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British MPs meet Modi, bring to fore the state of Kashmir www.axiomstone.co.uk info@axiomstone.co.uk

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25th February to 3rd March 2017

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Let noble thoughts come to us from every side

Raise the issue of ignorance among Britons about the disputed territory

Britain and US wooing India

UK and US are playing balls with India, with its growing economic power, with former celebrating the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 widely in Britain and latter sending a group of Congressmen to negotiate the H1B visa

with the Indian authority. Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and other Members of the Royal Family, will host a Continued on page 26

India Launches Monumental Mission A brand new chapter in the history of space exploration was created on 15th February, when India successfully launched a record 104 satellites by Continued on page 26

Diaspora feels betrayed on £5 note challenge

Virendra Sharma MP, Bob Blackman MP and other Parliamentarians with Indian PM Narendra Modi in New Delhi

Last week MP Virendra Sharma, Chair of the IndoBritish All Party Parliamentary Group, and MP Bob Blackman, Vice Chair of Indo British APPG, along with seven

other Parliamentarians called on the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi to highlight the ignorance among Britons about the Jammu and Kashmir political crisis.

46 Church Road Stanmore Middx London HA7 4AH email@travelinstyle.co.uk

Referring to the recent debate held in the UK Parliament, they emphasised the need for better briefings from the Indian government, especially for UK Parliamentarians, as

they are constantly being misled by alleged separatist propagandists. While acknowledging that there was no actual need for Continued on page 8

Britain's Hindus, Sikhs, vegetarians and others who objected against the use of tallow, a substance derived from animal fat in Britain's new £5 polymer note have been left feeling 'betrayed' after the Bank of England said on Wednesday that the note would not be withdrawn. The diaspora has been protesting against the

use of 'animal fat' in £5 notes for over months, with a petition that gained more than 130,000 signatures. Full story page 8


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ONE ONE

Asian Voice 25th February 2017

Keith Vaz, to MP H.E. Mohammed Nazmul Quaunine

H.E. Mohammed Nazmul Quaunine the new High Commissioner for Bangladesh is career foreign service officer of the Bangladesh Civil Service. He is a graduate of the Dhaka Medical College, University of Dhaka. Mr Quaunine took up his assignment as the High Commissioner of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the United Kingdom on 28 October 2016. He had earlier served as the Ambassador of Bangladesh to Indonesia from February 2013 to October 2016 and was concurrently accredited as non-resident Ambassador to Timor-Leste and High Commissioner to the Papua New Guinea. Prior to Indonesia, Mr. Quaunine was the Ambassador of Bangladesh to the United Arab Emirates from July 2008 to February 2013. In his diplomatic career, he had served as the Director General in charge of the Europe and EU Wing and also External Publicity Wing in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka from June 2006 to June 2008. Earlier he had also served as the Deputy High Commissioner in the Bangladesh High Commission in London, United Kingdom and Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan, Counsellor in the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, D.C. and Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata and First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the UN Offices and other International Organisations in Geneva. He is married to Syeda Mustari Rahman and they have a son and a daughter. 1) What is your current position? High Commissioner of Bangladesh to the Court of St James.

Bangladeshis living in the UK to contribute in Bangladesh-UK relations. 7) And the worst? When I find myself not being able to make any headway in many problems of the Bangladesh diaspora in the UK and do not get desired results.

2) What are your proudest achievements? As Ambassador of Bangladesh helping employment of 1.5 Bangladeshis in the UAE and on arrival visas for Bangladeshis in Indonesia. 3) What inspires you? Working for my country. 4) What has been the biggest obstacle in your career? Not being able to decide myself on matters that need decisions of many authorities. 5) Who has been the

biggest influence on your career to date? My parents. 6) What is the best aspect about your current role? To encourage and involve as many members of half a million British

8) What are your long term goals? Further improvement of UK-Bangladesh relations and forge a special relations between our two countries. 9) If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change? To make people to people contact further easier and enforce peoples’ capacity as much as possible.

Mother's terror as she falls through Tube gap and baby tips over in buggy Last week a mother told of her terror as she fell down the gap between a Tube train and platform when she tried to board with her nine-month-old baby. Jatinder Deo, 39, pictured, was left “covered in bruises” and suffering back pain in the latest such incident at Baker Street. Her daughter Jasmin’s pram tipped up but she was saved from injury because she had been strapped in. Mrs Deo, who had taken Jasmine to visit her husband Harjinder’s workplace, was travelling home to Harrow when she tried to board the second-last carriage of a Metropolitan line service on January 18. After the incident she to TfL which responded that the incident had not been caught on CCTV. Baker Street station is the most dangerous on the

Underground for passengers falling down the gap as they try to board or alight from a train. The problem has been blamed on a new £1.5 billion fleet of trains which have doors level with the platform. It makes wheelchair access easier but can

increase the gap at certain points. According to latest TfL figures, 307 such incidents were recorded in 2015 — including 52 at Baker Street — triple the number before the new trains. Mrs Deo complained to Transport for London which responded that the incident had not been caught on CCTV. TfL said a computer hard-drive malfunction meant CCTV images had not downloaded, and that on-train cameras did not capture the fall. It said it would take two months to retrieve British Transport Police footage.

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Luton pensioners tricked into handing over nearly £200,000 of life savings to PPI conman A retired couple who 'worked hard their whole lives' have been left penniless after cruel fraudsters convinced them to hand over their life savings. Naresh Shah, 64, and his wife Madhu, 62, took out nearly £190,000 in cash from their Santander account over an eight week period and deposited it into the account of a fraudster who claimed they were eligible for a PPI payout. The couple from Luton withdrew huge swathes of money in more than 30 transactions, as they were subjected to increasingly threatening phone calls from the con artist. Their harrowing story has now raised fresh fears about bank customers' security, after it was revealed they may never get their money back. The Shah's told BBC Radio 4's Money Box a man who called himself 'James Sylva' duped them into handing over their money. The couple took out more than £100,000 in 32 transactions over eight weeks - making 30 cash deposits to the fraudsters totalling nearly £170,000 often paying the money into the criminal's accounts on the same day. They were told they would be in line for a £5,000 PPI payout. The Shahs withdrew money from Barclays and Halifax but often used the

same Santander branch each time - where they were even greeted by name. They say they have lost all the money they hoped would fund their retirement.

scam is ongoing as the fraudster has not been found - and his aunt and uncle are unlikely to ever get their money back. Speaking to Mail Online, Mr Shah said: 'I have reported this to the police but they have not yet taken any action, and it has been over a month. 'I don't know how they will ever get their money back. My aunt and uncle do not have the money for court proceedings. This is still a live scam, it is ongoing and he is still phoning them.'

Mrs Shah told BBC Radio 4: 'I felt isolated, I lost everything. I cannot face my family. It's horrible.' Their 36 year old nephew Niraj also told the show: 'My aunt has worked hard her whole life. They've not had a luxurious life, but I had to sit them down and tell them this was a scam. Their faces just dropped. It made me feel sick to be the one to say that too them.' Worryingly, Niraj Shah, who is an London based accountant, says the

Mr Shah also claims his family were 'let down' by the bank: 'I'm shocked that nothing was ever questioned and escalated by the banks given the frequency, the sheer number, and type of transactions. It's very worrying that the banks do not take any extra care of their vulnerable and elderly customers, I guess it's all about profit to them. While Santander say they are investigating what happened, they add procedures were followed by bank staff.

Naresh Shah

Police criticised over handling of Forest Gate mother’s murder A pregnant mother strangled to death by her husband may be alive today if the police had not committed a “catalogue of flaws”, a report has claimed. Sabeen Thandi’s three children were deprived of their mother after M o h a m m e d Badiuzzaman, 39, murdered his wife in a fit of rage in July 2013. Following the 37year-old’s murder, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) launched an investigation into previous police contact by the Metropolitan Police (MPS) and Hertfordshire Constabulary. The IPCC’s report, published last week, con-

Sabeen Thandi

cluded there had been a breakdown in police procedures with officers on the case lacking the right training and only “sporadic” checks on the quality of the investigation. As a result of the investigation, a detective inspector from the Met’s sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command was rebuked under the Met’s unsatisfactory performance procedures. The police complaints

Mohammed Badiuzzaman

organisation also recommended a call operator and detective constable face misconduct proceedings. Badiuzzaman pleaded guilty to his wife’s murder at the Old Bailey in May 2014 receiving a life sentence with a recommendation he serve a minimum of 17 years. The Met accepted all four of the IPCC’s recommendations.


C MMENTS

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Asian Voice |25th February 2017

Two faces of India The events in Tamil Nadu leading to the imprisonment of AIADMK leader V.K. Sasikala have dominated media headlines across India for the past few days, and rightly so. The scale of the corruption for which she and her close associates were charged were staggering and brazen in its impunity. But the law had the last word. Justice was done and seen to be done. The Supreme Court of India upheld the authority and integrity of the nation’s judiciary and the rule of law. This fundamental principle of Indian democracy entails the further moral imperative that no person, however high or wealthy, is above the law, that wrongdoing will bring just and proportionate sentence on the guilty. The first trial judge Michael D’CCunha deserves high praise for the integrity of his original sentence, confirmed without hesitation by Justices P.C. Ghose and Amitava Roy on the basis of the damning evidence before them. That certainly was the positive and desired outcome of the self-correcting mechanism of democratic governance; however, a deeply troubling fact remains, and it needs to be addressed by the country at large. This was laid out by Justice Roy, in a supplementary comment to his judgment. He drew attention to the spread of a cancerous corruption in the India’s public life. The facts of the case, he said, ‘demonstrate a deep rooted conspiratorial design to amass vast assets without any compunction and hold the same through shell entities to cover up the sinister trail of such illicit acquisitions and deceive and delude the processes of law Novelty in the outrages and the magnitude of the nefarious gains as demonstrated by the revelations in the case are, to say the least, startling.’ He warned that the spread of corruption had left the honest citizen dumb, dejected and disillusioned. No truer have been uttered for quite a while. They should be heeded by one and all. The Supreme verdict should serve as warning shot across the bows of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the scams that have tarnished her government’s reputation. The same goes for the

Akali regime in Punjab. There are lessons to be learned from the fate of Sasikala. Even as sleaze was the nation’s talking point, came the uplifting, inspirational report that Indian science and engineering had set a world record in sending 104 satellites into space from a single rocket. The international media were agog at the achievement. The BBC coverage was better than the casual reports of much of Indian television channels fixated by crime and scandal. The Indian print media stepped into the breach with full and comprehensive reports and analyses of the event. The facts are as follows: All the satellites were placed in their allotted orbits within thirty minutes of the launch. One large Indian satellite and two nano-satellites were first in orbit, followed by 96 nano-satellites from America, one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands and Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. The total payload was 1,378 kg – all in all, a truly extraordinary feat of which one can be proud. The Indian print also reported on the Indian Space and Research Organization’s (ISRO) plans to launch satallites to Venus and Jupiter and its ambitious, collaborative ventures with NASA of the United States. Indian high-tech companies and software entities are spreading their wings across India and the world beyond. Materially India has never been stronger in its long and often turbulent history. At this high tide of jubilation the country’s political life is at an abysmal low. If the truth be told, the nation’s politicians generally command little respect and are often objects of withering contempt. They are widely perceived as selfseeking crooks with little regard for public service. The paradox is that at Independence and the decade after, when India was weak the stock of its leaders was high in public esteem. The subsequent mismatch between the high achievers in science and industry and brawling politician in Parliament and on the street in mutually abusive mode is, alas, the ordinary citizen’s perception of present-day reality. It may be summed up as cohabitation of shame and pride.

Vodafone merger has foreign banks scrambling Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, UBS and Standard Chartered are some of the foreign banks scrambling for places as advisories in the merger of Vodafone India, a subsidiary of Britain’s Vodofone Group, with Idea cellular in an all share deal. The merger will create India’s largest mobile phone operator with around $12 billion in sales. The banks contracted to advise the parties on the transaction, could scale up the shared jackpot to $40 million, according to Freeman Consulting. That is roughly 10 per cent of the investment banking fee pool in India last year, where advisory fees are among the lowest in the world when compared to other global markets.

Vodofone is in talks with Merrill Lynch, UBS and merger and acquisition boutique firm Rothchild for advisory roles. Merrill and UBS had earlier been consulted by Vodofone on a planned Indian listing. Morgan Stanley has already been picked for an advisory role in the proposed merger. The total fee for such services, including mergers and acquisitions, in India at $462.6 million is high by Indian standards but small by those in the global marketplace. That said, the critical issue here is the merger of Vodofone’s India operations with Idea Cellular in the country’s mobile market and the estimates sales in mobile operations.

Melinda and bill Gates: Wealth no bar to caring for others Few couples, singly or together, have caught the imagination of the international community as Melinda and Bill Gates have done. Bill, a Harvard University dropout, starting Microsoft on its journey to fame and fortune.. Today it is among the tallest of the IT giants who bestride our increasingly narrow world. The Gates’ are rich beyond compare, and have been so for as long as one can remember. Bill has left the running of Microsoft to other capable hands, to enable fresh minds to innovate and take the company forward to still greater heights of endeavour and achievement. The current Microsoft CEO is Indianborn Sundar Picchai who worked his way up the ranks of the company’s software engineers. The India connection for the Gates commenced long years ago with Bill’s first visit to the country when economic reforms had broken the shackles of licence-and-permit raj, and the bracing winds of competition were blowing away the cobwebs of the past. Bill’s visit was in essence exploratory in a land of a billion souls; the pent up entrepreneurial energies in India eager to embrace the beckoning brave new world met its greatest single embodiment. Thus began a journey into a rewarding and exciting future that shows little sign of abating. The best of America and India clasped hands and pooled brains to mutual benefit, a win-win situation that ever was and is. The Gates’ discovered a pyramid of poverty, disease and deprivation in India. The Gates Foundation set out to make a strategic contribution to making

hardship for millions of Indians a little easier to bear, to introduce rays of light into a bleak and forbidding darkness. The Gates Foundation partnered the Indian Government in mass vaccination campaign across the country to eradicate polio; Melinda and Bill were personally witness to the miracle of organization and dedication that left hardened sceptics gobsmacked. Since then Melinda and Bill Gates have toured some of the most deprived corners of India helping to introduce and improve, where necessary, basic education among the rural poor, introduce and improve public health and hygiene, and much related good work such birth control and the uplift of women. They have taken their Indian experience to Rwanda and other places in developing countries. The Gates publish an annual newsletter of their philanthropic work. In the latest one they acknowledge the largest-ever gift to their Foundation by Warren Buffet, a fellow American believed to the world’s richest man. Melinda and Bill take in turn to compose the Newsletter. Here is a sample of Bill’s multiple extracts. ‘We’re funding a study now in India that started with a checklist of practices. That got some improvement. But the real gains came when the trained health care workers with the right tools attended the births. Rwanda doubled the percentage of children attended by a skilled worker.’ Blessed are the pure in heart…

3

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. - Buddha

Cllr Ketan Sheth

Councillor for Tokyngton, Wembley Brent Council’s Chair of Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee

Merger of colleges to strengthen further Education provision in Brent and beyond has not Education escaped the squeeze in government funding over the last decade or so and the further education sector, consisting of around 300 colleges and sixth forms colleges in England, has had to cope with more than its fair share of cuts. The individual colleges have had to look at how they can continue to provide the lifelong learning opportunities they have always delivered for their local communities. The skills that colleges provide to school leavers, apprentices and adults looking to retrain or develop their existing careers are vital to our economy. However, the ability of colleges to support these learners has been stretched to the limit by nearly ten years of harsh cuts to their funding. Many colleges have opted for formal partnerships and mergers over recent years. This process is now also being driven further by a series of “Area Reviews”, initiated by the government to look at further education provision across England's regions. London alone had around 40 separate colleges and sixth form colleges at the start of 2016, but the merger trends could see this shrink to as few as 10 or even less within the next 2-3 years. In Brent, the College of North West London has a long history of providing technical and vocation education. It has particular strengths in engineering and construction, teaching specialist skills such as welding and air conditioning that attract learners from across the

country. Around 10,000 students per year go through its doors. Quality is strong and improving further, and the college has recently won three national awards for its Student Experience. 2015/16 saw the best set of results in CNWL's long history, with achievement rates likely to place the college in the top 5 in the capital, when published this spring. To safeguard the future of the College and put itself in the best position to continue to serve the population and employers of the area, a merger with nearby City of Westminster College has been proposed. The merger aims to consolidate the colleges' finances, enable efficiencies through the sharing of services and improve standards through collaboration. Both colleges are rated Good by Ofsted and approach the future together in a strong position. By retaining their own names and identities, as part of a joint college group, the colleges plan to retain what has made them successful individually. Brent Council, who has been involved in the Area Review of west London, endorses this merger as part of the final report, and will continue to take an active interest in the process. The priority of the Council, working with the College, is to help ensure that residents from diverse backgrounds, such as found in Brent, continue to benefit from a range of educational options and routes to obtain skills and qualifications.

Editor: CB Patel

Asian Voice is published by ASIAN BUSINESS PUBLICATIONS LTD Karma Yoga House, 12 Hoxton Market, (Off Coronet Street) London N1 6HW. Tel: 020 7749 4080 • Fax: 020 7749 4081 Email: aveditorial@abplgroup.com Website: www.abplgroup.com © Asian Business Publications


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UK

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Asian Voice |25th February 2017

Diaspora feels betrayed on £5 note challenge Britain's Hindus, Sikhs, vegetarians and others who objected against the use of tallow, a substance derived from animal fat in Britain's new £5 polymer note have been left feeling 'betrayed' after the Bank of England said on Wednesday that the note would not be withdrawn. The diaspora has been protesting against the use of 'animal fat' in £5 notes for over months, with a petition that gained more than 130,000 signatures. It is believed the new polymer £10 banknote may also have animal fat traces, when launched. Among Hindu and Sikh organisations, the note evoked memories of the 1857 uprising in India. The National Council of Hindu Temples (UK) recalled the use of tallow in cartridges that sparked the revolt, and after the note was introduced, many temples across Britain refused to accept it as an offering. They explained the animal fat in the £5 note also bans it from temple premises, affecting the temple economy. The organisation told Asian Voice, “On Wednesday 8th February 2017, the Hindu Council UK representatives – Chairman: Umesh C Sharma JP, Director of Interfaith Relations: Anil Bhanot OBE and Director of Hindu Temple Engagement: Arun Thakur were personally invited to a meeting with The Chief Cashier of the Bank of England - Victoria Cleland at its headquarters in Threadneedle Street, Central

London, to discuss the issue of the new £5 note, which contains small traces of animal derived products (tallow). The Bank of England wished to understand the concerns of the community in more detail and to hear Hindu Council UK's thoughts, on this issue directly. Whilst the Bank of England was not, at that stage in a position to provide any specific update on whether there were potential alternatives to the use of small traces of animal-derived products in the new £5, (and the impending launch of the new £10 and £20 polymer banknote), they hoped that through the meeting, they could explain some of the issues that they were tackling.” But on 15 February, the bank in a statement said, “The Bank recognises the concerns raised about the discovery of traces of tallow used in the production of its £5 polymer notes. Following detailed analysis and further work we are now able to provide an update to the public. “As stated on 30 November 2016, the Bank was not aware of the presence of animal-derived products when it signed the contract with its supplier for the £5 and £10 banknote polymer. When the Bank discovered the presence of these products, its first step was to alert the public and subsequently has been treating the con-

cerns raised by members of the public with the utmost seriousness. It has spoken to a number of groups to understand their concerns more fully. “An extremely small amount of tallow is used in an early stage of the production process of polymer pellets, which are then used to create the base substrate for the £5 note. The Bank is continuing to work closely with banknote polymer suppliers to determine what alternatives might be available. “Weighing the considerations below, the Bank has now concluded that it would be appropriate to keep the £5 polymer note in circulation and to issue the £10 polymer note as planned, in September. In reaching its decision, the Bank has given careful consideration to the possible alternative options for the current £5 note and the Jane Austen £10 polymer note. “In doing so, the Bank has considered: its responsibility to issue and maintain the supply of high quality and secure banknotes, its obligations

under the Equality Act 2010, the concerns raised about the use of animal-derived products, the impact of any changes on firms that process and handle cash, the potential impact on our suppliers, and value for money for the taxpayer.” Gauri das, Managing Director, on behalf of Bhaktivedanta Manor (UK) said, “We are both shocked and saddened to receive news that the Bank of England have already printed ten pound notes containing tallow. As a temple community our ethos is nonviolence. As such we stopped accepting the new five pound notes which in turn impacted the donations we depend on. Now with news of the ten pound note we will have to review our stance on banning tallow notes. “We now find ourselves having to choose between compromising our core religious principles and spiritual values or suffering significant financial losses. We fail to see how in this day and age a public service provider could allow this to not only continue but to become significantly more harmful. “We do welcome the Bank's planned consultation and understand that the costs of correcting the oversight are deemed unacceptable. Currency must be acceptable to all, therefore there is no question, it must be free from animal products.”

Accountant forges dead mother's will; claims his share As the thought goes- Greed is not a financial issue, it's a heart issue- an ambitious account sought to claim his share in his family's £160 million palm oil business by forging his deceased mother's signature. As per a report in Girish MailOnline, Dahyabhai Patel, from Highgate, used a pre-signed blank document and added a will to get his hands over a £40 million stake in the family's plantation in Malaysia. Judge Andrew Simmonds at the High Court in London, said, "Regrettably, I have reached the conclusion that, despite his professional and business achievements, the truth is a flexible concept for Girish, to be fashioned according to his own interests and requirements." Patel was caught after a minute forensic analysis was conducted which revealed a faint indentation of her signature elsewhere on the paper. It showed she had signed the sheet while putting her name to several blank documents, one on top of the other, to use. Patel fell out with his three brothers in 2009, and has ever since been "at odds with some, or all" stated the judge. It was known that the reputed family had been caught in a long dispute, with several legal cases ongoing in different countries. Their mother Prabhavati

After Prabhavati Dahyabhai Patel died in September 2011 Girish Dahyabhai Patel, 65

Dahyabhai Patel's death in September 2011, only added the fire. It all began when Yashwant Patel, 69, doctor based in New York, produced a will made in 1986, stating that everything was left to him. Once the document was approved, Girish put forwards another document, he claimed his mother had signed in 2005. In the ongoing battle, their third brother Suresh, 63, backed Yashwant, while the fourth, Rajnikanth, 71, did not take sides. Girish claimed that on a visit to London in 2005, his mother asked him to make a new will. He said she was concerned that on her death, some of her money might be given to the Swaminarayan Temple in Edgware, a Hindu sect she didn't support. She insisted that the will be in his favour, so he could distribute to charities of her choosing

when she died. Girish Patel added that she went to his offices in North Acton, West London, and put her name to the will, which was translated into Gujarati by him with witnesses present. Judge Simmonds however refuted his claims, saying that apart from "unreliable" evidence put forward by Patel, there was on affirmation on how the will was signed. He said that the mother never mentioned it and he never spoke of it himself, not even bringing it up when it would have proven to work in his advantage during other litigation. Instead. analysis of the document backed Yashwant's statement on how the family signed blank documents in bulk so business could be conducted in the absence of others. Tests also revealed specks of printer ink on top of the signature, but none under-

neath, meaning the signature came before the text. "I find that there were available to Girish blank papers presigned by the deceased which enabled him to forge the will, utilising a genuine but old signature of the deceased," said Judge Simmonds. Girish also conducted a "last minute joint revision" session before the trial despite being told not to discuss their evidence. The judge said, Girish had "brazenly lied" when asked about it under oath, and admitted having done so. "I would, in the normal course of events, expect such a witness to be reliable and trustworthy. However, Girish is a self-confessed liar and even when accepting that he had lied to the courty, there was a certain insouciance in his responses which increased, rather than allayed, my concers as to his reliability generally." On finding the forgery to be real, the judge said, "I accept Yashwant's contention that Girish had a strong motive for forging the will. It provided him...with control over a $50m stake in (the palm oil plantation) as well as a number of tactical advantages in the bitterly-fought litigation with his brothers." Following the ruling, Girish agreed to pay £450,000 on account of his brother's total legal costs which are estimated at £550,000.

