AV 24th October 2020

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inside: Brent Council approves application to rename a section of Meadow Garth to Pramukh Swami Road R

Let noble thoughts come to us from every side

24 - 30 OCTOBER 2020 - VOL 49 ISSUE 26

LEFT BEHIND Frustrated workers demand more help and a Hospitality Minister Priyanka Mehta On Tuesday 20 October Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Greater Manchester will go into tier 3 restrictions with most pubs and bars expectedto close and extra restrictions on household mixing. Earlier, London had been placed under tier 2 lockdown restrictions and the Welsh governmentannounced a "short, sharp" national lockdown until 9 November.The Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham has warned the government that failure to agree to a £65m financial package of support will mean a "winter of hardship" with increased levels of poverty and homelessness for Greater Manchester if tier three measures are imposed. Continued on page 6


Fringe group endorsing antiIndia sentiments see increasing support from Tory MPs SEE PAGE - 11

Leicester Square celebrates timeless classic DDLJ, unveils first Bollywood statue SEE PAGE - 13

Steel tycoon Pramod Mittal becomes UK's 'biggest bankrupt' Steel tycoon Pramod Mittal, who spent £50million on his daughter's wedding, claims he owes a staggering £2.5 billion - which would make him Britain's biggest bankrupt. He lost his fortune when a financial deal turned sour, claims to have no personal income and just £45 worth of land to his name, near Delhi. The scion of the ultra-rich Mittal steel dynasty says he owns assets of just £110,000 and wants to agree a deal to pay back his creditors just 0.18p for every pound he owes. SEE PAGE 18 FOR FULL REPORT

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24 - 30 October 2020

with Keith Vaz

Baroness Verma issues apology for breach of ministerial conduct in Uganda deal

Ayesha Khawaja Ayesha Khawaja was born in Rawalpindi ,Pakistan. Her father was a doctor in the armed forces and took early retirement to pursue his own business and eventually politics, her mother was a housewife. She received her education in Islamabad with a bachelor’s in economics and statistics and a subsequent master’s in economics which she could not complete due to personal circumstances. She got married at the age of 22. In 2000, her husband and Ayesha decided to move to the U.K because he was a British citizen, and his work demanded a move back to England. She had no friends or family here and went through her fair share of struggles settling into a new country and learning the ropes with 2 young children in tow. Ayesha has been working as a professional interpreter in Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi for over 5 years. Her work entails providing invaluable interpreting services for clients who usually speak little to no English, in a myriad of settings from prisons, refugee and detention centres, social services, child protection, safeguarding, and hospital and school appointments to court cases. Possessing the relevant cultural knowledge also enables her to overcome many barriers between clients and service providers. Which place, or city or country do you and not giving up on my dreams. most feel at home in? What is the best aspect about your I feel most at home in London which current role? has been my abode for the past 20 years The best aspect would be being a small now. My children have had their schooling part of my clients’ journey and sharing here and will be graduating this year. In their joy when they win their legal battles. this time, I have made amazing friends, Their enormous gratitude towards me for studied to become an interpreter, and not only being their voice in court, but a grown as an individual. source of comfort and reassurance is What are your proudest achievements? incredibly humbling and gratifying. And the worst? One of my proudest achievements was being voted as the student of the year in my The heartbreaks when court decisions high school graduation. I was awarded a do not go as they hope and parents lose gold medal by the Prime Minister of children to foster care or adoption, or vicPakistan, Nawaz Sharif. The second one tims of persecution lose their claim to a would be achieving distinctions and merits dignified life in the U.K in my diploma in Public Services What are your long-term goals? Interpreting and my children being present with me during the awards ceremony. I am hoping to learn British sign lanWhat inspires you? guage as a natural progression to my career. I would also love to host my own radio Working with asylum seekers and vicshow one day! tims of domestic violence. Learning the If you were Prime Minister, what one individual stories of their struggles and aspect would you change? their humility and resilience in trying to If I ever became the Prime Minister of overcome the incredibly difficult circumthis country, I would stop demonising and stances life has thrown at them while still dehumanising honest immigrants and maintaining their dignity is awe inspiring. make immigration process more robust What has been biggest obstacle in your and fairer. career? If you were marooned on a desert I have been blessed not to have any subisland, which historical figure would stantial obstacles thus far in my personal or you like to spend your time with and why? professional life. It would be an honour to be marooned Who has been the biggest influence on with Mohammed Ali! I can just imagine our your career to date? conversations about justice and racial My mother, my most ardent supporter, equality, challenging the establishment for and head of my personal cheerleading a more equitable society. He’s one of the squad. She has been a core factor in me most inspirational personalities of this cenpursuing a diploma even after 3 children tury for me











Home Secretary considers public inquiry in Birmingham Pub Bombings On Monday 19th October, it emerged that the Home Secretary is considering a public inquiry into the 1974 Birmingham Pub Bombings. According to Birmingham Mail, Priti Patel has agreed to meet with the families of the 21 victims who died when IRA terrorists struck at two crowded city centre bars. Priti Patel’s consideration appears after a meeting with West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, a longstanding supporter of Justice4the21. The Home Secretary said, “My sympathy remains

Priti Patel

with all those affected by these awful events 46 years ago. And I recognise the desire of the victim’s families and the wider commu-

nity to see those responsible brought to justice. So, I would welcome the opportunity to meet some of the families so that I can take their views into account, together with official advice, before making any decision.” There has been increasing demand for an independent public inquiry after the controversial historic pub bombings inquest held in 2019 where the coroner excluded the key issue of who was responsible from its scope - though the names of several alleged bombers surfaced.

A former energy minister has apologised for “misunderstanding the rules” after she had denied breaching the ministerial code of conduct. Baroness Sandip Verma and her family firm had reportedly signed multimillion-pound deals to supply Uganda’s government with solar power equipment in what had been reported as a breach of ministerial conduct. The Guardian had previously reported that the Conservative peer’s company, Nexus Green, had signed two solar deals worth over £88m after meetings with Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni. Lady Verma was the junior minister in the Department of Energy and Climate Change from 2012 to 2015, and then for International Development (DfID) from May 2015 to July 2016. Until recently, she had insisted that she was not obligated to inform the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) about these deals.

But Acoba in its letters have shown that she has been rebuked for a breach of ministerial rules by failing to seek advice about her role as a director in the firm. And now she has apologised to a parliamentary watchdog, Baroness Sandip Verma stating her failure to previous experience in the understand the rules, for industry. Yet, they managed failing to seek advice and to sign solar deals with the insisting that her role is Ugandan government unpaid, advisory and has no whereby most of the deal executive powers. was expected to be financed She wrote, “My son, who with a loan from UK Export is the CEO, asked me to join Finance, a government in an advisory capacity only department. According to because of my many years of rules to ensure transparenbusiness experience. cy, ministers are supposed “I am truly sorry for my to declare all roles and jobs misunderstanding of the for up to two years after rules which I accept is my leaving office. failing and sincerely hope Lord Pickles, the chair of that the committee will Acoba, wrote to Verma on 17 accept my deepest regret at September, had earlier writthis failure. I would not ten, “Failure to seek advice is deliberately disrespect the a clear breach of the requirerules and sincerely apologise ment set out in the ministeto the committee.” rial code and the governLady Verma and her son ment’s appointment rules,” Rikki are Nexus Green’s he wrote. only directors and have no

Greater Manchester MP Yasmin Qureshi hospitalised due to coronavirus On Monday 19th October, Labour MP for Bolton South East was admitted to the Royal Bolton Hospital after reportedly suffering from pneumonia. Yasmin Qureshi and her family were in self-isolation for two weeks at home after the shadow started showing symptoms of coronavirus and has not travelled ever since. Reports of her admis-

sion appear amid a continuing stand-off between local leaders and the government about putting Greater Manchester into Tier 3 England's highest coronavirus alert level. Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has consistently and fervently resisted the Tier-3 lockdown strategy demanding greater financial support for workers and

Yasmin Qureshi

businesses who would be hit as a result.

Former police station site to be converted into “first of its kind” Hanuman Mandir On Wednesday 14th October, a new Hindu temple is expected to be built in a former police station in Leicester. According to Leicester Mercury, the office of a police station in Melton Road which had been closed over five years ago is now planned to be converted into a “first of its kind” Hanuman Mandir. The Mandir will be named as Shree Kashtabhanjan Dev Hanumanji temple with Trustees emphasising that the Mandir "will be open to the whole community regardless of sect." Originating from the Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism, the group are devotees of the Salangpur Hanumanji temple in South Gujarat, India. The new, Leicester-based temple will be a branch of the original temple in India. In 2003, the main saints of the India-

based temple visited Leicester and the temple charity is currently awaiting updates on the lockdown restrictions ahead of Diwali with the hopes of opening to the public. Currently, the temple within the former office site is home to a tem-

porary shrine while a stonework statue of Hanuman is being made in Rajasthan, India. The temple charity hopes to install the finished statue as part of an upcoming revamp of the current building in the forthcoming years.

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24 - 30 October 2020

Shame or honour? In response to the suppression of reporting about the Amritsar massacre by the British Indian press, in 1919 wishing to return his knighthood, Sir Rabindranath Tagore wrote a letter to Lord Chelmsford, the then viceroy of India wrote, “The time has come, when badges of honour make our shame glaring in the incongruous context of humiliation, and I for my part wish to stand, shorn of all special distinctions, by the side of those of my countrymen, who, for their so-called insignificance, are liable to suffer a degradation not fit for human beings.” The British however, didn’t rid him of the title and said that it was for his contribution to literature and it had nothing to do with politics. According to Tobias Harper, historian of modern Britain and the British empire, “The British government ‘bribes you into consenting to its will by awarding titles’, buying the loyalty of Indians.” The titles in the list of honours published by the Queen every year, were initially confined to elitists. They were bestowed on “puppet rulers” of South Asia to seek their cooperation for the British. While the British wanted to link India and Pakistan with these titles, in Nehru’s opinion back in 1946, these titles “undermined the sovereignty of an independent India”. Today, anyone can nominate someone for an honour on the UK government’s website. Yet, one doesn’t quite know how transparent the process is. Over the years, out of more than some four thousand people who are awarded every year, women are still a minority in the list. In fact, there is no female equivalent to a knighthood as women are appointed to an order of chivalry.

Not just Tagore, several British have also refused to accept or have returned their titles in the past. Celebrity cook Nigella Lawson declined her OBE and John Lennon sent back his MBE in 1969. In January 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that the couple will no longer use the prestigious titles His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness. But, they are not being stripped of them. They will be known as Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Asian dignitaries have often objected to the usage of the words “empire”, “commander” and “order” used in the titles. Last month members of the honours committee reportedly proposed an overhaul in the nation’s highest awards, looking at omitting the word “empire” from the OBE, MBE and CBE. In the light of Black Lives Matter protests, attention was drawn to the British heritage that screeches of colonialism by “celebrating those who profited richly from slavery”. A senior member of the Commons honours committee told the Sunday Times, “This has been a live issue for some time but there has been heightened discussion about it among members of the committee since the protests. Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy proposed an alternative, saying that the word “empire” could be replaced by the word “excellence” instead. Almost 100 years later, the titles have not been discriminated against by the Coronavirus in 2020, literally and figuratively. Whether it’s empire vs excellence, commander vs companion or order vs “we still don’t have a replacement for this word”, honours and references will have little significance over pressing issues like climate change, poverty and human rights issues.

Political soups of the Kashmir agenda Populism, polarisation and propaganda, unfortunately, drive modern-day politics. Some politicians bank on these formulas to divide their electorate and create mini “vote banks” for themselves. Or simply put to gain prominence. Jeremy Corbyn was seen to use similar elements and faced considerable flak last year after passing the controversial “emergency motion” on Kashmir at the Brighton conference. As part of the motion, Corbyn sought international observers to "enter" the region demanding the right of self-determination for its people in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370. The Indian diaspora had described this as an "ill-conceived" and "misinformed" policy. Consequently, Asian Voice kick-started what was referred to as Labour’s Anti-India campaign where over 100 community and professional organisations joined forces to condemn Labour's Kashmir strategy. It is no secret that the bulk of the Indian vote in the following General Elections of 2019 had gravitated towards the Conservative Party. British Indian MPs faced an uphill battle in retaining their seats. Other factors especially Brexit can be attributed to such a sharp decline in Labour’s vote share but the Indian diaspora in their voting patterns pronounced that they felt alienated by the Labour Party. Whilst Sir Keir Starmer has now been futile in changing the wind of the Pakistani MP's opinions on Kashmir, he appears to have adjusted his sails in stating that “Kashmir is a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully”. Regardless of the efforts, Labour continues to scramble its way through in ironing out creases with the Indian diaspora. But in a surprising paradigm shift, the Conservative Party appears to be following Labour’s footprints especially if the relaunch of the Conservative Friends of Kashmir (CFoK) group is considered. The Tory Party has maintained that CFoK is not officially affiliated to or represents the Conservatives with Shailesh

Vara earlier explaining that “backbenchers are free to form any group they wish to so long as they are not breaching the law of the land”. But Indian diaspora is once again outraged with the politicking of Kashmir, this time perceived to be done by the Conservative MPs. Harrow East MP Bob Blackman had written a letter to Chairman Amanda Milling expressing his concern that CFoK “risks alienating the Indian diaspora that we have worked so hard and for so long, to cultivate and encourage to switch to our party”. Political stalwarts Lord Dolar Popat and Lord Rami Ranger have been instrumental in uniting the Indian diaspora under the Conservative umbrella while keeping at bay the ideological differences stemming from a section of Sikhs around Khalistan. But even they have highlighted the detrimental effects of the growing membership of CFoK with the group announcing that Stoke-on Trent North MP Jonathan Gullis was the latest member to join. Lord Rami Ranger has reportedly written to prime minister Boris Johnson cautioning that the code of conduct of the CFoK was not in line with the Party and that they were causing “disunity within the Party with their pro-Kashmir agenda. They agreed to keep their activities under the radar only to look after their Kashmiri constituents but their latest tweet is against the spirit of compromising, we had agreed upon.” In the last few decades, the Tory party has seen a surge of British Indian MPs. From the establishment of the Conservative Friends of India to the election of the most “Indian cabinet in the UK”, British Indians have come a long way both in their representation at CCHQ and subsequently in successive Tory governments. But if Conservatives don’t watch their back and tread carefully around matters of international relations, all these efforts could go in vain with the party landing in a political soup of its own cooking.

An important link in global food supply chains Despite strong opposition, the recent laws to liberalise the farm sector could turn out to be the most far-reaching reforms by the Modi government. Amid uproar and chaos by opposition MPs inside the Upper House, the government passed three laws that some say could pave the way for India to join the global food trade, while others fear that it will wreck the livelihood of millions of farmers. The government argues that the new law would free farmers from the clutches of APMC and middle men and India can become a major exporter of food items. Under the new law, the farmers are free to sell their products to anyone they choose and anywhere in the country. It will also pave the way for private sector investment in technology and infrastructure for India's agriculture sector to realise its full potential and compete better in the global marketplace. According to an estimate, India processes less than 10 per cent of its food production and loses about $12.3 billion a year due to wastage from inadequate cold storage facilities. The passage of the bills led to the suspension of eight opposition lawmakers for unruly behaviour when new bills were passed and groups representing farmers and political parties organised demonstrations, sit-ins and tractor rallies in grain-producing states such as Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. Shiromani Akali Dal, a long term supporter of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which rarely went against the decision of Modi's coalition, quit the government. It said farmers fear the measures will eventually kill the government's price support regime for crops and leave them at the mercy of big corporations that would control the market. Modi and his ministers say the concerns are baseless and the price guarantee programme will continue. His administration even raised some minimum prices for winter crops to reassure farmers that the price support system is not in jeopardy. It is a highly emotive subject in India. The government sets

floor prices for more than a dozen crops and buys mainly wheat and rice for its welfare programmes together with some pulses and oilseeds to prevent distress sales by farmers. The massive subsidies help distribute staples to the poor through a chain of more than 500,000 fair price shops. The issue has become even more heated because of the pandemic. The disruption to farms and supply chains has exposed weakness in the government welfare system, which is hampered by bureaucracy, underfunding and archaic distribution facilities. Analysts and experts say the new policy has the potential to change the face of Indian agriculture, which has been hampered by low yields and inefficient small holdings by encouraging more contract farming. That is a system where private companies agree prices for crops with farmers prior to the harvest or even before sowing, and offer loans, provide quality seeds and encourage mechanisation. The new rules would also make it easier to sell crops in other states or abroad. Farmers would get a more stable income and the increased production would boost exports and revenue, they say. Overall, the reforms should benefit farmers and encourage contract farming, analysts say. Farming has lagged behind other sectors of India's economy. The rural poverty rate is about 25% compared to 14% in urban areas, according to World Bank data. Under-investment has made the food supply vulnerable, a fact that is being underlined as the coronavirus spreads across the country. Before the new amendments, farmers in most states were restricted from selling their crops outside government-facilitated wholesale markets and faced legal hurdles in transporting harvests to other states. If the government can push through the reforms while retaining the support of farming communities, it could create a platform for wide-scale improvements in the nation's food output.

Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. — Coco Chanel

Lord Rami Ranger CBE

Chairman, The British Sikh Association

Sikhs in New Zealand Recently in New Zealand, a Sikh charity, the “Supreme Sikh Society” has been judged as the most effective charity in reaching out to those suffering due to Covid-19, and it received the prestigious award, for the charity most effective in helping the weak and vulnerable. During the Coronavirus pandemic, a tiny Sikh community has emerged as the one serving humanity at large in these difficult times. Sikh volunteers have gone out of their way to help those affected by this dreadful pandemic regardless of their religion, race or gender. It is so heartening to see that authorities throughout the world have recognised the efforts and work done by the Sikh community during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mrs Megan Woods introduced a resolution in the New Zealand Parliament thanking Sikhs because of their incomparable role in the fight against Covid-19. She specially thanked the ‘Supreme Sikh Society of New Zealand’ in their efforts of feeding more than 100,000 people during this pandemic. The Mayor of Auckland also thanked the Supreme Sikh Society for their support not just in Auckland but across the country. It is a matter of pride for every Sikh that the tradition of serving free food to anyone who comes through the doors of any Gurdwara continues since it was started over 500 years ago by the founder of the Sikh faith, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. It is wonderful to see that the Sikhs have taken this tradition with them wherever they have now settled, thus making a massive difference and improvement to social cohesion and lives of the communities of their adopted countries. It is worth remembering that the founder of the Sikh faith was against religious conversion as he believed that the Almighty is not interested in our religious labels, but that of our actions and deeds. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, was against the cast system as he taught us that we are the children of one God and as a result, could not be higher or lower in the eyes of the Creator. He propagated gender equality and said, “Why do we consider someone inferior who bore prophets and kings”. He also respected every faith by incorporating teachings of Hindu and Muslim holy men in the Sikh holy book. He was against ritual and excessive praying and instead asked his followers to work hard for an honest living and also share their fortunes with the weak and vulnerable in society. The result of His teachings, the Sikhs punch well above their weight for humanity. Asian Voice is published by Asian Business Publications Ltd Unit- 7, Karma Yoga House, 12 Hoxton Market, (Off Coronet Street) London N1 6HW. Tel: 020 7749 4080 • Fax: 020 7749 4081 Email: aveditorial@abplgroup.com Website: www.abplgroup.com INDIA OFFICE Bureau Chief: Nilesh Parmar (BPO) AB Publication (India) Pvt. Ltd. 207 Shalibhadra Complex, Opp. Jain Derasar, Nr. Nehru Nagar Circle, Ambawadi, Ahmedabad-380 015. Tel: +91 79 2646 5960 © Asian Business Publications Email: gs_ahd@abplgroup.com

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24 - 30 October 2020

NHS consultant who treated coronavirus patients, contracts infection with family asked to leave UK On Thursday 15th October, it was reported that the family of an NHS consultant is facing removal from the UK after the consultant contracted coronavirus himself. Dr Basem Enany, a consultant cardiologist from Egypt tested positive in September and is currently in intensive care on a ventilator since the last two weeks at a Yorkshire hospital. He tested positive of the virus whilst treating Covid-19 patients and has been further diagnosed Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare complication of some viruses, and report-

edly has breathing issues. Enany had been working as a locum consultant at York teaching hospital NHS trust. His contract was due to come to an end in November and his current work visa expires at the beginning of December. Before he fell ill, he was working on new job applications and was planning to renew his visa, as he, his wife and their four daughters, the youngest of whom is only four years old, are all settled in the UK. Now, they are all facing removal from the UK. Dr. Enany’s friend Sanjay Gupta who is also a consultant heart spe-

cialist at York. started a GoFundMe page for Dr. Enany who is the sole bread-winner of his family. Worried about the family, Dr. Gupta wrote in the petition, “In order to be able to stay in this country, Basem's family will need experienced legal aid to help them stay in this country on compassionate grounds. If the visa is extended then it may also help Basem access medical care that may not otherwise be affordable. This process, though is likely to be hugely expensive and possibly even unaffordable. As a friend and

Dr Sanjay Gupta

Dr. Basem Enany

colleague, I feel both heartbroken and helpless. Whilst I am worried about Basem, I am equally worried about the future for his wife and daughters.” Basem is currently stable but still critically unwell. There is a chance that he may be able to regain the ability to

breathe without support and gain function of his limbs but there is also a high chance that he may not make it or be left with permanent disability. He is likely to spend several months in intensive care. Dr. Gupta’s petition has already raised over £125000 for the family and Dr. Enany.

Builder not charged for stabbing three Sikh men in self-defence A 30-year-old builder who stabbed three Sikh gangsters in self-defence will not face any murder of manslaughter charges it was reported on Saturday October 17th. Gurjeet Singh had been previously arrested by the Metropolitan Police for the murder of Harinder Kumar, Narinder Singh, and Baljit Singh. Gurjeet was reportedly cornered by four gangsters armed with a knife and hammer while on his way home from a local gurudwara in East London and Gurjeet

took out his own knife to save himself. He was later charged only with possession of the knife, for which he was subsequently cleared and is understood to be the first person to face no charges after a triple killing in self-defence. The group of unskilled labourers originally from Punjab, India had fallen out with Mr Singh over a business deal with family members reportedly stating that they had been rowing over money. The court heard he had received a ‘crush

injury’ to the top of his head consistent with a hammer attack, and other cuts to his face, head and hands. While the three Sikh men died, the fourth, Sandeep Singh, a 29-year-old unskilled labourer from Romford in east London, was arrested and jailed for four years in August for wounding with intent. Sandeep was in the UK illegally, and had reportedly overstayed his visa. He is expected to be deported back to India after his sentence. His brother, Harpreet had

(L-R) Harinder kumar, Narinder Singh and Baljit Singh

also overstayed his visa and will be sent home after a 12-month jail sentence for the same offence. According to the Daily Mail, Gurjeet lived in Dagenham at the time of the attack, and was served with a notice to

leave the UK on May 2015. He arrived to the UK with a student visa with an expiry date of November 2013. In 2015 he made a failed application to remain in the UK under the Human Rights Acts.

Lawyers earning from Author of Windrush bogus asylum claims still report urges Home Office to use “neutral allowed to practice On 17th October, it was reported that two brothers whose immigration law firm had earned thousands of pounds filing dozens of bogus asylum claims are still allowed to practise. According to an investigation by The Times, Malik Mohammed Nazeer and Malik Mohammed Saleem “facilitated the abuse of litigation” by bringing tactical judicial reviews designed to prevent claimants from being removed from the UK. Their firm Malik & Malik which is based in Willesden has reportedly made 35 such claims on behalf of asylum seekers that were certified “totally without merit”. In 2017 Nazeer was fined £20,000 with conditions being placed on his practice. Last year a judge rejected an appeal against the decision. Nazeer has since described it as “proportionate”. Meanwhile, Saleem was given an 18-month suspension as well as identical practice restrictions once the suspension ends. The paper reported that Saleem was partner in charge of the immigration department and “the

more culpable of the two” according to the tribunal. It is also understood that he failed to warn two of his clients that any claims they brought would be “bound to fail and/or out of time”, and was “manifestly incompetent” in one case. He “had put unarguable points before the court and in doing so had wasted his clients’ money and court time”. Yet, both the brothers are still licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) as reported by The Times. According to the paper, in the last three years the SRA has taken 11 solicitors to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) over misconduct in immigration. This has led to six strike-offs, two suspensions and fines of £48,000. Matters have included sham marriages and making applications that had no merit to try to delay proceedings. But at the same time there is no suggestion that they have engaged in malpractice or any illegal claims and almost all asylum seekers and refugees will be without funds and be reliant on legal aid to pursue their claims.

language” for migrants

On Wednesday 14th August, a solicitor and senior officer at the Government’s inspectorate of constabulary has urged the Home Office to use “neutral language” after the repeated use of the term “activist lawyer” prompted outrage. Wendy Williams, author of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review told MPs that it was “absolutely essential” that the department used the “right language” when discussing migration. Her plea arrives in light of the video that the Home Office had earlier posted on Twitter and which the department had to take down following widespread criticism from legal professionals, who warned that the phrase “undermined the rule of law”. Matthew Rycroft, permanent secretary at the Home Office had earlier admitted that this language “should not have been used” on an official

government channel, and would “not be used” again on any Home Office channels. The video was subsequently deleted. The number of people who have been granted the Windrush compensation are very low with the latest official figures highlighting that as of September 2020, 168 out of 1,272 claimants had received payments since the scheme opened in April 2019. Wendy Williams has also urged the Home Office to improve diversity at the upper echelons of the department to prevent a repeat of the Windrush scandal. She said, “Despite an overall ‘positive picture’ with black and minority ethnic employees making up 26% of the Home Office workforce, unfortunately, when you look at the detail, those staff are concentrated in the two most junior grades.”

in brief in brief LAW FIRM HELPING MIGRANTS IN THE UK ATTACKED BY A KNIFEMAN On Tuesday 20th October, a law firm assisting migrants in Harrow reportedly suffered a racist attack. According to The Times, a man armed with a knife blamed lawyers at Duncan Lewis for assisting migrants and planned to take a solicitor hostage days after the Home Secretary expressed his frustration at “activist lawyers” who prevented the removal of failed asylum seekers. Cavan Medlock also wanted to display flags of Nazi Germany and the US confederacy in the firm’s office window to inspire others. The 28-year-old Harrow resident is now charged with a racially or religiously aggravated attack on solicitor Sheroy Zaq. He also faces five other charges, including threatening to kill Toufique Hossain, a director of the firm; using a “large knife” to threaten Ravindran Tharmalangram; causing racially aggravated alarm, harassment or distress; battery and causing fear of unlawful violence. Mr Medlock allegedly told the police that he planned to “take a member of staff hostage and place the flags in the window so that like-minded people would take action”. Mr Justice Sweeney remanded him in custody and set a trial date of April 1, adjourning the case until Friday.

