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Let noble thoughts come to us from every side

9 - 15 NOV 2019 - VOL 48 ISSUE 27

NEW STATUS FOR KASHMIR Jammu and Kashmir ceased to be a state of the Union, making way for two new Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. India formally implemented legislation approved by Parliament on August 5 that removes Indiancontrolled Kashmir's semiautonomous status and begins direct federal rule of the disputed area. Continued on page 26

inside: Women in Conversation SEE PAGE 4



Unity in diversity our pride & Identity: PM Modi SEE PAGE 25

2 UK


9 - 15 November 2019


Tulsi Gabbard repels Hillary Clinton Dr Premen Addy It takes courage, extraordinary courage, for a US woman politician to confront head-on an opponent from the nation’s mainstream out to smear and bully her into submission. Tulsi Gabbard, the sole Hindu on Capitol Hill is one such person. She is not of Indian descent. She is from Hawaii and represents the state in the House. Her Hindu faith is rooted in the Vaishnav tradition in which peace and non-violence is a central life-giving force. America is today governed by indistinct rules of law and a parallel crime syndicate of gun lobbies, big business, and an all powerful military industrial complex whose predatory instincts and designs were the subjects of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s valedictory 1960 address to the nation. Tulsi Gabbard belongs to the Democratic Party, now deeply scarred by scandal, in-fighting and varied villainies in which Hillary Clinton – President Trump’s ‘crooked Hillary,’ has a leading role. A former Secretary of State in the Obama administration, she lost the presidential elec-

tion of 2016 and remains stubbornly unwilling to accept the result. When in trouble blame the Russians. The narrative of America’s Manifest Destiny is shop soiled and frayed. Its pretence that is an upholder and stakeholder in human rights and the rule of law across the world has long been exposed as a cruel joke. Its wars of intervention have reduced much of the Greater Middle East and North Africa to a howling desolation. The American media projects its truths through an appropriately designed prism of calibrated and outright falsehood. It is Noam Chomsky’s Requiem for the American Dream. Professor Chomsky (for those unfamiliar with his name) is one of America’s greatest minds, an unwavering voice of noble dissent. Hillary Clinton has accused Tulsi Gabbard of being a Russian agent. Tulsi Gabbard’s crimes were her visit to Syria and her meeting with the reviled President Assad, all done with an eye to acquire firsthand knowledge of the situation on the ground her entitlement as a US legislator. Over and above

this, Congresswoman Gabbard has called for arms control talks between the United States and Russia, surely an urgent priority as the capricious, yoyo-ing President Trump has jettisoned all previous arms limitation accords going back decades to the Soviet era. President is much given to begin an address to the nation and to the international community, not with the Lord’s Prayer, but with invocations to his country’s military strength and purpose, coupled with dwarfing military budgets. The search for elusive security has deepened national neurosis a monting to paranoia. The search for enemies has become a Kafkaesque experience. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous Four Freedoms includes the magical sentence - ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’ Roosevelt has long disappeared into the shadows. The new musclemen and women believe that brandishing weapons and uttering threats will have the desired effect. Not so. This ritual exercise in flaunting military power hasn’t yielded the expected dividends, least of all in a

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cringing Russia. The music hall hysteria on Russia and Russian interference in US domestic politics is not without irony coming from a country whose addiction to regime change in targeted countries deemed enemies has long been an opiate for the masses. President Putin’s two videos of Russia’s latest weaponry nuclear and conventional have made their point emphatically in Syria. His outreach into hallowed US spheres of influence in the Middle East and Africa are facts of life to which the world will grow accustomed in the fullness of time. The descent of Russia’s latest ‘White Swan’ jumbo transport and bomber aircraft, able also to circumnavigate the globe without refuelling, touched down on South African soil its, message clear. Game on. Meanwhile asymmetric warfare in Afghanistan has bogged down the US in the longest war in its history. Hallucinatory delusions of grandeur in the White House, Capitol Hill and the country’s loquaciously xenophobic media show few signs of abating. A USdominated world order is dead in the water; the multi-polar substitute is in the making, irrespective of the jet stream twaddle to the contrary emanating from the US, EU and NATO. Tulsi Gabbard is largely a lone voice of sanity, but it is a feisty, no-nonsense voice. She dismissed the gaseous insults of Hillary Clinton as those of a corrupt ‘warmonger’. Conscience and courage are a light unto the nations, its glow an inspiration to those given to dream of a better, saner world.

Your voice matters to us. Have a tip? Or want to share your story write to us at:


onetoone Keith Vaz MP

Rt Hon Keith Vaz's column will not appear during the General Election Campaign as is the normal convention. It will be back when the General Election is over.

Down the Literary Memory Lane

Influence of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar on British Asian Community. AV/GS always takes a led when our interests are threatened. Bhupendra M. Gandhi Although I used to read Gujarat Samachar in mid-eighties, well before I started contributing earnestly in early nineties, when Asian Voice was known as New Life. AV became the main Asian weekly in English with largest circulation among ethnic publications, when it gained an independent status, with pages of news, views, comments and editorial

