that Donald Trump has accepted an invitation from Kim to hold a meeting to discuss the future of that country’s nuclear programme. He has tweeted that “a deal with north Korea is very much in the making” Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford

The death of Stephen Hawking

The death of Stephen Hawking – the man who defied the ALS disease for several decades – has created a vacuum that can never be filled. The remarkable physicist work shaped modern cosmology. His work was popular among millions of people around the world. Although the wheelchair-bound scientist lost his ability to speak a few years after he was diagnosed with ALS, he kept giving lectures to a large number of audiences by using speech synthesizer. His books that are written on complex and difficult concepts of space and time are often called layman’s guide to cosmology. Stephen Hawking was a giant of theoretical physics who bridged the divide between science and popular culture. We have indeed lost a genius whose science was matched with humanity and humour. Hawking was a remarkable man who never let his disability define him but managed to rise above physical disabilities to become one the world’s intellectual geniuses of the twentieth century. He helped change the way we all perceive disabled people. He will perhaps be remembered best as the man with the brilliant mind trapped in a broken body. Jubel D’Cruz, Mumbai, India

Sad demise of Vanoo Jivraj Somia

I was shocked and sadden to read the news of Mr Vanoo Jivraj Somia leaving his mortal body on 21st February 2018. Our heartiest condolences to the family and prayers for eternal bliss to his soul. It was my privilege to know Vanoobhai in my younger days in Kampala (Uganda) from the time of Lohanan Màhaparishad in 1950s. We shared many happy times together and had opportunities to enjoy Mrs Manjulaben^s delicious food on various occasions and picnics in Entebbe Botanical garden. We have lost a true friend and a very sincere human being who will be missed by all who loved him. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Ravindra J Nathwani Rtrd. Hindu Chaplain University of Exeter


Write to our ‘Reader’s Voice’’ section about what you think regarding the various ongoing issues all around the world. Please send your letters to rupanjana@abplgroup.com. Make sure they are NOT more than 450 words. Any letter longer than the limit may not be published. Do not send letters for ‘your voice’ section via post or fax. Note that all your letters are subject to being edited by our team for valid reasons.

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Lack of foresight in our planning

We just came back from a long holiday in Costa Blanca, Spain. We were based in the outskirt of Alicante, regional Capital, hotspot for business and local airport for tourism. I was somewhat surprised to learn that Alicante is the most densely populated city in the world, overtaking congested cities like Cairo, Kolkata, Mumbai and Tokyo, although Spain is a large country with less than 47 million inhabitants. I should have realized this density, as there are hardly any buildings less than twenty floor high except in city outskirts! Even with such high density, it is green, pleasant city with plenty of open space and abundant parking. This is mainly due to excellent planning, with plenty of open space between two tower blocks. Every tower block has to provide enough parking spaces which are divided between underground and over ground parking facilities. Even city center is no exemption with not only parking spaces but mini forests, cluster of trees, bushes and ponds where wildlife can coexist side by side with humans, in controlled, well managed areas. Can we imagine such coexistence in our city Center? Another distinction is that although each tower block has some 200 flats, there is no vandalism; buildings are beautifully decorated in rainbow colours, flats are immaculately maintained, built to take in maximum sunlight, as climate is more Mediterranean than anywhere else on mainland Europe with hot summers and warm winters, all year enjoyable climate. No wonder there are so many Brits expatriates here. In sharp contrast, London is on building boom with high-rising constructions that provide much needed flats. But unfortunately it is planned without thoughts, without parking space or other facilities, such as schools, hospitals, GP and Dental surgeries that should go hand in hand, as England is the most densely populated country in Europe with land at a premium! Kumudini Valambia By email

Housing nightmare

Big promises were made by Prime Minister Theresa May that she will make housing her top priority, but so far no major progress has been in this direction. Britain’s housebuilding sector has shrunk at its sharpest pace on record from the start according to official figures. It has contributed to a bigger-thanexpected decline for the wider construction sector, which contracted by 3.4% - the largest since June 2012. This will be set-back to the expectation of ministers seeking to boost the number of homes. Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: "Rising interest rates and Brexit uncertainty are proving to be a toxic combination for the construction sector." The demise of the construction company Carillion could have affected the decrease in house-building figures. It is really discouraging to see promises made by the government to increase housing stock are being broken whereas the demand is rising, especially for affordable and social housing. The country is in the grip of a housing shortage, and the end result is soaring rents, poor conditions and rising homelessness. For decades successive governments have failed to build homes that were needed. By 2008 building of new homes had fallen to its lowest peacetime level since 1924 and house building has barely recovered since then. Britain simply has not built enough houses to meet rising demand. The rate of new-home construction is around 150,000 a year, the lowest since the 1920s. But annual demand for new residences is an estimated 250,000. The laws of supply and demand dictate rising prices. Building more houses by whatever means – giving councils bigger development budgets, easing planning restrictions, allowing housing associations to borrow, imposing a land value tax, etc. – will increase supply and reduce prices, removing many of the symptoms of our housing nightmare. It is time for action and not empty promises. Baldev Sharma Rayners Lane, Harrow

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Parents fined £24m for children's truancy and term time holidays in England and Wales It has emerged that in the past three years, about 400,000 penalty notices have been sent to parents in England and Wales for children's truancy and term time holidays, where they have been fined £24 million for not sending their children to school. Penalty notices can be issued for various reasons, such as truancy and taking term-time holidays. Local authorities act on behalf of schools in issuing penalty notices, which starts from £60 and goes up to £120 if not paid within three weeks of the notice being issued. A spokesperson for the Association of School and

College Leaders said, “No doubt people will argue that there should be a uniform approach across the country. But I would have thought there is a reasonable case for these decisions to be made locally as schools and councils will be in the best position to judge what is most effective as part of an overall strategy to deter unauthorised absences. The other point – and surely the most important one – is that there should be no need to issue any penalty notices at all because children should not be removed from school without authorisation.”

Teachers work longer hours - and have seen a sharper drop in pay - than police officers and nurses, a new study suggests. And teachers are the least satisfied out of the three professions with the amount of leisure time they have, the research says. The findings come amid concerns about teacher workload and staff shortages. This month, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds pledged to cut teacher workload to improve staff retention. The study, by the National Foundation for Educational Research, shows that teachers worked 50 hours a week during term time in 2015/16, compared with 44 for police officers and 39 for nurses. Taking into account school holidays - and how much teachers may work during these breaks teachers and police staff

work a comparable number of hours annually. The study notes that all public sector workers have faced a pay freeze or a cap on wage increases since 2010, which has eroded real-terms pay for all three professions. It says that in 2015/16, police officers had the highest annual average earnings, followed by teachers and then nurses. But it calculates that taking into account average hours worked each year, teachers have an average hourly pay rate of £17.70 - about the same rate as nurses, but lower than police officers' real average hourly pay, which stands at £18.80. The study also estimates that teachers' real average hourly pay has dropped by about 15 per cent since 2009/10, while for nurses it has dropped by about 4 per cent, and for police officers about 11 per cent.

Teachers work longer hours than police officers and nurses


Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

Brent school teacher is “World's best teacher”

On Sunday 18th March, the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai has pronounced a teacher from Northwest London as the world's best teacher, awarding her with $1 million (£717,000) for her outstanding contribution to her profession.

Andria Zafirakou, 39, art and textiles teacher at Alperton Community School learnt how to deliver basic greetings in 35 languages including, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil and Portuguese so that she could communicate with parents. She also helped set up sports club for girls from conservative backgrounds, helped redesign the curriculum, and also visited pupils at home. Andria Zafirakou has become the first teacher

diverse and indeed is one of the most multicultural communities in the world. It is also a community where many of our students unfortunately live in challenging circumstances. They have tough lives. What is amazing is whatever issues they are having at home, whatever is missing from their lives or causing them pain, our school is theirs. I know if our school could open at six o'clock in the mornAndria Zafirakou declared ing, there would be a "world's best teacher" queue of children in the UK to win the waiting outside at five Varkey Foundation Global o'clock in the morning. Teacher Prize. That's how phenomenal Zafirakou said, “The they are.” community where I teach Prime Minister in Brent is beautifully Theresa May recorded a

video message telling Zafirakou, “You have shown enormous dedication and creativity in your work. Being a great teacher requires resilience, ingenuity and a generous heart.” There were 30,000 entries from 173 countries and the other finalists were from Turkey, USA, Belgium, South Africa, Norway, Australia, Brazil, Colombia and the Philippines. The education secretary, Damian Hinds stated, “Andria's story is inspiring and I am thrilled that she has received recognition.” The world's best teacher will become an ambassador for the foundation. Additionally, she must remain in teaching for at least five years. She will receive her prize money in instalments.

Eight out of 10 academies in deficit, say accountants Academy budgets are in an even worse state than those of council-run schools with eight out of 10 in deficit, suggest figures from their accountants. Two more years like this and the entire sector could face insolvency, says a report from the Kreston UK accountancy network which looked at 450 schools. It follows data published on Friday which showed over a quarter of council-run secondary schools were in deficit. The government disputes the findings of both reports. The 450 schools analysed in the Kreston UK report are all audited by accountancy firms in the network and are a repre-

sentative sample of academies in England, say the authors. The figures, for the year ending 31 August 2017, show that of these academies: - 55% were in deficit before the effect of depreciation of assets like buildings, equipment and furniture was taken into account - this rose to 80% when the accounts were adjusted to include depreciation. The report, coauthored by accountants Duncan & Toplis, calls for more money to be put into schools to avoid staff cuts. Staff make up 72% of costs in these academies, say the authors.

The report warns that cutting staff numbers and finding enough money for redundancy payments could accelerate some schools towards insolvency. On Friday, research by independent think tank the Education Policy Institute found the number of council-run secondary schools falling into deficit had trebled to 26.1% in the four years to 2017. The EPI analysis, which is disputed by the government, also found a significant increase in the number of primary schools in deficit. But the thinktank data excludes academies, which make up about 60% of secondaries

and 20% of primaries in England, and that makes the Kreston UK data particularly significant. Of the primary academies in the Kreston UK report, almost threequarters were in deficit before the effect of depreciation was taken into account, according to their accountants. The authors emphasise that they are accountants with "no hidden agenda and no political allegiance. The government says its own figures suggest that schools "hold surpluses of more than £4bn and we are providing support to help them get the most out of every pound they spend".

Brit-Indian man appointed as the Chairman for a new independent commission on lifelong learning Rupanjana Dutta The Lib Dem party leader, Dr Vince Cable has appointed Rajay Naik, the Chief Executive of Keypath Education and a former Director of the Open University as the Chairman of a 'major' independent commission on lifelong learning, a newly formed role. This recently launched commission is designed to investigate the “best ways” to make sure adults have access to learning and retraining throughout their lives in the UK. The commision promises to consider strong ideas such as indi-

vidual learning accounts, which they believe “could offer adults a pot of money to be used to pay for upskilling and retraining opportunities, ensuring people are able to stay up-to-date with technological advances and changes in the job market”. It will also consider options to increase access to online learning, parttime study and retraining services. The commission was created after the Government announced plans to launch a National Retraining Scheme (NRS) in the last autumn budget, when Chancellor Philip Hammond alloted £64 million for pilots. Commenting on the

Commission, Sir Vince Cable - the former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills - said: “We recognise that fast paced economic and technological change will have a dramatic impact on the job market in future. People could find themselves having to retrain and change career several times through their working lives, as industries evolve with developments in automation and AI. We embrace innovation and the positive changes technology can bring. But we also know that this can cause real concern to people who may see their jobs change dramatically over the course of their

Rajay Naik

careers. “Rajay Naik brings exceptional national and international expertise in higher and further education. I know that he and his team will be working hard to bring forward creative, costed and ambi-

tious proposals to ensure that our workforce is resilient in the face of major change, and that we offer opportunities for people to retrain and upskill throughout their lives.” In the past, Naik, who is of Indian-origin has served on the government’s National Careers Council, Digital Skills Commission, Learning and Skills Council and UK-ASEAN Business Council. He is currently on the board of the UBS Foundation, New Payment Systems Operator and Ditchley Foundation. Speaking after the announcement, Naik told Asian Voice: “With major

technological and societal change transforming the nature of work, it is imperative that all people have the skills they need to thrive in the modern world.Ensuring that they can retrain for new industries throughout their life, is critically important to our nation’s competitiveness. If more people, from all financial and socioeconomic backgrounds can succeed, it makes us all better off. I very much looking forward to hearing the views of experts, organisations and citizens across the country, and bringing forward recommendations which enable more peopleto work, earn and learn.”



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Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

Amidst the tumult of Indian politics came the encouraging news of a significant rebound of the economy and a decline in inflation. According to macroeconomic data, manufacturing output increased by 7.5 per cent and inflation decreased to 2.4 per cent in January and February respectively. In December, the index of industrial production grew by 7.1 per cent, with inflation slowing to 5.1 per cent. The economy regained momentum in the October-December quarter, surmounting the glitches of demonetization and the Goods and Services tax, to expand by 7.2 per cent, the fastest in five quarters. Present estimates suggest that growth for the current fiscal ending March 31, will reach 6.6-6.75 per cent, in keeping with the broad projection of the government’s Economic Survey issued prior to the Budget of February 1. The annual growth figure ending March 31 will be published on May 31. The sharp upturn in industrial production should trigger a better figure for the fourth quarter. Jaikishen Parmer, an analyst at Angel Broking, said: ‘ A good performance will take the overall GDP growth to above the 6.7 per cent mark. The onus is now on the government to ensure that bank credit is easily available at competitive rates so that these advantages of a turnaround are sustained and also monetized.’ (Mint, Economic Times, Times of India, Hindu, Business Line March 13, 15).

Auto industry powers ahead India’s automobile industry expects to end the fiscal year (March 31) on a strong note. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) estimates that manufacturers of twowheelers and commercial vehicles will do better than previously predicted. ‘All segments, including passenger vehicles and two-wheelers are growing strongly. The only exception is in heavy buses,’ said Vishnu Mathur, SIAM DirectorGeneral. Last month, passenger vehicle sales continued their growth momentum with utility vehicles such as Maruti Suzuki’s Vitara Brazza, Hyundai’s Creta and Tata Nexon driving volumes. (Economic Times March 13).

PNB scam impact The Reserve Bank of India has scrapped Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) and Letters of Comfort (LoCs), instruments that were perceived as bank guarantees but turned toxic resulting in the Punjab National Bank scam involving an astronomical Rs 13,000 crore. The move reflects the regulator’s bid to prevent a repeat of such malfeasance by improving the due diligence of banks during credit dispersal. Banks can continue to issue Letters of Credit for commercial activity in line with international norms. Such mechanisms have features that guarantee the issuer’s liability (Economic Times March 14).

Gender equality empowers India If India were to achieve gender equality, its social and economic impact could dwarf that of any other region in the world, said

lawyer and human rights campaigner Cherie Blair QC. The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women has supported more than 140,000 women across 100 countries since 2008. The relatively low level in the female workforce in India can be reversed if India gets its act together (Economic Times March 14).

World Bank report: PMO crack the whip The Prime Minister’s Office hauled up the Brihanmumbai Municipal Cooperation (BMC) for a critical World Bank report accusing the BMC for its inept performance on ease of doing business as the richest civic body in Asia. Businessmen and contractors complained of endemic bribery and corruption in BMC work practices. They described the touted economic reforms as empty talk, barely worth the paper they’re written on. Upset by the World Bank findings, the PMO summoned the top officials of the BMC and the Secretary to the Maharashtra state government for an urgent conference in New Delhi, where simplified bureaucratic procedures for business and construction applications were drawn up for immediate implementation (Economic Times March 14). The proof of the pudding will be in the eating.

SP-BSP alliance pays off The coming together of the two parties has paid rich dividends much to the embarrassment of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath, who put a brave face after the result, promising to reverse the outcome in the general election scheduled for May-June 2019. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

numbers began 18 years ago, with still no discernible action in sight. Congress and BJP ministers appear deaf and mute. International tenders are to be put out again and tedious bureaucratic procedures will take its toll in time and labour.. Such is the wisdom with which the nation’s military needs are handled. ‘…once the technical evaluation process starts, selection of one aircraft can be completed in two years. After that, it is the contract negotiations. Concluding the contract depends on how fast we close it,’ said an IAF source. We could be well past 2050 before a deal is sealed. Shambolic! (Hindu March 12).

Air Force shortfall to continue The Indian Air Force has been crying itself hoarse at the fast depleting numbers of frontline aircraft. The required 42 squadrons is now down to 30 and declining. The diminishing

These results are scant comfort to the Congress Party, which suffered a huge embarrassment in Uttar Pradesh, where its candidates lost their deposits in both Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the latter once Jawaharlal Nehru’s

statement condemning the use of a nerve agent on the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia in Salisbury, but hoped Britain and Russia would address their differences through a dialogue. With severe steps against Russia already in place, Russian retaliation followed. What next? (Hindu March 15).

Stephen Hawking: A glory has passed Stephen Hawking died last week; struck down by the crippling motor neuron disease, he was given a few months to live, but against the odds he defied the Grim Reaper for 50 years, having lost, meanwhile, his bodily movements and ultimately his speech and was confined to a wheelchair. He

BJP’s wake-up call The Uttar Pradesh and Bihar byelections results were a jolt for the ruling BJP in the State and at the Centre. The BJP’s foremost political asset across the country is Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He remains a formidable communicator, and an astute tactician: well ahead in both areas than any of his rivals.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi

seat, denting its vaunted claim to be the natural leader of an opposition alliance. It will take more than Sonia Gandhi’s lavish dinners to cobble an axis to replace the BJP at the centre (Hindu, Times of India March 15).

Significance of UP, Bihar

Army Vice-chief’s anger at inadequate weaponry Last month’s jihadi attack on the Sanjuwan army camp in Kashmir has highlighted the poor state of perimeter security. The budgetary provision for a stateof-the-art protective system was hopelessly inadequate, said Army Vice chief Lt General Sarath Chand, deposing before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence. There was as usual much talk on replenishing the Army’s needs, but little sign of the desired action. (Economic Times March 14).

Congress routed


Former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav

The former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav scored a notable victory from Gorakhpur. It is for Prime Minister to gauge the public mood and tailor his message accordingly. Less confrontation and more conciliation may help.

Uttar Pradesh, Bihar In UP, the Samajwadi Dal – backed by the Bahujan Samaj Party – wrested the Phulpur and Gorakhpur seats from the BJP. In Bihar’s Arala constituency, the Rashtriya Janata Dal retained its seat in the first electoral face-off following Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to dissolve the grand alliance of non-BJP parties and partner his Janata Dal (U) with the BJP.

Beyond the immediate impact of these poll results, there is a deeper significance waiting to be played out. The Times of India editorial (March 15) addressed this crucial point: that UP and Bihar losses ‘suggest that BJP’s Hindi belt honeymoon is over.’ Only a year ago, the party had swept UP like a juggernaut winning 312 Assembly seats out of the 403 on offer. Incumbency certainly played a part in the BJP setbacks, but so too did rural distress and urban unrest.

meditated profoundly on the mysteries of the cosmos, its black holes and much else and cast a light on its darkness that will burn brightly across ions, an inspiration for generations of physicists from all corners of the planet. His acclaimed book, A Brief History of Time, became a best seller with 10 million readers. There was an outpouring of grief and tributes from a galaxy of Indian scientists, most of whom knew him from a distance. The exception was the Indian astrophysicist Professor

Caution That said, it would be premature to jump to facile conclusions of the BJP demise. It still has a formidable presence in UP and there is enough time to adjust to ground realities. Voters are known to cast their ballots differently in general elections when national issues are at stake. A squall in the weather system is neither a typhoon nor a tsunami, far less an earthquake.