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European Commission demands payment into EU projects for four years

Tony Blair

Theresa May

The European Commission wants Britain to be paying into EU projects for four years after it has signed a Brexit deal, with final payments continuing up until the end of 2023, The Daily Telegraph has reported. The plan is part of a EU demand that Britain settle a £60 billion 'Brexit Bill' before being granted a deal that will govern future trade relationships. According to a news report by The Times, Germany is backing Britain to stop the European Commission presenting the £60bn 'divorce' bill immediately after PM May starts the Brexit process. This demand emerged as Theresa May took the highly unusual step of sitting in the House of Lords to hear peers being told by the UK Government not to “frustrate” Brexit. The Prime Minister sat on the steps in front of the Royal Throne as Lords leader Baroness Evans of Bowes Park told peers to respect the decision of the British people in last year’s referendum and the “primacy” of the elected House of Commons. The legislation, which will pave the way for the PM to trigger Article 50 of the EU treaties to formally begin Brexit, was passed unamended and by large majority of 372 MPs. Her presence in the Lords chamber ahead of two days of debate during the Bill’s first stage in the upper chamber was interpreted as a visual warning to peers seeking to amend the legislation. Around 190 peers are expected to speak during the two days set aside for the Bill’s second reading debate, the first time the upper chamber will debate the legislation. Peers are not expected to vote on the Bill this week, as we go to print, but the Government, which does not have a majority in the Lords, is braced for a battle over EU citizens’ rights and a meaningful parliamentary say on the final Brexit deal when the Bill returns for its committee stage next week. Tony Blair urges people to rise against Brexit Tony Blair speaking in the City of London, on 16 February claimed that people voted in the referendum "without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit", the BBC reported. He urged "a way out from the present rush over the cliff's edge". Mr Blair, who campaigned to remain in the EU, said that while he accepted that people voted to leave by 52% to 48%, he would recommend looking again at Brexit when "we have a clear sense of where we're going". Pressed on whether he thought there should be a second referendum, he said: "All I'm saying is a very, very simple thing, that this is the beginning of the debate - that if a significant part of that 52% show real change of mind, however you measure it, we should have the opportunity to reconsider this decision. "Whether you do it through another referendum or another method, that's a second order question. But this issue is the single most important decision this country has taken since the Second World War and debate can't now be shut down about it." Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said the comments were arrogant and undemocratic but Lib Dem Nick Clegg said he "agreed with every word". Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said Mr Blair was "yesterday's man" while Downing Street said it was "absolutely committed" to seeing Brexit through. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson added: "I urge the British people to rise up and turn off the TV next time Blair comes on with his condescending campaign." Since taking office, he has apparently held two secret meetings with Mr Blair about the Middle East.


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Asian Voice |25th February 2017

Muslim scholars must do more to counter IS: Met chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the retiring Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has urged Muslim scholars to do more to counter the violent ideology of the Islamic State. He said Muslim scholars should step up their efforts to challenge the belief that Islam condones the violence carried out by the IS. Britain’s top police officer issued a new warning about the looming threat posed by “brutalised and militarised” extremists returning from Syria. At least 850 Britons have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight for IS, with at least half of them believed to have returned. The 59-year-old top cop told the London Evening Standard that IS

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe

continued to lure recruits by using Islam as a justification for its actions. He said the Muslim scholars needed to challenge the false narrative. “The hardest part for the Western world is to interrupt this philosophy that Daesh (Islamic State) is perpetuating which is that Islam in any way supports this horrific use of

Islamic State fighters pose for a photo in 2014

violence,” Sir Bernard told the newspaper. “There is no interpretation I would argue that could say that, but some people are getting away with that. Muslim scholars have got to come up and be really challenging of that and be very clear that this can never be acceptable.

There is no interpretation that can ever conclude it’s ok to kill people. We can’t be at all sensitive to religious beliefs. We have all got to say that is wrong.” Sir Bernard retires on February 28 after spending five-and-a-half years at the helm of Britain's biggest police force.

‘Trojan Horse’ claims at Oldham school have ‘no basis’ A headteacher’s claims of a “Trojan Horse” Islamic takeover of a primary school in Oldham have “no basis”, a council inquiry has found. Trish O’Donnell, head of Clarksfield Primary School, Oldham, also claimed she was physically assaulted and had received death threats from people who wanted to impose conservative Islamic values and wanted her out. The headteacher also reported threats to blow up her car, according to a report by Oldham Council, and believed her position was untenable and a ‘Trojan Horse’ agenda was

Clarksfield Primary School

underway. Oldham Council said it investigated the claims made in December but concluded, in a confidential report leaked to the Sunday Times, it had “no concerns” about any schools. Councillor Amanda Chadderton, cabinet member for education and

early years, said: “The report into an Oldham primary school found no basis to ‘Trojan Horse’ allegations.” The Sunday Times story also referred to a counter-extremism official raising concerns over two other schools in Oldham – Horton Mill and Oldham Academy North.

Chadderton added: “At this time, we also have no active investigations or concerns about any of the other schools the Sunday Times has asked about.” According to Sunday Times’ article, Islamic teaching sessions were hosted on school premises, a parents’ petition was started against the headteacher and objections were raised to activities, including Hindi music being played in class and sex education. There are over 450 pupils in the school, predominantly of Pakistani heritage. The school is rated as “good” by Ofsted.

Business rates rise will close a third of independent shops, warns Mary Portas

Tube strike travel warning

financial crisis” of 2008. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Portas said businesses risked being “destroyed” by increases in their bills of up to 245%. She said: “In 2011 I was commissioned by the government to look at how we could save our high streets. Six years on and we were really making progress. So it’s strange to watch our leaders preparing to impose a new business rates revaluation that will cripple high street shops. The tax bill, which will hit retailers from April, will be

London commuters were staring yet another 24-hour Tube strike in the face. Till the last reports came in, Rail and Maritime Transport (RMT) Union members planned to walk out from 9pm on Tuesday over the “forced” transfer of eight drivers to different depots. If the strike goes ahead as planned, the Waterloo & City line will shut down completely and the Central line will have no service east of Leytonstone and a reduced service on the rest of the line all day on Wednesday. A report in the Evening Standard said those travelling to or from Leytonstone are advised that buses from this station will be extremely busy. TfL urged passengers to take a bus from Stratford or Leyton instead. Those wishing to use Ilford station could take the bus to Barking and use the District or Hammersmith & City lines. The issue in contention is believed to be the transfer of drivers from their home depot at the eastern end of the line to other depots in central London, requiring them to travel further.

The planned rise in business rates will kill off a third of independent retailers, Mary Portas, a retail expert, has warned the government. Portas, once hired by David Cameron’s administration to find a way of saving Britain’s high streets, branded the looming hike “madness” and urged Prime Minister Theresa May to scrap the system completely. She said the controversial revaluation “will be the single biggest blow to independent shops since the

Mary Portas

the single biggest blow to independent shops since the financial crisis. I would estimate that at least a third of them will die off.”

Couple exploit children to claim benefits An illegal migrant couple are accused of using their two children as “puppets” to claim benefits. The children, aged seven and five, should be put up for adoption in Britain, a judge has ruled. Both parents were of “south Indian origin” and had lived in Britain for around 13 years. The couple had even coached one child to make false allegations of sexual abuse against school staff and social workers after

they had become destitute three years ago. The father had previously threatened to jump off a bridge with the children unless the council provided a “new house and financial assistance to the level he sought”. Social services staff had put the youngsters on a “child in need” plan and gave the family financial support. But the couple started a “conflict” with social workers and believed their

local council should provide “wholly” for the family. Justice Keehan has ruled that the children should be placed for adoption in Britain, arguing it would give them some “stability, security and permanence”. Justice Keehan did not identify the family by name, but indicated they had lived in Birmingham. The hearing was in the High Court’s Family Division in London.

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Trade more important than British aid, says Y K Sinha India’s High Commissioner to the UK Y K Sinha says the foreign aid deal is becoming a thing of the past, instead easier access to British markets, easier movement of people and the transfer of technology are more important than British aid. Sinha said the future priority should be getting a good trade deal sorted out. “We don’t want to prejudge British aid that has been given, or will be given. We are grateful for any assistance we received in the past or will get in the future. But if it suddenly stopped would it make a huge difference? No. Did anyone in the government of India ask for assistance? No,” he told the Sunday Express. He says India never asked Britain for hundreds of millions of pounds in foreign aid and doesn’t even need it. Though India is “grateful” for the aid, the money will not make a “huge difference” to the country’s rapidly expanding economy. Britain sent India

Y K Sinha

£279million in aid in 2014 alone despite the fact the country has its own space programme. There are plans to give India a further £130 million in “technical assistance” by 2018. Sinha said the relationship between Britain and India has reached a “new level” and that the “sky’s the limit” for what the countries can achieve together. “We have a very vibrant Indian diaspora of 1.5 million British citizens or dual origins who live here and contribute very meaningfully – 1.8 per cent of the population contributes around six per cent of UK GDP. We are very proud of this,” he added.

Indian-origin barrister disbarred for harassing former girlfriend A 32-year-old Indian-origin barrister in the UK has been disbarred from practising law after he was convicted of harassing his exgirlfriend last year. Sanjay Roy was convicted at Northampton Crown Court in July and given an 18month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to putting his ex-girlfriend in fear of violence by harassment. The Bar Standards Board, which had suspended the lawyer last August, on February 17 decided to bar him from practising as a family law barrister, according to The Times. “This behaviour is likely to diminish the confidence

Sanjay Roy

the public has in Mr Roy and the barrister profession in general,” a spokesperson for the board said. The court was told last summer that Roy beat his girlfriend, Bibi TaylorWilcott, with a belt buckle and poured iced water on her head. He was also said to be highly controlling and wanted her to have an abortion. He insisted that she call him “master”.

Stephen Lawrence killer to sue government after jail attack

Stephen Lawrence

One of the men who killed Stephen Lawrence is attempting to sue the government after he was beaten up in prison, it was reported. David Norris says he was attacked by inmates at Belmarsh Prison in Woolwich in 2011, suffering a broken nose and ribs. He is asking for £10,000 in damages from the Ministry of Justice for failing to protect him, according to The Sun on Sunday. Gary Norris and

David Norris

Dobson were found guilty of murdering the 18-yearold black teenager in a racist attack in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993. They were convicted under joint enterprise in 2012, sentenced to life in prison and ordered to serve a minimum jail term of 15 years and two months, and 14 years and three months respectively. Norris was given leave by a judge last week to sue the government.


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High Commissioner of India presents his credentials to the Queen

HE Y K Sinha, High Commissioner of India to the UK with wife Mrs Girija Sinha

High Commissioner of India, H.E. Mr Y. K. Sinha presented his credentials to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on February 15, 2017. He was accompanied by his wife, Mrs Girija Sinha, the Deputy High Commissioner and senior officers of the High Commission. High Commissioner Sinha is the 26th High Commissioner of India to the UK since 1947. He was earlier posted as High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka and took up his assignment as

the High Commissioner of India to the UK in December 2016. He conveyed greetings from the President and Prime Minister of India to Her Majesty the Queen and reiterated the commitment of the Government of India to work towards implementation of the roadmap agreed between the two countries during the visit of the UK Prime Minister to India in November 2016. The Queen expressed happiness at the various initiatives being taken by both countries to further

enhance the bilateral relations. The High Commissioner thanked her Majesty tfor hosting a reception to commence the India-UK year of culture. After the presentation of Credentials, the High Commissioner and Mrs Sinha hosted a reception at their residence for dignitaries including Members of Parliament, senior officials from the UK Government, Heads of Diplomatic Missions in the UK and representatives from the Indian community, business groups and media.

Extraordinary people recognised with national honour Communities across Britain are celebrating ‘ordinary’ people doing extraordinary things as 29 people have been honoured with a national award. Twenty-nine people, from a range of backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities, were given a British Citizen Award last month, after being selected from public nominations by a panel of independent assessors. The medallists were honoured at a prestigious ceremony on January 26, at the Palace of Westminster, hosted by Lord Navnit Dholakia. The awards were presented by TV presenter Bradley Walsh. All BCA recipients have positively impacted society undertaking various activities in support of a number of causes. Each received a Medal of Honour, inscribed with the words ‘For the Good of the Country’. Medalists are also invited to use the initials BCA after their name. The British Citizen Awards, in partnership with InMoment, were launched in January 2015 to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society. BCAs are awarded twice annually, and recognise ‘everyday’ people whose

L to R: Bradley Walsh, Dr Joseph Waas, Anu Chadha Lime MCP

achievements may otherwise be overlooked. The awards have attracted support from several high-profile patrons, including Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, Specsavers co-founder, Dame Mary Perkins, PallEx CEO, Hilary Devey and TV presenter, Bradley Walsh. Those who received medals included Croydon pastor, Dele Adeoye, who has been running a food bank for 10 years; 72-yearold Dr Joseph Waas, of Saundby, who has put his patients first for the past 43 years; and selfless Bradford Mohammed man, Saddique, who has dedicated more than 40 years to supporting victims of crime. The awards are in partnership with customer experience management company, InMoment, and are supported by the

world’s largest optical retailer, Specsavers; one of the largest property and leisure management, development and regeneration companies in the UK, Places for People; leading ethical law firm Irwin Mitchell; the UK and Europe’s leading palletised freight distribution company, Pall-Ex, owned by BCAs Patron Hilary Devey; and specialist marketing, PR and communications agency, Lime Marketing – which each had representatives at the ceremony presenting awards. Nominations are being accepted for the July 2017 presentations. To request a nomination form please email nominations@britishcitizenawards.co.uk or submit a form online at http://britishcitizenawards.co.uk/nominate-for-a-bca/. Please submit completed nominations forms before the 7th April 2017.

Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

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Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

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Queen to launch UK-India Year of Culture at Buckingham Palace Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, accompanied by Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, William and Kate - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and other Members of the Royal Family, will host a reception to mark the launch of the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 on Monday 27 February at the Buckingham Palace. The reception will also be attended by India's Finance Minister, Hon'ble Arun Jaitley. The 2017 UK-India Year of Culture will celebrate the deep cultural ties and the 70th anniversary of India’s Independence through a year-long programme of events and exhibitions which will take place in both countries. The events are being organised by the British Council, together with the Indian High Commission in London, UK institutions and their Indian counterparts, with the aim of connecting and inspiring people to celebrate the longstanding relationship and vibrant cultural history. The reception will bring together the best of British and Indian culture and creativity, represented through a range of high profile guests with an interest in both countries. The attendees include guests from the fields of performing arts, fashion, food, literature and sport such as Kunal Nayyar, Neha Kapur, Ayesha

Dharker, Kapil Dev, Rio Ferdinand, Anoushka Shankar and Joe Wright. A highlight of the evening will include a special Indian themed menu of canapes prepared by Royal Chefs working alongside chefs from Veeraswamy, the UK's oldest Indian Restaurant. There will also be a display from the Royal Collection including items from previous Royal Visits to India, and Indian gifts and manuscripts from the Royal Library. Earlier in the day, the Band of the Grenadier Guards will a play a selection of Indian themed music during the Changing of the Guard Ceremony, including soundtracks from the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”. The Queen and The Royal Family have a personal connection with India and have visited several times. Her Majesty's first State Visit to India, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, was in 1961, as the guests of Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India. The first engagement was to Raj Ghat, the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated, where The Queen left a tribute of a wreath of 500 roses and planted a tree. At the State Banquet that evening, Her Majesty said: “To all in India I bring a greeting of goodwill and affection from the British people. I hope that our visit will demonstrate to the world the respect and friendship which exists

between Britain and India, and indeed all the countries which are joined together in the free partnership of the Commonwealth. Since then, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness have paid two further State Visits to India (in 1983 and 1997) and received three incoming State Visits to the UK from India (1963, 1990 and 2009). In 2009, at the State Banquet given for the then President of India Smt. Pratibha Patil in Windsor Castle, Her Majesty said that the "warmth and hospitality of the Indian people, and the richness and diversity of India itself have been an inspiration" [to her and her family]. The Queen also reflected on the UK's and India's "long shared history, which today is a source of great strength in building a new partnership fit for this new century". The most recent visit to India was by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2016.

Arun Jaitley's UK visit

Besides attending the reception at Buckingham Palace, India's Finance Minister will attend a special reception organised by Dr Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson Art & Culture Committee, FICCI on Sunday 26 February at The Lalit, London. On Monday, 27 February, The High Commission of India, UK India Business Council

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Indian PM Narendra Modi during their visit to India in 2016

and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have organised for an exclusive event to hear from Mr Jaitley at a central London hotel. Through a dialogue and interactive Q&A with the audience, Minister Jaitley will share his views on the investment opportunities in India, how his recent budget will impact UK businesses, and on the future of the UK-India trade and investment relationship. According to sources, the Minister may also be launching 70 years celebration of the Indian Journalists' Association at a private event on Monday 27 February. The new IJA President Ashis Ray is awaiting confirmation from his office, we have learnt. The Minister had visited London last in January

2015, when he had inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi statue at the Parliament Square with PM David Cameron.

Other events to celebrate UK-India Year of Culture

To this year-long celebration of the long-standing relationship between the UK and India, the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, alongside Mr Y. K Sinha, High Commissioner for India, will open an event, which will take place on Tuesday 28 February at BFI Southbank, London. The event will provide details of cultural activity - including art exhibitions, touring theatre and dance and large-scale film productions – which will take place across the UK and India throughout the Year;

as well as a host of artists, cultural organisations and institutions from across the UK who will take part including the British Film Institute, Studio Wayne Macgregor and the Science Museum. Indian Journalists' Association, which is celebrating its 70th year in May 2017, will also be hosting a gala dinner in November this year to mark the India-UK year of Culture. The new Committee has been elected on Monday 20 February- with veteran journalist Ashis Ray as the Rupanjana President, Dutta of Asian Voice as the General Secretary and former broadcaster Dr Shiv Pande as the Treasurer. The organisation has also created a special subcommittee this year, that will be organising the celebrations, led by by veteran journalist H S Rao of PTI.

British MPs meet Modi, bring to fore the state of Kashmir Continued from page 1 British Parliamentarians to interfere in bilateral matters of India and Pakistan, the MPs told the PM that there was certainly a need to nullify and speak up against such false propaganda, especially on the floor of the Parliament. Blackman and Sharma were the only Parliamentarians to have spoken in favour of India at the mentioned debate held on 19th January 2017. During the discussion, Bob had also referred to his interaction earlier last year with the Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, where he had raised this concern at a private meeting with her as well as with the National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval. PM Modi told the Ministers that the UK and India are natural partners in the global fight against terrorism, urging visiting MPs to encourage their colleagues to raise their collective voice against terrorism, extremism and radicalisation. Blackman also told the Indian PM about the recently concluded Jammu Kashmir Festival in London and presented with a letter requesting him to announce 26th October as the official Jammu & Kashmir day, similar to

most states of India that celebrate their founding days. PM Modi assured the delegation that he will give it his due consideration.

The controversial debate in UK Parliament On 19th January 2017, the British Parliament saw 29 MPs debate passionately about the human rights violations by India in Kashmir. Each spoke animatedly about the cruel use of pellet guns on 'innocent civilians'. The timing of this debate could not be worse. While the Kashmiri Hindus (Pandits) mourned the bloody acts of 19th January 1990 as they remembered the day when they were rendered homeless at the behest of Jihadi slogans – “Die, Convert or Leave”, David Nutall MP (Bury North – Manchester) decided to hold a debate glorifying the terrorists sponsored by Pakistan! Not even a single mention of the armed infiltration and terror attacks sponsored by Pakistan in Jammu & Kashmir and certainly no acknowledgement of the significance of this very day by anyone except Bob Blackman MP and Virendra Sharma MP who were the only ones to speak in defence of India in their 10 minutes each of limited speaking time.

While the state assembly in Jammu & Kashmir passed a historic resolution on the safe return of the Kashmiri Pandits; in the United Kingdom MPs justified bloody retribution, killing of innocent civilians and destruction of centuries of heritage. Masked as the freedom struggle of Muslims of Kashmir valley, this ideological fight is against democracy, progress, inclusion, growth, prosperity – it is the justification of painting Kashmir in the colours of Islamic State. The events of last summer leading to Burhan Wani’s death (the so called poster boy of Jehaad in Kashmir) draws parallels with Jihadi John in the West, who use social media and propaganda to promote Jehaad and killings in the name of religion. The UK government stand on this issue is that of non-interference. The Rt Hon Alok Sharma made it clear to all parliamentarians that this is a matter purely between India and Pakistan. In the last couple of years the number of ceasefire violations on the Line of Control (LOC) have risen steeply. There were 437 ceasefire violations by Pakistan till November 2016, killing 37 and injuring 179 in the Indian side. In a recent report to the Upper House of the Indian Parliament, it was stated that

there are at least 200 terrorists active in Jammu & Kashmir. Encouragement of such debates and the media coverage encourages the extremists with Jehadi mentality to bring their reprehensible fight closer to the British soil.

Reaction of the diaspora

The debate of 19th January angered the members of the Indian diaspora and a campaign was launched by Lakshmi Kaul called WeCare4India with the aim of educating people on their constitutional rights and building greater awareness on matters pertaining to India. A month after the debate WeCare4India organised a seminar to discuss lobbying by Indian diaspora in the UK on 20th February 2017. The session took place in the House of Commons and was cosponsored by Bob Blackman MP and Virendra Sharma MP. A brief introduction to the initiative, #WeCare4India was given by Lakshmi Kaul who shared with the participants the need for political awareness among the Indian diaspora. The main concern remained the lack of political engagement by the members of Indian diaspora

therefore leading to poor attendance in debates such as these. Sharma MP who was the only other MP to have spoken for India on 19th January 2017 besides Bob shared with the participants how actively the propagandists had been lobbying them for having spoken for India. He shared the tremendous pressure and continued efforts that the lobbyists make in ensuring that the pressure is maintained. He urged community organisations, individuals and various community congregation centres to take a more active role in building the 'political muscle' to educate the local MPs, Peers and various departments and establishments. Lord Dolar Popat shared his experience of over 35 years in helping encourage Indian diaspora to build a political voice and stronger political representation in the UK. He urged the young British Indians to step forward and be more politically engaged and aware. C B Patel, Publisher/Editor of Asian Voice and a keen supporter of this campaign, spoke about the closure of Hare Krishna temple in Watford and how the members of Indian diaspora ensured that the temple was reopened.


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Britain’s Senior most Indian Horticulturist creates Kew’s India Orchids Season This Leading Light inputted into the creation of a wonderful display for Kew Gardens’ special India season to celebrate the 2017 British Council UKIndia year of culture. Bala Kompalli earnt the position of being responsible for giving pleasure to thousands of Kew’s visitors by years of study, hard work, and patience. Kew Gardens’ Visit Orchid Festival and in the Princess of Wales conservatory you will see a huge floral Indian flag, animal figures made of flora, various colourful orchid displays, street scenes combined with fine Indian music and street sounds giving you a wonderful taste of Indian vibrant culture. Bala Kompalli, Botanical Horticulturist in the Orchid unit, Tropical Nursery, helped make this. She is involved in the daily care and culture of the oldest and one of the most diverse living orchid collections in the world. These orchids are from tropical and subtropical countries. Orchids have been cultivated at Kew for more than two centuries. “These living collections of orchids at Kew are about 10,000 representing

Kishan Devani, Consultant

5000 species, many of which are rare and endangered, explains Bala enthusiastically.

elled in dense forest areas due to his work. He loved nature. He also used to maintain a wonderful little garden at his home where he used to order seeds from Background far off states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Born in Andhra Pradesh, adding as many new ornaBala’s father worked in mentals to his collecIndian Railways. tions as possible. He “Since I was used to label them young, I had an interest in plant The beautiful carefully and look them well. I sciences: I Kew Gardens after grew up listenh e l p e d are my office.” ing to his love grow ornamental and vegHorticulturist for nature. My mother and etable crops at Bala father encourmy parents’ Kompalli aged me to take place. We were a up Biology as my plant and nature main subject during loving family. my Degree and Post My maternal graduation. She took a grandfather who was an Masters Degree in Botany engineer, lived and trav-

Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

at Andhra University. Developing her career was not easy, says Bala. “Prior to moving to the UK, I was in pure science teaching botany and it took me at least six months of unpaid Internship at Kew to gain knowledge in horticulture- especially in Orchid cultivation and propagation. It’s a passion.” Horticulture may be a relatively unusual subject to study; but Bala Kompalli feels it is gaining ground (no pun intended). “Horticulture in India has a good future as people have time and money to invest in making their gardens look beautiful. Sectors of horticulture in India have wide scope in landscape management, ornamental production, professional  floral arrangement and Sports turf grass science. Botanic gardens in India employ qualified horticulturists for the conservation of flora and public education.” Still, she notes, “From my over- adecade experience here at Kew, I didn't see any local Indian applicants for studentships or volunteerships in horticultural courses.” It’s not surprising then that Bala is the most expe-

rienced horticulturist (Orchid specialist) and the only Indian at Kew. But there are loads of advantages, she comments. “The beautiful Kew gardens are my office and it is a pleasure to see the rewards of wonderful flowering orchids greeting me every day.  I love training future horticulturists, sharing my knowledge and experience. I like meeting a diverse group of people from various fields of knowledge from all over the world and being part of their research. My other duties include training students of horticulture at Kew in orchid

care and culture and all other aspects of orchid conservation under glasshouse conditions. I am involved in the selec-

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tion of the best orchid species in flower and sending them to the Princess of Wales Conservatory for public display every week, all year round. The Orchid unit is a hub of activity for research, conservation, and education as well as a visitor attraction.”

Challenge

Bala has been involved in meetings during the planning and preparation of the current orchid festival. “Our display teams are the main teams in facing the challenge of getting all the orchids from abroad in time for the weather conditions, decorating them on all the pillars, structures, maintaining lot of volunteers and staff during the last two months. My main role is to make sure that there is a continuous supply of good flowering orchids to the Princess of Wales conservatory, attending to the groups visiting behind the scenes to see our care and culture of orchids, giving my talks and late events during this festival period. Our team’s biggest challenge during the making this show is getting everything on time, looking beautiful, reflecting the tastes and culture of India.” Go to www.kew.org for more info.