column like “As I See It”. With passage of time, Asian Voice became mouth-peace of Asian community, especially British Indian community, taking up the fight when our interests are threatened. The leading example is the struggle and in the end grand victory when Hare Krishna Temple was threatened with closure. Instead it has become the most attended Krishna temple near Watford outside India, attracting well over one hundred thousand devotees during Janmastami festival, Lord Krishna’s birthday, celebrated with panache, indeed a joyous occasions for everyone, irrespective of our cultural or religious affiliation. It does not matter whether you are Krishna devotee, Lord Rama, Hanuman, Shiva or even an atheist, a non-believer; everyone is welcome at Hare Krishna, with open arms and a smile on Lord Krishna’s face that would lift your gloom, guide you to Lord Krishna’s Virandran, Garden of Eden. This is the greatness of Hinduism, the most liberal and flexible religion in the world, when religion is the cause of so many conflicts. No wonder secular India is the only nation in the area where minority population is on the rise when neighbouring nations are ethnically cleansed! Both weeklies are so priced that everyone can afford it, costing less than the postage. So many people, including me, solely rely on these weeklies for news, especially the fast occurring events in our motherland India and here in the UK. Just like its editor, C. B. Patel, a former Tanzanian resident, most elderly readers come from East Africa when these countries became independent and we were given the choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, to give up our cherished British passport and become local citizen. Most chose to retain British passport and were obliged to leave. After a life threatening incident in our cherished NHS when a two hour stay in a Day Ward became a twenty two night struggle, undergoing a major surgery, I decided to give up my accountancy profession and solely concentrated on journalism. At one time I had a “Travel Column” in AV and used to write articles, short stories, interviews and covering Narendra Modi’s visit to London in 2003 when he was CM of Gujarat. Since publication of my first letter in AV, I have never looked back, published four books, three novels, including Ivory Tower and Olive Grove, exceeding half a million words and the latest “Cry For Help” a collection of some eighty poems. I also have my own column “From Far & Near” in India Link magazine and occasionally contribute to national papers as well. I must admit this success would not have been possible without opportunity and the encouragement I received from CB whom I have known since back in Dar when he used to visit our shop “Sunrise Stores” established by my father way back in 1947 and is credited with the introduction of bread, butter, jam and cheese amongst Indian community, a favourite Sunday evening meal when ladies had a free evening, visiting beautiful Oyster bay beach, in their best Sunday attire! One incident I remember well is the call I received from CB on Monday afternoon, when he was having a meeting with late Anil Pota, General Secretary of OFBJP, giving me four hours to write a 750 word piece on the function held the previous evening in honour of visiting BJP stalwart Shri Advani. Continued on page 16






9 - 15 November 2019

Heaven on earth to witness dawn of development Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh became Union Territories on October 31, the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first home minister of India and the prime mover of consolidation of the princely states of India after independence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has aptly dedicated the reformation of this region to Sardar Patel. After 73 years of India's independence, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh will now witness a new dawn of peace and development after the crucial steps taken to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution. After the agreement was signed with Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir, Article 370 was retained as a temporary provision in the Constitution of India. Despite so many years, no government had the courage or was able to take the risk of making this provision permanent or took steps to completely abolish it. The situation created two sets of laws in independent India. The only reason why this situation continued for centuries was that few families wanted to take advantage and strengthen their power by misusing Article 370. However, on August 5, 2019 the Modi government made a statutory announcement of the dissolution of the special status of the state along with bifurcation of the state into two union territories. The Lok Sabha endorsed the move with two-thirds majority, while in Rajya Sabha (where NDA is in minority) 125 members supported it and 61 opposed the move. The advantage of the Article granting special rights to Jammu & Kashmir as well as Ladakh was certainly not availed by many people. Despite the region being an integral part of India, it remained isolated from industries and investments required for development. Trade was also limited. Now that the region is ruled by the central government, it is certain that its development will gain pace. It is definite that this unification will encourage inclusivity of the disadvantaged and marginalized classes in the state so far. The reorganisation act not just reconstitute the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories but is also witnessing significant changes with the transition. Jammu and Kashmir will have elected legislative assembly and council of ministers headed by the chief minister for the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Ladakh will not have an Assembly and will be

directly governed by the Union Home Ministry through the Lieutenant-Governor. With the establishment of peace, assembly elections can also be held in the valley. Central laws have now been implemented along with the schemes of the central government. Until now only permanent citizens of the state had exclusive rights to own property and apply for government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir. After the removal of Article 35-A, the laws related to the land will be amended and be applicable, in which other Indians will also have rights to own a property. This will help accelerate growth in the valley. It is quite certain that this decision has perturbed India's terror-funding and secessionist neighbouring country. The terror attacks for decades have sacrificed thousands of innocent lives. Indian soldiers have also been martyred in such attacks. People are appalled by the terrorists for their call to boycott work and education. Schools in Kashmir are still closed and more than 15,00,000 students are devoid of education. In such a situation, the presence of armed forces is mandatory to protect the sovereignty of the local citizens as well as the country. Recently, members of the European Parliament paid a visit in Kashmir. They also unanimously validated the military presence after witnessing the violence and terrorist attacks in the Kashmir valley. In the wake of proxy war, Pakistan has, and still promotes violence by providing refuge and nurturing terrorist groups. Now many such groups and politicians can be kept under the radar. When China called the partition of Jammu and Kashmir as unlawful and void, India categorically made it clear that the reorganisation is entirely its internal affair and it does not expect other countries to comment on such matters. India also slammed China for its occupation of a large tract land in J&K and Ladakh. Countries that are advocating human rights should, at first, exercise the rights in their country. It is widely known that pro-Kashmir demonstrators recently carried out violence in the UK and vandalized India House. India is certain that it will not entertain any sort of intervention in this matter. This revolutionary step of India is to retain the beauty of Kashmir, globally recognised as a paradise on earth.

Myanmar for closer Indian ties After decades of isolation by a military junta, little or no development, the people of Myanmar breathe freely and opening their minds to the country’s past culture and rich civilisation in which Buddhism played a seminal role. India was where the Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment and set out on his lifelong journey to carry his message to the world. Thanks largely to the Mauryan Emperor Asoka, who ruled over India, and centuries later, to Kanishka, the seeds of Buddhism were carried to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and beyond, to Tibet, Mongolia, China, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Japan. I000000n the Western world scholars have been drawn to aspects of Buddhism, the books holding the field in making the subject accessible, relevant and attractive to those engaged in exploring possible solutions to troubled humanity’s myriad problems. Buddhism is the sum of its parts, hence there exists varied schools of thought and practice, such as Hinayana, Mahayana and Yen, in Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Myanmar, Tibet, Mongolia and Japan respectively. The clergy in the East has, alas, politicised the Buddhist spirit of non-attachment and obscured its core values. Such is the historical canvas and its contemporary form. We return thus to Myanmar: long divided internally by ethnic and religious strife, that continues to simmer and exploded, from time to time, Myanmar has moved significantly forward, but still burdened by the pains of labour of its troubled birth. Institutions are taking shape, economic development is visible to the naked eye and living standards improve, lubricated in part by internal and external trade and foreign investment. Much more, however, needs to be done to take the country forward. India is uniquely placed, especially for the younger, aspiring Myanmar generation with its accessible institutions in science and technology, not forgetting the liberal arts. A partnership of equals will be of mutual benefit to both parties.