Anglo-Russian breach: India’s take The Hindu’s UK Correspondent produced an eminently balanced half page report on the breakdown in Anglo-Russian relations. India has issued a

Scientist Stephen Hawking

Jayant Narliker, who met Hawking almost every day in Cambridge, where they were drawn together by areas of common interest. No scientist since Albert Einstein so captivated the popular imagination as Stephen Hawking. His triumph over physical adversity as much as his scientific achievements made a unique star in our cosmos. We will never see his like again.


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Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

Man sentenced for Brutal machete attack in Slough Commonwealth, India- UK Shoulder to Shoulder An Indian born US Ambassador to the UN said that America stands shoulder to shoulder with the UK against Russia. Below is what I wish the Indian Ambassador to the UN had said. He didn’t. Mr President, India considers the actions of the Government of Russia in poisoning British Citizens an act of war upon humanity and as a member of the family of nations, India shall act to defend the citizens of Britain. You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that all my long struggle to win peace between UK and Russia has failed. Putin had evidently made up his mind to attack whatever happened; and although he denies involvement, that is not a true statement, according to the British, and like the American President said, that is taken as fact by us. His actions show convincingly that there is no chance of expecting that this man will ever give up his practice of using chemical and conventional weapons – as in Syria and Ukraine, to gain his will. He can only be stopped by force. We and Britain are today, in fulfilment of our obligations, going to stand shoul-

der to shoulder. The British are a small island of a few people, and are so bravely resisting this wicked and unprovoked attack on her people. We have a clear conscience. We will stand by our old ally the British. At such a moment as this the assurances of support that we have received from the Commonwealth are a source of profound encouragement to us. As Britain hea.ds the Commonwealth, we are the most populous nation in it. Now may God bless you all. May He defend the right. It is the evil things that we shall be fighting against – brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution – and against them I am certain that the right will prevail." Actually, the Indian Ambassador to the UN did not say the above. No, the British PM said very similar words. He said it in 1939 when Britain declared war on Germany for acts of genocide. But then there was not Russia at the UN to block the war through a veto.

Employers rack up fines for hiring illegal workers Employers in west London owe nearly half a million in fines to the Home Office for hiring illegal workers in a threemonth period. Businesses listed include Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, "one of the largest NHS trusts in England" and several restaurants, all of whom were found to have hired illegal workers. Twenty-one west London employers from Westminster to Southall currently have been fined £465,000 between July and September 2017, which have not been paid. Businesses who hire employees who do not

Harcharan Sembi

An incompetent gas-fitter put people’s lives at risk by continuing to carry out work at houses in Coventry and Bedworth despite being banned from doing so. An inspection at one address led to Harcharan Sembi’s work there being classed as ‘immediately dangerous’ and the gas supply being cut off – only for him to then reinstate it. Sembi, 73, of William Grubb Close, Ernesford Grange, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to contravening gas safety regulations and contra-

have the right to work in the UK can be fined up to £20,000 per employee by the Home Office's I m m i g r a t i o n Enforcement Team. The list also contains companies which have been served with a second, or further penalty, regardless of whether payments have been made. Of the 21 businesses on the list, 10 are restaurants, including Chasing Dragon in Acton , Beit El

Zeytoun in Harlesden , Chilli Masala in Kingsbury , Al-Balad in Paddington , Eight Over Eight in Chelsea , Jaffa Bake House, Oriental Garden and Porcini Pizza in Fulham and Cafe Trinity in Turnham Green The heaviest fine, of £100,000, was given to Mumbai Junction in Harrow. Other employers include Harrow's CQC "good" rated home health care providers Elite Specialist Care Ltd and Hamza, a paan shop, internet cafe, bureau de change and money transfer service in Southall's Broadway.

A 25-year-old man who slashed his victim's back repeatedly with a machete as he tried to get away has been jailed for 12 years. Aman Khan from Slough, was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Monday last week after a four day trial. A jury found him guilty unanimously of wounding with intent to commit grievous bodily harm. The 27-year-old victim was on his own in Humber Way, Slough on the evening of May 13 last year when he was approached by Khan who attacked him with the machete. He ran to a nearby property but as

he arrived outside Khan hit the victim's back numerous times before running away. The victim sustained three deep slash lacerations across his back and a fractured shoulder. Khan was arrested on June 8 and charged the following day. He was sent to prison for 12 years with four years extended licence. Investigating officer Detective Constable Mohammed Rashid, said: “Aman intended to cause serious harm to the victim in this incident, which took place outside in view of members of the public. “Thames Valley Police

Aman Khan

will not tolerate such offences and we will work tirelessly to ensure violent offenders, such as Khan, are brought to face justice. “Khan now has a substantial time in prison to reflect upon his actions.”

Advisory Board Member of City Sikhs receives OBE from Prince Charles Kamel Hothi, Advisory Board member for City Sikhs, has received an OBE from Prince Charlesfor services to Diversity in Banking. The investiture ceremony took place in the Ballroom at Buckingham Palace on Thursday 8th February 2018. Following the ceremony, Kamel said:“It was a wonderful day. Receiving the honour in this pivotal year for British women made it all the more memorable as well as truly humbling. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to play my part in improving diversity across the world of finance. It’s wonderful to see how things have improved over the last 4 decades from my struggles to become the first Asian bank manager to now. However, there is still much to be done and I hope the next generation of Asian women grab new

Jasvir Singh OBE, Chair of City Sikhs, said: “I’m so proud to see a trailblazing woman such as Kamel get recognised in this manner. She shattered glass ceilings at a young age and paved the way for women and for people of colour to progress within careers in the world of banking and finance. It wasn’t an easy feat for her, and it’s important for us to take stock of the hard work of people whose efforts have allowed Sikhs to Prince Charles honouring progress within Kamel Hothi at Buckingham Palace Britain, including within the corpoopportunities with both rate world. She is a fantashands and show what they tic role model for all of us” are capable of.”

Risk of explosion or poisoning - the dodgy ASIAN FUNERAL DIRECTORS FUNERAL DIRECTORS gas fitter who put people's lives at risk

vening a prohibition notice. He was sentenced to 14 months in prison suspended for two years and was ordered to do 40 hours of unpaid work and to pay £1,000 towards the Health and Safety Executive’s costs. Prosecuting on behalf of the HSE, Tim Pole said the case involved gas work carried out by Sembi, who ran his own business, H&J Builders, at addresses in Coventry and Bedworth. Part of his business involved the installation of boilers and central heating systems, and Sembi had been registered as a gas engineer under the old Corgi registration system. In March 2016 his registration was suspended, and although that was lifted in June, his works was monitored, and in August he was told he had failed to

show improved competence. He was removed from the register and informed in writing that he could not carry out any gas work until a return to the register was approved, which he was told would require him gaining an NVQ in gas maintenance. However, he carried out work at a house in Ansty Road, Coventry, which was

completed in December and involved converting a garage into living accommodation and installing a new gas boiler and pipework. But on January 27 last year a gas leak was reported, and engineers who attended discovered faulty piping, where a section of it was loose and a joint had failed.


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Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

Prime Minister visits Bombay Central Bombay Central, an Indian restaurant in Harrow, was honoured and humbled to welcome the UK Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Theresa May MP and other distinguished politicians and councillors to Bombay Central on Saturday 10th March. The visit marked the start of a day of activity in Harrow. Bombay Central is designed to appeal to both locals and travellers passing through, serving good Indian food and offering a great experience to ensure everyone a happy journey. It is open to all and this particular visitor humbled the team. Our identity and expe-

PM Theresa May, along with Bob Blackman and other dignitaries visit Bombay Central in Harrow

rience reflect the hustle, bustle and quirkiness of the people coming and going at all times at a train station in India. It adopts the attitude, colours,

materials and imagery, introducing them into a social café by day and restaurant and lounge bar experience at night. The Prime Minister and the

team were hosted at a private event with our range of Indian street food snacks and hot masala chai. The owner, Rishi Lakhani takes special care to try and make each visit a happy journey. He said of this particular visit, “We have worked hard to regenerate a local establishment and make it open to all to enjoy and experience the food, drink and most of all, the company of the local community that come here to enjoy themselves. For this to be recognised by a visit by the Prime Minister is an honour and we continue to welcome everybody to have a happy journey with us.”

A discussion on India's Wars

Reshma Trilochun

On Thursday 15th March, The High Commission of India (UK) hosted a book discussion by Air Vice Marshal Arjun Subramaniam (Retd) on his book titled “India's Wars: A military History: 1947 – 1971”. The book provides detailed accounts of the principal conflicts from India's independence to 1971. It looks at the first India-Pakistan war of 1947- 1948, as well as the full-blown conventional wars against China and Pakistan. The book also features veterans' exhilarating experiences in combat operations, while also fuses the strategic, operational, tactical and human dimensions of war with great finesse. Arjun Subramaniam, a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force, who was commanded a fighter squadron

From Left: Lord Karan Bilimoria, H.E. Y.K. Sinha, and Arjun Subramaniam

and a large flying base, He has a PhD in Defence and Strategic Studies, and is currently a visiting fellow at the CCW Centre, University of Oxford. After an introduction and insight to the book by Subramaniam, the occasion was graced by his Excellency Shri Y.K. Sinha and Lord Karan Bilimoria and spoke about their memories of growing up in a military background. Y.K. Sinha's father, S.K. Sinha, was a Lieutenant General

and a high-ranking military personnel. Lord Bilimoria's father, Lieutenant General F.N. Bilimoria was an Indian Army officer who was involved in the IndianPakistani war of 1971. H.E. Y.K. Sinha spoke about his father and the books he wrote about the Indian military services and the memoirs of being at war. Speaking about his father, Y.K. Sinha said, “The [S.K. Sinha] first book he [S.K. Sinha] had ever

written about the IndiaPakistan 1947-48 operations is called Operation Rescue. He wrote that book in 1952- 53 when he was a student at the Wellington Staff College, but the Government of India didn't give him permission to publish. It was only in the '70s that he got permission to publish it and coincidently, I was in university at that time so I proofread that book. So if you ask me about 1947-48, I can quote chapters and verses from that book.” Lord Bilimoria recalls the time when his father used to get leave from his duty once a year and that was when he would get to spend time with him. He also shared some memories of his father during his army years. India's Wars has been deeply researched and written passionately by Arjun Subramaniam. The book unfolds with surprising ease and offers a fresh perspective on modern Indian history.

Khullam Khulla with Rishi Kapoor Meridian Grand had hundreds of Rishi Kapoor fans who braved the snow to get a glimpse of him on Saturday 17th March. ZEE TV and Sunrise Radio presented Khullam Khulla with Rishi Kapoor event where he reminisced about his early days, his family and his career in front of a plethora of guests who were eager to hear his tongue-in-cheek and inyour-face recital which undoubtedly caused many to laugh imagining those scenarios. The event offered guests a three-course lavish dinner, enabling them to satiate their tastebuds while anticipating the

Rishi Kapoor

presence of Rishi Kapoor on the podium. Chintu, as Rishi Kapoor is lovingly called, was accompanied by his beautiful wife and star of the 1970s era, Neetu Singh, who gracefully sat

in the front row and watched her husband gleefully as he went on stage to comment the proceedings of the show. Before commencing, Rishi Kapoor dedicated the show to three dear people; one, his uncle Shashi Kapoor, the second was his colleague and dear friend Vinod Khanna, and third, another colleague with whom he had made careerdefining films with, Sri Devi. He spoke about many candid, as well as awkward moments, such as his robotic performance in the song “Main Shayar to Nahin”, or him mistakenly purchasing ladies' trouser which he wore in the song “Oh Hansini”.

On a more serious note, he spoke about the time he personally felt troubled in his professional life. He admitted to have suffered from depression in the early 80s after he felt his films were not being accepted by his audience. He mentioned how grateful he was for having his wife, family and friends who stood by him and helped him through that difficult phase in his life. Rishi Kapoor is known for his frank nature and isn't someone who minces his words. Khullam Khulla with Rishi Kapoor had him passionately speaking about his memories unabashedly, giving the audience a rare insight to the world of the Kapoors.

Ant steps down from TV work after car crash involving 4-year-old girl

Ant McPartlin coming out of his car after the crash

Ant & Dec have been a prominent part of the British television industry and have made a remarkable name for themselves ever since their Byker Grove days. However the nation has been worried and saddened about Ant McPartlin's battle with alcohol and strong Shilpa Dandekar and Faheem painkillers. Vanoo were travelling with The 42-year-old tele- their daughter, Amaira, 4, vision presenter, Ant was when the crash occurred involved in a car crash in aire and I don’t care the afternoon of Sunday whether he’s a famous TV 18th March, which star — he could have put involved two other vehimy daughter in a cles as well, and was wheelchair." arrested under suspicion Shilpa Dandekar sufof drink-driving. fered a bust lip while Ant McParlin's car Amaira was taken to West crashed head-on with Middlesex Hospital, in restaurant owner Faheem Isleworth by her parents Vanoo and his wife Shilpa for a check-up, but she Dandekar, who were travwas not kept overnight elling with their fourfor any treatment. year-old daughter, Faheem Vanoo, who runs Amaira. the Pure Indian Cooking Faheem Vanoo told restaurant in Fulham told The Sun newspaper, “His MailOnline, “The whole Mini came flying around experience has just been a sharp corner on the a nightmare. It is not wrong side of the road something that we ever trying to overtake a blue expected, but we are just car. I’m convinced that grateful that no one was split-second turn of the hurt. It has been a terriwheel saved us all from ble experience and it being crippled or killed. I feels like we are coming reckon he was doing 50 or out of a nightmare. It has 60mph. left us all a bit shaken "Fortunately I was up.” only doing 20mph, we Ant McPartlin's were all wearing seatbelts spokesman said in a and my little girl was statement, “Ant has strapped into a child seat. decided to go back into But it was still a big treatment and step down impact. "I don’t care from his current TV comwhether he’s a millionmitments.”

Finance manager jailed for siphoning money from charity

A finance manager has been jailed for stealing nearly £1 million from a charity to fund luxury holidays with her husband and for VIP tickets to see Britney Spears, The Times has reported. Chasjit Verma, 37, reportedly stole from the Jubilee Hall Trust, which runs the gym used by MPs and peers, over seven years. The newspaper reported that Judge Peter Testar, jailing her for 6 years for two charges said that she “behaved as if she was perfectly entitled to use [the charity’s] money in this way”. The thefts were discovered when the accounts

were audited after Verma was made redundant. But the case could be reported after Verma admitted another charge at Snaresbrook Crown Court of fraudulently obtaining £31,382 from a primary school. She has reportedly claimed that the payments she had received were authorised. Her 37 year old husband also reportedly admitted money laundering and was therefore, sentenced to 49 weeks in prison, and suspended for two years.

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UK Children being attacked because of their race or religion, says NSPCC A growing number of children in Leicestershire are being victimised because of their race or religion, according to research by the NSPCC. The charity said 100 children or young people were targeted in faith or race-based hate crimes in 2016/16, compared 61 in the previous year. The charity’s 24-hour Childline hotline has launched a campaign called Understand Me to encourage young people

to speak out against discrimination. It believes the official Leicestershire Police figures do not reflect the full extent of abuse young people face. Childline and the NSPCC said the number of incidents rose in the wake of terror attacks. Any child worried about bullying can call Childline on 0800 11 11. Any adult who is concerned about a child can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0800 800 5000.

Asian Catering Federation calls for ‘curry chef amnesty’ The Asian Catering Federation (ACF) is calling on the Government for a ‘curry chef amnesty’ for restaurant employees, who have been working illegally in the UK. Speaking at the launch of the 8th Asian Curry Awards, at House of Lords, on Monday 13th March, Yawar Khan, urged the Government to grant amnesty for restaurant staff, without the correct paperwork, who have been living in the UK for over 5 years. The call for an amnesty was supported by Lord Sheikh, Chairman of the Ethnic Diversity Council, who addressed an audience of leading Asian restauranteurs, chefs, embassy officials and VIPS. The chronic shortage of curry chefs, means that some unscrupu-

lous restaurant owners exploit those who entered the country illegally or have overstayed their visas. The illegal workers are often paid below the minimum wage, receive no statuary benefits and are often forced to live in cramped, unhygienic conditions. Because they are paid in cash, the government is being cheated out of millions of pounds in unpaid income tax, National Insurance and VAT payments. Companies found guilty of knowingly employing illegal workers can be fined up to £20,000 for each illegal immigrant they employ. If found guilty of a criminal offence, company directors can receive an unlimited fine and sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment.

Festival of Bengali culture at London Docklands

Two-day Bengali culture spring festival will be taking place at the Museum of London Docklands

On Saturday 31st March and Sunday 1st April, a two-day Bengali culture spring festival will be taking place at Canary Wharf's Museum of London Docklands, organised with the Bangladeshi community. The colourful event will have music and dance performances, craft workshops, as well as cultural talks by leading community figures. There will be a discussion on the opening day, which will explore historical links between Bengali travellers and

the London Docks, as well as talks about the Bengali heritage and culture. Furthermore, there will be an array of activities, such as henna tattooing, print and poetry workshops, spring headdress-making, storytelling and snack-making masterclasses. The museum festival coordinator, Aisling Serrant shared, “We're lucky to have one of the country's most vibrant Bengali cultures. We are in collaboration with the community.”

