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Lotus set to banish broom in Delhi

Story of human courage and causes unfolding over 26 miles of the London asphalt on 23rd April

Smita Sarkar

Four-year-old Kiyara Agarwal woke up earlier than usual on a Sunday morning to get ready for her big day at the London Marathon. She headed out with her father Krishan Agarwal and mother Riki Agarwal to reach the Canary Wharf venue by 9:00am, to distribute water and sweets and cheer on the running enthusiasts. “Is there any children's marathon? – I want to run too,” said the ardent Kiyara when she saw runners passing by, stopping to smile at her, take water bottles and sweets while she handed these over and waved out at them. Krishan Agarwal was also volunteering and wanted to set an example to his Kiyara distributing sweets and water to the runners young one. “Being Indians livother people. ing in the UK, volunteering in an “She was very excited when she international event like the London distributed water to the runners... she marathon helps us spread the meswas particularly happy to see particisage of the importance we attach to pants dressed up as cartoon figures inclusiveness in the social fabric. like batman, superman and the entire “Volunteering is an opportunity in family found the experience very the direction to fulfil our responsibilenriching” Kiyara's mom Riki said. ities towards a social cause and a way Continued on page 7 to appreciate the efforts made by

Kiyara Agarwal volunteering with father Kishan Agarwal at the London Marathon

Dr Purvy Patel at the London Marathon

Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party is all set to sweep the Municipal Corporation of Delhi next, if exit polls are to be believed. Elections to the National Capital's civic body took place on April 23, and it appears that the Delhi ki Aam Janata prefers the lotus over the Aam Aadmi Party's broom. A day prior to the vote counting, the exit polls revealed that the saffron party will clinch over 200 of the 272 wards in the MCD. An exit poll conducted by ABP News predicted that BJP will get 218 seats out of 272, Aam Aadmi Party was predicted to get 24 and the Congress to get 22. The MCD is divided into three parts- North, South, and East, and individual breakdown

verified BJP's dominance. The saffron party was predicted to clinch 88 seats in the 101-seat North Delhi Municipal Corporation, with AAP and Congress in the backleg with six and seven seats respectively. In South Delhi, BJP is expected to win 83 seats, while AAP and Congress could win nine seats apiece. In comparatively smaller 62-seat East corporation, BJP is seen to be ahead with 47 seats, while AAP and Congress get nine and six seats each. Taking a similar tone, the India TodayAxis poll gave BJP a lead of between 202 and 220 seats. It stated that the national party would clinch somewhere between 78 to 84 seats in Continued on page 26


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ONE ONE with Keith Vaz, MP

Asian Voice 29th April 2017

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to

Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle MBE

Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle MBE, has been a Labour councillor for Camberwell Green in the London Borough of Southwark since 1998 and most recently served as Mayor. Before this she held senior cabinet portfolios such as Children & Education, Adult Social Care, and latterly Arts and Culture. Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the eldest of three children and a Southwark resident since the age of three, Dora has had a varied career which has included jobs as a lecturer in further education colleges, managing the constituency office of Harriet Harman MP in Westminster and small roles in soaps including Casualty and Eastenders. In her role as Mayor Dora abseiled down her local hospital to raise money for her chosen charity, the new state of the art cancer unit at Guy’s Hospital. Dora received her MBE from the Queen in 2011 for services to local government and she is also a Freeman of the City of London, and so is entitled to drive sheep across London Bridge - a task she has yet to achieve! 1) What is your current position? I am entering my 20th year as a local councillor, the longest serving woman councillor in borough having just finished serving as Mayor of Southwark, the borough in which I grew up in and went to school. I was very proud to represent the people, my family and friends as their first citizen. Immediately prior to that I served for 6 years in the political cabinet, holding various portfolios such as Children and Education. 2) What are your proudest achievements? Some are listed above but I can also add keeping all our nursery

schools open. I believe that education starts from the moment we are born. So when I got the opportunity to hold that portfolio and with the challenge of balancing the budget, I amalgamated the current stock and began to get the workers to see themselves as part of a team and not individual centres competing against one another. 3) Who/ what inspires you? Michelle Obama – I can’t count the number of times I’ve used her line “When they go low, we go high.” Nelson Mandela is also another long-time inspiration and motivator for the struggles and challenges he endured, yet

he was such a man of humility, dignity and integrity. He led his people by example. He treated people equally, whether they were global leaders on the world stage or from a local shanty town. 4) What has been the biggest obstacle in your career? Putting people first. I mean this is a nice way. I always treat others as I would want to be treated and sometimes this means standing back and allowing others to shine or stretching out a hand to help others in their time of need. Supporting, nurturing, caring for others to such a degree that by the time it’s my time to shine I’m exhausted! So, I suppose the biggest obstacle has been me! 5) Who/ what has been the biggest influence on your career to date? Books! From the bible, to reading poetry, to reading and soaking up the wisdom of others such as Maya Angelou. From childhood, I remember spending every bit of my spare time in the local library, sometimes reading a whole book but most times just flicking through different books on anything and everything under the sun. Some of my happiest times were spent in the library! 6) What is the best aspect about your current role?

Founding Chair of City Sikhs, Jasvir Singh, receives OBE from Prince William, Duke of Cambridge The founding Chair of City Sikhs, Jasvir Singh, has received an OBE from Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, for services to faith communities and social cohesion in the UK. The investiture ceremony took place in the impressive surroundings of the Ballroom at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday 19th April 2017. City Sikhs is one of the leading Sikh organisations in Britain with over 6,000 members. It is currently involved in several important projects, including the Grand Trunk Project which is led by the Faiths Forum for London and is looking to foster better relationships between communities of South Asian heritage in

towns and cities throughout the country. Following the ceremony, Jasvir said: “It was a humbling experience. I met many inspiring people, including scientists, artists, Paralympians, and

various members of the Armed Forces and the Police, and found out about their remarkable achievements. I also spoke to Prince William and commended him for the work he and his brother, Prince Harry, are doing to help remove the stigma of mental health problems.” Other Sikh recipients at the investiture were Dr Brinder Singh Mahon who received an OBE for services to Education, and Detective Sergeant Sarbjit Kaur from Merseyside Police who received an MBE for services to Policing.

‘Blue Whale’ suicide game linked to 130 teen deaths makes its way to UK A potentially dangerous social media game, which has been linked to 130 teen deaths in Russia, is making its way to the UK, leading to schools issuing warnings to parents. The game is called the ‘Blue Whale Game’ and is being played across various social media platforms by youngsters. It involves players being given a master that will control them and make them do

tasks every day for 50 days. It seems like harmless fun but following investigations into the game in Russia, the game was found to be behind a large number of teen suicides. According to reports, those who took their lives had completed smaller challenges in the ‘game’ over the 50 days and by the end of it, were encouraged to try to ‘win the game’ by killing

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themselves. The headteacher of Woodlands School in Basildon has now issued a letter to parents warning them about the dangerous game. In Russia, two schoolgirls, aged 15 and 16, fell to their deaths from a 14storey block of flats, another, aged 15, fell from a fifth floor flat, while a 14-yearold girl died after being hit by a train earlier this year.

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serving as a local councillor – and have honed up skills I never thought I had, I have met people that help me to help others but it’s in the British Parliament – the mother of all Parliaments – that I would love to aspire to so that I can change things – or facilitate change on a bigger stage, for the better. But then again I suppose all politicians say that. Maybe I’ll just stay happy and contented where I am!

Being free to do what I want to do and make a difference how I want to make a difference. I’m currently helping a group put together a youth club. I’m helping people get into jobs that are sustainable. I’m mentoring other women who want to go into politics and I’m still nurturing a group called Africans for Labour which I co-founded nearly 15 years ago. 7) And the worst? That the work seems to be increasing all the time, but luckily I love being busy, I love to roll up my sleeves and help people solve their problems be it homelessness, disrepair or a school place. I wouldn’t want it any other way! 8) What are your long term goals? I’d like to make a difference in parliament. I’ve spent 20 years

9) If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change? I would like to see compassion, dignity and humanity in the immigration system. Particularly for those from the Commonwealth. I have seen so many lives destroyed, so many families wrenched apart because of a lack of basic humanity and compassion and I believe that we as a country are better than that. 10) If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why? Very recently I lost an Uncle – or rather an Uncle figure who had been with me throughout my life. He was 99 years old. A wonderful achievement. I would love to have spent more time with him, asking him how this country has changed, how did his life change by coming to the UK, what was it like then compared to now and more.

Crime doesn't pay as £2.2m seized from former Preston accountant over VAT fraud The mastermind of a VAT repayment fraud involving fake construction companies, must repay more than £2.2m of his ill gotten gains, a court has ruled. Salim Sakaria, 46, from Preston, was one of the key players in an 11-strong crime gang that attempted to steal £4.2 million between 2009 and 2011. Sakaria, who worked at Forte Accountants in Preston - and lied about being an accountant - is set to lose six properties in Preston as well as his Mercedes and designer

watch, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said. The gang set up 19 bogus firms and used ‘puppet’ directors, fake invoices and bogus building contracts for developments as a smokescreen. People were paid up to £35,000 to allow them to use their details for bogus companies to claim illegal VAT refunds. Twenty companies were repaid £2,932,084 for fake VAT claims and voice recognition technology showed Sakaria contacted HMRC by phone about the fraudulent repayments. He

must repay £2,276,149 within three months or serve a further seven and a half years in jail. Sakaria was sentenced to five years in October 2014 and a further three years for orchestrating an “honour-based” street attack on a sex offender over his relationship with Sakaria’s relative. Junaid Bhuta had been convicted in 2010 of raping a 12-year-old girl he met on Facebook - though an appeal judge agreed the girl could pass for 16 and gave him a discharge.

Criminologists report on UK's stalking and homicide trends In a recent eye-opening finding, criminologists researching over a sixmonth period have found a strong correlation between stalking and homicides. The killers stalk their victims on social media before murdering them. Gloucestershire researchers found 85% of murders occurred in victim's home, with most killers stalking their victims on social media before the murder – according to homicides. According to the findings and as stated by Daily Mail, stalking could pre-

sent itself in acts as simple as rearranging a victim's garden furniture, sending unwanted gifts, loitering on the pavement outside their house, or even calling social services to maliciously report 'poor' parenting. Chief executive Rachel Griffin told the Daily Mail that 'Stalking is an obsession which can increase in risk and severity and needs to be addressed under an early intervention model. Acting on what are currently considered to be minor, unrelated incidents, but which are driven by a malicious intent which could

later put the victim at great risk, could help to save lives.' Ms Griffin added that to see changes being put into action, we need real commitment from criminal justice professionals to ensure that the intention driving the behaviour is examined and assessed for threat, and that these seemingly 'harmless actions' are seen for what they are and given the attention they deserve. The study looked at 358 cases which occurred in Britain between 2012 and 2014


C MMENTS

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Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

RT challenges Anglo-American media The concept of public diplomacy can be said to be the brainchild of US broadcaster Ed Murray, when, in the 1960s, he was Director of the United States Information Agency and ran the anti-communist Voice of America. The Soviet Union had a rival voice. That said, the AngloAmerican media has dominated the dissemination of news through radio, television, newspapers and news agencies across continents for as long as most people can remember. The received narrative of historical truth and current affairs reality was oriented towards the West. Heavily so. This monopoly is now being effectively challenged by RT, at birth Russia Today. The Russian international news channel, set up in 2005, has made astonishing strides in the decade and more since its establishment. It broadcasts in English, French, Spanish and Arabic and thus has its principal linguistic bases well covered. More than the bald viewing statistics, nothing illustrates its success in challenging the Anglo-American news monopoly than the inter incontinent hysteria that the mention of RT evokes in the American and British establishments and mainstream media. RT is accused of by the heads of the CIA and FBI of undermining American democracy and values, a charge apoplectically repeated by Senators John McCaine and Lindsay Graham and others on Capitol Hill, dutifully repeated by senior British ministers and intoned in the echo chamber of the European Parliament in Brussels. In a superbly informative and analytical article in the April issue of Le Monde diplomatique, French researcher and media specialist Maxime Audinet traces the ascent of RT to global eminence. Its motto ‘Question more’ is borrowed from the iconic American talk show host Larry King, once of CNN stable, now a twice weekly RT voice. His guests are exclusively American, civilized and sober dissenters who consider it a privilege to be interviewed by him. Max Keiser’s Keiser Report attracts considerable attention, as does as Peter Levell’s Cross Talk. Keiser’s scorching analysis of the American and global economic scene is riveting, as is Levell’s panel discussion of American politics and its global impact is no less so. In this hall of mirrors much of the past is reflected in

the American present. Witch hunts, such as the McCarthy inquisition, way back in the early 1950s comes bubbling to the surface in some shape or form, from time to time. Foreign leader. who question American policies are mercilessly pilloried. The French were denounced as ‘cheese eating monkeys’ because President Jacque Chirac cast doubt on US policy in Iraq. Further back in time, Charlie Chaplin, the greatest comic genius in world cinema was hounded out of America for alleged subversion, and the eminent British philosopher denied entry to the country, a decision about which the American-born poet T.S. Eliot said he felt deeply ashamed. Foreign wars, regime change, the funding of death squads in Central America have been, and still are, the hall marks of the American footprint across the globe, from Iran to Indonesia, Chile to Brazil. Maxime Audinet highlights the focus that subjects like the murderous conflict in Yemen receives on RT, which the Western mainstream media ignores or downplays. This is understandable since Saudi Arabia, the principal external force in Yemen is armed to the teeth with a cornucopia of modern weaponry by the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain and others of the Western fraternity. When the Hindu US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard questioned the veracity of her country’s official narrative on Syria following a visit to Damascus and other places to see things for herself, she was roundly abused and physically threatened. The United States cannot be judged solely on the excellence of its great educational institutions, Harvard, Yale, MIT, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon et al, its innovative science and technology, but also by its racial injustice – the Ku Klux Klan ritually indulged in the murder of black citizens for decades, and still message racial hate and white supremacist doctrines. The remnants of American Indian communities await extinction in reservations. Inner city violence and the frequency of hate crimes point not to the American dream but to the American nightmare. Making a scapegoat of RT ensures no escape from this dark and forbidding tunnel.

Blistering irony of the Korean crisis President Trump champing at bit has stated that America’s ‘strategic patience’ with North Korea is well nigh exhausted, and that all options are on the table. Trump said ‘an armada’ had been to dispatched to the waters off the Korean peninsula, but the armada ended up in Australia! Were the navigation charts to blame, or did the US President decide to calm the situation instead of inflaming it further?The Pyongyang regime is proving stubbornly defiant to such threats and warns of its capability to cause serious damage to US allies South Korea and Japan. China, meanwhile, has discovered that its influence over the regime to the north is not as telling, as the international community assumed, or as Beijing hoped, forlornly, was the case. Desperate Chinese appeals for calm are to to welcomed. President has acknowledged the sympathy and help received from Beijing, but he desires more of the same. And urgently. North Korea appears impervious to such appeals, placing its principal ally, China in a quandary. The irony is of China’s making. China constructed an elaborate web of deceit: by supplying its ‘all-weather friend’ Pakistan with nuclear weapon technology, starting with a readymade bomb in May 1990, by which it hoped to contain India within the ambit of the Subcontinent. Pakistan would provide North Korea with nuclear weapon technology and receive in return the missile technology it had been gifted by China. The proliferation racket was masterminded on the ground by Pakistan’s rogue scientist A.Q. Khan, who purloined centrifuge technology from a Dutch facilty. His arrest in Holland was baulked by President Ronald Reagan, whose Administration was hell-bent on arming the

jihadi Mujahideen proxy in Afghanistan against the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul and its handler in Moscow. The head of the CIA’s Pakistan desk, Richard Barlow, kept alerting his superiors on this illicit commerce but was rebuffed. When Barlow persisted, he was suspended and sacked on the ground that he was stricken by mental illness. The story was told by journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark in their massive tome, Deception: Pakistan, the United States and the Global Nuclear Weapons Conspiracy. The American journalist Andrew Small following six years of meticulous research published The ChinaPakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics, in which he reveals the origins of the Sino-Pakistan clandestine nuclear weapons project and its fundamental antiIndian goal. ‘Pakistan is China’s Israel,’ said China’s General Xiong Guanghai. Small sums up the China’s predicament: ‘Beijing can count its reliable friends on the fingers of one hand. The North Koreans have proved to be truculent and resentful, and are a standing risk to Chinese strategic interests in North East Asia…affinities in a common cause in resisting Western hegemony have not yet eradicated the deepseated mutual suspicion in the Russia-China relationship. From Iran to Sudan, Zimbabwe to Laos and Cambodia, so many of China’s supposedly close relationships are fragile, reversible and overly contingent on continuation in power of a specific regime. Pakistan is the only friendship that has been tested out over decades, commands deep support from across the political spectrum and institutions of state…’ China’s Pakistani bred nuclear chickens are coming home to roost in North Korea.

Indian vaccine to combat Zika virus The Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s anti-Zika vaccine has achieved total success in animal tests. A inactivated vaccine with the virus grown in a culture and then killed using physical and chemical processes have been promising. The results of the study have been published in the Nature group journal Science Reports. Two doses of the vaccine given through the intra-muscular route on mice were found to protect them against the Zika virus. Those mice not vaccinated died with a week or so. ‘The vaccine was developed using the African strain of the virus. It is important that to prove that the received

vaccine developed with the African strain also protects against Zico infection caused by the contemporary Asian strains of the Zico virus into the country was difficult, and hence the vaccine challenge studies with the Asian virus had to be outsourced to a contact research organization in the US,’ says K.Sumapathy from Bharat Biotech and author of the first paper. The vaccine has also been tested on rabbits, with similar encouraging results to those of mice. The marketing will be a red letter day for the Indian company that produced it.

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To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science. - Albert Einstein

Lord Dolar Popat

of Harrow, Government Whip and Lord-in-Waiting with responsibilities for Business and Transport

Beware divisive politics The Prime Minister’s surprise announcement last week of the forthcoming General Election has sent a surge of electricity through Westminster. All of the predicted roadmaps through the 2020 have been ripped up, and instead we will now get another opportunity at the ballot box to decide the future of our country. I very much welcome the Prime Minister’s decision. Having watched opposition Peers in the House of Lords collaborating to try and derail the people’s will on Brexit, I think it’s absolutely right that we let the people decide who is in charge. I supported remain in the referendum, but I respect democracy. My side lost. So – like a lot of remain voters – I am now dedicated to ensuring we make Brexit a success and reshape our country for the better. That is what Mrs May wants to do. Strengthen her hand when negotiating with our European partners, and implement the best possible plan for Brexit. The Lib Dems, Labour and the SNP are all obstructions to our country’s better future. But there is another matter that is troubling me. And it’s something that always arises around the time of Elections. Calls to publish Hindu specific manifestos. I find these manifestos deeply troubling. They seek to divide us; to see ourselves as subgroups of a nation rather than being part of the whole. The greatest strength of the Hindu community and the British Indian community has been how

we’ve integrated into society. We’ve maintained elements of our culture and faiths but married them perfectly with the values of the country and society we live in. When we approach the election, we should be basing our decisions on what is best for our country, not on what promises we can extract from politicians based on our faith, skin colour or homeland. There are of course issues that affect our community more than others; the need to repeal the Caste Discrimination legislation immediately springs to mind. But this is something that affects a principle across all communities – that of community cohesion – and should therefore be in the main manifestos of the different parties, not in a submanifesto. That’s exactly what Bob Blackman MP, Lord Gadhia and I have called for. The national debate on the election is focusing on the economy, Brexit and leadership; these mirror exactly the issues that most British Indian voters raise with me. We should be very proud of how successful the British Indian community has been, and we have done so largely because we are more integrated that other BME communities. Although there is a trend in society towards seeing ourselves as part of eversmaller sub-groups, we should resist this trend. There is one area where we do still need to make progress, and that is on seeing more British Indians in Parliament. Continued on page 8

Editor: CB Patel

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UK

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38 Indians Detained For Visa Breach In Factory Raids Britain's immigration officials have detained 38 Indians, including nine women, for overstaying their visas or working illegally after conducting raids in two clothing factories in the city of Leicester. The UK Home Office Immigration Enforcement team raided MK Clothing Ltd and Fashion Times UK Ltd in the city in the East Midlands region of England last week and held 38 Indians and one Afghan man. Of those detained, 31 had outstayed their visas, seven had entered the country illegally and one was working in breach of their visa conditions, Leicester Mercury reported. The officials took 19 people into detention pending their removal from the UK while remaining 20 were ordered to report regularly to the Home Office

Of the 38 Indians detained in UK for visa breach, 31 had outstayed their visas.

while their cases are dealt with. "Using illegal labour is not victimless. It cheats the taxpayer, undercuts honest businesses and denies legitimate job seekers of employment opportunities," said assistant director Alison Spowage, from East Midlands Immigration Enforcement. "The penalties for busi-

Man who threatened to kill partner jailed A Redditch man who threatened to kill his partner whilst brandishing a knife during a drunken argument in the street has been jailed. Parmjit Thami said “I’ll f***ing slash her” and “She’s going to be murdered in 20 seconds,” before counting down from 20, during the incident in Harefield Road, Coventry, in September, last year. He also told a police officer “She had better watch out, I’ll f*** her up.” The 41-year-old had originally denied charges of assault by beating, threatening with a bladed article in a public place and making threats to kill. But the former soldier, who had been injured in active service, changed his pleas to guilty on the day of his trial last month. Thami was jailed for two years and three months at Warwick Crown Court. Prosecutor Paul Mytton said the incident took place while Thami and his partner, with whom he had been in a relationship for about five months, were living in Coventry. The victim said there were

Parmjit Thami

problems because of Thami’s drinking, and by the morning of the incident she was planning to leave. There was an incident between them in the house, during which Thami admits pushing her, and things then moved out into the street, with a friend of theirs trying to calm things down, the court heard. The incident was also witnessed by a group of students who recorded what was happening on their mobile phones from the window of their accommodation. The police were alerted and Thami, who had previous convictions for offences including producing drugs and driving with excess alcohol, was arrested at the scene. He accepted there had been an argument in the street, but denied assaulting her or making threats, said Mr Mytton.

Pair who 'betrayed all Muslims' by selling turkey as halal lamb jailed Two "greedy" businessmen who ran a scam to sell turkey as halal lamb meat have each been jailed for five years. Meat importer, Mahmudar Rohman, and his friend, Kamal Rahman, were responsible for 160,000 kilos of nonhalal turkey being passed off as more expensive boneless halal lamb at wholesalers, butchers, takeaways and restaurants across Leicester, the East Midlands and beyond. Rohman, 46, and Rahman, 54, were convicted of conspiring to defraud customers, by making false representations about the kind of meat being sold, between

2013 and 2014. The scam, which netted estimated profits of between £380,000 and £700,000, was discovered in the wake of the horsemeat scandal that led to widespread checks being made and turkey DNA being found. Rohman and Kamal Rahman who denied all allegations and have no previous convictions, were convicted unanimously by the jury of the conspiracy. Rahman was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice, by trying to persuade a customer to give trading standards false information about where the turkey came from.

In Brief

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Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

nesses that do not play by the rules are rightly severe. This operation, one of the largestscale my team has conducted, sends a clear message that we have the resources to tackle immigration abuse.All of our operations are intelligence-led and I would encourage people with detailed and specific information about illegal immi-

gration to contact us," she said. Immigration officials were accompanied by Leicestershire Police and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers during the raids. The two firms could face fines of up to 20,000 pounds for each illegal worker if it is proven they did not take steps to establish their employees' legal status. This translates up to 240,000 pounds for MK Clothing Ltd and 180,000 pounds for Fashion Times UK Ltd. The two factories are yet to comment on the raids. Under UK immigration rules, employers are required to carry out details right to work checks on the employees they hire and are liable for hefty fines if they are found to have hired workers who do not have the legal right to work in Britain.

Racist woman abuses Ireland train passengers Caught on video, a woman on a train in Ireland was seen making extremely racist and expletive-laden comments towards fellow Asian passengers reportedly for placing a bag on an empty seat. Originally posted on micro-blogging website Twitter, by 'TheBexWay', the video showed the woman on a train from Limerick Colbert station to Limerick Junction yelling “go back to India” and abusing other passengers. The Twitter user tagged the Irish Rail account on the post, stating the woman had been making abusive comments for 10 minutes. The woman in the video could be heard saying, “Go back to India. Don't give me your guff,” and when another passenger tried to stand up for the people she was abusing, verbally attacked him saying “look at the ugly head of that fella.” “That's the only reason he's backing you up because he's ugly,” she added. It is known that the passengers left their seats after 16 minutes of verbal abuse. Recounting the incident

'TheBexWay' said, “You don't really get the full effect of what happened from the video. She was literally sitting beside them, screaming bloody murder in their faces. It went on for almost the whole train ride. I didn't feel safe. If that turned into a fist fight, there would have been nobody there to help us.” The incident was reported to the Gardaí, the state police force of the Republic of Ireland, by the Irish Rail. A spokesman stated the behaviour will not be tolerated on their service. “People should be able to travel on our services without abuse of any kind. The footage is very clear and very shocking and we welcome the fact that another member of the public was able to assist in identifying the person involved,” he said.

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Wife of alleged extremist is charged with terror offences

The wife of an alleged extremist will appear before magistrates today charged with terror offences. Madihah Taheer, from Birmingham, was arrested by officers from West Midlands Police Counter Terrorism Unit on Monday. She has been charged with assisting her husband to commit acts of terrorism. It is alleged she handed over her bank details to husband Ummariyat Mirza, enabling him to allegedly buy a knife to carry out a terror attack in the UK. Taheer, aged 21, was remanded in custody and is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. Mirza, also 21, appeared before Westminster Magistrates Court on April 6, charged with a number of offences. He was remanded in custody and is due to appear at the Old Bailey on April 28. The charges are not linked to the Westminster attack.

Inquest hears how Khuram Shaikh was murdered in Sri Lanka as he tried to help others

A Red Cross worker was brutally murdered by an armed gang at a hotel party after stepping in to break up a fight, an inquest heard. Prosthetics specialist Khuram Shaikh, from Rochdale, was beaten, repeatedly stabbed, slashed across the face Khuram Shaikh and neck and shot in the head with an assault rifle while on holiday in Sri Lanka in 2011. He suffered a total of 45 injuries, including a fractured skull and a severed jugular, in the sickening assault. An inquest in Heywood on Friday heard of the terrifying scenes that unfolded in the moments before Khuram’s death sometime after midnight during a Christmas Eve party at the Nature Resort hotel in the coastal town of Tangalle. Khuram, 32, had being working with amputees in the Gaza Strip in the months before his death, and was set upon when he stepped in to help a member of the hotel staff who was being beaten up by the 10-strong gang. Eleven men were arrested on suspicion of Khuram’s murder, including prominent local politician Sampath Vidanapathirana, who was said to be a member of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Freedom Alliance.