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READERS’ VOICE

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Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

Now & After "Shanti" winter edition 2017 Congratulations to all at Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar for most informative above publication. We are an elderly retired group of Asians of mix faith,who get together for lunch once a week. Some of our members do not have access to your papers but would like a copy of the above publication (shanti). We would request you to send us at least 7 or 10 copies for which I shall pay you including postage , at my expense. please expedite and the cost so that i can send you a cheque. I am a subscriber to AV&GS. ID 37839 Manubhai Sachania By email

Sasikala Nagarajan

Any citizen of India who is involved in the case of disproportionate assets must be punished and I think it is a good judgment delivered by the Supreme Court against Sasikala Nagarajan. Her dream of becoming the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has failed. Let this be a lesson to other political criminals at the helm of affairs robbing public money through unfair means. All along we saw crocodile tears in Sasikala Nagarajan’s eyes in front of Jayalalithaa’s memorial and on her funeral day. Now we have seen real tears in her eyes. Most of the politicians, ministers, MPs, MLAs and councillors must be investigated for the same and I am sure no one will come clean out of it, including our dear Prime Minister. Jubel D’Cruz, Mumbai, India

Trump’s humps

I am wondering just how much longer United States president Donald Trump will put up with all the restraining legal directives coming his way. It seems that everything he wants to do turns out to be a "no go" area. One of these days he is sure to slam down the pen he uses to sign his executive orders and stomp out of the White House, uttering four-letter words. Already I can see Hollywood scriptwriters rubbing their hands in anticipation, ready to start work on a blockbuster film they will probably title "The Businessman who tried to run a country". Rudy Otter By email

BJP/Modi bashing agenda

It did not take long for fiduciary Jubel to come back to his favourite, BJP/Modi/Hindu bashing agenda, as his “Election and demonetization” letter in last week’s AV bear witness. While India and indeed the world praise Modi’s brave demonetization policy, as usual D’Cruz has nothing nice to say, his one track mind already made up. Modi enjoying himself! We must be living on different planets! Modi works tirelessly 18 hours a day. His overseas visits are not beach holidays, unlike that of his hero Rahul Gandhi, who disappears overseas for months. These trips are bridge building, investment encouraging sorties that has worked wonders for India. D’Cruz should have attended Modi’s reception at iconic Wembley Stadium with 70k capacity crowd cheering wildly, with then British PM Cameron standing next to him. Modi is the most popular Indian PM ever in the West, receiving such ovation in every country he visits. Staunch, Muslim Middle East countries, once hostile to India, are looking at India favourably, praising PM Modi, attending Republic Day celebrations with their armed forces parading alongside Indian regiments. Modi has put India on world map. If he gets second term, India will become super-power in space exploration, information technology, manufacturing hub and envy of the world. Jubel should spend some time in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to understand what “Achche Din” means in reality. Bhupendra M. Gandhi By email

Trump’s presidency - a fine tuned machine

Donald Trump’s first month in office has been weeks of fights, chaos and dysfunction from a 'fine-tuned machine'. He hit the ground sprinting with a raft of Executive orders to stamp his authority as President of America. The Republican's four weeks have consisted of a flurry of self-inflicted wounds and poorly executed policies: - dismantle Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) and replace it with a new Trumpcare. - slammed the worldwide women’s marches against him for his perceived misogynistic stance. - reinstated a ban on Monday on providing federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option. - withdraws the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. - orders 'immediate construction' of the border wall with Mexico. - signed an executive order, which barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and imposed a 90-day suspension on people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. - Heated phone call with Turnbull Prime Minister of Australia. Relations with all Australia became strained. - Threat to Mexico. The row with Mexico continued as President Trump threatened to send US troops to Mexico to deal with "bad hombres down there". - Mr Trump backed down over his confrontational stance towards Beijing, committing to the ‘One China policy’ in his first phone call with Xi Jinping, the Chinese President. President Trump launched an extraordinary attack on the news media in a wideranging, wild 75-minute press conference. He lampooned the mainstream media that he said was peddling "fake news". “I open the paper and I see stories of chaos, chaos,” he said. “It’s the exact opposite”. The US has found itself in quite a turbulence, with the new president's policies seemingly dividing Americans more than ever. Among a myriad of issues, Trump has considered how to tackle Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), mulled new sanctions on Iran and has advanced US border security measures. However, there's been deep division over the new US leader's policies. Massive, and at times violent protests have sprouted across the country, and America appears to be as divided as ever. Since he took office, a lot of Americans seem a lot angrier, and political views far more polarized. Baldev Sharma Harrow

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Women and space

Kumudiniben Valambia’s letter about three Indian ladies astronauts is fantastic. Kumudiniben highlighted least known Embry-Riddle Astronautical University of USA and space venture by Shawna Pandya. Besides fluency in French, Spanish and Russian languages she must be fluent in Indian-mother tongues too. Such an astronautical achievement is rare when youngsters are chasing mickey-mouse degrees, and in environment of dating, dance, dinner and drugs culture. The world is aware about ladies reaching highest posts in male dominated fields. Reaching highest levels in space travel by Indian ladies is incredible. Kalpana Chawla appeared to be flash in the pan. Later Sunita Williams stole the show. Now Shawna Pandya is set to win kudos. The whole world, especially Indians will eagerly wait to hear about success of this venture. Women have played very vital role in ISRO(India) campaign to launch 104 satellites from 37 countries. This proves, that when women are given a fullest freedom, even sky is not the limit. Unfortunately misogyny is rampant in current patriarchal world, where women are confined and restrained by bigots. Only Hindu type of womens’ worship (divine Godesses-matajees) can liberate women and be accepted as competitor equal to menfolk. Hands that rocks cradle will now rule the planets. Ramesh Jhalla By email

BOE’s refusal to withdraw beef-laced notes

Despite concentrated efforts by local Hindu organizations with world-wide support, Bank of England’s (BOE) stead-fast refusal not only to withdraw £5 beef-laced notes but also to introduce similar £10 polymer bank-notes is a slap on Hindu community’s cultural and religious sensitivities. Perhaps it is time to take protest one step higher, to the Conservative PM, involving Hindu political heavyweights with direct line of communication with PM. Could BOE dare to offend other, much united, well organized communities with vote-bank ethics! To ban these notes in temples may not cut ice with BOE. Perhaps Hindu community may come up with ingenious, effective but legal ideas that would throw spanner in BOE strategy. If everyone stores at least 100 such offending notes creating shortages, putting BOE on wrong footing may help, if carried out with full community support. But entrepreneur Hindu community’s entrenched resistance to act collectively, putting our financial interest, political advancement above community wellbeing is unbridgeable barrier, will never allow us to unite effectively to dent BOE strategy. In any case many Hindus regard this act by BOE as storm in tea-cup, fiddle-faddle issue, not worth the hassle! Perhaps well informed readers of GS/AV may come-up with better, effective brinkmanship that may cut ice with community. The ball is now in readers’ court! Kumudini Valambia By email

NHS Crisis

I do not agree with Baldev Sharma [AV 18 Feb p10] that NHS needs more funding over the next five years. What it needs is efficiency savings and diverting more people to take out private medical insurance. Public sector medical expenditure is about 80% of total medical costs. With accelerated medical insurance and the wealthier population encouraged to go private as much as possible, the increase in demand could be met by existing capacity. One efficiency saving could be to not keep medical history records in NHS itself. Last week I registered my medical history at a private hospital in Rajkot, Gujarat, India. I met and discussed my case with a senior physician explaining that I planned to visit Rajkot more often and needed clinical management there also. After my case file was opened and the medical issues discussed, I was asked to take the file home. All patients are requested to keep their medical history record file with themselves in their own homes. The hospital does not keep any records. Perhaps NHS could consider following that practice. Another saving could be by keeping cost records of what each procedure, elective as well as non-elective, costs in each hospital and make cost comparisons to highlight wastage. Another improvement could be to put all GPs on a PAYE basis and locate them within hospitals for a one stop shop type of medical service. 75% of NI contributions go towards finding State Pension. NHS expenditure is funded by general taxation. Nagindas Khajuria By email

Living on borrowed time

If humans are to survive the 21st century, we need a ‘new world order’, in the cause of ‘world peace’. So far we have been very lucky, that we have not been destroyed, in a ‘nuclear war’ by accident. In November 1974, an American submarine, carrying 160 nuclear warheads, when it hit a Russian submarine, in shallow water off the coast of Holy Loch, Argyll, in Western Scotland. ‘The SSBN James Madison’, was departing Holy Loch, to take up station, when it collided with a societ submarine wairing outside the port, to take up trail. On 23rd May 1967 huge solar flares jammed the three US Early Warning Stations in Alaska, Thule in Greenland, and Flying Dales in North Yorkshire, but the US Air Force Weather Forecasters managed to tell their top officers to cool their jets before ‘Armageddon’ was unleashed. On September 1983, Soviet Lt Colonel Stanislav Petrov, was in command at Serpukhov-15, monitoring satellite-based detection system. Shortly after midnight an alarm sounded signalling that the US had fired five intercontinental ballistic missiles towards Russia. It was a ‘false alarm’, one of the satellites had misinterpreted the glint of sunlight off coulds near Montana as a missile launch, and for a while it was believed that the US had started a nuclear war. But Petrov decided to check with ground radar, and ignore the blaring warning alarm, and reported the launch as ‘false alarm’, and averted a ‘nuclear holocaust’. In the future it will not be possible to check for a ‘false alarm’, because NATO has decided to place ‘nuclear weapons’ on Russia’s border, in Eastern Europe. All countries should sign a treaty of non-aggression, and incorporated in it, a treaty of human rights in order to avoid a ‘nuclear holocaust’ by accident, as we are all children of ‘God’, and gatred does not cease with hatred, but with love alone. Jal Framji Cheshire


EDUCATION

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What winning the Asian Voice Charity Award powered by Charity Clarity meant to Shanti Life Shanti Life, was founded in 2009 with a mission to provide the poor in India with access to seed capital for small enterprises as well as financial literacy and hygiene training. Shanti’s holistic approach to solving economic and social problems is extended through the building of basic sanitation in their homes. Many of the women don’t have access to sanitation and face a long journey to use a toilet where they risk getting bitten by a snake or being sexually assaulted. Providing an eco-sanitation toilet is often the first vital step in their journey to independence. Many of these women face domestic violence at home and have no sense of dignity. Shanti provides women entrepreneurs with loans to start new businesses. Many of these women have been victims of sex trafficking and they are the poorest of the poor. With funding from Shanti they can buy sewing machines, set up cooking stalls, or help artisans to develop their textiles for sale. One of the most unique aspects is how Shanti works directly with loan recipients on the ground. At the time of receiving a loan, every recipient is given a new bank account. By opening an account, the poor finally make it onto the financial ladder of independence. It also helps Shanti to ensure a smooth repayment audit trail while minimizing its own overhead costs.

How you can get involved

sanitation unit in their home. To make an investment that keeps on giving as the repayments are recycled into new loans, go to shantilife.org/donate. Shanti Life is a non-profit microfinance institution (MFI) with charity status in the USA, Canada, UK and India.

Asian Voice Charity Award powered by Charity Clarity

Winning the Most Enterprising Charity of the Year Award has helped Shanti Life gain exposure through various audiences, networks and media including Good News Shared article, a feature on Charity Clarity Newsletter and several speaking opportunities. The twoday training organised by Charity Clarity in September 2016 has given us expert insight into the charity community. Charity Clarity also assisted us in developing our message for potential investors at the live crowdfunding event with The Funding Network in February 2017. We were awarded for our creative approach to alleviating poverty through access to credit for poor women entrepreneurs in India. Most notable, the prize and membership with Charity Clarity and has provided us with a platform for further growth. Submit your nomination before 31st March 2017 at http://asianvoicecharityawards.com/how-toenter/.

You can help the disadvantaged get their new businesses off the ground or improve the wellbeing and dignity of women by funding the installation of a

The Armed Forces Engagement Team are presenting in your area and would like to come and inform your group, business, school etc about the Armed Forces. We will give you an overview of the Armed Forces, what it does and how it is changing in order to deal with future challenges. If you would like the team to visit you please email ArmyACGS-AEG-mailbox@mod.uk

Asian Voice |25th February 2017

11

Graduate nursery staff have 'little effect' on children Having a graduate teacher in a nursery has only a limited impact on children's attainment, new research suggests. In England the government wants more graduate staff in nurseries in a bid to boost children's literacy and numeracy. But a study published by the London School of Economics (LSE) claims highly qualified staff had only a "tiny" effect on attainment. The researchers, from the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE, Surrey University and University College London, looked at figures, drawn from the National Pupil Database, on about 1.8 million five-yearolds who started school in England between 2008 and 2011. These were the most recent figures available when the project began in 2012.

The researchers crossreferenced the children's attainment at the end of their first year at school with information on the nurseries they had attended the previous year. The information revealed, that the children from nurseries with teachers qualified to degree level on the staff performed only slightly better than children who had not had access to qualified teachers at nurs-

ery. This amounted to having an overall teacher assessment score at the end of the reception year of just a third of a point higher, where the maximum points available is 117. The researchers also found only a minimal benefit for children who had attended nurseries rated outstanding by Ofsted, compared with those who had attended other nurseries.

A third of UK lives on inadequate income, says think tank Nearly a third of the population of Britain is living on an "inadequate" income, according to research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). In 2014-15, it said that 19 million people were living on less than the Minimum Income Standard (MIS). It said the problem was that household costs have been rising, while incomes have stagnated. The government has

already promised to tackle the issue, after Theresa May identified those "just about managing". It said it was taking "targeted action" to raise incomes. Although the precise level depends on individual circumstances, a single person renting a flat outside London is said to need to earn at least £17,300 a year to reach the MIS. For a working couple with two children, living in

ECONOMY

social housing, each of the individuals needs to earn £18,900 a year. In other words a couple could be earning £37,000 jointly, and still count as being below the MIS threshold. Among the 19 million said to be below the MIS are six million children, representing 45% of all children in Britain. There are also 1.8 million pensioners, representing 14.6% of the age group.

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MEDIA WATCH

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It was nothing less than a bomb shell, and it left V.K. Sasikala’s hope of becoming Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister in fragments. Her tears on hearing the Supreme Court of India’s devastating judgment on her massive corruption said it all. She was sentenced to a four-year term in prison and barred from standing for public office for ten years. The ruling AIADMK, shattered by the verdict, may be heading for a split despite a frenetic salvage operation to rescue the remnants of Sasikala’s faction. A Bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitava Roy set aside the acquittal of the Karnataka High Court in a short and decisive hearing, ‘restored in toto,’ the first trial court judge in Bangalore, Michael D’Cunha’s convictions, pronounced on 27 September 2014 against Jayalalithaa, sentenced then to a four-year prison term, and and J.Ilavarasi Sasikala, V.N. Sudhakaran [Sasikala’s nephew] [Sasikala’s sister-in-law].

Generation Fighter Aircraft design and manufacture with Russia had been settled between the parties and been forwarded to the Cabinet Committee for Defence for approval (Economic Times February 15)

Larsen & Toubro, French tie-up

Sasikala, cuurent Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Palaniswami and former interim Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam

The three afore mentioned were close associates of the late Jayalalithaa, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo, who died on 5 December 2016. The accused had assembled at the house of the living Jayalalithaa ‘pursuant to the… conspiracy… to hold [Jayalithaa’s] assets,’ said Justice Ghose. Justice Roy was equally damning: ‘Attendant facts demonstrate a…conspiratorial design to amass vast assets …and hold [them] through shell entities to cover up the … trail of such illicit acquisitions and deceive… the process of law.’

his heir apparent M.G. Stalin. With a name like that, he must be the Tamil man of steel, with infinite patience, coupled with the intuition to strike at the right hour for power (Hindu, Times of India, Mint February 15)

Spectacular Space launch

While domestic television viewers

Showcasing Aero India

The Bangalore Air show is arguably the largest in Asia. The world’s largest companies are represented in force, as India is among the foremost global markets with its military modernization operating in high gear. US big hitters, include Lockheed Martin and Boeing, manufacturers of the F-16 and F-18 Super Hornet respectively, mill around with people from Sweden’s Saab, producer of the Grippen, all hoping to sell their frontline warplane to the Indian Air Force. (Hindu, Mint February 15)

MiG ready to deal

Jayalalithaa’s assets

Sasikala’s last throw of the dice was to expel the interim Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O. Panneeselvam and his faction from the party. She sent her man Friday, K.Palaniswami, to meet the State Governor Vidyasagar Rao, who installed him as the new Chief Minister, Mr Palaniswami having proved at the weekend that he had the overwhelming support of AIADMK legislators in a vote of confidence in the floor of the House. Mr Panneerselvam cut a forlorn figure, flattering to deceive in his bid for power.

were forced to endure the marathon reporting and analyses of Tamil Nadu politics – anchors and field reporters as repetitive as road drills, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) touched the skies with glory with its launch of 104 satellites from a single PSLV rocket, thereby creating a world record previously held by Russia’s 37 satellites with a single shot. The record-breaking mission was one for the history books, a stellar achievent in 50 years of space endeavour on a shoe-shine budget compared with that of America’s NASA. (Times of India, Hindu, Telegraph et al February 16) See page 3 for further comment

Interceptor missile test

Meanwhile JSC Russian Aircraft Corporation, MiG, the maker of the MiG 21, long the mainstay of the Indian Air Force, is a high profile presence at Aero India. Company CEO Ilya Tareshenko, in an answer to an Indian reporter, said: ‘We have been partners with India for several decades …the legendary MiG-21 fighters still operate with the IAF and their life cycle has been extended till 2025…we successfully completed a contract with the Indian Navy for the supply of 45 MiG 29/KUB which, as you know, took an active role in [Russia’s] Syrian conflict.’ To a question on the reason for the MiG-35 presenmce, Tarashenko replied: ‘For sure, the MiG-35 is an aircraft that the Indian Air Force is interested in, in terms of the cost-efficiency,’ and because the present MiG on show came with the latest weapons systems and electronic warfare package. He had come prepared to negotiate supplies with ‘Make in India requirements in mind (Mint February 15, Business Line February 17)

Meanwhile the DMK, the parent body from which the AIADMK split decades ago under the charismatic M.G. Ramachandran, is watching the present shenanigans with keen interest. The party appears to be biding its time. Its patriarch M.Karunanidhi has made way for

India’s interceptor missile, designed to destroy an incoming ballistic missile, has been successfully tested off the Bay of Bengal. As part of the test, a target missile mimicking an enemy ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km was launched from an Indian naval vessel stationed in the Bay

Meanwhile the Chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), S. Raju, informed a reporter that all technical and financial aspects of the Fifth

Jayalalithaa’s death may have ‘abated’ the criminal case against her but her properties and her bank accounts will not escape confiscation and forfeiture to realize the Rs 100 crore fine imposed on her by the trial court. Properties in the name of six front companies will also be confiscated.

Palaniswami Chief Minister

DMK sitting pretty

World record PSLV launch of 104 satellites

dumb, daily syndication of the New York Times relentless diatribes against the US President appear to make them lobbyists for Hilary Clinton or her major funder, the financier George Soros, whose wealth is dispersed for anti-Trump activities across the world. What Indian interest is served by such poisonous partisanship? Could it also be black money? One has to ponder.

Japan offer to develop North-East

Interceptor missile test

of Bengal. It was engaged and destroyed at a height of over 50 km. The interceptor missile is being developed by the Defence & Development Research Organization (DRDO). Only the US, Russia and Israel possess such missiles. In a message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the scientists and engineers for the test, which is a giant step forward to its operational capability (Hindu, Times of India February 12)

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Mr. Naik, CEO Larsen & Toubro

Indian engineering giant Larsen & Toubro has entered a joint venture with the French company MBDA for the development and production of missiles and missile systems for India’s armed forces. Larsen & Toubro will have a 51 per cent stake in the joint venture. MBDA is jointly owned by the French Airbus Group, BAE Systems and Leonardo and has considerable expertise and experience in this field (Mint February 14)

Chabahar ready for business

The strategic port of Chabahar on the northern tip of Iran abutting the Persian Gulf, will be ready for business in a month’s time, said the Afghan Consul General Mohammad Aman Amin. Chabahar, built with Indian expertise and largely Indianfunded, is linked to a rail network from western Afghanistan and Iran bypasses Pakistan, hence provides an alternative route for Indo-Afghan trade. Beyond this, Chabahar will be India’s commercial hub to Central Asia and the Russian Federation. Its rail link will extend to Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea, thence into the Russian heartland and markets farther afield (PTI, Times of India February 13)

Don’t demonize Trump: Jaishankar

Addressing a think tank in Mumbai, India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar cautioned against demonizing US President Donald Trump. It was more desirable to reflect on why he came to power and understand the significance of his policies (Times of India February 15) It was an apt warning, which sections of the Indian print media would do well to consider. Their

Japan has offered to develop the infrastructure of India’s strategic North-East region, said the Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu in New Delhi. Buoyed by the recent ‘good’ meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Donald Trump, Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu, speaking at a conference in New Delhi on the convergence of IndoJapanese interests in the IndoPacific region, appealed for closer cooperation between India, Japan, the US and Australia. He pointed to the unprecedented expansion in India-Japan ties covering technology, defence etc. His remarks were endorsed by India’s Minister of State at the Home Ministry, Kiren Rijiju, who comes from Arunachal Pradesh, now claimed by China. (Mint February 14)

Memorial meeting for Russian envoy

A memorial meeting was held recently in New Delhi to condole the death of the popular Russian Ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin. A former Indian foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai and a former Indian ambassador to Russia, Ajai Malhotra attended the meeting. A proposal was mooted by Indian friends to name a street in the Indian capital after him. Mr Kadkin’s family hope to set up an institute of Indology in Moscow in his name.

PM’s tribute

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by Ambassador Kadakin’s death, adding that he was ‘an admirable diplomat, a great friend of India and a fluent Hindi speaker who contributed tirelessly to IndiaRussia ties.’ His 30-year diplomatic career revolved round India. Russian President Vladimir Putin said: ‘Mr Kadakin was a firm and consistent in defending our country’s interests and made a particularly big personal contribution to developing Russia-India relations, which is one of our priorities. (Aniket Chakraborty, February 10)

FGFA deal ready for Cabinet approval

Aircraft display at Aero India 2017 at Bangalore


UK Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

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13

Housing Benefit Tenants are struggling to Find Private Rented Accommodation

Don’t Weep for the Media Power without responsibility – that is what the media is so often called. The parallels between India and the US presently are fascinating. The difference is PM Modi is cool calm and collected when it comes to media lies. Not all media produces fake news. But my God we know they do come up with fiction. So before we suddenly jump to the defence of the freedom of speech let’s remember that some mainstream media you may be asking to protect your rights are the ones eroding them. Pompous media is as bad as pompous politicians; lying deceitful -not all of them – but they know their clan and ilk and the game to be played. Don’t fall for it. At least a Head of Government has the constitution binding them. The selfappointed guardians of our liberties in the media so often do not. How many decent papers and broadcast journalists are there? BBC, CNN, Asian Voice, Financial Times. Done. The reason so much of the media is annoyed at Trump and Modi for that matter is that neither are scared. Politicians are frightened most days of the media. Every move is manicured and they are shackled. The media acts as a bully ready to pounce if you step out of line. Trump and Modi don’t care. The power has shifted. And for that the media, the liberal media hates them for it. And that is good. The reason for Levison was media power. Time and again from phone hacking to pure racist Daily Mail fiction they are a threat to liberty and the rabble rousers. They are closer to fascism than

Modi or Trump who they proclaim are the enemy. Bewarned, the media as a whole is not your friend. Whether NDTV shouting down at you or the Daily Mail. There are few friends you can trust in life. Pick those carefully. Most of the time in life, people hear and see what they want to see. Cognitive biases are strong and persistent. They can be shaken off. We listen and read what we are most likely to agree with. And let us remember two years ago what happened. The irresponsibility in this day and age, to exploit religious differences where none exist is both negligent and dangerous. ITV have done this by putting young Hindu adolescents in harm’s way. The idea that a TV channel would inflame any part of the world, particularly Britain, for selling TV viewers should be criminal offence – wait, it is – incitement to hatred. ITV did exactly that in broadcasting secret filming of a guest speaker at a Hindu charity, HSS. One for whom I too have been a guest speaker. The guest speaker, in talking to adolescents spoke of Christian strategies of colonisation in India during the Empire and of problems within Islam. He spoke not as an academic. He spoke in generalisations. Like your grandfather might, or President Obama admitted his white grandmother did of black people. That ugly hidden ill thought out prejudice which comes out in private conversations that does not represent our better selves in public. Which is why ITV had to use secret illicit hidden recordings to find it.

Group of men removed from Easyjet flight after they 'refused to sit next to women' Easyjet passengers on a flight from Tel Aviv to Luton have said they experienced a "nightmare" journey after a group of men refused to sit next to women. The group, believed to have been Orthodox Jews, refused to take their seats next to female passengers due to religious reasons, The Jewish Chronicle reports. Following a 15 minute stand-off, where the men were said to have blocked the aisles, some of the women offered to move so that the men would agree to sit down. Easyjet confirmed the incident had taken place in

a statement which highlighted the importance of passengers' safety. Bedfordshire Police also confirmed they were called to the disturbance. They escorted the men off the plane, but stressed that no offences had been committed. Incidents involving ultra-Orthodox Jewish

men delaying flights have been widely-reported in recent years. In 2014, a flight from New York to Tel-Aviv turned into an "11-hour long nightmare" after passengers on board refused to sit next to women, which delayed take-off and caused further disruption throughout the flight.

Police seek man over sex attack in Canary Wharf spa Police have released a CCTV image of a man they wish to trace in connection with a sexual assault in a Canary Wharf spa. The incident happened between 12.40pm and 1.20pm on December 16 at the unnamed spa in Cabot Place. A man entered the venue and requested a massage. He then exposed himself before sexually assaulting the woman before fleeing the scene.