Asian Voice | 24th March 2018



Sunetra Senior

Current holder of the national pageant title– Mrs Asia UK – Meenakshi, inverts the stereotypical trajectory of a beauty queen, having affected a significant amount of social change before actually winning the aesthetic credit. The impressive icon walked away with two shimmering crowns during the course of the competition, also emerging victor for the talent round where she “drew from” her “vast experience as a social care worker, presenting the journey of a woman who had finally broken free of a 17 year-long abusive marriage.” Her act mixed social consciousness and cabaret, reflecting the contest winner’s wider ambitions: “winning this glamourous platform has allowed me to intensify the light on a lot of social issues, from domestic violence to women’s confidence in the workplace, and child protection and adoption, another area in which I specialise. I’m also now helping the homeless in my home community of West London.” This involved bringing together local residents in the area to deliver clothes and food to those who are needing the essentials in the current crisper climate. “Celebrity is a fun vector for accelerating positive change,” the caring Queen added. “Small actions can result in a huge transformation.” The talent round involved Meenakshi putting together a 3 min film, which concisely but powerfully depicted the suffering of the domestic female survivor. “I also had posters on my body,” Meenakshi elaborated, “where the climax moment revolved around me removing oppressive black attire to reveal a beautifully proud Bollywood dress. This symbolised woman not bending to patriarc h a l expectation and instead reclaiming her body and freedom to choose. I hope with the media exposure, I can continue to raise awareness about many more important issues.” Recent Winner of the Miss World title 2017, Indian beauty Manushi Chhillar, has already messaged Meenakshi to collaborate on a future project together. The idea of ‘international peace’ has never seemed so sincere. *** I n d e e d , Meenakshi has had a wealth of social care experience back in India, being the first woman from a traditionally patriarchal family to go into higher education, which she only ever excelled at, and built on



adeptly through her career. “I graduated with a gold medal at MA level and have been able to work with various NGOs and charities since, for example the NSPCC. I also continue to touch base with many Indian organisations. For example, I was part of a programme that helped underprivileged children, who had learning and physical disabilities, to help them assimilate into society. ‘impossible’ says ‘I am possible’: We used activities such as sewing don’t give into discouragement and and carpentry.” Interestingly, fear.” Meenakshi was also the youngest Westminster official to enter that What’s next for you? field of work when she came to Hopefully being able to London. However, another refreshcontinue on with my many social ing dimension to Meenakshi’s win is projects. For example, I have started her unique attitude to what was her up an issue-based theatre group, incredible over-35, age-defying vicwhere our first script will be on raistory. A mature woman, highly estabing awareness on domestic violence. lished, as well as being a wife and It’s called Jan Natya Manch London mother, the unconventional fire(People's Theatre), and the aim is starter propagates a mesto entertain public with a sage of “beauty with social message. The Mrs great purpose.” She is Asia International title an ardent believer in final is also coming up "Remember, even collapsing the divide at the end of the year between new and ‘impossible’ says ‘I so wish me luck! perceived ancient am possible’: don’t traditions. For What initially give into example, acting as drew you to discouragement “one-woman army”, applying to the conshe has organised and fear” test? vibrant cultural As well as loving eduevents, such as Holi, cation, Bollywood was a which “preserve the massive influence on me growcolour and wisdom of Indian ing up. I always wanted to take my heritage,” in a way that excites and work and combine it with showbiz. I educates the younger generation wanted to use my fame for good and too. “My son absolutely loves these show the world the importance of events! Honestly, I believe beauty real, long-term responsibility. is to do with life experience and proactivity, and sharing my culWhat was your favourite part tural roots is just one part of of the Mrs Asia UK contest? that. I have a lot to offer the It’s hard to narrow it down. Every world. Being attractive is more part of it was special. Doing the than a good-looking face choreography for the opening dance – it’s not even just round was invigorating. It was great about personality to be able to learn all these wonder(and Meenakshi has ful Bollywood dance moves. prior won this catWinning the talent round was natuegory back in rally a highlight. Each and every India), but judge applauded and asked so many about one’s important questions around the soul. Having a issue of domestic violence. Another zero figure remarkable moment was the introdoesn’t give duction round. I was able to honestly back to the state a core truth about myself: ‘it is community, or great to be representing two great indeed to the nations on one prestigious platform. self. Beauty goes Great Britain holds my heart, and beyond the physiIndia will always be my soul. That cal to the internal background it what grounds and and infinitely roots me.’ rich.” Thus, as a reliable role model, “in lieu of You encourage cultural diverthe standard sity in women’s rights, helps h o w r o o m ing London organisations such as m o d e l ” , the Southall Sisters, a solidarity Meenakshi shows group for black women. Can you us that what give further comment? defines a beautiful There is much institutional prejperson goes udice, for all women. Whether it’s in beyond brains, IT, the arts, or beauty, it’s important and even charisto empower women from all backma, to the timegrounds. Everyone deserves a fair less qualities of shot at their professional dreams. As good character women of colour bigotry is a shared and being able to problem. shed one’s inhibitions to express Finally, who’s been a big suptheir truest self. port in your life? This is what really If I didn’t have a supportive, progresses and encouraging husband, the amazing makes an impresTarun Kumar, I don’t know where I’d sion on reflecting be. It’s very important for husbands society. “Have the and partners to be supportive to right attitude,” their wives. she aptly advised, “and : meenakshi_baisa trust yourself. : mrsasiauk2018classicwinner Remember, even



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Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

Saregama Carvaan now available in United Kingdom Experience the best Hindi retro music even when away from home for £119.99 only After an extremely successful launch in India, US and Canada, Saregama is now launching Saregama Carvaan, the portable digital audio player with in-built stereo speakers and 5000 evergreen Hindi songs inside, in United Kingdom. This audio player combines the best of digital technology with the convenience and ease of use of a physical form factor. Carvaan in UK can now be ordered from amazon.co.uk for £119.99. These 5000 songs available on Carvaan have been handpicked using data analytics and categorised based on singers, lyricists, music composers, moods etc. Each category can be selected by turning a jog-dial. So with a simple turn of a knob, one can switch from Kishore Kumar classics, to R.D Burman’s pulsating hits, to timeless love songs or to soulful Sufi tracks – all in their original versions, back-to-back without any ads. Carvaan’s music collection also includes the entire Ameen Sayani’s Geetmala collection spanning 50 years. With the option to tune into FM Radio, Carvaan doubles up as a home radio too. It’s possible to enjoy one's personal collection of songs by plugging in a USB drive or streaming songs from a phone to Carvaan via Bluetooth. It works on a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 5 hours. The product comes with a oneyear warranty applicable

all over the UK. All of these features make Saregama Carvaan a new and unique gifting option for your loved ones for all occasions. Vikram Mehra, Managing Director of Saregama India says, “There has been a lot of demand for Carvaan from the Indian sub-continent diaspora living in UK. It’s a perfect treat for anyone living away from home and missing good old Hindi music. There’s an inherent nostalgic charm in the songs of yesteryear, especially if it gives a perfect lean-back uncomplicated ala 70s Vividh Bharti experience. We are thrilled that after a successful launch in USA and Canada, Carvaan is launching in UK, and this connect with the diaspora is complete. It’s the perfect gift for your family and friends’’ Carvaan is being launched in the classic colour of Porcelain White.

Caricatures of Churchill to be auctioned Novelist and former MP, Jeffrey Archer, 77, pictured, had the ambition to leave his entire cartoon collection, which includes 17 rarely seen caricatures of Winston Churchill, to the nation. However, his ambition has been thwarted as he was unable to find a gallery that would put them all on display. Archer has a collection of 225 political cartoons spanning from decades. He will now be auctioning his collection to benefit charities. The collection, offered at Sotherby's includes 17 different version of Churchill by 12 cartoonists over several decades depicting his early political career up to his 80th birthday. In the foreword in the Sotheby's catalogue, Jeffrey Archer

Indian charity Akshaya Patra feeds poor and homeless across London's streets Rupanjana Dutta

The charity has already been fundraising to help pay for 1.6million midday meals to school children in India, but with problem of homelessness, school holiday hunger and poor senior nutrition increasingly becoming a larger and a vivid challenge in the UK, it has now decided to step in to help. Speaking to Asian Voice, Bhawani Singh Shekhawat, the CEO of the charity's Europe operation said, “Our supporters brought it to our attention and suggested we create something to help local communities. Also our partnership with the council of Brent supported by the Mayor Bhagwanji Chohan accelerated everything. We felt that it was our duty to serve both India and the UK and we believe that with the right partnerships we will forge ahead with yet another innovative solution. Akshaya Patra has a long standing track record of providing exemplary food solutions using a range of inno-

and ingredients that raise energy levels of those who eat our food. We serve with Rickshaws where congestion charge is a challenge in London and we have a few vans which go to serving stations where we serve a large number of beneficiaries. Our vans will also deliver food to schools and other entities we work with.” The charity is also actively raising funds for a permanent, full scale kitchen in the UK and plans to serve hot breakfasts, school meals, homeless and also going forward serve Hospitals and nursing homes in Bhawani Singh Shekhawat with one of the the UK. beneficiaries of the charity's meal, “Our program of service here distributed at Kentish Town serves many purposes including vative practices and solutions. We expanding our services in India. will partner with any Local Akshaya Patra is completely commitEducation Authority and Councils ted to serve wherever we can. By that are keen to work with us.” serving here in the UK we are targetThe charity has signed for a parting three important areas 1. We are nership with Food For All (FFA), reducing the cost of providing a fanfounded by Parasuram Das, and has tastic, nutritious, fresh plate of food. plans to become one in the future. 2. We are actively encouraging elimiFFA has a fantastic track record of nating food waste by using superfeeding the needy in and around market surplus with our partnerLondon, like outside SOAS, and with ships. 3. And for every donated meal the new synergies with Akshaya we serve here we will guarantee a Patra under the banner of Akshaya meal in India to a needy child. This is Patra- Food, they together plan to a program that is built along the scale the program to a wider conlines of creating winning partnerstituency of beneficiaries and to ships and frugal innovation. With other parts of the UK and Europe. one program, we will serve more in Elaborating on the menu, the the UK as well as support our every mode of distribution and the future increasing scale of beneficiaries in initiatives in the UK, the CEO added, India which is currently at 1.6 mil“Our menu is based on Ayurvedic lion children daily and growing,” principles of compassionate cooking added Mr Shekhawat.

The Hindus, Sikhs as well as diasporic Christian communities are protesting against the use of the blanket term 'Asian' to describe the perpetrators in horrific sex grooming crimes, especially in Telford. The incident saw many young girls exploited and some even killed. The diaspora has objected to the use of the 'Asian' description, especially after publication of a story in Mirror on 11 March 2018 under the headline “Britain's worst ever child grooming scandal exposed: Hundreds of young girls raped, beaten, sold for sex and some even killed.” Asian is a very broad term and includes many nationalities, most who have had no connection with the grooming cases reported. National Council of Hindu Temples in UK (NCHTUK) in a statement objected to the Mirror's depiction and wrote, that the description defames all Indians, Chinese, Vietnamese etc and contributes towards the increasing incidence of hate crimes against the entirely innocent ethnicities and communities. In a statement they told AV, “This sustained and consistent trend for the media to use the word 'Asian' whenever there is a 'grooming gang' incident is recognisable as an act of harassment against British Asians. It is a deliberate attempt to associate 'grooming gangs' with 'All Asians' in the minds of the nonAsian British public and in terms of the scale of this act of harassment, it is being inflicted upon and harms all British Asians, numbering in the millions of British citizens.” “We wholeheartedly support the complaint to IPSO made by the NSO (Network of Sikh Organisations) on the inappropriate use of the word 'Asian' in

the Mirror's story. This is something we have been seeing in the British press for some time and have found it utterly objectionable. Hindu girls, like Sikh and white girls, have also suffered at the hands of sexual grooming gangs for decades and if there is an identifiable commonality or ideology connecting these “grooming gangs”, the free press must not abdicate its responsibility to fully report facts including the complete identity of those perpetrating these crimes.” They added, “The print media has a responsibility to be clear in language, and 'Asian' only serves to smear wholly innocent communities, whilst shielding those responsible. We sincerely hope that IPSO will accept our objections and uphold our, and the NSO's complaint and in so doing protect the wider wholly innocent British Asian communities from further defamation. This will set a much needed precedent.” The Network of Sikh organisations is also of the same opinion. In a statement they said: “The term ‘Asian’ continues to be regrettably used as a euphemism, when it comes to the identity of those convicted in the majority of Britain’s sexual grooming cases. The report in the Mirror last Sunday focusing in on Telford, rightly describes this horrifying issue as an ‘epidemic’. Whilst we are indebted to the investigative journalists behind this important report, the continuing smearing of ‘Asians’ per se is appalling, as the term encompasses swathes of communities from across the Indian subcontinent. This cowardly non-specific description of the perpetrators continues to be used in the British press, to describe men of predominantly Pakistani Muslim her-

Akshaya Patra has become the first Indian charity to distribute vegetarian food to as many as 2000 poor students and homeless people across London, especially in Camden, Kentish town and to London’s needy students. Over 2 million children suffer holiday hunger, millions need an after school meal and there are hundreds of thousands of homeless, according to organisations and think-tanks, including Mayor’s Fund for London.

Vikram Mehra, Managing Director of Saregama India

wrote, “I had originally hoped to leave the collection to the nation, but that didn't prove easy because so many galleries who showed an interest made it clear that it would be impossible to show all the cartoons at once, and indeed the best offer we got was to place them in boxes so they could be studied by scholars.” The proceeds from the sale of the 225 cartoons will benefit 11 charities and institutions including the RNIB, the Science Museum, and Wellbeing of Women.


Hindus and Sikhs protest against use of the term 'Asian' to describe grooming perpetrators

itage convicted in grooming gang cases. We believe this is in part due to the fear of offending Muslims. “The media’s reluctance to describe perpetrators of these despicable crimes with clear and honest language, has elicited angry responses from Sikhs and Hindus, who’ve contacted us to express their outrage following the Mirror’s article. It has upset Pakistani Christians too. To put it frankly, the word ‘Asian’ gives the false impression gangs of Indian, Thai, Japanese or Korean men are rampaging across Britain sexually abusing underage white girls on an industrial scale. Is that fair? We suggest that this vague terminology isn’t only an insult, smearing innocent communities, but also serves to mask the fact that girls from Hindu and Sikh communities have historically fallen foul of grooming gangs themselves. The common denominator in such cases is the deliberate targeting of non-Muslim girls, which we believe should be categorized by the police as a hate crime. “Although we applaud the bravery of Nick Sommerlad and Geraldine McKelvie for their excellent journalism in the Mirror’s report, the NSO has reluctantly chosen to file a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), because of the liberal use of the word ‘Asian’ in the article to describe the identity of the offenders. Given the importance of their work, we did not take this decision lightly. However, we believe use of the word ‘Asian’ to describe sexual grooming by men of predominantly Pakistani Muslim heritage, whilst being both irresponsible and inaccurate, masks the real identity of those perpetrating these heinous crimes.”


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Eggtastic Easter for your kids

Nominate your favourite charity


Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

Reshma Trilochun Easter holidays are approaching and you may be wondering of ways of keeping your young'uns entertained during their break from school. There are plenty of inexpensive ideas to choose from to ensure your kids have a funfilled Easter break.

Easter egg hunt But obviously, Easter would be incomplete if there's no Easter egg hunt for your kids. Hide some eggs in and around your home, your garden, or even a park. The one with the most eggs in their basket will win a prize.

Do you know of any UK based charities / individuals who are solving pressing social issues of our time, both in Britain and globally



Nomination deadline

31 March 2018.

Nominate them for the Asian Voice Charity Awards 2018 by visiting our

w ww.asianvoicecharityawards.com

Finding Peter Rabbit

Museum Why not take your kids to the Natural History Museum in London? Not only will it give them the opportunity to explore, but it will help them learn something new while having fun in the process.

Peter Rabbit, which released in UK cinemas on 16th March, would be a great watch amongst kids. Take them to your nearest cinema where they can enjoy this movie while gorging on popcorn and pick and mix sweets.

Visit to the farm Take the little ones to a farm and let them have an adventurous time getting close to beautiful and gentle animals, where they can have the opportunity to feed them and pet them. Belmont Children's Farm in Mill Hill, London, is known as being a child-friendly attraction.

Time for some treats Kids will be receiving a lot of chocolate eggs during Easter. One can get creative in the kitchen and whip up a rice krispie or cornflake treat using melted chocolate. Mix the cornflakes with the melted chocolate and evenly distribute them in cupcake holders. Let them set and then voila... all ready to eat.

The Awards ceremony will be held on Friday 18th May 2018 at the Hilton, Park Lane , London

Award Categories

For Charities and Not-for Profit Institutions I Charity of the Year

This award recognises a UK-registered charity for their outstanding work and contribution to society, as well as demonstrated excellence service and achievement in its work over the last five years.


Start-Up of the Year

This award is similar to Charity of the Year, but specifically for charities that have been operational for three years or less.

I Outstanding PR Team

This award recognises excellence in charity PR, either in-house at a charity, or an agency undertaking a PR campaign on behalf of a charity

I Most Enterprising

This award recognises a social enterprise or the trading arm of a charity that has made a significant difference to beneficiaries through its ability to generate income to meet its social goals over the last two years.

I Social Impact Award

This award recognises an organisation for the social impact they have created and their contribution to society.

For Corporate Partnerships: I Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility

This award recognises the best corporate partnership and corporate responsibility programmes. It honours a company which goes beyond simply CSR projects to engage in partnerships in the last two years with either UK-registered or international charities, social enterprises or unincorporated charitable projects, to demonstrate quantifiably positive impact to the community.

For Individuals: I Inspiring Individual

This award recognises an individual who has demonstrated dedication, professionalism and integrity over a sustained period of time, and who has produced an identifiably profound effect on the social sector in the UK or otherwise through their work, which could be voluntary or otherwise.

I Inspiring Young Person

This award recognises a young individual who has demonstrated dedication and integrity through their work with the social sector in the UK or otherwise over the past year.


email: rovin.george@abplgroup.com



www.asian-voice.com AsianVoiceNews

Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

India may move WTO against US on duty hike

The Indian government is currently contemplating to approach the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) dispute settlement body against the US move to raise import duty on aluminium and steel. Sources said that detailed discussions have been held in the commerce department. A senior government official said India also needs to be careful, given its massive interest in terms of presence of software and other professionals in the US as well as the large software exports. Former officials dealing with WTO were also consulted on the issue. While a section believes that there is a case for a strong response, another view in the government is to wait for other WTO members to move the dispute settlement body so that India can then join in. Trade tensions have increased lately, with US President Donald Trump targeting India along with China and other

Trump targets India along with China and other countries

countries. The US, last week sought consultations with India through the WTO dispute settlement body over half-a-dozen export promotion schemes. American authorities said these schemes were offering subsidies that impacted its business and workers. Officials said the US action on steel and aluminium had set a dangerous precedent. They added that the government is currently taking a legal view and a decision on future course of action will be

taken soon. In its request to hold consultations with India, the US argued that the incentives violate WTO agreements as India is no longer below the economic benchmark of $1000 per capita gross national income (GNI). US trade representative Robert Lighthizer said, “These export subsidy programmes harm American workers by creating an uneven playing field on which they must compete. USTR will continue to hold our trading partners

accountable by vigorously enforcing US rights under our trade agreements and by promoting fair and reciprocal trade through all available tools, including the WTO.” While Indian authorities said they will respond to the US request for consultation within the specified 60 days, they argued that like other countries in the past, India should be allowed a transition period of eight years. Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said, “Our presumption is that India also has a similar period of eight years to graduate out of the subsidy regime and this is what we will be placing before the US. We are hopeful that they will recognise this time frame and during this time frame, we will commit ourselves and meet our obligations.” She added that India was not offering subsidies but many of the “incentives” were meant to neutralise the impact of taxes.

Trade tensions may rise on protectionism: WTO chief

Ahead of a meeting of over 40 countries in New Delhi, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Monday warned of escalation of trade tensions following recent US decision to increase tariffs and urged members to work together to “step back from the brink”. While WTO members are expected to renew their backing for a rulebased global trading system amid rising concerns over protectionism, following recent US action to raise import duty on aluminium and steel and also initiate more measures, there are indications that the issue will dominate the meeting. The tone was set on Monday by WTO director general Roberto Azevedo, who expressed concern over the growing threat and warned that the revival in export orders could be hit by protectionist moves. As informal parleys began, the

Roberto Azevedo

government officials suggested that India would pitch for a framework to address its concerns over food security, a demand that has repeatedly been ignored with the US even refusing to engage in any dialogue on the issue. In fact, the Trump administration has taken the debate to a different level and suggested that countries such as India and China should not get the

same treatment as poorer developing countries. While India, China and the European Union are among 17 countries that formally protested against the duty action, the issue may be raised at the informal WTO meeting on Tuesday as well, officials indicated. At an event organised by an industry lobby group, Azevedo sought a flexible approach from the WTO membership and pointed “to rising risks to this positive outlook with recent incidents of increased protectionist moves by members”. He cited the recent tariff increases by the US for steel and aluminium among other protectionist measures by other countries. The WTO chief also acknowledged the challenges faced by the 23-yearold global trade body. “We are facing many challenges in the WTO and outside.

Trade environment globally is very risky at this point of time. We will try to have an open and honest conversation at the informal WTO meeting here... We have very significant challenges before us. We have the dispute settlement system compromised by a blockage in the appointment of appellate members and this will be the focus of conversations in New Delhi,” Azevedo said. Pakistan to skip meet Pakistan has decided to skip the WTO meet in New Delhi. While Islamabad had initially accepted the invitation, sources in the foreign ministry said the situation changed after “repeated harassment of families of diplomats.” A source said, “We cannot send our commerce minister to India in the current situation and India has been informed about it.”