Sampath Vidanapathirana

Bus driver hailed a hero after stopping woman motorist from being carjacked A Birmingham bus driver is being hailed a hero after stopping a woman motorist being carjacked. Muhammad Shahid Mahmood got out of his bus and went to the aid of the woman who was being attacked in Hall Green. His quickthinking and bravery has been rewarded by being nominated for an award. Muhammed was behind the wheel of the National Express Number 5 service travelling between Birmingham and Solihull last September when the drama happened. The bus was in Robin Hood Lane when he saw a man attacking a female motorist and trying to take her mobile phone. After safely securing his bus,

he got out and shouted at the attacker telling him to stop, and the would-be thief ran away. Muhammad, joined by a few of his customers, then went to make sure the victim was okay and called the police and then got back on his bus and carried on his route as normal. His actions have now earned him a nomination for National Express’s Group Values Award. He was put forward by his fellow bus drivers at the Acocks Green garage. Muhammad has been driving buses from the Acocks Green depot for nine years. He has already won a National Express Bus Safety award for his actions, but now he’s been put forward for

Muhammad Shahid Mahmood

the international version where he’ll be up against colleagues from Spain, Bahrain, America, Germany and across the UK. The awards ceremony tookplace in London Thursday, April 27.


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Hard Brexit – a big issue in UK's upcoming June elections

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HEL LLO

SPRING Theresa May

Tony Blair

Theresa May faces the prospect of winning a sizeable majority in the coming June elections, with her main focus being on negotiating Britian's exit from the European Union. Political analysts have started speculating on what Britian would look like under her leadership in the next five years. Tony Blair has called on voters to back the Coservative or Liberal Democrat candidates if they wished to oppose “Brexit at any cost.” Blair said he was advocating a new dimension to the election to unite the Remain voters behind candidates prepared to reject a bad deal for the UK. The pro-EU campaign group Open Britain is also getting together a list of soft BREXIT candidates from all parties to help voters decide who to support. Blair said he would vote Labour on June 8 but Brexit was bigger than party allegience and people should back the best antiBrexit candidate. He believed that May was reasonable on Brexit. “She's very sensible, very decent person, she's very solid, I agree with a lot she says,” he said to The Times. Economists are also watching the Prime Minister's Brexit policies closely – the immigration policy being the front-runner, as many fear the country's shortage of skilled workers will be aggravated if EU citizens are cut off. May has worked closely with David Cameron to

David Cameron

bring immigration down to 100,000 per year, while she was the Home Secretary. As a PM, she defied push from senior members to take foreign students out of the UK's immigration figures, bringing down the hopes of University vicechancellors who fear the policy will deter overseas applicants. But May will continue to include international students in her immigration policies (134,000 recorded in September) and she is keen to ensure the universities take only the “brightest and best” foreign students in the overall target. May had said that she wants sustainable net immigration in the country, that sustainable net immigration is in the tens of thousands. The cumbersome idea of 'barista's visas' to fill low-skilled jobs and certain steps to recognise the rights of UK-based EU nationals to stay in Britain after Brexit are apparent changes. May's intentions of making UK an attractive place to do business has to be backed-up by flexibilitysince the operations will be difficult to carry on unless the businesses are able to bring in their own workers, or have to make do with locals who do not the know-how. Pickering said in The Sunday Telegraph: Britain has the option to do other things to raise its potential supply, like encourage more investment, set up non-EU trade deals, reform the housing market, the

Kier Starmer, shadow Brexit secretary

energy market and that things that cause long-term problems. May has already demonstrated that she is not hesitant to increase investment. She pushed ahead approvals for improving infrastructure projects like the HS2 rail link, the Heathrow expansion and Hinkley Point nuclear plant. The Chancellor also announced a £30 billion investment spending per year. This is a rather major modification from the previous governments that have focussed largely on restraining investment spending. Philip Hammond also stuck to the former disbursement plans in his Autumn statement and his first budget last month. He slowed down in anticipation of an unrealised economic slowdown, that meant managing the spending and expenditures carefully. A Conservative spokesman told The Times that “every vote for other parties as Tony Blair seems to be suggesting, will weaken our negotiating hand and lead to Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street at the helm of coalition of the chaos. That would have grave consequences for our nation's future.” Kier Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary told The Guardian that the only way to stop hard Brexit was to vote in Labour. This election will be crucial in shaping how Britain approaches Brexit negotiations and there is a clear choice on the ballot paper.

Mayor launches new unit to tackle online hate crime The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Monday launched a new police unit – the first of its kind in the UK - to help tackle online hate crime and improve support for victims across the capital, as part of his manifesto commitment to ensure a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime of all forms. Five dedicated Met police officers, led by a Detective Inspector, make up the new Online Hate Crime Hub, which aims to improve the police response to online hate by gathering intelligence,

improving understanding and testing new investigation methods. Working with community groups, social media organisations, academic hate crime specialists and criminal justice partners, these specially recruited and trained officers will help to identify, prevent and investigate these crimes, including abuse on Twitter and Facebook.

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Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

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House of Lords debates of the rise of extremism in India since Uttar Pradesh elections Recently, a Labour peer, Lord Nazir Ahmed, asked the Government a very pointed question in the House of Lords in relation to the rise of extremism in India following the state elections in Uttar Pradesh: “Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the rise of extremism in India following the state elections in Uttar Pradesh.” Minister of State, Baroness Anelay of St John’s responded by saying that the government was aware of concerns over religious tolerance and community relations following the recent state elections in India and that PM Modi ‘has made it clear that every citizen has the right to follow any faith without coercion and had vowed to protect all religious groups.’ Lord Ahmed responded by highlighting the plight of minorities in the name of nationalism and the concerns raised by the Pew report on religious intolerance in India as well as the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom’s on the constitutional and legal challenges facing religious minorities in India. He questioned the government on whether or not the British government would ‘remind the BJP government of their obligations under international law for the protection of minority commu-

nities?’ Baroness Anelay of St John’s responded by saying that the British government shared Lord Ahmed’s concern about the importance of ensuring that there is religious freedom as it is a foundation for economic and public security. She went on: “the British high commission in New Delhi discusses human rights issues with institutions such as the Indian National Commission for Minorities and state governments. More than that the British Government work directly with the Indian Government to build capacity and share expertise to tackle challenges, including the promotion and protection of human rights.” Lord Jitesh Gadhia then asked Baroness Anelay if she agreed that instead of interfering in the internal democratic process of the world's largest democracy, the Government should be working closely with Modi’s government to open up and liberalise the Indian economy and thereby encourage more trade and investment between the two countries to promote development as “that is what the people of Uttar Pradesh overwhelmingly voted for, and that is the clear message we should send to India - one of our closest friends and allies.” In response Baroness Anelay

Lord Nazir Ahmed

Baroness Anelay of St John’s

said: “The UKIndia trade relationship is flourishing. The two Prime Ministers agreed that, when the UK leaves the EU, they will make it a priority for both countries to build the closest possible commercial and economic relationship - but our friendship also goes to the development of human rights.” Labour Peer Lord Collins of Highbury raised concerns that as a “consequence of Brexit, the focus of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be on trade and economic development alone.” He asked the Baroness to confirm that “there can never be a trade-off between economic trade and human rights and that we will remain committed to raising our concerns with President Modi at every opportunity, because the recorded level of violence against minorities has increased and we much raise it with the Government?” To reassure the Lords

Lord Jitesh Gadhia

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the headlines again The Labour leader has failed to support the Trident renewal, amidst accusations from the Conservatives that Jeremy Corbyn will dismantle Britiain's nuclear defences. Asked whether supporting the Trident renewal would be in Labour's manifesto, Corbyn said that work on the manifesto was yet to be completed. He further said that he would end British airstrikes in Syria and Iraq and would be reluctant to order a drone strike to take out Abu Bakr-al-Baghdadi, the ISIS leader. “What is the objective here? Is the objective to start more strikes which may kill AIK Productions and Tara Arts will be organising the World premiere of BBC New Talent Hotlist writer Asif Khan’s debut play Combustion - about young British Muslim lives in the North. Written by Asif Khan and Directed by Nona Shepphard, the play is set in his home city in the month of Ramadan. Combustion is the first full-length play by Bradford-born Asif Khan, a new comic drama set in a local garage in the lead-up to a march by far-right nationalists. In Combustion, racists plan to march through the Bradford during

Jeremy Corbyn

many innocent people as has happened or is the objective to get a political solution in Syria?” Corbyn told The Times. “ I think the leader of ISIS not being around would be helpful. I am no supporter or defender in any way whatsoever of ISIS.”

The Labour Party leader also came in news for getting angry while dealing with the Jewish community, and being accused of not proactively fighting the perception of antiSemitism. Former adviser Harry Fletcher told the Sunday Times that the Labour leader was 'uneasy' while being interviewed by the Jewish Chronicle while discussing his previous dealings with Hamas and Hezbollah. The UKIP 'integration agenda' also came under criticism as Islamophobic when Paul Nuttall, the leader of UKIP proposed policies to ban the burka

Combustion during Ramadan Ramadan, inflaming local tensions. Meanwhile Shaz, a local garage mechanic, desperately tries to keep his business running smoothly so he can marry well. In this volatile environment, Shaz’s sister Samina is determined to make her voice heard. The cast will include Mitesh Soni, known to Tara audiences for performances in Macbeth and Paradise of the Assassins, Beruce Khan who performed in Tara’s co-production with the National Theatre, The Black Album, Rez Kempton,

recently seen in Little Revolution at the Almeida and Shireen Farkhoy, who has appeared at the Arcola as part of the Dare to Dream short play evening. The cast is completed by Nigel Hastings, who recently won plaudits for his performance in And

Lord Collins of

Lord Wallace of

Highbury Saltaire Baroness Anelay said are mainly Gujarati that Theresa May spoke to whilst some are Muslim, some her Indian counterpart about are Hindu. Relations are good, reports of violent offences when but on other occasions and with she visited India last summer to other faiths we have seen how, show the importance that we when events in the countries ascribe to our relations with from which their ancestors came India. She continued: “We will worsen, relations in this country continue to raise issues of the can worsen.” violence as it is for the benefit of Lord Wallace continued to both countries that we develop praise the “excellent work that our trade relationship but it is the Minister has done on interour firm belief that good relafaith issues in this country” but tions and strong human rights asked “is this not something with are the underpinning for any which the Government should successful economic developengage, and should they not ment.” point out to the Indian governLiberal Democrat Lord ment that this is not a matter Wallace of Saltaire queried the simply for them?” link between violence within Baroness Anelay brought this faith communities in India dialogue to an end by assuring affecting relations within faith the learned gathering that ensurcommunities here. “What haping there are good community pens between faith communities relations is a serious issue and in other countries can spill over that it is important that, across into the UK, particularly when the United Kingdom faith we have diaspora communities. should join us and not break us We have a significant Indian up. community in Bradford. They

and Sharia law, prosecute parents of girls who undergo female genital mutilation, make the failure to report FGM a specific criminal offence and move a moratorium on the creation of new Islamic faith schools. The Labour government announced ahead of the 2017 elections that a Labour government will set out a new Brexit strategynegotiating for many, not the few. They declared that they will unveil plans to thwart Brexit by scraping the Torries' Great Repeal Bill, thereby raising the prospect of a second European Union referendum. then come the Nightjars. Asif Khan said “I hope it entertains and makes audiences laugh, but also breaks stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslims. I really hope that Muslim audiences can identify with the characters. I've not tried to shy away from anything. Some of it is quite hard hitting. Most importantly, it's the truth of what I feel and see. It's from the heart and that's all I can bring”. The show will be touring the UK from mid May till July 7th.

Gina Miller plans tactical voting initiative against hard Brexit Pro-EU campaigner Gina Miller is in the works of a tactical voting initiative to support election candidates in opposition of a hard Brexit. 'Best For Britain' will formally launch next week and aims to endorse a slate of candidates who back its preference for a “meaningful” vote by MPs at the end of the EU negotiation period. “We want to build the biggest tactical voting effort in UK history to ensure that candidates across the country that promise to do what's best for Britain in the Brexit process get the extra support they need to win,” Miller said. An investor manager whose recent legal challenge prompted the government to seek parliamentary approval to invoke Article 50, Miller states the campaign is apolitical in that it could in theory support moderate Tories facing opposition from Pro-Brexit Labour MPs. “If the deal the next government negotiates doesn't match up to our current terms, MPs should do what's best for Britain and reject it. We will be asking MPs to pledge to keep an open mind and not be bullied into giving the next government a blank cheque for the final deal.” While Prime Minister Theresa May said she was

Gina Miller

calling the election because “there should be unity here in Westminster” on the issue of Brexit and that the election would prove there could be “no turning back”, a stance some supporters in the media have described as “crushing saboteurs”. However, campaigners including Miller argue that the referendum did not give the government a mandate to pursue Brexit at all costs and that it is undemocratic to ask voters to give the government an unfettered mandate before the terms of any negotiated deal are known. “There isn't time to organise a formal progressive alliance. We have to do what we can in the time available. We need to reenergise people about the importance of voting tactically,” Miller said. Her group has already held informal talks with political parties about their Brexit policies, but stresses its endorsements will be targeted by individual candidates.


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The London Marathon 2017

AsianVoiceNews

Continued from page 1

Our Associate Editor Rupanjana Dutta was also at the Westferry end of the marathon, cheering the runners. “Oh it's exciting to see so many people running for a good cause, defying any hindrance, defending all the challenges. There were a record number of 40,000 marathon runners this year, a great effort to raise money for a well-deserving cause,” she said. “We go every year to cheer the runners,” said Geeta Chug who saw the runners in Canary Wharf. “It was fantastic, my fourand-half year old also went with us this year.” Leena spotted a man dressed up as Gandhiji, running in the marathon. “My first reaction was – wow, he really looks like Gandhi, the resemblance was so close. It felt really good seeing someone dressed up as the father of our nation.” Jonathan grew up seeing the London Marathon from the time he was 4. “It's hard to believe it's been 37 years since the first London Marathon but it's also hard to remember a time before the marathon. It's such an institution now and a great opportunity for us to show off the UK's capital to the world,” he said. When I went to see the marathon as the Greenwich park, the mood was building up for the Marathon. There was lively music with an impromptu flash mob dance that we all joined in. Organisers were giving out instructions and the park was sprawling with runners stretching out, chatting and gearing up for the run. The disabled entrants were queuing up with wheelchairs and the blind runners with their partners. Sanjiv Roy who came for his morning walk said “London is a melting pot and today we actually got to witness this. There are so many tourists and people from all walks of life who have come to participate here today.”

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world's greatest sporting Dr Purvy Patel, a tional manner, bounced event, Psychiatrist from a local back by running the London Child and Adolescent marathons and actively Marathon, start off in Mental Health organisaparticipating in different Greenwich this year. Its tion from Cambridge, ran sports. blend of competitive racing in the Marathon to raise It was not just the - for men, women, funds for buying books that Asians – the British royalty wheelchair, and disabled would benefit the mentally brought a personal touch entrants - was complechallenged students at a to the big charity race-day mented by a large number local primary school. by fropping their etiquette of amateurs and club run“I joined over 38,000 and greeting the crowds ners, a reasonable proporpeople in a quest to comwith royal hugs and high tion of whom were running plete the 2017 London fives. The Duke and to raise funds for their choMarathin and I sucsen charities. It was a testaceeded. I ran my first ment to the Marathin; it was truly strength of the one of the most amazsporty community, ing and memorable and all of the experiences of my life entrants, that the and achievement in recent Westminster every sense. My parents ran their first attacks didn't Marathons right back dampen the exuin 1981 and since then, berant mood. This growing up, it had been was the first time my ambition to do the after the horrific same,” said Dr Patel. attacks that people “My training was came together to tough due to work and represent a unified family commitments, c a p i t a l . but I stuck to training Competitors had twice a week and mancome from many aged to complete the countries to be a part of this major Marathon in 4hours 56 event and they minutes, which I truly stood unified, believe is an achieveunwilling to let anyment considering the Runner dressed up as Mahatma Gandhi one spoil the day. amount of training I fit Photo curtesy: Geeta Chug Keeping in spirit in. Ultimately, I believe with the London marathon training is about Duchess of Cambridge and Marathon, Asian Voice and mental strength and a real Prince Harry stood in the Gujarat Samachar is poised desire to achieve a goal. As sidelines to cheer the as a brand with a cause that a Psychiatrist, I am a firm crowds – both startling and supports several worthy believer that sport in any exciting them. Prince form helps the mind. Harry was nicknamed causes throughout the “Coincidentally, this “royal hugger-in-chief” year; raising thousands of year's chosen Marathon The Duke and Duchess pounds for meaningful charity, led by The Duke and Prince were representcampaigns through our and Duchess of Cambridge ing the mental health charAsian Achievers Awards. and Prince Harry is also ity Heads Together, and The Awards started in had around 700 competi2000 has raised a million dedicated to a mental tors running for the charity pounds for several credhealth charity. My efforts in blue, and Bryony itable campaigns, and aims have raised over £2000 for Gordon from the Daily to set an example for our Centre 33, a Telegraph managed to future generations. Seeing Cambridgeshire based raise £35,000 for the charthe sheer number of phicharity that supports young lanthropists in the commupeople with mental health ity. nity, we started the Asian problems as well as our Many Asians run in the Voice Charity Awards in local primary school,” she London Marathon- each 2016 to commemorate said. for their own reasons. ITV their work towards shaping Dr Patel's mother, TV presenter Nina Hosain Mayura Patel and her tried to reach the under 4 up a greater and a more father Vinod Patel have hours mark. Last year, the socially positive United been participating in actor-writer Manjit Mann Kingdom. If you have been a part marathons, and other ran the London Marathon of this iconic Marathon, do sporty activities as a true to gain first-hand experisend us your pictures and inspiration to the Asian ence before writing a novel we will publish them in our community. What makes it on a woman who ran the newspaper and e-paper. outstanding is the fact that marathon. Please send in your picWhatever be the reaVinod Patel had cancer in tures at sons, a perfect Sunday the mouth nearly thirty smita.sarkar@abplgroup.c morning saw what is someyears back. He fought canom times referred to as the cer– and in a true inspira-

UK Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

Faith leaders call for solidarity and understanding following recent terror attacks Twenty-four prominent UK faith leaders have signed an open letter this Easter calling for unity and understanding while condemning the recent terror attacks around the world. The letter is signed by faith leaders from not only a broad range of faiths including Christian, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, but also many of the key denominations within those faiths, marking a new phase of different communities and cultures working together to challenge extremism. The Easter Message, which comes as Jews mark Passover, as Sikhs mark Vaisakhi and as Muslims prepare for Ramadan next month, calls on all faiths to be “calm and resolute” in the face of attacks, and pays tribute to British values of “tolerance and respect”. Yousif Al-Khoei, a signatory of the letter and chairman of the Al-Khoei Foundation, says: “Britain is a democratic society where people of all faiths can practice their religion, and we condemn those that seek to destroy these values. “This letter is a powerful symbol of how faith leaders from across different religions, denomina-

Yousif Al-Khoei, chairman of the Al-Khoei Foundation

tions and sects are calling for unity, tolerance and respect, at a time when there are those who look to tear us apart. We stand shoulder to shoulder in peaceful defiance at this time to promote love, peace and unity.” Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “This time of year is one of hope and celebration for many faiths. It is also an opportunity for us to celebrate the fact that people in Britain of all faiths, or no faith, stand together in solidarity, united by our shared values. “Terrorists and others who would like to divide this great nation and see us live in fear or hatred will never succeed. This letter is an example of the fact that whatever our race, background or religion – we share the same fundamental belief in the importance of tolerance and respect for all.”

Seema Malhotra MP to stand for re-election Hounslow MP Seema Malhotra has announced that she will stand again in the election to represent her constituency of Feltham and Heston. Responding to the announcement of a snap General Election on 8th June, Seema Malhotra said: "This is a Prime Minister once again focussed on her own interests not on the interests of the country. “At a time when we have growing inequality in education, a Budget that gives to the most wealthy, an NHS in need desperate need of funding and youth services being cut, the

Prime Minister should be focussed on healing divisions not widening them. "For our shared prosperity, community cohesion, our NHS, a better education for our kids, I will stand again to be MP for Feltham & Heston”

Report on race equality standards for all NHS trusts in England A second annual report into race equality across the NHS titled Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) published data from providers of NHS-funded care, including the voluntary and private sector, to demonstrate how they are addressing equality issues. This year’s report includes for the first time data covering nine WRES indicators including four relating to the workplace covering recruitment, promotion, career progression and staff development alongside BME board representation. The remaining four indicators are based on data from the NHS staff survey 2016,covering harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, rela-

tives or the public. It shows a positive change in a range of areas including the number of nurses and midwives who have progressed from lower grades into senior positions (band 5 entry level into bands 6 – 9); in BME representation at very senior management (VSM) and executive board level; and a slight reduction in the reported experience of discrimination of BME staff from colleagues and managers. Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS said “For the first time we have a full national picture of how equality standards are beginning to take effect, with some early signs of progress, and some organisations

clearly showing what is possible. But no one should yet be comfortable or satisfied with what these figures show overall, and many employers still have much to do before the NHS can declare mission accomplished on this critical agenda." Joan Saddler, Co-Chair of the NHS Equity and Diversity Council said “This report is a timely tool for leaders and workers on the frontline grappling with how to deliver person-centred care in an increasingly complex environment. It is crucial to the success of the NHS that we listen to people using services and enable diverse teams to deliver services efficiently and compassionately.” The NHS in England deals with

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over 1 million patients every 36 hours and employs more than 1.5 million people, putting it in the top five of the world’s largest workforces NHS England shares out more than £100 billion in funds and holds organisations to account for spending this money effectively for patients and efficiently for the tax payer. It strongly believes in health and high quality care for all, now and for future generations. Simon Stevens,


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Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

Drug rationing - clarification through NICE understanding

Dr. Mahendra G Patel PhD FRPharmS FHEA Further to the article published in the Sunday Telegraph on 15th March 2017 entitled ‘Doctors warn NHS is rationing best drugs to cut costs’, in orderto add clarity to this,it is important to explain the role of NICE. It stands for The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and is an independent organisation set up by the Government in 1999. NICE decides which drugs and treatments are available on the NHS in England and Wales. The All Wales Medicines Strategy Group also makes some decisions for the NHS in Wales. Generally they follow NICE decisions. Scotland and Northern Ireland are different in that they have separate organisations to make decisions. The government first developed NICE to address the pervading health inequalities and the postcode lottery of access to treatment and healthcare. This meant that some drugs and treatments were

available in some parts of the country, but not in others. The remit of NICE is to deliver independent advice about which treatments should be available on the NHS in England and Wales. Importantly, it is committed to ensure that people have the same access to treatment and care irrespective of where they live. NICE considers whether a treatment: l Benefits patients. l Will help the NHS meet its targets, for example for cancer by improving survival rates. l Is value for money or cost effective. The pharmaceutical industry is by no means a novice in understanding the robust process that NICE uses in deciding if a new drug can be made available for treatment on the NHS. This is not simply based on price alone, but rather the cost-effectiveness of the drug associated with best clinical outcomes. This essentially involves calculating the cost of the drug per Quality Adjusted Life Years known as QALYs. Putting this into context, means that generally approved treatments should not cost more than £20,000 to £30,000 for each extra year of life in good health gained. However, this is flexible in that it does consider instances where costs can be much higher, as in the case of end-of-life care, as

one example. Once NICE issues its guidance, it is the responsibility of NHS trusts to find the money to make those drugs or treatments available. NICE doesn’t give any extra money, nor does it advise on how to find the money. On that note, it is important to emphasise that restrictions to prescribing can occur at local level with doctors having to be ever-mindful of budgets which are set by local commissioners. Technology Appraisal Guidance recommending a drug is legally binding and patients have a legal right to it if their clinician wants to prescribe it. However, recommendations in clinical guidelines on disease areas for example are not legally binding. It is also worthwhile pointing out that The NHS Constitution (for nationally approved treatments, drugs and programmes) states: ‘You have the right to drugs and treatments that have been recommended by NICE for use in the NHS, if your doctor says they are clinically appropriate for you.’ It can be justifiably argued that if patients are denied drug treatment by their GP through their CCGs, especially following NICE recommendations, potentially this can lead to worryingly higher hospital admission and readmission rates in some instances, with correspondingly increased costs and greater burden to the NHS.

Beware divisive politics Continued from page 3 Compared to other BME communities, we tend to have less elected officials from Indian backgrounds. We tend to put too much emphasis on success in business and the professions at the expense of political engagement. But this is a separate point to community manifestos; we need them to come forward to ensure politics is representative of our society, not

just to demand concessions for one community. We need more British Indians, particularly younger members of the community, to come forward as Councillors and MPs. People like Cllr Ameet Jogia in Brent North has the opportunity to give a different voice and different experiences in Parliament. I hope over the next few weeks we will have a national debate on the key issues facing our country, and that – within the British Indian community – we do not fixate on

Colors HD TV – UK will telecast

“The Asian Achievers Awards UK” on Saturday, 29th April 2017 @ 6pm. Sky – 786, Virgin – 826, Freesat – 662.

the matters that only affect us because of our religion or background. We should not have a separate Hindu manifesto like other BME communities have. Our manifesto is what is good for our country. What is good for our country is good for us as we are part and parcel of the United Kingdom. I urge the British Indian community to vote on May 7th, but not based on the politics of Kashmir, but on who you think will be best for your constituency and for our United Kingdom.

Next week's issue of Asian Voice will include your free copy of the Asian House and Home magazine. Written by industry experts the magazine will contain informative articles for first time buyers, investors and home owners who wish to decorate or refurbish.