The man is described as of Asian appearance, about 6ft tall of slim build with dark hair. He was wearing a white shirt, dark suit trousers, a light coloured jacket and trainers - he was also carrying

a dark rucksack. Officers from Tower Hamlets are still investigating and want to hear from anyone who recognises the man shown in the image or who has information that could assist the investigation. People should contact Tower Hamlets police via 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Alternatively, you can tweet information via @MetCC .

With high rents and low wages, there has been a huge increase in the number of people who need to claim benefits to cover their rent. More tenants on housing benefits are Saniya Taqi finding it increasingly difficult to find privately rented accommodation. You will see a number of "To Let" posts in your local newsagent window, on rental listings or on letting websites stating "No DSS" alongside bans on children and pets. DSS stands for Department of Social Security, an old phrase which simply means anyone receiving government benefits. It is now known as Department for Work and Pensions. The use of this phrase means that the landlord is unwilling to accept tenants that claim housing benefits. Most people renting out property do not want DSS tenants. Landlords and letting agents have the power to pick and choose who they wish to rent to. With benefit caps and a shortage of homes, tenants are finding themselves in a predicament to find privately rented accommodation due to landlords shutting them out if they are on benefits. There seems to be a stigma attached to those who claim benefits and housing benefits. The main question to ask here is: Why do Landlords refuse to rent their property to those tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit? A government survey of landlords from 2011 found that the most common reasons applied by landlords for rejecting tenants on benefits were disturbances or anti-social behaviour (19%), expected payment delays (17%), unpaid rent (16%) and damage (16%). Another reason provided is that a

number of landlords who have a mortgage to pay fear that they will not be paid rent on time if the tenant is on benefits. This will then result in landlords having to evict tenants due to rent arrears and this can be a very complicated procedure, particularly if the landlord has a mortgage to pay. In addition to this, some mortgage lenders are reluctant to provide mortgages to landlords who rent their property to tenants on benefits. The condemnation of tenants on housing benefits has resulted in more tenants becoming homeless as they are struggling to find accommodation themselves. If you have fell victim to a housing matter, from unlawful eviction to disrepair, please do not hesitate to contact us. Duncan Lewis Housing Solicitors can guide clients in any matter or issues arising with local housing authorities, housing applications, tenants, landlords, ownership and repairs. With a niche expertise in Possession and Unlawful Eviction cases the Department holds a significant presence in County Court Possession Duty Schemes throughout London including the Central London County Court. The Housing Department also offers representation in all proceedings including reviews, appeals and judicial review proceedings relating to homelessness, disrepair and succession for tenants. If you have any housing related queries or require representation please do not hesitate to contact our team of expert solicitors on 03337720409.

Author, Saniya Taqi, is a caseworker in the Housing Law Department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors; she assists on a variety of landlord and tenant housing related matters such as disrepair matters, homelessness and possession proceedings.

Ex-wife screened off from estranged husband in court A woman had to be screened off from her estranged husband during their High Court divorce hearing because she 'loathes the sight of him'. Afsana Lachaux said she did not want to see Bruno Lachaux when answering barristers' questions at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London. Mr Justice Mostyn said seating arrangements in Court 50 at the Royal Courts of Justice should be reorganised. Mr Lachaux moved to a press bench at the side of the room and a curtain was drawn between him and Mrs Lachaux. The judge has been asked to make rulings relating to the status of the pair's marriage. Lawyers want him to decide whether a divorce granted

in Dubai should be recognised in England. Mr Lachaux, a French aerospace engineer who works in the Middle East, has told how he and Mrs Lachaux, who is English and lives in London, spilt after marrying seven years ago. He said Mrs Lachaux was violent towards him and 'threatening'. She told the judge Mr Lachaux had 'obsessively spied' on her, stalked her and hacked her emails. She said the marriage had been a 'monumental mistake'. Giving evidence earlier this week, Mr Lachaux said he looked at his wife’s emails when they lived together because he had suspected she was having an affair. Under Emirati law husbands and wives could examine each other’s emails without permission,

Afsana Lachaux and her French Christian estranged husband, Bruno

he said, as there were ‘no secrets’ between married couples. Mr Lachaux denied he had stalked her or that he had used other surveillance techniques to spy on her. When Mr Lachaux began his evidence, his estranged wife moved away from the witness box and moved to sit with one of her lawyers at the back of the courtroom.


14

UK

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Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

Essex trader paid £80,000 for Osborne’s Big Apple speech The mystery over who paid £80,000 for sacked former chancellor George Osborne’s speech in New York a few months ago has been unravelled. The ex-chancellor picked up the £80,000 pay cheque for a twohour speech from a former Essex trader Rob Palmer. It was reported the 34year-old futures broker arranged the event in the Big Apple to “show off” to his influen-

by Palmer in 2014 to receive commission payments from his work. Palmer, who had left his employment at the British firm Sigma Broking a few days earlier, is thought to have invited a number of his contacts from banks and major commodity trading firms. “For somebody to be able to invite individuals to hear a speech by the immediate ex-chancellor, there’s a degree of kudos there,” one source told The Times. “There’s an element in any broGeorge Osborne ker of showing off.”

tial clients. The October 27 speech was recorded on Osborne’s declaration of financial interests as being hosted by Palmex Derivatives, set up

Web giants accused of selling controversial anti-vaccine film Scientists and autism campaigners have urged Amazon and Apple to remove from their services an anti-vaccination documentary – Vaxxed – made by discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield who falsely links vaccines with autism. Wakefeld was struck off in 2010 for his fraudulent claims that linked autism with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. His study led to a sharp fall in vaccination rates. Vaxxed has been reportedly put on sale on iTunes,

Andrew Wakefield

Amazon Instant Video and Vimeo, a popular YouTubestyle streaming service. Now a member of the “anti-vaxxer” movement in

the US, there are concerns among scientists that Wakefield is spearheading a campaign that could disrupt vaccination programmes in Europe. Wakefield reportedly spoke at a screening of Vaxxed in London last Tuesday. Simon Singh, founder of the pro-science charity Good Thinking, said the documentary should be withdrawn, adding: “If they (the companies) are willing to put profit above public health then they are free to do so but it would be hugely disappointing.”

Arab men’s sex assault in Frankfurt report ‘baseless’, finds police probe A widely-reported story about Arab men allegedly going on a rampage of robbery and sexual assault in Frankfurt (Germany) on New Year’s Eve has been exposed as “baseless” after investigation by police. The German tabloid Bild, which originally reported the claims, has apologised for what it said was a “false report”, which was based on the now disputed claims of a pub owner and some of their staff. The newspaper has removed the story from its website. On

February 6, Bild reported claims that women were attacked by a 50-strong group of “Arabic and North African looking men”, at the city’s Fressgass nightspot. The tabloid reported that Jan Mai, 49, a chef, claimed that 50 Arab men caused mayhem at his restaurant in the Fressgass area, sexually assaulting women. German police said they had interrogated staff and patrons at the pub and their statements “created considerable doubt about the portrayal of events” and that

the story was “baseless” or “without foundation”. One person who had claimed to have witnessed the attacks was not even in Frankfurt on New Year’s Eve. Bild wrote: “The Bild editorial team expressly apologises for this nontruthful reporting and the accusations against those concerned. This reporting does not correspond in any way to the journalistic standards of Bild.” The newspaper said it would investigate how it came to be published.

Firm to refund £12.5m to customers A mail order company backed by Sports Direct has agreed with financial regulators to pay £12.5m back to customers for insurance products that “offered little

or no value”. Personal shopping firm Express Gift – a part of Findel, the Londonlisted firm – sold either property insurance or purchase protection insurance

products to about 330,000 customers between 2005 and 2015. Findel is 29% owned by Mike Ashley-founded Sports Direct.

Hornless cows are being bred by scientists so that farmers and dog walkers feel more safe in the countryside. These hornless cattle are less likely to gore farmers or threaten dog walkers. Around five Britons a year are killed by cows.

Animal geneticist Dr Alison Van Eenennaam, of the University of California, discovered it is possible to splice the “hornless” gene from Aberdeen Angus cattle into the widespread blackand-white Holstein diary cows so that they are born without protrusions.

However, they will not be arriving soon as regulators have not agreed that genetically engineered animals are allowed in the food chain. The experimental cows produced by the University of California currently remain in quarantine.

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Old and beautiful couple who met over a bin marry at 89 Well, it’s never too late to love and marry. An elderly couple married on Saturday after four decades of friendship. Joan Neininger and Ken Selway, both 89 years old, took the plunge at the residential care home where they live in Gloucester. They first met when Ken was rummaging through the bins outside Joan’s bookshop in Gloucester back in 1975. The loved-up pensioners got together after they ended up living in the same retirement home after Joan’s husband’s death. Joan proposed last year after Norman, her husband of 30 years, died from a heart attack. Ken had been friendly with both Joan and her husband Norman when he was alive. The great-grand-

Joan Neininger and Ken Selway

mother said: “When I saw him ferreting through the bins outside a fish and chip shop near my bookshop, I never thought for a minute it would end like this. But although he was living on the streets, I knew straight away that Ken was a lovely man with a beautiful soul.” Joan’s perception of

‘Healthy wholegrain’ may not be wholesome Food manufacturers are accused of misleading consumers over “wholegrain” products that can be packed with sugar. Such products are often promoted as a healthy source of fibre but can contain less than two grams in a typical serving. Kellogg's faces a legal action in the US over a “wholegrain” cracker that contains more refined flour.

The Centre for Science in the Public Interest claims the wholegrain description was being used to promote a “junk food”.

Prime London home market outlook upbeat House price cuts and the dip in the value of the pound have given a big boost to the prime London property market, with the number of homes under offer at its highest since before the EU referendum. Sterling has fallen by

16% since June 23. Financial Times reported properties in leafy central London areas that typically cost millions of pounds are selling at an average discount of 10.8% to the asking price, according to LonRes, a data firm.

homeless people changed when she read Jeremy Sandford’s book “Down and out in Britain”. She said: “People say I saved Ken. But it was actually Jeremy Sandford’s book that made me look twice at the men sleeping rough and see him as the person as he was.”

Spending on drinks, cigarettes takes a dip

Britain is becoming a more clean-living nation if figures obtained from the Office for National Statistics are any indication to go by. Households in Britain are spending more money in restaurants and hotels than on cigarettes and alcohol. Spending on drinks and tobacco has almost halved in 15 years. The statistics for the financial year ending March 2016 revealed that families spend an average of £528.90 a week. Around £45 of that is spent at restaurants, cafes and hotels, weekly. Compared to the previous year, this is an increase of £1.80. Over the same period the average weekly spend on alcohol, tobacco and narcotics fell below £12 for the first time.

Pensioner fined £100 for feeding swans lettuce at Quinton Park A 63-year-old retired cleaner and driver was fined £100 for feeding swans lettuce despite taking advice from the RSPCA. Michael Rennie was

handed two penalty notices for feeding the birds at Quinton Park, in Cheylesmore. He was told his actions constituted “depositing litter” and was handed two £50 fines.

He phoned the RSPB who advised him to give the swans grain and lettuce. The park said it encourages responsible feeding.

Anonymous informer reporting Now, scientists breed hornless cows on illegal parking sparks anger A snitch has drawn people's ire in a small village by reporting illegal parking to the council, landing many drivers with fines. The mystery vigilante has been accused of spending his or her day looking for illegally parked vehicles before calling the traf-

fic warden to report them. Drivers popping into shops in Rottingdean, East Sussex, have been reported by the anonymous informer, much to their and traders' discomfiture. One furious trader posted a strongly-worded letter on the window of the

village’s barber shop, labelling the snitch a “prat” who “sticks their nose where it’s not wanted”. Council figures show parking enforcement firm NSL receives a complaint about poor parking in the village at least once every three days.


14

India Connect Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Card

OCI Card is a multiple entry life-long visa which enables the holder to have unlimited travel and stay in India. What are the Benefits for an OCI card holder? An OCI card holder gets the following benefits: A multiple entry, multi-purpose lifelong visa for visiting India. Exemption from registration with local police authority for any length of stay in India. Parity with Non-resident Indians (NRIs) in respect of economic, financial and educational fields, except in relation to acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties. OCI can be used as identity proof for application of PAN Card and driving licence as well as for opening a bank account if the OCI card holder is residing in India. How to apply for OCI: OCI is an online process. Applicant needs to fill up OCI Application Form Online. After filling up the online OCI application, applicant has to take out the print of the application and submit TWO SETS of application form with prescribed documents and fees to the designated VFS Centre. The time taken for issue of OCI Card is minimum 6-8 weeks, delay beyond the specific time frame cannot be ruled out owing to certain technical reasons. All applicants are advised to book their travel plan only after obtaining the OCI. Who can apply for OCI? n who is a citizen of another country, but Was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after, the commencement of the Constitution; OR n who is a citizen of another country, but was eligible to become a citizen of India at the time of the commencement of the Constitution; OR n who is a citizen of another country, but belonged to a territory that became part of India after the 15th day of August, 1947; OR n who is a child or a grand-child or a great grandchild of such a citizen; OR n a person, who is a minor child of a person mentioned in the above 4 criterion; OR n a person, who is a minor child, and whose both parents are citizens of India; OR n a person, who is a minor child, and whose one of the parents is a citizen of India; OR

n

Spouse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India cardholder registered under section 7A and whose marriage has been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the application under this section. Exceptions: OCI is not granted to any citizen who is / was and / or if their parents, grandparents or great grandparents are / were citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh or such other country as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify, shall be eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of India cardholder. What benefits an OCI Card holder is not entitled to: The OCI Card holder is not entitled: n to vote, n to be a member of a Legislative Assembly or of a Legislative Council or of the Parliament of India, n to hold Indian constitutional posts such as that of the President, Vice President, Judge of the Supreme Court or High Court etc. n He/she cannot normally hold employment in the Government PIO to OCI I am a PIO Card holder, what should I do to obtain the OCI Card? The date for application for conversion of valid PIO card to OCI card has been extended till 31 March 2016. The valid PIO card holders are advised to submit the applications by 31 March 2016. One can apply for OCI card in lieu of valid PIO card free of any charges. However the applicant will have to pay the service charges for the outsourcing agency as well as postal charges. Is it mandatory to have a Life Long Visa Sticker (OCI) in the foreign Passport? No, The life Long Visa Sticker – on the Foreign/British Passport process has been discontinued by Government of India. Applicants are required to carry Valid OCI Card with current foreign passport (endorsed on the OCI Booklet). Please note, the OCI Cards with Life Long Visa Stickers in the Foreign/British Passport issued in the past will remain valid for travel. For more information please click this link: http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/OCI.html

For more information please contact us on our helpline numbers: +44 203 793 8629 / +44 203 695 9849 Monday – Friday 8:30 – 17:30 (except for Consular Holiday)

Alternatively applicants can also call : 09057 570 045* * Please note calls to this number will be chargeable at the rate of 95p per minutes plus a connection charge from a BT landline. Calls from mobile phones may cost considerably higher. For Email inquiry please email us: OCI: info.ociuk@vfshelpline.com Visa: info.inuk@vfshelpline.com Consular & Passports: Info.ppt-Consularuk@vfshelpline.com

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Integrationists Celebrate Accession of Jammu & Kashmir to India On Monday 26th October the British 2015, Parliament witnessed a historic seminar commemorating the 68th year of the signing of the Instrument of Accession of Jammu & Kashmir to India, by Maharaja Hari Singh. The seminar was jointly supported by the Kashmiri Pandits Cultural Society and Voice of Dogras, and was supported by the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Hindus led by the Chair, Bob Blackman MP. It was the first ever attempt in the UK that saw the coming together of Kashmiri Hindus (Pandits) and Dogras from Jammu in highlighting the accession of Jammu & Kashmir to India in 1947 and the ratification of this decision in 1954 in the state assembly establishing the finality of the decision made by Maharaja Hari Singh. Along with Bob Blackman, Lord Popat of Harrow, Virendra Sharma MP – Vice Chair, APPG for British Hindus & Chair, APPG for India, P K Patel, First Secretary, High Commission of India and various community leaders and representatives attended this event. Bob Blackman said, “I am proud to be hosting the commemoration of the 68th Anniversary of the Signing of the Instrument of Accession of Jammu & Kashmir to India by Maharaja Hari Singh at the British Parliament as the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Hindus, set up especially to provide a voice to the British Hindu community. The seminar is the first such attempt to educate the parliamentarians and members of the community on the history of Jammu & Kashmir. It establishes the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and has been since 1947.” The evening saw the release of a White Paper on History of Jammu &

Bob Blackman addressing the guests at the seminar

Kashmir: Instrument of Accession describing what the document was and the various events surrounding the signing of the legal documentation that Jammu & acceded Kashmir to India. Congratulating the organisers, Virendra Sharma MP said, “this is an important seminar and an act of remembrance for Jammu & Kashmir’s accession to India. 68 years ago history was made, but sadly the roots

The release of a White Paper on History of Jammu & Kashmir: Instrument of Accession

of the longstanding conflict between India and Pakistan were laid too. Only by understanding why there is conflict can we hope to end it for our future generations.” Leading the commemoration Lakshmi Kaul, Founder of Kashmiri Pandits Cultural Society highlighted the significance and need for conducting this seminar in the UK. “In the UK as well as other parts of Europe there is a growing antiIndia lobby that is making

Croydon celebrates Diwali Croydon Diwali Mela rocked the town centre with 1000s of people in North End Croydon on Saturday 31 October. It was packed with fun food dances music singing and the variety of cultural stalls. Mayura Patel Chairperson of Croydon Hindu Council who organised this event said "The

people believe that ‘Kashmiris’ want the right of self-determination. This lobby has targeted and attempted to eliminate the very identity of any other minority communities in the region. In fact, they do not acknowledge the state in totality but only refer to the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir area calling out for independence. This misinformed narrative needs to be rectified and the facts need to be laid out. The seminar and com-

feedback was tremendous from all and it was lovely to dance Raas - a Gujarati Folk Dance with Madam Mayor. Children and adults all joined in to dance till the end. Diwali in Croydon was celebrated with a diversed audience and also as one large Hindu family in Croydon for the first time ever ".

memoration is only a joint attempt by communities from the region of Jammu & Kashmir to state that the state is an integral part of the dominion of India and has been since 1947. Hundreds of messages of support were received by the organisers including those from the veterans, senior activists and celebrities including actor, director & teacher Anupam Kher, media guru & activist Sushil Pandit, senior journalist Aditya Raj Kaul, plus many more.


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UK Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

15

Edwardian Hotels London set to transform Leicester Square Cecil A Soans

Friday, 17th February 2017 was an iconic moment for the London's West End. It marked the basement 'bottoming out' of Edwardian Hotels London's ambitious new development in Leicester Square. Reaching 30 metres below ground level it is the deepest hotel basement in London – deeper than most London underground stations and probably one of the deepest commercial establishments in the UK. The basement ranks among the deepest habitable foundations in the world. Around 52% of the property will be located below the ground in order to maximise value. At a ceremony brimming with optimism the project's engineers and hotel executives reiterated Mayor Sadiq Khan's message that London is thriving, successful and is open for business despite the current economic and political challenges. The new project is costing the owners in excess of £300 million – money made in London and invested back

London's West End by the Edwardian Hotels and is a symbol of their continued confidence in the city of Westminster and London. This development is a welcome addition to Leicester Square which is the gateway to theatre land and the spiritual home of British cinema and entertainment.” The £300m investment from Edwardian

Edwardian Hotels London

Edwardian Hotels London is a privately-owned hotel group, which has been owning, operating, and developing an upscale and luxury hotel and hospitality portfolio since Jasminder Singh OBE began his career within the hospitality industry in 1977 – forming the beginnings of what would become Edwardian Hotels London. Today, Edwardian Hotels London owns and operates eleven Radisson Blu Jasminder Singh Edwardian London hotels in London and central Manchester, The May Fair Hotel and a collection of restaurants and bar brands including the May Fair Kitchen, Monmouth Kitchen and May Fair Bar. The Leicester Square project will be the group’s 13th property. into London - as described by Iype Abraham, Commercial Development Director, Edwardian Hotels London. Speaking on the occasion Robert Davis, Westminster City Councillor, said, “This new development is a significant contribution and investment to the

Hotels London, will open its doors in 2019 and will have a huge impact on this area of London, affirming the hospitality group as a key player within the capital for decades to come. This milestone project which is set to transform the landscape of the local area including entertainment, hospitality, job cre-

out experiences for guests, the entertainment and leisure facilities at the site are also crucial in creating a unique atmosphere. We want to offer a destination, so that when people come to visit this property, they find everything they need here.” World renowned engineering and design firm, Arup, has led and delivered all engineering services for the hotel design. Arup is the creative force at the heart of many of the world’s most prominent projects in the built environment and across industry. Speaking at the ceremony Neil Hooton, Associate Director at Arup, said: External view across Leicester Square on completion “Building such an ambiDirector at Edwardian “This is an exciting ation (approx. 400) and tious project in a highlyHotels London, commenthotel development in a wealth generation, has populated and iconic area ed: cultural and entertainment been undertaken in partis an exciting challenge. “The look and feel of hub of the capital. nership with project engiThe structure of the buildthe hotel is an important “It is our aim to continneers Arup, and project ing makes smart use of the factor in attracting people. ue to invest in Leicester developers, McGee. space and allows for a The modern four-sided Square, and the surA brainchild of visionhuge variety of facilities to ary hotelier Jasminder feature right in the heart Singh, Chairman, of London. Reaching the Edwardian Hotels, bottom of this landmark London, the Leicester basement excavation is a Square project when comkey milestone, and we pleted will include a spa, look forward to now layfunction spaces, bars and ing the building foundarestaurants, two Odeon tions and beginning the cinemas, a banqueting build back up to ground suite and leisure facilities and beyond.” in the six levels below Working on behalf of ground. The venue will Edwardian Hotels have the capability to host London, McGee, a 50film premieres and major year-old engineering events. The Leicester firm, was appointed to Square Hotel will feature deliver the demolition of eight storeys above ground the existing Leicester and consist of 350 high Square ‘island site’. To mark the occasion a time capsule was placed in the quality rooms and suites. According to Brian basement area, containing blueprints, newspapers, and CGIs Calling the property an McGee, Managing of the development. (Cllr Robert Davis, 2nd from left & 'iceberg' hotel, Iype Director at McGee: Iype Abraham, 4th from left) Abraham said: “At “This project stands Edwardian Hotels London out not only due to the island site will ensure rounding West End area, we have a great heritage of sheer scale of operating accessibility for the public attracting both Londoners improving existing properabove and below ground, to the various bars, cineand tourists alike to the ties and we have always but also because of the mas and the hotel itself. As area.” wanted to develop our own ambition to include such a we continue to offer standRob Steul, Creative site. variety of facilities.”


16

SPECIAL

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Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

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SPECIAL Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

17

Compere Alpesh Patel introducing the speakers in his unique humorous style

CB Patel speaking about the contributions of Indian banks in the UK

we h a v e P u n j a b National Bank called by the UK as t h e 'Challenger bank'...In terms of innovation Indian banks are the best in banking. When the credit crunch happened, the Indian banks did not suffer as much as the Western banks did. In fact Indian banks were actively hailed for their prudence and management in that entire period.” He went on to say, “The quality of those involved in banking in India is second to none. Over the last 17 years, see the trajectories of banks…

DESPITE BREXIT you can bank on Indian banks Joginder Sanger speaking about how Indians are sincere and hardworking

Rupanjana Dutta

The Association of Indian Banks in the UK in coordination with Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar organised a working lunch at the new Courthouse hotel, Shoreditch, on Thursday 16th February, to discuss the importance of Indian banks and their contributions to the UK's econo-

my. The event came at the right time, as Brexit worries loom large over Britain, especially threatening the banking and financial sectors. The discussion was imperative to establish that Indian banking operations here are not affected by the growing uncertainties, and Britain will continue to be the global 'financial hub' as always.