World Bank projects India's FY19 GDP growth at 7.3% The World Bank has projected India's GDP growth at 7.3 per cent for the next financial year, accelerate further to 7.5 per cent in 2019-20. The World Bank's biannual publication, India Development Update: India's Growth Story, expects the economy to clock a growth rate of 6.7 per cent in the current

fiscal ending March 31. The report has also observed that a growth of

over 8 per cent will require “continued reform and a widening of their scope” aimed at resolving issues related to credit and investment, and enhancing competitiveness of exports. It said, “The Indian economy is likely to recover from the impact of demonetisation and the GST, and growth

should revert slowly to a level consistent with its proximate factors. That is, to about 7.5 per cent a year.” The economy is expected to grow at 6.6 per cent in the current fiscal ending March 31, as per the second advanced estimates of the Central Statistics Office, compared to 7.1 per cent in 2016-17.


Indian companies win Boldness in Business 10th Anniversary Awards Reliance Industries and Lemon Tree have been named under this year's boldest companies and individuals on the Boldness in Business 10th Anniversary Awards by Financial Times. Reliance Industries has received the Drivers of Change Award. Started by Dhirubhai Ambani, and run by Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries is flushed with profits from oil refining. The conglomerate has invested $32bn in Jio, an entrant to India's mobile market that has attracted more than 150mn subscribers in less than 18 months. Its stated its aim to be “democratise the digital culture”, helping vast numbers of Indians to use the internet. It has also transformed Indian telecoms and forced a wave of consolidation involving rivals from Vodafone to Tata. Lemon Tree has received the Corporate Responsibility/Envioronm ent award. It is an Indian hotel chain, founded by Patu Keswani, and employs 550 diasbled

workers, mostly hearing and speech impaired, but also wheelchair users, as well as others with orthopaedic challengeswho together account for 12% of its workforce of 4600 people. Lemon tree aims to step up to provide scopes to 'opportunity deprived Indians' including those with physical disabilities and youth from deep social and economical disadvantages. 59 year old Patu is a first generation-entrepreneur, and his parents were civil servants- a railway engineer and army doctor. Among the judges of this awards was Lakshmi Mittal, Chairman and Chief Executive of ArcelorMittal. Nominees included another Indian company- GreyOrange, the Indian warehouse automation specialist, that provides e-commerce companies with robots that help process orders quickly and efficiently. It counts Amazon India, and Flipkart among domestic clients, with exports accounting for 70% of its business.

Cherie Blair asks women to create networks, hire one another Speaking at The Economic Times Women's Forum, Cherie Blair, lawyer and founder of Cherie Blair Foundation for Women gave a powerful speech supporting all women. She said every women has the power to make a difference, regardless of her sector or sphere of influence. She listed a few guiding principles that India could apply to unleash the power of half a billion. Blair asked women to be the change they wish to see in the world, and urged them to support each other. “Create supportive, professional networks for women in your sector and workplaces. Listen, learn and share with one another. Celebrate and elevate one another. Hire one another.” Blair said investing in women is often the best investment one can make, “because empowered women empower others.” She added, “While there are challenges we all share as women, there are also many differences in our experiences. That's why it's so important that we push for a diversity of women's voices to be heard. For example, women with disabilities, from marginalised communities, LGBT and from different socio-eco-

Cherie Blair

nomic backgrounds.” Praising India's vibrancy and entrepreneuralism, Blair said it's this boundless energy that plays a huge part in India's incredible rise as a geopolitical and economic powerhouse. However, considering that India has one of the world's lowest rates of female participation in the labour force, 65 per cent of Indian women with college degrees are out of work. Blair said the opportunity is the unlimited potential of Indian women as business owners, job creators and leaders in their communities. “The statistics on women's economic empowerment in India make for disappointing reading, but we must remember that women are so much more than onedimensional statistics.”




Suresh Vagjiani

Sow & Reap London Property Investment


We are looking to tie up a deal shortly, in the W2 area. The property was on the market for £1.8m last year, and even attracted bids of £1.5m, which the owner chose not to accept.

always those who have to sell, they do not have the luxury of choice. At Sow & Reap, we make it our business to get to know these sellers, and make acquaintance with them.

However, we are now in a different time period, which is affected by various factors. Correction, it is not actually directly affected by any of these factors at all. Behind every property there is a human being, and it is their perception of the factors which then have the effect of altering property prices, not the events themselves.

There are aspects of life you just can’t get away from, namely death, distress and divorce. They can also occur sequentially, someone can get distressed, then divorced, these two can of course be interchangeable, and then die.

Humans tend to stagnate and put their heads in the sand whenever there is adversity or uncertainty. Fear of interest rate rises, and uncertainty surrounding Brexit, have been accused as being the main culprits for this environment. In the market there are

Such personal situations are bad enough, coupled with an external dampened property market creates a harvest where there can be low hanging fruit for grabs by the astute investor. This year, most commentators are predicting a flat market at best, and probably whereby in real terms there will be a decline in prices.

AGONY AGENT IS HERE TO HELP! Following on from last week, I thought I would share some more information about HMOs. HMO licences are valid for five years at a time, and you will need a different licence for each HMO that you have; unfortunately, you cannot have just the one. To comply with the licence, you'll need to make sure that a valid gas safety certificate is sent to the council each year, smoke alarms need to be installed and safety certificates for electrical appliances must be

emails, letters or post that you have received from the local authority, as you never know when you will need them.

available on request. Some council rules will differ, so make sure you read and comply with everything your local authority requests. Depending on how much work needs to be done to the property, and the type of work to be carried out, you may also need planning permission. Again, this will depend on the changes you are looking to make, the type of property you have and the local authority. Make sure no matter what you do, that you keep any


Finchley Road, London NW8 Purchase Price: £549,000

Specialists in Central London Property Sourcing

You may be wondering why you would need to make alterations to your property. This would again depend on how indepth you want to go with this project. First, consider what your new tenants are going to use and require, and how much space they are going to need (most councils have a minimum requirement for bedroom


Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

Generally, this creates an excellent environment to purchase property. The issue is, if a market is in decline, the question people ask themselves is: what if after I purchase a property, the price drops even further? This mentality causes lethargy, and very few people have what it takes to take the decision and action to do a deal. At certain prices there is no question of whether a property is a deal or not. When you can purchase in W1, W2 and Marylebone at prices which range from £650 to £750 per sq. ft., there is no question of this being a deal. The prices here usually start from £1,000 sq. ft. as a bare minimum. Currently, we are in the process of securing a contract for a period property in W2 for only £658 per sq. ft. There are no issues with the and kitchen size). Don’t forget that you will need to fully furnish the property, from beds to knives and forks. Any, and all, furniture you supply will need to comply to fire safety standards; and all soft furnishes must have fire safety labels on. Within the valid five years of the HMO licence, you will be visited by the council and they might not give notice of this inspection. They will attend, and more than likely carry out a Housing Health and Safety Rating System risk assessment. If any risks that are found during the

property, for example, no short lease or a massive service charge around the corner. Prices on this road normally go at around £1,100. This is a massive 40% discount to the normal prices. Just to contradict everything I have written, I will throw something into the mix. Just this week, a property has sold for £6,100,000 in W2 within 5 days. This represents £1,813 per sq. ft. This flies in the face of the picture which I have

painted. It demonstrates the diverse nature of buyers for the London market. Clearly, there are some for which a bargain is not at the top of their agenda. They may want a beautiful turn key place to live, and time may be precious; therefore, they do not wish to waste time haggling or wait when they have seen something which exactly fits their criteria. If you like the sound of this deal, call the office now to find out more.

assessment they must be addressed, fixed or replaced. Aside from rules and regulations, when planning your HMO, ask yourself “would I be happy living here?”; if the answer is no, then you are more than likely going to struggle to get tenants. Next week we are going to cover one of our working HMOs, which we are managing for a client. In the meantime, if you

have any HMO questions, or if you are considering converting your property into an HMO, please feel free to contact me. Richard Bond Lettings Manager Sow & Reap

l A spectacular purpose built block l Moments away from the world famous Lord’s Cricket Ground l Featuring an entrance phone, lift and underground parking subject to availability l The apartment comprises of a large reception room, two large double bedrooms both with en suite bathrooms, and a huge kitchen l Measuring approximately 825 sq. ft. l Expected resale value is £1M Call us now for more information!

0207 993 0103

info@sowandreap.co.uk www.sowandreap.co.uk 27 Gloucester Place, London, W1U 8HU SowandReapProperties


Turning land into cash Get in touch about our land opportunities



www.asian-voice.com AsianVoiceNews

Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

RBI bans issue of LoUs & LoCs by Indian banks

Consultant Editor Financial Voice Alpesh Patel Dear Financial Voice Reader,

What does Trump’s tariff war mean for US, Us and …India? Goldman Sachs sees four scenarios: 1. US tariffs without retaliation. We round up the announced tariffs to 1% of total imports, partly because the Trump administration has already announced a few specific tariffs (e.g. on Canadian lumber) and partly because some further restrictions are likely even in a mild conflict scenario. We allow interest rate and the exchange rate to respond endogenously to the tariffs, but assume that equity prices remain unchanged. 2. A US-focused trade war. We assume that the US tariffs lead to retaliation from trading partners and further US tariff increases. In this scenario we assume that tariffs on all trade to and from the US rise by 5pp. But we assume that trading partners do not put up tariffs between each other; for example, the EU and China both put up a tariff against US imports but do not erect trade barriers between each other. 3. A global trade war. We assume that each country imposes a 5% tariff on everyone else. For example, the EU puts up a tariff against China in response to the US steel tariffs in an effort to prevent Chinese steel from flowing to Europe. 4. A global trade war with a global equity sell-off. We assume that global equity markets drop by 10%, in addition to the global 5% tariff. Let’s not forget Canada, Mexico and Australia are already exempted. Plus the announced tariffs cover hardly any US trade as the Goldman Sachs pointed out. So why was there all this panic? Should traders worry? And if tariffs are so bad, how come India has so many and yet grows so rapidly? The markets didn’t crash. The reason for it being in the headlines was that it goes against decades of tariff reduction. Even relatively closed economies like the Indian one move toward tariff reduction annually. Investors can still hold their breath and feel little relaxed because the President is not in a mood to begin massive trade war on international grounds. But it doesn’t mean that this new tariff plan will not leave any impact on US Stocks. It seems like genie has now come out of the bottle and the reverberations of US market will showcase tariff terror for several months and even years ahead. The time when President Trump tweeted his statement that trade wars are good, world stock market reflected an immediate response towards it. Investors became threatened and ultimately the stocks sunk everywhere. US dollar was greatly affected by president’s social media deliberation and soon the investors started tracking US steel stocks with a thought to avoid losses. Although the US stocks managed to rise slowly after President’s tweet but if we look at the broader spectrum, the confusion initiated with the fear of trade war will leave the higher burden on the shoulders of investors. If the 25% tariff on steel gets materialized with impact to President Trump’s actions, the US stocks will suffer to a great extent. The red states will lose more with this trade war as conjectured by Goldman Sachs. European politicos knew that if they target domestic markets that are populated by Republicans, it will be much easier to force President’s focus on this issue. Alpesh Patel Alpesh Patel and Juventus Football Club are Official Partners of 24Option.com brokers. Alpesh.patel@tradermind.com

The recent Punjab National Bank's £1.27 billion fraud has reportedly prompted the Reserve Bank of India to ban the use of letters of undertaking (LoUs) and letters of comfort (LoCs). Both of them are instruments issued by Indian banks to domestic importers to get foreign exchange from overseas banks at a cheaper rate. The RBI issued the directive almost a month after it was brought to light

that diamond merchants Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi had misused LoUs issued by PNB to defraud the bank of over $2 billion. An LoU is a type of guarantee between two banks that allow the issuer bank's customer to get foreign exchange from another Indian bank's foreign branch in the form of short-term credit. Bankers said the RBI decision could potentially

push up the cost of imports by up to half a percentage point, other than putting foreign banks on an even keel with Indian banks in financing imports. Joiel Akilan, ED and chief representative-India of BBVA, one of Europe's leading banks, said, “This regulation will certainly help global banks that were earlier outpriced by Indian banks, to get back to financing genuine trade

We may have seen off the ‘Beast from the East’ but there’s no sunshine on the horizon for Northamptonshire County Council. Having taken out £150m worth of Lender Option Borrower Option (LOBO) loans - used to finance infrastructure and schools -

finance transactions of Indian corporates and support Indian imports, though withholding tax would add to the cost of the importers.” The directive is effective immediately, however, a notification from RBI said, “Letters of credit and bank guarantees for trade credits for imports into India may continue to be issued subject to compliance with” existing regulations.

31 economic offenders have fled India An approximate 31 suspected economic offenders have fled India to avoid prosecution, the government told the Lower House of the Parliament last week. When asked if businessmen had absconded after “organising scams” and settled in various other countries, the Minister of State of External Affairs MJ Akbar submitted a written reply that included a list of 31 people. The list also included latest offenders Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, both are currently under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI. Akbar said the ministry had received extradition requests from the CBI in request of Vijay Mallya.

MJ Akbar

Ashish Jobanputra, Pushpesh Kumar Baid, Sanjay Kalra, Varsha Kalra, and Arti Kalra. He said the requests have been sent to the concerned foreign countries for their consideration. “The extradition request from CBI in request

of Sunny Kalra is under process by the Ministry of External Affairs. As per the information provided by Ministry of Finance, the government has decided to introduce the 'Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018' in the Parliament.” The bill will help lay down measures to deter fugitive economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law and provides for expeditious confiscation of proceeds of crime and properties of fugitive economic offenders. Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, cricket's Lalit Modi, and arms dealer Sanjay Bhandar are not exempt from the honour. The reply, interestingly, does not mention the time since

when they have been absconding from the country. The list also includes: Soumit Jena, Vijaykumar Revabhai Patel, Sunil Ramesh Rupani, Pushpesh Kumar Baid, Surender Singh, Angad Singh, Harsahib Singh, Harleen Kaur, Ashish Jobanputra, Jatin Mehta, Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara, Sabhya Seth, Nilesh Parrekh, Umesh Parekh, Sunny Kalra, Aarti Kalra, Sanjay Kalra, Varsha Kalra, Hemant Gandhi, Ishwarbhai Bhat, M.G. Chandrasakhar, Cheriya Vannarakkal Sudeer, Nausha Kadeejath and Cheriya Veettil Sadique.

3 directors held for £400 mn bank fraud Three directors of a private firm have been arrested as part of ongoing investigations into a bank fraud by Parekh Alluminex Ltd (PAL) against which lenders now claim about £400 million. Bhawarlal Bhandari, Premal Goragandhi, and Kamlesh Kanungo were taken into custody by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) for cheating, forgery, breach of trust, and criminal conspiracy. The move came after a complaint was filed by the Axis Bank against the firm for cheating it of £ 25 million. The arrested were charged with floating fake invoices and manipulated bills through

bogus companies to commit the fraud at the bank's main branch, Fort, using letters of credit. Authorities haven't ruled out the role of bank officials in the scam. Axis' complaint against PAL also mentions the role of directors Amitabh Parekh, Rajendra Gothi, Devanshu Desai, Kiran Parikh, and Vikram Mordani. The company is already being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), following a complaint by public sector lenders, including State Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank. It now faces insolvency proceedings in the National Company Law

Tribunal where a petition has been admitted. An Axis Bank spokesperson said, “Our exposure is part of a lending arrangement involving around 22 banks and the bank has filed an FIR with the EOW, post declaring the concerned exposure as fraud. We are fully cooperating with the investigating authorities.” Police said PAL initially availed three shortterm loans of a total amount of £12.5 million from Axis. It repaid the amount to “gain confidence”. In 2011, the company, led by Parekh, approached the private bank for working capital of £12.75

Are Banks causing Councils to go bust by charging 11% interest?

Abhishek Sachdev


the council now finds itself desperately strapped for cash and has been forced to ban all new spending as it tries to repay its “toxic” debt, with a £21m deficit for the financial year 2017/2018. These LOBO loans were very complex loans which had embedded Bermudan interest rate swaps; exactly the kind of instrument your local council should not be dabbling in.... Northamptonshire County has some LOBO loans at 7.2% and 11.3% - even SME property investors don’t pay interest rates at anywhere near this level. These LOBOs are completely unregulated borrow-

ings, typically lasting for a 40 to 70 year period. According to Northamptonshire County Council, breaking these contracts today would cost a staggering £256m. In fact, the National Audit Office just warned that many councils were on the verge of insolvency. Clearly, this is not just due to bank mis-selling; central government funding cuts and steep rising social care costs have had huge effects too. I have spoken at length about the dangers of LOBO loans (including two BBC interviews last week), which were, crucially, well known

before councils across the UK locked themselves into such long-term contracts. Our analysis and explanations were included in a Channel 4 Dispatches Programme in July 2015, as well as to MPs in the Communities and Local Government Select Committee shortly after. Vedanta Hedging estimates that there are approximately 1,000 LOBO loans across the country, with a combined face value (total borrowing amount) of £15bn and an exit cost of £26bn! (Yes you read that correctly) We have seen the crip-

pling effect that swap misselling has caused to both small and large business owners across the UK, it's now time to help our councils challenge these contracts if they have been missold. The precarious funding position of many councils is deeply concerning for me personally in my capacity as Councillor and Chairman of Audit Committee at Hertsmere Borough Council. Some readers may feel that this does not affect them. But how many of us want our core local services of roads, schools, social services, libraries, rubbish col-

million. He submitted minutes of a meeting of the firm's board of directors, even though no such meeting was held. Police said that he and others, instead of putting the money into business, diverted it to Parekh's personal account, repaid dues and settled bank loans. An officer said, “In 2012, PAL showed Axis Bank that it bought aluminium foils worth £4.9 million from a company, Suryakiran Ferro Alloys Pvt Ltd (SFAPL). During scrutiny we found the stated address of SFAPL in Bhiwandi to be bogus.” lections and more, to be affected, or, cut by these funding pressures? What can you do about this? If you are a resident in some of the worst-affected council areas of Newham, Brent, Birmingham, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Salford, Wolverhampton for example, you can contact your councillor and ask them to investigate LOBO loans. See our website for a list of full councils affected.

Tel: 020 7183 2277 www.vedantahedging.com


www.asian-voice.com AsianVoiceNews


Asian Voice | 24th March 2018


UN discusses state-sponsored terrorism in Pakistan

GENEVA: The United Nations Human Rights Council last week discussed state-sponsored terrorist groups in Pakistan. The conference draw the attention of the international community to the serious trend in Pakistan of the military establishment attempting to re-model proscribed terror groups as political entities. Brian Toll, ex policy coordinator for Asia at the European Commission and the moderator of the conference, in his opening remarks stated that Pakistan had gained reputation as one nation that was in the forefront of sponsoring terrorism. He added that what was of immense concern was that the Pakistan and its institutions had lately been a mute spectator to a UN designated terror group, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, not only floating a political party, named the Milli Muslim League, but even contesting elections. Brian Toll stated that it was well known that Lashkar-e-Toiba and its reincarnation, Jamaat -udDawa, were involved in ter-

UN human rights council meeting in Geneva

ror activities, including the Mumbai attacks, where a number of Europeans had been killed, and any forward movement on these groups taking over political power in Pakistan would have severe security repercussions internationally. Member of European Parliament Fulvio Martusciello charged Pakistan of a lack of commitment to tackling homegrown militants, and stated that in spite of international pressure the situation has shown no improvement. He said that for years Pakistan had been living in denial, while allowing Islamic extremist groups to freely carry out their activities and raise funding in the country apart from radicalising the masses. He said that now the designated

terrorist group has joined politics. According to Martusciello, it was high time that the European Union and the UN took stringent action against Pakistan. Tarek Fatah, exiled Pakistani author stated that Pakistan, from its very inception, has been committed to promoting terrorism. He elaborated that from sheltering Osama bin Laden, to having a connection with many of the terror attacks around the globe, including explosions in Kabul, Pakistani intelligence agency's links to terror has come to the fore again and again. Tarek Fateh also mentioned that “the doctrine of Pakistan is that if you don’t adhere to their religion, you do not have the right to exist”.