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“Soldiers must start thinking about their post-military life”: Lieutenant General Andrew Graham CBE Charusmita

The annual dinner of the Punjabi Society of the British Isles was held in support of Combat Stress, the leading Veterans Mental Health Charity in the UK, on 20th April at the Grosvenor Hotel. At the event, Lieutenant General AJN Graham CB CBE (Andrew Graham) , the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Combat Stress since September 2013, spoke on his vision and plans for Combat Stress in a one-to-one with Asian Voice. Andrew’s grandfather was LieutenantColonel Sir John Reginald Noble Graham, 3rd Baronet  VC  OBE, a  British  recipient of the Victoria Cross, born in the city of ‘Bombay’ (India). During the  Samarrah Offensive  Lieutenant Graham was in command of a machine-gun section, co-operating with the  56th Punjabi Rifles (Frontier Force)  near Istabulat on 22nd April 1917, precisely a hundred years ago. Andrew Graham spent most of his life as a military man and his final tour of duty was as Director General of the Defence Academy of the UK. He left the Army in September 2011 and holds several offices including the President of

the Army Cadet Force Association and Colonel Commandant of the Infantry. Combat Stress was originally, when founded shortly after the First World War, called the Ex-Servicemen's Welfare Society. Andrew pointed out that the nature of a soldier’s life in the military is such that they do not receive the required counselling and understanding. He said, “Earlier, soldiers who got retired from the military life used to take up to 13 years or more to act on the psychological stress they were going through. It used to be a stigma to seek help. That has drastically changed. Between 2010 and 2016, Combat Stress had 10,000 new referrals. The society is certainly taking these issues more seriously now.” He also extolled importance of clinical research to combat these

grave psychological stress. The charity has its own research department and Andrew emphasised on the significance of documenting treatments for getting to the root of these problems. He said, “Our focus is to strengthen provable clinical research. We often collaborate with American and Australian research centres to innovate and improve, instead of competing.” He also spoke on how important the families of the soldiers are, in supporting them with love, care and persuasion to get the help they need. Personally, the biggest take away for Andrew, being the Chairman of Combat Stress, is that the mind is a complex machinery and that laymen should leave the treatment to clinical researchers. He added that the sooner a person realises that they are undergoing undue psychological stress, they must not hesitate to get the help they need in order to bid goodbye to the stress. Andrew has a special message for the young men and women who are entering the military life – “Come, be, enjoy and do. But the day you join, start thinking about the day you leave, and how you are helping yourself in the future.”

Prince Harry speaks up about mental health Mental health charities Mind and Time to Change have praised Prince Harry for speaking out and seeking help to overcome his grief after losing his mother Princess Diana when he was only 12. Prince Harry said that it was not until he was in his late 20s that he was able to process his grief and that he spent nearly 20 years not thinking about her death. Harry admitted to the chaos this emotional denial had – taking a toll both on his personal and work life.He said: “My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help? (I thought) it’s only going to make you sad, it’s not going to bring her back. So from an emotional side, I was like ‘right, don’t ever let your emotions be part of anything’. Sue Baker, director of Time to Change, said “Prince Harry sharing his experiences of mental health issues and the counselling he sought as a result of losing his mother will have helped change atti-

tudes, not just at home but also overseas." The Prince now joins the sports people, music stars and politicians and business leaders as well as everyday people in sharing their mental health experiences, hoping that the experiences will help tackle the issue of mental health.

Princess Diana with Harry


UK Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

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Rani Singh, Special Assignments Editor

Dr Abdul Qayum Protecting the Forests of Arunachal, India This is the story of how one of our brightest Indians is prepared to undergo sacrifices to serve in the remotest corner of India; the north east state of Arunachal Pradesh. Dr Abdul Qayum, 33, could have his pick of Unversity chairs in the UK or anywhere.

So what keeps him serving his country, India?

Parts of Arunachal Pradesh soar to above 10,000 feet and are only accessible by snaking roads and the occasional helicopter. Landslides, snowstorms and eathquakes are frequent. Against this backdrop meet Dr Abdul Qayum, an IITian, Doctorate Indian genius from a cadre of already phenominally bright officers. He so deserves to be a Leading Light.

Background

3000 to enter an IIT campus, and he did.

Then he took a PhD in Bio-Infomatics from JNU

It's worth knowing about this Leading Light's background as his level of academic achievement is way above normal high achievers. And many of we Indians British

His thesis was on how to use GIS to map malaria-endem-

Dr Abdul Qayum, Deputy Conservator of Forest

have no idea of what our Indian officers have to go through. Qayum, as he's known, has a B.Tech in Civil Engineering from IIT Kanpur. The top IITs in India are tough. For IITs, 15,00000 people apply for nearly 8000 seats. So, he needed to get into the top

Are you looking for a more rewarding

ic zones and ethno-medicinal practices. He has authored over a dozen research papers on Malaria mapping, He presented some in London, funded by the Indian Government's Department of Science and Technology. It is tough to get into

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the IAS, but harder still is the Indian Forest Service (IFS) especially after the inception of a certain exam where the cut off is high. The IFS only takes Science Botanists, graduates; Engineers, Agriculturists, and Vetinary Doctors. For 85 seats 78,000 Indians applied that year. Qayum was determined to get into the top 30 of the pool in order to enter into the services– and of course he did.

Challenges at Work

Qayum's work concerns the protection of wildlife, implementing central Government schemes, the restoration of high altitude lakes, land encroachment cases, and the regularisation of land occupation by various stakeholders including Indian Army personnel. The Officer uses intelligence and wit to circumnavigate problems, for there is only one mission. “The land belongs to the local community,” he says seriously, sitting in his warm wood panelled office in Tawang, blue-green eyes twinkling behind rimless spectacles and sporting a jumper with a traditional English diamond pattern on the front. “We count the cost of environmental damage and the biodiversity loss.” Qayum always manages to

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a guy smuggling timber negotiate an outcome that and making 5-6 lakhs of satisfies him professionally rupees. We took photos by implementing laws such and gave clemency to him, as the Forest Conservation as he said he told me he Act. Qayum has responsiwas a first time offender. bility for Tawang District, We told him to pay the govan area covering nearly ernment a royalty. Then 2094 sq km. In this beautimy Range Officer told me ful alpine landscape electhat he is a repeat offender! trcity is in short supply, the Then I got a call from weather determines travel a politician sayaccess and helicopters ing that he is fly up from lower poor. So I levels only accordtold the ing to cloud for“I cannot surrender politician mations and the I movement of to the corrupt or any that would regVIPs. As it is I pressure. ister this He has to am already sitting in s m u g g l e r tread a diploan matic path for the remotest part of as offender, I the protection of the country.” was thinking living things perthat I would haps not so highly create a grave valued by bureaucrats for him. and politicians by I cannot surrender guarding local religiousand to the corrupt. As it is I am traditional tribal values. already sitting in the “There are political remotest part of the counpressures sometimes and try, and the threat of transfrom local organisations in ferring me to a remote area cases of forest and wildlife can't be a line of argument. offences,” he says frankly. "We were trained for such “We respond by saying that situations, and worst case we will see to it but we also be the transfer, so why say that we will follow the worry?" he added. . law. 'Hah Sir, hum India's green and pleasdekhtein hein,' is what we ant land will continue to be answer when someone sacrosanct in Arunachal tries to pressure me on the Pradesh so long as officers telephone and with passing like him remains in post. time, by adopting certain Despite the hardships, he tactics and support from and his family have been peer groups, issues are northere for years and he has mally resolved.” no intention of moving He outlines one case elsewhere just yet. where he won out. “I found

Take a moment to prevent a stroke

The Stroke Association launched its latest campaign Know Your Blood Pressure this April, which encourages people to take a moment to get their blood pressure checked. High blood pressure contributes to over half of all strokes in the UK and getting it diagnosed and treated significantly reduces your risk of having a stroke. There are currently around 9.5 million people in the UK diagnosed as having high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. That is one in seven people. However, the charity also estimates that around 7 million more people have undiagnosed high blood pressure, thereby increasing their risk of stroke. Research shows that people with South Asian origins are more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol than white people, which are all factors that increase the risk of stroke. Despite these statistics, the charity says that too many people are still unaware of the risks of stroke associated with high pressure. Juliet Bouverie, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association said: “Although it’s one of the UK’s biggest killers and leading causes of disability, far too many people don’t understand stroke or ever think it’ll happen to them. While people increasingly understand the risks of cancer and heart disease, stroke has remained largely forgotten or ignored. That’s why we’re inviting people to take control of their health and to take a moment to have a blood pressure check. We’ve joined forces with Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland to deliver free Know Your Blood Pressure events around the country.” Free blood pressure tests are also available at most pharmacies, and through your GP or local health centre. To find out your local Know Your Blood Pressure events visit stroke.org.uk/kybp.


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READERS’ VOICE

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Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

House of Lords I see that Nitin Mehta has taken another swipe at the House of Lords. First of all I would like him to know that we think there are too many members in the House and we also think that those who have cheated should be removed from the House, such as Lord Paul who cheated on his expenses but who is still being feted in the Asian community, We are really trying to see how numbers can be reduced and that there should be an age limit. The role of the House of Lords is to go through the legislation. There have been many examples in the past where legislation has been greatly improved in the House of Lords. There are some remarkably knowledgeable people and I feel very privileged to be with these people. There are also many who are not knowledgeable and who do not contribute. I would like to ask Mr Mehta if he thinks that the House of Commons is full of highly intelligent people? I wonder if Mr Mehta would refuse if he was offered a peerage! Baroness Shreela Flather By email

Legal Loophole

Here is a joke I heard that may amuse readers as well. Two Indian lawyers, sitting in a restaurant, are eating home-made snacks prepared by their wives. One lawyer is munching pakoras, the other samosas. The manager, noticing them, hurries over to their table and says: “Sorry gentlemen but we do not allow customers to eat their own food in this restaurant.” The lawyers apologise, swap their snacks with each other and carry on eating, watched by a horrified but speechless manager. Rudy Otter By email

Government’s priorities

Some people worship the cow because it is Lord Krishna's favourite animal. But why don't they worship the fish when it’s an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the mouse when it is Lord Ganesha's mount? They are against the killing of cows, but why aren't they against the killing of rats and eating of fish? These gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes) are only saving cows from being eaten but not fish from being eaten and rats from being killed. The government of India is only worried about saving cows from being killed and eaten but not bothered about women being molested, raped and killed. The ruling party politicians in India are more concerned about the slaughter of cows than about those who kill human beings. The party doesn’t seem to be that much affected by rapes or other heinous crimes either. We should be dishing out severe punishments to the culprits of such atrocities instead of running after beef-eaters. We are living in a secular country. Therefore the government and the judiciary need to remain secular in its respective roles. Jubel D’Cruz, Mumbai, India

Conquering India from within

As expected my letter “Ingenious Empire” received interesting response, intellectual input. Well-researched eight part documentary “Great Moghuls” on our TV charted Mogul rule from Babur who came to India with 8000 soldiers but managed to establish Moghul dynasty that ruled India for 300 years. Ancient India was cradle of civilization with bulging wealth that attracted foreign invaders who were only able to conquer India with inside help. Alexander the Great was opposed on the battlefield by King Porus, winning the battle with ease until his ally King Ambi of Taxila changed sides. Watching the documentary, two names that drew my attention were warrier Man Sinh whose sister Princess Jodhbai was married to Akbar, mother of Prince Salim. He led Akbar’s army and defeated patriotic king Maha Rana Pratap. Jai Chand led Aurangzeb’s army, defeated Chatrapati Shivaji and delivered him, with his son Shambuji to Aurangzeb. But they escaped from their fortress prison and managed to win back lost empire! Without these patriotic kings and above all Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, India would have been lost for ever. Documentary charted in detail major battles, giving dates, places and named commanders of opposing armies, as well as behind the scene cooperation that sustained Moghul rule. It is impossible to analysis history in a short letter. I have written in-depth article published under my column “From Far and Near” and devoted a chapter in my popular novel Olive Grove. Bhupendra Gandhi By email

Film Ilam

The obnoxious item on page 22, “Film Ilam” deserves no place in Asian Voice. The bigot artist challenges CM Yogi and PM Modi as if they are riff raff. The artist is sustained on majoritarian, Hindu money, should show some respect and gratefulness. Honorable CM Yogiji and PM Modiji are carrying responsibility for the whole nation and does not deserve to be called as “mai ka laal” and other irreverent epithets. Azaz’s arrogance and rude irreverence indicates disrespectful upbringing in Islamic society. This also brings to my mind why any problem is branded as communal conflict? Why sympathy goes to death of few Muslims, but no sympathy to thousands of Hindus killed in Kashmir and India after 1947. Meat of horse is banned in America, pork is banned in Muslim countries, dog and cat meat is banned in Taiwan etc. So why Hindus and India are vilified by banning beef trade? Hindus are abused because followers of Jain, Buddha and Sikh religions keep quiet with the spirit that if Hindus are defamed, it is none of my business. All Indians must unite to teach such bigots how to respect land that feeds them. Ramesh Jhalla By email

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Reflections on old age

In July I shall be 75. Despite my numerous serious medical conditions, I am luckily able to do the basic 8 "Activities of Daily Living" [without assistance use the toilet, eat, dress, bathe, groom, get out of bed, get out of chair and walk]; and the 8 "Independent Activities of Daily Living" [shop for myself, prepare my own food, maintain my house keeping, do my laundry, manage my medications, make phone calls, travel on my own and handle my finances]. But for how I long more? In "A Theory of Human Motivation", our needs are depicted as a pyramid. At the bottom, survival and safety. Level 1 the need for love and belonging. level 2 our desire for growth and learning. At the top, our desire for self-realisation and moral goals. The current system of social care is a rip off and a new business model of independent cum assisted living should replace the existing elderly care and nursing homes. Particularly for households where both parents need to go to work. Nagindas Khajuria By email

Letter writers’ seminar

Now that spring is upon us, we make plans to revisit things we did not accomplish last year. In that vein, I would like to resurrect my previous proposal of a meeting between letter writers and ABPL team. This was scheduled to take place last May, but failed to materialise as it was overtaken by events. The Brexit saga at the time put paid to the letter writers gathering which was to take place at the prestigious venue of House of Lords. Almost a year has passed since the time and we have covered a few more milestones. I have now written in excess of 350 letters. I feel that writers like me and others deserve some form of recognition with the presentatiion of a certificate and a plaque by the publisher/editor at a special ceremony at either Hoxton House or some other venue. This presentation ceremony could then become a unique event unparalleled by other similar publications. There are about a dozen or so regular contributors to the “Your Voice” column of Asian Voice and that many to “Tamari Vaat” column of Gujarat Samachar. I had the privilege of chatting with CB, albeit over the wires, when he was a guest on Kanjibhai Ghedia’s Gujarati programme on NuSound Radio. I have also met Kamalbhai at our various social gatherings. I would be glad to make acquaintace with Rupanjana and others while enjoying ABPL’s hospitality in the form of a cuppa at Hoxton House! Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford [Point taken, lets meet in july if possible - Editor]

Has Britain lost talent?

During second half of 20th century, our screens were inundated with beautiful comedy programs appreciated world-wide. They were well written, witty, providing memorable roles to some wonderful actors like Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn (Dad’s Army), Richard Brier, Penelope Keith, Felicity Kindle (Good Life, Manor Born)) Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Courbet, David Jason (Open All Hours, Two Ronnies, Darling Buds of may) Derick Nemo (Oh Brother) Rudolf Walker, Jack Smethurst and Nina Baden-Semper (Love Thy Neighbour) that helped to break-down race barrier, Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne, Derick Fowlds (Yes Minister) Peter Sallis and Kathy Staff (Last of Summer Wine) John Inman, Mollie Sugden, Wendy Richard (Are You Being Served?) Eric Morecombe and Earne Wise without whom our Christmas could not be complete! These programmes regularly attracted 20 million viewers. Other famous comedy actors were Harry Corbett, Mike Yarwood, Eric Sikes, Harry Worth, Frank Thornton, list is endless. One can easily add fifty names and as many programmes to this list. I was a great fan of small screen British comedies that provided light relief, break down prejudices and provided roles to ethnic minority actors like Lenny Henry, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Nina Wadia, Rudolf Walker and many more. Yet today, comedy programmes are bare of talent and the likes of “All Round to Mrs Brown’s” depend on four letter words to provide cheap, tasteless humour, insult to one’s intelligence! How come we lost so much talent in such a short time? Kumudini Valambia By email

Snap General Election

Theresa May announcement of a snap general election on 8 June was a bombshell. It was not an u-turn but a somersault. It took everyone by surprise. She kept saying No! No! then she suddenly cynically said Yes!. It was a bolt out of the blue. It seems she was under immense pressure from the hard Brexit cabinet members to do so. The Brexiters are expecting a landslide victory because of the low poll rating of a divided and faction ridden Labour Party and weaker position of the other political parties. Theresa May reckons this election will be a walk-over with a bigger majority. Labour incidentally has shot itself in the foot because of a deep rift between the majority of Labour Parliament Party members and the membership at large who support the embattled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. There is no love lost between these two Labour groups. Lib-Dem are still in the doldrums and are struggling, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is snapping at Theresa May’s to better deal for Scotland or face a second referendum. So looking at the conflicting opposition interests Theresa May has taken took a calculated risk in calling this snap election to get an upper hand over them. The lame excuse given by Theresa May for calling the unexpected snap general election was that Labour threatened to vote against the final agreement, the “unelected” House of Lords was hostile to it, the Scotland opposed it, Lib Dems said they would grind it to a stand-still. Thus she was forced to reluctantly call an early general election. What she failed to mention was the real reason behind her announcement, which was that she could not rely on her party’s slim majority of 12 MPs to take her successfully through the hard Brexit negotiations. She said she needed a larger majority and a stronger mandate, certainty and stability to negotiate with the European Union, which she only could have by winning this election decisively. On the other hand it is good opportunity for Labour to close ranks and unite to fight a vigorous election based on Labour values (NHS, Education and Equality), otherwise they will be handing over victory on a plate to the Tories. They should aim for honourable and sensible Brexit deal to protect British jobs, and businesses. No one knows which way the dice is going to fall. It could be worse or it could be better, that will depend how the British people will vote and not what the pollsters predict. Baldev Sharma Harrow


UK

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

11

Andy Street: Compassionate towards minority growth in West Midlands

Rupanjana Dutta

The veteran boss of John Lewis, Andy Street CBE stepped down from running the department chain after 30 years, when he was selected as a candidate by Conservative party, for West Midlands Mayoral election, to be held on 4 May 2017. In a readership survey by Trinity Mirror, it showed that Tory's Andy Street and Labour’s Sion Simon MEP each look set to get 33% of first preference votes, though one has to secure more than 50% votes to win. The poll also predicts that Simon may get ahead of Andy in the long run, but one is hopeful that the current state of Labour party may act on his favour. “The only poll that matters is on election day,” he told Asian Voice. “I got this critical opportunity to serve West Midlands, and I decided I will not turn my back on it.” On a telephone interview, he explained how the British Asian community has been absolutely instru-

mental to the growth of Midlands' economy. Speaking to Asian Voice exclusively Andy said, “I have interacted with the Asian community in this region- in Gurdwaras, Hindu temples, Mosques. The role of the business and professional community are absolutely critical, and what we see here is an incredible successful Asian community.” Andy voted for Remain, in the EU referendum but now believes that Brexit provides an opportunity as well as a challenge, and if he wins this election, he plans to provide London with the support it would need to flourish as the City may take a hit. He is an active spokesperson for the businesses on high street, and feels his previous role as a department chain head poses no threat to his current stand. Incidentally, West Midlands is the only area with a trade surplus with China, partly driven by exports from Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). Andy recently made a

short trip to India and met with Dr Mukund Rajan, Tata Group's Head of International Operations and Chief Ethics Officer in Mumbai (the parent company of the JLR) to discuss about the recent decision of building Velar Land Rover exclusively in Solihull. He ensured the group that he has already lobbied with the Government over the need to commit to providing solutions to the energy requirements of the company and to allowing the safe testing of driverless vehicles. Andy said: “Jaguar Land Rover has been one of the West Midlands’ economic success stories, driving our job creation and export success, as well as providing a major boost for large and small companies across the supply chain. “It’s one of the key reasons the wider West Midlands has a trade surplus with China and the announcement this week about the Velar is another important shot in the arm. “So far, the relation-

ship between economic partners – LEPs, local authorities, universities and politicians – has been excellent and our collective ambition has matched JLR’s. “Nevertheless, we recognise some of the issues around infrastructure and skills in the region and how that impacts on the ambitions of JLR and their owners. We know we need to tackle these so investors continue to drive the economic renaissance of the West Midlands. “This is the very fabric of my campaign to be Mayor of the West Midlands.” During the two-day visit, Andy met with business leaders in Pakistan and India, to continue to develop economic relations between the two regions. “The cultural and economic links between the West Midlands and India and Pakistan are clear but we don’t do nearly enough

Andy Street trying his hands on cooking curry

to exploit them,” Andy said. “I am keen that as Mayor we seek to develop the trade opportunities between us. But the recent terror incidents stemming from Midlands have earned the region a damaging name, which Andy fighting against calling it a 'misappropriate labelling'. He told the newspaper, while most of the minority communities have well integrated, but there are regions where part of the communities are not doing well economically, and therefore getting radicalised. “The Mayor needs to stand up and tell the truth. This area has a very

good record of integration. But we do have some extremism here and Mayor's job is to be robust- no turning blind eye to extremism for examples in schools. We need education, tolerance and understanding,” he said. He added, “a weak economy and poverty is always dangerous for a region's development, especially in case of community integration,” and as a Mayor, if elected, he promises to ensure that the wealth is spread out evenly, so that no community misses out on it, making West Midlands the success story it ought to be.


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MEDIA WATCH

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Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

The brouhaha in sections of the Indian media on the Army’s tactic to place a trussed up Kashmiri man on the bonnet of a jeep touring a riot site in Srinagar, a precautionary measure against jihadi stone throwers was cheap grandstanding. The man was released unharmed following the return of the jeep to base. No one was killed or injured during the exercise, as has been the case in recent weeks and months, hence the ends clearly justified the means. Yes, the tactic was anything but pleasant, but sitting pretty in offices hundreds of miles from the Kashmir valley and pontificate, secure in the knowledge that they are safe to do and write as they please without fear of death or injury to their persons. Is easy. Amit Shah

was routed by the BJP, while in West Bengal Trinamool helds its own, although the opposition space saw the BJP gain at the expense of the Communists and Congress (Times of India April 14).

Kashmiri youth thrown stones at paramilitary forces outside an encounter site, were some militants have been hiding

What the media and the Indian political class in their political slumbers have been slow to recognize – if they recognize it at all – is that India in a state of undeclared war imposed on her by Pakistan and its jihadi separatist allies in the Kashmir valley. This state of affairs may not have adhered to the prescribed formalities of International law, but in our troubled world certain states, most notably Pakistan, use terrorism in statecraft, as a proxy in a novel form of warfare. The form is secondary, the substantive reality is all. Extraordinary situations call for out-of-the-box countermeasures in the interests of our common survival and our democratic way of life sustained by the rule of law. The Government of India, wisely, has upheld the Army’s decision, recognizing military personnel have right to life and the recourse to all reasonable means (in dire circumstances) to safeguard that right and life itself (Times of India April 16 et al, and Asian Voice comment).

Triple talaq protection

Muslim men guilty of arbitrary misuse of the triple talaq will be subjected to social ostracism, warned the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which stated: ‘Whoever gives the triple talaq without valid Sharia reasons will be boycotted by society….so that such cases do not arise in future.’ (Hindu April 17) This is welcome statement of intent, but ‘boycott’ is vague and impossible to enforce. The law of the land must surely be the upholder and enforcer of justice irrespective of gender, belief, ethnicity or caste.

Airports on full alert from terror strike

India’s International airports at Mumbai, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai were put on full alert after a report that a terrorist hijacking was in the planning. The Mumbai police was warned of the plan from an unidentified woman in

Hyderabad. As per the procedure, preventive measures were put in place at these airports and an alert issued. The woman in an e-mail communication said the report could be true or untrue but she felt it her duty to inform the police of what she had learnt (Hindu set al April 17).

Of mice and men

A bevy of retired Indian diplomats appear to take fright at the hint of an external crisis. The Kulbhushan Jadhav case, has sent K.C. Singh scuttling for cover. In a column in the Hindu (April 17), he warned against the ‘Dovalisation’ of India’s Pakistan policy – Ajit Doval being the government’s National Security Adviser and a perceived hardliner on Pakistan. Singh warns that Pakistan is militarily strong, politically stable, with active support from China and the more measured of the United States. He thus warns of the perils of India’s likely isolation. So what’s new? It’s something of a miracle that India stand tall internationally, without the much advised cringe to salvation in the next round at Delhi’s cocktail circuit.

Sanskrit slokas at Good Friday service

A Hindu group recited Sanskrit slokas at a Good Friday Service at Goa’s largest cathedral. The group belonging to the Swadhyaya Parivar founded by Pandurang Shastri Athawale, recited slokas from the Naryana Upanishads, just befor the start of the service. The 115 foot high cathedral is one od Asia’s largest. ‘This is a shining example of how people should live together,’ said Father Alfred Vaz, the parish priest (Times of India April 17).

India’s growth potential 8-9 per cent

The Indian economy has the potential to grow at 8-9 per cent annually, whatever the political constraints, said Lord Professor Megnad Desai in a newspaper interview in India. Drawing attention to the parallel with Margaret Thatcher’s second term in office as British prime minister, Professor Desai, once of the London School of Economics,

– the largest ever industry donation to CMU - from the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s largest IT company. The aim is to lay the foundation of the fourth industrial revolution. The facility when completed next year, will become the CMU-TCS hub for the promotion of the next generation technology. ‘Today… we are looking at a collaboration of intellectual skills and the development of of two countries together that might bring about global understanding between people,’ said Ratan Tata Chairman Emeritus Tata Sons, at the ceremony of the site of TCS Hall. With him were, TCS Chairman N. Chandrasekharan and Carnegie Mellon President Subra Suresh (Business Line April 15).

Rolls Royce, DRDO collaboration

India and Britain have arranged to cooperate on developing advanced defence products such as high-end gas turbine engines and air defence missile systems

Navy. in Russia’s Far East. This is the first exercise of its kind that India has held with any country. Arun Jaitley, India’s Finance and concurrent Defence Minister is to visit Moscow for the international conference on International Security (Times of India April 20). The IAF will shortly be testing the co-developed IndiaRussia supersonic cruise BrahMos from one of its frontline aircraft, its weight reduced to integrate the missile with the weapons systems. It is already in service with the Army and Navy, a formidable force multiplier that will be fearsome when the hypersonic model (5-7 times the speed of sound), is ready for testing. (Mint April 13).

India to buy three Scorpenes

India is to step negotiations with France for the purchase of three further Scorpene submarines to the six already contracted for service with the Indian Navy. The talks will also include the integration of several upgrades in the

British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon meeting Finance & Defence Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi

Megnad Desai

said that India’s economic reforms could move up a only after Prime Minister Modi’s government won it second term at the next general election in 2019. (Business Line April 14).