GIRL PRONE TO RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS AFTER BEING SHOT IN CROSSFIRE FORCED TO GO TO SCHOOL On Sunday 18th October, it was reported that a 15-year-old girl who was Britain's youngest victim of gun crime when she was caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting and that she was forced to return to school, despite her injuries making her more susceptible to Covid-19. In 2011 Thusha Kamaleswaran was merely five when she was shot in the chest in Stockwell, south London resulting in paralysis from the chest down and more prone to respiratory infections including Covid-19. But according to Daily Mail, her parents were forced to send her to Seven Kings School in Ilford, Essex with threats of a fine. The paper reported that Thusha’s GP, Dr PJ Suresh, had already cautioned the school that her lung function is 'not optimal' and that she is “prone to respiratory infections”. In a statement to The Sunday Mirror, her brother Thusan said, “Thusha returned to school on Monday but feels unsafe and anxious. It seems really unfair after all she's been through.” However, Seven Kings' head of pastoral care, Dean Taylor, told the publication the letter to the school from the family's GP “did not provide the necessary information”. Thusha was shot while she played in her aunt and uncle's shop, Stockwell Food and Wine. The bullet shattered the seventh vertebra of her spine, sending her into cardiac arrest forcing the doctors to perform open heart surgery on her in the street. Her heart stopped twice in the hours after the shooting and she was left relying on a ventilator machine for almost three weeks, with her parents being warned she had only a 50 per cent chance of survival. She then spent a year in hospital and was confined to a wheelchair.




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24 - 30 October 2020


LEFT BEHIND Continued from page 1 While the employees have applauded Chancellor’s efforts in helping get through the first wave, they are demanding greater support from him to weather through the onslaught of the next 18 months. The chaos around the tier system of lockdown rules for different regions has fragmented the UK in the worst North-South divide that the Union has possibly witnessed in its history. But beyond the confusion, it has crippled an already paralysed hospitality industry.

Manish Mahipal

Frustrated with the back and forth between the local and national leaders, Manish Mahipal of Wah Ji Wah Restaurant, Manchester said, "This is going to be devastating for the hospitality industry and their associated livelihoods. If the government thinks lockdown is the solution then they should come up with some sort of support package for the employers and employees. There is no point of opening the business with not enough customers, 10 o’clock is not helping at all. People are working from home and don’t want to come to town as there is risk of infection." Earlier on Monday, as many as 600 employees from the hospitality industry had staged a protest shaking their pots and pans in Parliament Square, which called on Boris Johnson to

petition which has gained U-turn on the curfew and over 32,000 signatures, “The the Tier 2 restrictions releUK hospitality vant to restauindustry is responrants, bars, pubs, sible for around 3 clubs and hotels. Employees had Festive season million jobs and £130bn also vowed that is just round generating in activity, resultthe protest would happen again if the corner but ing in £38bn in Yet, the government corporate and taxation. reverse social dinners unlike the Arts or didn't recent restric- are cancelled. Sports, we do not have a dedicated tions imposed on Minister. We are the hospitality asking that a industry.The rally Minister for Hospitality be comes as UKHospitality, a created for the current, and trade union association repsuccessive governments. resenting the sector, warned that over 750,000 jobs could be lost in the coming months due to the curbs put on the work of hospitality venues. The UK Hospitality chief Kate Nicholls stood shoulder to shoulder in support of those protesting. She had earlier warned Tier 2 impleJitin Joshi mentation, which prohibits different households dining Jitin Joshi, Executive or drinking indoors togethChef at Gymkhana in er, would mean 200,000 Mayfair, London and one of workers were likely to lose the signatories of the petitheir jobs almost immediatetion said, “A hospitality minly. As part of Tier 2 restricister would have known tions, restaurants are about the minute operations allowed to remain open but of the industry and shared will not be eligible for govhis insights with the governernment support as they ment which would have in would be under a Tier 3 lockturn enabled better decidown. But they face a far sions. more limited customer base “There is no scientific than under Tier 1, which evidence to demonstrate allows households to mix that 10PM curfews are helpindoors. ing to curb coronavirus. In Earlier last week, a group my view, all customers start of Michelin chefs urged the leaving by 10 in the evening. government for the appointSo, all the social The UK hospitality distancing reguindustry is responsible for lations that we around 3 million jobs and have implementgenerating £130bn in activity, ed indoors are a resulting in £38bn waste if they are in taxation. all leaving together. For customers who are availing ment of a hospitality minispublic transport there is ter to defend their interests concern about overcrowding during the pandemic. and those who can drive in According to their online

are faced with increased parking charges and would rather order in a takeaway. The 10 pm curfew just doesn’t make sense. “Festive season is just round the corner but corporate and social dinners are cancelled. Ideally by this time we would be refusing book-

Lord Karan Bilimoria

ings owing to overwhelming number of reservations. But there is so much of chaos around new curfew rules, the Tier system of lockdown that we just don’t know if and when we are going to make up for loses. Lord Karan Bilimoria, President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has also stressed that the government had failed to provide any scientific evidence to support the decision to impose a 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants, as the hospitality industry continues to contend that the rate of coronavirus infection in its outlets remains low. In a statement to Herald Scotland, he said, “If you look at the Germans, for example, they have extended their furlough scheme all the way to the end of next year, and theirs is even linked to families. We have to try and save these businesses, save these jobs. The British Beer & Pub Association have said if we do not act, we are looking at 12,000 pubs closing down, with the loss of 291,000 jobs. We cannot have that happening.” (Additional reporting by Shefali Saxena)

ONS report notes higher Covid-19 deaths of ethnic minorities not related to health A latest Office for National Statistics analysis has found that ethnic minorities' higher risk of dying from Covid-19 is not related to pre-existing or underlying health issues. Instead they are more vulnerable to the virus owing to where they live and the jobs they do, figures for England and Wales suggest. The ONS also found that all ethnic minority groups, other than Chinese, are more likely to die than white people with black African men and black Caribbean women at the highest risk. The ONS looked at the total number of people in each community in England and Wales whose death involved Covid19 and the recent figures are based on deaths up to the end of July. Key findings of the ONS included: - Black African, black Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistani women were nearly twice as likely as white women to have died with Covid-19. - Black African, black Caribbean and Bangladeshi men were more than twice as likely (and Pakistani men nearly twice as likely) as white men to have died with Covid-19. - Men and women from Indian mixed ethnicity communities were roughly

50-75% more likely to die with Covid19 than white men and women. In care homes, men of Asian background and women of black and Asian background had a higher rate of death involving Covid-19 compared to white people, after taking account of geography and health measures. The ONS has also found that

although some existing health problems put people at greater risk of being seriously ill and dying from Covid-19, that could not explain differences in death rates among ethnic minorities. Instead, the differences were more likely to be caused by demographic and socio-economic factors, such as where people live and the kind of jobs they do.

Nitin Mehta: A man in two million Nitin Mehta He is often recognised as a poet, an activist and a passionate campaigner rendering his services for the well-being of the community and known for organising cultural events for the diaspora. But beyond all Nitin Mehta is applauded as a torchbearer of the Indian diaspora raising their concerns in his letters to mainstream publications including The Economist, Independent, Sunday Guardian and Evening Standard to name a few. A renowned speaker on India’s spiritual heritage and an ardent follower of vegetarianism and veganism, Nitin has been instrumental in setting up the first vegetarian society in Kenya, Mauritius, New Delhi, Paris, Lisbon and in the Indian states of Punjab and Andhra Pradesh. Born in Kisumu, Kenya, he has lived in the UK for many years and achieved a degree in Sociology from Goldsmiths thus, representing the interests of the 1.5 million Indian diaspora in British mainstream newspapers when sometimes media organisations fail to practice balance and non-bias in their reporting. In his most recent letter to the Sunday Guardian he blasted out at the anti-India lobby in the UK writing, “The anti-India lobby in the UK is made up of some film producers, left-wing academics, politicians and media groups and groups belonging to rival faiths. They have all united on one issue and that is to eliminate the idea of a Hindu majority country with its own identity based on a heritage of thousands of years.” There are several members of the Indian diaspora who resonate with Nitin’s principles and align with his arguments. Yet, have failed to make themselves heard at mainstream “western media organisations”. Awarded with the ‘Sanskar Garima’ award for his services to Gujarati language and Vegetarianism from Gujarat Samachar and Asian Voice in 2006, Nitin is one in 2 million fighting for the Indian diaspora.

Birmingham bride denied refund of deposit A 25-year-old bride from Birmingham whose dream wedding plans were postponed by Covid-19 has said she is being denied the refund of her £16,000 deposits. The BBC reported that Alisha Rehman was due to get married at Excellency Midlands' venue in Telford in July in a 500-person ceremony. According to official rules, couples who are affected by government restrictions are entitled to be refunded. Yet, Alisha appears to be struggling especially as Excellency Midlands reportedly said

the whole sector had been left "on hold". The Bride cancelled her booking when restrictions were brought in and got married in a small ceremony in her mother-inlaw's garden. She said, "My wedding was initially booked for July, then because of the pandemic, clearly nothing can go ahead. We've given them £16,000 and they are not giving us a penny back." Excellency Midlands was fined with £10,000 and banned from hosting weddings after police found 120 guests at a post-wedding party at its venue

Increasing number of youngsters move in with parents amid rising unemployment The UK has recorded an increasing trend of 'boomerang' young adults who are moving back with their parents amid increasing unemployment owing to coronavirus pandemic. According to reports, nearly two-thirds of childless single adults aged 20-34 in the UK have either never left home or had to move back in because of unemployment or reduced salaries, increasing rents, low wages and shift in the work culture allowing work from home. An estimated 3.5million single young adults, an increase of nearly 10 per cent from a decade ago, have reportedly adapted to this trend.

Senaka Rupasinha, a Chemistry teacher from 26, from Maidstone, Kent moved back with his parents after six months working as a teacher in London. He had to move back home because of health issues and is presently teaching online, and thus, been able to save a lot of money because he no longer has to pay rent in London. Speaking to MailOnline, he said, “The main thing is that you're back into the parentchild dynamic. You're no longer your own boss. You have to do what your mum or dad says because they're there.'

“That's been one of the benefits. My parents don't charge me on rent so I get to save the majority of the money that I have coming in.” The author of the study, Katherine Hill, from Loughborough University's Centre for Research in Social Policy, believes that the trend is “here to stay” with the study claiming that low-income families are hit hardest by the trend of children moving back home because it can mean they are entitled to fewer benefits than when they are supporting a child under 18.



UK 7


24 - 30 October 2020

Diversity coin recognises the contributions of ethnic minorities On Friday 16th October, the UK launched a new coin to recognise and celebrate the contributions of the ethnic minority communities to the socio-economic fabric of the UK. Around 2.5 million coins will feature a geodome representing a community of connection and strength, with each section working together to build something greater, in recognition of the UK’s diverse heritage. The new 50p signals the intent of the Royal Mint and the Chancellor to include a wider range of people on coins and notes in the future. The Chancellor’s office previously reported that Mahatma Gandhi’s image is being considered by the Royal Mint on one of the coins with campaigners urging recognition of Indian-origin World War II British spy, Noor Inayat Khan. Campaigner of the ‘We Too Built Britain’ and historian Zehra Zaidi said, "Ethnic minority people, as well as all under-represented groups, need to see themselves represented in British institutions. They need to see their contributions to Britain recognised. It is a part of an invisible social contract and it can build cohesion, promote a sense of belonging, inspire young people and unite us as a nation, showing that we all have an equal

stake in society. We are a diverse, modern and global Britain – let’s show that. This coin helps bridge our nation's past, its diverse present and its future, looking outward, positively, together". Dominique Evans, who has previously designed coins to mark VE Day has designed the coin after being inspired by Ms Evans’ own personal experience growing up as a mixed-race woman. Chancellor of Ex-Chequer, commissioned the coin after discussions with the ‘We Too Built Britain’ campaign, which works for fair representation of minority communities’ contributions across all walks of life. Rishi Sunak held a roundtable discussion with designer Dominique Evans, Blondel Cluff CBE (CEO of the West India Committee), campaigners Zehra Zaidi, Professor Patrick Vernon, and Deputy Master of the Mint Anne Jessopp to mark the launch of the coin. In a statement, he said, “I have seen first-hand the contribution made by ethnic minority communities to Britain’s history. That is why I backed the “We Too Built Britain” campaign and requested that the Royal Mint introduced this coin to celebrate it. This coin, and the rest of the series, will act as a fitting tribute to the very profound impact ethnic minority

communities have made on Britain, and I am grateful to the Royal Mint for turning this around at record speed.” In the meantime, Prime Minister Boris Johnson recognised that the new coin “echoed” the government’s “commitment to building a fairer society for all”. Alongside the release of the coins, the Royal Mint and the West India Committee will also issue education packs to primary schools in England and Wales, so children have the opportunity to learn about these achievements. The Government will consult with stakeholders including “We Too Built Britain” and other groups representing minority communities on the themes of future coins in this series.


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Victims of land banking scheme rejoice as landowner loses case in high court About 180 victims who were previously being sued for failure to pay their covenant charges have emerged victorious after landowner Baron Deschauer lost his appeal at the High Court. The Victims of the Land Banking Victims Association had bought plots of land from Terracorp that is owned by Alexander Deschauer on which there is hardly any development. Now, a High court verdict prohibits his Guernsey-based company Terracorp to no longer charge 180 plot-holders the increasing “covenant charges” to maintain roads and infrastructure that don’t exist. There appears to be no feasibility for plot holders to secure a planning permission for any development on that green belt even while the buyers were promised of one. Kusum Thanki was one of the 180 buyers who had bought a plot from one of Mr. Deschauer's companies, called Glenridge (Lee) Ltd (GLL) on an instalment programme lasting five years at the cost of £24,000. The plot site is based near Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire. “The plot was transferred to my name when I paid £24,000 and the covenant charge for first 5 years. According to the GLL’s solicitor at the time, the transfer was conditional upon me paying the covenant charge which I did till 2016-17,” said Miss Thanki.

But five years later her covenant charges of £140 shot up by 5 percent annually and presently stands at £320. The contract according to Miss Thanki binds not just her but also her children, to pay their covenant charges until the development of the area is completed where none appears likely. While it is not known if the landowner is likely to appeal the decision, this verdict will pave way for people who bought land from him to claim back the charges they have already paid. It is estimated that the buyers paid between £10,000 and £30,000 for one-acre plots owned by a network of Deschauer’s companies in Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Nottinghamshire. The Times reported that Justice Miles could not find any written evidence that Deschauer’s companies, including Terracorp and the now-defunct Glenridge, had given undertakings to apply for planning permission, so the property sales were not invalid. The judge said, “The purchasers bought their plots in the hope that, one day, the land would be developed and the roads would be built. But . . . the land was agricultural or green field. There had to be a radical shift in planning policies before it could be developed, and that might take generations.





24 - 30 October 2020

First historic Hindu Mandir Executives Conference (HMEC) in the UK Vishwa Hindu Parishad UK (VHP) successfully organised the first all UK Hindu Mandir Executives Conference on Sunday 4th Oct 2020. Out of around 250 mandirs (temples) in UK, over 200 senior executives and representatives of 135 mandirs from 94 towns participated in a 3-hour online conference. Delegates came from well established large mandirs as well as new and small mandirs scattered across the country right from Aberdeen, Belfast in the north to Cardiff (west), Hull (east) to Southampton (south). They represented different sampradayas (sects), linguistic groups and countries. The conference was supported by major national Hindu bodies like Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB), Hindu Council (HCUK), National Council of Hindu Temples (NCHT) and National Hindu Students Forum (NHSF). The conference commenced with auspicious Deep Prajjwalan (lighting of diya) live from Balaji Mandir (Birmingham), BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir (Neasden) and Bhaktivedanta Manor (Watford) accompanied by chanting of mantras by Shri Krishan Kant Atri (Newcastle upon Tyne) who is the Hindu Chaplain with British Armed Forces. Welcoming the delegates, Dr Tribhovan Jotangia, President of VHP UK said, “Hindu mandirs are the heart of Hindu community. They play an essential role in the spiritual, cultural and social welfare of the community. The objective of HMEC UK was to

explore ways to make mandirs more effective and vibrant in meeting the ever changing needs of UK’s diverse Hindu samaj.” The keynote address was delivered by Dr Ram Vaidya, international coordinator of HSS activities, who described the concept and role of mandir since ancient times and why it was the pillar of the community life. He broadly explained the purpose of a mandir under three headings: shiksha (education), sanskar (life values) and suraksha (security). This was followed by panel discussion on the impact of Covid 19 pandemic on mandirs and various government guidelines. Heads of HFB, HCUK and NCHT explained the current situation and answered questions from delegates. The major part of the conference was devoted to workshops of small groups of 15-20 delegates. There were six topics of the workshops: - Mandir and Governance - Mandir and External Representation and Engagement - Mandir and Youth - Mandir and Promotion of Hindu Dharma - Mandir and School Visits - Mandir and Sewa Activities Each delegate had opportunity to

Rohit Vadhwana

participate in two workshops which were facilitated by competent persons. Workshops provided excellent opportunities for delegates to share information, experiences, innovative ideas and challenges faced. After the reporting of each workshops to the whole conference, Shri Dhiraj Shah, Sanghachalak (President) of HSS UK, gave an inspiring concluding address, summarising the essential takeaway messages. He congratulated VHP UK for organising such a successful conference which was professionally planned and executed without any hitches or flaws. Quoting the ancient saying “Sanghe shakti kaloyuge”, he said that in the present world it is the collective efforts which are successful for the community. The conference concluded with Vote of Thanks and Shanti Mantra by Prof Nawal Kant Prinja, VHP Director of Education and Editor of book “Explaining Hindu Dharma – Guide for Teachers”.

Sikh Federation UK brings legal challenge against Cabinet Office over Census 2021 On Tuesday 20th October, a judicial review around inclusion of a tick-box for Sikhs in the Census of 2021 commenced in the High Court. The case brought by Bhai Amrik Singh Gill, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) is supported by over 150 Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations arguing that the decision to exclude a tick box option for Sikh ethnic

origin in the forthcoming 2021 Census is based on legally unsustainable reasoning and is therefore unlawful. Permission for a judicial review challenge was first granted in September 2019. But the full claim was dismissed by Mrs Justice Lang in December on the basis that it was premature to bring the challenge before the draft order had been laid

Gandhi sought guidance and support of Dadabhai Naoroji

before Parliament. No findings were made as to the substantive issues of the claim at that time. The Census (England and Wales) Order 2020 was presented to Parliament in March 2020 without a Sikhethnic tick-box response option. Cross-party support was received for a Sikh-ethnic tick-box during the virtual debate in Parliament in May. But the draft Order

was approved on 20 May 2020. The Claimant then made a fresh application for judicial review. The court granted permission for this renewed challenge in July and will now consider the full substantive issues over two days at a remote video conference hearing. The Census has already been delayed in both Scotland and Ireland because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dadabhai Naoroji was approached by Gandhi from Durban seeking his guidance and support for a movement in South Africa. In his letter to Dadabhai, in July 1894, Gandhi wrote to him regarding the first Parliament of Natal under Responsible Government which had taken up the matter to disfranchise Indians in South Africa on the pretext of they had ‘never exercised the franchise before’ and therefore they ‘were not fit’ for it. To save the right of Indians, Gandhi had taken up the leadership of the movement. After giving detail about the issue at hand, Gandhi humbly wrote, ‘I earnestly request your undivided attention to the cause and appeal to you to use your influence that always has been and is being used on behalf of the Indians, no matter where situated. The Indians look up to you as children to the father.’ He held him in very respectful position and added, ‘kindly direct and guide me and make necessary suggestions which shall be received as from a father of his child.’ It is noteworthy to mention that Dadabhai was a Member of House of Commons during 1892 to 1895. He was the first Asian to be a British MP and had taken up Indian cause in the British Parliament. Gandhi, at that time, was a young lawyer and had taken up the cause and was very humble about his capability to lead. As he wrote in the letter, ‘I am yet inexperienced and young and, therefore, quite liable to make mistakes. The responsibility undertaken is quite out of proportion to my ability.’ His humility and selflessness were evident from the beginning of his leadership role in South Africa. He had not taken the cause for earning money but in the service of mankind. He mentions to Dadabhai that ‘I am doing this without any remuneration. So you will see that I have not taken the matter up, which is beyond my ability, in order to enrich myself at the expense of the Indians. I am the only available person who can handle the question.’ As an MP, Dadabhai was well placed in London to bring the matter to the attention of the Empire and therefore Gandhi requested his ‘undivided attention to the cause’ and appealed him to use his ‘influence that always has been and is being used on behalf of the Indians, no matter where situated.’ We can say that organised freedom struggle of India began with the establishment of Indian National Congress in 1985. Dadabhai Naoroji, also known as the Grand Old Man of India, was the founding member of Congress. Later he came to London and got elected as MP from Liberal Party in the House of Commons, with an aim to raise Indian cause in Britain. While Dadabhai was dedicatedly working in London with his experience and influence, young and energetic Gandhi was getting trained in South Africa to later lead the freedom movement of India till successful independence in August 1947. (Expressed opinions are personal)

18-year-old girl becomes “High Brent Council approves application to rename a section of Meadow Garth to Pramukh Swami Road Commissioner for a Day” On 12th October, Tuesday, Brent Council approved Neasden Temple’s application to rename a section of the Meadow Garth road to Pramukh Swami Road. The council acknowledged the Mandir’s position as a “international landmark” in Brent, as well as its contribution to the Borough. Councillor Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, appreciated concerns of some residents but emphasised on the positive contributions of the Mandir especially during the height of coronavirus in enabling community cohesion and supporting the vulnerable. He believes that the name change will be a positive step and in a statement to

Harrow Times said, “We are at a juncture in society where we will be discussing a whole host of community issues. “Brent has always been a welcoming community – its diversity makes it unique and is what makes it such a successful borough.“Recognising the achievements of all our communities is one of the ways we can create a cohe-

sive society.” In the meantime, Councillor Krupesh Hirani acknowledged that the Mandir has been key in building a multicultural and diverse community, noting

that Neasden Temple was a sign of “global significance”. He added it was good to see a road name change linked to a “positive contribution” rather than those associated with negative history.

An 18-year old girl from Delhi had the unique opportunity to spend a day as a British High Commissioner in India. Chaitanya Venkateswaran from New Delhi had the unique opportunity to spend the day as the UK’s senior-most diplomat in India with the initiative aimed at empowering and highlighting the challenges faced by women across the world. The British High Commission has been organising the ‘High Commissioner for a Day’ competition annually since 2017, inviting young Indian women aged 18 to 23 years to take over as their most senior diplomat. Chaitanya is the fourth young woman to take over as the British High Commissioner in an annual competition run by

the UK mission in celebration of International Day of the Girl Child on October 11. In a statement to The Print, she said, “I used to visit the British Council library in New Delhi when I was younger, and that’s where I cultivated my love of learning. Building on that knowledge, to be the British High Commissioner for a day was a golden opportunity. My day was full of diverse experiences which have really broadened my perspective on the role of women and their representation in fields of media, policing and STEM. I am now more determined than ever to use my new knowledge and experience to help promote equitable treatment of women everywhere,” she said.




24 - 30 October 2020






24 - 30 October 2020

Kashmir's fate is sealed

The glory of Navaratri

The brave historical move by the great PM Shri Narendra Modi in abolition of article 370 and 35A and making a provision for a large army force in the region for the safety, security for all concerned have a been a most welcome development for India to end separatistmovements and terrorist activities sponsored by Pakistan on India's soil. This well intended phenomenal act has met with tremendous joy and relief by the majority Indians and friends of India the world over. Some forty-two thousand civilians and paramilitary members have lost their lives in the long-disputed region. Over five hundred thousand Kashmiri Pandits have been forced to save their lives and seek refuge in other parts of India. India has been bleeding over Kashmir since the independence in 1947. Where were these so-calledhuman rights champions then? Formation of Conservative friends of Kashmir is a sick joke!!Kashmir is an integral part of India and will remain so. Modi Sarkar has brought new hopes, vigour, zest and zeal amongst Indians. India has recognised its strength. It is stronger and wiser than before. It will not bow down to any internal and external pressure. Enough is enough.Modi Sarkar's priority is to bring development and peace in the region and the process has begun. The sooner the people accept the reality that Kashmir is inseparable from India, it is better. The people of illegal POK are feeling the heat of Pakistan's administrationoppression and deprivation. It is showing interest to be part of India and seeking help. India is capable and strong enough to oblige when time is right.