Henri Louis Malousse, 30th President of the European Economic and Social Committee, stated that over the years Pakistan had received massive aid from the international community for its “War on Terror.” However, it was now obvious that Pakistan’s efforts at fighting terror had been an eyewash and the country had continued to patronise terror groups for its strategic goals. Malousse said that if Pakistan had shown even some degree of seriousness to fight terror, designated terrorists like Hafiz Saeed would not roam freely on the streets of Pakistan. He called on the international community to hold Pakistan responsible for using terror groups as proxies to further its own interests. The speakers agreed that this dangerous trend of terror groups being gradually brought into the political mainstream at the behest of the Pakistani military establishment had to be nipped in the bud to prevent legitimizing terror.

Court orders suspension of passport of 'absconder' Musharraf ISLAMABAD: The special court in Pakistan which is hearing the high treason case against former dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf, has authorised the government to suspend his passport as well as his national identity card, according to a media report. Last week, the special court had ordered the government to arrest the Dubai-based former president and confiscate all his properties as it heard the case against the "proclaimed offender" for imposing emergency rule in the country in 2007. Musharraf, 74, was

Pervez Musharraf

indicted in March 2014 on treason charges for imposing emergency in 2007 which led to the confinement of a number of superior court judges in their houses and sacking of over 100 judges. The special court had earlier directed

the Interior Ministry to approach the Interpol for the arrest of Musharraf. If Musharraf fails to submit a written request for security to the Ministry of Interior, the government can take "positive steps" to ensure the arrest of the accused and attach his properties abroad, including suspension of the National Identity Card (CNIC) and passport of the accused, a four-page order of the special court said. If the federal government suspends his passport and CNIC, Musharraf will not be able to travel to any

country. The three-member bench, headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Yahya Afridi had conducted the last hearing in the case on March 8. However, the written order was issued later, the report said. Since 2013, the special court is hearing the treason case against Musharraf, also head of the All Pakistan Muslim League, for subverting the constitution in 2007. The next hearing of the case has been fixed for March 21, it said. A conviction for high treason carries the death penalty or life imprisonment.

Pak Hindu woman senator showcases her culture NEW DELHI: Activist Krishna Kumari Kolhi, who recently made history by becoming the firstever Hindu Dalit woman to be elected to Pakistan's Senate, came wearing traditional Thari dress for her oath taking ceremony. Showcasing her culture with immense pride, Kumari was dressed in a purple dress and white bangles that ran up to her shoulders. Kumari's parents also accompanied her to the Senate. They were also clad in the same colourful Thari costume. She was applauded by fellow senators for “being connected to her roots”.

Krishna Kumari Kolhi with her parents in traditional dress

On March 3, 39-yearold Kumari became the first female Dalit lawmaker in Pakistan as a member of Pakistan People’s Party. She got elected on


a woman seat reserved for minorities from Sindh by defeating a Talibanlinked cleric in the race. Born to a poor family, she belongs to the sched-

uled caste Koli community and hails from Nagarparkar village in Tharparkar district, where women are still deprived of basic facilities. She hails from the family of valiant freedom fighter Rooplo Kolhi. Being a victim of bonded labour along with her parents, Kumari fought hunger and poverty in her early life. She got married to Lalchand at the age of 16. Her husband supported her to continue her studies and as a result she now holds a master’s degree in sociology from Sindh University.


Khaleda Zia’s bail in graft case stayed DHAKA: In an unprecedented move the Supreme Court in Bangladesh stayed the bail granted to opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia in a graft case till May 8. The High Court had on March 12 granted interim bail for four months to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief. The AntiCorruption Commission and the government had filed two petitions before the Appellate Division led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain challenging Zia’s bail. Zia’s lawyer Kayser Kamal said that it was unprecedented for the Supreme Court to not cite any reason for granting the petition. Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan, who is representing the AntiCorruption Commission, said that the top court has asked them as well as Zia to submit their concise statements within two weeks. On February 8, Zia was sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly embezzling funds that were meant for an orphanage. She and five others, including her son Tarique Rahman, were accused of embezzling 21 million takas (approximately £160,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, which

Khaleda Zia

was established during her rule between 2001 and 2006. The court sentenced the other five people to 10 years in jail. The prosecution had said that the Zia Orphanage Trust and the Zia Charitable Trust, established in the name of Zia’s late husband and former President Ziaur Rahman, existed only on paper. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief and three aides had also been accused of embezzling 31.5 million takas (approximately £250,000) from the Zia Charitable Trust. In 2004 Forbes magazine ranked her as one of the most powerful woman in the world. Zia will not be able to contest in the general election of 2018 because the constitution of Bangladesh prohibits a convicted person sentenced to over two years from participating.

Killing of shrine worker: 7 sentenced to death

DHAKA: A court in Bangladesh sentenced seven terrorists to death after finding them guilty of killing a shrine worker in 2015, court officials said. Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country of 160 million people, is facing what appears to be a growing threat of terrorist violence and has seen a string of incidents in recent years. Shrine caretaker, Rahamat Ali, 60, was hacked to death in November 2015 in the northern district of Rangpur. Six others accused of the attack were acquitted by the court. The convicted men were members of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh group, public prosecutor Rathish Chandra Bhowmik said.

Police believe the same group, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, was responsible for the most recent attack, when gunmen stormed a restaurant in the diplomatic quarter of Dhaka in July 2016, killing 22 people, most of them foreigners. Islamic State and al Qaeda have claimed a series of killings of liberals and members of religious minorities in Bangladesh in the past years. Authorities have consistently ruled out the presence of such groups, blaming domestic militants instead. However, security experts say the scale and sophistication of the restaurant attack suggested links to a wider network.



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Guptas flee South Africa, question credibility of probe CAPE TOWN: Lawyers representing the Gupta brothers have slammed the credibility of Parliament's Eskom inquiry, saying it is an exercise in 'political showboating' with unfair questioning of witnesses. The letter, a response from the Guptas' attorneys to an invitation by the committee on public enterprises to testify, also states that the Gupta brothers are not in South Africa at the moment. “As it happens, our clients are not presently in the Republic of South Africa, being absent for business reasons. Accordingly, our clients decline the invitation to appear before the committee," it states. The committee, which has for months been investigating maladministration at state

Gupta brothers - Ajay, Rajesh, and Atul

power utility Eskom, had asked Gupta brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh to appear before it to testify. The chairman of the committee said the Guptas' lawyers had sent her a letter to say the brothers are not in the country. She did not, at the time, reveal any of the additional content of the letter. “The fact that Parliament would apparently ask our clients to trawl through evidence of

other parties themselves to discern the issues to which they should respond and which are relevant to the inquiry before the portfolio committee, speaks volumes for the vague, disordered, uncontrolled and untrammelled nature of the inquiry,” it read. The letter also criticises the inquiry’s chair for allegedly not having control of proceedings. “The proceedings are to a large

extent an exercise in political showboating by parliamentarians intent either on making political speeches, insulting witnesses or otherwise questioning witnesses in a manner which is not conducive to the resolution of identified or identifiable issues,” it read. The letter also takes aim at what the attorneys claim is unfair questioning of witnesses by committee members. “Witnesses are subjected to unfair questioning in relation to issues which are totally irrelevant to the oversight inquiry. The witnesses are confronted with allegations which amount to nothing but conjecture, speculation and biased conclusions without any underlying evidence… Witnesses are humiliated and belittled at the will of politicians.”

Missing SA woman returns after 20 days as family panics MUMBAI: A 76-year-old South African woman of Indian origin, who had been missing since February 23, resurfaced last week, unaware of the panic she had caused. The woman told the police that she had been facing network problems while travelling. According to the Mumbai railway police, Devakiamma Pillai reached Mumbai on February 21, and stayed at Prossers guest house in Colaba. She checked out on February 23 and boarded a train from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai

Devakiamma Pillai

for Bhubaneswar, and had been incommunicado since then. Her daughter Mala, after trying to get in touch with her in vain, contacted the guest house manager, who registered a

missing person’s report on March 2. An employee of Prossers guest house said that Ms Pillai returned to the guest on Thursday last. The management subsequently informed the Kurla railway police, who recorded her statement. Sub-inspector Rajaram Jadhav said, “Ms Pillai went to Bhubaneswar for about three days, and then took a train to Kolkata, where she stayed for five days, before heading to Varanasi. She had been travelling alone and said she tried contacting her family, but could not due

to network issues. Her call records confirm this.” The guest house employee said, “Ms. Pillai was very relaxed and seemed confused about the panic she had unwittingly caused. She said she had gone on a pilgrimage, and we should have known she would be safe in God’s hands.” The police will close the missing person’s complaint after making sure she is unhurt. “Her son arrived from South Africa a few days ago and is in Odisha. We have informed him of the development,” Jadhav said.

Mugabe flays Emmerson, army for his ouster HARARE: Deposed Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has blamed his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa and military for his ouster from power on November 15 after ruling the country for 37 years. He said that he was removed from power through a military coup, contrary to observations by the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and other political bodies who viewed his ouster a constitutional matter. In an interview, Mugabe indicated that President Emmerson is an illegitimate leader of Zimbabwe, who needs to discuss with

him how to legalize his presidency. Mnangagwa and the military deposed him last November when the military said it wanted to arrest so-called criminals surrounding him. A defiant Mugabe told journalists at his family Blue Roof mansion, where he was put under arrest by the army last November, that he was forcibly removed from power by a person he saved from the gallows during the liberation struggle of the 1970s. “I always had Emmerson Mnangagwa on my side. I brought him into my government, but I never thought he would turn against me. He was assisted by the army. I said it was a

Robert Mugabe

coup d’etat. Some people have refused to call it a coup d’etat.” Mugabe said the ZDF completely paralyzed other organs of the security services when it staged the coup d’etat with Mnangagwa and his associates, who belonged to a faction of the ruling party

known as Team Lacoste. “He (Mnangagwa) could not have assumed the presidency of the country without the army. It’s the army which assisted him. The army made sure that other organs of state were neutralized … completely neutralized.” The former Zimbabwean leader, who ruled the country for more than 37 years said he played a key role in saving some of the people that were being sought by the army but noted that his staff has been harassed about their whereabouts. Mugabe noted that he has since been abandoned by the current president and his colleagues.



Lanka breathes easy as president lifts emergency

Maithripala Sirisena with PM Modi on his visit to Delhi

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday lifted a nationwide state of emergency imposed on March 6 for the first time since the civil war following eruption of communal violence between majority Sinhala Buddhists and minority Muslims in the country. President Sirisena, who returned to Lanka on Saturday night from an official visit to India and Japan, lifted the state of emergency as the situation in the country returned to normal. “Upon assessing the public safety situation, I instructed to revoke the State of Emergency from midnight yesterday,” he tweeted on Sunday. The government imposed a state of emergency on March 6 and blocked Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media sites following anti-Muslim violence in the island’s central hills Kandy and Ampara districts in which three people were killed and hundreds of Muslim-owned properties, including mosques, were damaged. Facing flak from the opposition for not lifting the blockage on social media despite improve-

ment in the situation, the government lifted the ban on Facebook on March 15 after officials from the US social media giant agreed to step up efforts to remove hate speech posted on its platform during the anti-Muslim violence. The communal violence was triggered by the death of a Sinhalese man at the hands of a mob. The government had deployed thousands of troops to restore peace and protect the minority Muslims and their property. “The President decided to revoke the order in view of the improved security situation,” a presidential official said. The police arrested more than 200 people for violence against Muslims. It was the first time in seven years Sri Lanka had imposed the measure. The country was under a state of emergency for nearly three decades when the government fought Tamil rebels LTTE in the civil war that ended in 2009. Sri Lanka's parliament issued an apology to its Muslim minority, which constitutes 10 per cent of the country's population of 21 million. Sinhalese account for about three quarters of the population.

Sirisena asks people's representatives to set example COLOMBO: Sri lanka President Maithripala Sirisena told the members of Sri Lanka Freedom Party and United Peoples' Freedom Alliance members to set an example to the public with their conduct and behaviour to create a political culture with a high standard and quality. The President said this during a meeting with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and United Peoples' Freedom Alliance members who secured victory at the last month's Local Government Elections at the Presidents House in Colombo on Sunday. The President told the new councilors who won the last month's local gov-

ernment elections that they should fully contribute to resolve the people's issues in accordance with a timetable and be patient, attentive and principled and not leading to conflicts with the public. President Sirisena also pointed out the need to work without fraud and corruption to achieve development targets while listening to the public voice. He requested the Peoples' representatives to work with commitment for public service with quality views with a value. The President express confidence that the new representatives will strengthen the party to continue its political and development agenda.


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Maldives to lift emergency, charge Xi says China ready to fight 'bloody battle' ex-president, CJ with bribery COLOMBO: A senior diplomat said that Maldives President Abdulla Yameen will lift a 45-day state of emergency on Thursday and the government will bring bribery charges against former leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the chief justice. Yameen imposed a state of emergency on Feb. 5 for 15 days to annul a Feb 1 Supreme Court ruling that quashed convictions against nine opposition leaders and ordered his government to free those held in prison. He later extended the state of emergency for another 30 days with parliament approval, a move challenged by the opposition. Under the emergency, Yameen's administration arrested former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the chief justice, another Supreme Court judge, and a Supreme Court administrator on allegations of attempting to overthrow

the government. They have all rejected the charges. "Unless something unusual happens, we should not have emergency by Thursday," Mohamed Hussain Shareef, Maldives Ambassador for Sri Lanka said. "The government has no intention of extending it any further barring very unusual circumstances like widespread violence. The intention is to do away

CALIFORNIA: A jury in Minnesota has found Michael Laurence Campbell guilty of killing his 21-year-old Indian American girlfriend, Ria Patel, as a result of negligent driving. Campbell left the scene of crash on Sept 17, 2017, that resulted in the death of Patel. He was charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide - one for the crash, the other for leaving the scene. Campbell is scheduled to be sentenced on April 5. Assistant County Attorney Rachel Kraker called for a hearing to consider aggravating circumstances and said Campbell had multiple prior convictions for speeding and was on probation for a hitand-run offense. The

judge denied the motion, saying he will take the record of the trial and the emotional harm to the families in consideration at sentencing, it added. Defense attorney Nancy Laskaris requested bail for Campbell prior to the sentencing date, which was denied. Prosecutors allege Campbell drove and crashed his red Ford Focus and then fled the scene after finding Ria Patel dead, according to the report. Court testimony indicated that Campbell ran about three miles to the home he shared with roommates. He locked himself in his room for several hours, calling Ria Patel’s phone from a blocked number multiple times and contacting his work to say he would miss

LONDON: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the Saudi Arabian throne, has reportedly kept his own mother away from his father, the king, out of fear she would stand in the way of his rapid rise to power. The prince has prevented Princess Fahda bint Falah al-Hathleen, his mother, from seeing King Salman for more than two years. At one point, she may even have been held under house arrest at a royal palace, NBC News reported, citing 14 current and

former US intelligence officials. Saudi Arabia's government strongly denied the claim. Little is known about Fahda, the king's third wife, and as with most Saudi royal women she is not seen in public. According to NBC, the crown prince provided his father with several reasons why he could not see his mother. On a visit to the White House in 2015, the elderly 82-year-old king apparently mistakenly told Barack Obama, then the president,

Abdulla Yameen

with this state of emergency when the current 30 day period expires on March 22." Shareef said bribery charges against Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed have been sent to the prosecutor general and that bribery charges will also be brought against former president Gayoom and Supreme Court administrator Hassan Sayeed. "That is definite. We know that charges will be pressed against the four of them,” Shareef said. Gayoom is accused of bribing the three legal professionals to overthrow the Yameen government. Despite opposition claims that hundreds of people have been arrested under

the state of emergency, Shareef said only 38 had been arrested so far while others were "detained and released". Police said that at least 139 opposition protesters were arrested as they attempted to defy orders under the state of emergency and march into the high security zone in capital Male. When asked if any foreign agent or country had a role in the Maldives crisis, Shareef said: "For my knowledge, the investigations at the moment are focused on local actors only". Rights group Amnesty International has said the Maldivian government was using the emergency "as a licence for repression, targeting members of civil society, judges and political opponents". Yameen's government retains a majority in parliament in the absence of the opposition's 12 MPs who were stripped of their seats by Yameen's party for defecting last year.

Jury finds boyfriend guilty of killing Indian American student Ria Patel

Ria Patel

his shift later that day, the report added. Campbell claimed that Patel grabbed his face while he was driving and gave him a “passionate kiss.” The crash occurred during that kiss, he said. However, Patel suffered

numerous serious injuries to her head and face and Campbell had none, according to testimony. The jury did not buy that story. The family announced it would launch the Ria Patel Foundation, inspired by the young woman, and asked for the public’s support to end distracted and drunken driving, the report said. County Attorney Mike Freeman said he would ask for the longest sentence possible and estimated four years nine months. He said Campbell has not made an apology for his actions, just blame. He said the trial was “a very sad case” and that Campbell should have had enough dignity to admit his mistake, the report said.

Saudi crown prince 'has kept his mum hidden from king for two years'

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

that his wife was receiving

medical treatment in New York, contrary to US intelligence that she was not in the country. A spokesman for the Saudi embassy in Washington said the claim was "absolutely not true". Sources said that Fahda fears her son's power grab is dividing the Saudi royal family. Ahead of his first official visit as crown prince to Washington, Mohammed warned that Saudi Arabia would develop its own nuclear weapons if Iran was allowed to build a nuclear bomb.

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a blistering speech, warning against any attempts to split China and touting the country's readiness to fight "the bloody battle" to regain its rightful place in the world. Xi's address capped an annual session of the National People's Congress that paved the way for him to rule for life, as China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong pushes through his vision of guiding the country through a "new era" of unrivalled global military and economic supremacy. Days after President Donald Trump signed new rules allowing top-level US officials to travel to Taiwan, Xi warned that Beijing would defend its "one China principle", which sees the self-ruling island as its territory awaiting reunification. "All acts and tricks to separate the country are doomed to fail and will be condemned by the people and punished by history," Xi said. He also sought to address concerns about ambitious Chinese development projects abroad, saying they "will not pose a threat to any country." Xi used the speech to espouse his vision of realising the "rejuvenation of

Xi Jinping

the Chinese nation" -- the "greatest dream" of the world's second-largest economy. "The Chinese people have been indomitable and persistent, we have the spirit of fighting the bloody battle against our enemies to the bitter end," he said. But his speech was also a reminder that the Communist Party, more than ever, reigns over the country's affairs. "History has already proven and will continue to prove that only socialism can save China," he said. "The Communist Party is the supreme political leadership of the country and the fundamental guarantee to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation."

Woman suffers stroke after using mobile phone for 20 hours BEIJING: A Chinese woman almost died of stroke after using her mobile phone for 20 hours. During the long train ride from Henan to Gangzhou, she swiped at her phone to pass the time. With the carriages packed full of people, the woman in her 40s barely moved from her seat. It seemed like any regular journey until she got off the train. The woman fainted at the station and was rushed to a hospital where she was found showing symptoms of a stroke. They included sudden confusion, slurred speech, and weakness on one side of the body, said Dr Meng, the hospital's deputy director of neurology. CT and MRI scans showed that blood clots had caused a blockage on the left side of her brain. The critically ill patient was then wheeled into surgery for a three-hour operation. During the procedure, they removed numerous blood clots measuring 2cm. The woman also had twice the number of blood clots as other patients, Dr Meng noted. As she recovers from the ordeal, the woman said she was shocked to learn that she had a stroke. She

enjoyed general good health and had no history of cardiovascular disease. What had brought on the sudden illness? Turning the head to look at the mobile phone for prolonged periods of time can compress the neck's blood vessels, Dr Meng explained. Maintaining the same posture for too long can also cause poor blood circulation which may form blood clots. There's an increasing number of younger patients suffering from the condition, the doctor said. He advises mobile phone users to adopt good postures while using the devices, and to take frequent breaks.And with reports of people turning blind from drama and gaming marathons on the mobile phone, it's about time that we kick the habit.