TCS, Carnegie Mellon tie-up for next level

A state-of-the-art research facility is to be set up at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University camps at Pittsburgh with an unprecedented $35 million grant

and on aspects of aircraft carrier technology. Collaboration is underway between Rolls Royce and and India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) on the engine technology.

new submarines. ‘We will look at the cost of the upgrades based on which we will take a call whether to go for the upgrades or carry on with the acquisitions of the next line of submarines as planned,’ said an official.

‘We have also agreed to extend our defence equipment cooperation to enable Indian defence companies to develop new technologies such as gas turbine engines and air defence systems,’ said British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon on his recent visit to India. ‘The next step is to have a technology demonstration in 12 months,’ said Stephen Phipson, Head of Defence and Security Organization, which he said would be ‘the highest thrust gas turbine.’ Details of work share and quantum of investment are still to be worked out. (Hindu April 14).

After a series of delays, the first Scorpene, Kalvari, is undergoing advanced sea trial before entering service. The second Scorpene was commissioned in January and is ready for sea trials (Hindu April 14).

Statement of intent

India, Russia for unique drill

BJP’s winning streak

The results of ten Assembly seats in by-elections across India demonstrated the BJP’s continuing hold over the country. BJP won five of these seats, while Congress won both in Karnataka. The Aam Aadmi party in Delhi

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TCS Chairman N.Chandrasekharan, TCS Emeritus Chairman Ratan Tata, Carnegie Mellon University President Subra Suresh laying the foundation stone of Tata Hall at CMU campus

This happens to be the 70 th year of India-Russia diplomatic relations. In keeping with its spirit India and Russia are to hold a unique combined military exercise in October-November of the Army, Air Force and

Delays

Chinese invitations to Darjeeling schools

Chinese Consul General Ma Zhangwu has issued an invitation to two of Darjeeling’s most famous public schools, St Paul’s and St Joseph’s (North Point) to make an educational tour of China. This followed a similar invitation to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Apropos of the one to the Darjeeling schools, the Consul General said that details of the visit were being worked out between the school authorities and the Chinese government. He hinted that Chinese students might study there. Mr Zhangwu expressed his pleasure at Mamata Banerjee’s acceptance of China’s invitation. (Telegraph April 14).


UK Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

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13

Highest number of ‘voluntary returns’ from UK are of Indians Politicians and their Currencies Donald Trump doubtless sees a strong dollar as a great sign of masculinity and a great America. When the UK voted to leave the EU, GBP fell sharply and much forecasting was done about the end of the world. But what now? What about the election? The current thinking is that more Tory seats means ‘hard Brexiters’ can be ignored by the PM. The markets want a soft Brexit. The softer a Brexit, the stronger the Pound. So if Labour shows unexpected Poll gains, then fewer Tory seats and so GBP down. But what about the country? What is good for the UK? I don’t mean which Government, I mean which currency direction? A weaker Pound allowed British exporters to compete on price with the rest of the EU. The Euro which includes Greece, was artificially low because of Greece and Ireland, and Portugal and Italy…The UK was unable to compete because the Pound was so much more attractive. Now we have a more level trading field. The Germans no longer have it so easy against Britain. But the weaker Pound also meant suddenly more companies were investing in the UK because we were cheaper. This is so often missed. A weaker Pound also led to an all time high for our stockmarket. Who cares? Well, your Pension fund, and your parents and your grandparents. It was a huge creation of wealth. How? Well, most FTSE 100 companies are big exporters, so suddenly all those USD profits, converted to even more GBP back home on the books, ie more profits in GBP. I know – finance is crazy. The cheaper Pound was meant to mean more expensive imports – foods especially. But on the whole this is good. We want to substitute expensive foreign goods with

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney with Aplesh Patel

cheaper UK ones. We also do not want a trade deficit the size of which we have – it is a debt we owe to foreigners – not good. The weaker Pound helps us. I was with the Governor of the Bank of England, I did not have the chance to ask him his views, and he would not be allowed to tell me anyway, but I have to say, I have no ego problems with a weaker currency. So what is the greatest danger to a weaker currency? A none hard Brexit. No one ever makes the case for a hard Brexit. What about access to the Single Market, what about immigrants here, what about people wanting to work here. I was in favour of remain. But I have to tell you, I am relaxed about a hard Brexit. First it means the Europeans know we are willing to negotiate hard and so they have less hold on us. Second, we need to make fewer costly concessions for the perceived benefits. Third, and read this carefully, the USA is not in the EU. Let me expand, the USA is not part of the Single Market. Neither is Canada. When you know you are leaving and have a tough negotiation ahead, starting with a hard Brexit is a better position than with unilateral concessions. Beware the rising Pound whatever happens.

Avoiding eye contact or asking where someone is from are signs of racism says Oxford Uni Avoiding making eye contact with someone or asking where they are originally from have been deemed as racist micro-aggressions in a newsletter issued by Oxford University. The institution's Equality and Diversity Unit states these two common behaviours could potentially cause the listener 'mental ill-health'.

The Trinity term newsletter claims asking someone where they are 'originally' from implies that the questioner does not believe they are British. The Trinity term newsletter also mentions 'not speaking directly to people' and 'jokes drawing attention to someone's difference' as possible forms of everyday racism. It says

people doing these things are often 'well-meaning', but insists they are still reinforcing negative stereotypes and making people feel like they 'do not belong'. But Professor Frank Furedi, author of What's Happened To The University, said the advice was 'Orwellian' and called on Oxford to 'wake up to reality'.

an gesture, to help those who want to return voluntarily, by providing them air fare and some assistance to resettle back home.” The MP for Ealing Southall, with a large population of Indian origin, added: “Their return is a reflection of a combination of factors. India is also progressing rapidly, they may feel that it is better to be back among family and friends.” Those without the right to remain in Britain are unable to work, open bank accounts, obtain driving licences or access other services. Recent curbs make it mandatory for landlords to check prospective tenants’ immigration status. Director of the Sikh Human Rights Forum, Jasdev Singh commented: “Conditions are bad here. They don’t get social security, can’t work. Rather than sit in poverty here, they prefer to return. Many such people have some land or other assets back home. There have also been very few asylum seekers from India in the last 10 years.”

Thousands of Indian citizens who either entered the United Kingdom illegally or overstayed their visas over the years are returning home, reflecting difficult economic conditions here and the tight curbs that make it difficult for them to seek work and access civic services. Britain has long been the destination of illegal migrants, who believe the streets of London are paved with gold but a hostile environment in recent years for such people and rapidly changing conditions in countries such as India has reversed some routes. For the first time, official figures for 2016 show the highest number of “voluntary returns” (of those not under police investigation or in detention) was for Indian nationals: 5,365, or 22% of the total returns from the UK, marking a new point in the discourse. Speaking to the Hindustan Times, senior Labour Party MP Virendra Sharma told Hindustan Times“These are people who feel they don’t have a future here. It is the UK government’s humanitari-

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verification process. Hence, such PIO card holders are advised to submit their application well before the deadline. The conversion of PIO to OCI is a free of cost OCI service, wherein applicants needs to pay for service charge(s) only to the outsourced agent, VFS.

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The home office believes that “Indian nationals are one of the top nationalities remaining in the UK illegally”. The nationality of the 5,365 voluntary returnees may not have been in question but the home office and Indian authorities have been debating the complex issue of verifying the identity of many more whose Indian citizenship needs to be established before they are sent home. A home office official told Hindustan Times: “A major barrier for removal is the current process for obtaining travel documentation for those without a current passport. While we are grateful for the cooperation of the Indian government, the current process – which may involve checks in India at state level – can be quite lengthy and often relies on the cooperation of the individual concerned.

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14

COMMUNITY

Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

A panel of industry experts analyses the key challenges and opportunities facing the London's property market Smita Sarkar An evening of drinks and canopes at the Double Tree by Hilton in London’s Victoria, on the 19th April was followed by an extremely meaningful Asian House and Home Property Investors Seminar 2017 - organised by the Asian Business Publications Limited, in association with Galliard Homes and Child & Child. The other collaborator was Sow and Reap. Titled “Housing Shortage – A threat to the Economy” - a cutting-edge presentation by key members of the industry who were able to disseminate information from a strategic perspective on what's going on at the ground level. The panelists were David Galman of Galliard Homes, Zach Reynolds of Child & Child and Chris Whitehouse of Next Phase Development. The event was moderated by Suresh Vagjiani of Sow & Reap. The programme started with L George CEO, ABPL Group's short and crisp opening address – introducing the panelists, sponsors, moderator and the seminar topic to the audience. CB Patel, Publisher/ Editor of ABPL Group made a short humorous speech to open the floor to discussions. “Whenever we talk of property, it is always smiling all the way, if you know some simple words of caution and carefulness.... we do a lot of events but a panel discussion is the first of its kind.” He thanked Sow and Reap for their decadelong association with the group at various levels. The magazine was formally launched at the event, before opening the floor to debates. Topics discussed ranged from the chronic shortage in housing supply in London and how this can be dealt in a holistic and practical manner to policies and possible creative solutions.

Affordability in London David Galman of Galliard Homes opened the floor with an impactful Overview. “UK's population in 2017 is approximately 65.5 million. The government's projected housing supply for 20152020 will provide 300,000 homes per year, which will support 55% of the population. Currently, the government's projections are 2-3 times greater than the current rate of building.” What are the reasons for this? According to David's presentation, we need to be developing more in the brownfield sites mainly located from Midlands to the North of the UK but most demand is in the South East. What can be done? We have to target “permitted development that allows for micro-units that are cheap to buy and easier to rent; as a result dispense planning.” Habits amongst the young are changing, flatsharing and micro-living are becoming a popular stopgap, with University graduates continuing to live this way even after they start working. Help to Buy – the government is now locked into this and continues to assist funding for young people as they get on the ladder. “We've found it incredibly useful in certain developments in certain areas,” said David. “All our properties have a Help to Buy option and we are lobbying to increase the timeframe from booking in six months prior to the end of the development.” Zack said that young professionals, young families and low income families are impacted by the rising housing prices. “The ratio of the median house price to the median income in Greater London has risen from 4 in 1997 to 10 on 2014. it is a rise of 160%. According to National Housing Federation, rent in the UK are double that of similar properties in the rest of Europe... Land tax, for

ASIAN HOUSE AND HOME

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PROPERTY INVESTORS SEMINAR 2017

The House and Home Magazine launch. L to R: Zach Reynolds, Suresh Vagjiani, CB Patel, David Galman and Chris Whitehouse

instance. The evidence is that it reduces household mobility in an area where there is restricted market, that also impacts the affordability issue.” Chris said he would look at what can be done to resolve the problem. “Its the case of the inflexible within the marketplace, taking advantage of opportunities elsewhere and trying urban regeneration in other areas that will continue to grow and prosper.” Developing properties is politically charged and planning extremely complicated. “Policies should try to seduce a developer rather than coerce them, to ride with the market rather than block it,” summarised Suresh.

Overseas buyers causing housing problems? There was a debunking of the overseas buyers myth across the panel. It is an 'urban myth' said David. “You cannot start a development project unless you've got round about 50% presold – so you had to go overseas. Reality is, in the last few years UK has made up to about 75% of the purchases.” Zach believed there has been an increase in overseas buying since 2007, while Chris said that its a myth perpetuated by a lack of

A full house at the Asian House and Home Property Investors Seminar

understanding of the issue. Its simply a case of poor governance, poor support for developers and enough opportunities not being brought to the table. Suresh clarified that a lot of foreign buyers are foreign nationals working in London - branded as overseas buyers, even though they are based in London. The foreign investors who invest cater to the 'buy-tolet' side of the market which needs to be expanded.

Section 106 Chris said the original point was to try and spread the liability of development contribution in a fair manner across the board. The problem is when you add too many structures and parameters, it becomes rigid. Developers point of view is quite difficult. The government's stand can cause delays in handing over stock to private investors. Suresh said that according to a survey in 2015, 95% thought delivering 2000 homes in 2016 was unachievable. The council demanded 50% of one site. We need to come up with a standardised 106 contribution. We have 32 boroughs each with their own perception of how much section 106 should be implemented and this is causing a real problem for developers. The

Home Building Federation says while there has been improvement in the planning system, they are far too slow, bureaucratic and expensive.

Should the Planning process be de-politicised? Its far too politicised according to Chris. A vast majority of local authorities are made up poorly experienced officers on short-term contracts not motivated to support anything. The actual decision makers have never been powerful. David said that their company has an in-house architectural department looking after planning and design and sometimes case officers are on holidays for six weeks and no one is there to pick up the baton. It's way too politicised and privatisation is needed but will probably not happen. Suresh said in 2017 The Housing Forum launched the 10 point plan where the first point says that Housing should be depoliticised by creating cross party housing groups and removing elected representatives from the decision-making process on some planning applications.

Tapping the green belt Is the Green Belt a sacred cow? The green belt comprises 4 million acres, with only 9% of the UK currently built on 1% - 2% of green belt “rings around cities” could deliver 1 million homes. Chris said “green belts were built on the premise to avoid urban sprawl and avoid towns and cities merging into one another. But in the 1970s and 80s, local authorities started taking advantage of the designation of green belts and integrated land that was never meant to be in the green belt in the first place. What we have it something shy of 78% of the country designated as green belt.” David said it needs to be protected, but there are

pockets that needs to be released. There aren't enough brownfield land and there will be a lack on available land on which to build. Zach commented that green belt seems to be the logic to find land to build houses, “but if I am watching my green belt disappear out of my back window I don't know if I would see it the same way.” Suresh summarised that there's 75 hectares of green belt within the M25. Even if a quarter of the this is released for housing supply- it will release a million homes that would solve our housing problems for the next 20 years. This artificially increases prices and leads to commuter towns.

Addressing minimum size of apartments in London? London spacial standards are again overtly-restrictive. This comes from setting rigid parameters that don't take into consideration material circumstances of the site. Whilst you should have a set of reasonable guidelines, there should be flexibility will be really welcome in the marketplace. Suresh said this is a blockage and reducing the supply, specially in Central London. Original idea was to avoid slum, closet-driven housing. But if there are responsible developers producing high-end housing stock there's no reason why that stock cannot be decreased. There was an active Q&A session following the discussions where the sudience discussed the barriers from a planning and developers perspective. The discussions continued even after the end of the seminar – with audiences and participants networking and discussing issues concerning them way after the seminar was over. Audiences found this extremely informative and successful event, and on their request ABPL plans to conduct similar events in the near future.


www.asian-voice.com AsianVoiceNews

VAISAKHI CELEBRATIONS 2017

VAISAKHI SPECIAL

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

15

Celebrating Punjabi traditions in the UK while ushering in age new and contemporary Smita Sarkar The Vaisakhi celebrations in the UK started from the mid 1960s when the Punjabis started moving into this country in large numbers. During that time, the celebrations were a combination of the religious and cultural elements of the Punjabis and Sikhs. “They were not as aware of the difference between the cultural and the religious sides of Sikhism. But over the years, the religious elements of the Sikh religion started becoming more important in the British society. The nagar kirtan, the langar, making sure that people are aware of the birth of the Khalsa, the celebration of Sikhism – the religious aspects became key to Vaisakhi celebrations,” said Jasvir Singh OBE, Chair of City Sikhs. The sense of oneness one feels when you go to a Gurudwara and participate in listening to kathas is what the emphasis is now on. The cultural aspects – gurbani, bhangra, music and performances have been pushed down to the

political awareness among all the major parties in the UK, who make sure Vaisakhi celebrations take place. There were several celebrations in the Houses of Parliament this year and

MP Pat McFadden hosts Vaisakhi celebrations in Parliament Students from The British Sikh School perform kirtan on the auspicious occasion

second spot in importance. “The story of Khalsa is now being spoken in English. Kirtans and kathas are available in English for the younger generation to follow and not feel alienated,” said Jasvir. There is also a greater

that is a new phenomenon. Jasvir is optimistic that the Vaisakhi celebrations will go further in the future. Just like Canada, where an 'akhand path' took place recently in the House of Parliament, the UK will also start expanding their Vaisakhi celebrations.

The Wolverhampton South East MP hosted the annual Vaisakhi celebrations in Parliament on 18th April in the Speakers’ State Rooms. MP Pat McFadden was delighted that children from ‘The British Sikh School’ - a local school in his constituency is performing kirtan to open the event. Kirtan is a special performance of hymns from the holy book of the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’. The kirtan is an integral part of the Sikh culture and Vaisakhi celebrations. Pat said, “I would like to send my best wishes to all celebrating Vaisakhi at this special time of year. I know this is a very special time for the Sikh community all around the world celebrating the foundation of the Khalsa and the adoption of the Sikh articles of faith. “I am delighted that 12 children from a school in my constituency is a part of this special celebration in the Parliament. I believe it is important that a religious moment that means so much to so many of my constituents and to the Sikh community around the country is celebrated in the heart of our democracy.

“I have been honoured to represent a multi faith constituency for the past 12 years and on this great occasion of Vaisakhi, I extend my warmest best wishes to everyone celebrating it.” Councillor Rupinderjit Kaur of Spring Vale and Bhupinder Councillor Gakhal of Wednesfield South joined the schoolchildren and Pat at the Parliament celebrations. Rupinder said, “it is a fantastic opportunity for local children to perform in the Parliament and a brilliant way to bring communities together. I’d like to thank

MP Pat McFadden for providing such a great opportunity for local children’. Mrs Rashpal Kaur Channa, the assistant principal at the British Sikh School said, “The British Sikh School is honoured to

be part of the Vaisakhi celebrations at the Houses of Parliament. As part of the enrichment curriculum, students take part in a variety of activities such as fencing, archery, the debating club and a wide range of other activities. Our students who performed are part of the devotional singing club, where they learn poems about events and people that have shaped the Sikh religion. We would like to thank Pat for thinking of us and inviting us to this celebration,” she said - feeling rather proud and happy for her students.


16

VAISAKHI SPECIAL

AsianVoiceNews

www.asian-

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

Ministry of Defence hosts Vaisakhi in London Rupanjana Dutta On Wednesday 19 April, the Ministry of Defence organised a Vaisakhi celebration in their Whitehall premises for the second year in a row. Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, was the Chief Guest and it was attended by the members of the Armed Forces, Met Police and the community. Festivities began with prayers (or shabbat) by students of the Khalsa Secondary School. The Sikh Chaplain Bibi Mandeep Kaur, from British Armed Forces explained what Vaisakhi is and the significance of Khalsa. Lord Inderjeet Singh spoke about implications of Vaisakhi for Sikhs today, followed by Jasprit Singh, Chaplain Kaur's brother, who spoke about Sikh identity through the philosophies of Vaisakhi. Rev (group Captain) John R Ellis spoke about 'hope'. The most entertaining was the experience shared by Chief Supt Raj Kohli, speaking about his identity as a member of Police, Public Order Commander and more importantly as a turban wearing Sikh. Sir Michael Fallon was in India earlier this month. He said, “I was in India last

Sikh Chaplain Bibi Mandeep Kaur speaking about Vaisakhi with other members of the Armed Forces

week and had the chance to meet many Sikh veterans and reflect on their enormous contribution towards the stability of that great democracy "Yet, through some strange serendipity, I also had the opportunity to reflect on the Sikh contribution to the security of British democracy too. Since, while I was there I met a soldier whose relative had served with one Captain Harold Spink, my own grandfather, as part of Indian Expeditionary Force D during the Great War. It was remarkable to think of our forebears separated by dis-

tance and culture yet united by a shared destiny. “But their story is only one among hundreds of thousands. And today on Vaisakhi we resolve never to forget what our Sikh comrades-in-arms did for this country a century ago from the quagmires of Passchendaele to the deadly shoals of Gallipoli. Nor will we forget the famous last stand of those brave Khalsa warriors at Saraghari. And the death-defying deeds of their descendants in more recent times- with the likes of Flt Lt Jon Singh from the RAF, saving lives by landing his badly damaged chinook

BRITISH PUNJABIS MAGAZINE 2017 Reshaping UK's economy, socio-political culture and way of life With a community of more than 700,000 – the Punjabi diaspora in the UK has played a significant role in its success and has shaped her culture, economy and many sons and daughters of Punjab have emerged victorious in business, media, academics, arts and sports. With their immense entrepreneurial skills and ability to weather the storm through sheer hard work – British Punjabis are at the forefront of today’s UK. In a fitting tribute to these exceptional high achievers, Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar will publish BRITISH PUNJABIS, a glossy coffee-table magazine highlighting the community's challenges, achievements and aspirations. In this edition of BRITISH PUNJABIS, we will focus on some untold stories, profile some inspiring second and third generation leaders and women; while promulgating the extraordinary achievements of senior Punjabis, for the younger generation to get inspired.

in Afghanistan, amidst a hail of gunfire, and winning the distinguished flying cross, incidentally the same medal, won by his grandfather for flying reconnais-

British Sikh Association annual dinner and present awards to Chairman and founder of Edwardian hotels Jasminder Singh and film director G u r i n d e r Chadha...For me the award that really stood out was the one to Khalsa Aid, a charity acting on the great Sikh principle of seva, selfless service, responding to Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon the notion that the speaking at the celebrations whole human race is Kanga wearing one by getting out there and Commodores is because doing good…”, he added. you embody the values that The Minister then went we seek to represent across on to say, “For when we look the world...” at those great articles of your Speaking to Asian Voice faith, we see so much in exclusively, while he concommon, you have the kara firmed, that the British symbolising that permanent Army will not have a sepabond to your communities,

Kirtan and Shabbat by Khalsa Secondary School

sance missions in the Second World War. "Today is our opportunity to pay tribute to the current contribution of our proud Sikh communities... but throughout society.” He paid his respects to Judge Sir Mota Singh, the first Asian on the English bench, who died last year and also mentioned Sir Rabinder Singh, now the first Sikh High court judge. “Last month I had the great honour to attend the

we have our Armed Forces covenant...So today is not just about commemoration, it is about a celebration, of the values we share. And the reason why I'm so keen for more Sikhs to join our Armed Forces, whether as soldiers, sailors or pilots or accountants, IT experts and engineers. The reason I'm determined to see more Sikhs rising up the ladder, so that one day we will have kara wearing admirals, kirpan wearing Generals and

rate Sikh regiment in the near future, he showed keen interest in working together with India, exploring ways of forging a future together, especially in the defence sector. The Armed Forces currently have 270 Sikh members. The event concluded with a presentation and Sikh martial arts display by Sahebzada Baba Ajit Singh Akhara, on traditional warrior weapons and its relevance to Military today.

For more information please contact: Smita Sarkar on 020 7749 4010 or Email: smita.sarkar@abplgroup.com

Sikh martial arts display by Sahebzada Baba Ajit Singh Akhara


VAISAKHI SPECIAL

16

AsianVoiceNews

www.asian-voice.com

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

AsianVoiceNews

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

Rupanjana Dutta On Wednesday 19 April, the Ministry of Defence organised a Vaisakhi celebration in their Whitehall premises for the second year in a row. Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, was the Chief Guest and it was attended by the members of the Armed Forces, Met Police and the community. Festivities began with prayers (or shabbat) by students of the Khalsa Secondary School. The Sikh Chaplain Bibi Mandeep Kaur, from British Armed Forces explained what Vaisakhi is and the significance of Khalsa. Lord Inderjeet Singh spoke about implications of Vaisakhi for Sikhs today, followed by Jasprit Singh, Chaplain Kaur's brother, who spoke about Sikh identity through the philosophies of Vaisakhi. Rev (group Captain) John R Ellis spoke about 'hope'. The most entertaining was the experience shared by Chief Supt Raj Kohli, speaking about his identity as a member of Police, Public Order Commander and more importantly as a turban wearing Sikh. Sir Michael Fallon was in India earlier this month. He said, “I was in India last

Sikh Chaplain Bibi Mandeep Kaur speaking about Vaisakhi with other members of the Armed Forces

week and had the chance to meet many Sikh veterans and reflect on their enormous contribution towards the stability of that great democracy "Yet, through some strange serendipity, I also had the opportunity to reflect on the Sikh contribution to the security of British democracy too. Since, while I was there I met a soldier whose relative had served with one Captain Harold Spink, my own grandfather, as part of Indian Expeditionary Force D during the Great War. It was remarkable to think of our forebears separated by dis-

tance and culture yet united by a shared destiny. “But their story is only one among hundreds of thousands. And today on Vaisakhi we resolve never to forget what our Sikh comrades-in-arms did for this country a century ago from the quagmires of Passchendaele to the deadly shoals of Gallipoli. Nor will we forget the famous last stand of those brave Khalsa warriors at Saraghari. And the death-defying deeds of their descendants in more recent times- with the likes of Flt Lt Jon Singh from the RAF, saving lives by landing his badly damaged chinook

in Afghanistan, amidst a hail of gunfire, and winning the distinguished flying cross, incidentally the same medal, won by his grandfather for flying reconnais-

British Sikh Association annual dinner and present awards to Chairman and founder of Edwardian hotels Jasminder Singh and film director G u r i n d e r Chadha...For me the award that really stood out was the one to Khalsa Aid, a charity acting on the great Sikh principle of seva, selfless service, responding to Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon the notion that the speaking at the celebrations whole human race is Kanga wearing one by getting out there and Commodores is because doing good…”, he added. you embody the values that The Minister then went we seek to represent across on to say, “For when we look the world...” at those great articles of your Speaking to Asian Voice faith, we see so much in exclusively, while he concommon, you have the kara firmed, that the British symbolising that permanent Army will not have a sepabond to your communities,

With a community of more than 700,000 – the Punjabi diaspora in the UK has played a significant role in its success and has shaped her culture, economy and many sons and daughters of Punjab have emerged victorious in business, media, academics, arts and sports. With their immense entrepreneurial skills and ability to weather the storm through sheer hard work – British Punjabis are at the forefront of today’s UK. In a fitting tribute to these exceptional high achievers, Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar will publish BRITISH PUNJABIS, a glossy coffee-table magazine highlighting the community's challenges, achievements and aspirations. In this edition of BRITISH PUNJABIS, we will focus on some untold stories, profile some inspiring second and third generation leaders and women; while promulgating the extraordinary achievements of senior Punjabis, for the younger generation to get inspired.

Charusmita The Punjabi Society of the British Isles (PSBI) hosted their Annual Dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel on April 20th in support of the Armed Forces charity, Combat Stress. The charity offers support and specialised treatment for the mental health of ex-servicemen and women. The Chief Guest for the event was The Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid PC MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and the Guest of Honour was H.E. Ambassador Dinesh Patnaik, Deputy High Commissioner of India to the UK. The dinner was attended by over 450 guests including Mr. Richard Harrington MP, Member of Parliament for Watford and Parliamentary UnderSecretary of State for Pensions, Mr. Virendra Sharma MP, Member of Parliament for EalingSouthall and Lt. General Andrew Graham CB CBE,

the community. The first recipient was Mr. Virendra Sharma MP and the second recipient was Mr. Surinder Arora, Founder and Chairman of Arora Group. Lt-General Andrew Graham CB CBE then made an appeal on behalf of Combat Stress. He also spoke about the special relationship his family has with the Punjabi community - his grandfather Lt-Colonel Sir John Reginald Noble Graham was awarded the Victoria Cross whilst supporting the 56th Punjabi Rifles in the Samarrah Offensive.