Baghdadi: Hubris to Nemesis Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, founder of the nefarious Islamic State of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon (ISISL) the world’s foremost and most feared jihadi terrorist organisation, was hunted down and killed by a US Special Forces unit, the news disclosed in Washington by President Donald Trump, who specifically thanked Russia, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and the Syrian Kurds for their help and cooperation in running down the fugitive. At its peak, ISIL controlled a s wathe of territory from Iraq to Syria. Its operatives killed, raped and kidnapped their victims with impunity. Recruits from the Islamic world and beyond replenished its ranks in a steady stream. Baghdadi proclaimed himself Caliph of the new, murderous Caliphate. The West, for its part, the US and UK most of all, have much to answer for, having covertly and cynically succoured Islamist terror groups targ eting Russia (Ahmed Zakayev, the Chechen terrorist, has been given asylum in the UK), but also indulgent towards kin-

dred groups operating from Pakistan against India. Osama bin Laden, leader al Qaeda was tracked down and shot down with family in his Pakistani hideout by a US Navy Seal squad, on orders of the previous Obama administration. The Baghdadi will surely have successors in a Middle East laid waste by the US military. Washington must explore a more imaginative policy for the area. The reliance on blind, unthinking force makes a bad situation infinitely worse. India and Russia in high level consultations on counter –terrorism have condemned terrorism in all its forms, emphasising the need to adopt a uniform approach on the issue ‘without any double standards .’ The two partners exchanged views on threats posed by terror groups globally, including in particular , concerns in South Asia and the verifiable abolition all terrorist havens in the region, said a joint India, Russia statement.

The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large. - Confucius

Alpesh Patel

The Separatist Next Door The links from Britain to India are strong. For good. Some us have spent decades building them. Last week, I was at the Indian High Commission in London hosting the commemoration of the birth of Sardar Patel. In the audience were Lord Paul, who chaired the UK India Roundtable to advise the then Labour Prime Minister on policies to bring the two countries together. That’s when a Labour leader wanted closer ties with India as opposed to openly criticizing the world’s largest multi-faith democracy. I was a member of the UK-India Roundtable. Also present was Lord Rami Ranger. At this event on unity, he knows from personal experience the cost of lives after partition and disunity. Lord Bilimoria, who as founding Chairman of UK India Business Council ensured a close and growing trade relationship between the countries and I served on the Council during Karan’s tenure and beyond. Lord Loomba was present, and his Loomba Trust supports widows and orphans especially in India. Again, I am privileged to be Co-Chair with Lord Bilimoria of the charity. Don’t think the event was only for those with titles. Also present were Navin Shah (London Assembly Member) and the former Mayor of Harrow – both of whom spoke to me about their concerns that as Labour Party members, there is a danger the antipathy to Labour by British Indians could hurt British Indian Labour politicians. A problem indeed for the Labour Party. But, the event was about unity – after all it commemorated Sardar Patel – the man who made India. And CB Patel who convened the largest collection of British Indian organisations ever to condemn Labour Party interference in Kashmir, in Parliament last month, spoke as Chair of the Sardar Patel Memorial Society. However, on disunity, never have I in the 25 years since working in the US Congress against Indian separatists from ‘Khalistan’ have seen such a resurgence of separatists working against India. Never have I seen them so openly join common cause with Pakistani backed Kashmiris. Their numbers are miniscule, hence why violence is something they turn too. As we enter the election period, I fully support our temples, mosques, churches, gurdwaras being centres for the community to speak on political matters – within the legal constraints of the Charity Commission. Do not let someone curtail your free speech by claiming such community organisation should be kept silent at election time. Those wanting to silence you will be the ones who want to silence the majority they disagree with. But, bewarned. There are more candidates than I have ever seen who support hate speech, make those speeches at places of worship, raise funds there too, and support the twin separatist causes of Pakistan – Kashmir and Khalistan. These will bring their hate to Parliament. Their division. The Indian High Commission was attacked because it represents the values of India and indeed Britain – values hated by separatists. These militants who turn to violence because they cannot muster followers, hate religions living together, they hate liberalism and gender equality. The world does not need another theocracy. Editor: CB Patel Asian Voice is published by Asian Business Publications Ltd Karma Yoga House, 12 Hoxton Market, (Off Coronet Street) London N1 6HW. Tel: 020 7749 4080 • Fax: 020 7749 4081 Email: Website: INDIA OFFICE Bureau Chief: Nilesh Parmar (BPO) AB Publication (India) Pvt. Ltd. 207 Shalibhadra Complex, Opp. Jain Derasar, Nr. Nehru Nagar Circle, Ambawadi, Ahmedabad-380 015. Tel: +91 79 2646 5960 Email: © Asian Business Publications

4 UK



9 - 15 November 2019

Women in Conversation An EY and Asian Voice initiative

Sangeeta Waldron, Founder, Serendipity PR & Media The inaugural ‘Women in Conversation’ event was launched with great success on 22 October 2019 at EY's offices in 1 More London Place, London. Zishan Nurmohamed, Senior Partner at EY welcomed the delegates and made a brief presentation of EY's role in partnering with startups and small businesses. Organized by Asian Voice, the event was attended largely by women and a few men from diverse sectors including the arts, fashion, the corporate world, entrepreneurs and women aspiring to start their own business. The best role models are not celebrities, but the women from all backgrounds you meet every day. This was a chance to share some of their stories.