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AIADMK moves HC over colour of Dhinakaran's party flag CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK moved the Madras High Court seeking to restrain sidelined leader TTV Dhinakaran from using any colour combination deceptively similar to its flag. Dhinakaran recently launched his new party, the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, and unveiled its flag, which features the image of a smiling J Jayalalithaa. The flag is black at the top and red below with white in the middle. TN Chief Minister K Palaniswami, who is also the joint co-coordinator of the AIADMK, sought the leave of the court to file the suit, seeking a permanent injunction against Dhinakaran in the regard.

TTV Dhinakaran’s party flag

Justice CV Karthikeyan granted leave for filing the suit when the plea came up for hearing. In the suit, Palaniswami submitted that the AIADMK flag was described in rule 4 of the party's Rules and Regulations, which clearly stated that the upper half of it should be black in

colour, the lower half red and the bust of former chief minister CN Annadurai superimposed in white in the middle. In his suit, Palaniswami submitted that the AIADMK flag was described in rule 4 of the party's Rules and Regulations, which clearly stated that the upper half of it should be black in colour, the lower half red and the bust of Annaduraisuperimposed in white in the middle. The flag originally set the AIADMK apart from the other political parties and gave it a unique identity for four decades since its launch in 1972, he said. He also added that Dhinakaran was expelled

by the “eternal” general secretary of the party, Jayalalithaa, on December 19, 2011. He was re-inducted last year by VK Sasikala, a close aide of Jaya, and immediately appointed as the deputy general secretary before she proceeded to serve her term in jail. Cutting no corners, Palaniswami also submitted that the Election Commission had held the party headed by Dhinakaran as not the original AIADMK, in its November 23, 2017 order. He also added that even though Dhinakaran had challenged the EC's order in the Delhi High Court, no stay had been granted on his plea.

Journalist Gauri Lankesh murder case: one arrested BENGALURU: A second suspect identified in the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh could be a man from Maharashtra with a red-corner notice issued by the Interpol at the instance of the National Investigation Agency for links to a bomb blast in Goa nine years ago. Official sources identified this suspect as Praveen Limkar, a 34 year old from Kolhapur

Gauri Lankesh

and an activist of Sanatan Sanstha, the radical Hindutva outfit. Limkar was declared missing along

AAP's Punjab chief quits over Kejriwal's apology NEW DELHI: Aam Aadmi Party's Punjab leader Bhagwant Mann resigned from the post of party president after convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's apology to Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia. Mann said in a tweet, “I am resigning as a president of AAP Punjab... but my fight against drug mafia and all kind of corruption in Punjab will continue as an 'Aam Aadmi' of Punjab.” In a letter, Kejriwal retracted his allegations of the former Punjab minister being involved in a drug trade, and apologised to him. On the apology, AAP MP Sanjay Singh said Kejriwal's apology has left many people “unhappy”. He said, “Many people are unhappy. I hope justice will be done as people like BS Majithia deserve to be in jail.” Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the allegations were “a false propaganda” and that Kejriwal's apology has exposed the “cheap politics”. She said, “This exposes cheap politics by AAP, they spread false propaganda. They build their entire election campaign on a lie,

Bhagwant Mann

with four others after he was accused by the NIA of playing a major role in an October 19, 2009, blast in Madgaon where two Sanatan Sanstha men were killed while transporting an IED to be planted at a Diwali programme. Six months after the murder of the senior journalist, a special police team probing the case made the first arrest last week. They

have got five more days to continue the interrogation of KT Naveen Kumar, who was taken into custody for questioning a week ago. Naveen Kumar of Mandya district in Karnataka, was caught at the Bengaluru city bus stand by the state police's central crime branch on February 18 for allegedly being in illegal possession of a weapon and ammunition.


good that he has accepted his lies.” Kejriwal, in his letter, wrote, “Because of my allegations made against you at various political rallies, public meetings, TV programs, print, electronic and social media, you filed a defamation case against us... I hereby withdraw all my statements and allegations and apologise for the same. The damage caused to your esteem, the hurt caused to your family, friends, well-wishers, followers and the loss caused to you is regretted.” Majitthia had filed a criminal defamation case against Kejriwal and other AAP leaders, for falsely linking him to the drug trade and tarnishing his image.

Singer Daler Mehndi convicted for human trafficking

PATIALA: Singer Daler Mehndi is convicted in a human trafficking case by Patiala court, and sentenced to two years in jail. The singer was taken into custody by the Punjab police soon after the conviction, but was soon granted bail. Following a complaint filed by one Bakshish Singh of Balbehra village in Punjab in 2003, a case was registered by the Patiala police against Mehndi, his brother Shamsher and some of his associates. Singh had alleged that he had been duped by the Mehndi brothers who received millions of rupees from him on the pretext of sending him abroad as a member of Daler's troupe. Shamsher died in October 2017 after suffering from jaundice. He was a part of Daler Mehndi's troupe and performed at several stage shows. After the case was registered, several others also came forward with similar complaints against

Daler Mehndi

both the brothers. The court had earlier had dismissed petitions filed by the police in favour of the singer and ordered the police to file a fresh challan against Mehndi. The first discharge petition was filed in February 2006 stating that Mehndi should be discharged of all the charges as he had been found to be innocent in the case. The petition was rejected by the court which had then upheld that there was sufficient evidence on the judicial file against Mehndi and the police should prosecute the case.



West Bengal, Sikkim decide to bury the hatchet

Mamata Banerjee, Pawan Chamling bury hatchet

KOLKATA: In a positive step towards cooperation, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called differences between Sikkim and West Bengal a thing of the past. The statement came shortly after meeting her counterpart from Sikkim, Pawan Chamling. He also reiterated Banerjee's sentiment, saying the two states had resolved their differences and were looking to work for mutual benefit. Relationship between both the states went sour after Chamling backed the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of West Bengal. He said his state shall work for the development of Darjeeling, and invited Banerjee to visit his state. She reciprocated saying Chamling will

be invited to attend the next edition of the state's annual business summit. The move came a day after the SC rejected fugitive Gorkha leader Bimal Gurung's prayer for protection against arrest in West Bengal. Darjeeling district officials said, after the meeting of the two chief ministers, it remains to be seen if the Sikkim administration cooperates in nabbing Gurung and other Gorkha leaders currently on the run. West Bengal is of the view that many of them are hiding in Sikkim, and the local administration does not want to flush them out. WB has formally blamed Sikkim of harbouring criminals responsible for the unrest in Darjeeling last year.

SC rejects Gorkha leader Gurung's plea against arrest NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has dismissed former GJM leader Bimal Gurung's plea seeking protection from arrest in several cases lodged against him in West Bengal for an independent probe into the alleged killings of Gorkhaland supporters in the state. A bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan rejected the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's plea saying it was not a fit case for relief. It said, “It cannot be said to be a case of individual persecution by the state.” The SC had on

November 20 restrained the West Bengal police from taking any coercive steps against Gurung. The GJM leader had claimed in the top court that he was being politically persecuted by the West Bengal government. The Mamata Banerjee government had submitted a list of 53 FIRs lodged against Gurung, saying he was facing trial in another 24 cases as well. The GJM central committee had recently suspended Gurung for six months and appointed Binay Tamang as the party's new president.

Last batch of GNLA cadres surrender in Meghalaya SHILLONG: Remaining cadres of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) surrendered before the Meghalaya government last week. The move is seen as a major step towards ending militancy in Meghalaya and the North East. The surrender came after concerted efforts by both, the Centre and the state government, rebel groups, community leaders, along with policy changes at various levels, including strengthening of the law with a zero-tolerance policy towards militancy.

“The surrender pf the last batch of GNLA militants, just when a new government has assumed office means we are beginning on a positive note, which is good news for everyone,” said James Sangma, Meghalaya Home Minister. He thanked the people of the Garo Hills, West Khasi Hills and SouthWest Khasi Hills, the church leaders, civil society organisations, the police and government departments who worked hard to bring harmony and peace in the state.


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Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

Dr. Hari Desai

Patri Sarkar against British in Maharashtra The leader “Krantisimha” Nana Patil was elected CPI MP twice Aundh Ruler extended co-operation to underground activities

The Patri Sarkar movement was a guerrilla type struggle. “Patri” was the name given to the terrible and torturous punishments administered to the British government servants and people who dared to obstruct the parallel government.


ne would be surprised to imagine an effective Patri Sarkar (also known as Prati Sarkar or a parallel government) being run in 150 villages of present-day Satara- Sangli region of Maharashtra for nearly four and half years during the Quit India movement, effective from August 1943 to May 1946. Of course, during the British rule at many places such parallel government experiments worked but the one under the leadership of “Krantisimha” Nana Patil ( 3 August 19006 December 1976) was unique in nature which was supported by masses. Another important feature of this movement was it provided popular Congress, Socialist and Communist leaders in post-independence era who not only became the Members of the Indian Parliament and Maharashtra Assembly but also became the Chief Ministers and the Deputy Prime Minister and Union Ministers. The Patri Sarkar movement was a guerrilla type struggle. “Patri” was the name given to the terrible and torturous punishments administered to the British government servants and people who dared to obstruct the parallel government. Of course, the Patri Sarkar did carry out some reformist programmes like prohibition, removal of untouchability, spreading literacy, preaching the importance of self-reliance and it propagated for land reforms and even land distribution, simple marriages involving smaller expenses, protecting the women especially the wid-

ows, etc. Due to the world war there was a problem of food grains, the underground activists at Walva lurked the barns full of grains owned by the rich men and distributed the food grains to the hungry poor. They also promised the owners of the barn that they will return the food grains in the time of good harvest, according to Natha Lad, an activist of the movement. The Quit India movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi was not to assume militant character in Satara district but the Seva Dal, the youth wing of Indian National Congress, under the influ-

Appa Pant, the Aundh ruler who was sympathetic to Patri Sarkar

ence of leftist ideology in the region and the influence of “Karmaveer” Bhausaheb Patil and his Rayat Shikshan Sanstha attracted the Maharashtrian youth towards the revolutionary path, especially in Satara district. After the commencement of the world war in 1939 and the declaration of India’s involvement in it, the leftist insisted upon taking immediate steps by the Congress towards attain-

“Krantisimha” Nana Patil, the leader of the Patri Sarkar

ment of freedom. The leftists workers in Congress with their bent towards peasants and the laboring masses were causing a new awakening among them. An eight day study camp by Comrade S. A. Dange at Satara and Karad acquainting workers with the scientific concepts of communism boosted the moral of the youth to fight the British. The Congress Party was the umbrella for various ideological colours like socialism, Royist as well as Moscow-brand communism. There were many groups active to carry out the underground activities of the Patri Sarkar, largest being that of Nana Patil. Kundal was considered the capital of the parallel government. Kundal in Aundh State bordering Walva and Tasgaon talukas was always the base of the activities of Nana Patil group. The Patri Sarkar started functioning in 1943. Every group was assigned specific job or department. Nana Patil group was to collect arms and ammunitions from private individuals, by attacking police at railway stations and elsewhere and also by purchasing at Goa, the Portuguese territory. Nana, Dr. Uttamrao Patil and Mrs. Leela Patil stayed in the district and carried on propaganda campaign effectively

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where as Shankar Nika impressed the masses by his singing performances. The Central executive, Kundal gymnasium, Seva Dals, judicial tribunals, Tufan Sena, Bahirji Pathak etc. were the main organs of the Patri Sarkar. According to V. S. Page, a freedom fighter who in

Y. B. Chavan, from underground activist to Deputy PM

later years became the Chairman of Maharashtra Legislative Council(19601978) while talking about the Patri Sarkar says, “Nana Patil, by his powerful oratory and by his persistent efforts of ten long years’ work to propagate Congress ideology among the rural masses became the symbol of freedom struggle in Quit India movement and even afterwards in Satara district. In many villages… people successfully led Morchas

and hoisted national flags on village Chavadis. ” The movement of the Patri Sarkar had the blessings of the Aundh State. The ruler and a Gandhian Prince, Appasaheb Pant, who was an Indian diplomat in post-independent India in various countries, extended support and guidance to the Patri Sarkar. Even when under pressure from the British some of the activists had to be arrested by him, they were treated well. The Socialist leader, Achutrao PatawaAchut Patwardhan rdhan, Y. B. Chavan, elected as an MLA in Tarktirth Laxman Shastri Maharashtra for eleven Joshi, Vasantdada Patil, times. Barring being Ganapatrao Deshmukh Minister twice, he has and even “Kranti Agrani” spent his political terms G. D. Bapu Lad and many on the opposition benchothers participated in the es. Patri Sarkar movement. The Shiv Sena Chief, Nana Patil was elected to Uddhav Thackeray, has the Indian Parliament demanded “a befitting twice as a candidate of the memorial be erected for Communist Party of the independence activist, India(CPI), from Satara in Krantisimha Nana Patil”. 1957 and from Beed in On the birth anniversary 1967 respectively. He was of Nana Patil, Thackeray also one of the leaders of said: “When I accepted the the Samyukta invite to be part of the Maharashtra movement. event, someone asked me Achutrao Patwardhan was Nana Patil was a commucalled the “Lion of Satara”. nist and Shiv Sena is Basically a socialist, he against communists. I told was active in Congress him, yes, we are against before independence and communists. But, this man was one of the founders of (Patil) understood that the the Socialist Party of India British will not leave the in 1947 and preferred to country only by Swaraj and retire from active politics peaceful means and they in 1950 itself. As a need to be given a jolt, Congress leader Y. B. which he did.” “I do not Chavan became the Chief care if he was a commuMinister of Bombay State nist. What is more imporafter Morarji Desai joined tant is that he was a freethe Union Cabinet headed dom fighter. Today it is our by Jawaharlal Nehru. government at the Centre Chavan was the Defence and in the state. We also Minister of India and at a have hold over the later stage became M u n i c i p a l the Deputy Next Column: Corporation of P r i m e G r e a t e r Minister of The Historic Letter M u m b a i India too. of Shivraya to Jai (MCGM). We Va s a n t d a d a , will construct a Singh also a Congress befitting memoleader, became the rial for Nanasaheb Chief Minister of Patil in Mumbai that will Maharashtra more than make the whole country once and even the proud.” Governor of Rajasthan. The left party, Peasants (The writer is a and Workers Party(PWP)’s Socio-political Historian. 90-year old leader, E-mail: Ganpatrao Deshmukh, is haridesai@gmail.com)

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Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

The Indian engineers who helped Hawking get his voice back The world bore yet another loss when renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking passed away at the age of 76, last week. The pioneering physicist and author of best-selling book 'A Brief History of Time' was diagnosed with Lou Gerhig's disease at the age of 21, and was given only a couple of years to live. Many know that the Professor, who lost his voice in 1985 after a tracheotomy, used to speak with the help of a special technology designed for him. What many do not know, is that the technology was developed by Indian engineers. Arun Mehta and Vickram Crishna effectively helped Hawking get his voice back. The theoretical physicist arrived in India for the first time in January 2001, for a 16-day long tour he would later describe as “magnificent”. During this time, his aides began reaching out to people and organisations who could help write a software program

Arun Mehta and Vickram Crishna

that would help Hawking communicate through his computerised wheelchair. Mehta and Crishna took up the challenge. Crishna even met Hawking, later describing him as a warm, fun-loving guy who loved cracking jokes. He said Hawking had a serious problem that needed serious attention. Along with Mehta, he created a better techhuman interface that would make it easier for him to express himself. They developed a software called Elocutor, that works on a prediction model and attempts to anticipate what a user is going to type next, and learns from what he or she had already typed in

the past. It made it possible for Hawking to type and speak using a single button. “While developing the software we realised the importance of technology in the lives of people with disabilities, especially those who have a tough time communicating. So we started doing more work in this area, only to realise that working constantly in this field did not make commercial sense. It is something more suited for an NGO than for a software company.” Mehta and Crishna founded BAPSI in 2009, an NGO that aims to make technology solutions accessible and affordable for the “information poorest”.

Indian real estate partners linked to Trump accused of $147 mn fraud Given the rate by which frauds are brought to light these days, new scams now fail to alarm the public. A real estate investment company that partnered with the USA's Trump Organization on an office tower project in India, has been accused of defrauding its foreign investors of at least $147 million. Documents obtained by The Washington Post reveal that two global investment companies based in New York and London that have invested nearly $300 million in Indian real estate development company IREO, filed a criminal complaint with the New Delhi police last month. The Children's Investment Fund Foundation, a charity run by British billionaire Christopher Hohn, and Axon Partners, an equity firm run by former Goldman Sachs executive Dinakar Singh, alleged that the fund's Indian managing director Lalit Goyal, co-founder Anurag Bhargava, and others have committed a “large-scale fraud” by “illegally siphoning off” at least $147 million of investor money. They add that the actual sum could, however, be around $200 million. Delhi police said they have received the complaint but

declined to discuss the matter further. While Goyal refused to comment on the allegations, in a March 13 letter to IREO investors, he wrote, “As far as the allegation of fraud, diversion and misappropriation of funds is concerned, this is false, baseless, and devoid of any merit.” The IREO group of funds was founded in 2004 by Goyal and Bhargavawho is a US resident on the board of the University of Pennsylvania's engineering school. The organisation manages over $1.6 billion from sovereign wealth and university endowment funds, a portfolio of 1,485 acres in the Delhi area and in the state of Punjab, and 18 million square feet of commercial and residential projects in development. According to a 2017 letter written to investors, Singh and Hohn were becoming increasingly frustrated that IREO's managers seemed difficult to reach and had shown no indication that they were going to return investor money as scheduled, along with what they promised would be significant profits. “After roughly 10 years, we estimate that investors have received distributions of only $259

million, while management has collected over $300 million in management fees, and to this day, management does not have a plan for returning out capital before the end of various funds' lives,” they wrote. Both the companies allege that Goyal and others established a fraudulent web of companies and entities and phony charges to diver over $147 million into their own pockets. They allege in one case, a project in an undeveloped area in the state of Rajasthan, where no licenses or land certificates were ever obtained was “nothing but a sham... to misappropriate about $62 million.” A former CEO of the company, Ramesh Sanka alerted the investors to potential fraud. He said he saw “various acts of cheating, fraud and misappropriation of money” at his onetime employer that created “huge wrongful gains” for the company's managing director and his associates. The documents however, make no mention of the Trump Organization, and stress primarily on two real estate deals that began years before the global group signed a 2016 agreement with IREO to partner on an office tower in Gurgaon.


Australian who raped Indian orphans released immediately after conviction An Australian man who raped children at Indian orphanages has been released immediately after being convicted. Last month, Paul Henry Dean, 75, was found guilty of “unnatural sex” with young boys and men at an orphanage for children with visual, speech, and hearing impairments. The charges were first laid in Andhra Pradesh in 2001. after which Dean moved to Odisha, where he was yet again accused of sexually abusing more boys. Dean has lived in India for over four decades, having fled Australia on a fake passport in 1976. He was sentenced to three years in prison on February 21, along with a Rs 12,000 fine. He was however, released the same day by the same court after filing an appeal. S Naidu, the inspector of police in Vishakhapatnam, said police were concerned the

Paul Henry Dean

convicted paedophile was free in the community. “It is not at all safe for the general public, especially children, if he is out. Dean is good at fooling people,” he said. Having fled Australia using a fake passport, it is alleged that he stole $100,000 Australian dollars from a travel company. Dean was living in India, posing as a Catholic missionary, claiming to have been a professor of agriculture in Australia. He feigned being a priest and learned surgery from local doctors, eventually performing amputations and cataract surgeries in leper colonies across south India.