The Executive Committee of the Punjabi Society of the British Isles with The Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid PC MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Chairman of ‘Combat Stress’. Dr Rami Ranger CBE, former President and current patron of the PSBI, as well as the Current President Dr. Atul Pathak OBE, praised the Punjabi community who make Britain culturally richer. HE Ambassador Dinesh Patnaik spoke of the Punjabis as

being the pride of the global Indian diaspora. Chief Guest, the Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid PC, MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government praised the compassion and welcoming nature of the global Punjabi family. The PSBI also presented Pride of Punjab Awards to outstanding individuals of

High Commission of India to celebrate 'Baisakhi' like no other Rupanjana Dutta

BRITISH PUNJABIS 2017 Reshaping UK's economy, socio-political culture and way of life

17

The Punjabi Society of the British Isles hosts Annual Dinner supporting Veterans’ mental health charity Photo courtesy: Raj D Bakrania, PrMediapix

Ministry of Defence hosts Vaisakhi in London

VAISAKHI SPECIAL Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

Kirtan and Shabbat by Khalsa Secondary School

sance missions in the Second World War. "Today is our opportunity to pay tribute to the current contribution of our proud Sikh communities... but throughout society.” He paid his respects to Judge Sir Mota Singh, the first Asian on the English bench, who died last year and also mentioned Sir Rabinder Singh, now the first Sikh High court judge. “Last month I had the great honour to attend the

we have our Armed Forces covenant...So today is not just about commemoration, it is about a celebration, of the values we share. And the reason why I'm so keen for more Sikhs to join our Armed Forces, whether as soldiers, sailors or pilots or accountants, IT experts and engineers. The reason I'm determined to see more Sikhs rising up the ladder, so that one day we will have kara wearing admirals, kirpan wearing Generals and

rate Sikh regiment in the near future, he showed keen interest in working together with India, exploring ways of forging a future together, especially in the defence sector. The Armed Forces currently have 270 Sikh members. The event concluded with a presentation and Sikh martial arts display by Sahebzada Baba Ajit Singh Akhara, on traditional warrior weapons and its relevance to Military today.

Sikh martial arts display by Sahebzada Baba Ajit Singh Akhara

The High Commission of India along with Gurdwaras in the UK and the diaspora are organising their first ever annual 'Baisakhi' celebrations at the SKLP Sports Centre in Northolt on Sunday 30 April (11am4pm). This year is the 350th birth anniversary of Shri Guru Gobind Singh and that has encouraged the Mission to organise this event for the first time in this special year and is being supported financially supported by the Ministry of Culture. Speaking to Asian Voice exclusively, an official spokesperson said, “Initially we planned to club this event with the Mayor of London's Vaisakhi celebrations at the Trafalgar Square. But then we thought, we would rather do it in a bigger way, closer to the community's home, and celebrate it in a way they would like to celebrate it.” Expecting at least 20,000 people, the day has been planned out with much details. This is the first time, 13 London Gurdwaras (and perhaps more from other parts of the UK) are coming together to host Vaisakhi on a common ground and will be providing 'langar' to the visiting guests. This free event is not confined to the Punjabi community alone, but will also include participants from other communities - representing India in

its truest spirit. Apart from huge variety of Punjabi food available for free, the venue will have stalls to buy things from or food of your choice to taste, but the menu remains strictly vegetarian for the day. There will be Bhangra, Gidda and Gatka performances, and childrens’ teams will take part in Kabaddi, while you can also get a turban tied on your head or heena painted on your hands for fun. For children there will be bouncy castle, face paintings and so on, but the most exciting will be a bhangra class/workshop with a DJ, which promises to steal their hearts for sure. They will be treated like VIPs, and will have a small stage to themselves, where they will be welcomed to put up a little performance of their choiceanytime. Besides the children's performances, there will be many Punjabi and nonPunjabi community organisations participating in the cultural activities on the day- the most exciting being a performance by Punjabi singer Jasbir Jassi. Channi Singh, Vasda Punjab, Mona Singh, Heera Group and many others promise to entertain the audience as no one ever. While it is expected the local politicians will also join this exciting gettogether, they will not be allowed to do any campaigning for the upcoming general election at this event. “The

High Commissioner HE Y K Sinha will be present there himself. He will go up on the stage to thank the community- other than that this event will have no speeches from anyone. The stage is for the community talentsand we know the diaspora will enjoy their performances more than anything else,” added the spokesperson. The Deputy High Commissioner of India to UK, Dinesh Patnaik, who plans to attend the event, may be joined by his wife Poonam Patnaik, who is of Punjabi Sikh origin. This event promises to create an example for the coming years when these festivities could be held annually. The spokesperson said, “We initially aimed to make this a one-off event. But looking at the enormous contribution of this community, we wanted to do something more to thank them properly. So we thought that we should create something for the posterity- a simple way to make our children aware of their roots, culture and heritage. But this Vaisakhi festival is not just open to the Punjabis, but to everybody, who wants to have a good day out with their friends and family.” To participate or book a stall write to: baisakhi2017london@gmail .com. Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar are a print media partner at this event.

Gurudwaras in London and Punjabi community organizations with High Commission of India, inviteeveryone to

On Sunday 30th April 2017 - 1100-1600 hours

at SKLP Sports and Community Centre - India Gardens West End Road, Northolt Middlesex UB5 6RE

A celebration of the warmth and richness of Punjabi Culture!!! Come with your family and friends to indulg in a day-long festivity and rejoicing. Contact us: baisaki2017london@gmail.com Print Media Partners


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FINANCIAL VOICE

India's GST reform is really an act of courage, says IMF chief Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

Calling India's ongoing Goods and Services Tax reform an “act of courage”, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said she expects “some positive outcome” as a result of the decision. Speaking to reporters during the annual Spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank in Washington, Lagarde said the GST really means reforming in-depth in each of the Indian States in order to substitute the State taxes with overall federal tax, the re-allocation of it, and the digital platform that supports it. When asked if she is impressed by the other reforms carried out by the Indian government, she said, “So, I am personally impressed by the work that is being done in that regard and expect some positive outcome. There has been other reforms as well that has been conducted by the

Indian authorities courageously. One of them, as a former lawyer I am particularly attentive to because it particularly helps when you have to deal with the corporate sector banking sector that means help, is the bankruptcy reform.” The 61 year old said, “We are seeing significant development and clear determination to continue and sustain growth going forward. We have slightly

Christine Lagarde

revised down our Indian projection as a result of demonetisation that has been announced recently a little bit unexpectedly. Our understanding is that demonetisation has now remedied about 75 per cent. Those are the last figures that we have.” She added, “So clearly the situation is now being mended. And we believe that India is going to continue to grow at a really fast pace. I think, we have 7.2 per cent forecast for 2017.” Meanwhile, the IMF has stated that the country's growth has been “impressive” in the recent years, making room for tax broadening efforts by the government. Vitor Gasper, director of the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department said, “India has recorded quite an impressive growth performance in recent years. Our view is that the elimination of fuel subsidies and the targeting of social benefits has delivered in terms of allowing the union budget

target to be achieved at 3.5 per cent of GDP.” He added, “We have been collaborating with the Indian authorities in terms of looking at fiscal structural measures, including expenditure rationalisation while protecting infrastructure investment, tax broadening efforts. We see room for tax broadening efforts. We see room for more progressive income taxes in line with trends in income inequality. Perhaps more generally, we do see a case for a medium-term framework and we know that the authorities are actively working on it.” The IMF also raised concerns over China's credit boom which has appeared to have doubled in less than a decade. Calling it “dangerous” for the world's second-largest economy, Tobian Adrian, Financial Counsellor and Director, IMF Monetary and Capital Markets Department, said, “China is a key contributor to global growth but also has notable vulnerabilities. Credit in relation to China's economy has more than doubled in less than a decade, to over 200 per cent. Credit booms this big can be dangerous.”

Narendra Modi urges states to use GeM platform to curb corruption Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged state chief ministers to use the Government e-Market platform to reduce corruption and increase transparency in government procurement. Speaking at the Niti Aayog's Governing Council meeting, “The Prime Minister called upon States to use the GeM platform, Government eMarketplace, to reduce corruption and increase transparency in Government procurement. He said the use of technologies such as BHIM and Aadhaar would result in significant savings for the states.” The move came after the

Narenda Modi

Congress party said six BJP MPs had written letters to Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, suggesting that the portal is “creating corruption, lacks mechanism to act against defaulters, is being used or can be used by a handful of

people to mint money and that products are being bought at prices more than the rate contract.” The MPs had expressed apprehension that some people could use the portal for making quick money, causing a loss in billion to the exchequer. The Congress also demanded a probe into the whole affair, saying it is a test for PM Modi who always says he will not let corruption survive. Granted approval by the Union Cabinet, the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals launched the GeM platform in August. According to informa-

tion sourced from the GeM portal, there are 2,258 buyers listed on the platform. There are 5,455 sellers and 174 service providers enrolled with the marketplace. The platform was launched in August, and allowed government departments and agencies to make direct purchases of up to Rs 50,000. Beyond this, purchases were to be made through price comparison, bidding or reverse auction. Through the portal, the government would be able to consolidate its requirements across the board and be able to seek better offers from vendors involving bulk purchases

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India’s GDP to hit £4,690 bn by 2031-32, says Panagariya

Arvind Panagariya

Given an average growth rate of 8 per cent over the next 15 years, the Indian economy is expected to witness an over three-fold expansion by 2031-32, growing to £4,690 billion. In a brief about his presentation at Niti Aayog's governing council meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the thinktank’s vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya said, “Our base GDP is large. If we grow at 8 per cent average rate for the next 15 years, our GDP will be £4,690 billion by 2030.” According to his presentation, the GDP is expected to grow by £3,320 billion in the next 15 years, compared with an expansion of £910 billion in the past 15 years. “I said in 1999-2000, we were £ 460 billion at 201516 prices. We added £910 billion to this by 2015-16. We came to £1,370 billion by 2015-16... a little lower than $2.1 trillion,” Panagariya said. “We could grow at 8 per cent in rupee and 10 per cent in dollar terms.” The presentation showed that India's per capita GDP is expected to rise to Rs 3,14,776 in 203132 from Rs 1,06,589 in 2015-16, while the country's urban population is also expected to rise by 220 million by 2031-32 to 600 million, against 377 million in 2011. Panagariya also noted that the central and state expenditure is expected to rise by £920 billion to £1,300 billion in 2031-32 from £ 380 billion in 201516. The total and the per capita GDP have been calculated at 2015-16 prices.

The former ADP chief economist, in his presentation, outlined the three-year action plan, a draft of which is in final stages. He said the plan was a part of the sevenyear National Development Agenda, which in turn was a part of the 15-year vision document. The three-year plan for the years between 2017-18 and 2019-20 will coincide with recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission to give stability to the funding estimates of both the Centre and states. Panagariya said the three-year plan would comprise seven overarching themes. The first part would look at the revenue and expenditure of the said period. The second part would have action points for transformation of agriculture, industry, and services sector. The third part is expected to focus on regional development and would form regional strategies for urban development and rural transformation. The fourth talks about growth enablers such as transport connectivity, digital connectivity, public-private partnerships, energy, science and technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The fifth part focuses on governance issues such as tax policies and administration, rule of law, and procompetition policies and regulations. The sixth part looks at social sector issues such as health, education, and skill development, while the final part would discuss sustainability issues like environment and management of water resources.

SME IPOs oversubscribed Mistry cos' plea against Tata Sons dismissed by over 20 times Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are now fast becoming main investor attraction. Evidence can be seen from the way eight such IPOs were oversubscribed 20 times or more since January 2017. According to data provided by primary market tracker Prime Database, IPOs of smaller firms such as Chemcrux Enterprises Ltd, Focus Lighting and Fixtures Ltd and Global Education Ltd were oversubscribed by

57.41, 92.96, and 83.86 times respectively. Since the beginning of this year, 31 firms have launched their IPOs on SME exchanges run by the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Spot Exchange of India. All of which have been oversubscribed. “Investors are now increasingly getting drawn to SMEs as these investors have made good returns in SME IPOs they had invested in previously.

Dismissing a company petition filed against Tata Sons by the Cyrus Mistry camp, the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal said it made out no case of minority shareholders' economic interest nor any compelling case in public interest. The tribunal said that the alleged oppressive acts that target “fair functioning of a company” must be “in progress”, not past acts, adding that the Companies Act provides for relief against such acts “but cer-

tainly not at the cost of the company.” “In business, it is not the management head, in this case Ratan Tata, will have a Midas touch that he can turn any and every venture profitable. At least, we don't think he has any such magic in his hands.” The tribunal significantly pointed out that both English and Indian courts have repeatedly held again against interfering with business decisions of a company, unless management decisions are vitiated

by fraud and are shown to be self-serving. NCLT said, “In such a long travel, some business decisions miss out that Midas touch. Nothing prevented Mistry from raising concerns over business decisions during his chairmanship.” “When Nano was launched, the car market situation was different, competition was not like today. Business decisions are business decisions... if minority is given a free ride over majority, then no company can take any deci-

sion. Thus, any courts will only interfere when actions are unconscionable, unjust and laced with fraud to oppress the complainants.” The petition, filed by shareholders linked to Mistry, who was unceremoniously removed as the company chairman last October, had complained of oppression and mismanagement by Tata Sons. It alleged that Tata Sons, Ratan Tata and others were conducting the affairs of the $103 billion group in an oppressive manner.


REALESTATEVOICE

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KNOWLEDGE IS POWER AsianVoiceNews

Suresh Vagjiani

Sow & Reap London Property Investment

AsianVoiceNewsweekly

We are about to finalise the finishing touches on a contract in East London.

Street had been voted London’s best high street a couple of years ago.

The area is very quaint, and the site is based in the midst of the high street, minutes away from a Central Line station. This will get you to Marble Arch in a mere 30 minutes.

All of this is interesting, however, the aim ultimately is to ensure the development we are looking to purchase ends up selling well. This will be driven by demand, and demand will be driven by the factors above; which all seem to be conducive to achieving a good sale price.

To be honest when I was told it was in the heart of East London, I was expecting a bit of a dump, but I was pleasantly surprised. The area is very light and airy, you have your run of the mill franchise shops, but you also have many independent shops, which adds to the area. The village has a lot of history to it, and has two Churches, which seem like they are from the 17th century.

AGONY AGENT

It transpired that the High

Each week, we answer a reader’s rental property question, from first-time landlords to experienced owners. Agony Agent, is here to help! Q: What are right to rent checks, and do I need to do them on my tenants? A: The simple answer is yes. You, or your agent, will need to check the tenant’s eligibility to rent a property in the UK. What are Right to Rent checks?

Following an initial trial in the North, Right to Rent checks have been rolled out nationwide affecting all residential landlords. Since February 2016, landlords are required to know their tenants in much the same way as employers are required to know their employees. In particular, they need to know the immigration status of all of their adult tenants. There are exemptions, such as commercial leases, employer provided accommodation, care homes and so on; but for

BUY TO LET OPPORTUNITY Loudoun Road, London NW8 Purchase Price: £785,000

The site looked like it was ripe for planning, in my eyes. However, my opinions and perceptions are not the authority here. Our planning expert visited the site, and was visibly impressed. He was convinced the site would receive planning, the only objections he could foresee was the listed church which was next to the site. Although the majority of landlords and agents in the UK this has been an important development. The reason for that is that the penalties are high if mistakes are made, and the law is so new that the worry about making mistakes is real. The Immigration Act slightly improves the position offering more defenses, but essentially due diligence for landlords, and those serving them, got harder in 2016. The requirements l Check the original documents for inconsistencies (dates

Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

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the proposed development would be some distance away from the church, it may impact it visually. He researched the issue and found there are seventeen points listed in the listing. He also had experience with the conservation officer for the council, and knows he is a law unto himself. This knowledge is powerful knowledge. It allows us to anticipate and destroy the objections and moves the council will make, this is dependent upon the individuals within the council. Knowing them, and knowing what makes them tick, is essential in ensuring we do not hit the goal posts when going for planning. We already have a strategy to combat this issue. This deal is coming in at across documents; that they look like the person sitting in front of you etc.) l Make a full copy of all the documents (front and back) If they do not meet the guidance, at that point make further checks: l Note the date of expiration on any leave periods l Hold the document copies on file with the client’s consent l Have a system in place to check back prior to the expiration date on the leave that permission has been renewed Once you are satisfied they

l

Bright and spacious apartment l Three large double bedrooms l Two bathrooms l Sizeable balcony l Large communal terrace l Post diminutive refurbishment, the market value is expected to be £1,100,000 Call us now for more information!

£3m, and we expect it to achieve a valuation of £7.5m, conservatively. On planning, the valuation will probably be much higher than this. It is difficult to get funding for sites without planning. Once planning is granted the banks become interested and start to release funds; without planning sites require cash. I guess you wouldn’t want to take a loan even if meet the right to rent requirements, you can go ahead with the rental procedure. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it??? If this all sound a little too much work, and more red tape that the government has passed on to you, then contact our office. We are more than happy to provide the checks, and even a tenant for your investment. If you are going to check your own tenant’s validity,

you could, as there are objections you can anticipate and those you cannot. The pressure of paying loan interest whilst trying to remain focused on the planning objectives doesn’t sound like an attractive proposition. Saying this, the rewards for this site are high and likely, the architect and the planner are extremely positive. This deal is now seeking an investor. Get in touch if you are interested.

then I would suggest that if the tenant does not have a UK passport, visit the Home Office website and read their guidelines. Richard Bond Lettings Manager Sow & Reap


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FINANCIAL VOICE

Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

Consultant Editor Financial Voice Alpesh Patel

Dear Financial Voice Reader, I had a great chat with an online broker today. He wanted my expert opinion on the markets. Which way the FTSE? The USD? GBP? Euro? Should you buy Euros before Summer? What to do before the election, in France, in the UK? What was I hearing on the grapevine? He told me how he watches financial news and me. He was half my age! I let him in on secrets of the markets: Analysts and economists worry about clever thoughts on what will happen with Brexit and the Pound, market, Euros and the like. Traders do not. I’ll show you what traders think in a second. People love stories. They the theory of why something will happen or has happened. Most things to do with the markets are fake news, because traders do not listen to any of them. What we listen to, I’ll tell you, just wait a second. When I wrote my book ‘Investing Unplugged’ about trading and how the news channels like Bloomberg and CNBC and BBC interpret financial news and what traders look for, I made some shocking revelations – traders do not watch those channels – well professional traders anyway. Well, okay, they may watch them, but they do not listen to them to decide what to do. Again, I’ll tell you what traders actually look at. Do you know what the biggest hedge funds in the world look at? After all, they must be doing something correct, people like AHL, Winton Capital. What is it? Are they analysing the market, asking me for my analysis? When I wrote my first book, ‘The Mind of a Trader: Trading Strategies from the World’s Leading Traders’ I met 10 of the world’s leading traders and asked them what made them so successful. So let me tell you what one said, and I printed it. The publisher was the Financial Times remember. David Kyte (legend in the business as a trader) told me to look at the traders and the papers on the floor of the trading room. Was it analysts reports? Financial Times? No, it was the Sun. He said the traders would look at Page 3 of the paper (at that time, that page showed pictures of topless women). His point was, as a trader, someone who does this, with a bunch of other traders, none of them give a damn about experts (sound familiar). They follow trends. Talk about populism. They follow what someone else, maybe Goldman Sachs, has already triggered. They do not step in front of it. They do not try to second guess it. Success, I learnt when I wrote that book, is hell of a lot easier and simpler than people assume. You can do it the hard way if you want, but your chances are probably weaker too trying to outsmart the rest of the world.

RBI asks banks to review telecom loans As an intense price war continues to take a toll on the finances of telecom players, the Reserve Bank of India issued a warning to banks asking them to be vigilant about loans given to companies in sectors that are going through tough times and that they may see a rise in bad debts. An RBI notification read, “As the telecom sector is reporting stressed financial conditions, and presently interest coverage ratio for the sector is less than one, board of directors of banks may review the telecom sector by June 30, and consider making provisions for standard assets in this sector at higher rates so that necessary resilience is built in the balance sheets should the stress reflect on the quality of exposure to the sector at a future date. Besides, banks should also subject the exposure to the sector to closer monitor-

ing.” The statement comes at a time when the finance ministry and the central bank are working on a package to improve the health of state-run banks grappling with record sticky assets, especially in sectors such as power and steel. The main bank and the government, during their discussions, had identified telecom as one of the sectors that could see a buildup of pressure in the coming months as existing players such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea battle it out with Reliance Jio with offers free service to win over subscribers. A recent report by ratings agency ICRA said that the debt of telcos could hit a record £45 billion. Industry estimates suggest that the annual interest outgo would be around £4.5 billion with another £3.3 billion going as spectrum fee every year.

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Arun Jaitley raises H-1B concerns with US treasury secy AsianVoiceNews

India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raised the issue of tightening of the H1B visa regime with US counterpart treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin during their first meeting, highlighting the contribution of Indian firms and professionals to the US economy. During his visit to attend the annual Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Jaitley raised the issue two times, effectively bringing to light India's contribution to the USA. Both, Jaitley and Mnuchin discussed a wide range of bilateral issues during their meeting, including international cooperation against terror financing. The Indian FM highlighted the notable progress made in the IndoUS relations over the last few years and India's ambitious reform agenda which was creating new opportunities towards a deeper economic engagement between the two countries, as revealed in a finance ministry statement. “Critical economic issues like Indo-US investment initiative, infrastructure

US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin (R) shakes hands with Arun Jaitley in Washington.

collaboration and NIIF (National Investment and Infrastructure Fund), collaboration with the US for Smart Cities Development were deliberated upon during the meeting.” The issue of H1B visas for skilled professionals from India was raised and the contribution of Indian companies and professionals to the US economy was highlighted, as per the statement. Just last week, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to tighten the rules of the H1B visa programme in order to stop its “abuse” and ensure that the visas

are given to the “mostskilled or the highest paid” petitioners, in a decision impacting India's $150 billion IT industry. Infosys, TCS, Cognizant blamed: A Trump administration official complained that Indian IT firms Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Cognizant unfairly get the lion's share of H-1B visas by putting extra tickets into the lottery system, which the Trump administration wants to replace with a 'merit-based' immigration policy. The official said that a small number of giant out-

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sourcing firms flood the system with applications, which increases their chances of success in the lottery draw. "You may know their names well, but like the top recipients of the H-1B visa are companies like Tata, Infosys, Cognizant - they will apply for a very large number of visas, more than they get, by putting extra tickets in the lottery raffle, if you will, and then they'll get the lion's share of visas," the senior official said. Asked why Indian companies were singled out for mention, he responded that TCS, Infosys and Cognizant were the top three recipients of H-1B visas. "And those three... have an average wage for H-1B visas between $60,000 and $65,000 (a year). By contrast, the median Silicon Valley software engineer's wage is probably around $150,000," the official said. While TCS and Cognizant did not offer a comment, Infosys said, "We have provided a statement on the H-1B matter earlier. At this point we have nothing additional to add."

RIL Q4 net up 12% on higher margins Reliance Industries (RIL) earned record profits of £804.6 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017 on higher earnings from its refining and petrochemicals business. Consolidated profit rose 12.3%, topping analysts estimates. The company's consolidated profit in Q4FY16 was £716.7 million. Operating profit increased 6.4% to £1.42 billion in the three months through March 31 from £1.33 billion a year earlier. The energy-to-telecom enterprise's Q4FY17 revenues expanded 45.2% to £ 9.29 billion compared to

its Q4FY16 revenues of £6.39 billion. Exports too were up 25.2% to £ 3.87 billion. RIL, operator of the world's biggest oil refining complex, earned $11.5 on each barrel of crude it processed in Q4FY17 compared to $10.8 a year earlier. The company derives more than 90% of its profit from refining and petrochemicals businesses but over the last several quarters it has been spending aggressively to build new businesses such as telecom. Subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio), which had launched 4G mobile

services last September and that has been offering services for free till recently, reported a loss of £2.25 million for the six month period ended March 31 compared to a £746,000 loss in the same period of FY 2016. Its revenue, including other income fell 76% from £225,000 to £54,000 in the October to March period. From April onwards, RJio, which has gained 108.9 million subscribers on its network, has started to charge for its services even as it continues to offer free voice calls. In a statement, Reliance chief Mukesh Ambani said: “Jio is witnessing the

largest migration from free to paid services in history.” Employee costs at RIL jumped 28.3% to £236.6 million in Q4FY17 as against £184.4 million in the corresponding period of last fiscal due to increased employee base and provisioning for performance linked incentives. Other income declined marginally from £199.6 million to £193.6 million in Q4FY17. Debt rose to £19.60 billion while cash on its books declined to £7.72 billion. In fiscal 2017, RIL had spent £11.4 billion to expand its petrochemicals, refining and telecom units.

Indian companies give UK economy a much-needed boost A new report reveals that Indian companies still make an important contribution to the UK economy. The report, titled India meets Britain Tracker 2017: The latest trends on Indian investment in the UK, published by Grant Thornton UK LLP in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), showed that the 55 fastest growing companies achieved an average annual growth rate of 31 per cent. Companies from the technology and telecoms, and pharmaceuticals and chemicals sectors strongly

featured in the India Tracker and made up 31 per cent and 24 per cent of the list respectively. As expected, London maintains its dominance as the leading destination for Indian investment in the UK. The analysis also found that in 2016, approximately 800 Indian companies were operating in the UK and recorded combined revenues of £47.5 billion, proof of the deep economic relationship between India and the UK. It was stated that the companies employ almost 110,000 employees in the UK, and last year had a combined capital expen-

diture of £4.25 billion. Head of South Asia Group at Grant Thornton UK LLP, Anuj Chande said, “With around 800 Indian companies now operating in the UK, it is clear the UK remains a highly attractive destination for Indian investors. The Modi government's pro-business agenda is creating the right environment for Indian businesses to pursue and realise growth at home and overseas. With continued political stability and leadership on its reform programme, India is poised for significant economic growth and prosperity.