Guests present at the event

Speakers included Alpesh Patel, G P Hinduja, Sanjiv Chadha, Saikat Sen Sharma, Joginder Sanger and C B Patel. Alpesh Patel, a UK

Government Dealmaker, CEO Hedge Fund & Private Equity, Fintech Investor, Former FT columnist & Bloomberg TV, was the compere for the afternoon. He very lucidly described the importance of Indian banks and introduced the panels. “These are very exciting times,” said Alpesh. “We have 'Masala bond', 'Coco bond',

The way the Indian bankers handled demonetisation, how they handled 20bn notes – given the scale of it, it is phenomenal. In the UK we did the opposite, we introduced

G P Hinduja talking about his experience with the Indian banks in the UK

the £5 note and covered it with beef. “The reason I say it is an exciting time for Indian banks, principally is this, Indian banks paid £650mn in corporation tax just last year. That is more tax than Google, Amazon and what Starbucks paid.” Patel added, “The bankers in India are the truest example of the best we work with the government. Soft Bank announced they are going to open $100bn firm – that is the whole money Silicon Valley raised in venture capitalism, and an Indian will be heading that firm...” C B Patel, Publisher/ Editor of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar said: “In 1992, we, ie Lord Dolar Popat, Subhash Thakrar and I, met Sir Eddie George, the Governor of the Bank of England at his offices. This was in the aftermath of the collapse of BCCI (Bank of Credit and Commerce International). At least two Asian owned and managed British banks, Equitorial

Trust bank and Mount Credit bank were under unwarranted pressure and Sir Eddie George was kind enough to also invite the administrators of these banks at the meeting. “We had prepared a proper dossier on the hardship of depositors, creditors and staff of these banks who were predominantly Asian. Sir Eddie gave due consideration to our submissions and appropriate measures were taken to alleviate the undue hardship. “In the dossier we prepared, we highlighted how UK based Indian banks (at that time all were nationalised) had lent £2bn to their UK customers. Today there are so many other private banks too, and the lending by Indian banks is probably more than £10bn. “The Department of International Development (DfiD) has given away £265mn as aid, including to India. Now India does not require aid. As the current Indian High commissioner Y K Sinha has rightly pointed out, we want more level playing fields for trade.” CB finally went on to say, “It should be told to everyone that nationalised Indian banks are helping the British economy by several billion pounds. After all Indian owned companies are employing over 100,000 people, predominantly in the UK.” Concluding his speech, he also praised business tycoon G P Hinduja, thanked

Saikat Sen Sharma speaking about UK-India relationship

hotelier and entrepreneur Joginder Sanger for the great hospitality and described their philanthropy for the diaspora as “something to learn from”. G P Hinduja told the audience: “We are today living in a world of uncertain-

ties, be it the election of Donald Trump or Brexit... but one thing I can say with certainty is that India is the best destination for investments and Indian banks in the UK have all the capability to become No. 1 in the UK. “Indian banks have the expertise, though resources are limited. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should encourage Indian banks to consolidate and see how they can improve trade relationships between India and the UK.” He also urged the Indian banks in the UK to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and

Sanjiv Chadha praising the diaspora and talking about the role of Indian banks in the UK

hoped that with Indian PM Narendra Modi's backing, “our Indian banks in the UK will become the biggest”. Sanjiv Chadha, Regional Head, State Bank of India and the Chair of the Association of Indian Banks in the UK, said, “The Indian diaspora is spread all over the world but the UK diaspora is the most outstanding success. It has transformed itself from running corner shops to running the largest and most complex businesses in the country - from being employ-

Atul Pathak, Naman Pathak, Subhash Thakrar, CB Patel and Rintu Alex

G P Hinduja meets Dhimant Trivedi, Chief Executive, European Operations, Bank of Baroda

Divyakumar Shah, Paresh Davdra, Janak Patel, L. George, Mayur Vashee

ees to being large employers. As the diaspora has changed so have the Indian Banks in the UK, with development of new products & services to suit the changing requirements of the Indian diaspora, often filling in space vacated by high street banks. Indian Banks often not only offer best rates on deposits and products for remittances to India but are now also offering the best Buy to Let and Commercial Mortgage products. Indian Banks have in the recent past been associated with many marquee deals in the UK and will continue to build on this success." Talking about their dual presence in the UK, Chadha confirmed that SBI and Bank of Baroda are set to form subsidiaries within the next six months in compliance with the regulatory requirement. Following this, they

will function as Branch for their wholesale business and as Subsidiary for the Retail operations. “We may not be the biggest names in the UK but we offer the most competitive products and services to our clients and as we go ahead, Indian banks will play a greater role in contributing to the UK economy for which we are willing to go that extra mile by offering services like 7 day banking,” he added. Saikat Sen Sharma, Counsellor (Economic) at Indian High Commission in London, concluded: “Our relationship and strategic partnership between the two countries look great. With the recent visit of the UK PM Theresa May to India, the relationship has grown further. We are one of the largest investors in the UK, creating more than 100,000 jobs, and UK is also the third largest investor in India. “India sees Brexit more as an opportunity and we are confident London will retain its position as global financial hub.

WHAT GUESTS HAVE TO SAY

"I am a customer of one Indian bank in UK and two in India. They certainly play a very useful role when you need things done in India. The NRI services provided by Indian banks in India are quite commendable as they are similar to private banking in UK. For example, owing to the demonetisation restrictions on withdrawals from accounts in India, my bank was able to come and deliver the restricted amounts every week to my home! I did not need to queue up. That is a great service. In the UK, Indian banks have started to venture out, but they need to do much more if they want to have UK customers. Currently, the banks serve well to Indian clients wishing to conduct a transaction in the UK. They have a great product called Stand By Letter of Credit (SBLC) which enables Indian customer to borrow in UK using security in India." - Subhash Thakrar, Board member of LCC & former Chairman, ABA (UK) *** "It was a great event, and a wonderful opportunity to meet senior officials from various Indian banks in the UK and learn and what they can offer. Having now heard from them, the services of Indian

“At present Indian diaspora is contributing 6% to the UK's GDP. Reforms of financial sectors, Masala bond have picked up. Indian banks are fulfilling their roles, and as devaluation of pound helps, industries here should ensure that you invest in India and explore opportunities available.” Joginder Sanger, Hotelier and Chairman, Mascroft Ltd, in his short speech praising the diaspora, said, “Indians are very hard working, work seriously and honestly. But one must remember, as my father said, money should not control you, rather you should control money. Mr Sanger and his wife along with their son Girish and daughter Reema have not only developed a huge business empire, but amongst all such British Indian successful entrepreneurs have provided yeomen services to several organisations and projects, especially in the UK but several in India as well. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, The Balaji temple and many more have benefited through the involvement and generosity of the Sanger family. More next week.

banks in the UK are something that we would possibly consider in the future, as and when the need arises. Some of the key issues that I would look at are their interest rates, amount of loan to deposit ratio etc.” - Kishore Sankla, CEO, Soutions4health *** "I feel it was an excellent initiative on the part of ABPL group to bring together Indian banks in the UK and business leaders under one roof. I sincerely hope UK's Indian banks will go on to play a greater role in the success of SMEs and contribute even more to the UK economy." - Salil Kumar, Partner, Asset India *** "The post Brexit era has thrown up a number of challenges. It will be interesting to see what role UK's Indian banks might play to harness the opportunities that will arise. The event organised by Asian Voice and Gujarat Samchar was very well thought out. Excellent venue, too." - Suresh Vagjiani, Property Consultant, Sow & Reap


18

FINANCIAL VOICE

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Tata Motors net down 96% on poor JLR, domestic sales AsianVoiceNews

Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

With slow growth rates in its British luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover, and losses in domestic business, auto major Tata Motors reported a worse than expected 96 per cent fall in consolidated net profit to £11.15 million for the December quarter against a net profit of £295.26 million in the same quarter of last financial year. Following demonetisation, the company's sales during the OctoberDecember quarter were down 2.2 per cent to £6.78 billion as against £6.94 billion in the year-ago period. Tata Motors' loss after tax, on a standalone basis, grew to £104.6 million in the third quarter of 2016-17 from £13.7 million a year ago. Revenues of the busi-

ness, including joint operations, for the quarter under review stood at £1.02 billion, compared with £1 billion in the third quarter of 2015-16, up 1.47 per cent. The company said its commercial vehicles segment witnessed demand shrinkage due to demonetisation during the third quarter 2016-17. Medium and heavy commercial vehicle segment witnessed major pressure with a fall of 9 per cent and LCV segment was overall flat. Passenger vehicles segment grew by 25.4 per cent with car segment rising by 31.1 per cent on the back of continued strong response to the Tiago. JLR posted revenue of 6,537 million pounds, compared with 5,781 million pounds in the year-ago period, up 13.1 per

cent. It had profit after tax of 167 million pounds for the third quarter compared to 440 million pounds in

the corresponding quarter last financial year, down 62 per cent. It also had lower wholesale volumes and less favourable product mix, but was partially offset by favourable market mix, including the runout of Discovery, the company said.

Air India inducts A320 neo plane, 13 more this year Air India has inducted the first Airbus 320 neo plane into its fleet, and holds plans to take 13 more on lease this year. The A320 new (new engine option) plane comes with 163 seats, including 12 in the business class. The fuel efficient plane which has been taken on lease from Kuwait's ALAFCO, was formally inducted with the traditional water canon salute. The airline will also look at using these planes for international operations, informed Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani. Air India's fleet now stands at 138 planes, and it has fur-

ther plans to induct a total of 29 A320 neos by March 2019. Meanwhile, it has already tied up with three lessorsALAFCO, GECAPS and CIT for 22 planes, the process to select a bidder for the remaining seven such planes is underway. The induction of the new fuelefficient aircraft into its

fleet is aimed at augmenting the capacity in the domestic market which is growing at a rate of over 20 per cent for nearly two years now. European aviation major Airbus, maker of A320 neo, claims that these planes burn 15 per cent less fuel than the existing model.

Infy stakeholders agree not to air differences publicly In recent reports, Infosys stated its management and major shareholders will try and keep their differences within the company, to prevent any damage on the brand caused by the public airing of discontent. Chairman R Seshasayee said he reached out to the founders and had a frank discussion with them. "We agreed that we should not have such interactions through the media and should do it bilaterally. There has been a renewed commitment not to spill any such discussions into the public space," he said answering a call. He said the company was working on a corporate governance framework with law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, and that the firm would recommend specific attributes for independent directors and how they should function. He also added that several new processes are being put in place, benchmarking best practices in severance pay and CEO expenses and mandating that these be

Narayana Murthy, Vishal Sikka and R Seshasayee

cleared by the audit committee. When it was questioned whether the rigour would slow down CEO's M&A pursuits, MD Vishal Sikka said the company was always selective in buyouts. "We will continue to look for candidates that fit with our strategic position and strategic direction, and where there's an alignment of purpose with the founders. Frankly, we are not good in M&A and have not bought that many companies," he said. Sikka also said that the company does not want to buy "yesterday's tech". "And at the

same time, we want to buy tech that is relevant to us. We have a huge pipeline of candidates. I don't see huge acquisitions in the horizon, but you never say never." After the investor's call, equity analysts in Morgan Stanley Research, Parag Gupta and Gaurav Rateria said, "The company has addressed various issues relating to corporate governance practices, seeking to put media speculation to rest. We believe investors should welcome these clarifications and the focus is likely to move back to business fundamentals."

Tata Motors- Microsoft collaboration Meanwhile, Tata Motors Ltd and Microsoft India announced a strategic collaboration on the technology front to make driving, a more personalised experience for the customers. Releasing a joint statement, the companies said the first vehicle showcasing the vision of the enhanced driving experience will be unveiled at the Geneva International Motor show on March 7. "Using IoT (internet of things), AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning technologies, we will provide vehicle owners in India and across the world, a safe, productive and fun driving experience," Anant Maheshwari, President at Microsoft

India, said.

TCS Board approves £1.60 bn share buyback Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) announced £1.60 billion share buyback- biggest in the Indian capital market, as it looks to return surplus cash to shareholders. The decision comes at a time when India's largest software services provider is under pressure of losing revenue from its clients in the US, which accounts for 65 per cent of the $155 billion industry, under President Donald Trump's protectionist measures. TCS said in a stock exchange filing that its board approved buyback of up to 56.10 million shares, or 2.85 per cent of its share capital, at Rs

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2,850 apiece. The share buyback, if successful, will be India's biggest, surpassing Reliance Industries' 2012 share repurchase of £1.04 billion. TCS shares rallied 4.08 per cent to close at Rs 2,506.50 on the BSE, the highest closing price in five months. "TCS Board of Directors has approved a proposal to buyback up to 5.61 crore equity shares of the company for an aggregate amount not exceeding £1.60 billion," the company said in the filing. The board meeting is the last for N Chandrasekaran as TCS chief executive before he takes over as chairman of parent Tata Sons Ltd, which controls 73.3 per cent of the software developer.

Cabinet approves SBI merger with 5 associates The Central government has approved the merger of State Bank of India and its five associate banks, making way to strengthen business operations of the lending major. Speaking at a press conference, India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, "SBI will become a global player post associate bank merger." He said the proposed merger of Bhartiya Mahila Bank into SBI is still under consideration and the decision has not yet been taken by the Cabinet. He also added that the

merger will prompt operational efficiency within banks and lead to reduced cost of funds. The merger was expected to be completed by March 2017, but got delayed and is now expected in the first half of next financial year. Country's largest bank, the State Bank of India, now has five associate banks namely, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Mysore, and State Bank of Patiala. Earlier last year in March, SBI

announced that it would merge its five subsidiaries and Bharatiya Mahila Bank once it gets government approval. SBI Managing Director PK Gupta said the move would benefit the bank as there was lot of duplicity and lots of processes are same among all the companies. "There are other savings that will happen," Gupta said. He added that now there will be more flexibility in merging of branches and merging of other operations.

London-based startup co-founder concerned about US office visit Co-founder of Londonbased startup Onfido, Eamon Jubbawy remains concerned that he can no longer visit his company's San Fransisco office, because of his Iraqi origin. A British citizen who studied economics and management at Oxford, Jubbawy is currently based in London and does not think he'll be able to travel to the US any time soon. "My parents were born in Iraq, and although I had planned to travel next month, the ban is pretty unclear with regards to what is and isn't allowed,: he said. Just last week, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order that has temporarily halted visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries from travelling to the US. The affected countries are, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Reports revolving the order, suggest that several British citizens including Olympic athlete Mo Farah could be barred from the US. While UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that no Briton is barred

Onfido founders Eamon Jubbawy and CEO Husayn Kassai

from the US, following the order, US Embassy in London contradicted his claims by issuing an "urgent notice" on its website. It warned people of dual nationality not to apply for visas or attend visa interviews as their applications would not be processed. Even so, No. 10 claims that British citizens holding dual nationalities will not be affected by Trump's travel ban if they are travelling from the UK. Jubbawy began the company with fellow Oxford graduates Husayn Kassai, and Ruhul Amin, in 2012. Headquartered out of an office above London's Covent Garden Tube sta-

tion, Onfido grew to a total strength of 100, including 10 in San Fransisco. "Until the executive order, we didn't really care about who's from where or what religion they were, we didn't ask, but all these things have been a distraction and worrying," Kassai said. Born in Manchester, he moved to San Francisco to help the business grow. He holds a US green card, meaning he is not directly affected by the immigration ban. However, that doesn't mean he can stay put. "I need to decide by this week if I'm going to leave the country. I just need to check with the lawyers if I'll be able to come back," Kassai said.


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THE METAMORPHOSIS OF LUTON AsianVoiceNews

Suresh Vagjiani

Sow & Reap London Property Investment

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We are in the midst of securing a site in Luton. Luton seems to have completely been turned on its head. I used to purchase properties there, with no money in my pocket; the properties were bought for £28,000 and then refinanced for £40,000 at 85% loan to value, which meant straight away the deal popped out £34,000 which would cover expenses and allow for some pocket money. The rents was £350 per month and the mortgage only £140 per month. In short you would get £4,000 cash back and then £200 every month. I did it once and it worked. This wasn’t a good thing, as it’s like a gambler who has his first lucky win, as then five more properties came up on the market as part of a bulk sale, and off

AGONY AGENT Each week, we answer a reader’s rental property question, from first-time landlords needing pointers about contracts to experienced owners. Agony Agent, is here to help! This week, I have picked a simple yet complicated question that was asked by one of our readers. Q. How do I evict my tenants? A. Steps for evicting tenants:

STEP 1 – ASK NICELY Before going in all guns blazing, it’s always worth trying the diplomatic approach. Simply ask the tenant to leave and explain your reasons for your request. You might be surprised, your tenant may be willing to vacate your property willingly. If your tenant agrees, make sure he/she signs a document clarifying the agreement. STEP 2 – CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS

BUY TO LET OPPORTUNITY

the back of the first one I completed on five more again with no funds in the deal, and only cash back out. The kind of tenants we got for these properties left much to be desired to say the least. One time, as we had heard nothing from one of the tenants after numerous attempts at contact, and no rent was being paid, we drove to Luton and entered the property. There were holes in the walls, cigarette butts had been put out on the carpets and the furniture. And this type of tenant was the typical ‘customer’ these properties would attract. The block itself was poorly looked after as the management company was none existent. The hassle factor associated with these types

There are several ways of ending a tenancy, some methods are more elegant and straight forward than others - it doesn’t need to be a messy or an aggressive affair. STEP 3 – SERVE A VALID POSSESSION NOTICE Failing the diplomatic approach, you may now want to consider serving a possession notice, either a Section 21 notice or a Section 8 notice. It may make sense to serve one over the other, but it will entirely depend on your circumstances.

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of tenants far outweighed what little we were getting in return. One incident wiped out the little profit gained, in terms of the work costs, loss of rent and sheer hassle. In the end we handed the keys back for all of these properties and moved on. In 2004 Luton was voted as the worst place to live in the UK, it even eclipsed Hull to be in first place. The headline in the Telegrapgh read “Ugly, grey, depressing: why Luton really is the worst place in Britain.” Fast forward to 2017 and we have a completely different song being sung about the same location. This Is Money 16th August 2016 reads “Slough and Luton are the new property hotspots as homes rise almost a quarter in a year”.

A Section notice is typically enough to force the tenant to surrender the tenancy, so court action is not required. Approximately 80% of tenants leave after being served notice. Please note, failure to serve this notice correctly may delay the repossession and it is wise to consult a professional to advise you or do this for you. STEP 4 – GETTING A COURT ORDER Once the relevant Section notice has expired and if the tenant has not paid

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Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

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The Daily Telegraph headlined Luton as “Britain’s most desirable location” on 30th December 2016. My prejudice, which I held staunchly against Luton for several years, was challenged. I refused to see the transformation from an ugly grey caterpillar to an attractive butterfly. So why the massive turnaround? One fundamental reason is the death of the £300,000 property in London. This figure is important because it represents the level of purchasing power for an average home. This has led to people looking outside of London, and Luton has an enviable position, being only 22 minutes away from Kings Cross.

you the rent due or moved out of your property, you may apply for a hearing at a County Court. For more information on arranging a hearing at a county court, please go to the County Court HMCS page. STEP 5 – GET THE BAILIFFS INVOLVED Having won the repossession order in court, most tenants will vacate your property as instructed. However, if they do not, you must arrange for Court Bailiffs

The growth rates in property shows the attraction. Average prices in Luton stand at £256,636 and they have gained a massive £41,702 in just a single year. It is with this backdrop we have secured a development deal in Luton on a prime site and off market. Resales and rentals are probably the strongest you will find in the UK. We are currently seeking an investor for this exciting project. Call the office to find out more.

to remove your tenant. If in doubt, or if all of this sounds like too much hard work for you, please contact the office as we offer tailor made services to help you. Keep your questions coming in! Richard Bond Lettings Manager


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FINANCIAL VOICE

Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

Consultant Editor Financial Voice

- INDIA

Alpesh Patel

Dear Financial Voice Reader What do you say to room full of bankers? I was delighted to host an event for Indian Bankers Association with chief guests GP Hinduja and key Indian banks in the UK. A summary of my views: There will be in my lifetime an Indian bank listed on the FTSE 100 as the largest bank. There was some disagreement on this. Indeed it was GP Hinduja who in any event raised the possibility. I tell you why this will happen. Look at Vedanta. It made the FTSE 100. And that is now. Let alone in my lifetime. Think 1977 – do you think you would have seen Leyland owned by an Indian company or Jaguar. Of course not. The trend is clear. But also the audience should know three things about Indian banks. First, their global talent. When I was appointed onto the Advisory Board of ICICI Bank’s Private Banking Division, and flown out for 1 day every few months all the way to India, it was clear they were global in reach and outlook. We would spend hours examining the best products for them to provide their global high net worth audience. Second, they are the best bankers in the world. Again, I have personal experience. When the then Prime Minister appointed me to the UK India Roundtable to examine ways of improving bilateral ties, I was seated between Uday Kotak, founder of Kotak Bank and Hemendra Kothari, Founder of DSP Merrill Lynch. These were bankers who safely, easily navigated 8 years later the global banking crisis – which never hit India. Finally, Indian banks are innovative. In my UK Government role as Dealmaker I look for outstanding innovation from around the world with a view to landing it in the UK. And I see the financial innovation coming to the UK. So my plea to these banks is given the potential I want you in terms of innovation consider London as the global centre of FinTech – it’s not Silicon Valley – they get apps not Fintech! And from London you can emulate to stay ahead two banks – Silicon Valley Bank – who invests in UK financial startups and also Softbank from Japan who are setting up a $100bln fund in the UK – headed by an Indian – to invest in UK companies. Never before have Indian banks in the UK been so much in the right place, at the right time with the right wind behind their sales.

Demol being developed as model village A model village is currently being constructed in Anand district's Demol with help provided by NRIs. With a small population of 2,800 people, 50 per cent of the village's families are based abroad. Demol is equipped with all kinds of modern and contemporary facilities, including an RCC road. A treasury has been created owing to the steady flow of donations which are used for different purposes. Majority families in the village belong to the rich community of the Patidars. President of the Demol

Kelavni Mandal, Hasmukhbhai Patel said that the primary school with classes from 1 to 7, was built on a budget of Rs 3500,000, donated by NRIs. Even the school uniforms are given by loyal donors. The Mandal was established by Harmanbhai Patel, who had arrived from Africa in 1965. Sarpanch Gordhanbhai Patel said that despite its small size, the village has over 14 temples including 14 Ramji temples, a Swaminarayan temple, a mosque, and a church.

India’s only volcano active again in Barren Island India's only volcano has begun spewing lava and smoke after lying dormant for 150 years. The Barren Island volcano erupted in 1991 and has been projecting sporadic activity since then, said scientists of the National Institute of Oceanography. Abhay Mudholkar, who is heading an NIO team and collecting samples in the Andaman basin, said, "The volcano is erupting in small episodes of five to 10 min-

utes. During the day, only ash clouds were observed. But after sundown, red lava foundations were spewing from the crater into the atmosphere and hot lava streamed down the slopes." Researchers from the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research and NIO have sampled sediments and water from the vicinity and recovered black pyroclastic material representing proximal volcanic ejecta.

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UK Parliamentarians hold talks with Indian trade body A cross-party delegation of the UK Members of the Parliament recently visited India, for an interaction session with Indian business leaders. The Confederation of Indian Industry hosted them in the National Capital on February 15. The delegation comprised of eight Members of the Parliament including Virendra Sharma, Robert John Blackman, Marie Elizabeth Rimmer, Oliver James Dowden, Charlotte Leslie, Edward John Comport Argar, Jonathan Neil Reynolds, and Francis Thomas Baring. Chaired by Salil Singhal, co-chairman, CII Agriculture Council & Chairman, Secure Meters Ltd., the luncheon saw

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Members of UK Parliament and Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India along with CII members and officials at CII House, New Delhi

discussions on various topics including a brief on the latest developments in the Indian and UK economies, trends in business, and growing Indian industry footprint in the UK. Views were also

exchanged on policy directions of the two countries, particularly after Brexit and the recent Indian Budget recommendations. Chief Economist, CII, Bidisha Ganguly also gave a presentation on the Indian economy, which

was followed by an interaction. In light of the decreasing number of Indian students going to the UK for further studies, members of the Indian industry put forth questions about student visas. The MPs responded saying the restrictions were not on numbers but on the level of the jobs thereafter being in line with the studies. The country currently provides a 4-5 month window for graduates to get the right jobs. The meet ended on a positive note with the MPs reaffirming its commitment to strengthening India-UK bond. They also asserted to boost Indian industry's engagement with the UK Government, Parliament, and Industry.

4 BJP leaders arrested in Naliya gangrape case In a major setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party, eight accused, including four BJP office-bearers, of the infamous Naliya gangrape case have been arrested. Ninth accused Vipul Thakkar managed to flee. Police investigating the case said they contacted all those named 'Vipul Thakkar' and presented them in front of the victim but none of them turned out to be Vipul Thakkar. Superintendent of Police Makrand Chauhan said, "We searched all contacts from her phone and Facebook, but Vipul Thakkar is yet to be identified. We are still trying." Demonstrations were held by the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, seeking inquiries by a sitting judge and a Special Investigation Team in the case. The unnamed victim has alleged that she was raped for nearly a year by different accused, who even videographed her on their phones to blackmail her. In an FIR statement, she accused local BJP leader Shantilal Solanki, Bharat Darji, and Vipul Thakkar of raping her multiple times. They also reportedly told her, "We have too many clippings of girls and they have group of 65 people, including politicians, and they have 35 to 40 girls in their grip." The victim has also specifically mentioned a person from Kotharana village, a woman identified as 'Bhabhi' who runs a catering service. Chauhan said, "Although she has mentioned 'Bhabhi' in the FIR, she has given her clean chit during our cross examination." Following the allegations on district BJP leaders, the party played defensive, as Minister of State for Home, Pradeepsinh Jadeja issued a statement saying that the BJP had nothing to do with the case being investigated as that of gangrape. This came after reports in a section of the media began suggesting that "social women" were allegedly

engaged at a workshop of the party in Kutch last year. Reports also suggested that identity cards were issued to these women with their pictures, designating them as "social lady". These reports were, however, denied by Jadeja and BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya. A local court in Naliya has sent suspended BJP leader Shantilal Solanki on a 14-day police remand, on February 9. The victim accused Solanki of giving her a job at

an LPG distribution agency in Naliya in 2015. He soon called her at his residence on pretext of giving her advance salary ahead of Diwali and drugged and raped her. Also present at his house that day were Chauhan and Vipul Thakkar, who later took turns to rape the victim. The complainant stated that nine people raped her at different occasions for about an year as they blackmailed her, threatening to make an

alleged video clip Solanki had shot. Also accused is secretary of BJP's Gandhidham unit Govind Parumalani and Vasant Bhanushali and Ajit Ramwani, both sitting BJP councillors in Gandhidham, Kutch, as accused who also raped her. The party has suspended all four accused after the police established their identity after recording statements of the victims and checking their Facebook profiles.