Authorities however, allege that he was regularly abusing young boys and men since the early 1980s, in the communities he worked. One alleged teenage victim who spoke to the police, said, “Tata (Grandfather) tells me to put oil on his penis and hand-pump him. He also undresses me and masturbates me. This has been going on since 2005. He threatened to beat me up if I told.” Another 15 year old victim who suffered from hearing and speech impairments, committed suicide in 1985 after accusing Dean of sexual abuse. Vidya Reddy, whose organisation Tulir works to prevent child abuse in India, said poor coordination between Indian jurisdictions meant police or courts were rarely aware of the history of the offenders they were assessing for bail.

Karnataka govt clears minority status for Lingayats Continued from page1 The move is expected to have a huge impact on the assembly polls. Some analysts say it may make or mar the electoral prospects of the ruling Congress, given that Lingayats can influence the outcome in nearly 100 seats in the 224member assembly. The community makes up 17% of the state’s population. BJP had vociferously opposed the move on the grounds that it would split society further and introduce more cleavages in the social-religious fabric. Lingayats have traditionally supported BJP, especially in northern Karnataka; so this move is seen by most as a bid by Congress to split BJP’s Lingayat vote base. The decision comes amid threats from Veerashaiva

seers, led by the panchacharyas (five powerful seers), against granting religious minority status to Lingayats alone. To pacify this section, the cabinet decided to include VeerashaivaLingayats as a group within the Lingayat community. “The cabinet decided to grant minority status to Veerashaivas, who consider Basavanna dharma guru (religious head), believe in vachanas (verses) as sacred text and wear Ishta Linga (symbolic representation of a formless god). They will also be considered Lingayats,” law minister TB Jayachandra said, quoting the recommendation of a seven-member panel headed by Justice Nagamohan Das (Retd). The cabinet is set to

ratify an official notification to this effect at its next meeting, possibly next week. It will, then, recommend to the Centre that the community be granted religious minority status. While Lingayats - who trace their origin to 12th-century social reformer Basavanna - have been demanding recognition as a separate religion and not be identified as Hindus, Veerashaivas had opposed it on the ground that Veerashaivas and Lingayats are one and the same. Lingayats said while both communities worship Shiva, Veerashaivas follow the Vedas and the caste system, which was rejected by Basava. In accepting the Lingayat demand, the government made it clear the Veerashaivas are a sub-sect of Lingayats.

39 Indian hostages dead, kicks up a row Continued from page1 I had very clearly said that I will declare them dead if I get conclusive proof. I kept my word. I will get my closure when the families receive the bodies.” Not just the opposition, the minister faced flak from families of the deceased, with several of them claiming that they got the news from the television. Family of Gobinder Singh, one of those killed in Mosul, said they were hopeful that one day he would walk back through the entrance of their home. He is survived by a 19 year old son and a 17 year old daughter. His

grieving brother Davinder Singh said, “He left home and went to Iraq in 2014 to earn money for the family. He wanted his son Amandeep to study and become an engineer. The news of Gobinder's death has left our family completely shattered. The family came to know about Gobinder Singh's death from news channels. We have not yet received any call from the Union ministry about the confirmation of death of 39 Indians.” He added, “We request the government to announce financial help and give a government job to the son of Gobinder Singh so that he can take care of his fam-

ily.” Meanwhile, Swaraj dismissed Masih's statements of being harassed by the government. When asked if families of the victims will be given compensation, she said she would talk to the concerned state governments. The first person whose death was confirmed through DNA matching, was a person called Sandeep. The one whose DNA matched only 70 per cent, had lost his parents and his DNA was matched with other family members. “The Congress indulged in very cheap level of politics and crossed the limit. Will we indulge in politics over death as well,” Swaraj said.


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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...

Statins and hayfever pills could be driving antibiotic resistance Statins and hayfever pills could be fuelling antibiotic resistance by changing the growth of bacteria in the human gut, scientists have found. Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) looked at the impact of 1,000 common drugs on the 40 strains of gut bacteria and found that one quarter were having a negative impact. Among those discovered to be harmful were simvstatin, one of the

commonest statins, the breast cancer drug tamoxifen and the common hayfever medication loratidin. The researchers warn that taking everyday pills may promote antibiotic resistance, as they encourage unhelpful bacteria to develop new resistant strains in the same way as antibiotics. Around 5,000 people in England die each year because antibiotics have become useless against some infections and experts predict resistance will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined within 30 years. Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, recently warned that an ‘antibiotic resistance apocalypse’ could end modern medicine, and make surgery, chemotherapy and caesareans too dangerous to carry out. Resistant bacteria are much harder to treat and victims have far worse outcomes.


Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

Stronger handshake Concerns as infant mortality rate rises = stronger heart According to a new study, having a strong handshake could indicate that you have a healthy heart. Having strong handgrip was linked with less cardiac hypertrophy and remodelling, which are indicators of long-term heart disease. The study could also help place those who are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Researchers from Queen Mary University of London analysed heart scans of nearly 5,000 men and women. Researchers found that having a strong grip was linked with high-

er volumes of blood being pumped by the heart and healthier heart muscle, where as people who had weaker handshakes were more likely to have enlarged and damaged hearts. The results from this study appears in the journal Public Library of Science ONE.

Could it be your gut keeping you awake at night? When we lie awake at night, unable to sleep, we usually blame stress, depression, anxiety, adrenaline or the memory of something stupid we said in 2003. But what if our guts were actually the culprit? What if the trillions of microbes sitting in our small intestines – known collectively as the microbiome or microbiota – were actually affecting our mood, digestion, overall health and ability to get a full

eight hours’ shut-eye? Scientists are beginning to suspect there is a strong, if as yet unproven, link between gut health – the diversity and wellbeing of bacteria in the stomach, small and large intestines – and sleep health.

According to data published by the Office for National Statistics, more babies are dying within a year of being born. Midwives, charities and health professionals have expressed concerns at the statistics of infant mortality in England and Wales. In 2015, there were 2.6 neonatal deaths per 1,000 births, and increased to 2.7 for every 1,000 births in the following year. Poverty, smoking among mothers, maternal obesity and the shortage of midwives have been cited as possible reasons for this rise. Deaths within the first year of a child being born also rose from 3.7 to 3.8 per 1,000 live births during the same period. This has been a cause of concern as neonatal deaths and infant mortality have both rise for the second year in a row after years of improvement. Caroline Lee-Davey, chief executive of Bliss, which helps sick babies and their parents said, “It is deeply concerning to see a rise in infant mortality rates for the second year running. There are significant variations in mortali-
































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Prithipal Singh... A Story Nazar Ke Samne Hote Hote Pyaar Ho Gaya Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha Iqbal Welcome Gulaal Pukar


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The Silent Heroes Aar Ya Paar Fool N Final Tejasvini Housefull 36 China Town Bas Ek Tamanaa Khel




Chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, Gill Walton stated, “Whilst we cannot make a direct connection between staffing levels, pressures on our maternity services and infant mortality, there is no doubt that overworked and underresourced services cannot deliver the safest and highest-quality care.” Regarding the rise in statistics, Labour's shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth said, “Swingeing cuts to public health and early years services have resulted in child poverty rising, differences in life expectancy widening for the first time since 2011 and more obese children in our schools than almost any high-income country.”

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ty rates across the country, meaning there is much more to do to ensure that all health services are giving vulnerable babies the best chance of survival.”

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Rokkk Mrityudand Gulaal Blackmail Welcome Satya Fool N Final Love In Nepal


www.asian-voice.com AsianVoiceNews

Asian Voice | 24th March 2018


Radhika Apte

once slapped a Tamil actor


uring her latest appearance on Neha Dhupia's talk show 'Vogue BFFs', 'Phobia' actress Radhika Apte revealed that she once slapped a co-star for misbehaving with her on set. While working on a Tamil film, she said, a famous South actor tickled her feet. She was so taken aback by the gesture as it was the first time they had met. Apte said she reacted instantly and slapped the actor for crossing the line. “It was my first day on the set and a famous South actor started to tickle my feet. I was stunned as we'd never met before and I instinctively slapped him,” the actress said. Currently basking in the success of her film 'Padman', Apte will be seen next in Gauravv K Chawla's 'Bazaar' opposite Saif Ali Khan. Apte will also been seen in Anurag Kashyap's short film.


A woman with Tourette's Syndrome lands a job as a teacher at an elite school. 'Hichki' is an unusual movie of an extraordinary teacher and her efforts to make a group of trouble-making students realise their potential.

Andrea on lack of strong female characters

Ram Charan, Junior ATR to star in Rajamouli's next?


fter the lasting success of his magnum opus 'Baahubali', director SS Rajamouli is now reportedly all set to star actors Ram Charan and Junior NTR in his upcoming. Both the actors were seen in the Hyderabad airport, and speculation is they were leaving for the USA for a photoshoot for the film. Pictures of them both have also been surfacing on social media, adding fuel to the existing fire. Reports are, they will play brothers on the screen. The yet-untitled film finally went on the floors

Vijay to lend vocals to 'Thalapathy 62'


n outspoken and straightforward actress who has always been honest in her statements, Andrea made an important statement recently, about the plight of heroines who do strong characters in movies. “You believe me or not, after 'Taramani', I haven't signed a single film. Not a single movie. Whereas, a heroine who acts opposite Vijay, and does nothing, except for dancing to 3 songs, goes on to sign many more films in quick succession,” she said. Despite her receiving praise for her performance, the she hasn't signed her next. “Hello, I am not happy to be a pretty young thing on screen. I want to do more than that. Yes, I can look hot, and sexy, and I can act also. So, write roles for me, and don't ask me to come on screen and jiggle my butt, and wear revealing clothes and be happy with that. I am not going to be happy with that. I can appear naked in a scene, in a movie, and it will have and important relevance to the story,” the actress said. She added, “Women who say that they wouldn't do any kissing scenes are the ones who are ultimately objectifying themselves on screen. That is the primary issue for me, especially in Tamil Cinema. But now, it is changing slowly, very very slowly.” In 'Taramani', she played a single, employed mother. She noted that the success of a woman star is measured by which male superstar she has acted with rather than her own work. “Indian cinema is changing. But in order for a Deepika Padukone to be a Deepika Padukone, she had to act with Shah Rukh Khan. Yes, I can look hot and sexy and I can act also. So, write roles for me and don't ask me to come on screen and jiggle my butt and wear revealing clothes and be happy with that.”

earlier this month in Los Angeles. While the shooting is progressing at a rapid pace, it is highly unlikely the project will wrap up by the end of the year. There are reports that suggest that Samantha might be considered to play the female lead. An official confirmation however, is yet to be received. Both, Jr NTR and Ram Charan, meanwhile, have movies to look forward. The former's film with Trivikram Srinivas, and the Charan's much-awaited 'Rangasthalam' is set to release later this month.

It is official! A Hindi remake of 'Vikram Vedha'


omposer AR Rahman has expressed interest in making Thalapathy Vijay sing in his upcoming 'Thalapathy 62'. The Oscar-winner composer has worked with the actor in 'Udhaya', 'Azhagiya', and 'Mersal'. Speaking on the sidelines of 7Up's 'Netru Indru Naalai' concert, Rahman said, “I will surely explore the option of making Vijay sing in the album. But it depends on the song. You shouldn't push someone to do something; it's for his movie at the end of the day. Let's see.” Rahman said, “I'm collaborating with Murugadoss after 10 years. He is very talented and picturises songs very well. It's great to be back with him after 10 years. Those who want music different from the songs of 'Mersal' will love this.” The composer also congratulated Rajinikanth's political plunge, saying, “I personally feel that the state needs strong leadership. Whoever comes in,


whether it is Rajinikanth or not, must cater to the needs of the people in bettering infrastructure, music and arts, and make lives better for all the farmers. I feel that kind of a miracle should happen.”

ritten and directed by Pushkar and Gayathri, hit thriller 'Vikram Vedha' features is all set to be made in Hindi. The original Tamil film featured Madhavan and Vijay and Sethupati, and was released in July 2017 to garner rave reviews and establish itself as one among the highest-grossing Tamil film of the year. It is now revealed that Pushkar and Gayathri will remake the Hindi version too. While it was earlier reported that Shah Rukh Khan was approached for the film, the plan did not work out for the makers.

Buzz now is that Madhavan might reprise his role in the remake too. Y Not Studios, of 'Shubh Mangal Saavdhan' fame is confirmed to co-produce the film. It released a statement saying, “After our two successful co-productions in Hindi, 'Saala Khadoos' & 'Shubh Mangal Saavhdan' with Rajkumar Hirani & Anand L. Rai respectively, we at Ynot Studios are super excited to join hands with Anil D Ambani led Reliance Entertainment and its partners Plan C Studios spearheaded by the dynamic Neeraj Pandey for our third production, to be directed by Pushkar and Gayatri.”

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Top award for Indian film 'Halkaa'

Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

Salman turns lyricist for 'Race 3' O


ndian filmmaker Nila Madhav Panda's 'Halkaa', which made its world premiere at the 21st Festiva; International du Film Pour Enfants de Montréal Film (FIFEM), has bagged the Grand Prix de Montreal at the gala. The movie was selected among seven international children's films from different countries in the official competition of the festival. Panda issued a statement saying, “It's a great honour that 'Halkaa' won the top award at its world premiere screening. The film has already been invited to six international film festivals.” The movie revolves around a slum child's heroism, and dreams. Pichku, the child protagonist, finds himself facing basic living problems. His dream is to make a toilet of his own, where he can enjoy his privacy and do the deed in peace. “India is one of the largest youth populated countries, but we hardly produce children's cinema which is an irony,” Panda said. He said his film can be called a sequel to his National Award-winning film 'I am Kalam'. “I am sure the audience will love this one as well. This is a family entertainer with amazing music from Shankar Ehsaan Loy.” FIFEM festival director Jo-Anne Blouin said the film touched the jury. “The jury was unanimously touched and enchanted with 'Halkaa' and gave the top award to the film for the audacity of its subject matter, the opportunity for children to discover the daily lives of children in such a different society and for the 'joie de vivre' that overcomes adversity no matter what.”

Sonam Kapoor and Dulquer Salmaan join hands

ur multi-talented Bhaijaan has never failed to amuse his fans. Having rendered his voice to a number of songs in his films, the 52 year old is now all set to debut as a lyricist for his upcoming action thriller 'Race 3'. Reports suggest makers of the movie were thinking of a romantic song for an end credit sequence and Salman told them he has something with him. When asked to read it out loud, the team was left impressed with the actor's lyrics. Music composer Vishal Mishra was later asked to compose a song with the lyrics. Remo will choreograph the song. Producer Ramesh Taurani said, “It's a lovely romantic track, exactly what we were looking for. This is the first time Salman's name will appear in the credits as a lyricist.” The team has completed its shoot in Bangkok, and is all set to shift to the jungles of Kanchanaburi province where scenes of Salman and Jacqueline Fernandez running through dense shrubs will be filmed. 'Race 3' also stars Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Saqib Salim, and Daisy Shah. It will also feature a special song picturised on Sonakshi Sinha.

Jackie recreates Madhuri's iconic 'Ek Do Teen'


no one can come close to Madhuri Dixit's performance in the original

Facebook saying, “I am at present focused in the strategies of the battle-

field which I have to conquer. It wasn't and isn't going to be easy but the hope ignited by the magnitude of family, friends and fans of Irrfan has made me only optimistic and almost sure of the victory.” While Khan is yet to reveal when he will start treatment, the director of his new film 'Blackmail' said the actor has insisted the movie releases on April 4 as scheduled. “Irrfan doesn't want us to postpone the film.

Bhushan (producer Bhushan Kumar) and I will make sure that 'Blackmail' gets the best possible release,” Abhinay Deo said. “When I met him, he was very curious to know about the trailer, songs and the dialogue promos that we would be making. His only request was that the film should get the best possible release and it should not suffer because of his absence.” He said Irrfan showed no signs of illness throughout the shoot.

A Irrfan Khan reveals his 'rare disease' P ctress Jacqueline Fernandez has recreated the iconic

he announcement look of the film adaptation of Anuja Chauhan's 2008 novel 'The Zoya Factor' is here, and we are psyched! The movie will feature actress Sonam Kapoor who will portray Zoya and South hunk Dulquer Salmaan, who will play Nikhil Khoda, captain of the Indian Cricket Team. Sonam's Zoya is an advertising agent. The film will see her become a lucky charm... of err... sorts, not just for the team, but also the president of the cricket board, and the country at large. Helmed by Abhishek Sharma, the film is written by Neha Rakesh Sharma and Pradhuman Singh. The film is slated to release on April 5, 2019, and will go on floors this August. Currently, Sonam is working on 'Veere Di Wedding' starring Kareena Kapoor Khan and Swara Bhaskar. The movie is backed by Rhea Kapoor and Ekta Kapoor's production house, and will hit theatres on May 18, this year.

track 'Ek Do Teen' for Ahmed Khan's 'Baaghi 2'. The actress, however, said

song. “I can't wait for Madhuri ma'am to watch the song. It is my tribute to her. Her performance in the original is unmatchable. Forget me, no one can ever come close to her,” Jackie said in a statement. The foot-tapping song first featured in the 1988 film 'Tezaab'. The new version of the song is choreographed by Saroj Khan, Ganesh Acharya, and Ahmed Khan- who is also the director. He made sure to retain the famous hook steps, even urging designer Manish Malhotra to keep Madhuri's pink outfit in mind while designing Jacqueline's costume for the song. ' Baaghi 2,' starring Tiger Shroff, is the sequel to the 2016 film 'Baaghi'. The film, which also stars Disha Patani, is produced by Sajid Nadiadwala under banner name Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment and presented by Fox Star Studios. It will be released on March 30.

utting an end to speculations about what “rare disease” he is suffering from, actor Irrfan Khan has revealed that he has been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour. He said he would be treated for it abroad. On March 5, the actor had tweeted that he has a rare disease and that he would post the diagnosis 10 days later once medical tests are concluded. Khan's wofe Sutapa Sikdar posted on her



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Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

Coming Events

l In a unique event to commemorate and raise awareness on the 1947 partition of India, the ZTFE has organised The Grand Trunk Road Project, on March 24, 11.00 am to 4.00 pm, at Zartoshty Brothers Hall, Zoroastrian Centre,440, Alexandra Avenue, Harrow HA2 9TL. The event will include poetry performances, music, testimonies, a photo gallery and a historical exhibition marking the intergenerational experience of the past 70 years. Lunch and drinks will be served. l Hare Krishna! The Mantra, The Movement, and the Swami who started it all, to premiere in the UK on April 23, Monday, and across the world in targeted Odeon cinemas. The internationally-acclaimed documentary is based on the life of AC Bhaktivedanta Swami. The film includes never-seenbefore archival verite, Swami's own recorded words, and interviews with scholars and his early followers. l Three day residential Sanskrit speaking camp to be held from March 30 to April 1. Subscription includes lodging and boarding for 3 days. l The Bhavan presents Rediscover Dance: Get Creative with Movement, on March 25, 10.00 am to 3.00 pm, at The Bhavan, 4A Castletown Road, West Kensington, London WI4 9HE.

Param Pujya Mahant Swami Maharaj's Australia Vicharan l Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan's head Param Pujya Mahant Swami Maharaj is currently in Australia. He will be in Gold Coast from March 19 to 22, and in Sydney on March 24-25. March 25, being Swaminarayan Jayanti and Ramnavmi, will offer a special opportunity to all, with Swami Maharaj offering his divine presence in a special maha sabha.

Danger of plastic in most bottles of water

particle was larger than the width of a human hair. There has been no evidence that consuming such small particles of plastic has any ill health effects but this announcement comes at a time of heightened international concern regarding plastic pollution and the effect it is having on the environment.