Whilst it is still too early to predict what impact Brexit will have on the UK's attractiveness as an investment destination for Indian companies, the many advantages the UK can offer are not set to disappear.” He added, “The UK government is also clearly keen to strengthen the UK's ties with India, and since the Brexit vote, a number of UK political representatives, including the Prime Minister, have made various visits to India with the hope that Brexit will open up a new free trade deal between the two countries.”


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Narendra Modi, Riz Ahmed on Time's ‘most influential people list’ AsianVoiceNews

NEW YORK: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma were amongst those featured in this year's TIME Magazine's annual list of the '100 Most Influential People'. The list, released on April 20, recognises the most influential pioneers, titans, artists, leaders, and icons, for “the power of their inventions, the scale of their ambitions, the genius of their solutions to problems that no one before them could solve.” Others on the list include British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed, US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, and Pope Francis. Modi's profile was written by author Pankaj Mishra, who had written it in May 2014, when he became

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Narendra Modi and Riz Ahmed

the leader of the world's largest democracy. “Once barred from the US for his suspected complicity in antiMuslim violence, and politically ostracised at home as well, this Hindu nationalist used Twitter to bypass traditional media and speak directly to masses feeling left or pushed behind by globalisa-

tion, and he promised to make India great again by rooting out self-serving elites.” Three years later, Mishra wrote in the essay that Modi's “vision of India's economic, geopolitical and cultural supremacy is far from being realised, and his extended family of Hindu nationalists have taken to scapegoating

secular and liberal intellectuals as well as poor Muslims.” He also added that the PM's aura remain undimmed, describing him as a “maestro of the art of political seduction, playing on the existential fears and cultural insecurities of people facing downward or blocking mobility.” Meanwhile, Ahmed, who not only scored a place on the list, but also made it to the magazine cover, was honoured by actor, playwright and composer, Lin-Manuel Miranda who wrote, “Look, Riz Ahmed has been quietly pursuing every passion and opportunity for many years as an actor, rapper, and activist.” He added, “To know him is to be inspired, engaged and ready to create alongside him. The year 2016 was when all the seeds he planted bore glorious fruits, and here's the best part: he's just getting started.”

Europe pollution caused India drought LONDON: A new research revealed that the pollution from Europe has caused a drought in India, causing one of its worst-ever natural disasters, affecting over 130 million people. Sulphur Dioxide, mainly produced by coal-fired power plants, producing a number of harmful effects, like acid rain, heart and lung diseases, and damage to plant growth. While sulphur aerosols have a cooling effect on the atmosphere as they reflect sunlight back into space, emissions from the northern hemisphere can change the relative rate of warming in the south, causing the tropical inband to shift, prompting devastating results. Calculating the level of effects caused by

emissions of sulphur dioxide on rainfall in India, in 2000, researchers at Imperial College London produced the results by suing a climate model. The north-west of India experienced a staggering drop

of about 40 per cent because of emissions from the northern hemisphere's main industrial areas. Emissions from Europe alone caused reductions of up to 10 per cent in the northwest and southwest regions. Apostolos Voulgarakis, one of the researchers of I C L ' s Grantham Institute, said the study showed how emissions in one part of the world could have a significant effect on another, even if the pollution itself didn't actually get there.

Deputy launches bid to oust Zuma CAPE TOWN: A public battle has been initiated by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, to oust South Africa's Jacob Zuma calling for an investigation over his business buddies' influence. Ramphosa, 64, said the president's link with the Gupta brothers who run a multibilliondollar business empire was “the elephant in the room” and of grave concern. “These practices threaten the integrity of the state, undermine our economic progress and diminish our ability to change the lives of the poor,” Ramaphosa said. A former trade unionist picked by the African National Congress to head its team to negotiate the end of apartheid, he was handpicked by Nelsom Mandela as his successor before the party overruled him and installed Thabo Mbeki. Ramaphosa was recently criticised for fail-

Jacob Zuma has been accused of corruption by his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, second left

ing to speak out against Zuma sooner. The SA President has been accused of siding with the wealthy Gupta family, allegedly giving their influence over government appointments, contracts, and state-owned businesses and recently angered several ANC leaders by sacking finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Sharing a platform with former deputy finance

minister, Mcebisi Jonas, Ramaphosa rejected Zuma's stand on a lack of “crisis” and denounced factionalism, vote buying and patronage. “Recent political developments have thrown into sharp relief the divisions within our movement and brought to the fore broader grievances about the direction of the country. The problem is money. Money has come between us.”

“East Asia is contributing more because it's closer, but there is an effect from Europe and also the US,” he said. A brief note prepared by the group about the techniques to assess air pollutants said they could have “complex and diverse” effects.

WORLD Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

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Sikh cabbie assaulted in USA

NEW YORK: In a suspected hate crime, a 25year-old Sikh cab driver in the USA was assaulted and his turban knocked off by drunk passengers. The incident left Harkirat Singh, an immigrant from Punjab, scared. The New York Police Department was investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. Singh said he picked up three men and a woman from Madison Square Garden. When they reached their destination in the Bronx, they began complaining that Singh had taken them to the wrong address and assaulted.

PIO ordered to pay $135,000 to ex-worker

NEW YORK: An Indian-American woman CEO has been ordered to pay $135,000 to her former domestic worker from India after a probe found that she underpaid the employee and mistreated her. Himanshu Bhatia, CEO of Rose International and IT Staffing, will have to pay Sheela Ningwal back wages and damages under the terms of a consent judgement. An investigation by the labour department found that Bhatia wilfully and repeatedly violated federal labour laws' minimum wage and record keeping provisions from July 2012 to December 2014.

Pak court lets Sharif stay but orders a probe

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan prime Minister Nawaz Sharif narrowly managed to save his premiership after a Pakistan Supreme Court bench declared there was “insufficient evidence” to remove him from office but ordered the setting up of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the graft allegations against his family. The charges relate to alleged money laundering by Sharif in the 1990s when he twice served as prime minister to purchase assets in London.


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WORLD

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American singer Katy Perry hurts sentiments with her 'Current Mood' Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

CALIFORNIA: American singer Katy Perry faced the wrath of several religious Hindus as she uploaded a photo of a deity on her Instagram page. Putting up a photo of Goddess Kali, with a caption reading 'Current Mood' Perry instigated several social media users, most of them Indians. It wasn't long before her page was flooded with reactions and comments. Several users accused Perry of being “insensitive”. “U should not show Ur emotions or feelings in the name of goddess or their images bcoz we Hindus worship them images of God are not a

toy better remove it (sic),” wrote Satya Prasanna. Another user wrote, “@katyperry you think this is a good IMG to show your

mood but not any Hindu think like that this is not good idea to represent you mood using some IMG if God not just Hindu but any

religious.” Some users were definitely on her side, giving Perry the benefit of the doubt and asking others to stop abusing her. “In which way is this picture offensive. You Indians please stop getting offended in every petty issues and do something productive (sic),” wrote Koyena Chakrawarti. “Pls stop over reacting on her post...instead see what other bastards (non Indians) r writing ewww, satanic n all. U should try to teach other morons who r being insolent on this pic... Katy dint disrespect our goddess but definitely others,” wrote another user.

Indian American family sues school over cheating charges in a geography bee ILLINOIS: An IndianAmerican family in Oak Brook, Illinois filed a $50 million federal lawsuit against Butler Elementary District 53 over allegations of cheating in a geography bee. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court Northern District of Illinois by Rahul Julka, on behalf of his two sons. His wife Komal claimed it isn't about the money, but about her sons, students in

the district, who have been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment related to allegations of cheating. “It really isn't about the money, but if we filed the suit for $10, nobody would pay attention. We want people to know what's going on here,” she said. She said the family is doing all the work in the lawsuit. The incident occurred last year when the school district alleged that the Julkas

intentionally obtained test questions in advance of the 2016 National Geographic Bee. Following which, Rahul, a surgeon in DuPage County, filed a civil complaint against the Board of Education of District 53 last June. Sanctions were led against the family, following the district investigation, with the 9 and 11 year old boys banned from competitions within the district. Komal

was also accused to have registered as a fraudulent home school provider, and emails allegedly showing she paid for the questions with her credit card after creating a school name and address. All the claims have been denied by the family. Komal said she and her husband believed the federal lawsuit was necessary because last year's lawsuit doesn't allow them an opportunity to tell their entire story.

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NZ toughens requirements for skilled immigrants

WELLINGTON: New Zealand has introduced tougher requirements for skilled overseas workers as it tries to control immigration numbers that have reached an all-time high. The changes come a day after Australia said it would scrap a temporary visa for skilled overseas workers and after US President Donald Trump signed an order he said should help American workers whose jobs are threatened by skilled immigrants. New Zealand's immigration minister Michael Woodhouse said in a speech that the government was unapologetic that industries relying on overseas workers are finding it harder to recruit people from abroad.

Taliban kill '140' troops in Afghan base attack

MAZAR-I-SHARIF: As many 140 Afghan soldiers were killed by Taliban attackers apparently disguised in military uniforms in what would be the deadliest attack ever on an Afghan military base. As many as 10 Taliban fighters, dressed in Afghan army uniforms and driving military vehicles, talked their way onto the base and opened fire on soldiers eating dinner. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the attack was in retaliation for the recent killing of several senior Taliban leaders in northern Afghanistan.

Madhesis strike deal with Nepal govt

KATHMANDU: Nepal's Madhesi parties struck a deal with the Prachanda-led coalition government under which they would take part in the local body elections after a revised Constitution amendment bill would be passed in Parliament through a fasttrack process. The Federal Alliance, a group of agitating Madhesi parties and ethnic groups, reached an agreement on fast-track endorsement of the revised Constitution amendment bill and to conduct local elections in two phases, according to the Prime Minister's office. Subsequently, the Madhesi parties called off the stir.


WORLD Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

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Indian-American Surgeon General removed In Brief AsianVoiceNews

WASHINGTON: The first Indian-American appointed by the Obama regime as Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy has been dismissed by the Trump administration and replaced by his deputy, Rear Admiral Sylvia TrentAdams, one of the first nurses to serve as Surgeon General. A statement issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services said, “Murthy, the leader of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, was asked to resign from his duties as Surgeon General after assisting in a smooth transition into the new Trump administration. Murthy has been relieved of his duties as Surgeon General and will continue to serve as a member of the Commissioner Corps.” While it is unknown why

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Vivek Murthy

Murthy was dismissed, a media report suggested that employees at the Department of Health and Human Services personally expressed surprise at his sudden departure. In a Facebook post, Murthy, the 19th Surgeon

General and the first IndianAmerican to hold the designation, said it was an honour and privilege to work for the prestigious position. “For the grandson of a poor farmer from India, to be asked by the President to look out for the health of an entire nation was humbling and uniquely American story. I will always be grateful to our country for welcoming my immigrant family nearly 40 years ago and giving me this opportunity to serve.” And official statement said, “(Health and Human Services) Secretary (Tom) Price thanks him for his dedicated service to the nation. Rear Admiral Sylvia TrentAdams, who is the current Deputy Surgeon General, will serve as the acting Surgeon General and assume leadership of the US Public Health

Service Commissioned Corps.” He added, “As my colleague Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams takes over as Acting Surgeon General, know that our nation is in capable and compassionate hands. Thank you, America, for the privilege of a lifetime. I have been truly humbled and honoured to serve as your Surgeon General. I look forward to working alongside you in new ways in the years to come.” Murthy's parents are originally from Karnataka, while he was born in Huddersfield, England before his family relocated to Miami, Florida when he was three. He has an MD from the Yale School of Medicine, and an MBA in Health Care Management from the Yale School of Management.

Couple also charged in genital mutilation probe DETROIT: Two other people have been charged in Detroit in connection with the alleged genital mutilation of young girls in a Muslim sect. Conspiracy and other charges have been filed against Dr Fakhruddin Attar, owner of a suburban Detroit clinic where alleged procedures were performed on two girls from Minnesota, in February. His wife Farida Attari has also been arrested and charged.

Investigators said the couple knew Dr Jumana Nagarwala was performing genital mutilation at the Livonia clinic after business hours. Arrested last week, Nagarwala had denied the allegations through her lawyer, Shannon Smith, insisting she had conducted a benign religious ritual for families of a Muslim sect. Her defense contradicted the state's position that the two

seven year old girls were forced to undergo a painful, bloody procedure at a Michigan Clinic that left them with scars and lacerations on their genitals. Smith's explanation came to light during a hearing to determine whether Nagarwala would stay locked up without bond, following her arrest and a judge said she was a threat to the public and refused to release her.

Flight attendant assaults woman and then kicked her off plane SAN FRANCISCO: In a recent incident involving airline brutality, a mother of twins was left in tears after she was allegedly being whacked with a stroller by an American Airlines flight attendant. The incident occurred last week on a flight from San Francisco to Dallas and was captured on camera. Passengers on the plane claimed the attendant “violently” took the buggy from the lady who was holding twins, hitting her and just slightly missing one of the babies. Surian Adyanthaya, one of the passengers, caught the aftermath of the altercation on video, posting it on Facebook with a caption that read 'OMG! AA Flight attendant violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby on my flight, hitting her and just missing the baby.” He later added, “They

The mum with her twins talks with AA staff

just involuntarily escorted the mother and her kids off the flight and let the flight attendant back on, who tried to fight other passengers. The mom asked for an apology and the AA official declined.” The video footage, which has been shared over 3,500 times, also shows a male passenger stepping in to defend the mother and telling the attendant, “Hey bud, you do that to me and

I'll knock you flat.” The attendant, can be heard yelling “you stay out of this” in response. “Hit me, c'mon, bring it on! C'mon, you don't know what the story is.” To which the passenger replies, “I don't care what the story is, you don't hurt a baby.” The airlines, in an official statement, condemned the flight attendant's behaviour, stating an investigation was already launched. “What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers. We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident.” The attendant in question has been removed from duty pending the investigation. The woman and her children were reportedly put on another flight.

Obama re-emerges in public, avoids Trump CHICAGO: Former President Barack Obama returned to his adopted home for his first public event since leaving the White House, pledging to prepare the next generation of political leadership in the US. “This community taught me that ordinary people, when working together, can do extraordi-

nary things,” Obama said at the University of Chicago. He said he still cared about problems like economic inequality, climate, justice & violence. On Monday, Obama began a series of appearances in the US and Europe. Aides said Obama did not intend to use his platform to directly challenge President

Trump, despite his successor's efforts to reverse his policies. But the event gave an example of the pressure Obama will be under to speak out. Questions on Trump will present a tricky moment for Obama, who has expressed respect for the way George Bush avoided criticising him.

The Attar couple and Nagarwala belong to a Muslim sect called Dawoodi Bohra. The community is mostly concentrated in India. Investigators found the families of the Minnesota girls also belong to the same sect. Smith, meanwhile, partly blamed the allegations against Nagarwala on a “political divide” within the group's mosque in Oakland County, Michigan.

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Kenyan conservationist shot during ambush

NAIROBI: Kuki Gallmann, the Italian-born author and conservationist, was being treated in a Nairobi hospital after being shot in the stomach near her lodge in Kenya. Gallmann, 73, was ambushed while driving her vehicle, Kenyan media reported. She was rushed to the Nanyuki County Hospital for emergency before being flown to Aga Khan hospital in Nairobi. In March, Kenyan cattle herders fired shots at Gallmann and her daughter after burning down her luxury lodge at the Laikipia Nature Conservancy.

Pak sisters kill man for having 'blasphemed' 13 years ago

NEW DELHI: Three sisters in Pakistan shot dead a man accused of 'blasphemy' 13 years ago, saying they couldn't kill him earlier as they were "too young then." In their statement to the police, the three sisters said Fazal Abbas, 45, had committed blasphemy in 2004, but "we couldn't kill him at the time because we were too young then". They added that they had vowed they would kill him when they get a chance. "Finally, we have shot dead the blasphemer after the long wait of 13 years," the sisters said to the police upon their arrest.

Canteen in-charge fired for serving beef to Hindus

DHAKA: A canteen leaseholder at Bangladesh’s prestigious Dhaka University has been fired for serving beef to Hindu students and hurting their religious sentiments, a media report said. The university has formed a committee to investigate the incident. The committee has been asked to submit a report within a week. Zakir Hossain, a class-four employee who became the leaseholder of Faculty of Fine Arts canteen, was expelled for ‘creating disorder’ on ‘Pahela Baishakh’ when thousands of students gathered on the campus to celebrate the Bangla New Year.


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INDIA

AIADMK factions set terms for merger Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Finance Minister D Jayakumar, setting the tone for the merger talks between the two factions of AIADMK, has offered to give up his ministerial berths to rebel leader O Panneerselvam if needed. As the talks are set to begin at the headquarters in Royapettah this week, Jayakumar said, “If someone has to sacrifice for the welfare of the party, let it be me. I am ready to forego my portfolios for them (OPS faction).” The statement was shortly followed by his cabinet colleague Dindigul C Sreenivasan, who said there was more to what Jayakumar said. “The 'majority' Edappadi K Palaniswami government will complete its full term.”

O Panneerselvam

Edappadi K Palaniswami

Both the statement's make it amply clear that their faction would in no way cede the Chief Minister's post to OPS. When asked to comment on OPS faction's insistence on the CM's post, Jayakumar evaded a direct reply. He, however, said they were open to listen to their demands. “Let them put forth their views and demands. There will naturally be demands. We can address them only

through dialogue. Our doors are open for talks. Let them come to the party headquarters for the talks,” Jaya kumar said. Sources said that the EPS faction have come out with a compromise formula. As per the proposal, the general secretary and chief minister's post would remain with EPS camp, while OPS would be offered deputy chief minister and post of party treasurer.

Man raises fake alarm to skip trip with girlfriend HYDRABAD: How unhappy does a man have to be to prefer triggering national security than go on a trip with his girlfriend? A Hyderabad man, identified as Vamshi Chowdhary, 31,reportedly sent a hoax mail to three City Police Commissioners simply to skip going on a tour with his significant other. Limba Reddy, DCP Task Force Hyderabad, said, “He has been talking to a woman from Chennai. The couple had a plan to go for a pleasure trip to Mumbai and Goa. However, Vamshi has been facing financial crisis.” Vamshi sent mails from a fake account about simultaneous hijack attempts at Mumbai, Chennai, and Hyderabad airports, causing obvious panic and prompt beef up in security. “He did not want his girlfriend to know about his financial issues after she declined to cancel the plan. He told her that the flights have been cancelled because of the high alert at the airports,” Reddy said. He had

Vamshi Chowdhary

earlier created a fake flight ticket to April 16, from Chennai to Mumbai and mailed it to her. Mumbai Commissioner soon sent information to Hyderabad police, stating that the threat emails were generated from the city. A task force soon tracked down the IP address of the computer. Over 15 people were examined, including Vamshi, who used the computer on that day. After he confessed to the crime, the police realised he had a history of cyber crime. “Few months ago, he had duped a woman on a matrimonial site. He took Rs 6 lakh from the woman and promised to marry her.”

The Edappadi Palaniswami faction would further propose two posts of a deputy general secretaries, one of which would go to OPS camp. “K Pandiarajan and S Semmalai will be offered ministerial berths, while E Madhusudhanan will be given presidium chairman's post,” said senior AIADMK MP Dhinakaran. EPS faction leaders stated that the message has reached OPS, who has not reacted so far. Dhinakaran said three leaders - Manoj Pandian, Maitreyan, and KP Munusamy are setting down conditions like allotting certain number of seats in local body elections and next general elections for functionaries in OPS camp.

TN farmers suspend Delhi agitation NEW DELHI: Farmers from Tamil Nadu who were on strike for more than a month in New Delhi over drought relief package suspended their agitation after assurance by Chief Minister E Palaniswami. Palaniswami had met the farmers who have been protesting at Delhi's Jantar Mantar for the last six weeks. The chief minister assured the farmers that their demands would be met and urged them to call off their protest. The move came after Palaniswami met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and highlighted the farmers' issue. He had also discussed the issue with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The farmers' union said if their demands were not met by May 25, they would resume their strike. Palaniswami was in Delh to attend the NITI Aayog

meeting along with chief ministers of other states. The protesting farmers have been demanding a £4 billion drought relief package, farm loan waiver and setting up of the Cauvery Management Board by the centre. Over the last 39 days, they have shaved their heads, halved their moustaches, held mice and snakes in their mouths, conducted mock funerals, flogged themselves and even carried skulls of farmers who had committed suicide due to debt pressure. Earlier this month, dozens of protesters blocked all six lanes of Chennai's arterial Kathipaara flyover by tying an iron chain to the poles on either side to express solidarity with the farmers protesting in Delhi. The Madras High Court, too, had directed state government to expand its farm loan waiver scheme to include farmers who own land over five acres. .

Khalistani slogans raised Centre returns Punjab Bill during Sajjan visits on Guru Granth Sahib CHANDIGARH: The Centre has returned a bill passed by the Punjab Assembly last year, seeking the addition of a section of the Indian Penal Code to enhance punishment in cases related to sacrilege and desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib, stating that all religions are to be treated equally. A functionary said, “The Centre has asked the Punjab government to either withdraw the Bill or include all religions in the proposed amendment if it wanted the Bill to be looked at it afresh. The Punjab home department has sent the returned Bill to the Chief Minister's Office. The matter will be discussed with the Chief Minister before a call is taken on the next course of action.” The bill was reportedly sent back on 16th March, the very day Captain Amarinder Singh took over as the new Chief Minister.

The Bill sought the addition of Section 295 AA, in addition to the existing section 295 A, in the IPC. It deals with deliberate and malicious acts intended against a religion that can outrage the feelings of any class. Under this section, the culprit can be given a maximum punishment of three years. According to an official, the Centre observed that the enhancement of punishment sought under Section 295 of the IPC “may not withstand judicial scrutiny.” This issue was discussed in detail in SR Bommani judgement of 1994 while deciding on the misuse of Article 356 of the Constitution after President’s Rule was imposed in Karnataka to dislodge the Bommai government in 1989, and in other states. “The State is enjoined to accord equal treatment to all religions and religious sects and denominations,” the judgement said.

AMRITSAR: Pro-Khalistan slogans were raised by Sikh radicals who clashed with SGPC task force volunteers outside the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar during Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan's visit. The protestors, members of the Shiromani Akali Dal and other radical organisations, demonstrated with posters, banners, and placards condemning the state government. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee task force members stopped them from coming close to the visiting Minister, who completely avoided the demonstrators and offered prayers at the Harmandir Sahib. Sajjn was received by top SGPC functionaries, including its president Kirpal Singh Badungar, to a red carpet welcome. He reportedly remained there for over an hour. The committee made sure none of the radical elements created any nui-

sance inside the shrine complex. Sajjan offered prayers inside the sanctum sanctorum, listened to hymns, took a 'parikrama' and sat inside for a while. He was later honoured with a siropa, by the SGPC and presented a replica of the Golden Temple and a sword. The first Sikh to become a Defence Minister of a western country, Sajjan has recently been shrouded with controversy with him being labelled as 'Khalistani sympathiser' by CM Amarinder Singh. Sajjan was received at the Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International airport by the district administration officers, where members of several radical groups were present with banners to welcome him. CM Amrinder had stated last week that he would not meet the visiting Canadian minister due to his connection with radical elements demanding for a separate Sikh state.

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20 killed as truck ploughs into protesters

CHITTOOR (ANDHRA): Over 20 people were killed and many others injured, when a truck driver lost control and hit an electric pole before crashing into a group of protesters, shops, and cars near Tirupati. The unfortunate incident occurred when people had gathered in front of the Yerpedu police station to stage a dharna. Police said six people had crushed under the wheels of the truck, while 14 others died of electric shock with high tension wires falling on them. The truck was said to be travelling at a high speed before it crashed.

KCR elected TRS chief for eighth time

KOMPALLY (TELANGANA): Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has been elected unopposed as the Telangana Rashtra Samiti president for the eight time. The CM outlined his government's efforts to mitigate problems of farmers. He also highlighted his government's achievements over the last three years. He said that his administration would set up farmer welfare associations from the village to the state level. “The government will start it with seed money of £50 million which would be allocated in the next budget. These associations will help farmers help each other during times of distress,” he said.

SC rejects Karnataka plea on Cauvery water

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea filed by the Karnataka government, seeking review of its September 20, 2016 order asking it to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to neighbouring Tamil Nadu till September 27. Saying that it has become “Infructuous” as several other orders were passed subsequently, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit rejected the review plea and that it deserves to become “extinct”.

Former Khalistan Liberation Force chief gets bail

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted bail to former Khalistan Liberation Force chief Harminder Singh Mintoo. The high court bench of Justice Surinder Gupta also directed district and sessions judge, Jalandhar, to make sure the case trial is expedited and disposed of preferably within nine months. Mintoo's counsel stated that he was declared a proclaimed offender in February 2001 but was arrested in September 2014, and currently is in custody. He, along with five others, had escaped after 10 gunmen stormed the Nabha jail last November, but was re-arrested from a Delhi railway station the next day.

SDO of Sewerage Board suspended

GURDASPUR: Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu suspended a sub-divisional officer of Water Supply and Sewerage Board in the state, for dereliction of duty. In Gurdaspur to review various development projects undertaken by the previous government led by Parkash Singh Badal, Sidhu said SDO Jugal Kishore was negligent in the construction of a treatment plant in Dera Baba Nanak, and that its polluted water was entering farmers' agriculture field and destroying crops. Sidhu reiterated the current government's commitment to review several development projects undertaken by the previous dispensation.

Takht Damdama chief removed

FATEHGARH SAHIB: Giani Gurmukh Singh, acting Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, has been removed from the post with the charge now given to head granthi of Gurdwara Muktsar Sahib Harpreet Singh. The decision was taken by the SGPC executive in a six-hour-long meeting held in Fatehgarh Sahib. SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar said Giani Singh had flouted Sikh 'maryada' and issued controversial statements, besides also failing to attend any of the meetings convened by other Takht heads.