The Hindu festival of Navaratri, which means nine (nava) nights (ratri) in Sanskrit, is celebrated over nine consecutive nights during the autumn season. Traditionally dedicated to Goddess Durga, the nine-day festival is celebrated in the southern part of India by worshipping Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. In the state of Gujarat, every evening, women who are fasting dedicate their prayers to an earthen pot lit with diyas (candles). The pot, called garbo, represents the source of life and the light represents shakti (power). Navaratri in Gujarat is also known for the garba raas, a traditional dance performed by men and women around the garbo or an image of Durga. Food is an integral part of every festival, and interestingly, it varies from region to region in various communities during Navaratri. Some people follow a strict vegetarian diet for nine days, while devotees in Bengal celebrate with traditional non-veg dishes along with lavish desserts and palette tickling vegetarian delicacies. This year, due to the Coronavirus protocol, Pujo will not be the same in the city of joy. Calcutta High Court has declared pandals as no-entry zones this year due to rising Covid cases in the city. Navaratri paves way for the festival of Dussehra - Vijaya Dashmi, which is the tenth day of the festival when Lord Ram finally achieved victory over evil and Raavan died in the battle. Sharanya Kolkata, India

Niranjan Vasant By email

Are PM and Chancellor on the same wavelength? PM Boris’s statement on £10 discount voucher for meals eaten in restaurants that it may have contributed to the spread of corona virus, as well as their difference of opinion on balancing the books have raised doubts in the minds of many people, that they may not be on the same wave-length when important policy on economy is at stake. While PM is dead against tax rise and any reduction in State’s spending, it seems Chancellor Rishi believes in traditional Conservative economic policy that we should live within our means, balance the books and not to leave tax burden and debts for the younger generation to clear! No one expected even in their wildest dreams that the curse of Coronus virus will paralyze the economy indiscriminately, of the whole world. While China gave this epidemic to the world but in a strange way, they will benefit most economically. It seems China has succeeded in creating a vaccine for this dreadful disease and has already started a massive programme to vaccinate the entire population by the end of 2021, key and front-line workers getting the priority! What a strange fate, who could have predetermined the course of events that culprits could become saviours, gain from their misdemeanour! Even Russia has made similar claim and if India succeeds in creating their own vaccine, then perhaps this epidemic may be tamed by the end of next year, if not earlier! But winter months will test the will of the people and the efficiency of our beloved NHS. Well we can all live in hope and prepare for the worse scenario! Bhupendra M. Gandhi By email

Indian festival -- Dussehra Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami, is a combination of two words, ‘Vijaya’ meaning ‘victory’, and ‘Dashami’ meaning ‘tenth’. Hence, Dussehra is celebrated on the tenth day with great enthusiasm and fervour.The festival is of tremendous cultural significance for all of us irrespective of caste, creed, colour or religion and is celebrated with gaiety and love.Dussehra not only brings joy, but also inspires us to win over our bad instincts by good deeds and pious thoughts.Even though Dussehra is a Hindu festival, people from various religions enjoy themselves in a united way. On Dussehra, the streets are decorated with bright lights, and songs are played from loudspeakers that come from all directions and mix to create beautiful chaos along with the voices and cheers of the people who crowd the street to have a good time. Delicious roadside street foods and small souvenirs are sold by vendors during the ten days of Navratri. Navratri is the festival, which is devoted to the worship of Goddess Shakti. It is the celebration for nine days. During these nine days, people worship and pray to Goddess Shakti. Navratri has a special significance in Hinduism and is one of the most awaited festivals across the country. Jubel D'Cruz, Mumbai, India

It’s not over yet Coronavirus is still here. The pandemic is not over, yet. It cannot be emphasised enough that we still have to wear masks, maintain social distancing and be mindful of our own activities that may result in community transmission. If staying at home can save the lives of your immediate family, one must continue to do that. We may have safely made through the past six months, but there’s a long way to go until we get a vaccine. The Oxford study’s results showed that two to three months after the onset of the Covid-19, 64% of patients suffered persistent breathlessness and 55% reported significant fatigue. MRI scans showed abnormalities in the lungs of 60% of the Covid-19 patients, in the kidneys of 29%, in the hearts of 26% and the livers of 10%. So, one cannot be sure and free spirited the moment anyone they love or know recovers from Coronavirus infection. The impact is lasting much longer than we humans can possibly understand. We cannot forget that the pandemic has also resulted in many patients with existing underlying conditions like Cancer, diabetes, hypertension, endocrine disorders suffering and waiting to see a doctor physically due to the lockdown. What many people seem to have forgotten is that Covid is not the only concern. We take our old baggage in the future along with the awareness of more health concerns that await us. Sejal Patel, North London

Take a break, from social media Every day on social media is a hate and troll fest and less of what it actually was meant to be. The initial days of Orkut, Facebook, Yahoo Messenger, My Space, Skype calls were more about catching up with loved ones who weren’t in close proximity to us. It was a way of sharing happiness, thereafter - information. Today, if you wake up to open Twitter in the morning, it can make or break your day if you’re sensitive and well read. In the circus of fake news, fake information, hate speech online, the essence of being on social media is almost breathing its last. People who follow the mantra of ignorance is bliss are happily watching baby videos, cookery videos, life quotes and important events from news, but the same people are vulnerable to sharing misinformation, by believing in fake news. Facebook and Twitter have finally started prompting people with the authenticity of the publisher of the news, date and more information, but that’s not necessarily happening with every post you share or see on your timeline. Hashtags are travelling faster than the speed of light, and so are screenshots that can be doctored by free social media apps. It is scary to be on the internet. You can actually test by taking the name of a particular brand around your phone with your data on and see related ads on YouTube or social media a few hours later, because well, someone is listening to you all the time, and it’s not just God. Atul Nair Reading


Follow me on Twitter: @kk_OEG

Plight of British Hindus Kapil Dudakia Avid readers of Gujarat Samachar and Asian Voice will remember that along with some great individuals, I was one of the founders of the Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB). It gave me a unique insight into how our community organisations and Mandirs work. I have been monitoring developments, or lack of, for quite some time and have on many occasions questioned the plight of British Hindus and whether our organisations and their leaders were moving in the right direction. Increasingly I have had people from across the country call me in their desperation. So today, in brevity, I should like to address this head on. British Hindus are represented at multiple levels by a variety of organisations. At the local level it might be a Hindu community centre or a Mandir. At regional/city level there are organisations that bring Hindus together, for example the Hindu Council of Birmingham. We then have national organisations which are either community based, sampradaya based, clan based or mandir based. For example, the HFB, HCUK, NCHT, BAPs, ISKCON, Brahma Kumaris, Chinmaya Mission, Brahm Samaj, Arya Samaj, NHSF, Prajapati Association, Shree Swaminarayan Sanstha and many more. The main complaint being that we Hindus are attacked by anti-Hindu forces and we do nothing. The truth is that there are organisations and individuals who do a lot, but in the scheme of things and the huge task before us, often it leaves behind huge holes. The fault lies with ALL of us. The cash rich Hindu organisations tend to be Sampradaya based and Mandirs. Given these are totally spiritual, most of them find it difficult to engage on the political side, and rightly so. The organisations that can fight for our rights, such as the HFB, HCUK, NCHT etc are starved of cash and resources. We expect the world from them for free, and none of us are prepared to put our hand in our pocket! Contrast this with the Jewish and Muslim Community. I commend them since they ensured they have socio-political organisations that are cash rich and served by experts at every level. They take on battles and win major victories because they are willing to put up the hard cash. We Hindus want the Earth, but we find it hard to part with pennies. Most are more than happy to give money to the Mandirs and to our Sampradaya, perfectly OK. BUT, unfortunately not to Hindu organisations who can fight for us. Would it not be great if say every Sampradaya and Mandir in the country agreed to donate about 2% of their annual income to our leading national organisations? Just 2%, but collectively it will enhance our national organisations and empower them to be our advocates and lobby for our rights. Our scriptures tell us, Dharma protects those who protect Dharma. So today I invite our British Hindu organisations to come forward and unite under the umbrella of Sanatan Dharma so we may empower our champions to fight the political fight. I am ready to receive direct messages from leaders of all Hindu organisations, please tell me if you support my proposal and if so, what % of your annual income you would be willing to donate? It will be telling to see who responds, if any. Let’s not lose the war whilst we are busy building Mandirs. Lest we forget, it was such errors that led to the destruction of thousands of Mandirs in the past by our enemies. I hope the message of Navratri may guide our collective endeavours.

A wedding without loved ones Countless people have lost their loved ones, especially during 2020. Some, due to Covid, some due to other health concerns or old age. People who’ve grown up around grandparents, joint families who are about to tie the knot are feeling a bit of a void in life. Weddings in our culture are not just a matrimonial alliance between two people who want to spend their lives together. It goes beyond that. One could argue that in 2020 priorities have changed, but folks who have been brought up with the most modern upbringing and pragmatic values, value the sentiment of traditions and a big fat Indian wedding. Weddings will

now (as of now) have about 15 people or less. For many of us, our own immediate family count on one side of the family (groom or bride) would surpass this number. Covid protocols need to be adhered to come what may, but the emotional crisis of not being able to celebrate your big day with all the people you had imagined, is a huge sentimental setback. One could look at it as saving of money and resources which is one silver lining, but until the world gets back to the new normal, alliances will not stop. M Priya Leicester



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24 - 30 October 2020

Bengalis gear up to give Durga Puja ‘anjali’ using Google VR technology Rupanjana Dutta

TechXchange 2020 to host virtual sessions A joint initiative of FICCI and High Commission of India in the UK, techXchange is a platform that supports mature start-ups from India to carve their path into the UK and HE Gaitri Kumar European market. Launched in 2018, the program has seen two editions till date with 35 startups, 6 success stories and more than 100+ meetings. The techXchange 2020 would be a virtual event starting from 26 October till 30 October 2020, supporting a cohort of 20 mature Indian startups across various sectors. The inaugural event on Monday at 11am BST will be attended by HE Gaitri Issar Kumar, High Commissioner of India to UK, Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI and Sunil Parekh, India Co-Chair techXchange, Startup Ecosystem Evangelist & National Executive Committee Member, FICCI.

With the rule changes brought about by the UK government, Durga pujas in the UK, that are going ahead with its celebration are finding innovative means to keep the audience involved. Depending on which way the UK Government Guidelines take turn, there are various plans and safety measures. Organisations working closely with the authorities to see whether this year’s Durga Puja needs to be a ‘members only’ Pujo or a mix of members and guests who would be able to book slots for their visits or even be a digital celebration where people from all around can enjoy the carnival while safely staying at home. Given that not everyone will be able to attend the Pujo, the London Sharad Utsav team has planned to bring the Puja on 24 and 25 October to the homes of the people. Anyone from around

the world will be able to able enjoy London Sharad Utsav from the comfort of their homes in both 2D and 3D. Suranjan Som, Vice President of London Sharad Utsav, noted “No one will miss our Pujo. Anyone will be able to offer Anjali or pray during Sandhi Pujo from their home. We are using leading edge Google VR technology to ensure London Sharad Utsav reaches every home and mobile device across the world. With a relative-

ly inexpensive Google Cardboard VR headset, they will feel that are sitting right in front of our idol, while our priest carries out the regular ceremonies.” This will be first time anyone in the UK will use this technology to bring Durga Pujo to one’s doorstep. They are also donating VR goggles to the first 25 families to donate £21 or more to the organisation for Pujo. These cardboard goggles are otherwise available to buy on sites like Amazon.

Durga Puja (or simply Pujo – as pronounced in Bengali) is a celebration of good over evil, where the Goddess Durga slays the evil Mahishasura (the demon) signifying the triumph of Shakti (woman power) as well as that of truth, righteousness and well-being. The London Sharad Utsav team has taken a risk-based approach. The committee members have brainstormed new SOPs in which the Pujo can be organised in accordance with the government guidelines for the pandemic. Kausik Bhadra who led the discussions with the authorities noted that, “We have worked detailed scenarios together with local authorities to plan for a safe and compliant Pujo. All our members who will attend the Pujo will have to undergo training before they can attend the Pujo physically.” All members have to preregister themselves so that they can be tracked and traced.

Fringe group endorsing anti-India sentiments see increasing support from Tory MPs The Indian diaspora is alarmed after the Conservative Friends of Kashmir (CFoK), a fringe group supporting anti-India sentiments, have been found gaining 'increasing support' from Conservative MPs in the UK. Stoke-on-Trent North Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis has become the latest politician to join the group that campaigns for self-determination in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. In a tweet the group announced, “Super to have the support of Stoke-onTrent North Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis. Our number of parliamentary members continues to grow!” Asian Voice has learnt that Lord Rami Ranger CBE, Patron of the Conservative Friends of India and Lord Dolar Popat in a private meeting had explained to the MPs who relaunched the group that CFoK should rather promote legitimate interests of the British Kashmiris without interfering in the internal affairs of India and definitely not encourage antiIndia sentiments. But Lord Ranger was left angered after hearing the news of the group’s latest addition. However in a separate tweet, CFoK mentioned, “@CFoKashmir have not sought to be ‘officially affiliated’ to the Conservative Party. Like many others in the Conservative family, we want to be able to compliment and criticise policy. But most of all we want to show the Party is open to the UK Kashmiri diaspora.” Seven MPs from the Conservative Party re-launched this fringe group in mid-September to campaign for selfdetermination in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The 7 Tory MPs in the group include Paul Bristow, James Daly, Jack Brereton, Steve Baker, Mark

Eastwood, Sarah Britcliffe and Antony Higginbotham. Jonathan Gullis has become the latest addition. These MPs mainly represent constituencies with significant Pakistani population and Jack Brereton, James Daly and Paul Bristow are also members of the AllParty Parliamentary Group on Kashmir (APPGK), chaired by Labour MP, Debbie Abrahams. Indians in the UK are a major vote bank for the Conservative party. While

Labour party was a natural choice for the Indian immigrants since 1947, former Tory Prime Minister David Cameron’s welcoming spirit and friendship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘swang’ the voters towards the Conservative party in 2015. Cllr Reena Ranger OBE and Cllr Ameet Jogia, co-Chairs, Conservative Friends of India recently told Asian Voice, "The Conservative Friends of India, along with our Patrons, Members and the wider Indian diaspora were naturally very disappointed to learn about the formation of the Conservative Friends of Kashmir. We have been in contact with the Chairman of the Conservative Party to express our con-

cerns and the concerns of our members. This group is not an official or affiliated Conservative Party group. We remain in conversation with the Party Chairman and

will keep our members updated. We have received significant support and solidarity from many MPs, whom clearly support the policy work and ethos of CF India.”





24 - 30 October 2020

SCRUTATOR’S Plea to remove mosque from Krishna 'Janmabhoomi' admitted A Mathura court has admitted a plea seeking to remove a mosque situated adjacent to Krishna Janmabhoomi in Uttar Pradesh. Last month, a Mathura civil court had dismissed a suit filed to remove the Idgah Mosque alleging it was built over Krishna Janmabhoomi. The court of district judge Sadhna Rani Thakur accepted the appeal. The court will next hear the matter on November 18. A group of people had moved the Mathura court over the 17th century Shahi Idgah mosque they claim was built at the birthplace of Krishna, within the 13 acre premises of the Katra Keshav Dev temple. The earlier petition, filed in the court of Senior Civil Judge Chhaya Sharma, had also demanded the annulment of a 1968 Mathura court ruling ratifying a land deal reached between the Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan and Shahi Idgah Management Committee. The suit was filed last month on behalf of child deity Bhagwan Shrikrishna Virajman through the “next friend” Ranjana Agnihotri and seven others. Next friend is a legal term for a person who represents someone directly unable to maintain a suit. The defendants in the case were the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, the Shahi Masjid Idgah Trust, the Shri Krishna Janambhoomi Trust and Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan. However, another body of priests had condemned the filing of the petition for the removal of the Shahi Idgah mosque. The Akhil Bharatiya Tirth Purohit Mahasabha president Mahesh Pathak said “some outsiders” were trying to disturb the peace in Mathura by raising a frivolous temple-mosque issue. (Agency) India’s 1st Oscar winner passes away Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya, a

costume design, who became India’s first Oscar winner for her work in Richard Attenborough’s, 'Gandhi' (1982), and whose chic couture in blockbusters like 'Waqt' (1965) blazed fashion trends, passed away in Mumbai last week. She was 91. Her daughter Radhika Gupta said that Athayiya died in her sleep. “In 2012, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. She had been bedridden since 2016 when her right side got paralysed,” she said. She was cremated at Chandanwadi in south Mumbai. In the foreword to her autobiography, The Art of Costume Design (2010), Attenborough described her as “the revered doyenne of costume designers.” It took me “17 long years to set up Gandhi, my dream film” and just 15 minutes to make up my mind that Bhanu Athaiya was the right person (for the job),” he wrote. The Kolhapur-born costume designer’s career, spanning 56 years and over 100 films, reads like a catalogue of Bollywood’s best and biggest: 'Shri 420', 'Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam', 'Sangam', 'Guide', 'Waqt', 'Ek Duuje Ke Liye', 'Nikaah', 'Lagaan'. (Agency) Bihar voters have quite a menu to choose from From chappals, shoes and baby walker to peas, grapes, capsicum, ‘belan’, ‘kadhai’ and even ‘batsman’ - there’s hardly any item of everyday use that is not allotted by the Election Commission as a poll symbol to registered but unrecognised

political parties ahead of the Bihar poll. It is often a tedious task for the EC to come up with new symbols as the number of smaller parties is growing exponentially. Barring the few major mainstream parties, whose election symbols are known nationally, symbols for debutante parties are adding colour to the electioneering. Former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM (S), which joined hands with JD(U) and is contesting on seven seats, has got ‘kadhai’ as its party symbol. Shiv Sena, a recognised party in Maharashtra with a reserved ‘bow and arrow’ symbol, was allotted a ‘biscuit’ symbol for Bihar election. Pappu Yadav’s JAP-L party, which contested the assembly election with hockey stick as their symbol in 2015, has now switched to scissors. While JMM has got walking stick as symbol, Lok Shakti Party (L) has dish antenna. AAP and SP are contesting on their own party symbols ‘broom’ and ‘cycle’. Among the new parties is Janhit Dal with batsman as its party symbol, while Rashtriya Jan Jan Party got a bat as its symbol.(Agency) ‘Deepika’, ‘Jacqueline’ on NREGA job cards in MP Bollywood stars Deepika Padukone and Jacqueline

Fernandes are working on MGNREGA wages in Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh, according government record books. They have even withdrawn pay for June and July. Photographs of these actors have been found on family job cards, uploaded online under MGNREGA beneficiaries, of at least 11 people in the remote Peeparkheda Naka village in Jhirnia panchayat. Job cards of

men, too, carry photos of Bollywood actors. Khargone collector said that the zilla panchayat CEO has been asked to investigate this immediately. “The job cards will be checked and necessary action taken,” she said. Some villagers were surprised to find the job card pictures on the internet. Amusement turned to alarm as they realised wages had been drawn against these cards. Khargone zilla panchayat CEO said that a team has been sent to probe the matter. The beneficiaries were shown as working in construction of ponds and canal repair under job activities of MGNREGA. (The Times of India) Baba Ramdev falls off an elephant while performing yoga A video has gone viral of Baba Ramdev where he was seen doing a yoga aasan on the top of an elephant. The yoga aasan went wrong when Baba Ramdev fell off from the elephant. When the elephant moved, Baba Ramdev lost his balance and fell off the elephant. This was a shocking incident which was recorded on camera, after which the video went viral. The video has now gone viral. Baba Ramdev is known for his aasan's and yoga postures. It was shocking to see him fall from the elephant while doing an aasan. Baba Ramdev lost his balance while performing the aasan. (Agency) Crane flies 4,300 km to return home A female common crane that was satellite tagged in March by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) near Nalsarovar has returned from her breeding site in Kazakhstan. The bird was named ‘Vadla’ after the village near the Nalsarovar Ramsar site where she was tagged. She came back to Vadla after covering 4,300 km over 12 days on her return journey. On landing, she spent the entire day foraging and venturing into the nearby fields. The bird landed at Vadla on

October 10, which coincides with World Migratory Bird Day, said Suresh Kumar, a senior scientist at WII. Kumar said that the bird roosted in the wetlands and the next day morning ventured about 5km away from Vadla. This is not the first time that a crane has been satellite tagged in India. A similar experiment was carried out in 2000 in Kutch, but it did not yield proper results, said Kumar. “The bird exhibits high site fidelity, which means it can be found at the same sites year after year,” said Kumar. Cranes move in flocks and whether the satellite tagged bird was part of a large population or an isolated population is something that will need further research, said Kumar. For this, WII plans to satellite tag nine more common cranes from different locations in Gujarat. Every year about 400,000 common and demoiselle cranes flock to Gujarat. (The Times of India) PM Modi releases Rs 75 coin to mark 75th year of FAO

Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a commemorative coin of Rs 75 denomination to mark the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organisation [FAO] of the United Nations. Speaking on the occasion via a web telecast, the Prime Minister also released 17 new biofortified crop varieties and reiterated the government’s commitment towards procurement of agri crops at minimum support price [MSP]. The move came at a time when several farmers have refused to call of their ongoing agitation

against the contentious agricultural laws, despite holding talks with the central government recently. “MSP and government procurement are an important part of the country’s food security. It is important that it continues to function with better facilities and in a scientific way. We are committed towards this,” he said. He added that the Centre was also promoting millets and high nutrition crops to address malnutrition in the country. Besides this, Modi also said that efforts are being made to improve Mandi infrastructure so that MSP buying continues in a scientific way. (Agency) Mehbooba freed from detention after 14 months The Jammu & Kashmir administration last week revoked the detention of former CM and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti after 14 months and eight days. However, it didn’t mention any reason for her release before the end of the three extra months for which it had been last extended on July 31 this year. Mehbooba had been detained under the J&K Public Safety Act of 1978 on August 5 last year after the Centre nullified Articles 370 and 35-A of the Constitution and bifurcated J&K into two Union Territories - J&K and Ladakh. The process to release Mehbooba appears to have its origins in J&K LG Manoj Sinha’s visit to New Delhi in September. “Obviously the long detention of Mehbooba came up for review during the LG’s meetings with the central government brass in Delhi, and it seems the overall opinion, particularly within the home ministry, favoured her release,” an officer of the J&K administration said in New Delhi.(Agency)






24 - 30 October 2020

Alpesh Patel

The Day Pakistan Tried to Recruit Me A few Conservative MPs with razor-thin majorities in high Pakistani origin resident constituencies have discovered Kashmir. They are the front men of Conservative Friends of Pakistan. The Pakistani High Commission in London reading this may not be so self-congratulatory when they read on. The narrative doesn't change; they want it to. It's a bit like trying to talk up Russia. Pakistan is remembered for statements like this made about it at the United Nations, "The words used today at this great Assembly by Pakistan's leader demean the very essence of the United Nations. For a nation that is deeply buried in medievalism, it is understandable that the tenets of a modern civilized society such as peace, dialogue and diplomacy are farfetched." India has changed its position on Kashmir. Kashmir is an internal matter for India, and the only bilateral issue with Pakistan is when it is going to vacate territories it occupies in breach of UN resolutions. This problem that Pakistan's leaders have of not capturing the global narrative positively was highlighted to me when I met former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. She was on a panel for the BBC, and I was part of a 20 strong audience from all perspectives. The issue was about nuclear arms, and the event happened a couple of decades ago. I made some point about India having a totalitarian communist nuclear neighbour over one shoulder and a military dictatorship also nuclear over the other. She must have liked the point, as she was trying to regain power, and asked me over in the break. The first thing she asked, "where are you from Mr. Patel?" To which I replied, "Leeds, but I went to the same University as you." She persisted, and I conceded with glee, "India". She never spoke to me again after that. Her party was on the look out for media faces who could make an eloquent case. They lack that to this day. The Pakistani High Commission always manages to bring the same crazy looking traditionalist men to the fore to represent them on rallies and marches. Now, they have some MPs to do their bidding. From confidential letters I have seen to the Conservative Party hierarchy, these MPs will be neutered and neutralised. Doubtless, after reading this, the Pakistani High Commission will approach the young professional Pakistani face to advocate its position. Might I suggest those individuals endorse a liberal, secular democracy, where religion is not a constitutional mandate? I am sure the descendants of Jinnah, who are Indian and remained proudly so and became billionaires thanks to India, would appreciate it.

Report notes 600,000 deaths would have occurred if white people faced similar Covid-19 risks as BAME communities Almost 60,000 more deaths involving coronavirus could have occurred in England and Wales if white people faced the same risk as Black communities, according to research by two leading think tanks. According to reports from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and the Runnymede Trust, seen by Channel 4, the increased risk of death for people from minority ethnic groups is due to a variety of factors – from overcrowded housing and income inequality, caused by structural racism. The report urges the government to take immediate action to better protect communities at risk.

Ekatvam: Diwali a festival for all, virtually with all despite pandemic An Indian company has recently been criticised for airing an advertisement which aimed at illustrating how Indian festivals foster oneness and community cohesion. But Titan Ltd owned jewellery brand Tanishq has taken down its campaign "Ekatvam" (Oneness) from all media platforms in which a Muslim family is featured celebrating a traditional South Indian baby shower ceremony for their pregnant daughter-in-law. The ideologies of oneness, secularism and multi-culturalism have been illustrated annually in our Diwali magazine. For years, the magazine has celebrated and preserved the richness of the largest Hindu festival. In the UK Diwali is celebrated with much fanfare, and the entire nation joins with the Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities in a show of unity, understanding and friendship. Whether it is Diwali at Trafalgar Square, the Golden

Mile in the city of Leicester, temples or homes. The much sought-after annual Diwali Magazine published by ABPL Group will reach all subscribers of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar in the second week of November. Written exclusively by the editorial team of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar and with contributions from writers from a wide range of background and expertise, this A4 colour magazine will showcase the many aspects of this unique festival through articles on culture, cuisine, literature, fashion and philanthropy, to name a few. The A4 size annual Diwali magazine will cover a wide range of topics including the significance and history of Diwali, interactions with renowned business leaders with their perspective on the festival in the time of Covid-19, exemplary contributions and measures adopted by UK-India

charities, messages from UK peers and MPs, the glory of Ram Janmabhoomi, Bollywood and Ram-Leela, interviews with a best-selling author on Indian mythology, festive anxiety and how to cope with it, interesting Diwali recipes from expert chefs, henna designs, and a warm series of write-ups from children on Diwali. Our Diwali magazine is a must read for the entire family, it will make for an enjoyable read and provide advertisers a once-in-a-year opportunity to offer products and services through a unique platform. If you wish to advertise, please write to sales@abplgroup.com. Our advertising deadline ends on November 1, 2020 and the issue will be published on November 14, 2020. Do ensure that you receive your copy of the magazine. It will be distributed to all paid subscribers of Asian voice and Gujarat Samachar.

Leicester Square celebrates timeless classic DDLJ, unveils first Bollywood statue On Monday 19th October the Heart of London Business Alliance announced plans of unveiling statues of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, first Bollywood Statues to be commissioned at Leicester Square’s ‘Scenes in the Square’ movie statue trail. Designs have been finalised and planning permission submitted for the statue, which will depict the two Bollywood megastars in one of the most successful Bollywood films of all time, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), the directorial debut of Aditya Chopra. The timeless romantic classic transients a journey of two nonresident Indians, Raj and Simran, and their star-crossed love story across Europe and India, beginning on a train from King’s Cross Station. The announcement celebrates 25 years DDLJ, and the statue is set to be unveiled in Spring 2021, when organisers hope that both the celebrities will be able to travel to unveil the statue in a special celebratory event. Leicester Square was featured in DDLJ in a scene when Raj and Simran first cross paths, albeit unbeknown to one another. Fittingly, the scene features two of the square’s cinemas prominently, with Raj seen in front of the Vue cinema, and Simran walking past the Odeon Leicester Square. The new statue will be positioned along the eastern terrace, outside the Odeon cinema, honouring this scene. Odeon cinemas, including the Leicester Square one, will be screening the film from 30th October to celebrate the anniversary. Other London locations featured in the film include Horseguards Avenue, Hyde Park, Tower Bridge and King’s Cross Station. Avtar Panesar, Vice President of Special Projects at Yash Raj Films, said, “When Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was released 25 years ago, the film became a defining moment for Indian cinema and it changed the face of the industry capturing the hearts of everyone who saw it all over the globe. We’re thrilled to be able to announce the proposal for this statue, and to be the first Indian film to be represented in ‘Scenes in the Square’ “We are honoured that our superstars have been recognized on

the world stage alongside the Hollywood elite, from Gene Kelly to Laurel & Hardy. In these challenging times this is a great way to express the international appeal of movies and build bridges amongst communities through cinema.”