Scientists have carried out examinations of over 250 bottles from nine countries and have found plastic “in bottle after bottle and brand after brand”. The tests which were conducted at the State University of New York in Fredonia found that there were typically 10 plastic particles per litre of bottled water and that each

Sneh Joshi

solar first house this time, extra care should be exercised when it comes to your body language. Others may misinterpret whatever you say and you should be aware that you can give off mixed signals. Confusion and frustration reign, so put your plans on hold.

TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 Retrograde transit of Mercury occurs in your solar twelfth house this time, extra care should be exercised when it comes to private and personal matters. Be as non-judgemental as you can, but do keep an eye out for deceptiveness and falseness in others. Good time for contemplation and taking stock of things around you..

GEMINI May 22 - June 22 With Venus and Sun embrac-

ing your 11th sign, this should be a good time for love and friendships. Unfortunately, Mercury retrograde is in the same house causing misunderstandings as your communications could be misconstrued. Jupiter your relationship and work ruler is also retrograde and will further add to your frustration.

Mercury turns retrograde in your tenth house of career and status, slowing down your progress at work. It is important for you to be steadfast and focused as misunderstandings and confusion reign. Stay as organized as possible while Mercury, the planet of communications does its best to trip you up.

CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22

If your child has a good joke, poem or any suggestions they would like to share please email us with the name, age and school. Email:- support@abplgroup.com


Experiment Of the week

Make a Balloon Rocket:

see the best, a “Always pray to have Eyes that Mind that forgets Heart that forgives the worst, a s faith.” the bad and a Soul that never lose -Unknown

Things you will need: 1) 1 Balloon (round ones will work, but the longer “airship” balloons work best) 2) 1 long piece of kite string (about 10-15 feet long) 3) 1 plastic straw 4) Tape What to do next: 1. Tie one end of the string to a chair, door knob, or other support. 2. Put the other end of the string through the straw. 3. Pull the string tight and tie it to another support in the room. 4. Blow up the balloon (but don’t tie it.) Pinch the end of the balloon and tape the balloon to the straw as shown above. You’re ready for launch. 5. Let go and watch the rocket fly! How does it work? So how does it work? It’s all about the air…and thrust. As the air rushes out of the balloon, it creates a forward motion called THRUST. Thrust is a pushing force created by energy. In the balloon experiment, our thrust comes from the energy of the balloon forcing the air out. Different sizes and shapes of balloon will create more or less thrust. In a real rocket, thrust is created by the force of burning rocket fuel as it blasts from the rockets engine – as the engines blast down, the rocket goes up!

Facts You Didn't know about Chemistry

l Humans breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2). Using energy from sunlight, plants convert carbon dioxide into food during a process called photosynthesis. l Athletes at the Olympic Games have to be careful how much coffee they drink. The caffeine in coffee is a banned substance because it can enhance performance. One or two cups are fine but they can go over the limit with more than five. (update - as of 2004 caffeine has been taken back off the WADA banned list but its use will be closely monitored to prevent future abuse by athletes.) l Helium is lighter than the air around us so it floats, that's why it is perfect for the balloons you get at parties. l Although it is still debated, it is largely recognized that the word 'chemistry' comes from an Egyptian word meaning 'earth'. l Chemical reactions occur all the time, including through everyday activities such as cooking. Try adding an acid such as vinegar to a base such as baking soda and see what happens! l Around 1% of the sun’s mass is oxygen.

Sudoku Edition 12

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For solution see next edition


5 7

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Ecosystem Conserve Recycling Energy Earth Climate Diversity sustain Preserve










Q: What did the beach say as the tide came in? A: "Long time, no sea". Q: Why can’t you give Elsa a balloon? A: Because she will let it go! Q: What do you call cheese that isn’t yours? A: Nacho cheese! Q: What did one wall say to the other wall? A: I'll meet you at the corner!

Mercury turns retrograde in your ninth house of travel and adventure, slowing down your pace for the next three weeks. Your mental focus could be anywhere other than your normal routine - find a way to break up the monotony. Don't be afraid to take on extra responsibilities as it could lead to better prospects.

LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23

The planet Mercury turns retrograde in your eighth house of joint resources, taxes, wills, legacies and alimony, creating confusion and complications for you during the next three weeks. Travel could also prove to be problematic, so make sure you have plenty of time to get where you need to go.

VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23

Your closest relationships come under scrutiny as Mercury, the planet of communications goes retrograde in your seventh house of marriage and partnerships. There can be a lot of misunderstandings and confused signals. You'll need to listen carefully to what your partner is saying. Try to resolve issues diplomatically, instead of being rash.

LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23

Mercury Retrograde in 6th House for the next three weeks could easily throw some kinks into your schedule and make your routine suddenly non-routine. You have the opportunity now to iron out the things that may have been bothering you but which were somehow still left unattended.

SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22


Joke of the week

The UK’s leading Vedic writer and TV personality

ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20 Mercury is retrograde in your


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Mercury retrograde Occurs in your solar fifth house. Extra care should be exercised when it comes to matters surrounding romance, children, and creativity. Be as non-judgemental as possible and you should avoid jumping to any premature decisions. This is a period of review and rest. Speculation and gambling are not advised right now.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21

CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20 Mercury turns retrograde in your fourth house, you need to watch out for extreme changes in peoples attitude and behaviour at home. Strong emotions may spill out with your loved ones, but it is alright to reveal your fears and insecurities sometimes. It's a cosmically testing time, so try not to tread on each other's toes. AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19

Mercury turns retrograde in your third house of communication, making it difficult to express yourself clearly for the next three weeks. Misunderstandings and confusion could waste a lot of your time. This is also a good time to read into the unspoken rather than what is being said to make any sense.

PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20

Retrograde Mercury transit occurs in your solar second house this time, extra care should be exercised when it comes to new financial initiatives. There may be the need to resolve old, nagging issues regarding personal finances. Take this time to re-budget and re-think how you want to spend your cash during this period.





The Athletics Federation of India named a 31-member Indian track and field team (18 men and 13 women) for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. Junior World Champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra is set to make his debut at the CWG. Neeraj recently won gold at the Federation Cp with an effort of 85.94m, which is the second best effort of his career. India have been offered a quota of 37 in athletics but the AFI selection committee, which met after the conclusion of the March 5-8 Federation Cup National Championships in Patiala, chose only 31. In the last edition in Glasgow in 2014, India had 32 track and field athletes and won three medals (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze). Besides Neeraj, promising Delhi high jumper Tejaswin Shankar, veteran discus thrower Seema Punia, triple jumper Arpinder Singh and new 400m hurdles national record holder Dharun Ayyaswamy were also named in the team. Punia, who will be taking part in her fourth CWG, had won a silver in the last edition in Glasgow while Arpinder had clinched a


Asian Voice | 24th March 2018

CoA curbs powers of BCCI office-bearers

Vinod Rai

Union Minister for youth affairs and sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (C) poses with some of the members of the Indian contingent for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

bronze. The lone gold winner in Glasgow, discus thrower Vikas Gowda is not taking part this time. Four 20km race walkers - two men and two women - have already been named from the separate national championships held last month. The team also has the men's and women's 4x400m relay teams as both the events have been India's stronghold. The men's relay team comprise six members while the women's team has five as Karnataka quartermiler Vijayakunari GK, who won the silver in the Federation Cup behind Hima Das, was not agreeable to AFI's offer to include him on the condition of joining national camp. The composition of the team was on expected lines

except for one or two and all the 10 athletes, who crossed the qualifying mark during the Federation Cup got selected while three who did well during the first leg of the Indian Grand Prix on February 27 at Patiala, also made the cut. "The selection of the team was a smooth affair and all the decisions were unanimous among the members. We have chosen all those who have crossed the AFI's qualifying standards and some more who got close to the mark," chairman of selection committee GS Randhawa said. "We decided that we need not fill up all the quota of 37 because we cannot send the athletes who were much below the qualifying standards. There is no point

sending an athlete who has a remote chance of a medal," he added. Discus thrower Navjeet Kaur Dhillon and javelin thrower Vipin Kasana were the two athletes, who were picked on the basis of their performance at the Indian Grand Prix. Dhillon crossed the 59m qualifying mark with a best throw of 59.18m at the Indian GP though she was below par at the Federation Cup with an effort of 57.75m, which fetched her a silver behind Seema Punia. "The Federation Cup served as a selection trial for the CWG but we have always maintained that the performance of the athletes at the Grand Prix will also be considered for selection," AFI Secretary C K Valson said.

Sardar Singh dropped from India's CWG squad

Veteran Sardar Singh and Ramandeep Singh were axed from Indian men's hockey team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and head coach Sjoerd Marijne said while the former lost out his place because of stiff competition, the latter was dropped because of inconsistent performances in recent e Sardar's exclusion was on expected lines as he performed below-par at this year's Azlan Shah Cup. However, a few eyebrows were raised at Ramandeep's exclusion as he performed decently in the same tournament. While Manpreet Singh will don the captain's armband, Chinglensana Singh will be his deputy. "The reins of deputy to Manpreet Singh has been given to Chinglensana. These players can play vertical and have the ability to score goals," the coach said. Admitting that world champions Australia would be the team to beat at the Gold Coast CWG, Marijne said Indian players need to be disciplined to win matches at the quadrennial


Sardar Singh

event to be held at Gold Coast from 4 to 15 April. The Indian team has been clubbed in Pool B along with Pakistan, Malaysia, Wales and England. India will begin their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on 7 April. Marijne said India need to focus on the opening match against Pakistan to set the momentum for the tournament. The Dutchman, however, expects to meet the

reigning CWG champions and hosts Australia in the semi-finals or the summit clash. Asked about his expectations from skipper Manpreet, Marijne said he will be a part of the leadership group, which also includes former captain and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh. Sreejesh made a comeback to the side after recovering from a careerthreatening Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) injury which he suffered

during the Azlan Shah Cup in 2017. His brilliant show during the New Zealand tour saw him get his rightful place back. Sreejesh will be backed by the 22-year-old talent Suraj Karkera who played a crucial part in the teams good show in Bhubaneswar last year in his senior counterpart's absence. Meanwhile, captain Manpreet said it is important for India to perform as a unit in the CWG to get desired results. Manpreet said India's main focus would be to pull off a victory against Pakistan in their opening match. Squad: Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Suraj Karkera; Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Kadangbam, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas. Midfielders: Manpreet Singh(C), Chinglensana Singh (VC), Sumit, Vivek Prasad; Forwards: Akashdeep Singh, SV Sunil, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh.

The Supreme Courtappointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) has sent a list of do's and don’ts to all members of the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), which leaves them absolutely ineffective where daily functioning is concerned. The CoA comprising Vinod Rai and Diana Eduljee released a 12-pointer, stating that this is being done to ensure all affairs of BCCI are carried out in accordance with the orders passed by the SC as well as in the interests of good governance. In doing so, the CoA has dictated that all existing office-bearers and the CEO “shall be bound to act in accordance with the directions of the CoA and shall aid, assist and cooperate with the CoA so as to enable it to (i) effectively supervise the management and administration of the BCCI through the CEO; (ii) ensure that the directions contained in the Supreme Court’s judgment dated 18th July 2016 (“Judgment”) are implemented; and (iii) supervise and control the functioning of the office-bearers of the BCCI. The existing office-bearers and the CEO shall take all necessary steps to ensure compliance and/or give effect to these directions”. “In order to address various difficulties and to better facilitate the supervision and control

of the management and administration of BCCI, the CoA is of the view that it is now necessary to issue a fresh set of directions to replace the directions on April 6, 2017,” Rai said. The board officials are convinced that this decision on part of the CoA needs to be challenged. They strongly believe that “the CoA has gone about doing everything except the one thing that the Supreme Court has asked them to do”. The office-bearers say Supreme Court asked the CoA to get the new constitution approved and conduct elections. “They’ve swept that aside and instead have been taking decisions that have nothing do with the SC order. So they’re school principals and we’re schoolchildren, is it?” fuming BCCI members said. The new mandate one that BCCI members are crying foul about and are gearing up to challenge in the apex court - says officebearers of the board can no longer exchange emails between themselves or with the staff / employees / consultants without the CoA and CEO of BCCI being marked on it. “This is ridiculous. What is this, a Nazi comeback? My basic right as a citizen is now under question. Now, we can’t order food and water in office without CoA’s approval?” BCCI officials retorted.

Nepal attain ODI status after defeating Papua New Guinea Nepal made history after attaining ODI status for the first time after defeating Papua New Guinea by six wickets at the Old Hararians Sports Club, Harare in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers. After putting PNG into bat, Sandeep Lamichhane and Dipendra Singh Airee picked up four wickets each to bundle PNG for

just 114 runs. Nepal knocked off the runs in 23 overs. Nepal, Hong Kong, and PNG were vying for the one ODI status spot available before Nepal crossed over the line against PNG. Nepal’s captain Paras Khadka said that a proper management needs to be set up for cricket to prosper in their country.

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Asian Voice | 24th March 2018



India lifted the Nidahas Trophy T20 Tri-Series at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday by registering a four-wicket victory over Bangladesh thanks to a six off the last ball by Dinesh Karthik. It was a dramatic end to the chase as Karthik hit the six over extra cover with India needing five to win with one ball left. India were in control as they reached 132/4 after 17 overs in pursuit of Bangladesh’s 166/8, but Mustafizur Rahman bowled a terrific wicket-maiden 18th over, conceding just a leg bye to Vijay Shankar and dismissing Manish Pandey off the last ball. The equation changed to 34 off two overs when Karthik came in to bat. But he displayed immense calmness to smash Rubel Hossain for a couple of sixes and fours to score 22 runs in the penultimate over. The match was still not over with India needing 12 in the final over and with Shankar was on strike. The all-important final over started with a wide and a dot ball, before Shankar took a single. Karthik could manage just one in the next ball to leave the equation at nine from three balls. Shankar hit a four before falling off the penultimate delivery - mistiming a lofted shot down the ground - and Karthik took India home in style with a shot heard around the world. The skipper Rohit Sharma had given India a flying start

(24/0 in two overs) but they lost Shikhar Dhawan (10) and Suresh Raina (0) in six balls to slip to 32/2 in 3.3 overs. Rohit kept the scoring rate high and along with KL Rahul resurrected the chase. The duo put on 51 runs for the third wicket in six overs to keep India in the hunt, a stand that ended when Rahul top-edged Rubel Hossain in the tenth over. Rahul scored 24 off 14 balls, which included a six and two fours. The wicket put a break on India's run rate. Rohit completed his 14th T20I fifty off 35 balls in the 12th over, but the runs almost dried up as the skipper and


Pandey managed just 15 runs in the next 3.5 overs. Rohit fell for 56 to Nazmul Islam in the 14th over with India needing 69 in 40 balls. Earlier, Sabbir Rahman (77 off 50 balls) helped Bangladesh post 166/8. Yuzvendra Chahal (3/18) and Jaydev Unadkat (2/33) took wickets at regular intervals, but Sabbir kept the scoreboard ticking from one end. Bangladesh's innings was also dented by two run-outs but Mehidy Hasan (19 not out off seven balls) compensated by scoring 18 runs off Shardul Thakur's final over. For India, Washington Sundar (1/20) also


had a good outing but Shankar (0/48) and Thakur (0/45) gave away 93 runs in eight overs. Sent in to bat, Bangladesh had a good start but lost three wickets in ten balls to be reduced to 33/3 after five overs. Sundar gave India an early breakthrough when he dismissed Liton Das (11) in the fourth over and then Chahal rattled the innings with a double strike in the fifth. Brief scores: India 168/6 (Rohit Sharma 56; Rubel Hossain 2/35) beat Bangladesh 166/8 (Sabbir Rahman 77; Yuzvendra Chahal 3/18) by four wickets

Australian women rout India in ODI series Australian women outclassed India to complete a clean sweep in the threematch ODI series at Reliance Stadium in Vadodara. The Indian players were not just sluggish in the field but the bowling too was ineffective against a formidable batting side like Australia. Having won the toss, Australia chose to bat first but India surprised them by bringing the spinners early on. The strategy worked for the first few overs as Australia were restricted to 54 for two in 11over. But Aussie keeper Alyssa Healy took the attack to the opponents by scoring a blistering century off 94 balls. She first stitched an 89-run partnership with Ellyse Perry and then had 96-run stand with Rachael Haynes to put Australia in commanding position. At least half-a-dozen dropped catches and a missed stumping ensured that Aussies scored 332 runs for the loss of seven wickets. “We didn’t bowl according to the plan. If the field is set on one side and the bowlers

bowl on the other side, we can’t do much about it. Also, we don’t have big hitters lower down the order,” skipper Mithali Raj said. India sent in Jemimah Rodrigues to open the innings with Smriti Mandhana and the two weaved a 100-run partnership in 13 overs to keep India in hunt. But spinner Ashleigh

Gardener removed them in back-to-back deliveries. India’s hopes were pinned on Mithali and Harmanpreet Kaur who played some fluent strokes. But Kaur departed in 22nd over with the score at 147 for three. With Mithali’s departure in 29th over, it was all downhill for India. The last five wickets fell for just 56

runs and Ekta Bisht couldn’t come out to bat as she had injured her finger. India were bowled out for 235 in 44.4 overs. When asked if the 3-0 whitewash was a revenge for their loss to India in WC semis, Healy said, “There is a little bit of revenge in it. To get a 3-0 is really special.”

Para athlete Deepa Malik seals Asian top spot in discus throw Inspirational Indian para-athlete Deepa Malik has sealed the top spot in the discus Asia Ranking 53 category and second place in the Asian Games combined category event 51/52/53 with a Deepa Malik career-best throw of 8.01 meters on day two of the World Para Athletics Grand Prix 2018 in Dubai. With this superb effort, Deepa has qualified for the 2018 Asian Para Games to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia from October 8-16. Deepa, famously, won silver in the shot put F-53 event at the 2016 Rio Paralympics with a best throw of 4.61m sealing her prize. Being confined to a wheelchair has clearly not been a deterrent for Deepa, one of India's most decorated athletes. A cursory glance at her achievements underscores that truism: the 47-year-old is an accomplished swimmer, adventure sports junkie, biker and entrepreneur and has had her name entered into the Limca Book of Record not once, but four times, and in 2016 became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympics. Suffering a spinal tumour in 1999, which required three surgeries and 183 stitches between her shoulder blades and left her paralysed from the waist down, did not stop Deepa from chasing and achieving her dreams. A recipient of the Arjuna Award in 2012 for her achievements as a swimmer, she has swam across the Yamuna River against the current, covered a distance of over 3,000 km from Chennai to Delhi on a customised motorbike and scaled nine high altitude motorable passes in Ladakh in nine days.

India to host West Indies in Oct-Nov India will host West Indies for three Tests, five ODIs and a one-off T20I later this year. The Caribbean team is set to visit the country in October-November, and Sourav Ganguly, President of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) announced that Kolkata’s Eden Gardens would host the one-off T20I. The venues for the remaining fixtures however, are yet to be announced. West Indies last toured India for a bilateral series in 2014 for a limited-overs and a Test series, but following a pay dispute with the WICB (West Indies Cricket Board), the tour was abandoned midway after the fourth ODI in Dharamsala. Since, West Indies have only been to India for the World T20 in 2016, while India have toured the Caribbean twice - Tests in 2016 and limited-overs series (five ODIs and one T20I) in 2017. India won both the legs. Ganguly also added that Eden Gardens might host the IPL 2018 qualifiers provided Pune’s Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium is not able to. Pune was originally awarded two playoff matches (Eliminator and Qualifier-2) since these are usually held at the home venue of previous season’s runner-up. However, the Rising Pune Supergiants, who lost to the Mumbai Indians during last year’s final, are now no longer part of the tournament, other state associations were pushing for the spot.