Celebrating Mothers' Day... "God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers," aptly said by writer Rudyard Kipling. To honour the innumerable sacrifices made by mothers, for their families, ABPL will be releasing 'Matru Vandana- Mothers' Day Special Issue' in March, for the occasion of Mothers' Day. Also, to express gratitude to mothers, Gujarat Samachar and Asian Voice, will be organising several musical events featuring M ay a D ip ak and her group, throughout March and April. On March 26, when UK celebrates Mothers' Day this year, cherished singer Mayaben, along with local singers, will recognise and celebrate mothers all over the world, through their music. The musical jamboree- Matru Vandana will be organised by Gujarat Samachar and Asian Voice, at London Bhavans, on the 26th, and at Laxminarayan Temple, Birmingham, on 2nd April. To ensure that everyone gets a chance to savour the event, we have scheduled the programme in different cities like Leicester, M a n c h e s t e r , Wellingborough, and

Preston, among others. Management authorities of social organisations, mandals, and temples, who are interested in conducting Matru Vandana, are requested to contact us. A mother's love is always selfless. To present our love to all the strong women, who spend their lives living for their loved ones, we also dedicate a special issue to mothers. Featuring in the magazine will be exclusive interviews with mothers, heartfelt words dedicated by families, insight into the lives of single, and divorced mothers, dedicated poems, and other articles. Those who wish to feature stories on their mothers, or articles-profiles, write-ups along with a photo of their mother on the cover page, put up adverts in the magazine, or just know more, can contact us on 020 7749 4085 or sales@abplgroup.com


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Gurdwaras open doors to shelter evacuees fleeing Oroville Dam Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

CALIFORNIA: Over 200,000 people, including Indian American farmers and labourers, were evacuated from the Yuba/Sutter Counties in Northern California when state officials found a hole in an auxiliary spillway for the Oroville Dam. Indian American farmer Karm Bains said, "There's three and a half million acre feet of water behind the Oroville Dam. If that dam were to breach, we would lose everything." The son of legendary 'Peach King of California' Didar Singh Bains, Karm owns an estimated 1,600 acres of land in the region. The Yuba and Sutter County region has been home to Punjabi American farmers for over a century - the community owns approximately 50,000 acres of land worth around $1.3 billion. They alone grow almost the entirety of the nation's canned peaches, two-thirds

of walnuts, almonds, pistachios and plums. Subsequent to the mandatory evacuation order, gurdwaras in neighbouring areas like Sacramento, West Sacramento, Rio Linda, and Stockton, immediately opened their doors to shelter temporarily-homeless people. The West Sacramento gurdwara, largest in the state, currently provides shelter, food, and medical care to over 200 people, and holds a capacity of 400 in its worship hall and auxiliary area. "Our doors are open to everyone- white, brown, black. This is about humanity in the Sikh tradition," said Ranjeet Singh, manager. He added that everyone, including non-Indians, are enjoying vegetarian meals provided three times a day. He also noted that the kitchen is equipped to feed 3,000 people. Singh said the temple needs donations of blankets, pillows, and other bedding,

along with baby food and snacks for children. A Stockton gurdwara volunteer said the temple was currently housing about 60 families and providing them with shelter, food, and other necessities. "Everyone is worried about their homes. They don't know when they can go back," she said. State officials from the Department of Water Resources noticed there was a 250 feet long, 170 feet wide, and 40 to 50 feet deep hole in the main spillway. While they tried to drain water through the main spillway, to mitigate further damage, heavy rains prompted a call into action on the dam's auxiliary spillway, for the first time since it was constructed in 1968. Darin Gale, Yuba City's economic growth & public affairs director, said that the region would remain under evacuation order until the impact of the February 16

storm is determined. Crews are currently releasing 100,000 cubic feet of water per second to mitigate the impact of the coming storm. "If all the water is released uncontrollably, it could devastate the region," he said. "The force of all that water could tear out trees," Gale explained that several thousand acres of orchards lie within the levee system. "Making the decision to evacuate a community was not easy. But the decision was made in the best interest of the public. We knew we had to issue an evacuation order," he added. All institutions and facilities, including hospitals, assisted living facilities, and even jails, have had to be evacuated under the order. Kash Gill, former mayor of Yuba City and a farmer by profession, said, "Everything has come to a standstill here. It is a very stressful situation."

Pakistan finally puts Hafiz on its terror list ISLAMABAD: In what is touted as a positive move, Pakistan's Punjab government has listed Lashkar-eTaiba founder and mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and four other members of his Jamaat-udDawa, under the fourth schedule of the Anti-Terror Act. Qazi Kashif, Saeed's close aide, has also been listed under the fourth schedule, meant for individuals who are found to be or suspected to be involved in anti-state activities and terrorism. Pakistan, until now, had officially denied Saeed's role

Museum removes pieces of art by immigrants

MASSACHUSETTS: The Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, chose to take off display, all work created or donated by immigrants, throughout President's Day weekend. In an initiative they called 'Art-Less', curators draped black cloth over cases, and lined the walls with labels that read 'Created by an immigrant'. The move was meant to highlight immigrants' impact even in the world of art. "We have removed or cloaked these works to demonstrate symbolically what the Davis Museum would look like without their contributions to our collections and to Wellesley College, and to thereby honour their many invaluable gifts," the museum said.

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed

in terror activities even though he was recently placed under house arrest and on the exit control list following pressure from the Trump Administration. A report, quoting a senior police officer, said the counter-terrorism depart-

ment had added the names of Saeed and Kashif to the list of the 1,450 "fourth schedulers" on the orders of the federal home ministry. Along with Saeed, the other three JuD members are Abdullah Obaid, Zafar Iqbal, and Abdur Rehman Abid. The Home Ministry said the five men are identified as active members of the JuD and Falah-iInsaniyat, JuD's charity wing. The report said the ministry asked the CTD to "move and take necessary action" against them. India's hails action: Meanwhile, India called Pak's action as the first logical step in bringing him to

justice and ridding the region of terrorism and violent extremism. India's External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Vikas Swarup said, "Hafiz Saeed is an international terrorist, the mastermind of the Mumbai terrorist attack, and responsible for unleashing a wave of terror against Pakistan's neighbours through LeT/JuD and their affiliates. Effective action mandated internationally against him and his terrorist organisations and colleagues is a logical first step in bringing them to justice, and in ridding our region of the twin menaces of terrorism and violent extremism."

Pak passes Hindu marriage bill ISLAMABAD: In a historical move, Pakistan's Hindu community will now have a personal law- The Hindu Marriage Bill 2017. Approved by the National Assembly on September 26, 2015, and passed last week, the bill will most likely get the President's approval next week to become a law. Once approved, the law, according to which, Hindu women will get documentary proof of their marriage, will be applicable on Pakistani Hindus in Punjab, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Presented in the Senate by Law Minister Zahid Hamid, the bill did not face any opposition or objection. It was approved by the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights on January 2 with an overwhelming majority. However, Senator Mufti Abdul Sattar of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl had opposed the bill, saying the

Constitution was vast enough to cater to all needs. Committee chairperson Senator Nasreen Jalil of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement said, "This was unfair. Not only against the principles of Islam but also a human rights violation that we have not been able to formulate a personal family law for the Hindus." Supporting the bill, Senators Aitzaz Ahsan, Jehanzeb Jamaldini and Sitara Ayaz, said it was related to the marriage of Hindus living in Pakistan and had nothing to do with Muslims. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani,

one of the many who had been pushing for the bill, said, "Such laws will help discourage forced conversions and streamline the Hindu community after the marriage of individuals." He said it was becoming difficult for Hindu women to prove their marriage. However, several Hindu parliamentarians and members of the community had concerns over one of the clauses of the bill that deals with "annulment of marriage". The bill says that one of the partners can approach the court for separation if any of them changes the religion. "The separation case should be filed before the conversion as it gives an option to the miscreants to kidnap a married woman, keep her under illegal custody and present her in a court saying she has converted to Islam and does not want to live with a Hindu man," Vankwani said.

In Brief

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Mob kills eloped lovers after storming police station

KABUL: An armed mob in Afghanistan killed a woman and her lover after storming the police stateion. The couple were kept in the police station after their arrest. Three policemen were also injured in the attack. The woman, Fatiha, 18, was married against her will and eloped with Hedayatullah, from a neighbouring village. The police caught and arrested them and kept in the station. Within hours an armed mob formed at the police station, led by Fatiha's husband and his family, including her brothers and cousins. The authorities said there were only 30 police officers at the station facing a mob of 250 to 300.

10 sentenced to death for Egypt stadium massacre

CAIRO: An Egyptian court sentenced to death 10 persons over charges of murder and violence for the 2012 stadium massacre that left over 70 people dead. The clashes took place on February 1, 2012 during a game between Port Said-based al-Masry soccer club and Cairo-based al-Ahly, of which supporters were attacked with knives, swords, clubs, stones, bottles, resulting in the death of 74 people and injuring 200 others. The Port Said criminal court in June 2015 sentenced to death 11 people, one of them in absentia, in a retrial. A total of 73 people have been tried on charges of violence and murder, 21 were acquitted while senior political or sports officials received sentences of a few years in jail.

Dutch MP calls Moroccans `scum' in rally

AMSTERDAM: Firebrand Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders launched a stinging attack on the country's Moroccan population, calling some “scum” and saying he wanted to make The Netherlands “ours again.” Wilders has been fighting an election. “The Moroccan scum in Holland... once again not all are scum ... but there is a lot of Moroccan scum in Holland who make the streets unsafe, mostly young people... and that should change,” Wilders said. Muslim organisations reacted strongly to the remarks, calling his comments “reprehensible.”

N Korean leader's half-brother murdered

KUALA LUMPUR/SEOUL: The estranged halfbrother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been murdered in Malaysia, a South Korean source said. Kim Jong-nam, in his 40s, the older half-brother of Kim Jong-un, spent a significant amount of his time outside North Korea and had spoken out against his family's dynastic control. Seoul's TV Chosun reported Kim had been poisoned with a needle by two women believed to be North Korean operatives. Police official Fadzil Ahmat said the cause of Kim's death had not been determined yet. “So far there are no suspects,” Fadzil said.

Need ‘solid evidence’ to back UN move to ban Azhar: China

BEIJING: Ahead of its strategic dialogue with India, China said “solid evidence” was needed for it to back efforts to get Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar banned by the United Nations. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and China’s Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui will hold a new round of strategic dialogue in Beijing on February 22, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said. The two sides would have an in-depth exchange of views on the international situation and other regional and global issues of mutual interest in the strategic dialogue, which is an important communication mechanism between India and China, he said.

China's 'Silk Road' project in Lanka delayed

COLOMBO: China has delayed a planned $1.1 billion investment in a port on its modern-day "Silk Road" until Sri Lanka clears legal and political obstacles to a related project, sources familiar with the talks said. Heavily indebted Sri Lanka needs the money, but payment for China's interests in Hambantota port could be delayed by several weeks or months, the sources added.


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Khodaldham mega event an IIM-A case study AsianVoiceNews

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Gujarat recently witnessed the massive demonstration of devotion and unity by Leuva Patidars of the influential Patel community in Saurashtra. A world record was created when over 5800,000 people attended the idol installation ceremony of Khodiyar Mata at Khodaldham temple in Kagvad, Rajkot from January 17 to 21. The trust also created a Guinness record for over 500,000 people singing national anthem simultaneously at one single location. The impact was such, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, has taken it up as case study. Professor S u n d a r v a l l i Narayanswami, faculty in

public systems group, will conduct case study on the Khodaldham Trust, which runs one of the largest Hindu temples. Its managerial and administrative finesse will the root of analysis. "The trust had approached IIM-A's case unit expressing interest for a case to be written about

their organisation and activities. I will not be inclined to cover the religious aspects of Khodaldham but would focus on the managerial and administrative challenges as well as policy matters, if any," said Sundarvalli. The case study is likely to be used in class-

INDIA Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

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ALL THAT GLITTERS: The International Trade Show inaugurated by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on February 11 saw Ghanaian royalty Kenin Kwasi stand out in his traditional colourful attire. However, catching everyone's attention was the massive amount of gold he was decked in. Historically, the kings of the tribes of Ghana were also titled Kaya Maghan- meaning- Lord of Gold

room lectures. "Specifically, my interest would be in studying the various activities of the trust, scale, scope and social implications of those activities, challenges faced and what are the best ways to overcome these challenges." Paresh Gajera, president of Khodaldham Trust said the IIM-A faculty would study aspects like food, accommodation, parking facilities and traffic management, done for such a large number of people. The trust had attracted attention as they hosted 7500,000 people over 5 days and claimed to feed 150,000 devotees every hour. More than 125 sensors were installed at entry gates to count footprints.

SC orders Rs 6000,000 compensation to Sardar Sarovar dam oustees The Apex Court has put an end on a decade-old litigation began by those affected by the Sardar Sarovar project on Narmada River, directing payment of final compensation to the oustees. A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar, ordered payment of Rs 6000,000 each, to 681 families in Madhya Pradesh, who are yet to receive compensation towards purchase of land in lieu of the property they lost under acquisition proceedings.

The government has been given two months to make the payment, with a July 31 deadline for the families to vacate the area. In case they fail to do so, they can be evicted by the authorities. "You cannot take everybody for ransom. You are not letting the project come up. When they offer you land, you don't want it," the bench told the counsel representing Narmada Bachao Aandolan. The association that has been fighting for the affected families, had

moved the SC in 2014 stating that the relief and rehabilitation work adopted by MP government was not in terms of the SC's earlier

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order. The NBA wanted to stop installation of gates up to full dam heights until the government rehabilitated all those whose lands would get submerged once the dam operates fully. SC also ordered a payment of Rs 1500,000 each, to 1,358 families who had accepted the compensation earlier.

"They need to be further compensated so as to alleviate their hardship and enable them to purchase alternative land," the bench said. The court however, clarified the amount already received by them shall be deducted from this money. The bench also pulled the plug on all civil and criminal cases that arose after a Commission gave its report on the rehabilitation of the families. "We are doing this to render complete justice to the parties," it said.

Advocate CD Singh, who appeared for MP government, said that as per the order, the government will deposit the money to Narmada Valley Development Authority, which will further give it to Grievance Redressal Authority for the distribution. Singh said there were 4,998 project-affected families, out of which 4,774 had opted for special rehabilitation package under which, they were paid money to purchase land.


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Sasikala back in Bengaluru jail

Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

BENGALURU: After being convicted in a disproportionate assets case, AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala was sent to jail after she surrendered before a special court at Parappana Argrahara central jail, outside Bengaluru. The special court had sentenced Sasi and a co-accused to four years jail terms in September 2014, which was upheld by the Supreme Court last week. Sasikala and Ilavarasi arrived at the court in the evening and surrendered before Judge Aswatha Narayana. The procedure that lasted for an hour, saw the AIADMK leader walk to the jail after. "It was a due proce-

VK Sasikala

dure and the accused completed the required formalities," said SND Kulasekaran, counsel for Sasikala. Another accused, Sudhakaran arrived in the court later. Navaneetha Krishnan, AIADMK Rajya Sabha member and Sasi supporter, said, "The immediate requirement was to surrender

Fire, smoke engulf Bellandur lake BENGALURU: A fire that erupted on Bengaluru's Bellandur Lake, emitted thick clouds of smoke cause serious traffic hazards. Angry residents vented out on microblogging site Twitter, calling it a "tragic sight." Industrialist Kiran Mazumdar Shaw termed it "shocking apathy and serious neglect". Concerned officials said the incident was caused by burning of garbage and grass. The fire reportedly began with a bunch of dried up hyacinth and weed surrounding the lake. Senior fire officer Ravi Chauhan said, "The fire is because of dry grass. Not pollutants. It was white smoke." The rolling clouds of smoke caused panic among drivers on nearby roads, with the traffic making it difficult for firemen to reach the scene. "We got a call around 5.15 pm. Our unit reached there and put out the fire. It was difficult to get there since it as

sinking because of silt," said KU Ramesh, Deputy Director, Fire and Emergency Services. The lake remains surrounded by high rises, meaning the fire prompted major discomfort among nearby residents. They allege that weeds and dry grass are regularly burnt in the area without supervision, by garbage collectors. "The problem has got complex over years, we have issued notices and scrutinised 650 apartments. The civic bodies have assured us they will stop sewage," said Lakshman, chairman of the Karnataka Pollution Control Board. It is yet to be derived whether the toxic chemicals that are poured into the lake which covers over 4 km, served as an amplifier. The government have hired experts to develop plans to cleanse the lake. However, there has been no implementation of any action plan so far.

before the court and Sasikala has complied with the order." Senior AIADMK leader and Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, M Tambidurai who arrived in Bengaluru and consulted Sasikala's lawyers, who suggested filing plea before the trial court seeking extension of time on the grounds of her poor health condition. However, the strategy had to be recaliberated after the SC rejected the plea. "We intend to pass no further orders after directing her to surrender immediately. Hope you understand the meaning of immediately, Mr Tulsi?" Justice Ghose asked Sasikala's advocate KTS Tulsi. "We don't intend to

change a word of that order." The lawyers submitted before the special court that Sasikala should be given Class-1 facility in the jail and her health condition, including diabetes and age-relates issued should be taken into consideration, but the court rejected her plea for special treatment. SC orders seizure of Jaya's assets: Jayalalithaa's death may have abated the criminal case against her, but her properties and bank accounts, including those of Sasikala and two others, will not escape confiscation and forfeiture to realise the £10 million fine imposed on her by the trial court.

Malayalam actor raped by ex-driver in her car KOCHI: A famous Malayalam actor was allegedly raped inside her moving car while she was headed for Kochi from her home in Thrissur. The actor is a prominent name in the film industry and has acted in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada movies, too. She has won several awards. The man driving her car, Martin, and Sunil Kumar, a history-sheeter, allegedly connived to stage an accident before she was raped. While Martin has been arrested, Sunil, the main accused, was on the run with four others who were booked in the case. Sunil was the actor's driver till a few months ago. An FIR has been registered, said a senior police officer. Police said the actor's medical examination has con-

firmed rape. “Since sexual harassment is involved, the actor's identity cannot be revealed. An investigation is on in this regard,” Kochi city police commissioner M P Dinesh said. The actor was heading to Kochi to dub for a film when her car was stopped by a gang near Angamaly. “The actor's car was hit from behind by a Tempo Traveller when Martin stopped the car, stepped out and got into a so-called altercation. Three men from the Tempo Traveller entered the car and started abusing the actor even as Martin started driving the car. The accused also shot a video and clicked pictures of the actor while abusing her for nearly an hour en route,” said a senior police officer.

Hooda, son booked for alleged assault on Cong chief

EC team reviews security of EVMs in Punjab NEW DELHI: A day after the Aam Aadmi Party alleged breach of security of EVMs in Punjab, the Election Commission sent a team to the state to review security arrangements. Selected constituencies were visited by the two member team. They were also asked to interact with political parties and take note of their concerns. The team went through CCTV footage and log books maintained at strong rooms. AAP had alleged that there had been "multiple instances of breach in EVMs' safety" in the state, where the party is hopeful of forming a government. It also claimed that May 2015-notification of the EC, which lists out instructions regarding the storage, physical verification, and movements of EVMs are not being complied with. Accusing officials in Punjab of trying to move EVMs from a strong room in Punjab where polling was held on February 4, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted,

"This is absolutely shocking. Punjab officials trying to remove EVM machines." The allegations were related to some trunks, carrying EVMs inside, being moved in Punjab's Patiala district, and a video of the exercise being shot by a local AAP leader. The leader also posted a video showing men opening and moving boxes appearing to contain Electronic Voting Machines. "Officers entered strong room on the pretext of taking some papers but started removing EVMs," Kejri said. AAP leader Sanjay Singh said that he had asked the Chief Election Commissioner and other officials to take strict action in the matter. However, Patiala Deputy Commissioner Ramvir Singh, who had visited the strongroom, claimed that the EVMs being moved were related to the municipal corporation elections held in 2015 and that they were being moved to make space for counting of votes on March 11.

B.S. Hooda (Left) and Ashok Tanwar (Right)

CHANDIGARH: Delhi police have booked former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his MP son Deepender Hooda for alleged assault on state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar during a clash last year. The two were booked over four months after Hooda and Tanwar's supporters clashed in New Delhi on October 6. The case was noted by the National Commission for Schedule Castes which had directed the police to register an FIR. "It took the Delhi Police over four months to register the FIR despite the Commission's directions. My fight will go on against the persons who attacked me. Those who attacked and those who conspired should be arrested. Till this happens, I will keep the fight on," said Tanwar. He insisted it wasn't

a matter of revenge, but of justice. Tanwar said people who suffered with him should get justice. "It was Hooda's PSO who attacked me. Who else do I blame for it?" He asked. "Investigation shall take place; that is a normal procedure. I had no role to play in the entire incident. I was nowhere near the spot when the clash took place. The truth will emerge in the investigation." Meanwhile, lawmakers supporting Hooda have demanded removal of Tanwar and Congress Legislature Party leader Kiran Choudhry and said they would not attend any meetings of the two. Former union minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had exonerated Hooda and said that the differences between the warring factions need to be sorted out.

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Now Balaji temple to send divine blessings

TIRUPATI: Those getting married can now get divine blessings of Lord Venkateswara in the form of 'Thalmbralu' (sacred rice) by post. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, which administers the ancient shrine, will send tiny pouches of the sacred turmeric powder mixed rice used in the Lord's 'Kalyanotsavam' (celestial marriage of the deity held everyday) to those who wish to receive the prasadam. Temple PRO Talari Ravi said the free scheme could also be availed by just married couples too. He added that a specially formed TTD wing would process the cards, and acknowledge them by sending the Lord's blessings for the prosperity of the couples.

Robbery bid at Kanimozhi's house

CHENNAI: A man attempted to rob M K Kanimozhi's house, while she was busy attending a top level DMK party meeting. Her mother Rajathiyammal, who was present in the house, said that a man carrying a gun and a knife entered the house and pushed her and two maids into a room and asked her to give him the cash and jewellery, threatening to hurt her if she didn't do so. While Rajathiyammal did as she was told, she managed to ask her grandson Aditya to alert the police who arrived in time and managed to capture the man. While nobody was hurt, several questions were raised on how a man managed to enter an MP's house in broad daylight.

Sarpanch publicly beats up woman in Andhra

VIJAYAWADA: In a shocking incident, a sarpanch publicly thrashed a woman in Andhra Pradesh for raising an objection. The assault came to light after a video footage did the rounds on the internet. Nagaraju of Jallipalli village in Anantapur, was seen publicly beating up Sudha and repeatedly kicking her. He was reportedly angry at the widow for objecting construction of a water tank in front of her house. An argument ensued when he ignored her request to build the water tank at some other place instead, following which he began hitting her. Member of the ruling Telugu Desam Party, Nagaraju was arrested and later released on bail.

4-year-old mauled to death by stray dogs

TARN TARAN: A four-and-a-half year old boy was mauled to death by stray dogs at Kairowal village. The only son of a Dalit, Maninder Singh was with his uncle when a pack of stray dogs attacked him. Ranjit Singh said that before he could rescue his nephew, dogs had badly mauled him. The victim was rushed to the civil hospital, where doctors declared him dead. Deputy Commissioner DPS Kharbanda said the SubDivisional Magistrate had been asked to inquire into the incident, adding that Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, had been ordered to sterilise the dogs. Animal Husbandry Department's Deputy Director Dr Rajesh Kumar said they were finding it difficult to catch the stray dogs which number about 25,000, but if they were brought to the veterinary hospital, they could be sterilised.

Dera row: SGPC gives 3 more weeks to probe panel

FATEHGARH SAHIB: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has given three more weeks to a three-member committee to probe violation of the Akal Takht's 'hukamnama', by politicians who had sought the Dera Sacha Sauda's support during the Assembly Elections. SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar said the probe panel had been told to submit its final report by March 7, to Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh. He rubbished allegations that the matter had been put on the back burner with an eye on the upcoming Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee elections, adding that the deadline had been extended to enable various leaders to give their explanation before the panel.