24 - 30 October 2020

The gift of Menopause Shefali Saxena 18th October is celebrated as World Menopause Day every year. According to Lina Mookerjee, BACP accredited Psychotherapist and a former electrical engineer who now practises as a humanistic counsellor, World Menopause Day is a marker in the year to raise awareness about what menopause is, because it has been a very taboo subject around the world and it’s so important because every woman goes through it and it is now being marked valid enough to be talked about and being recognised. “It’s an opportunity to share information about what it is, how to look after one’s self and how important it is for women in menopause years especially in the workplace because they form such an important part of a woman’s life. And that age is at risk of walking out of the door and this year has been concerning in that aspect,” she said. Lina also said that there are no archives on this subject. No one’s talked about it. At the workplace the employers need to make sure that there’s cool space, cool water to drink, ventilation - things that help in dealing with the symptoms (like hot flashes). There needs to be a chat about the work hours, or if shifts are required. Asian Voice asked to address a few questions for women and men who may or may not be well informed about Menopause. How does a woman need to prepare herself for Menopause? First of all to recognise that she’s in it by informing herself and getting information. Second, physically preparing herself. Making sure she’s getting the right food for eg: Soya based food which would boost the Estrogen levels, lots of green veggies and broccoli and lots of magnesium rich foods. Also, lots of water because it’s a time of great dehydration. Cut out tea-coffee, caffeine, sugar, all that needs to go - very much a plant based diet. Very little meat will go down a lot better. Also making sure that stress levels are low. How can the family help her in navigating through that transition phase? First of all, being informed about it. The information that she has needs to be shared with the family. Lots of support, lots of understanding, making sure that a room in the house is cool, there’s plenty of water and she can rest. Also pain becomes a factor so ensuring that she can get a massage but it’s also very much about understanding that she’s in pain. What according to you is the current status/understanding of Menopause among Asians (men and women) and how do you think Asian families have mentally evolved over the years when it comes to Menopause? Is it still a hush-hush or less significant affair for them? I still think it’s very much taboo. This is my opinion, but the older you get in the community, you can go two ways. One you’re seen as more revered or a wise elder, two - old, haggard and invisible. And the fact that we are very much focused on the feminine is more valued as Goddesses, somehow

Lina Mookerjee

in the modern day she isn’t. There’s still a stigma around an older looking woman and they’re expected to dye their hair black, in fact to lose colour is a part of growing older. What exactly goes on in a woman's body when she's at the verge of menopause? Are there books, literature or art she can refer to? We have three phases. There’s perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. Basically what happens is that a woman’s Estrogen production. It means that your body is no longer needed to be producing babies, so it’s nature’s way of curtailing that function. However, Estrogen is also an incredibly important hormone with all sorts of functions within the body because it regulates and affects your heart, your brain, your kidneys, your reproductive system, even your skin and lungs. So the fact when you’re on the verge of menopause or in menopause, you are literally going through a major change in the body as Estrogen levels drop. It affects everything in the body from your bones, hair, oil level, sight, digestion, energy levels, sleep, hot flashes. There’s plenty of literature and books you can go through. I’m also writing a book called ‘Standing in the middle’ about it. Share some of your own case studies or tropes from interacting with women about Menopause. In my own case studies I’ve often met women who are going through so much pain, but after when we deal with the symptoms or we can get deeper - it’s not the symptoms that are calling, it is something else that starts to happen - what I call the “gift of menopause”. Then women start to realise that there’s more to life than what they have been sold. When Estrogen levels drop, there’s a feeling of accessing true emotions. Estrogen is a great way of accessing purpose in life. When that starts to disappear, we start to get in touch with reality, sense of injustices, hot flashes. It’s a time in a woman’s life to really find out who she is. What is it that keeps her in peace with a sense of who she is. Yes, it’s a very potent and exciting time in a woman’s life.

International Day of Rural Women The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008. The Day recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.” It is purposely held the day before World Food Day, in order to highlight the role played by rural women in food production and food security. It is celebrated in the context of the fact that in many of the world’s poorer countries women play a vital role in the rural economy. They are involved in crop production and livestock care, provide food, water and fuel for their families, and carry out other activities to diversify their families’ livelihoods. This year, at the United Nations, the theme for this International Day of Rural Women is “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of Covid-19,” to create awareness of these women’s struggles, their needs, and their critical and key role in our society.

Did you know? - Rural women - a quarter of the world’s population - work as farmers, wage earners, and entrepreneurs. - Less than 20% of landholders worldwide are women. In rural areas, the gender pay gap is as high as 40%. - Reducing the gap in labour force participation rates between men and women by 25% by the year 2025 could raise global GDP by 3.9%. - If women in rural areas had the same access to agricultural assets, education, and markets as men, agricultural production could be increased, and the number of hungry people reduced by 100-150 million.

Women in Accounting & Finance Awards 2020

PwC UK recently announced the Women in Accounting & Finance Awards 2020. Among the winners, three Asian women made it to the list. They are: Co-CEO and Co-Founder Upgrade Pack, Urchana Moudgil for Inspiration - Business and Public Sector, Deepti Vohra won an award for Female Diversity Champion of the Year, Partner PwC UK and Saira Choudhry, PwC partner at PwC UK took away the trophy for Role Model of the Year - Practice (National and Global).


Indian student leader Riddi Viswanathan, a graduate from the University of Manchester, has been awarded Global International Education Award 2020 for her contributions towards diverse student communities. She has been particularly recognised for addressing hate crime in UK universities. Riddi shares the award with Thomson Ch'ng from Curtin University, Australia. She has held leadership positions in the UK as the former diversity officer and the First full-time International Students’ Officer at the University of Manchester Students’ Union. She has also been elected as the Overseas Representative 2019-20 for the National Union of Students (NUS) UK, where she has been the first Indian to represent over 400,000 overseas students from over 192 countries in the UK.


Three-quarters of women living with HIV in the UK have Black, Asian or ethnic minority heritage. Yet their stories are often not heard. On BBC’s Woman’s Hour, Dr Rageshri Dhairyawan, a consultant in Sexual Health and HIV Medicine at Barts Health NHS Trust in London, shared that she wants to see a “renewed focus on how to access those women, ensure that they have the healthcare they need to live long and healthy lives, and break down the stigma around HIV that is intense within some communities.” According to Dr Dhairyawan, South Asian women form a silent and often overlooked minority of women living with HIV, which is concerning as sexually transmitted infections are rising fastest in Asians compared to other ethnicities. Meanwhile, all pregnant women in the UK are being encouraged to take a flu jab this winter. According to the BBC, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Royal College of Midwives are urging all pregnant women to take up the offer of a free flu vaccination this winter to protect themselves and their baby from complications caused by the flu virus.





Nina Rajarani MBE

A dance organisation has been successful in receiving grants as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) in the aftermath of coronavirus. Srishti – Nina Rajarani Dance Creations is one of the nearly 1,400 cultural and creative organisations across the UK to have received this urgent support. The Bharatanatyam touring dance company plays a vital role in preserving and promoting Indian classical dance and music forms in the UK and has been adversely impacted due to coronavirus. With further new restrictions announced ahead of a potential second Covid-19 wave, the organisation hopes that securing funds from the Chancellor’s £257 million of investment of the CRF grants programme, will help them stay alive during the difficult winter months. which is being administered by Arts Council England. In a statement, Artistic Director of Srishti Dance Creations, Nina Rajarani MBE said, “I am overwhelmed, relieved and grateful for this result. The trust and belief placed by Arts Council England in my company’s work has given me renewed strength to continue forging ahead, come what may.” Srishti is a resident company of Harrow Arts Centre. Nina Rajarani was awarded an MBE for Services to South Asian dance in 2009 and received the prestigious choreography Place Prize for her choreography of ‘QUICK!’. At Srishti, she creates authentic classical Indian dance with a present-day twist, always featuring live musicians who become part of the story, so that her work reaches people who haven’t experienced classical dance before. Srishti hopes to continue to develop these projects instead of having to close down whilst unable to perform to live audiences after receiving a lifeline from the CRF. The company will be able to provide paid work to freelance dancers as they develop new work to be shared either online or to live audiences when current restrictions ease. The CRF funds and their distribution is being administered by the Arts Council England.




24 - 28 October 2020


Aimee Shah: Inside conscious branding Sunetra Senior Aimee is currently a senior strategist at Wolff Olins: a top global branding consultancy. Working with brands across the world, the young expert has helped shape the commercial, cultural, and creative impact of a variety of contemporary names on the consumer consciousness. These include popular tech companies, retail chains, and established arts organisations. She shared some incisive wisdom about how branding as an industry has evolved, especially through the explosion of tech: “Branding is no longer a onedimensional, visual practice. People interact with brands in so many different ways: from what they see and read, to what they hear and smell and touch, to UX, social media, company cultures, physical spaces, events, sponsorships the list goes on. So, branding as a practice has to be multi-dimensional and wholly immersive.” So, branding is about creating a relevant personal experience.

encouraging food sharing at an individual level, OLIO tackles food waste at a retail level. “Through Olio, I collect surplus groceries from supermarkets and other food retailers and redistribute them within my local community. It’s about creating a virtuous cycle where the extra food can help eradicate a lack of it somewhere else.” The socially conscious marketer also spends time volunteering at soup kitchens where she assists with prepping, cooking, and packaging hot meals. Finally, Aimee emphasised the need for sensitivity in branding, particularly at a socially challenging time like this: “Profit cannot be the only driver. We’re big believers in building conscious brands at Wolff Olins - brands that are both responsible and responsive. It also just makes for more exciting work! We’re not just creating slick systems – we’re creating brands that are conscientious, alive, awake, aware, constantly morphing.” What have been some of your proudest projects at work?

Photo Credit: Wolff Olins

No wonder then that the appeal of I’d say my recent work with TikTok the profession lies in connectivity and creating a new European brand stratecreativity for Aimee; developing invengy, global Creator strategy, and global tive solutions to big organisational identity system has definitely been an challenges and communicating these exciting one. It’s been thrilling working in a way that people can connect to. “At with a brand with such enormous culWolff Olins, we have the privilege of tural impact. We also developed the working in a really hands-on way on campaign framework for the recentlyprojects – often travelling (pre-panlaunched 'It Starts on TikTok' camdemic, of course!) and being on the paign, which celebrates the diversity ground to understand customers and and vibrancy of TikTok’s get to know the organisation from the Creators and the domino inside out.” This, Aimee says, helps effect that their creativity teams distil down to the core insights has on culture. It’s been and core idea that drives a project forreally fun biking past ward. “Brands are so live and responPiccadilly Circus and the sive, and it’s important that a brand IMAX and seeing the platform can stand the test of time. work up on the billboards Getting to really know the organisathere! tions and industries that you’re workMy work last year on ing with is so important to this. If you the merger of Vodafone have a fundamentally strong concept, it and Idea is another procan adapt in step with its context. It’s ject I’m very proud of. The all about building coherent but flexible new brand that we created is called Vi. systems that can adapt to different Vi (pronounced as “we”) reflects the audiences and situations.” collective nature of Indian society. It Aimee is also extensively involved in local charity work, Branding is no longer a onedriving food sustainability. dimensional, visual practice. She is an Ambassador, Squad Captain and Food Waste Hero People interact with brands in so for the organisation Olio, many different ways: from what which facilitates food-sharing they see and read, to what they within local communities. “I’ve been increasingly hear and smell and touch, to UX, involved with Olio during the social media, company cultures, pandemic, helping to tackle and physical spaces... food waste and food insecurity. Covid-19 has created a lot of food insecurity. With people’s exists to help you get ahead – through a salaries cut and jobs being lost, access wide range of partnerships that go far to regular and nutritious meals has beyond connectivity. To activate this become a growing issue.” As well as idea, we developed a brand strategy,

A still from the car rally organised by NRIs in the UK for late actor Sushant Singh Rajput

A car rally was organised by NRIs in the UK on Saturday, 10th October at Bridge Retail Park. The event was attended by NRIs who campaigned under the hashtag #NRIsForSSR expressing their concern about the cause behind his death, demanding justice for the actor from CBI. Late actor Jiah Khan’s mother Rabia Khan also attended the rally to support the cause, demanding justice for her daughter, Sushant Singh Rajput and his ex manager Disha Salian.


Aimee Shah

Photo Credit: Wolff Olins

experience principles, messaging guidance, and employee engagement strategies, as well as a new customer experience, radically simpler tariffs, and a dynamic visual identity. The work recently launched across the whole of India – from big cities to tiny villages. In addition to the many clients I’ve had the pleasure of working with, I’m also part of the core Black Lives Matter taskforce within Wolff Olins, opening access to the creative industries for graduates from underrepresented communities. We’re creating virtual course content on specific branding topics and offering one-to-one mentoring for bright young talent. This will hopefully give graduates an insight into our world and help them get their foot in the door of the industry. What are your other passions? I’m a massive foodie! I love to cook, eat out, and attend supper clubs and food festivals. The food scene is one of the things that I love most about London. I also love to discover new restaurants abroad – my holidays are essentially just food pilgrimages! What’s one misconception about branding people have that simply isn’t true? I think people think it’s quite static and mono-dimensional: a logo and a design system. I suppose that’s understandable. Even the term ‘branding’ conjures up images of stamping things or putting a mark on things - but it’s so much broader than that. It’s this real blend of strategy and creativity, with a lot of emotional intelligence at play as well. What’s been one of your biggest challenges working as a brand consultant?

Photo Credit: Wolff Olins

It can sometimes be tricky building consensus within client teams. Not everyone wants the same thing, and it is up to you to find that core idea. However, this is also one of the most exciting parts of the job. When you do arrive at the final concept, it’s highly rewarding. How has your branding work complemented raising awareness for charity? They both involve the ability to tell simple and powerful stories. You need to be able to distil a complex challenge into a concise communication that people will understand. W:https://www.wolffolins.com/vie ws/six-sigs-of-a-conscious-brand https://www.wolffolins.com/casestudy/tiktok/

16 UK

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24 to 30 October 2020


A New Start

LET’S GET GOING The UK has left the EU and will lea av ve the single marrk ket and customs union at the end of the transition period on 31 Decem December mber 2020. Now is the time for businesse es to act in order to be best placed for the UK’s ’s n ne ew start and to take advan vantage of new opportuniities from 1 Jan January 2021. Rupanjana Dutta If you run a business, it is important that you check what you need to do now by visiting the gov.uk/ transition website. There are some guaranteed actions you will need to take and there is a checklist to help you prepare. The UK Government recognises that it has been a tough time for for businesses coping with the challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic, so it has put a range of support measures in place, place including introducing new border controls in stages up until 1 July, 2021 and providing more than £80 million to boost the capacity of the customs intermediary sector. In July it announced a £705 million funding package for border for bor infrastructure, staffing and IT, to ensure border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the transition period.

that imports sparkling s wines from Germaany, Italy and France, has h had to be hands-on about U UK’s new start. Amanda Thom mson is the CEO and Fou under of Thomson & Scottt as well as a creator of an n entirely new and niche secttor in the wine industry – lo ow-sugar,

organic, vegan- certified sparkling wines that have total transparency on the drinks label. She created Skinny champagne- the world’s first as well as skinny Prosecco. In the UK, Thomson & Scott supplies to Fenwick, Harvey Nichols, Ocado and now Amazon. Noughty is their

NO PLAC ACE FOR ANY SURPRISES Thomson & London-based

Scott, a company

Amanda Thomson, CEO and Founder, Thomson & Scott

I would hate te for an for a y fe fellow business ess owne o errs to have h ve any ha a surprises es as a we a we appr pprroach the deadl th dline, e, especially in tthe especia currren ent climatte. te.

latest test alcoholfreee initiative, wh hich is due to launch h in Waitrose soon. Explaining the sittuation, she said, “W Wine imports between ween co ountries has always been co omp plicated. “It means we are wellprepared fo or the additi ditional leggislation, but we haavve had to consider potential delays y at the border and mitigating igating an ny increased costs. “By checking thee extra tarriffs and charges earl arly, we haavve had time to consider onsider where we will absorb rb the costs,” she added. “M Margins in the drinks industr ndustry are notoriously i l tight, i h but b within just a year, we haave ve future-prooffed ed our business by producing an alcoholfree product, which has a slightly less complex margin model. “We are also working on the assumption that bottles may initially take

longer to reach us due d to new customs declarati ations, so we havve thought ah head to spring next year and d decided d to bring enough stock ck into in the UK now to store in our bonded warehouse.” Amanda believess that acting ahead for for th the he end of the transition peri riod in December was crucial ial ffor or her business, especiall pecially amidst the uncertain nty of

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24 to 30 October 2020

Sim mon Boyd, Managing Director, RE EIDsteel

steel company has till date exported to more than 140 countries, directly employing l i 130 staff ff and d at peak times providing work for 400 subcon for subcontractors. REIDsteel is aware of the intricacies of trading in the European Union and worldwide, having drawn on its own expertise while also utilising UK Government resources for detail for detailed planning and smooth operations till December and thereafter. Managing Director Simon Boyd said, “We are incredibly positive about the new start, not only ffor or our business but also for for the UK econom economy. International trade is in the DNA of our company from its birth over a century ago to the modern day. “I believe it is a tremendous opportunity to restore British Standards to their rightful position as

a hallmark h of excellence worldwide, rldwide, w while giving a shott in the arm to British manufacturing. f i “We will be seeking to invest as a company and take full advantage of the benefits the new start will bring, allowing us to improve productivity, create jobs, grow our business, ultimately boosting the economy and Great Britain’s place in the world.” REIDsteel has longstanding plans in place to reap the benefits of the new start, including a multi-million-pound new manufacturing facility. Mr Boyd explained, “We immediately hit the go button on our longheld plans ffor or a new manufacturing facility once the country voted to leave the EU. It will considerably boost the company’s productivity, allow us to

create more jobs, take our apprenticeship programme to the next level, provide more work for for firms in our supply chain and grow our business. “But, more than that, we see it is a vote of confidence in Great Britain. We are an ambitious company, both for for ourselves oursel and the country. This gives us the potential to achieve those ambitions.” Most of its history, REIDsteel has used home products but consolidated that in December when it made British Steel its primary supplier. He added, “We do trade in Europe, but not as much as we would like, as the bureaucracy and protectionism that has built up over many years can make it extremely difficult. “The T The gov k/tr n iti n gov.uk/transition site does the hard har work by id dentifying key issues of co oncern for for individual businesses… nesses… “IIt serves as a checklist of isssues to consider or addreess, but also has links to other government resour urces ffor or relevant r infformati orrmation. But, more than that, it can also serve as inspirati spiration for for poten potential business ness opportuniti opportunities after transition or ffor or improve business ways to impr efficiency or productivity. “II would encourage all firms to view vi this movee positively positivel and take advan ntage of the support on off ffer er fr from the UK Goveernment.” This is UK Government England only. advice ffor or En

CHECK. CHANGE. GO O.. ‘Check. Chang ge e. Go o.’.’ is the UK Gov vernm ernment messaging to aid people in taking g acti c on to ensure they are prepared for the changes occurring on 1 Jan January uary 2021. Make sure thatt yo your business is rea ad dy for the end of transition period by visiting govuk/ ov ov.. /tr transition. Actiio ons yo your b busin usiness migh igh htt need to take ke in nc cludes:

Co ovid-19. The new border co ontrols will be staggered un ntil 1 July 2021, to give businesses more time to prepare. She said, “From our wineries, we ship everywhere from New Zealand to South Africa, but UK trade is still the lion’s share of our business. So, it’s extremely important to us. I would hate for for any fell fellow

business owners to have any surprises as we approach the deadline, especially in th he current climate.” l ”

IN NTERNATI ATIONAL TR RADE IS IN OUR DN NA Joh hn Reid & Sons Ltd (REIDsteel) is looking forrward to the opportunities for thaat 2021 promises. The £30 miillion turnover structural

I believe b ve iit is a trrem emendous op pporrtun tunity to to res re estor torre Bri British Stta tandards rds tto o ttheir riiggh ghtfu tful position as a hallmark rk of ex excellence worrldw ldwidee,, while w givin ngg a sshot in the arm tto o British Bri manuf ufacturin ngg.

To continue to trade with the EU after 31 To D December b 2020, you will ill need to ffo olllow new rules including changes to processes and licensing. Ensure your staff are able to continue u to practice and provide services to clien nts in the UK after 31 December 2020 by ensuring ring their proffessi essional qualification(s) are recognised gnised by their proffessi essional body in the UK. From 1 January 2021, the UK Global T Tariff ariff will apply to goods imported into the UK K. Check the tariffs that will apply to goods you o import at https://www p // .gov g .uk///guidance/uk gguidance/uk / -tariffsfrom-1-january-2021 Prepare ffor or new rules around personal nal data. If you receive personal data from thee EU ffor or business use, you may need to take action on data protection. Make sure exports of certain products ts (wine, hops, eggs, poultry meat, beef and veal, eal, fruit and veg) meet the requirements ffor or export e to

the EU after 1 Januarry 2021. Check duties and customs stoms procedures ffor or exporting your good ds worldwide. From 1 January 2021, there will be changes to how you export goods fro om the UK. Check the rules on your EC type approvals for for 1 January 2021 and bey eyond. Familiarise yourself with changes, such as procurement agreemen ments and the trade remedies process. From 1 January 2021,, you will need to show that imports from the he EU and European Economic Area (EEA) A) have been legally harvested. To To do this, s, you will need to complete the due diligence igence checklist. Check you have the right documents to drive in the EU. If you travel to the EU ffor or work purposes after 31 December 2020, you may need a visa or work permit.





24 - 30 October 2020

Dear Financial Voice Reader, Alpesh Patel People often ask, 'what advice would you give your younger self?' This may sound odd and boring for someone like me, who at age 12 borrowed £100 from my aunt so I could invest. But I would advise my younger self to invest more and sooner. If your money works harder, you don't have to. It's as simple as that. It sounds cheesy. But it's true. Let me take an example from the website Benzinga. "The real value of time can be seen in the experience of two investors. Elizabeth starts when she's young. She contributes $2,000 a year for eight straight years from age 19 to 27. Even though she stops adding money at 27, she keeps her $16,000 invested. By the time she's 65, her $16,000 grew to more than $427,000. Lulu starts at age 30. She lands a good job and begins investing for her eventual retirement. She diligently puts $2,000 a year into her account for the next 36 years. By age 65, she's contributed a total of $72,000 and her investments grew to a little under $375,000. Lulu invested four times more money than Elizabeth, but she ends up with less because she missed the opportunity to compound gains on 11 years of growth and contributions. (This example assumes a constant 8% return, which isn't real world.) The lesson here is that all things being equal, you will be ahead by starting to invest early in your life rather than later." It's worse. CNBC reported, "S&P Dow Jones Indices has studied active managers for many years. Last year, they noted that after 10 years, 85% of large fund managers underperform their benchmark (usually the S&P 500), and after 15 years, that underperformance reaches 92% of managers." There are many examples like this. The problem is most of the websites then try to sell you a fund. The problem with that approach is, as the Financial Times wrote recently, "Active managers fail to beat the market again." For a student of mine, I went through his portfolio. I showed him the fees on one of his 'UK Growth Funds' was £1,000 every five years, on every £10,000 he invested. He was shocked. He'd never read the fine print. Worse, I showed him how the fund manager's top 10 holdings, including a tobacco company – British American Tobacco – hardly a growth company that his fund manager promised. I then showed him the fund had not performed either! So let's be our own experts. But many of my readers message me saying they've never bought a stock, don't know where to start. Well, you have bought a stock. Your pension is invested in funds that have bought stocks. Many reputable online brokers will open a SIPP or ISA for you (so it's taxfree). Please speak to a reputable online broker like Barclays or Halifax and ask them to show you how to buy a few hundred pounds of, say, Amazon or Apple or Microsoft stock. That's your starting point.

Record number of shops close down as pandemic hits retail sector As the Cocid-19 lockdown continues to lash out at the retail sector, record number of shops have apparently disappeared from high streets across the UK. Figures published by the Local Data Company and advisory firm PwC revealed a total of 11,120 chain store outlets closed between January and June, while 5,119 opened. The figures show over 60 stores closed per day on average, while 28 opened. The research covers high streets, shopping centres and retail parks in England, Scotland, and Wales. The worst-affected was York, with 55 net shop closures in the first six months of the year, followed by Durham with 43 closures, and 26 in Corby. During this period, Carphone Warehouse closed all 531 standalone branches, and fashion chains including Oasis, Warehouse, Laura Ashely and Cath Kidston all closed down. Big names including Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and House of Fraser also closed stores. The reports says, “Unless further government stimulus is announced, we’re guaranteed to see further closures” as a result of factors such as further movement restrictions, the unwinding of the furlough scheme this month and the end of business rates relief and VAT reductions for the hospitality sector in March. The data sheds light on the high street that has affected thousands of jobs. Head of retail and strategic partnerships at the Local Data Company, Lucy Stainton was quoted in a report as saying, “The results from the first half of 2020 are a stark reminder of the challenges faced by retailers in the first six months of the year, which included a national lockdown.” Greater London saw the highest number of net closures, 1,008, followed by the south-east of England and the north-west.

Steel tycoon Pramod Mittal becomes UK's 'biggest bankrupt' Steel tycoon Pramod Mittal, who spent £50million on his daughter's wedding, claims he owes a staggering £2.5 billion - which would make him Britain's biggest bankrupt. He lost his fortune when a financial deal turned sour, claims to have no personal income and just £45 worth of land to his name, near Delhi. The scion of the ultra-rich Mittal steel dynasty says he owns assets of just £110,000 and wants to agree a deal to pay back his creditors just 0.18p for every pound he owes. Pramod - whose brother Lakshmi is believed to be worth £7bn - was declared bankrupt this summer. The businessman set out his financial situation in an individual voluntary arrangement, in which he claims the loans he originally took out have ballooned dozens of times due to interest payments. He says he now owes £170m to

Pramod Mittal

his 94-year-old father, £1.1m to his wife, Sangeeta, £2.4m to their 30-year-old son Divyesh and another £1.1m to his brother-in-law Amit Lohia, 45. Pramod said: 'I have no personal income. My wife is financially independent from me. We have separate bank accounts and I have very limited information regarding her income.' He estimates his monthly spending at £2,000 to £3,000 and claims his family home belonged to an offshore company in which he had 'no financial interest'. His assets include £7,000 worth of jewellery, several vintage cars and £66,669

worth of shares. current Pramod's troubles date back 14 years, when he agreed to act as a guarantor for the debts of a coke producer in Bosnia known as GIKIL, a partnership between his Isle of Manregistered Global Steel Holdings and the Bosnian state. In a deal that would prove to be devastating, he and Global Steel Holdings signed an agreement to guarantee GIKIL's debts. GIKIL subsequently failed to make repayments to a steel trading firm in London. That debt was then pursued by a company named Moorgate Industries, which obtained the bankruptcy order. Pramod also found himself entangled in a probe into organised crime in the formerly war-torn Balkan state of Bosnia. He was arrested last year and released on bail of ¤1m. Despite the enormous sums involved, Pramod's brother Lakshmi could eas-

ily afford to bail him out. Luxembourg-based His Arcelor Mittal steel business is valued at just over £9 billion on the stock market, making his holding worth more than £3 billion. He also owns a 20 per cent stake in Queens Park Rangers football club and has an estimated £6.8 billion hoard, according to the latest Sunday Times Rich List. In the past, he helped Pramod. And sources close to Lakshmi deny that the brothers are estranged. One said: 'If there was any disagreement, it was a long time ago when Lakshmi set out [in business] on his own. But any tensions back then have been smoothed over long ago. 'Lakshmi is the most successful member of the family and he has provided considerable financial support to them for years. He feels for his brother but thinks that he should not step in and his brother should sort this out himself.'