HERITAGE - HISTORY Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

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Prithviraj Chauhan : The Last Hindu King of India His history is free mixture of facts with fiction but has been a Hero

Dr. Hari Desai The History of India would have been different had it not been Prithviraj Chauhan, the King of Ajmer and Delhi, who pardoned Muhammad Ghori. Ghori,

the aggressor from Gazani was defeated in the first battle of Tarain in 1191 A.D. and brought in chains to Pithoragarh, Prithviraj’s Durbar. Ghori begged his victor for mercy and release. The Ministers advised against pardoning but the chivalrous and valiant Prithviraj thought otherwise and respectfully released the vanquished Ghori. This proved to be the biggest blunder on the part of Prithviraj. The very next year, Ghori re-attacked even with the blessings of Jaichand, the King of Kanauj and other enemy Hindu kingdoms of Chauhan. Prithviraj was defeated, blinded and killed. This led Ghori to attack even Jaichanda or Jayachandra, defeat him and even eliminate him with a permanent blot on his image as a “treacherous” King. Disunity and rivalry among the Hindu Kings led to slavery of India by Muslim aggressors and even by the British for centuries. The life-span of Prithviraj was just 29 to 36 years, according to Historian Dr. Bindhya Raj Chauhan, who has written a well-researched book “ Delhipati Prithviraj Chauhan evam Unaka Yug”. Prithviraj III or Raj Pithora ruled Sapadalaksh, the tra-

Prithviraj Chauhan,the King of Ajmer and Delhi

The Epic Love Story of Prithviraj Chauhan and Samyogita

ditional Chahamana territory, in present-day northwestern India. He controlled much of the presentday Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and some parts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. He ruled from both his capitals i.e. Ajmer(Ajaymeru) and Delhi and his history has been free mixture of facts with fiction. Not many people may be aware that Prithviraj and his younger brother Hariraja were born to the Chahamana king Someshvara and queen Karpuradevi in present-day Gujarat, where their father Someshvara was brought up at the Chalukya court by his maternal relatives. According to “Prithviraja Vijaya”, he was born on the 12th day of the Jyeshta month. Based on some of the astrological planetary

The blinded Prithviraj shoots Ghori with Shabd-Bhedhi arrow

positions, the year of Prithviraj’s birth was calculated as 1166 A.D. (1223 Vikram Samvat).The same book states that he mastered 6 languages; while “Prithviraj Raso”, written by his friend poet Chand Bardai claims that he learned 14 languages. He was master of history,

times, but Raso-poet Chandar Bardai mentions only three marriages. Dr. Bindhya Raj while talking this writer jocularly states that some people made Prithviraj marry once every year, but according to the reliable records he married three or four times. His marriage with Samyogita was the last one. We do find some records of his nine marriages. Some even mentioned him as inviting wars for his lust to m a r r y . Prithviraj declared war against the Kingdom of Devgiri, in pres e n t - d a y Maharashtra, to marry Princess Samyogita, the Princess of Kanauj and Shashilata who last Queen of Prithviraj was engaged to That there should have been Jaychandra and he was sucsome rivalry between the cessful. two is but natural. Both Prithviraj used to were ambitious rulers aspirdeclare war against the ing to the first place in the Kingdom if one refused to Indian polity.” “The immeget the Princess married to diate cause, however, of the him. The Pratihar king outbreak of hostilities between the two is believed to have be the ‘daring abduction of the not unwilling daughter’(Samyogita) of Jayachandra by the gallant Prithviraj. The story does not find a place in the PrithvirajPrabandh, the Prabandhchintamani, the Prabandhkosh and the Hammiramahakavya, all of which have something to say about the Chauhan hero.” The king Jayachandra, who came to

They were Laikha, Taikha, Shaikha, Jodha and Bhirda. Laikha, Taikha and Shaikha came under Gharib Nawaj’s influence and converted to Islam.” Dr. Bindhya Raj says Prithviraj had only one son, Govindraj who was allowed to retain the possession of Ajmer on the payment of heavy tribute to Ghori’s nominee. Ghori got Prithviraj killed at Ajmer though his Tomb is at Kandhar in Afghanistan. Samsher Rana, an accuse in the murder of bandit-queen

Amitabh Bachchan at Ajmer Dargah

PM Modi sends Chaadar to Ajmer Dargah-Garib Nawaz

mathematics, medicine, military, painting, philosophy (mimamsa), and theology. Both the texts state that he was particularly proficient in archery and learned the art of Sabda-Bhedi  (hitting a target by concentrating on sound, while being blind-folded) during his childhood. His father died when Prithviraj was around 11 year old and he ascended throne with his mother as the regent. He soon found himself engaged in a number of wars. One of the celebrated Historians Dr. Dasharath Sharma states in “Early Chauhan Dynasties” : “Tradition speaks also of a war between Jayachandra of Kanuaj and Prithviraj.

Muhammad Ghori who got defeated and later defeated Prithviraj

know of his daughter, Samyogita, having an affair with Prithviraj, organized Swayamvar to choose her bridegroom. Prithviraj was not invited but he chose to abduct Samyogita. Whether it is part of history or not, their love affair has been discussed quite aggressively. Some even blame his mad love for his defeat when Ghori attacked for the second time. Even the Historians could not come to a unanimous opinion about the family of Prithviraj III. Damodar Lal Garg in “Bharat ka Antim Hindu Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan” confidently states that during short span of his life Prithviraj married five

Nahar Rai’s daughter was engaged to Prithviraj but her father was not willing to get her married to him. On receiving a threat of war, he had no other go but to get her married. His second marriage to the Princess Ichchhani of the Parmars of Abu, third to the daughter of Chandpundir, forth to the daughter of Dayamaraj Dayama, fifth to Princess Padmavati, daughter of King Padamsen Yadav, sixth to Princess Shashivruta of Devgiri, seventh to Princess Indravati, daughter of King Bhim Parmar, eighth to Princess of King of Jullundur and ninth and last to Princess Samyogita of Kanauj is listed. Even about his children none can be sure. Gates Cambridge scholar Sagnik Dutta makes rather an exaggerated claim in her “Sunday Guardian” article on 8 April 2012 : “According to one version, Khwaja Sahib had come to Ajmer at a time when Prithviraj Chauhan ruled the kingdom. Prithviraj and his wife Meena had 21 sons of whom only five survived.

Phoolandevi, claimed to have visited the tomb. Dr. Sharma says Prithviraj’s brother Hariraja drove out Govinda from Ajmer. Govinda established the kingdom of Ranthambhor. It is yet to ascertain whether Prithviraj was allowed to have Ajmer for some years or was killed immediately as the coins found having Prithviraj on one side and Ghori on the other side. Even today the communities called Cheeta and Mehrat in Rajsthan are considered to have their Hindu ancestors, who were descendents of Prithviraj converted to Islam and continued to follow both the religions. Sangh Parivar runs campaign for their Ghar-Vapasi (reconversion to Hinduism). The history of Prithviraj needs to be rewritten or properly written for the benefit of the future generations. Next Column : Devarshi Narad: The Father of Communication ( The writer is a Socio-political Historian. E-mail: haridesai@gmail.com )


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Babri Masjid Case: LK Advani and others to face trial with sevaks Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

Calling the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya “crimes which shake the secular fabric of the Constitution of India”, the Supreme Court put senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, and Union Minister Uma Bharti on a joint trial with 'kar sevaks' in the 1992 case. The bench constituting of Justices PC Ghose, and Rohinton F Nariman, said the SC was convinced it must use its power under Article 142 to do complete justice in the matter and club the trial of Advani and others with scores of kar sevaks, so a judgement is delivered within two years. The bench said, “In the present case, crimes which shake the secular fabric of the Constitution of India have allegedly been committed almost 20 years ago. The accused persons have not been brought to book

LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti

largely because of the conduct of the CBI in not pursuing the prosecution of the aforesaid alleged offenders in a joint trial, and because of technical defects which were easily curable, but which were not cured by the state government.” As it revived the criminal conspiracy charges against the senior leaders of the BJP, and shifted their trial from Rae Bareli, the court also ordered restoration of charges against Rajasthan

Governor Kalyan Singh and eight others in connection with the case, however, exempting Singh from prosecution on account of the constitutional immunity he enjoys as Governor. “Kalyan Singh, being the Governor of Rajasthan, is entitled to immunity under Article 361 of the Constitution as long as he remains Governor of Rajasthan. The Court of Sessions will frame charges and move against him as soon as he ceases to be Governor.”

The bench also accepted submissions by senior lawyer Kapil Sibal and advocate MR Shamshad, who represented one of the original petitioners in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri title suit case, Haji Mehboob, directing the sessions judge to conduct their trial on a day-to-day basis from the current stage and finishing it in two years. “There shall be no de novo trial. There shall be no transfer of the judge conducting the trial until the entire trial concludes. The case shall not be adjourned on any ground except when the Sessions Court finds it impossible to carry on the trial for that particular date. In such an event, on grant of adjournment to the next day or a closely proximate date, reasons for the same shall be recorded in writing,” the bench said.

CM Mufti seeks Delhi intervention amidst Kashmir violence Two weeks after the controversial Valley erupted yet again, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, was “unequivocally” told that the Centre could not offer a “dialogue (with separatists and other restive groups in the Valley) while there is stone-pelting and militant violence.” The growing rift between coalition partners PDP and BJP became more evident as Mufti reached New Delhi with a single request, which wasn't granted. Sources said the uneasiness in the coalition over the handling of the security situation in Kashmir was also talked about in the meeting. The ruling coalition has been under severe stress ever since the PDP lost a seat in the recently held MLC polls when an independent MLA voted for a BJP candidate, prompting

Mehbooba Mufti and Narendra Modi

his victory. During her meeting with Singh, Mufti said she raised concerns about the recent bypolls in J&K which witnessed a low turnout and said that the alliance partners, to break the deadlock, must follow the path shown by her father and former chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. “Our agenda of alliance also got discussed. Mufti saheb was the home minister of this country and CM of J&K. He had given a roadmap for coming out of such situations in J&K,” she said.

The meeting was also attended by BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, the party's in-charge of J&K affairs. “There is no rift between BJP and PDP, there are some issues regarding the MLC election. We noticed a lack of communication and will address it. The main concern is to bring normalcy in Kashmir within 1-2 months, we have extended all support to the state,” Madhav said. Meanwhile, Mufti, addressing the media after her meeting with the PM, said, “We don't have control

over our water resources and I stressed that he (PM) must think seriously about it... The loss incurred by our state because of the Indus Water Treaty is Rs 20,000 Crore a year. What can be done to compensate Jammu and Kashmir?” Regarding a dialogue, she said, “We will have to create a conducive atmosphere for dialogue first. It cannot happen in a situation of confrontation. While there are stones pelting one side and firing on the other, perhaps dialogue isn't possible. We discussed all this as to how we will together create a situation in J&K where governance is possible, development is possible and dialogue is possible. The region has been rife with violence, after students began protesting when police raided a degree college in restive Pulwama, without prior permission of the college administration leading to a clash in which 50 students were injured.

Lotus set to banish broom in Delhi

Continued from page 1

the NDMC, 79-85 in the south, and 45-51 in the east. It too placed AAP and Congress neck and neck for second place, with the former just about inching ahead with 23-35 seats as against 19-31 for the latter. Extremely satisfied with the exit polls, BJP Delhi president Manoj Tiwari attributed the victory prediction to Modi. “Exit poll results are according to our expectations. Modi has won the hearts of people from sections of society. The BJP has taken all its decisions

for the welfare of India while the AAP has looted citizens of Delhi,” he said. However, the predicted rout did not go down well with Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal, who warned that he would launch a “movement” if the exit polls forecasting a BJP victory come true. Addressing a group of poll observers at his residence, Kejriwal said AAP workers and elected representatives are “connected” with people on a daily basis and they know the ground reality. “Agar fir bhi aise result aate rahe hain... agar

result kal jaise aate hain... toh hum eenth se eenth baja denge, (If the final results are the same as predicted, we will launch a movement)” the CM can be heard saying in a video that went viral on the internet. The Aam Aadmi Party has been raising the issue of EVM tampering since its failure to win the Punjab assembly elections. It had also raised questions on EVM without VVPAT being used in MCD polls and demanded state election commission to hold polls through paper ballot. Speaking at Kejriwal's resi-

dence, Delhi Labour Minister Gopal Rai said, “EVMs would be the sole reason for the kind of result being predicted by pollsters.” He said if EVMs were at play then these surveys are 100 per cent correct. Congress leaders avoided drawing conclusions based on these surveys, instead advising patience till 26 April, when votes will be counted. "These (polls) violate moral code of conduct. The results will come on 26 April. Let us wait till then," Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed said.

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Eco-friendly Dandiyas for environment conservation

Taksheel Buddhadeo, 7, winner of the President's 'National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement in Classical Music', 2014, is using his talent to spread environmental awareness and conservation. After making a record for the most number of programs on All India Radio, the young boy now conducts statelevel workshops on energy conservation, organic farming, and eco-friendly celebration of festivals. As part of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, Taksheel

has inspired over 10,000 children to Bal Swacchta Shapath- mass pledge, to conserve the environment. After discovering how tree waste from Cassia trees can be used as Dandiya sticks, the boy has now begun workshops on ecofriendly ways of celebrating festivals, collecting waste Cassia trees from all parks in Gurgaon and distributing them as free Dandiyas to children. He has even inspired his younger brother Jaisheel to follow his footsteps.

Anti-mining activist gets Green Nobel

Prafulla Samantara

Prafulla Samantara, Indian activist who spent over 12 years battling the Odisha government and Londonbased mining corporation Vedanta Resources, has become one of the six winners of the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize. Also called the 'Green Nobel', the prize was first awarded in 1990, and focuses on grass-roots environmental activism. Recipients of the award, each receive a $175,000 no-strings attached cash grant. In a recent interview, a Khadiclad Samantara, 65, said, “This prize will encourage people like us to protect the resources that indigenous people depend on. It will encourage people globally to combat climate change.” He added, “In Odisha, the way industrialisation is happening, with mindless mining, is not benefiting the common people. The green cover is being destroyed. Poverty zones are being created, as the forest and agricultural economies are lost. The government of India has no national policy on how to use resources efficiently. Minerals are being handed over to corporations at very cheap rates.”

“There must be balance between nature, human need, and development. The earth must provide enough to meet everyone’s needs, but not everyone's greed.” Criticising the Modi government, Samantara said, “This government is 100 per cent for corporates. They are trying to change environmental laws so that there will be no restrictions for corporations, and they are diluting laws that support villagers.” Program Officer for Asia and Europe at the Goldman Environmental Prize, Lindsey Freedman said, “Samantara led a 12year movement against bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri Hills, launching a historic court battle that resulted in a precedent-setting court ruling that rejected OMC's bid to mine bauxite and strengthened indigenous tribes' decision-making power over mining projects on their land. His activism led to the preservation of the biodiverse Niyamgiri Hills and the homeland of the Dongria Kondh, ensuring that the hills' pristine forests and critical water sources remain untouched.”


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health & lifestyle

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Dark Chocolate Can Protect Brain From Ageing, Say Experts Dark chocolate has been bringing comfort to millions across the globe. There is no real excuse to treat yourself with a bar and enjoy its captivating taste. Not only is dark chocolate hit with chocolate lovers, chefs and bakers all across the globe, it has gained popularity among health fanatics and experts too. Now you have another reason to indulge in that bar and even take a bigger bite. Experts have linked dark chocolate consumption with a bevy of health benefits. Dark chocolate is believed to be good for the heart, memory as well as ageing. This treasure food, that dates back to 2000 BC, is trusted to have age-reversing, skin-benefiting properties. "Cocoa is rich in plant chemicals called fla-

vanols that may help to protect the heart. Dark chocolate contains up to 23 times more flavanol-rich cocoa solids than milk chocolate," Harvard T.H Chan, School of Public Health. Dark chocolate consumption is also linked to lowering hypertension. It comes packed with essential nutrients like iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and flavanols. A recent study published in the journal Experimental Biology suggests that eating dark chocolate in moderation may protect your brain from age-related stress and inflammation. Oxidative stress and inflammation increase with ageing and are thought to play an important role in the development of neuro-degenerative diseases such as

Alzheimer's disease. "We previously reported on the beneficial effects of treatment with the cacao flavanol on ageing-induced oxidative stress and capacity to restore modulators of mitochondrial biogenesis in the prefrontal cortex of 26-month-old mice. In the current study, using a similar mouse model of ageing, we examined the capacity of Epi to mitigate hippocampus oxidative stress and inflammation leading to improved memory and anxiety levels" researchers said.In a study, researchers from the University of California San Diego in the

US showed that the epicatechin (Epi), a flavanol found in foods such as dark chocolate, reduced damaging oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in a mouse model of ageing. Just two weeks of treatment with epicatechin not only suppressed levels of oxidative stress and neuroinflammation that would normally be increased in this mouse model, but also improved memory and anxiety levels in the mice. The findings may help explain the beneficial effects on memory seen in people who consume dark chocolate, researchers said.

Put the Coffee Mug Down and Climb The Stairs Instead For An Energy Boost According to a study done by University of Georgia, ditching the lift and excessive amounts of caffeine can bring in renewed sense of energy in your daily life and workstyle. The study noted climbing stairs at a regular pace

Laughter is the Best Medicine

was more likely to make participants feel energised than consuming 50 mg of caffeine, about the equivalent to the amount in a can of soda. For a quick energy boost, the easiest option is to get your caffeine fix. But

What’s wrong, Bubba?” asked the pastor. “I need you to pray for my hearing,” said Buddha The pastor put his hands on Bubba’s ears and prayed. When he was done, he asked, “So how’s your hearing?” “I don’t know,” said Bubba. “It isn’t until next Tuesday.” *** Gary was having a yard sale. A minister bought a lawn mower but returned it a few days later, complaining that it wouldn’t run. “It’ll run,” said Gary. “But you have to curse at it to get it started.” The minister was shocked. “I have not uttered a curse in 30 years.” “Just keep pulling on the starter rope - the words will come back to you.”

*** A priest and a pastor are standing by the side of a road holding up a sign that reads, “The end is near! Turn around now before it’s too late!” A passing driver yells, “You guys are nuts!” and speeds past them. From around the curve they hear screeching tyres - then a big splash. The priest turns to the pastor and says, “Do you think we should just put up a sign that says ‘Bridge Out’ instead?” *** A man with a huge grin approaches a priest. “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” he says. “I’ve spent the week with seven beautiful women.” “Do not fret, my son,” says the priest. “All you need to do is take seven lemons, squeeze the juice into a glass, and drink the juice.” “Will that cleanse my sin from me?” “No, but it’ll wipe that stupid smile off your face.”

let's not forget the harmful effects of caffeine for our health if consumed in larger amounts. We all know that one to two cups of coffee is what we really should be consuming in a day, yet our count goes up to six and more on most days, if not regularly. While there are different ways to kickstart your morning on an energetic note, let it not be depended on caffeine. Try the stairs instead as they seem to be

the easiest bet because you don't really need to change into workout gear, shower and change back into work clothes. It is a simple but effective mode of exercise. The study is published in the journal Physiology and Behavior.

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Skinny Women Are At a Increased Risk of Depression: Study Compared with normal weight adolescents, obese adolescents have a higher prevalence of mental health problems, selfesteem, anxiety, depressive disorders, due to their body image issues. According to a new study things aren’t as picture perfect in the other side of the spectrum too. A significant chunk of skinny people battle with body image issues and depression too. The South Korean based study conducted in the Seoul National University of Medicine in South Korea, revealed that both men and women are affected by negative thoughts of their thin body frame. "It seems that the current ideal of thinness affects women more than their male counterparts and causes more psychological distress in women, which can, in turn, lead to depression," the authors stated.” the authors of the study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry stated. The study is especially

important, because it is essential that the medical care providers to re-look their clinical span of attention and also pay attention to the mental health of people who are underweight. The report come in as a shocker especially when victims of depression in numbers greater than ever. Another startling report published by World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier this year, had taken the entire global mental health circuit by shock. Global Depression cases has upped by 20 percent. The report further indicated that the declining mental health has been a major cause of suicides, especially in the low and middle-income countries. The figures were far from being a relief even closer home, it stated that more than five crore Indians suffered from depression in 2015, and over three crore dealt with anxiety disorders. By the year 2030 depression will be the leading cause of disability worldwide.


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28 Asian Voice

AsianVoiceNews

29th April 2017

Samantha takes up a new valorous challenge

A

ctress Samantha, garnered among the top heroines of Tamil and Telugu film industry, has been busy with a couple of projects for the past two years. Her busy scheduled but did nothing to stop her from taking up new challenges and pursuing new hobbies. In a video posted on her Instagram, the actress can be seen play-

ing Silambam- a traditional weapon-based Tamil martial art form. She said she began learning the art form as a new hobby and has taken up the challenge of becoming an expert in it. The way Sam plays with the Silambam in the video she has shared is more than enough to say that she will soon master in this art form.

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Finally, a big relief for Dhanush

Rajamouli gets emotional on last working day of 'Baahubali'

A

ce director SS Rajamouli stated he was smiling with joy and wincing with pain as the curtains on the second instalment of his magnum opus 'Baahubali' came down last week. Expressing his feelings on micro-blogging website Twitter, the filmmaker said, “Last working day. Hopefully. What a journey. What an experi-

Andrea's dedication to perfect her role

M

ysskin's 'Thupparivaalan' is on its last leg of shooting and has just 10 days to go before it winds up. A multi-starrer with Vishal, Vinay, Prasanna, Anu Emmanuel, Andrea Jeremiah and K Bhagyaraj in the cast, the film is produced by Vishal under the Vishal Film Factory banner. It is reported that Andrea who will play a modern, stylish girl in the film, who was required to ride a Harley Davidson underwent rigorous training to make it look authentic. The team is said to have been mighty impressed by her efforts.

ence. I am both smiling with joy and wincing with pain.� 'Baahubali 2: The Conclusion' is slated for release on April 28. The battle between two warring brothers for an ancient kingdom, the film stars Prabhas, Rana Daggubatti, Anushka Shetty, Tamannaah Bhatia, Ramya Krishnan and Sathyaraj in important roles. The Conclusion' will finally shed the light on why Kattappa k i l l e d Baahubali.

M

ulti-talented a c t o r Dhanush has been enjoying a good run on the work front for the past few years, however, his personal life was in sorts after an aged couple claiming to be his par-

ents filed a paternity suit. Dhanush was made to visit the court after the couple filed a case in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court. He even underwent tests on his body marks to check the correctness of the claims of the couple. Test results however, came in his favour as it proved that neither Dhanush have any birthmarks as indicated by them nor any indication of his birth mark being artificially removed. It took several trials for the Judge to finally dismiss the petition and free the actor from the proceedings. While the ruling came as a relief to the actor and his family, it comes as a bigger relief to his fans who now have several projects to look forward to. Dhanush's real parents are d i r e c t o r Kasthuri Raja a n d Vijayalakshmi.

Aishwarya Rajesh replaces Amala Paul

I

n the latest buzz, sources reveal that actress Amala Paul won't be a part of direct o r Vetrimaran's dream project 'Vada Chennai' any more. After separating from her erstwhile husband director Vijay last year, the actress had diverted her entire focus on her career and the said

film was supposed to be one of the first films she got committed to. Originally supposed to be played by Samantha, the film later went to Amala when the former backed out of the project and now Amala has opted out of the project too citing date clashes. So the role has now gone to yet another highly talented performer Aishwarya Rajesh, however, official confirmation is awaited. 'Vada Chennai' will be a trilogy film on the history of underworld politics in North Chennai.


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After London, it's Dubai for Alia Bhatt AsianVoiceNews

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A thriller for Priyanka on her return

Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

A

C

urrently on a six month-sabbatical, following the success of 'Badrinath Ki Dulhania', young actress Alia Bhatt is Dubai-bound along with best friend Akansha Ranjan Kapoor. The trip came shortly after her week-long stay in London with her girl friends. “Alia is scheduled to attend an awards ceremony in Dubai

so she decided to turn it into a work-vacay trip. The girls will spend three days in the city and the plan, inbetween work, includes sight-seeing and lots of shopping,” a source close to the actress said. Alia is expected to begin shooting on her next project, Ayan Mukerji's Ranbir Kapoor-starrer superhero film 'Dragon'.

“Ayan was doing some work on the special effects for 'Dragon' and I wanted to be involved. I landed up in London and joined him,” Alia had said during an interview. She will also be seen in Zoya Akhtar's 'Gully Boy' featuring actor Ranveer Singh as a rapper.

When Sherlock taught English to monks in Darjeeling

H

e is tall, smart, a total gentleman, and terrible at saying 'Penguins'. Benedict Cumberbatch AKA Sherlock Holmes AKA Doctor Strange, does not only live an interesting life on-screen, he has spent his youth trotting across the globe. In an interview earlier this year, Benedict recounted how he took a trip to the Himalayas at 19, and found himself lost. He spent his pre-university gap year with Tibetan Buddhist monks at a Buddhist monastery in Darjeeling. “I'd always been fascinated by the idea of meditation and what it meant. In India, I went on a retreat with a lama, several days of incanta-

tion to clear and purify the mind, along with a dozen other people. It was incredible, and I kind of floated out of there after two weeks. When you've been that still and contemplative, your sensory awareness is

Aamir promotes 'Dangal' in China with sports stars

L

ong after the film's release, Aamir Khan's 'Dangal' got Chinese professional boxer Zou Shiming and American basketball player Stephon Marbury to promote the Indian sports drama. Zou loved the film's trailer so much that he personally came for a press conference of the film, even making Aamir recite a poem in Chinese. Marbury, at a special promotional event for 'Dangal', gifted Aamir an autographed basketball

and in received an autographed 'Dangal' T-shirt in return. A popular face in China, the 'Dhoom' actor was in China lately along with director Nitesh Tiwari, to attend the China premier of the blockbuster on April 16. The superhit movie made over £38.5 million at the Indian box office. It is an inspirational story of former Indian wrestler Mahavir Phogat, who trained his daughters Geeta and Babita to become world-class wrestlers.

heightened and more sharply focused. You're taking in detail to the point where you have to pause a little bit. It was amazing.” Later the actor and three other friends decided to catch bus to Kathmandu, Nepal and soon enough altitude sickness began to disintegrate the group, with just two making it to the final destination. He reveals he had “really weird f****d up dreams and felt things were happening in his sleep. I wasn't sure if he was conscious or awake.” He recounted days filled with drinking water squeezed out of moss, sleeping in abandoned barns, and more nightmares.

ctress Priyanka Chopra, who recently completed shooting season two of 'Quantico' has returned to Mumbai this weekend for more work. Along with a slew of appointments with filmmakers and brands, and shooting for endorsements to make, PeeCee is also expected to finalise and begin shoot for a yet-to-be-titled suspense-thriller with 'Pink' director Aniruddha Roy which she will reportedly co-produce. The maker of the National Award-winning film featuring Amitabh Bachchan, Aniruddha's next is a female-centric thriller inspired by real events. The project is expected to kick off by mid-year, with shooting to be undertaken in locations across Mumbai, Goa, and Kolkata. Priyanka, meanwhile, will return to the US after the break to start international promotions for her Hollywood debut 'Baywatch' which is scheduled to release this May.

Is Salman all set to be a daddy?