HERITAGE - HISTORY Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

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A Telugu State over Sriramulu’s Sacrifice AsianVoiceNews

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PM Nehru was keen on early formation, CM Rajaji insisted on postponement

Dr Hari Desai The Independent India is a Union of 29 States and 7 Union Territories (UT), Telangana being the latest to be added in February 2014. The Parliament bifurcated Andhra Pradesh and created a separate state of Telangana, with possibility of more states being carved out in the name of providing efficient administration! In October 1953, India’s first linguistic state, Andhra, came into being. In November 1956, Parliament formed the unified Telugu-speaking state of Andhra Pradesh, by merging Andhra and the

Telugu-speaking areas of the Nizam of Hyderabad’s erstwhile empire. These areas were known as Telangana, states Jairam Ramesh in his latest book “Old History New Geography: Bifurcating Andhra Pradesh”. Ramesh played a key role in carving out Telangana as a Union Minister in the UPA government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh of Congress. Both, the then ruling Congress and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, joined hands to create Telangana. The Madras Presidency under the British covered the areas of present day Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and part of Odisha, Kerala, Karnataka and Union Territory of Lakshadweep. Even the island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) was part of Madras Presidency from 1793 to 1798 when it was created a Crown colony. Madras (Chennai as renamed in 1996 by M Karunanidhi government) was the capital city. All the linguistic group, Tamils, Telugus, Kannadigas, Malayalees, etc., lived together in the Madras Presidency and prospered. In 1639, the English East India Company purchased the village of Madraspatnam from Raja Venkatappa Nayak, a local Telugu chieftain, and one year later it established the Agency of Fort St George. As early as 1912, Telugu leaders and newspapers started to complain that the ‘progress of Dravidians overshadowed’ that of the Andhras (Telugu speaking) and the creation of a separate province would ‘cure this handicap’. However, they did not step up the demand immediately, but wanted to do so only after independence. Until then, they decided to keep the

Potti Sriramulu who sacrificed his life for Andhra

issue alive. In the initial years, the status of Madras city was not a central issue. The situation changed in the 1940s. An intriguing tale in November 1941 brought the city of Madras to centre stage. Congress leader Tuguturi Prakasam, who later became the first Chief Minister of Andhra state, disclosed at Vishakhapatnam that Lord Erskine, the Madras Governor, had suggested that both provinces, Andhra and Madras, be located in the city and everyone, including the Tamil Ministers, agreed to this idea. The city of Madras was to be divided into North Madras and South Madras with river Couum as the boundaries, making North Madras the capital of Andhra and South Madras the capital of Madras state of Tamils. Prakasam then alleged that an ‘evil genius in the cabinet’ poisoned Erskine’s mind later and made him write a letter to

T Prakasam, the First Chief Minister of Andhra

the Secretary of State against the move. Prakasam refused to divulge the name of the ‘evil genius’ but told the gathering that Erskine cautioned the British government that ‘blood would flow in the streets of Madras’ if Andhra was formed, Jayagopal Kannan records. On 16 June 1948, the President of the Constituent Assembly, Dr Rajendra Prasad, appointed a commission under the chairmanship of a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court, S K Dar, to examine and report on the formation of the new provinces of Andhra, Karnataka, Kerala

and Maharashtra. The Dar Commission submitted its report on December 18, on the eve of the Jaipur session of the Indian National Congress. The report was strongly against linguistic considerations as the view was echoed by Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Azad and Rajaji, all the key persons in the Constituent Assembly. Hence a threemember committee was set up by Jaipur session. Jawaharlal, Vallabhbhai and Pattabhi Sitaramayya were the members. It was called JVP committee, after the first letter of the name of the three members. Meanwhile Dr B R Ambedkar came out with his book in support of the linguistic states. Nehru personally wrote the JVP Committee report in the last days of March 1949. It was a comprehensive assessment and once again, while not advocating large-scale linguistic reorganisation, made a special mention of formation of Andhra minus the city of Madras. With Nehru and Patel involved, many thought the JVP report would be accepted. On the contrary, the fight over Madras escalated. Meanwhile Sardar Patel died. Rajaji was Home Minister of India between December 1950 and November 1951. Nehru and Rajaji continued to differ on the formation of Andhra. Since PM Nehru was keen on early formation, CM Rajaji insisted on postponement. Making matter worse, an energetic follower of Mahatma Gandhi, Potti Sriramulu, announced a fast-unto-death in Madras city on October 19, 1952, for meeting two demands: carving out an Andhra state from the state of Madras comprising its Teluguspeaking areas and making Madras city the joint capital of the two states. Despite efforts to make him give up the fast, the Telugu Gandhian was adamant. Rajaji was feeling hurt, he even insulted Telugu leaders and pro-

claimed no compromise. Rajaji was not prepared to have even the temporary capital of Andhra in Madras. After 51 days, Sriramulu died on December 15, 1952, at Sri Bagh which later became his memorial. His death sparked violent protests across Teluguspeaking areas of the Presidency. Nehru appealed for calm and assured people that the issue would be settled soon. The Government of India conveyed Rajaji on March 20, 1953, the decision of the Cabinet on the formation of Andhra state, including the fact that “most of the offices of the Andhra state should continue to be located in the city of Madras till arrangements are made for their transfer to the Andhra territory”. India’s first state to be created on a linguistic basis, namely Andhra state, came into being on October 1, 1953.The new state came into being with Kurnool in Rayalaseema as its capital and with the High Court at Guntur in the coastal region. Nehru addressed a public meeting in Kurnool on October 1, 1953, but he was at pains to explain this was not going to be about the linguistic division of India, something that was unac-

Various states of South India in 1956

ceptable to him as well as to Rajaji, who considered linguistic provinces to be a “tribal idea”, records Jairam Ramesh in his book. Nehru made a statement in the Lok Sabha on December 23, 1953, announcing the appointment of a States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) under the chairmanship of Justice S Fazl Ali with H N Kunzru and K M Pannikar as members. The

Commission submitted its report on September 30, 1955, which led to open floodgates for more linguistic states in India. Next Column: Travancore: First to declare Independence (The writer is a Socio-political Historian. E-mail: haridesai@gmail.com)


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Pakistan kills 130 militants

Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

DMK to observe hunger strike

A state-wide hunger strike has been called on February 22 by the DMK for the eviction of their party MLAs from the Assembly before the floor test last week. Calling it a "murder of democracy", the Opposition leader and working president MK Stalin released a statement saying the protests would be carried out in all district headquarters across the region from 9 am to 5 pm. DMK MLAs were evicted en masse, from the state assembly before the voting on the confidence motion, last Saturday. Stalin alleged that the motion of confidence was adopted contravening assembly rules. The party appealed to Tamil Nadu governor Vidyasagar Rao to "nullify" the vote of confidence that was unanimously won by EK Palaniswamia Sasikala loyalist. Meanwhile, demonstrations continue to be held all over the state alleging an attack on Stalin inside the assembly. A DMK worker attempted to immolate himself, while a group of cadres in Tiruvarur staged a day-long hunger strike. Several members of Makkal Marumalarchi Kazhagam tried to burn an effigy of assembly Speaker P Dhanapal, in Trichy. In the light of the ongoing chaos, the Governor has directed assembly secretary to send him a "factual report" of the "incidents."

LAHORE/PESHAWAR: Around 130 terrorists were killed and over 350 people arrested in Pakistan as part of a crackdown by security forces after a series of suicide bombings were conducted in the country. Sources said that a highvalue target known for recruiting terrorists and training suicide bombers, Rehmad Baba, was also gunned down. They said that about 12 terror sanctuaries, including a weapon depot camp of Jammat-ul-Ahra's commander Wali, were also pounded by the forces. Eleven Afghan terrorists were killed in a gunbattle, at Sapperkot and Para Chamkani in Kurram Agency. Punjab police spokesman Niyab Haider said, "More than 350 suspects have been taken into custody, mostly Afghans since Monday. During Saturday and Sunday, 200 people, mostly Afghan and Pashtoon, have been held as they did not have identification papers. Police have also arrested those who had given them their houses on rent." Also, an imminent attack on a shrine in Multan resulted in the killing of five terrorists belonging to Jamaat-ulAhar group. The countrywide crackdown came a day after an Islamic State bomber killed nearly 80 pilgrims at Pakistan's most famous Sufi shrine in Sindh. The attack on the

shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, is said to be one of the deadliest ever in the country, and came after several other extremist strikes earlier in the week despite the army's ongoing offensive against militants. After the attack on the 13th century shrine, army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa pledged, "Each drop of the nation's blood shall be avenged, and avenged immediately. No more restraint for anyone." An official release stated that 13 terrorists were killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the northwest. Four, in Lower Orakzai, and 11 in Karachi. Government said weapons and hand grenades were found on the slain terrorists, and that several suspects were also arrested. Many believed the move was predictable. "When you (army) have information about the presence of terrorists, why don't you act before they strike?" asked security analyst, Mazhar Abbas. A total of eight terror attacks were organised

reception to mark the launch of the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 on Monday, 27 February at the Buckingham Palace. The reception will also be attended by India's Finance Minister, Hon'ble Arun Jaitley (Story Pg 8). On the other hand a high powered delegation of the members of the US Congress has commenced its visit to India to better understand the functioning of its economy. As the world views the controversial Trump Presidency skeptically, New Delhi has looked forward to cement ties with the United States and in a bid to sensitise the administration to various concerns, prominently the immigration ban, India has welcomed two delegations of US lawmakers this month. An official familiar with the development said "it will afford an opportunity for an exchange of views on economic and security related issues." The visit of the delegations comprising 27 lawmakers is the first ever since the change of power in the States. The visit is welcomed as India is hoping for a bilateral meet between PM Narendra Modi and

President Donald Trump in possibly May or June in the US. The first delegation of 19 US lawmakers landed in New Delhi and are scheduled to forward to Hyderabad- trip bankrolled by Washington-based think tank Aspen Institute. This was coincided by the second delegation comprising eight US Congressmen led by chairman of the US House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte. Both the delegations will commence their visit in New Delhi, with the second proceeding to India's home of outsourcing companies, Bengaluru. Both the groups are also slated to meet with senior government ministers, Indian lawmakers, and industry representatives. While the 'bromance' between Modi and former US president Barack Obama is widely known, the Indian PM's communica-

tion with Trump has been limited to the telephone. With the general warmth between both the countries is visibly gone, India's contacts with the new administration has so far included telephone conversations between US defence secretary James Mattis and Indian defence minister Manohar Parrikar, and between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. In the first 45-minute long meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the eightmember US delegation, several issues were discussed, including the purpose of restrictions on the H1B visa programme and intellectual property rights (IPRs). India raised its concerns regarding the visa restrictions, and its adverse bear-

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God ‘Mungu’ is great, says ‘dead’ tycoon Dr Sudhir By Dhiren Katwa Dr Sudhir Ruparelia, a Ugandan business magnate, is a rare and blessed soul. For him, heaven and earth are now one, thanks to a fake news website which reported that he had died, aged 61, after a short illness in California Hospital in Trump Land. Whilst the world prepared to mourn the loss of a great man, Dr Ruparelia could only but smile at this gimmick. In fact when news of his ‘death’ reached him, he was having dinner with his family. To convince me, Dr Ruparelia’s son Rajiv almost immediately sent me a short video clip via WhatsApp. According to the hoax article, Dr Ruparelia had been on a business trip at the invitation of Apple Inc. It went on to say that the cause of his sudden demise had not yet been established and that his wife, Jyotsna, had confirmed that his body had been sent for autopsy. One Ugandan news portal stated: “Such sites deliberately publish hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation purporting to be

since February 13. Thirteen were killed in Karachi, and over 70 injured when a bomb ripped through a rally on Mall Road in Lahore. Last week, two members of a bomb disposal squad were killed trying to dismantle a bomb in Quetta, and the next day, five were killed when a suicide bomber struck in Mohmand tribal region. The same day, a suicide attack on a court van killed its driver and injured four judges. Most of these attacks were carried out by JuA, a banned group associated to Pakistani Taliban. In retaliation, the military launched a searchand-strike operation in Khyber Agency's Shalman, near the Pak-Afghan border, using heavy artillery. Of the 100-odd militants killed, 46 were accounted for, as informed by the army's Inter-Services Public Relations release. Paramilitary Sindh Rangers claimed to have killed 18 terrorists in overnight operations in the province.

Continued from page 1

ing on the Indian IT industry, while the US flagged the IPR and copyright related matters. The delegation is also scheduled to meet IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The proposed overhaul of the H1B visas regime by Trump has raised several eyebrows, especially affecting Indian IT firms, as even the slightest of changes may cause higher operational costs and shortage of skilled workers for the $110-billion Indian outsourcing industry. The controversial delegation called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he contended for greater people-to-people contact. A press release issued by the PMO said, "Prime Minister referred to the role of skilled Indian talent in enriching the American economy and society. He called for developing a reflective, balanced and far-sighted perspective on movement of skilled professionals." While welcoming the Congressional representatives, Modi said that it "augurs a good start to bilateral exchanges following the new US administration and Congress."

Isro's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in a single mission. In PSLV-C37's 39th flight, it carried 104 satellites lifting off from the first launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 9.28 am. Exact 17 minutes later, it began placing the satellites into the orbit, one by one with a time frame of about 11 minutes. Congratulating the team for the successful launch, Isro chairman AS Kiran Kumar said, "My hearty congratulations to the team. The Prime Minister has conveyed his congratulations." Off the 104 satellites, 101 belonged to six other countries - 96 from the US, and one each from Israel, the UAE, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Kazakhstan. PSLV first injected its main payload, India's indigenously built earth observation satellite, Cartosat- 2 series. It was followed by two other nanosatellites of Isro- INS1A and INS-1B. Later, it didn't take more than 10 minutes for it to shoot out its other 101 passengers, as it began to climb in altitude. Isro Satellite Centre Director, Mayilsamy Annadurai said, "We can also hit centuries like our cricketers. In another two months, the number of satellites built by Isro will reach 100. Besides GSLV

Britain and US wooing India Continued from page 1

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Dr Sudhir Ruparelia

real news — often using social media to drive web traffic and amplify their effect. Unlike news satire, fake news websites seek to mislead, rather than entertain, readers for financial, political, or other gain.” Some Hindus believe that such a hoax is a symbol of increased life expectancy, of at least 100. One Gujarati saint, Das Amar, wrote: “Jene Ram tana rakhwala, ene shu kare jam kala”, which translates to “For he who is protected by the Almighty, not even ‘Yam’ the God of Death can touch him.” I first met Dr Ruparelia in July 2013. Even now I am still amazed at his larger than life character, humbleness, modesty and his patriotism towards his native, the Pearl of Africa. We salute you Sudhir-bhai, may God rest your soul in peace in heaven and on earth.

India Launches Monumental Mission missions, we have Chandrayan-2 ready for launch next year." Mission director B Jayakumar revealed that the launch involved complex issues in management and manoeuvring. "A great moment for each and every one of us. We have so far, launched 226 satellites including 179 foreign satellites," he added. Equipped with panchromatic and multispectral cameras, the 664kg Cartosat-2 will provide remote sensing services similar to that of its predecessors. Images from the satellite will be used for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, change detection to bring out geographical and manmade features and various other land information system (LIS) and geographical information system (GSI) applications. Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre K Sivan said it was the toughest mission they had handled. Director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre P Kunhikrishnan, "We had to ensure they didn't collide. Last year, we saw nine successful launches. This year began with a remarkable event. Congratulations to customers on placing confidence on Isro's PSLV."


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FOOD

FITNESS

HEALTH & WELLNESS AsianVoiceNewsweekly

cure diseases, including cancer. However, controversially, a new study that has popped up recently, claims that consuming superfoods doesn’t really matter when it comes to losing weight. Instead, the effect of following a particular diet on people’s waistlines is more dependent on an individual’s body type and

its response to different kinds of food. Most of us may believe that eating brown bread is healthier in comparison to eating white bread. But this study

suggests that you can’t really generalize it and decide which bread is good or bad as it depends on the individual body type as to which kind of bread suits them better. While addressing the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston , Dr. Evan Elinav shared the above and claimed that one food being better than the other is just a notion. Like any other food, our individual responses to different kinds of bread will differ. The researchers tested the two different types of bread on a total of 40 people for a study.

For the study, their blood sugar was monitored every five minutes to find out how their bodies reacts to each of them for several weeks. Individuals in both groups saw their blood sugar spike after eating one loaf or the other, but the overall effect of the two types on their weight was quite the same. Dr. Elinav concludes that the biggest determinant of our unique response to different kind of foods is the gut microbiome. The study showed that by following a diet based on the bacteria in their gut,the people were able to normalize their blood sugar levels.

Tried Prebiotics yet? They may help you get a goodnight’s sleep While the general public has long understood probiotics, prebiotics are less known. But there are significant differences between the two, including health benefits. Probiotics are live bacteria in yogurt, other dairy products and pills. Doctors often prescribe probiotics to patients on antibiotics in an attempt to combat gastrointestinal side

To Our Readers

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

effects of the medication. And while probiotics have been shown effective in managing certain gastrointestinal conditions, they do not have the same power that prebiotics do. Prebiotics, unlike probiotics, are not destroyed in the body. They are not affected by heat or bacteria. Getting the full bene-

Laughter is the Best Medicine

A police officer jumps into his squad car and calls the station. “I have an interesting case here,” he says. “A woman shot her husband for stepping on the floor she just mopped.” “Have you arrested her?” asks the sergeant. “No, not yet. The floor’s still wet.” *** I once gave my husband the silent treatment for an entire week, at the end of which he declared, “Hey, we’re getting along pretty great lately!” *** Hanging up with my 90-year old mother, I sighed, then said to my 96-year-old uncle, “She’s so stubborn.” He shook his head sympathetically and warned, “You’re going to have trouble with her when she gets old.” *** A child psychologist had twin boys - one was an optimist; the other, a pessimist. Just to see what would happen, on Christmas Day he loaded the pessimist’s room with toys and games. In the optimist’s room, he dumped a pile of horse droppings. That night, the father found the pessimist surrounded by his gifts, crying. “What’s wrong?” the father asked. “I have a ton of game manuals to read ... I need batteries ... and my toys will all eventually get broken!” sobbed the pessimist. Passing the optimist’s room, the father found him dancing for joy around the pile of manure. “Why are you so happy?” he asked. The optimist shouted, “There’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!”

fits of prebiotics is easy, especially when consumed in a full-spectrum supplement form. Prebiotics are basically non digestible food ingredients (such as the fibers found in many plant sources like asparagus, oatmeal, and legumes as well as in breast milk ) that are selectively metabolised by colonic bacteria which have the capacity to improve our gut environment. Unlike probiotics, they

| Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

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LIFESTYLE

Do Superfoods really provide any benefit or are they just a fad? Superfood is the new buzzword used to describe foods that provide tremendous health benefits. From ancient grains to the newly discovered seeds and fungi - there are many foods that are now being recognized as superfoods. Though there is no legal or medical definition for the same, superfoods are nutrient powerhouses that comprise large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. People who eat more of them are believed to be healthier than those who don't. Eating them may reduce the risk of chronic diseases. In fact, the Cancer Research UK notes that superfoods are often promoted as having the ability to prevent or

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can be added to many ingredients and heated too. While the beneficial role of prebiotics in helping the gut bacteria are being raved about, a recent study shows that eating prebiotics can restore healthy sleep patterns after a stressful event. The study was conducted by a group of researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder, and published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.

Vitamin D could help prevent colds

As the weather is changing and inactive bacteria are coming to life again due to rise in daily temperature, developing cold or any other infection is not a big thing. But if not treated well, mild cold can become as irritating as a pin under the mattress. Numerous sneezes, unhygienic feeling and a wet nose become a nightmare if not treated soon. Not only does it leave a poor impression at your workplace, but it also leads to spreading the infection to your peers or colleagues. Luke warm milk with a spoon of turmeric might sound old-fashioned but is the most natural remedy for cold whereas anti-biotic may seem to work but often does more harm than treatment. So what to do, for treating your cold or any other infectious flu? A new study suggests that vitamin D supplements may help you treating cold and flu. Eating Vitamin D supplements helps protect against cold and flu, along with tackling high levels of Vitamin D deficiency, according to the study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital. The 'sunshine vitamin' or Vitamin D, not only leads to improved bone and muscle health but also protects against respirato-

ry infections by boosting levels of antimicrobial peptides - natural antibioticlike substances - in the lungs. Cold or flu are the result of acute respiratory infections and are a major cause of global morbidity and mortality. Carlos Camargo from the Massachusetts General Hospital said, ‘Most people understand that Vitamin D is critical for bone and muscle health. Our analysis has found that it helps the body fight acute respiratory infection’. The results showed that daily or weekly supplementation halved the risk of cold and flu in people with most significant Vitamin D deficiency. Occasional high doses of Vitamin D did not produce any significant benefits to the patients. Nearly 11,000 participants in 25 clinical trials were analyzed in 14 countries including India, Britain, US, Japan, Afghanistan, Belgium, Italy, Australia and Canada by the scientists for the research. As it has been now found that Vitamin D may help in protection against acute respiratory infections, it might also be evident that we have a completely new way of treating respiratory disorders using the sunshine vitamin.

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Famous dubsmash girl becomes Kollywood heroine

Asian Voice

25th February 2017

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ocial media f a v o u r i t e , Mrinalini, who found internet fame with her dubsmash videos of dialogues and songs of different Tamil heroines, is all set to make her Tamil debut. She will star in a lead role in debutant director Suresh

Kumar's 'Nagal'. The role will be very challenging as her character travels from one place to another and the situations she faces and the incidents that occur, make up for the crux of the movie. Shooting is scheduled to commence in he last week of February 2017.

Dhanush's Hollywood debut back on track

Suriya's 'Si3' creates a new record in Kerala

Just few days to go for Dhanush's 'Power Paandi' AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

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uriya's 'Si3' opened to packed houses in neighbouring state Kerala, with sources revealing that the Hari-directorial has collected £232,000 in the region alone. In a clear indication of the actor's growing fandom in God's Own Country, the third instalment of blockbuster 'Singham' franchise has been a box office dream. It is also in the Top Five among the first day collections made by Tamil film in Kerala.

K

ollywood actor Dhanush's directorial debut 'Power Paandi' starring Rajkiran is ready for its April 17 release this year. Tweeting the almost completion of the film, Dhanush's latest tweet read, "Power Paandi last 5 days". Shooting of

the movie had commenced in September last year, and has been continuously progressing ever since. The film features Prasanna, Chaya Singh, Robo Shankar, Viduillekha Raman as prominent characters. The 'Kolaveri Di'

singer will also be playing an extending cameo as the younger version of the lead character played by Rajkiran. Another cameo roles include those by director Gautham Vasudev Menon, and popular anchor Divyadarshini.

Maddy joins a power packed multi-starrer

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ushant Singh Rajput, who has his heads in the clouds currently owing to the success of 'MS Dhoni- The Untold Story', will be headlining as an astronaut in multi-starrer 'Chanda Mama Door Ke', directed by Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan. The sciencefiction adventure stars actors like Nawazuddin Siddique and Mohanlal in important characters. Also roped in is Maddy, who will play the role of a pilot.

'M

aari' actor Dhanush h a d announced his Hollywood debut with 'The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir', last year. However, director Marjani Satrapi, who was touted to direct had recently walked out due to some conflict with the producers, stalling the project. The issue has reportedly been resolved with 'Starbuck' and 'Delivery Man' director Ken Scott joining the crew as writerdirector. The new cast to share screen space with Dhanush will be, Laurent Lafitte, Erin Moriarty, Barkhad Abdi, Abel Jafri, and Berenice Bejo. The story revolves around a Rajasthani fakir (Dhanush) who tricks his villagers into sponsoring his flight to Paris where he meets a girl and falls in love while conning her. Principal photography will begin in May this year in locations including Mumbai, Paris, Brussels and Rome.

Vikram and Parthiban join hands after 18 years?

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autham Vasudev Menon has certainly raised the bar with a stylish new teaser of his latest international cop thriller 'Dhruva Natchathiram'. Sources reveal that GVM h a s approached Parthiban to play villain,

but official confirmation will only follow the beginning of the second schedule. The movie has music by Harris Jayaraj, with a new leading lady Ritu Varma. Parthiban has directed and co-starred with Vikram in the National and State Award winning ‘Housefull’ released in the year 1999.


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An unexplored historical standpoint: Gurinder Chadha on ‘Viceroy’s House’ AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Charusmita

I

f we were to put a face to the guild of British Asian filmmakers working to highlight the issues of the community, Gurinder Chadha would be a worthy choice. Hence, the story of her new film Viceroy’s House came as a surprise. Asian Voice’s exclusive interview with her and actress Huma Qureshi, however, revealed that film traces the roots of the British Asian community, which is irrevocably connected to the event that shook the Indian subcontinent in 1947- the Partition. Viceroy’s House is a historical drama about the final phase of British Raj in India. In 1947, Lord Mountbatten was appointed as the last Viceroy of India, who came to hand India back to its people. The title refers to his house where he lived ‘upstairs’, the ‘home’ of British rulers, with 500 Hindu, Muslim and Sikh servants living ‘downstairs’. The film’s music is given by Academy Award winning composer A.R. Rahman. Viceroy’s House stars Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Manish Dayal, Huma Qureshi, Michael Gambon, Denzil Smith, Neeraj Kabi, Lily Travers, Tanveer Ghani, Simon Callow, and the late Indian actor Om Puri. Huma Qureshi, who plays one of the central characters, Aalia, in the film, spoke on how her

character signifies the tumultuous conflict that the film is about. The dilemma of whether to leave the one you love or to stay and fight it out, is central to the theme. She also confessed that she is close to her character as the fierce and strong woman who is forced to make a choice that never existed before the partition- “I just had to look the part”, she says modestly. Growing up under the shadow of partition, and following from her British TV series for BBC titled ‘Who do you think you are?’, Gurinder was convinced that British Asians need to stand up and tell their own histories, recording their place in their world, one story at a time. She traced her ancestral house near Jhelum, from where her grandmother left with her children for India, and decided that a story on partition needed to be told

from a fresh standpoint. It transpired, after she read the two books her film is based on and her own research, that the history she had been reading while growing up in Britain was ‘wrong’. The film took seven years to be made. Legendary actor, Om Puri, who passed away earlier this year, acted in a British film after 34 years. As Gurinder fondly recalled, “He was among the few actors who had worked in British, American, as well as Indian cinema. He was very impressed with the ambition of the film, and being a Punjabi, he had a painful association with partition himself.” Her biggest take-away from the film is that the history is always written by the victors. Viceroy’s House is a timely film in a world where preaching hatred and political manipulation have reached unprecedented levels.

to do justice to the feeling. The most amazing and purest form of love is a mother's, which we experience from the moment we are born. Our first encounter in life is with love. My idea of love is not very different from that. The purpose can change, the nature of it changes, but the essence remains the same." S h e added, "When I was younger, it meant a lot more. Now, I don't think it holds as much significance; you don't wait for

a Valentine to propose to you. In our age group, it unfolds differently." Speaking about her character Julia in the movie, Kangana said, "My character Julia is very relatable and that's the best thing about Vishal Bharadwaj's films. Julia finds it hard to fit in, something that contemporary women will identify with. In reality, I have come from the mountains and if I can speak English, wear make-up or walk in heels today, it's because I have tried hard to fit in." "Julia is in love with these two men (Khan and Kapoor), but the nature of love is different in both the situations. With Rustom (Saif Ali Khan), it's more parasitic, where they both need each other and feed off each other's insecurities. That can make for a very strong bond and it also makes two people inseparable. One can misunderstand this need for love."