Massive job crisis awaiting UK, young people to be worst-affected A new analysis of the ongoing pandemic's economic effects on the UK warns of a jobs crisis that is set to affect up to a million young people within weeks. The research, conducted by one of the UK's leading labour-market experts, Paul Gregg reveals that almost 1 million vulnerable 16 to 23 year olds will face significant barriers to work when the furlough scheme ends in October. The new study finds that the end of furlough, the scarcity of new positions and the arrival of school and

college leavers in the job market will present young people with bleak prospects unless more support is offered. Meanwhile, it is revealed that 20 MPs from Conservative seats in southern England, have written to Labour Party's Keir Starmer, and Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham, asking them to work with the government's regional policy. The letter calls a national lockdown the wrong approach, adding that businesses would close and jobs would be lost in Manchester

irrespective of a national or regional lockdown. It also claims that a national lockdown would cause tens of thousands of job losses in southern Tory constituencies. Writing an article in a newspaper, former prime minister Gordon Brown said it is “barely believable” that a million young people would need urgent help in just two weeks' time. He added, “now, as then, youth unemployment in the north, Midlands, Wales, Scotland

Food supply to care homes, hospitals at risk: Sunak UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has reportedly warned that the food supply at care homes, schools, hospitals and prisons is at risk unless the government steps in to support struggling wholesalers. A letter cited in multiple media reports quoted Sunak as saying, “Without the income from the commercial sector, the supply of food to institutions such as care homes, prisons, schools and hospitals is at immediate risk.” Trade bodies representing major food companies said the loss of business from the hospitality sector meant that firms which also serve the public sector could fail. They highlighted items made especially for care homes and hospitals, including easy-to-swallow foodstuffs for people with difficulty eating. The Federation of Wholesale Distributors and the Food and Drink Federation said, “Wholesalers send specialist food to care homes and this cannot be replaced by deliveries from supermarkets. The same supply chain is also essential to the ongoing supply of

food to primary and secondary schools for the provision of school meals.” The Federation urged Sunak to hand out Rishi Sunak discretionary grants and extend the furlough scheme to wholesalers in areas under tier 2 and 3 restrictions, to avoid supply warehouses closing. They said, “The above measures are essential to ensure continuity of critical public sector food and drink supply and the government must introduce them immediately.” The Treasury said, “We've put in place a comprehensive plan to protect, support, and create jobs, with more than £200 bn of support since March, with particular support for the hospitality sector and it's wider supply chain.” It added, “And our winter economy plan will ensure this continues in the difficult weeks and months to come, providing a toolkit of support for all situations.”

and Northern Ireland and in the inner cities will exceed 20%. Young people there need local and national government working together to help them through. But the very areas with the greatest needs are the ones who are protesting that the centre listens to them least.”

SpiceJet flights from London to Mumbai, Delhi India’s low-cost carrier SpiceJet will start two new non-stop flights from London Heathrow to Delhi and Mumbai. Three flights a week will be operated on the new Airbus A330900neo, 2 weekly flights to Delhi and one to Mumbai. Flights from London to Delhi will depart Monday’s and Friday’s at 19.30hrs arrival into Delhi at 07.55hrs the following day. Flights from London to Mumbai will depart Sunday’s at 19.30hrs arriving into Mumbai at 08.45hrs the following day. The new Airbus A330-900 Neo will provide passenger with 353 spacious economy seats and 18 luxurious flat bed business class seats. SpiceJet offers all economy passengers 2 pieces of baggage 20 kg each (totalling 40kg), state-of-the-art personal seat back entertainment and meals during the flight. Business class passengers can enjoy luxurious flat bed seat, with enhanced meals, complimentary alcohol and generous baggage allowance of 2 pieces of 30kg each (totalling 60 kg).






24 - 30 October 2020

Jet may fly again under new owners London-based Kalrock Capital and UAE businessman Murari Lal Jalan have submitted a plan to revive the grounded Jet Airways to the committee of creditors. The airline may fly again by middle of next year if the new owners are able to raise required funds through a mix of measures like infusing equity of about £100 million, selling the six old planes owned by Jet to get a few new ones and offering equity to lenders. Jet, India’s oldest private airline, ran out of funds completely last year and had its last flight on April 18, 2019. Since then attempts were being made to revive Jet again as it became the first Indian carrier to be admitted under insolvency and bankruptcy code.

Ashish Chhawchharia, resolution professional for Jet, said that the resolution plans submitted by two applicants were discussed by the committee of creditors (CoC) members and put to e-vote and has been approved by the CoC. Now final approval of National Company Law Tribunal is being sought for the same by the resolution

professional. Once cleared by the NCLT, the winning consortium will start the process for Jet to take off again by raising required funds, getting a fleet and seeking return of the slots as per requirement that were given to other airlines after last April. While creditors and employees made claims of over £4 billion, the

resolution professional admitted claims for £1.55 billion. Now whether Jet takes off again depends on the ability of the winning consortia to raise the required resources as airlines are a very cashintensive business. The onus is now on the JV of European entrepreneur Florian Fritsch founded financial advisory and asset company management Kalrock Capital and Dubaibased businessman Murari Lal Jalan. The other resolution plan was submitted by a consortium of Imperial Capital-FSTC which is launching a startup airline in India called Fly Big. This airline has won some routes under regional connectivity scheme and will operate them with turboprops.

All FDI with Chinese holding need govt nod The government has further tightened the FDI proposals from China saying that even minuscule Chinese holding will need government approval. With this proposal, the Centre has abandoning its earlier plan to set a floor for “significant beneficial ownership”. In April, when the Cabinet approved the plan for screening of FDI proposals from countries bordering India, the

government had discussed the option to set the threshold at either 10%, the provision in the Companies Act, or 25%, the prescription in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The move is being closely watched by startups, ranging from Paytm to Zomato to BigBasket, which have Chinese investment. Several proposals are also pending government approval. Sources said an inter-ministerial group met

Govt to allow Indian cos to list in 7 countries Paving the way for a global listing of companies like Reliance Jio, LIC and Indian start-ups, the government is set to notify seven countries and the Gujarat International Finance-Tec (GIFT) City where these companies can go public, while easing several norms to facilitate the process. The ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) and the department of economic affairs have agreed to do away with the contentious clause of dual listing, which required a company to list in India as well as overseas. As a result, a company can directly list in one of the seven markets including – the US, the UK and Japan. While the list will be expanded later, Hong Kong is notable exclusion and comes in the midst of India’s border tension with China. Several companies have opted to list in Hong Kong, which is a financial hub in the region. Exchanges operating in the International Financial Centre at GIFT City, which have tie-ups with overseas bourses, can facilitate the stock being traded abroad as well. For instance, if NSE or BSE ties up with SGX, it can help share of an Indian company to be traded on the exchange in the GIFT City as well as Singapore. “It will really help startups which may not be profitable but are looking to raise money and list at a premium,” said a market player.

this week and started work on preparing guidelines which would be followed by ministries ranging from commerce and industry to power and telecom. “These will be guidelines to guide ministries on proposals, they will not be binding,” an official said. Officials said they are looking to finalise guidelines in the next few days, which will also include FDI flows from Hong Kong, while

Taiwanese investments are expected to be exempted from the requirement of mandatory clearance. Separately, the government is toying with the idea of legal changes, which will be discussed at the political level to ensure that the norms are not diluted in future. This may entail amendments to the Companies Act and FEMA, which governs FDI. All FDI changes are notified under FEMA.

Govt may not implement tribunal’s order on Vodafone The government of India has said that an international arbitration tribunal’s order in the Vodafone case impinges on its sovereign right to tax, in a strong indication that last month’s ruling was unacceptable to the Centre and may not be immediately implemented. The government may either challenge the order, which cited a violation of the India-Netherlands Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA) or may not implement it, sources said. A senior official said a final view, based on legal opinion, is yet to be taken. “While we have said that India is against retrospective taxation, a bilateral investment agreement is for protection and facilitation of investment. It has nothing to do with tax policy… A tax claim cannot be used to invoke BIPA,” said the source. Another officer indicated that the government may challenge the order in the Singapore High Court and pointed to cases involving other countries, such as one related to mining, which had been successfully challenged in the island nation and upheld by the Court of Appeals. “These tribunals cannot be a super state and decide on what is in the exclusive domain of Parliament or courts,” the second official said. Government sources argued that the acquisition involved controlling

The True Centre

Suresh Vagjiani, Sow & Reap Properties Ltd

We have just agreed a couple of deals close to Marble Arch. The properties consist of two bedrooms and, surprisingly, three bathrooms. They have been finished to an extremely high standard. I would estimate the costs would have been around £60K each. The woodwork is all hardwood and bespoke to the rooms, even the beds have been custom made. Our office premises used to be across the road, on the 10th floor, on Bryanston St, until they were knocked down for a residential new build; this is a locality we know extremely well. It is unfortunate for the seller that this is a receivership sale. The price for both properties is £1.4M, approximately £700K a piece. The comparables show a discount of 30%, which is massive given the location. The more central the location the harder it is to secure any discount, let alone almost a1/3 off the retail price. Prices across the road run at about £4,500 per sq.ft. This equates to £3.7M; and it is literally 20 seconds across the road. The product of course is vastly different. The new build has “Covid proof” air purifiers, and will come with a spectrum of services and a service charge to match. Our apartments seem quite humble in comparison. There will be some effect on the price of these apartments but more from the effulgence of the block. The new build sales will naturally raise the average pounds per sq. ft. of the area. This is not a purchase for those who count their pennies every month. The gain on the property will be purely in the form of capital gain. Marble Arch is the true Bull’s Eye centre of London. You have Oxford Street on the East, Park Lane on the South, Edgware Rd on the North and Bayswater & Notting Hill on its West. The location sits on the corner edge of Hyde Park. With the cost of financing so low currently, you should be able to generate a revenue on the investment. Currently, it’s possible to get 2% fixed for 5 years. The real gain on this property is in the capital growth. It suits someone who doesn’t need income, and can afford to tuck the funds away for a period of 5 years; after which time the investment should mature nicely. Though this property may seem highly priced to the uninitiated investors, this is close to the bottom of the barrel relative to its location. This is an important point. We are in unprecedented times, with a future which looks even more uncertain; either by design or chance. In recent history there have been times when, during uncertainty, investors have chosen property to park their funds to weather the storm. On one level this might seem unintuitive, however, on another it makes perfect sense. When the economy is fluctuating, isn’t something real, that you can touch, a good place to invest your fiat money? Property is the logical conclusion, as is gold. And on a global playing field, London property fairs well for the international investor; moreover, they only seem to know certain spots in central London. Rightly or wrongly, the rest of the UK doesn’t exist.

GOVT TO GO AHEAD WITH AI SALE, MAY NOT REDUCE DEBT interest over Hutch Whampoa’s telecom assets in India with the deal structured in a way that Vodafone and the Hong Kong entity undertook the transaction via foreign entities, to escape tax in the country. While pointing out that the Bombay High Court had ruled in the government's favour on Vodafone’s failure to deduct capital gains tax, an official said, Parliament had opted to “clarify” on the issue through the amendment. “Instead of seeking legal recourse in India, which was available, Vodafone opted to move the international tribunal invoking provisions of the bilateral treaty on fair treatment,” a senior officer said, reiterating that it was the legislature’s right to clarify a tax issue. Government sources said that it was important to seek a legal recourse in the Vodafone case as in future too companies may invoke BIPA provisions on other aspects. In fact, some of the companies hit by the cancellation of 2G telecom licenses had also sought arbitration as was the case with Devas-Antrix.

The government is moving ahead with the Air India strategic sale and is expected to ask suitors to bid based on the combined equity and debt value, while turning down suggestions to either run the operations for the next two-three years or shut down the national carrier. A panel of officers is also not in favour of reducing the debt by £2.3 billion. While the final modalities have to be prepared by the core group on disinvestment headed by cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, before a green-light from a ministerial panel, the groundwork is done by the inter-ministerial group (IMG). Top government sources indicated that the finance ministry is keen on department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM) moving ahead with the disinvestment programme of public sector companies in line with the Cabinet decision. Fresh proposals are unlikely to be taken up immediately, they said.

FY21 GDP TO SEE SHARPER 10.3% FALL: IMF India’s economy is forecast to contract by 10.3% in 2020-21, sharper than the previous estimate of 4.5% decline as the impact of the Covid-induced lockdown hurts expansion, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said. In its update to the World Economic Outlook (WEO), the IMF expects the Indian economy to rebound and grow by 8.8% in 2021-22, stronger than the 6% expansion predicted earlier. IMF is the latest to project a sharp contraction for Asia’s third-largest economy. The World Bank expects the economy to decline by 9.6%, while the RBI forecast GDP to plunge 9.5% in 2020-21, but estimates growth to be back in the fourth quarter. “Revisions to the forecast are particularly large for India, where GDP contracted much more severely than expected in the second quarter,” the IMF said.






24 - 30 October 2020

Huge opposition show threatens Imran Khan govt KARACHI: As thousands thronged Bagh-e Jinnah ground in Karachi on Sunday on the call of opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to protest against the PTI government, a Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) activist said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has "lost" the city, considered the stronghold that helped him in winning 2018 elections. "The 100s of 1000s attending (the) Karachi jalsa (gathering). PTM and Baloch leaders addressed the jalsa. This is a coup against Imran Khan. His party won 14 seats from Karachi. This was his strongest electoral win that helped him form a government. He has lost Karachi today (Sunday)," Amjad Ayub Mirza tweeted. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) hosted the second power show of 11-party opposition alliance, PDM, in

Karachi on Sunday. The event that lasted for five hours was addressed by PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, PML (N) vicepresidents Maryam Nawaz and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, JUI (F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chairman Mehmood Achakzai, among other leaders. As the leaders reached the venue, thousands of supporters of the opposition parties welcomed them, dancing to the beat of the PPP anthem. The crowd waved flags of the political parties, represented by the PDM. Bilawal thanked the enthusiastic crowd and welcomed the JUI (F) chief and PML (N) vice-presidents. Maryam hailed the provincial government for their efforts amid the Covid-19 pandemic, while they were subjected to humiliation and taunts by the federal government, Dawn reported. "Yesterday, you must

have seen on your TV screens a man screaming his defeat...You (PM Imran) tell people ghabrana nai hai (don't worry), there has only been one jalsa yet and you are worrying already," she said. While Opposition leaders at the rally in Karachi taunting the prime public as he was chosen by minister for the PTI's recently selectors and not people. "This failed 126-day sit-in on incapable and clueless prime Shahrah-e-Dastoor, the PML minister will have to go home... (N) leader said, "You (PM) Today, innocent people are addressed empty chairs, dug being killed, going missing and the democracy's grave, (and yet) our state is involved in this. Nawaz Sharif never took your Education, health budgets are name. Even today, you will long being cut, but this puppet govfor it but Nawaz Sharif will not ernment doesn't care because it even take your name, because didn't come from people's children have no role in the votes," he said. The PPP chairfight between elders." person alleged that neither did Meanwhile, PPP the prime minister acknowlChairperson Bhutto-Zardari edge the parliament nor could lashed out at Prime Minister he see the hunger and tears of Khan for claiming to be a torchpeople, "and he claims to be (the bearer of democracy and said torch-bearer of) democracy?" that he does not care about the

Pak likely to stay on FATF grey list: Official ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will most likely to stay in the FATF grey list since it has failed to fulfil six key obligations of the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, including action against two of India’s most wanted terrorists Maulana Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed, and the sudden disappearance of more than 4,000 terrorists from its official list. The virtual plenary of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), to be held on October 21-23, will take the final call on Pakistan’s continuation on its

grey list after a thorough review of Islamabad’s performance in fulfilling the global commitments and standards in the fight against money laundering and terror financing. The FATF had given Pakistan a total of 27 action plan obligations for completely checking terror financing of which so far it has cleared 21 but has failed in some of the key tasks, an official privy to the developments said. The mandates which Pakistan has failed include action against all UN-designated terrorists like Jaish-eMuhammed (JeM) chief Azhar,

Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Saeed and the outfit’s operational commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. Besides, FATF has noted that the names of over 4,000 terrorists suddenly disappeared from its original list of 7,600 under Schedule IV of its Anti Terrorism Act. “Under these circumstances, it is almost certain that Pakistan will continue in the FATF grey list,” the official said. Also, the four nominating countries - the US, Britain, France and Germany are not satisfied with Islamabad’s commitment to taking strong action against the ter-

ror groups operating from its soil. Azhar, Saeed and Lakhvi are the most wanted terrorists in India for their involvement in numerous terrorist acts, including the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes and the bombing of a CRPF bus at Pulwama in Jammu & Kashmir last year. With Pakistan’s continuation in the grey list, it is increasingly becoming difficult for Islamabad to get financial aid from the IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union, thus further enhancing problems for the cash-strapped country.

Nepal PM Oli removes defence Death penalty for rapists in Bangladesh minister ‘close’ to China KATHMANDU: Nepal’s PM K P Sharma Oli has reshuffled his cabinet, keeping the key defence portfolio with himself, in a bid to strengthen his grip within the fractious ruling party and to allow smooth functioning of his government. Oli has inducted three new ministers, including finance minister Bishnu Poudel, and changed the portfolio of deputy PM and defence minister Ishwor Pokharel. The dissident faction of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal led by executive chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ was not satisfied with Oli’s latest move, which they considered as one-sided, a source close to the ruling party said. Oli’s move to relieve Pokharel from the defence ministry and retain the portfolio with himself has sparked speculation in the Nepalese political spectrum and the media. “Pokharel, who is known for his tilt towards the North, has been transferred to the PM’s office, apparently in a signal to New Delhi ahead of the forthcoming visit to Nepal by the Indian army chief,” senior journalist and editor of Janamanch Weekly Pralhad Rijal said. Indian Army

K P Sharma Oli

chief General M M Naravane is scheduled to visit Nepal in the first week of November and the details of the visit is being worked out, a Nepal army spokesperson said. Mainly there might be two reasons behind the removal of Pokharel - one is his tussle with the Nepal army leadership and another is that Oli wanted to send a signal to Delhi for holding a dialogue to resolve the border issue with India diplomatically, Rijal said. Pokharel also came under criticism when as the head of the Corona crisis management committee he procured expensive medical supplies from China to fight the disease without following proper procedures. He has been dragged in alleged irregularities in the procurement process.

Dhaka: Bangladesh's Cabinet has approved an amendment to introduce the death penalty for rape cases after a series of recent sexual assaults sparked nationwide protests. Bangladesh was rocked over the weekend by an unprecedented level of protest after footage of a brutal gang assault on a woman went viral on social media. Demonstrators carried signs reading 'Hang the rapists' and 'No mercy to rapists'. “The Cabinet unanimously endorsed the amended law... prescribing capital punishment for rape instead of (existing) lifetime rigorous imprisonment,” Cabinet secretary Khandaker Anwarul Islam told a news briefing. He added that during the Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasised on completing rape trials within the stipulated timeframe as well. Law minister Anisul Huq said that the Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill was expected to receive President Abdul Hamid's approval to be promulgated as an ordinance since parliament was not in session at the

moment. 'Surely it (law) will be a deterrent to such notorious crimes,' Huq said. The changes to the law were demanded by thousands of demonstrators across the Muslim-majority nation calling for more stringent punishments for the perpetrators of sexual assaults. Police arrested eight suspects after the video of the assault went viral more than a month after the attack occurred at the victim’s home in Noakhali. In a separate case, another woman was allegedly gangraped last week in a hostel in the northern district of Sylhet, leading to the arrest of several members of the student wing of the ruling party. Protesters in the capital Dhaka and elsewhere have demanded stiffer punishments for rape, faster trials for rapists and an end to what they see as a culture of impunity.

in brief PAK SEES A SPIKE IN NEW CASES AMID SECOND WAVE The Covid outbreak has been surging again in Pakistan with over 600 cases and nearly a dozen fatalities reported almost on a daily basis. “National positivity of Covid cases was 2.37%. This is the highest positivity rate in more than 50 days,” minister for planning and development Asad Umar tweeted. “The average number of Covid deaths during the first four days of this week was 11 per day, the highest since the week of August 10. Unmistakable signs of the rise of corona,” he said.

SECURITY FORCES KILL 170 TALIBAN TERRORISTS A total of 170 Taliban terrorists have been killed in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand after government forces moved to retake territories following the movement's days-long offensive in the region, the provincial police chief said. Earlier, the Taliban launched a series of attacks in Helmand's Nad-e-Ali district and Babaji area, pushing back Afghan security forces. "Supply forces have arrived in Helmand and retaliatory strikes have been launched to retake areas recaptured from the Taliban. Some 170 Taliban terrorists have been killed and several others wounded in ground operations and airstrikes," Khalil Ul Rahman Jawad said. Amid heavy clashes in the area, locals have fled to the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah. According to the Helmand Department for Refugee Affairs, "in the last two days, 4,500 people have been displaced from Babaji and Nad-e-Ali and are in need of first aid." Along with the fall of some areas in Nad-e-Ali and Babaji area, the Taliban have also seized several sections of HelmandKandahar highway, hindering traffic. Against this backdrop, US forces in Afghanistan have hit the Taliban with airstrikes to support Afghan forces.

9 SOLDIERS KILLED AS TWO AFGHAN HELICOPTERS COLLIDE Two Afghan army helicopters collided while transporting wounded soldiers amid renewed fighting against Taliban militants in the southern Helmand province, killing nine Afghan service members, the country’s Defense Ministry said. The two Soviet-era Mi-17 helicopters crashed due to technical problems while taking off in Nawa district, the Afghan Defense Ministry statement said. The nine dead were all Afghan crew and soldiers on board the two aircraft. The crash came amid a new wave of fighting in Helmand province between the Afghan military and Taliban insurgents. The Taliban control roughly 80% of Helmand, and in the past year have waged several attacks on the capital of Lashkar Gah only to be repulsed by Afghan security forces, whose control is largely restricted to district centers. The helicopters that crashed were carrying wounded soldiers.

DHAKA WON’T COFUND VACCINE TRIAL BY CHINA CO Bangladesh will not co-fund a late-stage domestic trial of a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech, the country’s health minister Zahid Maleque said. His comments come weeks after Sinovac asked the Bangladesh government to co-fund the domestic trials. “We are not co-funding the trial. That was not in the agreement,” Maleque said. “As per agreement, they’ll bear all expenses of the trial, they’ll give us 110,000 free vaccines and they’ll share the technology.” Sinovac did not respond to a request for comment.





24 - 30 October 2020

in brief CHINESE FIRM OFFERS VACCINE TO STUDENTS GOING ABROAD A Chinese drug developer is offering an experimental vaccine to students going abroad in a strategy experts say raises safety and ethical concerns. China National Biotech Group’s vaccine is already being given to medical workers and employees of companies being sent abroad under an emergency authorisation. Now, CNBG says it will provide the vaccine for free to Chinese students who study abroad. Over 168,000 people signed up to receive the vaccine via an online survey and over 91,000 are being considered, CNBG said on its website. That page had been removed later. CNBG did not respond to a request for comment.

SAUDI ARABIA RESTARTS PRAYERS AT MECCA Saudi Arabia opened Islam's holiest site for prayers for the first time in seven months, and expanded the umrah pilgrimage to accommodate 15,000 worshippers as it relaxed coronavirus curbs. Mask-clad Saudi citizens and residents of the kingdom were allowed to pray inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, amid what authorities called extensive health precautions. "Citizens and residents have performed Salat Al-Fajr (dawn prayers) at the Grand Mosque today as (authorities) start implementing the second phase of the gradual resumption of umrah," the official Saudi Press Agency reported. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia allowed up to 6,000 citizens and residents per day to perform the umrah - a Muslim pilgrimage that can be undertaken at any time - after it was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Under the second stage that began on Sunday, the number of umrah pilgrims was increased to 15,000 per day.

FINLAND PM TROLLED FOR 'MODELLING' IN LOW-CUT JACKET Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin came under attack from sexist trolls who objected to a recent photoshoot of the 34-year-old in a "low cut" jacket. A rigorous women's rights activist and leader of Finland's Centre-left Social Democratic Party, Marin recently appeared on the cover of Trendi magazine in which she was dressed in a slick blazer and a cute necklace. "Prime Minister Sanna Marin has a leading position as an example, a role model, a change of things, and an influencer. The work is high-pressure, but good sleep and iron nerves help," the magazine wrote on its Instagram page while sharing the image. No sooner did the photo appear on social media, self-appointed moral police of women's clothes took to Instagram to comment on how the jacket was inappropriate. "The role of the Prime Minister is to act as a leader and not as a fashion model," one user wrote, adding that by indulging in such photoshoots, Marin was bringing down her own image and credibility in international politics as well as the public eye.

FINNAIR TO SELL PLANE FOOD IN SHOPS Finnish carrier Finnair will start selling business class airplane food in supermarkets in a move to keep its catering staff employed and to offer a taste of the airline experience to those missing flying in the Covid-19 times. The state-controlled airline said that in a pilot scheme the handmade meals, called “Taste of Finnair,” would initially be offered at one store. The ready-made dishes include options like reindeer meatballs, Arctic char and Japanesestyle teriyaki beef and are suited for Nordic and Asian palates and would cost about 10 euros ($12) to 13 euros, Finnair Kitchen said. Finnair is one of the main airlines flying between Europe and Asia, and several Asian chefs and cooks work at its catering unit.

NRM unveils Museveni’s official campaign portrait Kampala: The National Resistance Movement (NRM) has unveiled the official campaign portrait of its presidential candidate, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni ahead of the general elections scheduled for January 2021. The Party SecretaryGeneral, Justine Kasule Lumumba while addressing the press at the Party Head offices in Kampala, said that the forthcoming campaigns shall be run under the theme, “Securing the Future” which is best explained under the four core principles of the NRM i.e. Patriotism, Pan Africanism, Socio-economic transformation and Democracy. “As NRM, we would like to unveil to Ugandans the official portrait of our Presidential candidate for the 2021 general elections,” Hon. Lumumba revealed. When asked about the missing name ‘Tibuhaburwa’ on the portrait of the candidate, the Secretary-General responded that as soon as the due process of upholding name by Electoral commission is done, his new name shall be adopted. On the same event, Lumumba disclosed to the media that the party shall present its Presidential candidate to the independent electoral commission for nomination on the 2nd of November this year. The SG also noted that the party had submitted a total of 5 mil-

lion signatures to the National Electoral Commission for the verification in accordance with the legal regime obtaining in the country. “I want to thank the NRM fraternity for the strong show of support. I also want to inform our sister political parties that this is a clear signal for the 2021 national elections,” she said. Lumumba congratulated all the NRM flagbearers upon their successful nomination by the Independent Electoral Commission. She also in a special way, congratulated all the flagbearers who were declared unopposed. “To the party, this is a clear indication of the massive support that the party enjoys among the Ugandan population. It shows trust and confidence that Ugandans have in us,” Lumumba added. Implementation of Sugar Act crucial: Speaker Kadaga Speaker Rebecca Kadaga is committed to ensuring that there is funding that is needed

for the implementation of the Sugar Act 2 0 2 0 . According to the Speaker, a board of directors should be appointed according to the law which needs funding for adequate implementation. “We are going to ensure that during this budget cycle, we make a provision for some money to start the board and the other activities,” said Kadaga. The Speaker made this commitment while on a visit to Smart Start Industries (EA) Ltd in Masindi district. The industry processes sugarcane into spirit related products. The Speaker was accompanied on the visit by the Kyabazinga of Busoga, HRH William Gabula Nadiope IV. The visit was intended boost trade relations between Busoga and Bunyoro sub-regions. Kadaga said there is need to seek markets for Uganda’s sugarcane farmers and sugar processors beyond the East African region. She also called for removal of tariff barriers and also tapping into the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region. “We also need to promote value addition to our sug-

arcane and look into other byproducts so that we can enter the market with processed goods,” Kadaga added. The Speaker added that Parliament will support the Ministry of Energy to come up with regulations that will aim at promoting the use of bio-fuels which would in turn will improve the drive for environmental conservation. I don’t fear anyone, says anticorruption unit boss Nakalema The State House AntiCorruption Unit head Lt Col Edith Nakalema has said she is ready to deal with all corrupt leaders who think they are untouchables. Nakalema said she was ready to assist the newly appointed Leadership Code Tribunal to quickly reach out to the ‘hard-to-reach people or leaders, saying speed in investigating and prosecuting suspects was one of her principles, which she said had yielded positive results since she assumed office in December 2018. Nakalema was speaking to the newly-appointed members of the Tribunal during an induction training session at their offices at Padre Pio House, Kampala. “I am a soldier and I do not fear anyone. I swore and I am ready to die on duty because I do not fear any of the so-called untouchables. We shall touch them on your behalf, just refer these individuals to me,” she said.