Panelist, Alex Frean, Starling Bank The discussion panel consisted of Alex Frean, Niki Mullin and Maha Sardar. Alex Frean is the Head of Corporate Affairs at Starling Bank. She has over thirty year's experience in national and international journal-

It was inspiring to hear the personal career stories at the Women In Conversation event.

ex t The n will t even ld in be he 020. 2 early

Prashant Shah, Executive Chairman, 02h Ventures ism including The Times and The Sunday Times. A respected figure in business book publishing, Niki Mullin is Head of Business Development at LID Business Media - the fifth largest book publisher in Europe. Maha Sardar is a successful barrister, who has worked on high-profile cases that have made the headlines. Sadar is an advocate for human rights, social change maker and an entrepreneur. The topics for discussion were challenges women in business face, solutions, financing, trusted tips that work and how to get a book published. A very well organised event with an opportunity to meet and hear from phenomenal women who are the champions of diversity.

Shylaja Swaminathan, Client Advisor UBS Wealth Management

(L to R) – Sangeeta Waldron, Moderator; Panelists Alex Freane, Niki Mullin, Maha Sardar

It was a privilege to be part of the panel for the launch event of Women in Conversation'. The event itself was fantastic, with superb networking, conversations and women! Equally, it was good to see men in the audience, who were participating. I left feeling totally inspired with the experience and the conversations we created as a panel with the audience. I can’t wait for the next one!.

Fantastic initiative to raise awareness of the issues faced by women within work places and the need for business to shine a light on these concerns and take action. Was stimulating and thought provoking. Thanks Asian Voice and EY.

Rajal Patni, Co-Founder & Chief Financial Officer Lavanya Plus Ltd

Panelist, Niki Mullin, LID Publishing

I was delighted to have been invited to the Women in Conversation event organised by EY and Asian Voice. Many interesting points were highlighted by the panelists. I have a 16 year old daughter and I feel that these inspirational role models can impact her generation. More importantly, make their voices heard and bring about positive change.

Paresh Davdra, Founder and Non Executive Director, RationalFX & Xendpay

Photo courtesy: Raj D Bakrania, PrMediapix




9 - 15 November 2019

As I See It

BBC gave Jeremy Vine £100,000 top-up pay deal, battle over equal pay continues

CB Patel

New Year, New Musings

Dear Readers,

Diwali is over and Vikram Samvat 2076 has set in. I am adamant on beginning the New Year with a whole new zeal and appreciation for life and all those who help make it better. Which is why, this week, my column will simply reflect gratitude to my readers, supporters, sponsors, colleagues, and well wishers. Vikram Samvat 2076 commemorates the rule of King Vikramaditya in Ujjain. It is believed he began the era of Hinduism. What is called Hinduism today, was initially identified as Sanatan Dharma which had no beginning or end. United India or Akhand Bharat was established over 2500 years ago under the guidance of Sage Chanakya. Emperor Chandragupta Maurya is credited as being the creator of a unified India. The terms Hinduism or Hindustan evolved in the last 1000 years under the rule of Mughal dynasties in present-day Delhi. It doesn't necessarily mean it's a country of only Hindus. Unlike other countries that identify with a particular religion- like the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, India despite an 80 per cent population of Hindus, does not identify as a Hindu state. Just like Britain does not identify as a 'Christian' country. It's a country with a majority of Christians. There's a difference. This Diwali, hundreds of temples, gurdwaras, and derasars celebrated with a lot of pomp. Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the temple on New Year's Day when Annakut was offered to the Hindu Gods. London Mayor Sadiq Khan organised a Diwali function at Trafalgar Square. It was Chanakya who said !"्$% "ू'ं )*्+ - meaning the foundation of civilisation is wealth creation. Indians, especially


Hindus, Jains and Sikhs are renowned for their entrepreneurial skills and being followers of peace and harmonious co-existence. With the last issues of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar closed, I was fortunate to have several hours to read and relax. What a luxury it was. I had recently received over 30 books of Kavi Nanalal. I also read newspapers, magazines, and books. One of the most interesting book review I read was 'Leadership in War' by Andrew Roberts. What a fascinating book that compares several leaders who led their nations. From Napolean Bonaparte, to Horatio Nelson, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, to Dwight Eisenhower, and Margaret ThatcherRoberts highlights the characteristics, temperament, talents and tenacity of each leader very carefully.

How do culture and traditions survive? Last Sunday, I attended the wedding of a daughter from a distinguished family known for its values and particularly, its generous philanthropy. I was very touched watching the ceremony of two hours. In my 53 years in London, I have met many entrepreneurs and businessmen/women. One thing common in all of them is their connection with their roots. Culture irrespective of religion is something that defines the basic roots of the society. Maybe this is why people who move abroad are more conscious of their traditions than those living in India. It will not surprise you to notice, I have seen atheists visit temples, gurdwaras and churches merely to stay in touch with their societal customs. Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar has always worked for the betterment of and in

Samira Ahmed

the service of the communities and its existence is owed to our readers. We ran two major campaigns recently. One was against the nefarious report launched by the Labour Party, and second was against the divisive anti-Indian demonstration. Our contribution and leadership in these two vital community concerns have been very well-acknowledged. While I appreciate the compliments, we were simply doing our duty. It was our way of ensuring the community knows that whenever there are problems for our community, we will lead from the front and are most grateful for all the support from one and all. Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar strives to follow the principles of fairness, peace, non-violence, and harmonious relationships, all of which have enabled success to all our campaigns. I wish the new year bestows upon us the greatest of strengths to stand against what is wrong and raise our voices against injustice.