B

ollywood superstar Salman Khan's marriage has for years been a source of discussion. The topic has been talked about so much so that Salman himself often takes a dig at his own self. A confirmed bachelor, it is no news that the 'Tubelight' star loves kids. A small peek into Sallu's and his sister Arpita's Instagram page will show you the beautiful bond shared by the actor and his nephew Ahil. The duo's most recent adorable photo currently doing the rounds on social media, has made us wonder, is Salman ready to be a father? Who knows? With single dads being the latest trend in

B-Town, maybe our Bhaijaan will be the next aboard the baby express. On the work front, Salman is currently prepping to promote his upcoming movie 'Tubelight' which just released a teaser last week. Interestingly, the teaser has voice over of kids from Salman Mamu's house Galaxy Apartments.

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Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

When Breath Becomes Air Female-based word theatre The memoir of Dr Paul Kalanithi – 'When Breath Becomes Air' has been an instant New York Times bestseller, also short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize for autobiographies and the Wellcome Book Prize. Paul, a highly respected neurosurgeon died of terminal lung cancer at the age of 37, in March 2015. This book was written in the last two years when he was still working in the neurological surgery wing at Stanford University in California. The autobiography is his philosophical take on his mortality, life, his childhood, his career and his devastating cancer diagnosis. The biography has some candid revelations on his marriage to Lucy. Lucy, who wrote the book as Paul wrote it said that in truth,

cancer helped save our marriage. It was surprising when he revealed some of the rocky difficulties that the pair endured. “I feel our whole relationship is on display in way that feels true,” she said. Paul and Lucy met at the Yale medical school in 2003, and married three years later. They had been together for a decade when Paul was diagnosed with a terminal lung cancer. They decided to go ahead and have a baby despite having only a handful of years to live. Lucy hoped she had a few moments more to share the hard copy of the book with her husband. For her, the marriage did not end when she became a widow – they will stay on through the beautifully penned down memoires of her husband.

Coming Events

National Congress of Gujarati Organisations UK celebrates Gujarat Day on May 1, 2.30 pm onwards, at Dhamecha Lohana Centre, Brember Road, South Harrow, Middx, HA2 8AX. Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur presents Yugpurush- Mahatama Na Mahatma, The Play, with shows running across UK. Shows with availability left in Central London, Croydon, Birmingham, and Bolton. Sree Sree Thakur Anukul Chandra's Satsang on May 7, 6.30 pm onwards, at Reading Hindu Temple, 112 Whitley Street, Reading RG2 0GD. Milapfest presents The Power of Jugalbandi- featuring Pt Tarun Bhattacharya, Pt Ronu Majumdar, and Kousic Sen, on April 28, 7.30 pm onwards, at The Bhavan, 4a Castletown Road, West Kensington, London W14 9HE. Shree Vallabha Pragatiya Utsava, on April 28, 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm, at Canons High School, Shaldon Road, Edgware, HA8 6AN. SAMA Arts Network presents Violin By Dr M Lalitha and M Nandini, on April 29, 7.30 pm onwards, at The Bhavan, 4a Castletown Road, West Kensington, London W14 9HE. Jailal Academy and The Bhavan present Classical Music Concert featuring Prabhat Rao and Prateek Shrivastava on April 30, 6.30 pm onwards, at The Bhavan, 4a Castletown Road, West Kensington, London W14 9HE.

True stories told by Shobu Kapoor, Shobna Gulati, Shyama Perera and Sajeela Kershi

Shobu Kapoor

Shyama Perera

Mother Tongues from Farther Lands, a spoken word theatre show full of fascinating, fearless and funny stories from South Asian women - they are the backbone of their culture, but a group whose voices are too often forgotten will be touring the UK from May 11th. 'Here's to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them' Excerpts from the theatre: “We had a British life outside but the moment we got home it was completely different, I was Asian, our tiny home felt safe, it was full of people, people and love.” From the Mother Tongues and Farther Lands workshop in Oldham, a group of mostly Pakistani Muslim women aged between 20-45 years old who meet regularly as part of a wellbeing group for vulnerable women. Through a series of lively regional workshops, Sajeela Kershi0 (comedian, writer and creator of the multi-award-winning Immigrant Diaries) ‘fused’ professional performers Shobu Kapoor (EastEnders, Citizen Khan), Shobna Gulati (Dinnerlandies, Coronation Street) and journalist Shyama Perera together with non per-

Sneh Joshi

ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20 While the desire or need to

work hard continues, you're more than ready for a break from overthinking and overworking as the week progresses. Romantic matters, as well as pleasure-seeking activities, come to the fore now. You are more likely to pay closer attention to your physical appearance, aiming to improve and enhance your attractiveness.

TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21

This can be a very resourceful time for new money-making projects. You probably should avoid being excessive and impulsive when it comes to spending. Venus, your ruling planet is spending some time in your privacy sector. This is a time when your affection is expressed behind closed doors and for some of you there can be secret love affairs.

GEMINI May 22 - June 22 As social life will tend to

draw you into a wider circle, the chances of meeting someone attractive are greatly increased. The general pattern of things continues on a progressive and buoyant theme. Your thinking is inspired, so listen to your thoughts. This may be a time of expansion and improved opportunity and it would be unwise to let yourself become complacent.

CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22

on South Asian women

Although there are very intense amorous energies indicated in your chart, the trouble is that these are likely to be marred by feelings of jealousy. Do not therefore dabble in anything that could harbour such negative potential, as it is bound to end in heartache. Existing emotional differences can be sorted out now.

Shobna Gulati

Sajeela Kershi

formers from Britain’s South Asian communities, some from extremely vulnerable and challenged backgrounds. Excerpts from the theatre:“After my husband left me, I worked hard my entire life to give my son a private education, I wanted him to have the education I was denied.” From the Mother Tongues and Farther Lands workshop in London, a group of mostly older Sikh and Hindu Kenyan Indian women who meet once a week to chat, eat, food, sing, dance, practise yoga and celebrate special occasions together. The result of this unique creative exchange is an absorbing collection of moving and entertaining stories that address the gender imbalance experienced in South Asian communities. The devised monologues show the strength, tenacity, bravery and humour at the core of these diverse and ‘kick ass’ women! Excerpts from the theatre: “I came here as an Asylum seeker as my life was in danger, I would have been killed back home for becoming an actress.” From the Mother Tongues and Farther Lands workshop in Doncaster, mostly asylum seekers from Sikh, Hindu

The Asian Comedy Night, organised by QT Promotions, on 8th April 2017 at the Watford Colosseum was a huge success. An audience of nearly 1000 turned up to watch live stand-up comPaul edy featuring Chowdhry as the headline act. Other acts included Kai Samra, Aatif Nawaz, Sindhu Vee, Hyde Panaser, Anil Desai and Reem Edan. Event Promoter Pritul Khagram from QT Promotions said “it was and Muslim backgrounds aged between 20 and 45 years old. “Telling another person's story puts a huge responsibility on my shoulders" says Shobu Kapoor. "I have to honour them but also try and be as threedimensional as possible, which means shedding light also on the shadow side of someone's personality. Hopefully, an emotionally rounded portrayal draws the audience in in a way that a totally factual rendering may not, and the people whose stories I'm telling feel that they and their experiences have been truthfully told." Shobna Gulati adds: “It's been a wonderful

an amazing evening with a fantastic atmosphere, the crowd were amazing and the comedians were excellent”. QT Promotions are already planning on returning to the Watford Colosseum in March 2018 and to Leicester later this year. To keep updated on events you can like the following Facebook page @asiancomedynight. For sponsorship opportunities email info@QTpromotions.co m opportunity to work within a female-led team of diverse artists where we can engage with, recognise and celebrate the contributions of women from our communities from all backgrounds in and outside of London; with a view to share our experiences of our life journeys, finding a collective joy, freedom to release and solace.” Mother Tongues from Farther Lands is a commission by Alchemy On Tour partnership; Southbank Centre, Black Country Touring, Cast in Doncaster and Oldham Coliseum. It is generously supported by Arts Council England.

The UK’s leading Vedic writer and TV personality

LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23

The fiery planet Mars, continues to occupy your Solar 11th house for some time to come. Its influence will help you to maintain a high energy level and achieve positive results in anything that requires drive and initiative. If you are involved in a fairly competitive field of activity, you will be the one who comes out on top.

VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23

The transit of Venus of your solar 8th house energizes your sector of transformation, sexuality, personal growth, joint resources and taxes. Intimate matters are especially important to you during this cycle. This is a time of increased accumulation of wealth and in some cases, a significant tax refund or inheritance, or other such benefits.

LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23

Love and close personal relationships will occupy the centre of your attention this week. With Venus remaining in your opposite sign, any emotional tensions will be smoothed out easily and harmony will prevail. On a purely practical note, you can expect your financial affairs to take a turn for the better.

SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22

Laugh out loud with The Asian Comedy Night

Don't take short-cuts in legal or official matters. It will be only too easy to feel exasperated by bureaucracy but you won't be doing yourself any favours if you lose your cool. This is a fine time for you to get away from the mundane realities of life and relax. Some of you will probably go abroad.

020 8518 5500

SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21 It's an excellent period for increased energy and motivation, so that new endeavours, whether they are business or health-related, or personal, fare especially well. You are more decisive and forward-looking now, and you feel that your decisions are right. With Venus in your solar 5th house, love should be blossoming. CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20 You have the dynamic planet Mars in your solar 6th house of work and health. This planet indicates a desire to push forward, to assert yourself mentally and physically. This also means that you want to improve your work prospects. Of course, there are still challenging issues on both a personal and practical level - tread carefully.

AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19 Take time out to strengthen close ties of affection, sort out emotional differences and proffer the olive branch to anyone who may have caused you pain in recent months. There is a definite expansive trend where money is concerned, so do not be surprised if this turns out be a time of fortunate opportunities and lucky breaks

PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20 Mars and Saturn placement in your chart sets a rather challenging theme. Although this gives increased potential for tension and conflict with other people, it also means that you are able to sort any problems out. If this involves a close relationship, you can now resolve your differences. Financial security and good things in life are important to you, although simple pleasures also mean a lot.


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Olympic medallist Khan to launch pro boxing league in India AsianVoiceNews

Amir Khan, the British boxer of Pakistani origin, will be launching the Super Boxing League (SBL) in India from July 7 to August 12. Khan who won silver in 2004 Athens Olympics, is launching SBL in association with AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) who will provide the boxers the right platform to showcase their talent. British businessman Bill Dosanjh, the founder and promoter of the Super Fight League (SFL), is also associated with the SBL as Founder-CEO. One of the features of the SBL will be its scoring system wherein a boxer will receive six points on winning a bout through knock-out. The SBL will consist of eight franchises. Each team will comprise six players -

ICC propose 3-year championship

The ICC meet has taken up the proposal of a Test championship played over three years in an attempt to save the future of international cricket which is facing its biggest threat from Twenty20 leagues. The proposal has the backing of England, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa but is hitting a wall of resistance from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Indian opposition is mainly centred around the reorganisation of the ICC’s financial structure, rather than the changes to international cricket. However, the ICC cannot afford more dithering, with the number of Twenty20 leagues on the rise. The English County Board has already voted on the proposal to start a T20 league and the result will be known on Wednesday. “This is a crucial time for decision-making at the ICC,” Tony Irish, the chief executive of the Federation of I n t e r n a t i o n a l Cricketers’ Associations, said. English cricket has been somewhat isolated from the problems hitting Test cricket around the world. Test matches in England still attract healthy crowds. But elsewhere around the world Test crowds are waning and, in some countries, players are prioritising Twenty20 leagues over international cricket because that is where they can earn more money.

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Amir Khan

five male boxers and one female boxer with six back up players per team. There will be competitions in six different weight categories with bouts comprising of four rounds of three minutes each. International Boxing Association (AIBA) President Ching-Kuo Wu said India has a natural platform for the promotion

of boxing. "It is heartening to accompany the birth of this new competition. It will further enhance Indian boxing perception on the international stage and provide yet another career pathway for AIBA boxers. I am hopeful that this league will do justice to India's vast potential in the sport," he said is a statement. Khan, who had

expressed his desire to promote boxing in the subcontinent on several occasions earlier, is also excited about the SBL. "I am very happy to introduce this unique platform for Indian boxers. With Super Boxing League, we aim to provide the right training for potential boxers which will help in producing more professional world champions," the 30-year-old said. "We want to create an exciting platform where aspiring boxers can fight in front of their home fans in their own country. With such a talent filled nation, I believe India can produce a number boxing superstars in coming years." The fights will be held over the week-end-Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Younis becomes first Pakistani to score 10,000 test runs Younis Khan became the first Pakistan batsman to score 10,000 test runs on Sunday, reaching the milestone against West Indies in the opening match of his farewell international series. Earlier this year, Younis also became the first batsman to score centuries in all 11 countries that have hosted tests after completing his set with a maiden ton in Australia, and the Pakistan Cricket Board was quick to pay tribute to the 39-year-old's "prolific career". “Younis Khan has been an excellent ambassador of Pakistan cricket," PCB Chairman Shaharyar M. Khan said on the board's website. "The number of records he has set in the recent past is something we as a nation can take great pride in." PCB Executive Committee Chairman Najam Aziz Sethi said Younis was a "run machine" while Chief Operating Officer Subhan Ahmad described him as the "backbone" of Pakistan's batting. Younis was stuck on 9,999 runs at the tea break on the third day at Sabina Park in Kingston but did not have to wait much longer for his moment to come. On the second ball of

Younis Khan

the final session, Younis swept off-spinner Roston Chase to the fine-leg boundary as an excited Pakistani contingent in the small crowd cheered and chanted wildly. Younis removed his helmet, pointed his bat towards his team mates in the pavilion and punched his chest. He took 208 innings to reach the 10,000 mark, and has averaged just over 53 runs in his 116-test career, scoring 34 centuries. India's Sunil Gavaskar became the first player to score 10,000 test runs in 1987 while his compatriot Sachin Tendulkar heads the alltime list with 15,921. Born in Mardan, a city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Younis scored a century in his debut test against Sri Lanka in 2000

IPL, 2017 - Points Table Teams Mumbai Indians Kolkata Knight Riders Sunrisers Hyderabad Rising Pune Supergiant Kings XI Punjab Delhi Daredevils Gujarat Lions Royal Challengers Bangalore

Mat 8 7 7 7 7 6 7 7

Won 6 5 4 4 3 2 2 2

Lost 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5

and notched his highest score of 313 against the same side in 2009. Later that year, he led his country to a World T20 win at Lord's where they defeated Sri Lanka to lift the trophy. Younis played 265 one day internationals and amassed 7,249 runs before stepping back from the format in 2015. That same year he also became Pakistan's highest test run maker, passing Javed Miandad's mark of 8,832 runs. He announced earlier this month that he would bring the curtain down on his international career after the three-test series against West Indies. After sharing in a third-wicket partnership of 131 with Babar Azam on Sunday, Younis was caught at cover off paceman Shannon Gabriel for 58. Tied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

NR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Pts 12 10 8 8 6 4 4 4

NRR +0.514 +1.177 +0.481 -0.627 -0.319 +0.848 -0.844 -1.210

SPORT

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Modi wishes Jonty Rhodes' daughter Asian Voice | 29th April 2017

Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes, who has been an integral part of the Mumbai Indians coaching staff, was so impressed with his stay in Mumbai, that he named his daughter India. Jonty, regarded as the finest fielder to have played cricket, took to Twitter where he posted an adorable photograph with his daughter with a message that read, "Happy Birthday baby India; 2 today #landofyourbirth." In a surprise move, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi replied to his tweet saying, "Happy birthday to India, from India. The cricketer soon acknowledged the tweet and replied, "Thank u @narendramodi ji; baby India really has been blessed in the land of her birth, by so many amazing people #makeinindia." In an interview to a daily, Rhodes had revealed that with the name like India, she will have the best of both worlds. "What I love about India is that it`s a rich mix of culture, heritage and tradition. It is a very spiritual country, very forward-thinking nation. I really like that combination. What we really like about India is that every day we discover something new about this country. As people, we like discovering things about yourself and that`s hopefully what she will also discover," the legendary fielder said. India was born in 2015 at Surya Mother and Child Care Hospital in Santacruz. In 2016, Rhodes had even performed a puja for his daughter at Pejawar Mutt in Santacruz, Mumbai.

Afridi thanks Kohli, Team India for farewell gift

Former Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi thanked Virat Kohli and Team India for gifting him with a Kohli ODI jersey with signatures of Team India members on the back of it. A picture of the signed T-shirt had been put up on Twitter by a Pakistani journalist, Afridi tweeted back his appreciation of the gesture. "Thank you and the entire Indian team for a wonderful farewell gift @imVkohli. Respect superstar, hope to see you soon," Afridi wrote on his twitter handle. The Indian team had gifted him the jersey following Afridi's retirement from all forms of cricket. Kohli had tweeted, "Shahid Bhai, best wishes, always a pleasure playing against you." The jersey number 18 and Virat on it had the signatures of Kohli, Ashish Nehra, Suresh Raina, Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Hardik Pandya, among others. The 37-year-old Afridi bid adieu to his 21-year-old international career in February when he announced his retirement from T20 cricket. He had already retired from Test and One-day formats of the game. Pakistan and India would next be meeting for ODI when they face off during the Champions Trophy in the UK in June. They have been clubbed in the same group there, along with Sri Lanka and South Africa.

Nastase faces lifetime ban

Romanian Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase faces a possible lifetime ban from tennis after he was ejected from the Constanta’s Tennis Club IDU for unsportsmanlike conduct. Nastase lost his temper with umpire Jaume Campistol after he had warned the Romanian crowd that they might be docked points if they continued to call “out” during rallies. But as the argument escalated, he twice shouted at the British captain Anne Keothavong and her No 1 player, Johanna Konta. Nastase’s fury was soon being reflected by further foul-mouthed heckling from the Romanian fans, some of whom may have been especially ill-disposed towards Konta because of her Hungarian background. One game after Nastase’s ejection, play had to be suspended for 20 minutes because Konta was in tears.


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RPS edge out Mumbai by 3 runs

Rising Pune Supergiant ended Mumbai Indians sixmatch winning streak with a three-run victory in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at Wankhede stadium, Mumbai. Needing 24 off the last 12 balls, Ben Stokes bowled an economical penultimate over and conceded just seven runs, leaving Rohit Sharma's team with an onerous task of scoring 17 runs off the final six balls. Bowling the last over, Jaydev Unadkat dismissed Hardik Pandya with his first delivery, but Rohit smashed the bowler for a six to bring the equation down to 11 from four balls. The left-arm seamer, though, had the last laugh as he had Rohit caught and bowled for a brilliant 39ball 58. Harbhajan Singh struck the last ball for a six, but that was not enough for the home team. Unadkat and Stokes returned two wickets each. Earlier, sent into bat, RPS scored 160 for six. Amla fashions Punjab turnaround: Hashim Amla, the former South African captain, is turning out to be Kings XI Punjab's saviour. After his maiden T20 hundred couldn't prevent a defeat in the previous game against the Mumbai Indians, the classy batsman slammed a 65 to help halt his team's unwanted run of four losses with a 26-run victory over the Gujarat Lions at the SCA Stadium in Rajkot. Asked to bat first, the Kings scored an imposing 188 for seven. The Lions looked to be in it as long as skipper Suresh Raina (32) was out there in the middle. Kolkata pacers thrash Bangalore: Kolkata: The Kolkata Knight Riders were bowled out for 131 runs in 19.3 overs after Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and asked them to bat at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. But the hosts staged a remarkable fightback to beat Bangalore by 82 runs by wrapping up the Bangalore innings for 49 runs only, the lowest total in IPL history, in a mere 9.4 overs. Few expected a batting-heavy side like Bangalore to cave in so meekly although Kolkata bowlers deserve full credit for bowling their hearts out.

It was superb captaincy by Gautam Gambhir too who put the Bangalore batsmen under pressure right from the word go by starting with two slips. Mumbai shoot down Delhi in battle of quicks: Backing their decision to field first on what eventually turned out to be a lowscoring game at the Wankhede Stadium, Delhi Daredevils came up with a brilliant show with the ball to restrict the high-flying Mumbai Indians to a mere 142-8. Just as one thought they would look to finish the game early, the top-half of the Daredevils batting lineup fell like a pack of cards to a miserable 24-6 by the 39th ball of their innings. A 91-run seventh-wicket partnership off just 73 balls between the South African duo of Kagiso Rabada (44), who made an impactful debut, and allrounder Chris Morris (52), provided the visitors with a late rally. Dhoni regains finishing touch: MS Dhoni (61) reprised his finishing touch,

Dhoni to rise to the occasion. He did it splendidly with a sequence of 4, 4, 6 against Bhuvneshwar and kept his cool to get two and four off the last two balls fromn Kaul. Only two runs were needed off the last ball. Kaul continued to bowl around the wicket to the former India captain, who hit the winning four to the right of extra cover, beating the long-off fielder. Raina lords it over Kolkata: Suresh Raina played a captain's knock to help Gujarat Lions upset Kolkata Knight Riders recording a four-wicket victory at the Eden Gardens. In spite of Sunil Narine giving Kolkata another flying start after walking out with Gautam Gambhir to open the innings on being asked to bat first by Raina, the middle order failed to up the tempo and finished some 20 runs short ending at 187 for six. For Gujarat, Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch cut loose early to set up a good plat form. But a half-an-hour rain

helped Pune get 19 runs off Bhuvneshwar Kumar's 19th over, and then kept his cool in the last over off Siddharth Kaul to ensure Rising Pune Supergiant won a thrilling contest against Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets. As Dhoni helped Pune score their third win this season, the game posed many questions for Hyderabad captain David Warner - his tactical acumen, star leg-spinner Rashid Khan's catching skills and Kaul, who bowled the last over, all came under the scanner. Hyderabad fought gamely but came up short. Chasing 176 after winning the toss, Pune needed 30 runs in the last two overs with six wickets in hand, an ideal platform for

interruption disturbed their momentum as Gujarat lost McCullum (33), caught at deep cover by Manish Pandey off Chris Woakes eight balls after play resumed. It looked all over for the visitors when inform Dinesh Karthik was caught brilliantly by Gambhir at cover off Nathan Coulter-Nile in the very next over. But it was Raina who stood tall. Amla's ton in vain: Mumbai Indians rode on destructive half centuries from Englishman Jos Buttler and young Nitish Rana to thrash Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by eight wickets. Buttler's 37-ball 77, laced with seven fours and five sixes and Rana's unbeaten 31-ball 54, com-

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prising seven sixes, outshone South African star Hashim Amla's maiden T20 century for Kings XI, as the visitors overhauled the massive target of 199, with more than four overs to spare. Chasing a mammoth 199, the opening duo of Parthiv Patel (37) and Buttler dealt mostly in boundaries to raise Mumbai's highest first wicket stand of all IPL seasons of 81 runs, as the Punjab bowlers had little to counter the left-right pair. Memorable one for Kane Williamson: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson made his appearance in IPL X a memorable one for Sunrisers Hyderabad as they added Delhi Daredevils to the list of teams that succumbed to the hosts' neversay-die attitude. In doing a David Warner, Williamson showed that he's a consummate professional and his 89 was sheer class. Gayle's big bash: When IPL-10 began, Chris Gayle was just 67 runs short of becoming the first batsman to score 10,000 runs in T20 cricket. After he put together scores of 32, 6 and 22 in three out of the five games that the Royal Challengers Bangalore played this season, the `Universe Boss' needed only three to reach the landmark, but the big Jamaican wasn't even sure of a place in the XI when his team took on the Gujarat Lions at the SCA Stadium. When AB de Villiers was ruled out, Gayle had the chance to cross the milestone. He got to the 10,000run mark in singles, and then exploding like only he can, the 37-year-old smoked seven sixes and five fours while blasting 77 of 38 balls to show how he's still the blaster. RCB devoured the Lions in their own den and raced away to 213 for two- the highest score in IPL 2017 so far, after being put in. Fired by a brilliant, fighting 72 from Kiwi great Brendon McCullum, Gujarat were later provided a faint hope by talented youngster Ishan Kishan, who came up with some lusty blows towards the end, but the hosts eventually fell short by 21 runs to finish at 192 for seven in a high-scoring game.

Man Kaur

The 101-year-old Man Kaur celebrated winning the 100 metres sprint at the World Masters Games in Auckland on Monday, the 17th gold medal in the Indian athlete's remarkable late-blooming career. Kaur clocked one minute 14 seconds as a small crowd cheered her on ending a mere 64.42 seconds off Usain Bolt's 100m world record set in 2009. In truth, her dash became more of a gentle amble the closer the diminutive centenarian came to the finish line, with more energy spent beaming at spectators than running. But Kaur was guaranteed victory as the only participant in the 100-years-and-over category at the New Zealand event, which has attracted 25,000 competitors. Participation, not racing the clock, is the priority for Kaur, who has been dubbed the "miracle from Chandigarh" in New Zealand media. "I enjoyed it and am very, very happy," she told reporters. "I'm going to run again, I'm not going to give up. I will participate, there's no full stop." Kaur only took up athletics eight years ago, at the tender age of 93. She had no prior sporting experience before her son Gurdev Singh suggested she join him in competing on the international masters games circuit. After a medical check-up, she was given the all-clear and since then mother and son have taken part in dozens of masters athletics meets around the globe. Kaur already has a swag of gold medals that would rival Michael

Phelps' haul and also plans to compete in the 200m sprint, two kilogramme shot put and 400-gram javelin in Auckland, taking her tally to 20. Her son said that Kaur was on a strict diet that included wheat grass juice and a daily glass of fermented milk. World Masters Games 2017 chief executive Jennah Wootten said the Auckland organisers were delighted to host such an inspiration. "Man Kaur truly personifies the 'sport for all' philosophy which World Masters Games is all about and we are thrilled to have her here," she said. "I have no doubt that she and many of the other 24,905 athletes competing in these games are inspiring others to lead more active lifestyles and take up a sport." While Kaur was the only 100-plus athlete to compete in Auckland, there are a surprising number of spritely centenarians still on the sporting stage. Japan's Hidekichi Miyazaki, 106, holds the 100m record in the category with a time of 29.83, earning him the nickname "Golden Bolt" after the Jamaican Flyer. Miyazaki, who credits his daughter's tangerine jam for his age-defying exploits, even mimics Bolt's signature victory pose and is keen to race against the Olympic superstar. Frenchman Robert Marchand, 105, set a cycling record for his age in January, riding 22.547 kilometres (14.01 miles) in one hour. Afterwards, the former fireman said he was not even tired and said he could have gone faster.

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101-year-old Indian woman wins sprint gold

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AV 29th April 2017  

Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 51)

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