Buddhist monks oppose Lanka govt's proposed 20A COLOMBO: A section of Sri Lanka’s politically influential Buddhist clergy came out strongly against the government’s proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution that aims to bolster the powers of the President. The government on September 2 gazetted 20A, the new proposed legislation that would replace the 19th Amendment introduced in 2015 that curtailed the powers of the president and strengthened the role of Parliament. The Amarapura and Ramanna sects of monks, in a joint statement, said that the proposed 20A would destroy the independence of the judiciary, the public service, the system of elections while undermining the independence of Parliament and members of Parliament individually. The joint sects assert that what is needed now is not 20A to reverse the 2015 adopted 19A, but action to formulate a new Constitution by fixing any weaknesses in 19A. The two sects, however, have less influence than the main sects based in the central town of Kandy. The statement came after a leaked document over the weekend on the Supreme Court's determination on the constitutionality of 20A. Media reports said that the highest court had ruled that four of the 20A's clauses need to be approved at a referendum by

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

people in addition to the two thirds parliamentary majority. The clauses, which restores presidential immunity and the presidential power to dissolve Parliament after a year even though the parliamentary term is five years are the ones which

needed a referendum, the reports said. The official document on the apex court's determination is to be only made public on October 20 by parliamentary speaker. A five-member bench of the Supreme Court had heard some 39 petitions filed by the main Opposition and a host of others. All petitions took the common ground that the 20A, if enacted by repealing the 19A, would impinge on the fundamental rights of the citizens. The 20A ignited some protests from within the ranks of the ruling SLPP.

Bishops oppose amendment Catholic leaders also urged the government not to proceed with the constitutional amendment, saying it would undermine democracy. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka said the government should concentrate instead on drafting a new constitution that will strengthen democracy, equality and the rule of law. “We need to emphasize that concentration of power in an individual without checks and balances does not augur well for a democratic socialist republic,” the bishops said in a statement.

Muslim doctor who refused to shake woman's hand lost right to become a German BERLIN: The 39-year-old Lebanese national lost his chance to become a German after he refused to shake hands with a female official at the ceremony in 2015. During is 13 year stay in the country, he completed his medical studies and passing a citizenship test with the highest possible mark. Five years later, a court has backed their decision - saying the man's 'fundamentalist' views were at odds with his integration into German society. The man had moved to Germany in 2002 and lived there legally ever since, marrying a woman of Syrian origin about 10 years ago - promising her that he would never take the hand of another woman. He started his application for citizenship in 2012 and signed the necessary paperwork vowing to uphold the constitution and reject extremism. But the court in Mannheim said the handshake incident was incompatible with the constitution's guarantee of equality between men and women. 'If the applicant refuses to

shake hands for gender-specific reasons which are incompatible with the constitution, there is no integration into German living conditions,' they said. 'This applies in particular if the refusal to shake hands with the opposite sex - as in this case - serves to further a Salafist conviction about the relationship between men and women.' Germany has long held concerns about the fundamentalist Salafists, who make up only a tiny proportion of the country's Muslim population. The man's refusal to shake hands with the official came from a belief that women posed a 'threat of sexual temptation', the court said. Since the start of 2018, the man has stopped giving handshakes altogether - but the court dismissed this as a 'tactical' step to improve his chances of getting citizenship. The court said that handshakes had deep roots in Western culture, including as a symbol of reaching agreement.





24 - 30 October 2020

Lockdown over, but virus still there, says PM Modi in address to nation In his seventh address to the nation since the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the lockdown might have been lifted in the country but the “virus is still out there”. “In this festive season, markets are bright again but we need to remember that the lockdown might have ended but Covid-19 still persists. With efforts of every Indian over last 7-8 months, India is in a stable situation we must not let it deteriorate,” PM Modi said. “Many people have stopped taking precautions now. This is not right. If you are careless, walking out without a mask, then you are putting yourself,

your family, your family’s children, the elderly in as much trouble,” he added. Modi has addressed the nation a number of times during the Covid-19 crisis in which he has spoken about various

measures, including lockdown, being taken to curb the pandemic and also announced economic and welfare packages. In his last such address, he had on June 30 announced extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib

Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), a programme to provide free ration for over 800 million people, mostly poor, by five more months till November end. Meanwhile, ahead of PM’s address, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asked him to tell the nation the date by which he will “throw the Chinese out of Indian territory”. India on Tuesday reported less than 50,000 new cases for the first time in nearly three months. With 46,790 new cases reported across the country, the coronavirus infection has now affected close to 7.6 million people in India. As many as 587 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 1,15,197.

Amit Shah disapproves of Maharashtra governor's letter to Uddhav Thackeray Union home minister Amit Shah frowned upon Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s ‘secular’ jibe against CM Uddhav Thackeray, saying he should have been restrained in the choice of words he used in the letter. “I have gone through the letter. He has made a passing reference. However, I also feel that he should have been more restrained in the choice of his words,” Shah said in a TV interview.

in brief 20 BUILDINGS GUTTED IN ASSAM-MIZO BORDER FLARE-UP At least 20 houses and shops along the Assam-Mizoram border in Cachar district were set ablaze and several people were injured as a shower of petrol bombs landed from the other side of the boundary following a dispute over a Mizo checkpoint set up the previous night. Lailapur residents alleged that a group of Mizos had illegally set up a checkpoint in Cachar, about 2km from the interstate border, on Friday. “They were armed and roamed about brandishing their weapons. They did not allow a group of Assam forest officials to cross the checkpoint,” a resident said. Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal called the PMO and home ministry to apprise them about attacks. Cachar DSP Bhargab Goswami, along with a police contingent, had reached Khulicherra, about 5km from Lailapur and spoken to Mizo police officials about removing the illegal checkpoint. After some hesitation, the checkpoint was dismantled, sources said. In retaliation, groups of Mizos attacked properties, threw petrol bombs and assaulted people on the Assam side.


the state government could have nipped the controversy by handing over the matter to CBI right at the outset. “After all, doubts were being raised from the very first day,” he said. Asked about the controversy leading to a Bihar versus Maharashtra fight, he said it was the SC which assigned the case to CBI, adding that he did not know how the sudden death of the promising talent from Bihar was going to play out in elections. He further said there should be a fair and neutral probe in any such case. “It is not just true of the Sushant Singh case, all instances of unnatural death should be probed carefully and with sensitivity,” he added. Asked about drug use, Shah said it’s a menace that should be eliminated as fast as possible. Maha guv taunts Uddhav Thackeray In a sharp escalation of tensions, Maharashtra governor wrote a sarcasm-laden letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray stating “it was ironical” that

Maharashtra cabinet minister Yashomati Thakur and three of her aides were sentenced to three months in jail for assaulting a traffic cop eight years ago. The Amravati district and sessions court also imposed a fine of Rs 15,500, failure to pay which would invite addition of another month to the jail term. The court granted bail to all four and permitted them to appeal the sentence in a higher court. Thakur, a three-time Congress MLA and advocate by training, said that she would challenge the verdict in the high court. “Being a lawyer myself, I have always respected the judiciary. As such, it will not be proper for me to comment on the judgment. I can only say at this moment that truth shall prevail,” she said. Sessions court judge Urmila Joshi (Falke) held the minister, her driver Sagar Khandekar and two others – Sharad Jawanjal and Raju Ingle – guilty of beating up traffic policeman Ulhas Raurale on March 24, 2012, after he had stopped her vehicle for entering a one-way road from the wrong direction. The incident occurred in Amravati’s Chunabhatti area. Raurale lodged a complaint against all four, based on which a case was registered under Section 353 (criminal force against a public servant with intent to prevent the person from doing duty) of the IPC, among other charges.

Former cop seeks to restrain Republic TV, its editor from airing material related to the case


Shah had been asked about the letter Koshyari wrote to Thackeray objecting to the continuing closure of places of worship in Maharashtra when the state government had allowed commercial establishments to open. ‘Maha should have given SSR case to CBI at the outset’ In the interview, Shah said the Maharashtra government’s handling of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death created room for misgivings and suspicion. Responding to a question, he said

Former Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Iqbal Shaikh has approached the city civil court seeking a restraining order against the news channel Republic TV and its editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami from airing any material related to TRP scam. An FIR in the case has been registered at Kandivali police station. Shaikh has moved a suit for defamation against Goswami and the channel for making comments against the police force in connection with the TRP scam. The suit is likely to come up for hearing on Wednesday. Shaikh, in the suit filed through advocate Abha Singh, has alleged that “when a case is under investigation under statutory provisions, the Defendant No. 1 (Goswami) cannot be granted the liberty to discuss his own case and arbitrate it in his own TV channels by defaming Mumbai Police.” Shaikh has alleged that Goswami has been conducting debates and airing stories in connection with the case which may influence the investigation. “The Plaintiff submits that the Defendant No. 1 has transgressed his limits as an owner of two most popular TV Channels and has started pursuing his own agenda by being the

shrines were still shut while bars and restaurants had been allowed to reopen in the state and asked if Uddhav, “a strong votary of Hindutva”, had “turned secular”. Uddhav hit back within hours to say he did not need a certificate of Hindutva Uddhav Thackeray and Bhagat Singh Koshyari from Koshyari and, in yourselves, the term you hated.” an indirect reference to actor To which, Thackeray in a written Kangana Ranaut, added that reply said, “Why has this “giving a rousing welcome to a question come to your mind? Do person who described Mumbai as you feel that merely opening of PoK does not fit into my temples means Hindutva and not definition of Hindutva”. opening means secular? ” Koshyari’s letter requesting “The governor must have Thackeray to “announce personal experience of divine forthwith the reopening of all premonition. I have absolutely places of worship” came on a day no idea, I am not that big. I am the BJP launched a statewide studying what’s happening in agitation to press for reopening. other states and trying to Koshyari said, “I wonder if you implement what is better for are receiving any divine Maharashtra,” the CM added. premonition to keep postponing Relations between the the reopening of the places of governor and the Thackeray-led worship time and again or have coalition government of Sena, you suddenly turned secular NCP and Congress have been fraught right from the beginning when Koshyari swore in BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as CM unannounced at 8 am on November 23 last year, only to be forced three days later to invite Editor-in-Chief and by blurting out large Uddhav to form government. sermons about his own case which is under “You have been a strong probe by a statutory body,” read the suit. votary of Hindutva, you had Republic TV is one of the three channels accused publicly espoused your devotion by Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir for Lord Rama by visiting Singh of manipulating television ratings. Ayodhya after taking charge as Six people have been arrested by the Mumbai CM, you had visited the Vitthal Police in the scam, which allegedly involves Rukmini Mandir in Pandharpur bribing homeowners whose TV viewing is monitored to ensure that certain channels get and performed the puja on higher ratings. The ratings are a key influencer of Ashadhi Ekadishi,” Koshyari said advertiser preferences while placing in his letter. In response, commercials. The police claim this is a “multiThackeray said Koshyari had crore” scam. correctly referred to his The channel moved the high court seeking Hindutva, but he did not need a quashing of the FIR registered in the case and its certificate of Hindutva from the transfer from Mumbai Police to Central Bureau governor, nor was he required to of Investigation (CBI). learn it from anyone. “My SC asks Republic TV to move HC definition of Hindutva is very The Supreme Court asked Republic TV to clear. Neither my state nor the approach the Bombay high court with its state capital will give a rousing grievance against Mumbai police’s probe into the welcome to a person who alleged TRP scam but disapproved the Mumbai described Mumbai as PoK. It police commissioner resorting to press does not fit into my Hindutva,” conferences on the issue. Thackeray retorted.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board issued a statement to say that it will challenge in the high court the special CBI court verdict acquitting all accused on the Babri Masjid demolition case. The AIMPLB working committee chaired by the board’s president, Maulana Syed Mohammad Rabey Hasani Nadvi issued a statement saying “members at the meeting expressed their dismay over the decision of the court. The board unanimously decided whether the CBI would challenge this decision or not, the board would challenge this decision in the high court.” The board’s legal committee also presented a detailed note to the working committee on the review of the Sabarimala case saying that “it clearly includes religious freedom, the scope of Article 25 of the Indian Constitution and what is mandatory and important for a religion could be dealt in this ruling. “This will affect the religious freedom of the majority, including Muslims and the other minorities. It was thus decided that the board would also be involved in the case as an intervenor.”





24 - 30 October 2020

The fortune and bliss of Kanya Dan Subhash V Thakrar I was recently privileged and blessed to perform the kanya dan of my daughter. I joined amongst many fathers who have had the fortune of being part of this unique experience. Kanya dan literally means giving away the hand of your daughter to a young man she has chosen to spend the rest of her life with. The actual time of giving our daughter’s hand is a moment of extreme emotions that only those fathers who experienced it will remember. It is a sad feeling that the daughter that you have made big efforts to bring up, educate and support is now going to leave your home, her home, and move on. Someone once said, during kanya dan, you see tears in the eyes of the father and it is the one time, this scene looks very respectable. The fathers are allowed to shed a tear or two at the time of kanya dan! The other emotion is of course the feeling of happiness that your daughter has found a soulmate and is going to start her own family. Kanya dan is called the biggest dan. Rightly so. Just compare this to an asset or building that you have invested in, nurtured, developed and made valuable. Would you ever think of just giving it away? This is the time when the daughter should clear the space in her heart occupied by her father and give this to her new husband. But the father will continue to keep that special corner for his daughter in his heart. It is very commendable and sometimes unbelievable that we have such customs where you bring up someone to their mature age and then they simply leave the family nest. The impact on the daughter is even harder. It is a massive revolution. Having got so accustomed to living with the parents and at many times getting away with what she wants with her dad for 25/30 years, she makes a complete new beginning. She has to turn her back on all that and look forward to a new life. Her husband’s family culture and philosophy would be different when she becomes the person responsible for making a home. These are not easy changes to make in life. Yet these young ladies manage to deal with all such challenges in their stride. They simply adjust to the new life and get on with it. I have to say, easily said than done! I cannot imagine how man would be able to cope with such major changes if it happened to them! I have to say, my hats off to all those remarkable daughters who are so adoptable and who can continue to spread their love with their husbands and dads. When I think about this my heart just glows!

Maansi Shah ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ My mother often recited this Maya Angelou quote to me verbatim while I was growing up, always followed by, ‘Just look at your dada, Maana! He never has a bad word to say about anyone, he goes out of his way, above and beyond, to help everyone he comes across, and on top of all that, he makes people feel safe, valued, loved. That’s the kind of person I want you to be’. Then, in Hindi and usually under her breath, she would add, ‘God forbid, if anything were to happen to him tomorrow, do you know how many people would come to his funeral? Thousands!’ As I got older, and even closer to my Dada, just the distant thought of a life without him was enough to make me cry on the spot, every time. I regularly implored him to clean and reorganise his home office, which, unsurprisingly to all those who knew him, he was working in until the very end. ‘Just throw all of it away when I’m gone!’ he would say in Gujarati, a big smile across his face - as there often was. Unable to help myself, I would start sobbing. He used to half-jokingly tell me that he’ll stick around just long enough to see me get married. I would burst into tears then, too. Now, he won’t even be around to see me graduate from university in the summer.

India’s daily Covid-19 cases less than 50,000 for first time in 3 months The number of new coronavirus infections dropped below 50,000 for the first time in nearly three months in India on Tuesday even as the country’s Covid-19 tally inched close to 7.6 million, the Union health ministry’s data showed. On Tuesday, there were 46,790 new cases of Covid-19 from across the country, fewer than 47,703 recorded on July 28. The 46,790 new cases of the coronavirus disease and 587 related deaths in the last 24 hours have taken India’s infection tally to 7,597,063, according to the health ministry. The number of Covid19 cases and death have been relatively low for two days now - there were 55,722 infections and 579 fatalities on Monday. According to the health ministry’s Covid-19 dashboard at 8 am, the number of active cases has also dropped below the 800,000 mark at 748,538 for the fourth day in a row. India’s death toll has gone up to 115,197, it showed. There were 69,720 Covid-19 patients who recovered between Monday and Tuesday and the number of recovered is 6,733,328 across the country. The national recovery rate has gone up to 88.63%. The health ministry said that 75% of the new confirmed cases between Monday and Tuesday morning are from 10 states and Union territories. Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Kerala contributed more than 5,000 to the new confirmed cases, it added. Of the 587 fatalities relat-

ed to the coronavirus disease, which have been reported in the past 24 hours, nearly 81% are concentrated in 10 states and Union territories, the ministry also said. The deaths reported have been below 600 for the second consecutive day on Tuesday. India has added 1,284,479 Covid-19 cases to its tally since October

1 and the death toll in the country, which is the second worstaffected after the United States, has increased by 16,519, health ministry’s data shows. India drops to No.2 in daily cases as US surges again After recording the highest number of daily Covid-19 cases in the world for more than two months, India has finally be passing on the baton back to the US. For two days running, the US reported more daily cases than India, which had been logging

the highest single-day counts in the world since August 6. The US recorded 66,131 and 71,687 fresh infections, as per worldometers.info, while the daily count in India on these days was 64,237 and 62,587. The numbers vary slightly in EU’s ECDC database, but it too shows more fresh cases in the US since Thursday. It was after 71 days that the US again posted the highest daily tally in the world. During these 71 days, India held the top position. In cumulative caseload, the US continues to lead the world with more than 8.3 million cases so far. India holds the second spot with nearly 7.5 million cases.

CBI concludes probe into Sushant's death After Sushant Singh Rajput's family and Bihar police requested for a CBI intervention in the actor's death case, the Supreme Court granted the permission to the investigating body to conduct a probe. A lot of revelations came to light after the Central Bureau of Investigation carried out its probe in Sushant's death case. However, now it is being reported that the CBI has completed its investigation in this case and is likely to file a closure report soon. As per a report, sources close to CBI have stated that the CBI is expected to file its closure report in a CBI Patna court in the coming few days. So far, reportedly, any foul play in Sushant's death case has been ruled out. AIIMS forensic team also reportedly in its report concluded that Sushant died by suicide, ruling out the murder theory. Sushant passed away on June 14, 2020. He was reportedly found hanging in his apartment in Bandra. It was being reported

that the late actor was suffering from depression for the past few months before his death. Later, his family filed an FIR against his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty accusing her of abetment to suicide, cheating and more. Then the CBI stepped in to investigate the case. The Enforcement Directorate and Narcotics Control Bureau also got involved in this case. Rhea was arrested by the NCB for reportedly procuring drugs for Sushant. After spending nearly a month in jail, she was granted bail.

In Memoriam: D. R. Shah Last week, on Saturday 17 October, I spoke at my Dada’s funeral. There were only thirty of us in attendance, as per Covid-19 guidelines. But I know that many of you loved him. As a family, we have quite literally received thousands of condolences from across the globe for our tragic, unexpected loss. We are sincerely grateful, beyond words. It is comforting to think about how widely adored he was. I truly hope he knew just how much. For those who loved my Dada but could not be with us at the funeral, for those who did not know my Dada but wish they had gotten the chance, and for those who are simply wondering whether or not it is possible to do justice to a man who deserved the whole world in a eulogy limited to two minutes (it isn’t!), here is a transcript of what I said: Earlier this week, when my family and I were planning my beautiful Dada’s funeral, I immediately knew I wanted to be one of his six pallbearers, and to deliver a eulogy in his honour. The thought of volunteering to openly grieve like this is very unsettling to me, but I am trying to set my discomfort aside. I know that my Dada was deeply loved and respected by everyone who was blessed to have known him in any capacity during his 77 years, including all of you, and it is said that grief shared is made lighter. I will try anything that might ease my bur-

den, because I have never felt heartbreak as fierce as this before. I will never be able to find the words to express every single one of the hundreds of things that my Dada is to me, but that’s okay. I think he knew, for the most part. He was my anchor, one of my favourite people in the whole wide world, and I know I am truly fortunate to see him in my own dad in so many ways. I have always been so proud to be D. R. Shah’s granddaughter - his first grandchild - this genuinely good, pure man who always radiated love, and will be so dearly missed for his laughter, kindness and compassion. I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to be like my Dada, and trying to make him similarly proud of me. He loved to tell us, ‘Don’t worry, be happy! Heaven is not going to fall’. But it does feel like heaven has come crashing down. Without him, this world feels wrong, our family feels untethered, and I keep looking at the front door, waiting and waiting for something that is never going to happen. But for the rest of my days, through the many lessons he taught me (and the mini-me he made in my dad!) my Dada will be my guiding light, and I will forever be his Laadki Dikri. Dada, have mane tamara sathe vat kar vi che. Mari vari che, tamne, ‘Don’t worry, be happy,’ keva mate. Tame chinta nahi karta. Hu badha nu dhyan rakhis, pota nu pan,

jevu tame sikhvadyu chhe. Tamari Jyotsna, tamaro Jago, tamari Nami Senior nu dhyaan tamari Nami Junior rakhse. Dhyaan ane hu Vihana, Virina, Karina, ane Heyan ne tamari badhi varta ke su. Ane have thi, hu tamara mate pag hala vanu bandh karidais, raate suvani pehla badha daravajao ane bario ne check kari ne rakhis, bolta bolta has vanu bandh karis, ane hasta hasta bol vanu bandh karidais. ‘Talking? No laughing. Laughing? No talking.’ I love you, Dada. Tamari bau yaad aav se. — In loving memory of D. R. Shah, 5 April 1943 - 7 October 2020. Devoted husband to Jyotsna, father to Jigar, Hardik, and Hema, father-in-law to Namita, Heeral, and Manish, and grandfather to Maansi, Dhyaan, Vihana, Virina, and Karina.





24 - 30 October 2020


in brief

70 killed as heavy rain batters Telangana HYDERABAD: After two spells of massive downpour in Hyderabad last week that killed 70 in Telangana, breached at least three major lakes, causing heavy flooding and havoc in many parts of the city, the administration is now gearing up for more rain. The weather office has warned of heavy rain for the next three to four days too. While 33 people have died in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) area, 37 deaths have been reported in the adjoining areas. Several parts on the Old City area continue to be flooded, with the police, the disaster response force, municipality and police stretched thin and working round the clock. Six people, including of two children, died in the second spell of rain on Saturday evening. More bodies were recovered from the devastation caused by rain last week, including a body

recovered from inside a car that got washed away. "We're trying to minimise the loss of life. So please cooperate in evacuation. Don't just move to higher floors," Telangana Minister KT Rama Rao said. The minister also said that urban flooding has a reality now. "We have 18 boats in GHMC. Andhra Pradesh is sending us a few. Other agencies as well (are sending boats), so we will have up to 50,'' he said, for rescuing those stranded. "There is no denying there are illegal encroachments. Lake beds have become colonies, storm water drains need modernisation, they

are clogged. We want to a permanent find solution to these problems. Our immediate priority, however, is to save lives," he said. The Telangana capital witnessed one of the worst deluges for a single day in October in over a century, with about 20 to 32 cm of rain being recorded in the city and its surrounding areas. A cause of concern in terms of preparedness for more rain is that the Doppler radar at the weather station in Hyderabad, that predicts the quantum of rain with more accuracy localitywise, is under repair, apparently due to voltage fluctuations, reportedly caused by bad weather. At least 50 people died in the first spell of massive downpour last week, that continued for days. The assessed damage in the state is over £600 million.

Visuals from Saturday night's deluge showed vehicles being swept away as streets got submerged in water. On Sunday, people were seen on their rooftops after floodwater entered their homes. Rs 10,000 for every flood-hit family State Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced Rs 10,000 as immediate relief to each flood-affected household in the city, besides an assistance of Rs 100,000 each to totally damaged houses and Rs 50,000 to partially damaged ones. Observing that essential commodities, like rice and pulses, have been lost due to the flooding, Rao said the financial assistance of Rs 10,000 will be distributed. Rao instructed the Collectors of Hyderabad, Rangareddy, and Medchal districts (under the jurisdiction of Hyderabad) to send teams on the field to start distributing the amount to the poor.


Punjab passes three bills against Centre’s farm laws CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Legislative Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed three bills to negate the Centre’s three agriculture laws. The bills include - The Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) bill, 2020, The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) bill, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) bill, 2020. Presenting the bills, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh termed the Central laws antifarmer. Earlier, as the proceedings of the House special session began, the Chief

Amarinder Singh

Minister moved a draft resolution rejecting the Central farm laws and the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020, and demanded they be scrapped. The draft resolution seeks annulment of the farm laws and the proposed Electricity Bill, as well as promulgation of “a fresh ordinance making the procurement of food grains on

the Minimum Support Price a statutory right of the farmers and continue with procurement by Government of India through FCI and other such agencies.” Regretting that several MLAs indulged in “frivolous activities” on Monday to gain political mileage, with some coming in tractors and some spending the night in the Assembly precincts in protest against non-receipt of his government’s Bills, the Chief Minister said he had signed the same at 9.30 pm after extensive discussions and consultations with various experts. “Such delays in sharing copies of Bills happen in

emergent session,” he said. The draft resolution expressed the Assembly’s deep regret over the “callous and inconsiderate attitude of the government of India in attending to the concerns of the farming community on recent allegedly farm legislation enacted by them.” “These three legislation along with the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 are clearly against the interests of farmers and landless workers, and timetested agriculture marketing system established not only in Punjab but also in the original green revolution areas of Punjab, Haryana, and western UP,” it said, adding that the government of India had clearly enacted trade legislation and not farm legislation.