Jeremy Vine

The BBC agreed to pay Jeremy Vine a “topup” fee of £100,000 for doing nothing if it could not find him enough programmes to present. Details of the 2008 deal emerged in evidence submitted to Samira Ahmed’s equal pay employment tribunal. Vine earned £3,000 per episode for hosting Points of View, six times the £400-440 fee paid to Ahmed for Newswatch, a similar audience feedback programme. Ahmed, claims that she was paid less because of her gender, which the BBC denies. With Vine’s BBC contract due to expire at the end of 2007 his agent secured a “close to seven figure” offer from ITV, prompting the corporation’s executives to put together their own package. BBC offered Vine more work, including hosting Eggheads plus an extra fee for oneoff news specials. It also approved a “top-up clause that would guarantee the BBC would find extra work to a value of £100,000 or a guaranteed payment of up to £100,000 if they did not,” according to Roger Leatham, director of business affairs for BBC Studios Production, who negotiated the contract. Ahmed is now claiming £693,000 back pay from the BBC. The corporation defends paying her less than Vine on the grounds that she is less well known and Newswatch is a less prominent show than Points of View. The hearing continues.

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16 UK



9 - 15 November 2019

TiE Awards show London's Start-up and FinTech economy still strong Priyanka Mehta

Global markets seem to be living in the age of anxiety. Continuing uncertainty around Brexit, on-going trade war and the threat of economies slipping into recession have painted a rather gloomy financial picture. Yet, on Friday, 1st November, The Landmark London buzzed with the synergy of London's entrepreneurial spirit at the annual TiE London Awards. Sunil Chandra, plugging the mid-market gaps Organised by TiE London President Nina Amin MBE, the evening saw young tech turks networking with potential investors besides eminent dignitaries of the diaspora. Members included Lord Jitesh Gadhia, Lord Rami Ranger, G P Hinduja and Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business among others. Perhaps, the illustrious evening's highlight was the keynote speech delivered by Sunil Chandra, recently appointed CEO of OakNorth. Chandra who is the former Vice President of Google expressed his “confidence” in London's “thriving start-up and FinTech mar-

Winners of the TiE London Awards 2019

Sunil Chandra, CEO of OakNorth Navin Kundra

ket”. He said, “Despite the gambles and uncertainties when you think about what is going to happen with Brexit, the US government, macro-economic environment, I have seen London thrive through all of this. “The thesis behind the foundation of OakNorth is to facilitate those businesses that are neither too big nor too small but caught in the mid-market industry. The strategy is to figure out the application of all the institutional-grade analysis from figuring out credit extensions to debt facilities. Today, the UK is the thirdlargest unicorn market following America and China and I believe that the FinTech market in London

will continue to grow from strength to strength.” Hosted by Guinness world record singer Navin Kundra, this event awardwinners in categories ranging from entrepreneur to interpreneur of the year. Additionally, this year, two new categories were introducedTechnology Company of the Year and Social Entrepreneur of the Year.

Young Entrepreneur of the year “It is a great honour to be recognised for my passion and work. I feel that Technology and Artificial Intelligence today are key drivers to addressing the major challenges that the global economy and environment face currently,”

said Dr. Nikhil Shah, Dr. winner of the TiE London young entrepreneur of the year award. In his academic degree at Imperial, the Co-founder of S-Cube had focussed on theoretical research around Artificial Intelligence (AI) applied to the Energy Industry. Following his Doctorate, the technology he had devised was made commercially viable such that it provides AI solutions to leading energy companies across the world including Chevron and ExxonMobil. S-Cube is a spinout company formed in 2015 to advance data-driven automated earth parameter learning from raw exploration seismic data. Shah's breakthrough theories on subsurface velocity have helped revolutionise global

1. Social Entrepreneur of the year: Kush Kanodia, Co-founder of Choice International 2. Woman of the year: Joyeeta Das, Founder, and CEO of Gyana 3. Young Entrepreneur of the year: Dr. Nikhil Shah, Co-founder, and CEO of S-CUBE 4. Interpreneur of the year: Professor Charanjit Bountra, Professor of Translational Medicine at the University of Oxford 5. Fastest Growing Business of the year: Clove Dental, Dental care services 6. Technology Company of the year: Yoti, Digital identity app 7. Entrepreneur of the year: Mahiben Maruthappu, Co-founder of CeraCare petroleum exploration these energy companies to identify profitable deep-sea oil fields.

Woman of the year While Dr. Shah had been backed with venture capital funding, Joyeeta Das, who received the TiE London woman of the year award discusses the difficulty in finding the funds to continue the business. Gyana, a trillion-dollar vision founded by Das is the world’s most comprehensive resource for how any company can leverage data science and AI with zero experience. “Our whole purpose is to empower common people with deep tech without learning how to code. But in the process, there have countless glass barriers right from funding to pitching to the right investors,” said Das.

Entrepreneur of the year

Joyeeta Das receiving the TiE London Woman of the year award from Nina Amin CBE (left) and Sunil Chandra (right)

Mahiben Maruthappu receiving the TiE London Entrepreneur of the year award from Dylan Jagjivan (left) and GP Hinduja (right) and Navin Kundra

Kush Kanodia receiving the TiE London Social Entrepreneur of the year award from Nina Amin CBE (left) and Lord Jitesh Gandhi (right)

Dr. Nikhil Shah receiving the TiE London Young Entrepreneur of the year award from Nina Amin CBE (left) and Pratap Singh (right)

Alongside these young entrepreneurs was Mahiben Maruthappu, Co-Founder of CeraCare, who won the TiE London entrepreneur of the year award. Cera was launched in 2016 and has been transforming the face

of home care ever since. “My grandmother was my biggest inspiration behind building this company. She passed away a couple of years ago and received home care in her last stage. So, I would like to dedicate this award to her. “Today, the home care industry is in a challenging position. Elderly increasingly need such services whereas there is a shortage of home care services and the only way to square that demand-supply shortage is through technology,” said Maruthappu. Other winners included- Clove Dental, which received the award for the fastest growing business, whilst Yoti won the technology company of the year, Professor Charanjit Bountra, bagged the interpreneur of the year and Kush Kanodia, was awarded the social entrepreneur of the year. Members of the independent jury included Lord Jitesh Gadhia, Priya Hiranandani-Vandrevala, Jean De Fougerolles, and Greg Norton Kodd. The event was accompanied by a gala dinner and light entertainment by Marc Paul.