Pure love still exists: Kangana Ranaut

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usy with promotions for her latest romance film 'Rangoon' opposite Saif Ali Khan and Shahid Kapoor, fiesty actress K a n g a n a Ranaut has a s i m p l e notion for love - shoot straight from the heart. In an interview, when asked what her definition of love is, she said, "Love is hard to believe. It's not like you can't do it, but you won't b e able

Deepika replaces Priyanka in Indo-China love story?

Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

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fter making heads turn for her stellar performance in 'xXx: Return of Xander Cage', Deepika Padukone has topped over Priyanka Chopra for Siddharth Anand's Indo-China love story featuring Chinese actor Deng Chao. If reports are believed, Dippy has given her nod to the project. Speaking to the press, Siddharth said, "Yes, it's a cross-cultural romance set in Beijing. I'm excited to explore and showcase another culture through this film. Our Chinese producers have suggested Deng Chao's name but we will take a final call when I visit China." When asked if he would prefer casting Deepika Padukone or Priyanka Chopra in the movie, he quickly stated, "The film will have an A-list actress who already has an international presence, so it could possibly be one of them." And now it seems, Deepika Padukone has made it. Just last year, it was reported that Anand, along with Kabir Khan, had been roped in to helm two IndoChinese co-productions backed by Eros International's franchise feature film studio Trinity

Pictures. The co-productions are with Chinese film companies Peacock Mountain Culture &

Media Ltd and Huaxia Film Distribution Co Ltd.

Get the best of Sunidhi, Live!

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fter rocking Delhi University last week singer Sunidhi Chauhan is on her way to the UK, to sing to packed houses. With an electrifying performance at DTU's annual fest 'Engifest', the singer made sure her audience got their buck's worth. She kept the young crowd engaged and as they kept singing along with her, she added, "You guys are the best. Thank you for loving me, and trust me, this is the best night ever." A plain spoken singer with an earthy voice, Sunidhi recently made an appearance in reality TV show 'Dil Hai Hindustani' with Ranaut. An absolute Bollywood-style entertainer, she has sung several hits including 'Beedi', 'Sheila ki Jawani', Mehboob Mere', 'Dilliwali Girlfriend', 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani'. She has also received several awards for her stealthy playback. Her high energy vocals have however always been stereotyped in item numbers. She once received praise from Indian classical musician Rahul Sharma, who said, "Chauhan's voice has an element of sensuality which is also very versatile and I admire the quality of her voice and the kind of

emotions she can bring out." Ganesh Anantharaman called her voice "good, expressive" in his book 'Bollywood Melodies: A History of the Hindi Film Song'. Getting a break in the Indian movie industry was not easy for her. Sunidhi was helped by singer Sonu Nigam, to get her first break in the industry. She has often described him as a "catalyst to fuel my career". When compared with other contemporary singers, like Shreya

Ghoshal, Sunidhi had said, "I am content to have my own are in the current music world. Likewise, Shreya Ghoshal has her own. I personally respect Shreya for her talents and nice songs, whom people consider as a threat to me." Organisers Rock On bring shows scheduled in London and Leicester this month. The 'J'taime' singer will perform in The SSE Arena, Wembley, on 25 February, and in the De Montfort Hall, Leicester, on 26 February.


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Asian Voice |25th February 2017

City worker fights for life after being stabbed in the head A City analyst for a multibillion-pound investment fund was left fighting for life after being viciously stabbed in the head by a complete stranger as she walked across a park in Dagenham, east London, on her way home from work. Twenty-nine-year-old Qingqing Rao was attacked at about 9.40pm last Monday (February 13). Her bag was also snatched in the incident. However, it was later found in the road next to the park. Qingqing Rao is in a critical condition in hospital after suffering serious knife wounds. Her parents and husband were keeping a bedside vigil. Detectives are still appealing for two women who helped paramedics to contact them, as well as anyone else who has information about what happened.

“If you know anything at all, or saw something suspicious that night, please contact us as soon as possible. We are still keeping an open mind about the motive and exploring all lines of enquiry but indications are Qingqing was brutally attacked by a stranger,” Detective Chief Inspector Gary Holmes said. A spokeswoman for Pantheon said: “We can confirm that Qingqing Rao works for Pantheon in our London-based operations team. All our thoughts are with her and her family.”

Corbyn under pressure as key by-elections on Feb 23

Jeremy Corbyn

Jamie Reed

Tristram Hunt

Gareth Snell

Britons are bracing for two crucial by-elections on Thursday (February 23) – one in Stoke and another in Copeland, Cumbria. The by-elections were sparked by the resignations of Labour MPs Jamie Reed and Tristram Hunt. The Copeland by-election came about after Labour’s Jamie Reed announced his resignation from the post in

December. Jamie Reed quit as MP to work in the nuclear industry. Labour won the seat in the 2015 General Election. However, this time it is likely that Labour will relinquish the seat, with the bookies expecting a victory for the Conservatives which would heap serious pressure on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The vote is being seen as a key electoral test for the Labour leader. The Stoke by-election was triggered by the resignation of former Labour MP Tristram Hunt, who left Parliament to become the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Labour has chosen councillor Gareth Snell to defend a seat it has never

lost since its creation. Since being created for the 1950 General Election, Stoke Central has always returned Labour MPs. It has traditionally been seen as rock solid Labour territory and Hunt won in 2015 by a 5,179 margin. However, Labour's majority has been decreasing sharply in recent years, from 49.5% in 1997 to 16.7% in 2015.

Essex Indians celebrate International Mother Language Day

Coming Events

l Consortium of Gujarati Schools has arranged for a Special Meeting on February 2, Sunday, at Kadwa Patidar Samaj Hall, Kenmore Avenue, Harrow, HA3 8LU. l Utho Jago Geo! Sunday 26th February 2017 : 11am-4pm in Southall, London, After the huge success of Sidra Courageous Jafri as a host on Zee TV and The Awakening events, launch of her first event in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and Gujarati. This is an opportunity for Asian women from an array of backgrounds and age groups to come together, connect, share experiences and seek solutions to improve their lifestyles. They will be discussing and sharing tips on purpose, self esteem, self care and different perspectives of looking at life - to enable you to lead a more enhanced life. For more details: 07469 933082.

ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20 Jupiter has gone into retro-

grade motion for some time to come. This is going to be a time of frustration and reassessment. It’s all about cultivating patience until planet goes direct. This is evident mainly in the arena of relationships, but it could also flow over into business partnerships and foreign affairs. While you wait, don’t waste any time organise yourself.

TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 Jupiter’s Retrograde cycle

occurs in your sixth house of work, health, and daily routines. The social aspect of relationships on the job may be strained for the time being. Do your best not to let people get to you. Your joint resources as well as friendships are also affected. The desire to get on with people around you is very strong in this period.

GEMINI May 22 - June 22 With Jupiter turning retrograde for some time to come, it's time to realign your thinking and adjust plans accordingly. There may be some waning enthusiasm experienced regarding a romance or creative project, but once you adjust your expectations it will be easier. You also need to look at options regarding your career.

CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22 Jupiter Retrograde cycle occurs in your fourth house of home and family. Relations with your family may be a little strained. You might want to wait until Jupiter is direct (in April) before you express your frustrations with family members! This retrograde cycle also affects your health and travel.

Ragasudha Vinjamuri

Soma Das

The International Mother Language Day was celebrated by community group Essex Indians on Saturday, 18th February at Basildon Council House. The event was celebrated as part of their ‘Back to Roots’ project. Presentations on the occasion included songs, recitation, film screening, charity activities and dance

recitals. While Anirban Mandal, Arya Mandal, Asmita Mandal, Jain Strotra, Neha Mukherjee, Projit Mandal, Shreoshi Das, Shreyasi Banerjee, Solan Mukherjee, Suhasini Gupta, Soma Das, Ujjwal Kumar Ghosh and Upal Banerjee presented songs, Pritidipa Barua and Anashmita Saha presented dance representing Bengali

Sneh Joshi

The UK’s leading Vedic writer and TV personality

Jupiter’s Retrograde cycle occurs in your third house of communication. People around you may seem insincere. In fact, you may have a hard time getting your ideas across in a warm, genuine manner. As Jupiter also rules your partnership and joint resources, both of these things may get re-assessed during this retrograde cycle.

LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23

VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23 Jupiter Retrograde cycle occurs in your second house of money and values. Take the time to re-think your sources of income and how you spend your cash during this period, and avoid making any big purchases for a while. Jupiter also rules your home, family and relationships - try to work out what is best for your loved ones. LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23

Jupiter Retrograde cycle occurs in your sign. This cycle will affect the personal image you project to others. Because Jupiter rules your health sector, this is a good time to reassess your nutrition and join a keep fit club. Your desires from love and relationship may be hard to figure out for the time being.

Jupiter Retrograde cycle occurs in your twelfth house. What you want from love and your desires are very ambiguous and obscure during this cycle. Deal with your past so that you can put it behind you, but don't do it at the expense of your present. Relationships with friends and family you will be philosophical.

SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22

Director Sulagna Ghosh with Dr Arpita Ray

culture and Kathak. Presentation on Telugu language was made by dancer, writer and journalist Ragasudha Vinjamuri, while presentation on Marathi language was made by Shivangi Gokhale, representing Sur Bharti social media group established to empower women in different walks of life. Gift of Giving was pre-

sented by Shery Biswas and Tista Mukhopadhyay. Film Chithi directed by Sulagna Ghosh was screened on the occasion. Padma Balasubramanian represented ethic jewellery by Samudra Arts that help rehabilitation of schizophrenic women in India. Street food was provided by Shilpa Moorhy through Pragathi’s corner.

020 8518 5500

Jupiter Retrograde cycle occurs in your eleventh house of friendships, groups, and aspirations. Your friendships or associations with groups may be a little strained during this period. You must make good use of the energy that is flowing, by channeling it positively! Creativity, romance and leisure all receive a tonic.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21

CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20 Focus on essentials and establish a solid foundation. The outlook remains optimistic and brings you a sense of real achievement. With Jupiter retrograde, transiting your career sector, you will want to re-assess whether you are spending too much time at work. Time to create a better work-life balance.

AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19 An exchange of opinions ought to prove very enlivening at this time. An influence that should help to enjoy the 'nicer' side of others as bring out the best in friends, colleagues and partners alike. As Jupiter is retrograde in your Solar 9th house, be extremely careful as an argument over personal philosophies of life can get you into hot water. Jupiter Retrograde cycle PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20 occurs in your eighth house of intimacy, shared resources, and personal transformation. Hold onto your money, work on a budget, and avoid arguments with loved ones that revolve around intimacy and sexuality. You could also be dealing with past actions or karma. It's time to redefine what it is that you want out of life.


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COA members decide to discuss BCCI's agreement with ICC AsianVoiceNews

For the first time since they came on board following the Supreme Court orders, the Committee of Administrators (COA) appointed to supervise BCCI administration called for the Indian cricket board's member participation agreement (MPA) with the International Cricket Council (ICC) to be viewed in detail. The decision to study the MPA has been taken in the backdrop of ICC board's February 4 meeting, which called for a flurry of policy changes in finance and governance. The MPA, drafted by the BCCI when N Srinivasan was at the helm of affairs, protects India's rights in ICC related to the 2014 resolution over terms of revenue distribution. It is learned that COA member Vikram Limaye encouraged the rest of the administrators to look into the agreement. In a meeting held in New Delhi, the COA also invited Gopal Sankaranarayanan, secretary to the Lodha Committee, to attend. BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and his colleague RP Shah were

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Members of the Supreme Court appointed three-member panel of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) former CAG India Vinod Rai (C), IDFC Managing Director and CEO Vikram Limaye and sportsperson Diana Edulji (R)

also present. Apart from the MPA, a few other topics also came up for a detailed discussion in the COA meeting that lasted close to six hours. The administrators agreed to approve the pending amount of Rs 240,000 due to the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) for the National Cricket Academy (NCA) land. Among other important issues discussed, the COA decided to bring in law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas as the Advocate

on Record (AoR) for all court matters going forward. Alongside that, the administrators also discussed the matter of conflict of interest in cricket in detail. BCCI's office-bearers, who were not invited to this meeting, were left fuming that the AoR has been replaced. “It is a very wrong decision because it stops the BCCI from even standing in front of the court and presenting its case. The constitution of the BCCI is absolutely clear that the board can and will be sued

in the name of the secretary. The SC order for the administrators is to supervise the administration of BCCI, not to supervise the BCCI. The constitution of the BCCI has not been suspended by the court, it is still very much in place,” an office bearer said. Meanwhile, audit and tax consulting company Deloitte was also called at the meeting to give a presentation of their report on state associations, which the COA went through in minute detail.

Pak cricket board charge-sheets Sharjeel, Latif The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) charge-sheeted national team batsmen Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif under its anti-corruption code and gave them 14 days to respond to the charges. The charge sheet was issued to both players after they pleaded not guilty and denied any role in spotfixing during the Pakistan Super League. PCB’s media manager Amjad Hussain Bhatti said the players have to submit their final stance within 14 days. “If they plead not guilty the board will form a three member tribunal under a Judge to hold proceedings. But if they accept charges a disciplinary commission will be formed to

Strong contenders Cleethorpes has ended Southall's FA Vase dream by defeating them 5-2. After a lacklustre opening 15 minutes, Southall suffered a blow when striker Wayne Harvey had to leave the ground following an injury. Five minutes later, Cleethorpes move caught the Southall defence completely napping, Liam Davis giving the Lincolnshire side the lead. Southall pressed forward in response, winning a corner, only to lose the chance and prompting a blistering Cleethorpes counter-attack, resulting in Jon Oglesby slotting into an empty net. A com-

Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif

decide on their future,” he said. He said the charge sheet issued to them related to offences under the anti-corruption code. Bhatti confirmed that the players had the right to appeal in any court of law. The players have been in Lahore since the last three days, meeting with the PCB’s Anti-

Corruption head, Colonel (retd) Azam and the board’s legal head and have been questioned after they were sent back home from Dubai on the second day of the PSL. They were sent home after being suspended under the PCB’s anti-corruption code. “The players have been given 14 days to

submit their response. All the things have been written in the charge sheet and will be revealed once the process is complete. We can’t reveal the details at the moment,” Bhatti said. But sources confirmed that Sharjeel and Khalid have been issued notice under the PCB’s anti-corruption code for violation of clauses. Both the players have been in touch with legal advisers. Bhatti said the PCB had a zero tolerance policy towards corrupt practices, which it believes, is a cancer eating at the heart of the game. He said the ACU is continuing investigations into any questionable activity by any player or support staff.

SPORT Shahid Afridi retires from international cricket Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi has announced his retirement from international cricket, but said he wants to play in his country's domestic league for two more years. The flamboyant all-rounder, who played the last of his 27 tests in 2010 and retired from one-day internationals in 2015, quit as Pakistan's 20-overs captain after the team's poor World Twenty20 campaign in India last year. "I have said goodbye to international cricket," Afridi, who turns 37 next month, said in Sharjah after smashing a 28-ball 54 for Peshawar Zalmi against Karachi Kings in the ongoing Pakistan Super League. I am playing for my fans and will continue to play this league for another two years but it's goodbye from international cricket. Now my foundation is important for me. I have played with seriousness and in a professional way for my country."Known for his swashbuckling batting and tricky leg-spin, Afridi's last match for Pakistan was the defeat by Australia in the World Twenty20 in Mohali in March 2016. Despite his intention to continue in the game's shortest format, he has not been selected since that defeat.

Sandeep sets national record in race walk

Sandeep Kumar, who hails from a farmer family in Haryana and was ranked 35th in the Rio Olympics 2016, won the 50 km men's race walk event in a time of three hours 55 minutes and 59.05 seconds in the Max Bupa National Race Walking Championship. This helped Sandeep smash his own national record and also qualify for the London World Championships to be held in August. His earlier record of 3:56:22 was set at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Taicang, China in 2014. Speaking about his victory, Sandeep said, “I come from a humble background and never thought I will be a National Race Walker and represent the country globally. “I'm very happy to have won the race by smashing my own national record and to have qualified for World Championships in London. My target is to win a medal in the Commonwealth and Asian Games next year and then to do even better in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.” Jitender Singh of Services (4:02:11.58) and Chandan Singh (4:04:18.41) won the silver and bronze respectively, and also booked their berths for the World meet whose qualification mark is 4:06:00. In the men's 20 km section, national record holder K T Irfan of the Services, who had finished 10th in Rio, won in a time of one hour 22 minutes and 43.48 seconds. His Services teammates Devender and K Ganapati won silver and bronze respectively. “This is just a start for us, I hope to perform even better in the future. This is my first national level gold medal after 2014. I have not won an international medal till now and I hope I can do it at the Asian Championships in Japan next month,” Irfan said later. In the women's 20 km walk, Priyanka took the first place in a time of 1:37:58.32. Shanti Kumari won the silver and Rani Yadav bronze.

Cleethorpes end Southall's Wembley dream edy of errors in the Southall defence gifted Oglesby his second and Cleethorpes' third goal. With a big deficit to neutralise, the home side began the second half brightly, and started to create chances, but in the 55th minute the need to attack resulted in an undermanned defence, another Cleethorpes breakaway, and an easy finish for Brody Robertson in front of the large and colourful contingent of away supporters behind the goal. To Southall's credit, they didn't lie down, and indeed pulled a goal back straight away through Liam Hind. In fact, Cleethorpes were

forced onto the back foot for long periods before an error by Southall keeper Michael Power-Simpson gifted Davis his second and Cleethorpes' fifth, with

seven minutes of normal time remaining. There was still time for Southall's impressive Rowan Vine to snatch another consolation straight from the restart,

31

and with three minutes plus plenty of injury time left on the clock, Liam Highton in the Cleethorpes goal had to make a blinding save to deny Southall a third goal, which on the balance of second half play might just have made things interesting! Southall, which has been acquired by local Sikh businessman Chana Singh Gill, take pride in their second half display, which gave a definite glimpse of what might have been. However, it was all too little too late, and it was Cleethorpes who sent their lively contingent of supporters home with

their own Wembley dreams firmly intact. Southall's ability to rebound will now be tested, with a difficult fixture against in-form Broadfields Utd, and an even tougher looking Saturday visit to high flying Baldock Town. Although due to Southall's slow start to the season promotion looks too tall an order, a top four finish is achievable, which would secure a place in next season's FA Cup qualifiers. This would be a significant landmark for the club, so there's still plenty to play for in what has been Southall's best season for decades.


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Asian Voice | 25th February 2017

England cricketers emerge hot buys at IPL auction

English cricketers led by allrounder Ben Stokes and pacer Tymal Mills turned out to be the hottest purchases at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in Bengaluru on Monday, which also saw No. 1-ranked T20 International bowler Imran Tahir and India pacer Ishant Sharma failing to find any takers. Rising Pune Supergiants (RPSG), who removed Mahendra Singh Dhoni from captaincy on Sunday, bought Stokes for a whopping ÂŁ1.45 million after defeating bids from Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils (DD), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). "This is a conscious strategy, we wanted an allrounder on the team," RPSG owner Sanjeev Goenka said. Promising pacer Mills also emerged another hot property, with the RCB finally managing to lay their hands on him for a whopping ÂŁ1.2 million. Interestingly, Stokes' limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan was taken at a base price of ÂŁ200,000 by Kings XI Punjab while all-rounder Chris Woakes was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for ÂŁ400,000. But the surprise of the morning session was 18-yearold leg-spinner Rashid Khan and all-rounder Mohammed Nabi being bought by defending champions SRH, making them the first Afghanistan cricketers to be bought by an IPL franchise. While Rashid was snapped up for a whopping ÂŁ400,000, Nabi went for Rs 3000,000. Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai, however, joined the likes of India's Ishant Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Pragyan Ozha, South African Imran Tahir, West Indians Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels, to remain unsold. The afternoon session saw Australians Nathan Coulter Nile, Daniel Christian, Hyderabad's Mohammed Siraj and England's Jason Roy bagging lucrative deals from franchises. After being left out in the morning session, Coulter

Tymal Mills

Nile emerged the hottest pick at a whopping ÂŁ 350,000 for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) while 22-year-old medium pacer Siraj turned out to be the surprise package going for ÂŁ260,000 to the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). New Zealand's swashbuckling opener Martin Guptill, who surprisingly failed to find any takers in the morning session went for Rs 5000,000 to Kings XI Punjab while England's Chris

Jordan went to SRH for the same price. Railways' leggie Karn Sharma was bought by the Mumbai Indians for ÂŁ320,000 while Jharkhand pacer Varun Aaron went to the KXIP for ÂŁ280,000. Rising Pune Supergiants (RPSG) doled out for ÂŁ100,000 for all-rounder Christian and Gujarat Lions paid the same price for English opening batsman Roy. Among others, Delhi Ben Stokes

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Dhoni to step down as Pune Supergiant captain

Daredevils won a competitive bidding war with Kings XI Punjab, to invest ÂŁ500,000 in South African pacer Kasigo Rabada while New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult also was picked up for ÂŁ500,000 by KKR. Mumbai Indians bought retired Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson for ÂŁ200,000. Australian pacer Pat Cummins was also bought by the Delhi Daredevils for ÂŁ450,000 along with Tamil Nadu spinner M. Ashwin for ÂŁ100,000. Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Matthews also went to Delhi Daredevils for ÂŁ200,000 along with New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson for ÂŁ100,000. Pune bagged Bengal batsman Manoj Tiwary for Rs 5000,000 while West Indian batsman Darren Bravo also succeeded to attract KKR for his base price of Rs 5000,000. Discarded India pacer Munaf Patel went to his home franchise Gujarat Lions for Rs 3000,000 while former West Indian skipper Darren Sammy was picked by KXIP for Rs 3000,000. Mumbai Indians invested Rs 3000,000 each in Jharkhand batsman Saurabh Tiwary and Sri Lankan 31year-old batsman Asela Gunaratne. Hyderabad too spent Rs 3000,000 for Australian Ben Laughlin while Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) put an equal amount on Aussie fast bowler Billy Stanlake. West Indian stumper Nicholas Pooran was taken by Mumbai Indians for Rs 3000,000 while Gujarat bought pacer Manpreet Gony for Rs 6000,000. Among the uncapped domestic players, Tamil Nadu left-arm pacer T. Natarajan emerged one of the biggest gainers - he was sold for ÂŁ300,000 to Kings XI Punjab, which is 30 times his base price of Rs 1000,000. Rookie Karnataka spinner Krishnappa Gowtham and Rajasthan medium pacer Aniket Choudhary were sold for 20 times their base price of Rs 1000,000. While Gowtham was bought by the Mumbai Indians, Choudhary went to RCB for ÂŁ200,000.

India's most successful captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is no longer the captain of any cricket team. He has “agreed to step aside“ from Rising Pune Supergiant captaincy within a year of taking on that role in the Mahendra Singh Dhoni IPL franchise. He was gently told to enriched with his step down from capcraft and character, taincy by Rising on and off the field. Pune Supergiant As things stand, one management, which may have to wait till anointed Australian after the 2019 ICC captain Steve Smith World Cup for AOLas the new skipper. IV , unless, of “Dhoni has not course, Dhoni comes stepped down. We up with yet another have appointed Steve declaration to leave Smith as the skipper one and all stumped. for the upcoming Under Dhoni, season. Frankly the Rising Pune speaking, we did not Supergiant had finhave a good last seaished a poor seventh son and we wanted in the eight-team someone young to T20 league last sealead the side and son, and not insignifrevamp it ahead of icantly, the decision Season 10,� franchise to replace Dhoni owner Sanjiv Goenka with Smith came on was quoted as saying. Sunday, the eve of This means that IPL players' auction Dhoni, 35, who led in Bengaluru. the now-suspended Dhoni, of course, Chennai Super Kings is one of the most from 2008 to 2015 successful players in and the Rising Pune IPL history, having Supergiant in 2016, twice won the title will feature in the (2010 and 2011) and IPL for the first time finished runners-up as a regular player - a on four occasions role he is now accuswith the CSK. On an tomed to in Team individual level, India under Virat Dhoni has led in 143 Kohli. matches in IPL, win“I have the highning 83 - the most by est regard for M S any captain. He also Dhoni as a leader led CSK to the and a person. Dhoni Champions League will continue to be triumph in 2010 and an important part of 2014. our team. He is supThe 27-year-old portive of the deciSmith, who has sposion keeping the radically led Pune franchisee's best Warriors and interests in mind,� Rajasthan Royals Goenka, a Kolkatahis previous two based business magfranchises - now nate further said in a faces a twin chalstatement. The conlenge. He will look to cluding episode in lead Australia to victhe AOL magnum tory in upcoming opus will be added four Test series in only after Dhoni India before trying to takes a final bow - as shake the a player - from the Supergiants out of game he has their slumber.

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Av 25th february 2017  

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