Bengal governor assures action on turban controversy KOLKATA: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said the recent incident involving a Sikh man, whose turban was allegedly pulled by the police, was a matter of "disgrace", and assured members of the community that necessary action would be taken in this regard. Dhankhar, who had been at odds with the Mamata Banerjee-led dispensation since assuming charge in the state, told the delegation he was "deeply hurt" by the episode. The delegation led by president Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee Manindar Singh Sirsa submitted a representation regarding the disgraceful act to the governor. The governor also attached a link to a video of the delegation's visit to Raj Bhavan during the day. Sirsa, in his letter to Dhankhar, maintained that

Jagdeep Dhankhar

"excessive use of force by West Bengal police personnel was against the secular nature of the Constitution". The governor assured strict action against the police official for the outrage. State education minister and senior TMC leader Partha Chatterjee, however, alleged that Dhankhar was "maligning" the post of governor with his remarks, and shirking responsibilities as the constitutional head of the state. "The governor and the BJP have entered into a conspiracy to

defame the state, which has always been known for its communal amity. The Sikh community in the state condemns such conspiracy," he said. The Delhi Gurudwara committee, in its representation, urged the governor to take note of the incident and initiate steps for "appropriate penal and department action against the police and government employees guilty of committing the excesses and outraging religious sentiments". Controversy erupted after visuals of the police beating up a Sikh man during BJP's protest went viral on social media, with a section of Netizens claiming that the police had pulled his turban during the scuffle. The saffron brigade claimed the incident has hurt religious sentiments. The man, identified as 43-year-old Balwinder Singh, is a resident of Bhatinda in

Punjab. The BJP said that he was a former soldier of the Indian Army, and currently employed as a private security officer of a party leader. The police, however, argued that the person was carrying a firearm and his headgear "had fallen off automatically in the scuffle". The state home department, in its tweet, said that the incident was being "twisted out of context by a political party to serve its partisan interest.” Members of the Sikh community took out a protest in the city condemning the incident. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had also expressed shock over the "humiliating treatment" meted out to a Sikh and urged his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee to take strict action "against the concerned cop for hurting the Sikh religious sentiments".

MAN STABS 6 ON BENGALURU STREET Brandishing a butcher’s knife that he had snatched from a mutton shop, a 30-year-old daily wage labourer killed one person and injured five others in a stabbing spree along a 2km stretch of central Bengaluru. M Ganesh’s 30-minute rampage ended after police overpowered him. Ganesh, a resident of Anjanappa Garden, told the cops he didn’t know what he had done. He is suspected to be suffering from mental illness. One person died in the hospital while another is battling for life. The other four injured are out of danger, police said. According to police, Ganesh, who is estranged from his wife, would have frequent fights with his mother and others. “He was reportedly under treatment at Nimhans. We’ll get his medical reports to know his mental condition,” a senior police officer said.

AIADMK EXUDES CONFIDENCE TO WIN 2021 POLLS The AIADMK last week celebrated its 49th foundation day at the party office in Chennai in the presence of Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam. Several other party leaders were also present at the event celebrating the ruling AIADMK stepping into its 49th year. Tamil Nadu Minister and AIADMK leader D Jayakumar, addressing the event, expressed confidence that the party will win the 2021 Assembly elections. "Today, we celebrate the foundation day. Next year is our 50th year. The AIADMK government, which had ruled in Tamil Nadu for many years, will continue in power after 2021 as well. The time of Congress and DMK is over," Jayakumar said. Asserting that AIADMK is a government that stands for social justice, he said that the party will fulfill the dream of former Chief Minister Jayalalitha.

SHAURYA CHAKRA AWARDEE SHOT DEAD Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh, who had fought against terrorism for years, was shot dead by two unidentified men in Punjab's Tarn Taran district. He and his family had been on terrorists' hit list for years. Sources claim the 62-year-old was attacked inside his home and took five bullets. Balwinder was rushed to a hospital, where he was declared brought dead, sources added. "Two people were involved in the attack, one of whom went up to his house and shot him. We have filed a case and it is being investigated," Senior Superintendent of Police Tarn Taran Dhruman Nimbale said. The security provided by the state government to Balwinder had been removed a year ago on the recommendation of the local police. Balwinder had even erected bunkers on the roof of his house.

HC BANS PANDAL HOPPING While West Bengal was preparing for the Durga Puj festivities, the Calcutta High Court while hearing a PIL ordered that all pandals to be made into ‘no entry’ zones. The court’s direction will be applicable for all 34,000 puja pandals in the state. “The court’s order further mentioned that the smaller pandals will have barricades five metres beyond the extremities of the pandals and 10 metres beyond the extremities of the bigger pandals,” said Advocate Sabyasachi Chatterjee, the petitioner of the PIL. The court also restricted the number of puja committee members moving in and out of the pandal for rituals and other work related to the pandal. “For smaller pujas, 15 committee members and 25 members for the bigger pujas will be permitted to enter the pandal.






24 - 30 October 2020

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

The Royal Conspiracy to merge Tripura with Pak • Maharani Kanchanprava checkmated the plot by Durjoy Kishore and Abdul Barik • Promptness of Sardar Patel and Governor Akbar Hyderi saved the Princely State ne would be surprised when after decades some hidden facts of the history are revealed: on 5 November 2014, Manik Sarkar, the former Chief Minister and a Marxist leader made a statement that a section of the then ruling Tripura royal family had tried to merge the erstwhile Princely State with East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). It is also a known fact that Sir Akbar Hyderi, the then Governor of Assam had to take drastic actions under the instructions from Sardar Patel, the Deputy Prime Minister who headed the Home Ministry and the States Ministry, not only for Tripura but also for Manipur Princely State for merger with India. Of course, the Maharaja of Tripura Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya had already made up his mind to join the Indian Union before he died on 17 May 1947, leaving his Maharani Kanchanprava Devi, the princess of the Panna State, to fulfill his dream. Even according to V.P. Menon, the Secretary of the States Ministry, Bodhchandra Singh, the last Maharaja of Manipur, was compelled to sign the Instrument of Accession on 21 September 1949 at Shillong by Sir Hyderi and the controversy about it has not died down even today.


“Tripura merged with the Indian Union in September 1949. Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya, Tripura's last king, had decided to merge with the Indian Union in April 1947. But he died and a regency council headed by his widow, Kanchanprava Devi, was formed to look after the administration, as the coronated prince, Kirit Bikram Kishore Manikya, was a minor. In compliance with his will, Kanchanprava, on behalf of her minor son, signed the Instrument of Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Maharani Kanchanprava Devi who merges Accession,” writes Sudipta Bhattacharjee Manikya of Tripura in The Telegraph and adds: “However, Sir Hyderi, she foiled the machinations of palace intrigues followed, with the likes of Abdul Barik alias Gedu Mia of Mohammed Abdul Barik Khan alias Gedu Anjuman-e-Islamia who wanted Tripura to Mia, the leader of the Anjuman Islamia be merged with Pakistan. That cruel fate group and a stooge of the late king's stepbefell neighbouring Chittagong Hill Tracts brother, Durjay Kishore Debbarman, (CHT) where the Rajbari failed to back the trying to merge Tripura with East Pakistan. likes of Sneha Kumar Chakma when they The plot, however, was leaked and Tripura fought for merger with India. merged with the Indian Union in 1949.” Subir Bhaumik, an eminent journalist, Maharaja Bir Bikram was not only a writes in “Tripura: Ethnic Conflict, great modernizer but Militancy and also epitomized Counterinsurgency”: “An fairness and balance in Islamic party, the governance. He rushed Anjuman-e-Islamia, led to parts of eastern by a rich contractor Bengal to save Bengalis Abdul Barik, alias Gedu during riots and gave Miah, had managed to them important win the support of some positions in his leading palace nobles like administration. He also Durjoy Karta for his created the Tribal plans to merge Tripura Reserve to protect tribal with East Pakistan. He land and identity had strong support from anticipating the flood Muslim League, which of Bengali refugees who had been bolstered by its would rush to Tripura effortless takeover of to escape persecution Chittagong Hill Tracks after partition. The (CHT), despite strong Maharaja was also a local resistance. But patriot and had given Tripura, the Indian state surrounded by East determined action by all clear directives to his Pakistan (now Bangladesh) political parties and wife to join the Indian Union when the ethnic organisations foiled Barik’s country became free, unlike many Princely conspiracy and Regent Maharani Devi States which were averse to join the Union moved rather swiftly to sign the and had to be forced into it. Pradyot Instrument of Accession that made Manikya Bikram Debbarma, the grand son Tripura a part of the Indian Union on 15 of Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya is October 1949. Even S.P. Sinha in his book revered as the “Maharaja” by people of “Lost Opportunities: 50 years of Tripura even today. He is Insurgency in the North-east Next Column actively involved in politics and India’s”, describes the Portuguese Goa but had refused the offer to chronology of Tripura merging be the Chief Ministerial becomes part of India with India after foiling the well candidate of BJP in 2014 planned conspiracy: “Durjoy stating ideological differences. He was the Kishore, a member of the royal family was Working President of the Tripura conspiring with Abdul Barik, the richest Congress then but has left Congress to businessman of Tripura at that time, and a head an alliance of various organisations. supporter of the Muslim League. Durjoy The Regent Maharani Kanchanprabha was frustrated in his efforts to seize the Devi, because Maharaja Kirit Bikram was a throne after the death of the Raja. The minor, had no hesitation signing the queen, Rani Kanchanprabha (prava), acting instrument of accession to join the Indian with great alacrity aborted Durjoy’s Union. She had met Sardar Patel with her designs of ‘possible Kashmir type father, the Maharaja of Panna, seeking help operation in Tripura’. The people of securing her interests in favour of India. Tripura, even today, love and respect both Patel wrote to Sir Akbar Hyderi, the then the last ruling Maharaja Bir Bikram Governor of Assam to take prompt action. Kishore Manikya and Maharani She was given security at Shillong. With Kanchanprava Devi. Recently, the Agartala the active support from Sardar Patel and airport is named after the Maharaja.

Case against Kangana for allegedly spreading religious disharmony A Mumbai court has ordered an FIR (first information report) against Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut for allegedly creating religious disharmony. Kangana has been accused of "continuously defaming Bollywood film industry" by a casting director who petitioned the court and said the 'Queen' actor is "creating a communal divide between people of two communities and in the mind of common man" through her tweets. The order was passed by Metropolitan Bandra Magistrate Jaydeo Y Ghule as the court responded to a complaint by petitioner Sahil Ashrafali Sayyed; the complaint also mentions Kangana's sister - Rangoli Chandel. "She is well aware that she is a well-known actress and has a big fan base so her tweets will be seen and will reach out to many people," the petitioner underlined. "The allegations are based on the comments made on electronic media - Twitter and interviews - and a thorough investigation by an

expert is necessary," the court said, directing the police station concerned to "initiate necessary action and investigation against the actor and her sister under relevant provisions of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)." Sayyed identifies himself as a casting director and a fitness trainer and mentions in his petition that he has worked with several prominent filmmakers, including Ram Gopal Verma, Sanjay Gupta and Nagarjuna. He sought registration of the FIR under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity), 295A (malicious acts intended to outrage the religious feelings) and 124A (sedition) against the actor and her sister. The 'Queen' actor is "portraying people working in Bollywood films as a hub of nepotism, favouritism, drug addicts, communally biased people, murderers, (sic)" he said in his complaint. "Her sister, too, has made objectionable

Kangana Ranaut

comments on social media to spread communal tension between two religious groups," the complaint read. The complainant goes on to mention the recent controversial comments by Kangana when she compared Mumbai to POK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir). The remark led to a war of words between Kanagana and the Shiv Sena. "The said tweet again is misleading and false as Mumbai is one of the most safest city in the world," the petitioner has said, adding that the "tweet is made maliciously to create disaffection towards Maharashtra government by falsely defaming Mumbai which is the capital of Maharashtra and commercial capital of India."

Hathras case: Plea to probe destruction of evidence by doctors, UP police The Supreme Court has reserved its orders on a writ petition filed by activist Chetan Janardhan Kamble seeking an independent investigation into the role of medical staff and top Uttar Pradesh Police officers in the destruction of evidence in the Hathras rape and murder case. “The facts clearly indicate the involvement and complicity of certain UP State Police and officials of the State government machinery in manipulation and destruction of evidence and shielding the accused in respect of the subject crime,” Kamble said in a writ petition, filed by advocate Vipin Nair. The petition was reserved for orders on October 15 along with a separate one filed by Satyama Dubey. The Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde had voiced an inclination to have the Allahabad HC monitor the ongoing CBI probe. In his petition, Kamble said, to start with, the “government hospital at Aligarh had not taken vaginal swabs and body smears of the victim or collected drop sheet after change of clothes, despite finding torn clothes and bleeding on under-garments”. It said certain high-ranking police and government officials, even before the investigation was complete, had ruled out the possibility of rape, and made public statements to this extent. This, the petition said, “indicates a clear nexus between the State Police and the accused”. The plea said the “bizarre and barbaric manner in which the body of the victim was stealthily cremated in the dead of the night by police officials smacks of them being involved in suppressing the crime rather than investigating it”. "This unpardonable crime by the State Police and other government instrumentality, which denied the family of

the victim even the basic right to perform last rites on the body of the victim is nothing but depravity of the soul,” the petition said. The petition said the intelligence report relied on by UP “appears to be prepared on second thoughts, and in any case it does not mention how police handling, transporting and cremating of the victims' body would be necessary to quell any law and order situation”. CBI questions relatives of accused After having questioned the Hathras victim’s family over two days, the 15-member CBI team probing the case interrogated the relatives of the four accused. After a fourhour session, the team left with papers and evidence from their houses. Narendra Singh, claimed Sandeep, his son and one of the accused, was innocent. “I was with him when the girl is said to have been raped,” he said. “It was from a local we got to know that the girl was injured,” Narendra Singh said. “I am ready for a narco test. We have nothing to hide.” He added that there had been a feud between the two families. “We went to jail in 2001 because of a complaint by the girl’s grandfather.” The CBI team left their house with Sandeep’s phone and a marksheet. The team had reached the village after a visit to the Chandpa police station where the first FIR in the case had been filed. Families of three of the accused - Sandeep, Ravi and Ramu - live in houses on the same premises. Lavkush’s house is just a little ahead. Ravi’s father Attar Singh declined to comment on the CBI’s questioning. “They have taken some papers that belong to Ravi with them,” he said. Sources said the CBI is likely to seek permission for questioning the four accused who have been incarcerated in Aligarh district jail.





24 - 30 October 2020

Non-stop digital work to revive arts goes on as the future of freelancers remains questionable Shefali Saxena ITV News tweeted on Tuesday that Rishi Sunak had said that “musicians and others in [the] arts should retrain and find other jobs’. The arts community in the UK obviously went into a frenzy and apparently started preparing “to descend on 11 Downing Street with flaming torches”, The Guardian reported. But, that’s not the full story. According to The Guardian, “After much uproar, ITV deleted the tweet and said it had been misleading – but thespians were already orating, and Liam Gallagher was already halfway out of his jacket, looking for a scrap. What had Sunak actually said, then?” Sunak had said, “It’s a very sad time … I can’t pretend that everyone can do exactly the same job that they were doing at the beginning of this crisis. And that’s why we’ve put a lot of our extra resource into trying to create new opportunities for people.” Asked whether he was really telling people from the arts and music world to simply go and get a new job in a different sector, he said: “That is fresh and new opportunity for people. That’s exactly what we should be doing.” Taking a dig at Sunak, the publication wrote, “He didn’t say it as bluntly as some soundbites put it. But yeah, it’s in there, isn’t it? He didn’t not say it.” Exploring how the upcoming Covid-19 restrictions might impact the arts community, which has almost anyway stretched up to almost a year long lockdown/dormancy, Asian Voice reached out to artistic directors of Asian theatres in the UK to get a sense

of the current situation. Artistic Director and Joint CEO, Tara Arts, Abdul Shayek told Asian Voice, “The sector as a whole will take a while to come back to normal. There's a lot of work left to be done. He believed that the shift was happening before Covid. People were exploring digital by and large.”His main worry continues to be centered around people who have freelanced all their lives and are now looking out for new career options. He said, “During good times people who freelance in the art sector, struggle to make a living but they do it because they are passionate about it and they believe in it. It is really insensitive of Rishi Sunak to say this if he did.” He cited the example of the banking crisis in 2008 and shared that if Sunak shows this kind of disregard for the art and culture sector, by that logic bankers should have started looking for new jobs. “Art and culture sector is more important than banking today in my opinion,” he added. Shayek further emphasised, “Things are hard enough when times are good, when times are hard, it is a final straw for a lot of people. It’s not surprising that we find ourselves in the current circumstances, but it’s important to respect the artists in history, it’s important to respect the artists today, and it’s fundamental that we make way for the artists of tomorrow,” he said. According to Shayek, “We’re (Tara Arts) not going to necessarily run out of money now, we may run out of money probably next year. That’s the problem and there are a lot of

Abdul Shayek, Artistic Director and CEO, Tara Arts

organisations that are in a similar position. We’re trying to look at where the skill gaps are. The biggest challenge is that the freelance community is currently suffering. We are trying to hold onto as many of them as possible because the freelance arts community is big in this sector. That also contributes to diversity, especially from the BAME community. We don’t want to lose our freelancers.” Shayek explained that at Tara Arts, the team is trying to utilise digital tools and platforms and trying to upscale people to be able to work on those platforms. Asian Voice reached out to Fin Kennedy, Artistic Director at Tamasha Theatre Company who said it’d be difficult for him to distil a quote for us on this topic since it’s a huge and complex area. However, Fin shared some recent examples of how theatre and narrative storytelling are changing as a result of Covid-19. Titled “Under The Mask”, Tamasha’s upcoming play will be screened on Sat 14 - Sun 15 November at Onstage Unreserved, Oxford Playhouse. The context traces back to March 2020, when hundreds of final year medical students finished their studies early, and


Helena Bell, Artistic Director Kali Theatre Company

started work on the frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic when the burden was carried alone by a generation of young doctors and nurses, who couldn’t even get a hug from their parents, in case they passed the virus on. Helena Bell, Artistic Director Kali Theatre Company told Asian Voice, “I think because Kali are so busy on script development (which is over fifty per cent of our workload) and we are ACE funded to do this work alongside our tours we haven’t yet experienced too many of the hardships some colleagues in venues are enduring as we’ve just postponed everything (tour wise) to next year and adapted to the new normal. And we’re making non stop digital work instead to keep our writers and actors in work! (And reaching a huge new online audience!). But of course longer term we’re fully dependent on the venues being back up and thriving in order to do our normal tours and reach out to live audiences so if they go bust then we will have to adapt to a very different way of working. So that is a worry! Kali is not now going out with any live work until May 2021 and consequently watching the situation very closely to see if that will still be possible.”

Michael Blackman Ltd.’s World Art – Rare Antique Asian, Islamic & Colonial Decorative Arts’ October catalogue for collectors and curators is now available. It Includes 30 fine, new items of antique, non-Western art. Overall, the items originate from Tibet, Nepal, Mongolia, India, China, Sri Lanka, Straits Chinese, Burma, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, Niger/Morocco, Ottoman Turkey, Yemen, Ivory Coast & Nigeria. Most have been sourced by us from within the UK & Europe however. All items are accompanied by multiple photographs, & video footage to show their relative size.Some of the eyecatching items include a Nepalese medicine spoon and Tall Mongolian Silver Ewer. This month's fine objects can be seen on https://www.michaelbackmanltd.com/monthly _catalogue/october2020/

Indian costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, the first person to win an Oscar for India is no more Oscar winning Indian costume designer Bhanu Athaiya passed away on October 15, 2020 after suffering complications of brain cancer in South Mumbai at the age of 91. She worked on over 100 films, with Indian filmmakers such as Guru Dutt, Yash Chopra, B.R. Chopra, Raj Kapoor, Vijay Anand, Raj Khosla, and Ashutosh Gowariker; and international directors such Conrad Rooks and Richard Attenborough. Athaiya was born in Kolhapur in Maharashtra. She was the third of the seven children born to Annasaheb and Shantabai

Rajopadhye. Athaiya's father, Annasaheb was a painter. He died when Athaiya was nine years old. Before Bhanu Athaiya won the Oscar for Best Costume Design for Gandhi in 1983, she was already responsible for some

of Hindi cinema's most iconic images and 'looks'. A thread celebrating her work and talent from 1956 - 1980. She was born as Bhanumati Rajopadhye in Kolhapur; she debuted in film CID. She was the first Indian to win the Oscar and 100+ films including Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Guide, Ganga Jumna, Waqt, Teesri Manzil, Chandni, Lagaan. She was once famously quoted saying, “The clothes couldn't be done sitting in Mumbai. I stayed in the village & studied the costumes of local people.” She designed costumes for

iconic films like ’Reshma aur Shera’ starring Amitabh Bachchan, Jayant, Sunil Dutt, Vinod Khanna, Sulochana. Bhanu Athaiya also designed costumes for Waheeda Rehman in Guide, Vyjayanthimala in Amrapali, Sadhana in Waqt and Helen in Teesri Manzil. She was also the brain behind what is probably the most memorable, most iconic costume of the 1960s: The Mumtaz saree from Brahmachari. She won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design (shared with John Mollo)

for her work in the 1982 film, Gandhi. She became the first Indian to win an Academy Award.She also won two National Film Awards, in 1991 and 2002. According to a publication, on 23 February 2012, it was reported that Athaiya wished to return her

Academy Award to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences because she felt that her family will not be able to take care of the trophy after her demise. On 15 December 2012, it was confirmed that the trophy had been returned to The Academy.

Book Recommendation

The Face At The Window By Kiran Manral Mrs. McNally was living a quiet life alone in the foothills of the Himalayas, fiercely guarding secrets that could unravel the lives of her daughter and granddaughter. Besides being haunted by ghosts of the past, she could also feel a presence in her home. How would she be at peace with the world when the vicious presence in her house won’t let her? A gently nuanced, layered story that deals with the lack of identity and an eternal finding of self, The Face at the Window holds a mirror to the fears we are all afraid to voice, the fear of ageing, the fear of not belonging, and above all, the fear of having no one to love you at the end of your life.






24 - 30 October 2020

UK doctors warn of 'long Covid' infections UK doctors have talked about the ongoing illness after infection with Covid-19, also called 'long Covid', may not be one syndrome but possibly up to four causing a rollercoaster of symptoms affecting all parts of the body and mind. In an initial report about long-term Covid-19, Britain's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) said one common theme among ongoing Covid patients, some of whom are seven months or more into their illness, is that symptoms appear in one psychological area, such as the heart or lungs, only to abate and then arise again in a different area. Dr Elaine Maxwell, who led the report, said, “This review highlights the detrimental physical and psychological impact that ongoing Covid is having on many people's lives.” Several thousands of people worldwide have linked up on social media platforms and online forums to share their experience of ongoing Covid-19 symptoms. Data revealed from a King's College London-devised symptom tracker app shows that 10 per cent of Covid-19 patients

Shefali Saxena

remain unwell after three weeks, and up to 5 per cent may continue to be sick for months. Maxwell, who presented the findings of the 'Living with Covid' report, said health services are already struggling “to manage these new and fluctuating patterns of symptoms and problems.” She and her co-authors urged patients and doctors to log and track symptoms so that health researchers can learn more about the condition and how to ease it as swiftly as possible. Maxwell's team held a focus group with 14 members of a Facebook group called Long Covid. Their testimony suggested ongoing Covid can be cyclical,

with symptoms fluctuating in severity and moving around the body, including around the respiratory system, the brain, cardiovascular system and heart, the kidneys, the gut, the liver, and the skin. The report said, “There are powerful stories that ongoing Covid symptoms are experienced by people of all ages, and people from all backgrounds.” It added, “While this is a new disease and we are learning more about its impact..., services will need to be better equipped to support people with ongoing Covid, as emerging evidence is showing there are significant psychological and social impacts that will have long term consequences.”

India to reassess Covid-19 treatment protocol Indian health authorities are all set to review the Covid-19 protocol followed at present after interim results from a World Health Organization (WHO) trial found four of the commonly used drugs provide little or no benefit in reducing fatalities in hospitalised patients. These drugs include remdesivir, malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), an anti-HIV combination of lopinavir and ritonavir, and the immunomodulator interferon. A senior official in the Union ministry of health and family welfare said the protocol will be reviewed in the next joint task force meeting headed by Dr VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog, and director general, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Balram Bhargava. Speaking in an interview, Dr Bhargava said, “Yes, we will be revisiting the clinical management protocol in the light of new evi-

‘No issue with indulging for celebrations as long as it is done as part of a balanced diet’

dence before us.” The WHO's Solidarity Trial casts doubt on the effectiveness of these drugs that covered 405 hospitals in 30 countries. The data was randomised and came from 11,266 adults being treated for Covid-19. In all 2,750 of them were allocated remdesivir, 954 HCQ, 1,411 lopinavir, 651 interferon plus lopinavir, 1,412 only interferon, and 4,088 were on no study drug. India also participated in the trials and tested the four drugs. According to ICMR, which coordinated the trials in the country, there were 26 actively randomising sites with 937 participants as of October 15, 2020. The ICMR said in a statement, “The interim results show that no study drug definitely reduced mortality or initiation of ventilation in hospitalized Covid-19 patients.” Study co-author Dr K Srinath Reddy, founder, Public Health

Britain in talks to create vaccine trials that infect volunteers A British biotech firm is closer to creating “Human Challenge” trials of potentially Covid-19 vaccines, where volunteers are deliberately infected with the disease. A unit of pharmaceutical services company Open Orphan, hVIVO is carrying out preliminary work for the trials, which aim to speed up the process of determining the efficacy of a vaccine candidate. If agreed, this would involve creating a human challenge study model that could be used should such trials gain ethical and safety approval from regulators.Supporters of human challenge trials say they are a good way to cut short the often lengthy process of testing potential vaccines on tens of thousands of volunteers in the real world who go about normal life and are monitored to see if they contract the disease or are protected from it.

Foundation of India, said, “The objective of this trial was to see whether these drugs work or not. We have found the answer that these do not work, and it was crucial to get this answer. Then there are certain soft endpoints like if there are any particular subsets that benefit more; like Americans are saying that it cut short the recovery time etc., which we will get to know as the trial is ongoing.” He added, “For drugs such as interferon, the trial has shown that it is almost on the verge of doing harm to hospitalized patients, so there is no point in continuing with this arm. We could now try other available drugs that may also be cheaper.” WHO hinted that it would make changes to its trial arm. It said in its statement, “Newer antiviral drugs, immunomodulators and anti-SARS COV-2 monoclonal antibodies are now being considered for evaluation.”

Pfizer confirms possible Nov vaccine application US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. said it could seek emergency-use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine in the country by late November if the shot is shown to be effective in a large late-stage trial. In an open letter published on the company's website, Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said safety reviews will dictate the timeline, with the US Food and Drug Administration requiring that at least half the people in the study be watched for side effects for two months. Bourla wrote, “Let me be clear, assuming positive data, Pfizer will apply for emergency authorization use in the US soon after the safety milestone is achieved.” An initial readout

on whether the vaccine is effective could come later this month, depending on how quickly subjects in the trial become infected with the virus. Jeremy Faust, emergency physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, called it a “huge win”. He said, “We don't want something that works, but we didn't give patients a full and accurate assessment of the side effects that might be expected among some people.” He was among a group of leading scientists who previously urged Pfizer to wait until at least late November before seeking emergency authorization. The Pfizer partnership and Moderna inc. are the two front-runners in testing Covid-19 vaccines in the US.