Louis Shakinovsky of Clove Dental receiving the TiE London Fastest Growing Company of the year award from Nina Amin CBE (left) and Surinder Arora (right)





9 - 15 November 2019

Leicester MP Vaz at the Lord Rami Ranger Honored in Delhi brink of suspension? The Leicester MP and former chair of the Commons home affairs committee, Keith Vaz, was issued with a six-month suspension from Parliament last week. This follows a National newspaper expose in 2016 alleging that he had offered to buy drugs for male escorts. He was earlier referred to the Commons standards committee for investigation and the house standards watchdog found he had breached the MPs' code of conduct by showing “disregard for the law”. However despite being referred to the police by the Tory MP for North West Leicestershire Andrew Bridgen twice no action was taken. According to Kathyrn Stone, standards commissioner, his actions had caused a “significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons” and Mr. Vaz remained “evasive” and declined to reveal full details during the investigation. The complaint against him was made by Mr Bridgen who allies of Mr Vaz said had a “vendetta” against him. Mr Vaz has raised the issue of entrapment with regards to the original newspaper investigation, and has also stated that subsequent to the initial incident in 2016 he has suffered from ill health which has also

affected his ability to respond to the watchdog's questions. He was represented by the City Law Firm Carter Ruck who stated that all questions were answered in full. With the dissolution of parliament this week on Wednesday 6th November, Mr Vaz's suspension has effectively ended. It is uncertain what will happen next. The Labour Party has remained silent on whether any action will be taken over the subject. However, his colleagues including Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary and one of his oldest allies, has urged him to quit as the candidate for Leicester East in the upcoming general election. It is still unclear if Mr. Vaz will continue to remain on the National Executive Committee where his 2 year term has expired. Proposals are being discussed to abolish the organisation BAME Labour who he represents on the body. Councillor Mahendra Valand a local Councillor in Leicester said : “Keith Vaz has been an outstanding MP he enjoys our full and complete confidence. In the last 32 years he has taken up 49,000 cases for local people.” Twenty three local councillors and 50 community organisations have written a statement in support of Mr Vaz.

On Tuesday 5th November, newly appointed British Lord Raminder Singh Ranger, CBE, was felicitated by Delhi Study Group led by its President Vijay Jolly at New Delhi, India.

At a program jointly organized by Assocham & Delhi Study Group led by BJP Leader Vijay Jolly, Lord Rami Ranger, was presented with a map of recently created new Union Territories of Jammu Kashmir & Ladakh and was felicitated with a trophy at the program. Dr. Bhupendra Kumar Modi, Chairman Overseas Citizens of India Investor Forum also attended the gathering and was felicitated at the program as well. Dr. Modi lauded the efforts of Lord Rami Ranger to promote India & Indians in Great Britain calling him a "true son of mother India”. Lord Ranger espoused the

BJP led Modi Govt. is doing its best in the present times and that terrorism has no place in democracy according to Lord Ranger. Conservative Party of Britain is solidly with India he further stated.

Chancellor condemns Rod Liddle's column suggesting Muslim should not vote Chancellor Sajid Javid has recently condemned a magazine column which suggested that Muslim people should be deterred from voting in the upcoming general elections. Earlier, in a column for news magazine The Spectator, Rod Liddle suggested that elections should be held on Islamic holy days so as to deter Muslims from voting. “My own choice of election date would be a day when universities are closed and Muslims are forbid-

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Conservative Party’s perspective on bifurcation of J&K by stating that it is a internal issue of India and Pakistan has no business of interfering in it. For the development of people of Jammu Kashmir & Ladakh,

den to do anything on pain of hell, or something,” said Liddle. “There must one at least one day like that in the Muslim calendar, surely? That would deliver at least 40 seats to the Tories, I reckon.” Denouncing the column, Javid took to Twitter on Friday (1) to say that no community in Britain "should be put down that way." "Not clear if the Rod Liddle comment is supposed to be a joke -

but it's not funny and not acceptable," wrote Javid. The Spectator's assistant editor Isabel Hardman also said she was "hugely upset" by the piece and said she has "nothing to do" with it. Following backlash, Liddle wrote in a blog on the Spectator website that his words were taken out of context. “There was no hate speech or Islamophobia whatsoever in my piece,” he wrote.

8 UK



9 - 15 November 2019

Asian Jewish Business Network bringing together entrepreneurial spirits of the two communities

The Asian and Jewish communities enjoy a unique relationship when it comes to the love for cuisines, their entrepreneurial spirit and observing family traditions alongside their respective cultures. Perhaps, these similarities were best illustrated at the inaugural Asian Jewish Business Network (ABJN) hosted on Monday, 4th November at the Lords Cricket Stadium. The event was attended by a cross-section of dignitaries from the field of politics, business and law among others. Eminent members included Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State for International Development, Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business, Sir Lloyd Dorfman CBE, Founder of Travelex & Chairman of Doddle, Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chairman and Founder Cobra Beer, Ron Kalifa, Director of WorldPay, Zaki Cooper of Indian Jewish Association, Faisal Islam, Economics Editor of BBC News and cricketer Monty Panesar among others.

The Brainchild of Rusell Bahar and Justin Cohen This unique network was the brainchild of Rusell Bahar, Director of Spring Ad Consultancy alongside Justin Cohen, News Editor for Jewish News. Over 400 members from both the communities are believed to have gathered together for the corporate network that kick-started with a keynote

speech from Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP. Having served in senior banking positions in Frankfurt, Stockholm, and London, Mr. Sharma was previously instrumental in introducing Masala Bonds to the UK. Now, in his role as the Secretary of State for International Development, he is striving to secure finances and support from private enterprises for countries in need of humanitarian aid. He said, “I am honoured to be at the launch of ABJN. A few years ago, I was the CoChairman of Conservatives Friends of India and was speaking to my friends at another organisation, the Conservative Friends of Israel. Back then, we discussed what more we can do to encourage bilateral trade, foster business and ensure deeper engagement between the British Indian and Jewish diaspora. “Now, a closer observance of the two communities reveals that they also have shared values around patriotism, tradition and entrepreneurial spirit. Be it in politics or business, indi-

Alok Sharma MP

Rajesh Agrawal

Lord Karan Bilimoria

Sir Lloyd Dorfman CBE

Faisal Islam

Monty Panesar

viduals from both these communities have punched well above their weight and contributed to the UK's economic and cultural fabric. This network is, therefore, an iconic beginning to further strengthening these communities.” Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business also recognised the contribution of both the communities and said, “People of Asian and

Jewish heritage have played a central part in London’s economy for centuries. It is a great idea to bring them together.”

Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chairman, and Founder of Cobra Beer, shared his own story whilst describing the UK as “a meritocracy and the most entrepreneurial nation in this world”. He recalled how his family had earlier warned him that he would “never get to the top” as an immigrant in the UK. He said, “I am ashamed to say that they were right, but then I saw in front of my

Lord Bilimoria warned: “Never get to the top” as an immigrant in the UK Perhaps, another characteristic similar to professionals from both the communities is their hard work and determination to culminate their journeys into success stries.

eyes this glass ceiling being shattered. “I believe anyone in this country can succeed regardless of their race, religion or background.” Elated by the manifold success of the event, organiser Rusell Bahar is believed to be planning for another similar event in 2020. Although the details are in the pipeline, he is expected to scale up the size of the event as more entrepreneurs have now expressed their interest in associating with the network. He said, “Before this event, I knew very little about the Asian community based here in the UK. I always loved Asian cuisine but through this event, I have also had an interface with members of the Asian diaspora. In the process, I have learned how acceptable, professional and friendly they are. “I am already in talks with representatives from some of the high street banks about organising next year's event. The whole objective behind this network is to harness the synergies of the two communities and I am especially grateful to Justin Cohen and Zaki Cooper, who were instrumental in the smooth organisation of this successful event.” The headline sponsors of the event were foreign exchange company Currencies Direct and law firm Axiom Stone Solicitors. Photo courtesy: Leivi Saltman

UK prepares for Brexmas and a general election Parliament just voted to have a Christmas time general election that is potentially going to be a referendum on Brexit. The UK will now try to break the Brexit deadlock with a general election. After Brexit was delayed a third time, the UK Parliament voted to hold an election on December 12 — a little more than a month before the new Brexit deadline of January 31, 2020. But this is a third general election since 2015. This has

plunged the already divided country into further confusion and chaos with Labour, Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Nigel Farrage's Brexit Party promising different versions of either getting Brexit done or conducting a second referendum. Jeremy Corbyn has said that his plan to get a better deal and then put it to the public in another referendum was "clear and simple". He said a deadline to hold the vote next summer was "realistic and doable". But the Tories

said Labour's plan would result in "paralysing uncertainty". Michael Gove, the minister in charge of Brexit planning, said a majority Conservative government would "absolutely not" extend the transition period after the UK's departure from the EU under Mr Johnson's deal it is due to end at the start of 2021. In the meantime, in a speech at the Liberal Democrats' campaign launch, Party leader Jo Swinson has said she could do "a better job"

than either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister. The Lib Dems currently have 20 MPs - out of a possible 650 - and they are especially hopeful of gaining seats in London and south-west England, but they would need a dramatic shift in the electoral landscape if they were to win a majority. The political parties are ramping up their election campaigning, ahead of the official start to the five-week campaign period at just after midnight on Wednesday.





9 - 15 November 2019

More than eight in ten Celebrating Asian talent is the Asians experienced early key to strengthening UK-India signs of poor mental health business ties, Rima Sengupta A new survey reveals that more than eight in ten (82%) people from an Asian background have experienced early signs of poor mental health. The survey conducted by Public Health England (PHE) charted over the last 12 months and highlighted symptoms of feeling anxious, stressed, and having trouble sleeping. The PHE in partnership with the NHS, has now launched 'Every Mind Matters' to help people take simple steps for their mental health and wellbeing whilst supporting others. The survey also observed that nearly half (47%) of people who experienced concerns about their mental health avoided social situations or contact from friends and family. Whereas four in ten (40%) people who experienced concerns about their mental health turned to unhealthy behaviours like smoking, drinking alcohol, unhealthy eating or taking recreational drugs. “Every Mind Matters

Nadiya Hussain

will benefit us all with an accessible tool to help manage our wellbeing at the click of a button. It will offer vital support to those living with a mental health condition and give each of us valuable and personalised tips on how to better cope with life’s daily struggles, while contributing to tackling the stigma that can still surround mental health,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock. A special film to promote Every Mind Matters has been written by Richard Curtis and directed by Rankin. It is narrated by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of

Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The film features a range of people whose lives have been affected by poor mental health, including Nadiya Hussain, Gillian Anderson, Glenn Close, Freddie Flintoff, Professor Green, Davina McCall, Jordan Stephens, Will Young, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Sarah Taylor, Rob Beckett, Katie Piper, Joe Sugg and Alastair Campbell. ‘The latest data from Public Health England shows that all of us will be affected by poor mental health at some point in our lives. However, not all of us feel able to access the right help, especially minority communities, which is why I’d like to encourage the whole country, including everyone within the SouthAsian communities to feel more empowered to look after their own mental health. We can all make a start by visiting the Every Mind Matters website,” said TV doctor Ranj Singh.

This year like each year, esteemed individuals from all sectors gathered at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel to recognise and celebrate the very best of Asian talent in the UK. I have attended the Asian Achievers Awards for the past seven years and I am consistently struck by the numerous ways Asians contribute to the UK. As a solicitor dual qualified in India and UK, I have spent much of my career committed to bringing the two countries together. At both my former and current firm, I played an integral part in the formation of the India desk. With the Indian economy growing from strength to strength, my dual qualification offers an added advantage, as the Indian legal market is not yet open to international firms to set up their offices. Here, I feel I am bridging the gap between the two countries. I am a member of the board of the FICCI UK council and am closely associated with the High Commission of India.