Dr Chintal Patel

Keto, intermittent, Paleo, Whole30, Mediterreanean and more are just a few kinds of fad diets. At some point of time, you must have heard of at least one of these. But, what is a fad diet? A fad diet is a trendy weight-loss plan that promises dramatic results. Typically, these diets are not healthy and don't result in long-term weight loss. In fact, some diets actually can be dangerous to your health. Dr Chintal Patel has been practicing at the NHS as a GP in London for the last 12 years. She comes from an Indian background where food has always been a huge part of her life. She started helping in the kitchen at a young age and has been independently cooking from age 10. She also believes that food doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated to be healthy and delicious. Asian Voice spoke to her about the rage that “fad diets” are, especially during Covid-19. 1. Please talk about fad diets in the context of Covid-19 where so many people who were already following certain diets - say Keto or Paleo - or Intermittent diets without any particular prescription or reason. How fatal can they be? I always worry about 'fad diets' in any context but particularly with respect to the South Asian community given our genetic predisposition to certain chronic illnesses. This is especially so if taken on without any medical or nutritional advice. Whilst many diets actually have a role in actually helping to treat some medical conditions, if taken to the extreme they can actually be harmful to our health. It is important to consider all aspects of health; a very strict dietary regime can affect one's mental health as well as physical health. Food is not just fuel for our bodies, it is for enjoyment too. Within the South Asian community food is often a way to connect with family and is celebrated at every festival. For example, being overly restrictive with your diet may affect your ability to join in celebrations or accept Prasad at temples. That being said, obesity is a risk factor for a worsening prognosis with Covid-19 so a healthy diet definitely plays a role in leading a healthy lifestyle. 2. Covid-19 has made almost everyone conscious of their eating habits. Yet, what does one do (especially belonging to Asian - Indian community) when it comes to eating right during a pandemic? What can we learn from this crisis in terms of our food habits? I think that the main effect Covid-19 and lockdown has had is that it has given people more time to spend at home and actually encouraged so many people to cook from scratch more often. This in my opinion is a huge positive. I can certainly vouch that during the period of lockdown, the feedback and interaction on my blog (www.drchintalskitchen.com) was the highest it has ever been. I received a lot of feedback about how people were enjoying spending time as a family cooking together mindfully rather than just a means to an end. I think this is the main lesson to be learned from this period of reflection. It takes me back to my childhood when life was less fast paced, we had time to slow down and as a family we all cooked together and ate our meals together. However, working in inner London, I have also seen a negative impact for some of my patients. Difficulties accessing fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables especially in lower income families means eating a healthy balanced diet can be challenging for many. 3. As per the quintessential Indian food choices and traditions (keeping in mind we're in the month of Navratri when people fast and Diwali is next month), what do we need to keep in mind as a community while being able to enjoy the festival food since BAME community continues to be more vulnerable to the virus, especially those with underlying heart condition and diabetes. Research shows that BAME communities are more likely to be vulnerable to the virus for many reasons. In addition, the South Asian community is genetically more predisposed to risk factors such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. With upcoming festivities such as Diwali, I see no issue with indulging for celebrations as long as it is done as part of a balanced diet. For me a balanced diet includes a little bit of everything and focussing on general principles rather than being overly restrictive or fully cutting out food groups entirely. 4. Asian households mostly function on one type of food for everyone, especially in the case of women who generally eat what they make for others without realising that they may need different kinds of nutrition. What is your advice to women on maintaining a healthy body with the right kind of food intake, especially during young reproductive age as well as menopause? It is important for women, in particular women who are menstruating, to consider iron rich foods as part of their balanced diet to replace the blood loss during their monthly periods. This is particularly important if they are vegetarian as vegetarian forms of iron are not as easily absorbed and they may need to take supplements of iron or vitamin B12. In addition, Asians are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin D and should consider supplementation daily. 5. What should be the right approach to start a specific dietary regime in our community withstanding the fact that the post Covid world will not be the same as before? My general principles for a balanced diet are: • To try to eat as much variety of plant based foods as possible - at least 30 varieties a week. My dinner plate always consists of at least half a plate of vegetables. • To reduce consumption of meat especially red meats where possible • Eat 1-2 portions of fish - including at least 1 oily fish weekly • Reduce saturated fats and sugar (maximum 30gms daily) • Eat more fibre - eg more whole grains • Eat less salt (maximum 6gms a day) Also - Drink lots of water, keep active and practise mindfulness daily a healthy lifestyle is more than just food!






24 - 30 October 2020

in brief

Priyanka wants to 'influx Hollywood with brown people' Actor Priyanka Chopra's new release 'Evil Eye' is the new talk of the town, and we are all for it! Produced under her home banner Purple Pebble Pictures and Jason Blum's Blumhouse Productions, the film is a “big deal” according to the actor because of multiple aspects but mainly the two strong female parts. Priyanka said she also loves the mother-daughter relationship portrayed in the film as she herself shares a strong bond with her mother Madhu Chopra. Talking about wanting to express her desire to create opportunities for people like herself, Pri said, “My quest in life, as a producer, is to influx Hollywood with brown people, because we don't see enough of us. And to be able

to do an all South Asian cast in a movie with Amazon and Blumhouse, who are both powerhouses, was a dream come true for me.” The actor added, “I want to demand leading parts for people who are like me. I want to have girls that look like me... start to be on the poster of the movie. It's my greatest joy and honor to be able to create opportunities where I didn't have them.” Directed by Elan Dassani and Rajeev Dassani, 'Evil Eye' is based on the best-selling Audible Original production from writer Madhuri Shekar. The story follows a seemingly perfect romance that turns dark when a mother is convinced her daughter’s new boyfriend has a sinister connection to her own past.

Audience want real stories and characters on screen: Rajkummar Rao The trailer for ace actor Rajkummar Rao's 'Chhalaang' was released last week by Amazon Prime Video. The film, that also features Nushratt Bharuccha, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Saurabh Shukla, portrays Rao in the character of a physical training (PT) teacher in a small school in Haryana. Speaking in a recent press conference, Rao spoke about the importance of playing relatable characters, and how characters from the heartland make for inspiring heroes. Rao said, “Our audience has really evolved. They want to see real stories and characters on screen. That's the

Kangana calls herself 'Bollywood's first ever legitimate action heroine' Actor Kangana Ranaut has quite a lot working against her, all with the controversies and whatnots. However, she has not let anything get to her, instead, choosing to move forward with her film projects. Ranaut has begun training for her

respectively in these films. Bollywood ki thali may have given me a lot but post Manikarnika success I too have given Bollywood it's first ever legitimate action heroine.” The video features her doing a range of exercise routines, from boxing to

upcoming action dramas 'Tejas', and 'Dhakaad'. She shared a video and called herself “Bollywood's first ever legitimate action heroine.” She wrote, “I have started action training for my upcoming action films #Tejas and #Dhakaad I play a fauji and a spy

kickboxing to a series of floor exercises, showing flexibility and strength. Kangana had recently revealed how she gained 20 kg for her upcoming biopic on J Jayalalithaa. She also shared pictures from the new schedule of 'Thalaivi' shoot in Chennai showing her fuller self.

reason the new generation of filmmakers and writers are writing relatable stories and characters. The audience wants to watch such kind of cinema which is a great sign. We get to play a range of characters, and get to tell real stories from the heartland.” The movie features Bharuccha as a computer teacher in the film. She also feels there is a shift in cinema as the audience wants to know stories of relatable characters. 'Chhalaang' marks the sixth collaboration between filmmaker Hansal Mehta and actor Rajkummar Rao. It will stream on Amazon Prime Video starting November 13.

Saifeena celebrate eighth anniversary with a special post Actors Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor commemorated their eighth wedding anniversary with a warm picture of the two and an adorable social media post. Spelling out the secret of a happy marriage, Kareena said, “Once upon a time there was a girl named Beboo and a boy named Saifu. They both loved spaghetti and wine... and lived happily ever after. Now you guys know the key to a happy marriage. On that note, happy anniversary SAKP... here's to eternity and beyond.” Both the actors married on October 16, 2012, after being in a relationship for a long

time. They even opted for a simple wedding attended only by immediate family members. In fact, Kareena had talked about the ceremony long back with Karan Johar on 'Koffee With Karan'. She had said, “I'm just glad that people are doing things now and talking more about their love. When I wanted to marry Saif, everyone was like, 'He has two children, he has been divorced. Are you sure you want to do this?' They were like, 'Your career will be over.' And I was like, 'Such a big crime to be in love? Such a big crime to get married?' Let's do it, let's see what happens.”






24 - 30 October 2020

Randeep Hooda and Ileana to star in 'Unfair & Lovely' Actors Ileana D'Cruz and Randeep Hooda are all set to share the screen in comedy 'Unfair & Lovely'. Presented by Sony Picture Films India in association with Movie Tunne Productions, the movie will mark the directorial debut of Balwinder Singh Janjua. Talking about the movie, D'Cruz said, “Essaying Lovely is definitely going to be a very different and a unique experience for me and many people across all demographics would be able to relate to this character.” She added, “What I love about the film is that its narrative isn't preachy; it's a funny story that will leave viewers smiling and laughing. The team at Sony Pictures Films India and Balwinder Singh Janjua have made sure this subject is treated with a lot of sensitivity, however, keeping it as humorous as possible.” Hooda who recently resumed work after a surgery, said, “I think making people laugh is not easy and I've been captivated by the comedy genre for the longest time. Now that this amazing story has come along, I'm very excited to explore this new genre for myself. I got hooked on to this story from the first narration itself and can't wait to get started on this one. I am also equally excited for my first collaboration with Sony Pictures Films India and Balwinder Singh Janjua.” 'Unfair & Lovely' is set for a 2021 release and will be shot in various locations across India.

Genre: Masala Film Duration: 133 minutes

What could go wrong when a hustler cab driver meets a larger than life girl? Vijay and Pooja are childhood friends who are separated but come back together in the future and go on a crazy adventure with a bag full of money.

Sushmita opens up about marrying boyfriend Rohman Shawl Sushmita Sen has always been open about her relationship with boyfriend, model Rohman Shawl. Her social media accounts are rife with innumerable photos and videos of the two together. In a recent Instagram live chat, the pair was asked about their marriage plans and the way they tackled it is pure grace. Sush was interacting with her fans when she mentioned how she wanted to just say 'Hi' to all of them, and that she had “this very handsome man” to come and say 'Hi' to them too. It was then that one of her fans asked her a question we were all thinking - “When are you going

to get married?” Sushmita turned to Rohman and repeated the question, to which he replied “Poochke batate hain. (We will ask and let you know)”. Sushmita meanwhile, evaded the question by joking and said, “Hum neighbour se pooch ke batate hain (We will consult the neighbour and let you know).” Sushmita made a successful comeback with the web show 'Aarya', which is due for a season 2.

Things work at a very rapid pace in Bollywood: Tara Sutaria With just two films in her kitty so far, actor Tara Sutaria claims to be “still new” to the Indian film industry. In a recent interview, when asked how different has the experience been in films so far, she said, “It's a place that's very different from any other industry, in the sense that things work at a very rapid pace here. People work constantly, there's no downtime. When you are on a film, everything you do, you breathe and sleep that film. That's a great way to work, and it's all consuming.” Tara went on to add that she has got to learn a lot about herself by working with different people, and there are times when new things come your way. She said, “As actors, we’re lucky we get to play so many characters in our careers, so it’s a constant state of learning and fun. There’s a certain sense of madness and that’s what the job is all about, spontaneity and creating something new every single day. Very few jobs will give you that luxury. I do feel at home, in my own space in the industry. There are so many new experiences every day, things do take you by surprise.” On the work front, Sutaria has two major films lined up, a sequel to 'Ek Villain', and the 'RX100' Hindi remake.

Vijay as a child is born with a mean streak and a bit of a hustler. At the mere age of 10 along with his father they feel like they have something to prove to the village and get into the life of crime. Due to different circumstances Vijay is separated from his childhood sweetheart Pooja. As the years go on, Vijay is now known as Blackie thanks to his life of hustling and is a cab driver in Mumbai. On one fateful night he bumps into a larger than life character who turns out to be Pooja. Pooja is now a prostitute and although she may seem innocent, she is far from that. She has just run away from the brothel she was in and has a ton of cash and jewellery that she has stolen. He agrees to help her and drive her away to freedom, but this comes with a hefty price. Pooja agrees and then the two leave on an adventure. This leads them to some crazy situations as they are chased by goons who are after the money she stole and the police who are after the goons. How far will Blackie go to save the life of his best friend Pooja? 'Khaali Peeli' is definitely a time pass entertainment film where the storyline helps the audience to escape the grim and stressful circumstances of the day. The movie does not demand much thought or attention and is fun at times, such as the roadside mela where Vijay and Pooja play hide and seek with those that are chasing them. Both Ishaan and Ananya are fun to watch as Vijay and Pooja a young girl and guy on the run. Although, their chemistry isn’t as crackling as that of other contemporary young Bollywood couples. Therefore, it is not as believable as you would like it to be. There are some great songs in the film such as the popular ‘Duniya Sharma Jaayegi’ which caused a lot of controversy when it was initially titled ‘Beyonce Sharma Jaayegi’ and some of the lines were seen as coming across racist. Once the song changed its name it became a hit preppy number to dance along to. With the pandemic still going on a lot of people have more time on their hands then they did before and therefore 'Kaali Peeli' is a good film to just stop you from getting bored whilst being stuck at home. You can get in touch with Vallisa: djvallisa@gmail.com





24 - 30 October 2020

Kajal's fiance shares their first picture together Actor Kajal Aggarwal recently announced her engagement with interior designer and businessman Gautam Kitchlu. While the engagement came as a surprise to her fans who had never seen the two together ever, Gautam shared their first picture as a couple. Taking to Instagram, he shared a picture of a polaroid featuring both of them. The couple is seen dressed in traditional outfits at a function. He captioned the photo with just an infinity symbol and a red balloon emoji. Kajal commented on the photo, “Even this post reflects

an element of design @kitchlugn #mysuperaetheticfeyonce”. Kajal confirmed her engagement through an Instagram post last week. The wedding is scheduled to take place on October 30. In her engagement announcement, she wrote, “I said yes. It gives me immense joy to share that I am getting married to Gautam Kitchlu, on October 30, 2020 in Mumbai, in a small, private ceremony surrounded by our immediate families. This pandemic has certainly shed a sobering light on our joy, but we are thrilled to start our lives together and know that all of you will be cheering us on in spirit.”

Tales of love, despair & Rajinikanth warned by Madras HC hope in Amazon original Tamil film 'Putham Pudhu Kaalai' The trailer for Amazon original Tamil film 'Putham Pudhu Kaalai' was launched last week by celebrated film director Mani Ratnam along with music maestro A.R. Rahman. An anthology of five short films, each film is centred on a unique theme of love, new

union of celebrated directors from the Tamil cinema industry, including Suhasini Mani Ratnam, Sudha Kongara, Gautam Menon, and Karthik Subbaraj presenting five short films with a distinctive storyline, characterization and narrative; however, are seamlessly

beginnings, second chances, and a glimmer of hope - set and filmed in the times of the nationwide lockdown. The anthology marks the

woven into the common theme of New Beginnings. 'Putham Pudhu Kaalai’s' global premiere was on October 16, 2020 exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.

Tamannaah talks about recovering from Covid-19 Actress Tamannaah Bhatia tested positive for Covid-19 last month, and had to be hospitalised, along with her parents who tested positive in August. Now recovered, the actor said it has been “quite the two months” for her family. Bhatia was shooting for her Telugu web project and busy with a few other things when she caught fever and felt weak. She said, “I think during my recovery period, I got all the symptoms, from losing the sense of taste and smell, to fatigue and body ache.” Bhatia was admitted for five days while being isolated at her Hyderabad home for the rest of the time. The 30 year old said, “Thinking about something daunting out there makes you feel uncertain. From being physically active to being enclosed in one room when I couldn't even feel the fresh wind on my face was really difficult. I had my moments of feeling low, of not feeling good.” The actor cautioned people to not ignore any kind of symptoms in today's time, and instead get checked immediately. “I also had been working out rigorously and thought my body was aching because of that. But most of us are only aware of the common symptoms. So, the earlier you address the issue, the better. The moment you feel unwell get yourself checked.”

Veteran actor Rajinikanth has been warned by the Madras High Court after he moved the court against the Greater Chennai Corporation's tax demand of Rs 650,000 as property tax for his Sri Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam. The court warned him that costs will be imposed for rushing to the court against the tax demand. His counsel has asked for time to withdraw their case. In his plea, Rajini said the marriage hall has remained vacant since March 24, 2020 when the coronavirus lockdown was announced. Which is why, no revenue had been earned in the bargain. The corporation had sent a property tax notice to the Tamil superstar on a halfyearly basis, from April to September. On the work front, Rajinikanth was last seen in AR Murugadoss' 'Darbar', which turned out to fizz out at the box office. He will be seen next in 'Annaatthe'.

TV Listing


* Schedule is subject to change









24 - 30 October 2020


Dinesh Karthik has decided to hand over the Kolkata Knight Riders captaincy to England's limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan, the franchise announced. According to the website, Dinesh Karthik made the decision to focus on his batting and "contributing more to the team's cause". The KKR management thanked Karthik for his contributions as captain "over the past two and a half years" and wished Eoin Morgan the best. "We are fortunate to have leaders such as DK, who has always put the team first. It takes a lot of courage for someone like him to take a decision such as this. While we were surprised by his decision, we are respectful of his wishes. We are also fortunate that Eoin Morgan, the 2019 World Cup-winning captain, who has been the vice captain, is willing to lead the side going forward," Venky Mysore, CEO of KKR, was quoted as saying."DK and Eoin have worked brilliantly together during this tournament and although Eoin takes over as captain, this is effectively a role swap and we expect that this transition will work in a seamless manner," he added. KKR have blown hot and cold this season, and Morgan will be tasked with bringing more consistency to the team's performance. KKR are currently fourth on the IPL 2020 Points Table with four wins and three losses to their name. However, they have lost two of their last four matches with the inconsistencies within the team coming to the fore. Karthik himself has had a tumultuous time with the bat. Barring a quickfire 58 against Kings XI Punjab, the wicket keeper-batsman has failed miserably. He has a total of 108 runs from seven games at an average of 15.42. Morgan, on the other hand, has fared much better despite the constant chopping and changing in his batting position. The Irishman has played all seven games for KKR so far this season, scoring 175 runs at an average of 35 and a strike-rate of 129.62. He is in fact the second highest run-getter for KKR in IPL 2020, behind Shubman Gill.

SINDHU QUITS NATIONAL CAMP, LANDS IN LONDON In a sudden move, world champion P V Sindhu has left the ongoing national camp for Olympic hopefuls and landed in London. Her Instagram account said that she had travelled to the UK to work on her recovery and nutrition. Sources, however, said she has been in the UK for at least 10 days now. It is unusual for a top Olympic medal hopeful to leave a national camp midway. It is also the first time that the 25-year-old has travelled abroad without being accompanied by either of her parents. Sources said she is being monitored by a team of experts, including Rebecca Randell of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. She is expected to be in the UK for the next two months. Sources said Sindhu has left the country in a huff, apparently after tensions in her family. Before she left Hyderabad, Sindhu informed the coaches at the Pullela Gopichand Academy that she would not return to India for the next eight to ten weeks. There was no response from Sindhu or her father P V Ramana to queries. A source said. “she was upset with a few things. Efforts are being made to convince her to return home.” It’s also learnt that Sindhu will soon start training with the England team.

Rajasthan coast to big victory It’s been a familiar tale for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) this season. Their batting neither had the consistency nor the potency to match up to their usual standards. The CSK batsmen once again disappointed largely due to an underwhelming start in the opening 10 overs and ultimately limped to a total of 125/5 even as the Rajasthan Royals (RR) bowlers put in a disciplined show on a slow Abu Dhabi surface on Monday. The total was nowhere near enough as Jos Buttler showed with an unbeaten knock of 70 to help RR romp home with seven wickets in hand and 15 balls to spare. Although Royals lost three wickets early in the run chase, the Englishman ensured along with skipper Steve Smith (26 not out off 34 balls) that there were no further hiccups. While RR notched up their fourth win from 10 matches to move to fifth in the points table, CSK are now at the bottom with only six points. Kings XI survive two Super Overs It was a day when two games went into the Super Over for the first time. Producing thrilling cricket, Kings XI Punjab, riding on consecutive boundaries by Mayank Agarwal and a six by Chris Gayle off Trent Boult, chased down 12 in the second Super Over to stun the Mumbai Indians in Dubai on Sunday night. Agarwal had earlier pulled off a goalkeeper-like save to deny Kieron Pollard a certain six at long on. MI took 11 off Chris Jordan in the second Super Over. India pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami conceded just five each to leave the first Super Over tied. While Bumrah dismissed Nicholas Pooran with the second ball, before trapping KL Rahul, who tried a reverse ramp shot, lbw off the last ball, Shami too was on the ball with his yorkers as he restricted Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock. Super over win for KKR It doesn’t matter where David Warner bats, he ends up doing most of the running. A hamstring injury necessitated Kane Williamson to move up the

batting order to maximise the Powerplay overs and the skipper came in at No.4 as Sunrisers Hyderabad made a raft of changes to their batting order in a crucial match against Kolkata Knight Riders. The skipper stroked a 33-ball unbeaten 47 and became the first overseas player to cross 5,000 IPL runs, but his effort was good enough only to force a tie at 163/6. The Knight Riders finally won, in the Super Over, which was over all too quickly for SRH, at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. It was brave of Andre Russell to bowl the final over – after pulling his hamstring – just as it was of Williamson to open the innings and stroke a pleasing 29. But the Sunrisers lost the plot in the middle after Lockie Ferguson broke the spine of SRH batting with splendid returns of three for 15 by using the slow yorker to good effect. Dhawan, Axar lead Delhi to fine win Shikhar Dhawan's unbeaten century and Axar Patel's belliergence led Delhi Capitals to a five-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings in their IPL match on Saturday. Chasing 180 for a win, Delhi were seemingly cruising when they lost Marcus Stoinis for 24 in the 16th over and then Alex Carey for 4 in the 19th over. They still had 21runs to get when Carey was caught by Faf du Plessis off Sam Curran with just 11 balls left. While the 19th over yielded just four runs, Axar (21) was in a punishing mood in the final

and two points. Earlier, Faf Du Plessis hit his fourth halfcentury of the season before Ambati Rayudu produced another useful cameo as a collective batting effort propelled Chennai to 179 for four. Du Plessis (58) added 87 runs with Shane Watson (36) after early fall of Sam Curran (0), setting it up nicely for the CSK. Rayudu hit 45 off 25 balls while Ravindra Jadeja hit four sixes in his fiery 33-run knock as CSK collected runs in the last three overs. One of Jadeja's sixes landed on the road outside the stadium. They added 50 runs in 3.3 overs during their unbeaten fifth wicket partnership. AB de Villiers props up Bangalore Another destructive innings by AB de Villiers helped Royal Challengers Bangalore make short work of a 178-run target set by Rajasthan Royals on Saturday. With 35 needed from the last 12 balls, De Villiers upped the ante in scintillating fashion, hitting three consecutive sixes off

Where they Stand (20-10-20) Team DC MI RCB KKR RR SRH KXIP CSK

M 9 9 9 9 10 9 9 10

Won Lost NR Net RR Points 7 2 0 +0.921 14 6 3 0 +1.201 12 6 3 0 -0.096 12 5 4 0 -0.607 10 4 6 0 -0.591 8 3 6 0 +0.008 6 3 6 0 -0.262 6 3 7 0 -0.463 6

over bowled by Ravindra Jadeja, scoring three sixes off him, the last of which fetching the Capitals a well-deserved win

Jaydev Unadkat. He finished it off with another six off Jofra Archer’s next to guide RCB to a seven-wicket win. De Villiers’ 22-

ball 55 trumped a 36-ball 57 by Royals skipper Steve Smith earlier, leaving the Jaipur-based franchise’s campaign to make the playoffs in tatters. RCB now have 12 points from nine games, at par with Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians, who are ahead on account of their net run rates. RR, on the other hand, are at seventh spot with just three wins from nine outings. Unadkat’s expensive 19th over cost Rajasthan 25 runs and tilted the balance in RCB’s favour. The hat-trick of De Villiers sixes deflated Smith’s men as the leftarm medium-pacer’s strategy of bowling slower ones failed completely. Easy win for Mumbai Indians He dropped a crucial catch, but then Quinton de Kock more than made up for it with the bat. The opener stroked a magnificent unbeaten 78 to lead the Mumbai Indians to their fifth win on the trot, as they trounced the Kolkata Knight Riders by eight wickets at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday night. MI have now beaten KKR 21 of 27 times in the IPL, and this win, coming with 19 balls to spare, has to be the most comprehensive of those wins. With their sixth win in eight games, the defending champions are again back on the No. 1 spot in the table. Putting in a clinical show, Mumbai showed no mercy as they completely outplayed the Knight Riders, who clearly seemed rattled by its top spinner Sunil Narine being reported for chucking, and then a change of the captaincy baton from Dinesh Karthik to Eoin Morgan just a few hours before a key game.

Covid restrictions hampering India-Australia schedule Different quarantine rules in different states of Australia is what is taking a toll on the schedule for India’s tour Down Under, one that is tentatively expected to begin in the last week of November. It’s already less than a month left for the Indian team to fly if they must play the full series three T20 Internationals, three one-day internationals and four Test matches - and there’s no word on the schedule yet. The BCCI is clearly beginning to worry now, considering the largescale logistics at hand. From booking two chartered flights to figuring out the accommodations, selecting teams, bringing the players and support staff together,

holding workshops with the Team India management on the dos & don’ts while in Australia, taking a call on whether they need to fly with a larger contingent than usually necessary and more - these are the talking points for the Indian cricket board, but nothing can be put in place until they hear from Cricket Australia first. In Australia – Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria – considering Western Australia is shut for anyone travelling from outside the state – have different quarantine procedures. “For instance, if X is travelling from Sydney to Adelaide, a 14-day quarantine is mandatory. And then, when X travels back, a separate

quarantine once again is mandatory. Similar rules in place in Victoria and Queensland – although the quarantine window may wary. So, what to expect when teams travel? Will they be asked to undergo a seven or 14day quarantine between two Tests or when switching from white ball cricket to red? “These are questions to which answers are unclear yet,” say those tracking developments. In the ongoing Sheffield Shield in Australia, CA was left with no choice but to adjust a fixture for the Round Two clash between Victoria and New South Wales because of Covid-related restrictions and postpone it until after the Big Bash. In other matches, Victoria and Queensland have

been given a ‘bye’, with CA opting for more “flexibility” and “security” based on consultations with biosecurity experts. “The obvious bit is CA is struggling with its premier domestic tournament. That’s because when it comes to the states, their word is final on all matters of security and safety,” say those in the know. Under the circumstances, speculation is rife on one of the two possibilities: A) The series lets go of at least one format – either the T20Is or the ODIs – to save on time if quarantine restrictions cannot be eased; B) Play all matches at not more than two venues. Cricket Australia cannot take a call on any of this until there’s a final word from the states.


24 - 30 October 2020