YOUR EXPERTS INN RUNNING A BUSINESS B INESSS Let’s stay ambitious together We don’t want the inevitable comple exities xities of running your business to dampen your enthusiasm and get in the way of your dreams. So we help you deal with those typical legal, tax, employment and compliance issues that every business faces. With us on your side, your motivations, plans and targets will never take second place to business obligations and concerns.

nology, making India an obvious market for international growth. In 2018, an MoU was signed for enhancing bilateral cooperation in legal affairs which, inter alia, provides a framework for promoting greater cooperation between professionals in both countries through exchange of expertise and training. Evidently, the strength and entrepreneurism of the Indian business community in the UK is growing year after year. Now in its 19th year, I hope to see the Awards continue well Rima Sengupta into the future - along The UK has strong ecowith more industries doing nomic ties with India, and their bit to embrace the recognises India as one of Asian community and all it the most important bilateraffords. So Asian talent is al investors. The number of not only present in busiIndian companies investing ness, but celebrated and and doing business in the encouraged. UK has risen by 5.25% from Rima is an Associate 2018 to 2019 and generated Solicitor at Lawrence a combined turnover of Stephens in the Corporate £48bn. Similarly, India and and Banking practice, with the UK share strengths in a specific focus on the financial services and techIndian market.

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9 - 15 November 2019

Diwali – A Jain Perspective We have just celebrated Diwali. In fact, Diwali functions and parties are still continuing where people are enjoying themselves by dancing and exchanging gifts and lighting fireworks. Hindus celebrate Diwali to commemorate the victory of Lord Rama over the evil king Ravana and other such joyous events by merry making and feasting themselves on sumptuous meals. For Jains, Diwali marks the anniversary of the attainment of moksha by Lord Mahavira, (Jainism’s twentyforth and last Tirthankara or prophet) at the end of his life on earth in 527 BC. It was late in the night of Diwali (Aaso Vad Chaudash) that Mahavira left his earthly body and achieved liberation. Jains celebrate Diwali in various manners. Some fast for two days as Mahavira did immediately preceding his liberation. Others join their Hindu friends at parties and generally enjoy themselves. One of our local organisations (RGWA – Redbridge Gujarati Welfare Association ) have already celebrated Diwali and another, Redbridge Asian Mandal (RAM), will celebrate Diwali at a local venue in Chadwell Heath with music, dance and songs to be followed by a sumptuous meal. However, Jainism preaches austerity and observing penances to shed the accumulated karma. I wonder therefore which is the right way for Jains to celebrate Diwali? By fasting as Mahavira did or by enjoying themselves along with their Hindu friends? Jainism also teaches non-violence to even the tiniest living beings. So I believe that the lighting of fireworks which can harm tiny insects is really out of the question for Jains. Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford

Children going to school hungry The upbringing of children is an important issue. To do so their health and nourishment is looked after properly and provisions made by the government to ensure no child goes to school hungry, which unfortunately is happening at present. In some areas in the north which are the poorest, around thirty-six percent of children aged 15 and under are from income-deprived families, where parents are out of work, rely on government benefits or have lower earnings compared to other areas of the country, according to government data. According to the last UK census, the unemployment rate in Ovenden is 8%, more than double the national average. Food bank use among children over holidays surges by ‘20% in a year’. The number of families in the area who rely on food banks has been rising, particularly since the controversial Universal Credit benefits scheme was rolled out in 2017, pushing many poor people into financial difficulty while they wait for payments. Increased austerity has forced children’s centres, youth clubs and counselling services to close. Crime and drug use are high. Approximately 1.8 million school-age children in the UK are at risk of hunger in the morning, according to Unicef. And when children are hungry, learning is the last thing on their minds. In April, a survey of 8,600 teachers and other school staff conducted by the National Education Union found that 91% of teachers felt that poverty was a factor in limiting children’s capacity to learn, and 75% blamed poverty for children falling asleep during lessons, being unable to concentrate and behaving badly. Andy Mellor, a primary school head teacher in Blackpool who served as president of the National Association of Head Teachers until May, said that teachers suffer from “guilt syndrome” and end up leaving the profession because they feel like they can’t meet the needs of struggling children. “Teachers are in less of a position to help these pupils, so they end up feeling guilty, and it affects their mental health, leading to a crisis in recruitment and retention,” he said. “It all stems from a lack of funding.” “The government wants a world-class education system,” he said. “But they want it built on a third-world budget.” A nation with under nourished children and underfunded schools cannot make any progress, that to happen is a rich country like the United Kingdom is not acceptable. This matter has to be given top priority because it will affect our future generation. Baldev Sharma Rayners Lane, Harrow.

MAKE YOURSELF HEARD Write to our ‘Reader’s Voice’ section about what you think regarding the various ongoing issues all around the world. Please send your letters to Make sure they are NOT more than 350 words. Any letter longer than the limit may not be published. Note that all your letters are subject to being edited by our team for valid reasons. - Asian Voice

Emotional wellbeing I write with reference to the column by Cllr Ketan Sheth (AV 26 Oct). Cllr Sheth advises us of a 5+1 programme. For us to be connected and active, it would be good if Brent Council gave us better parking facilities for family and friends permits to come/go and visit friends during Event days. It would also be helpful if they can get rid of heavy/large commercial vehicles in residential areas as this clogs up our 'arteries'. This position we have at he moment is continued relentlessly by Brent with more and more flats being built creating a more dense and congested living (work, rest and play) space. Hardly conducive to a go out to open spaces to free the mind. Yogi Pandya By email

Could Kindness Kill! British people on most part are kind, caring, generous and welcoming. The welcome they gave to Uganda Asians is the prime example why people from all over the world, even from safe and prosperous countries would like to come to Britain rather than settling in other European countries like France, Belgium, Netherland, few amongst many free and democratic nations in EU. Although we do not see many beggars on our streets, mainly due to our wet and cold climate, as well as generous social security benefits, those who brave the nature, makes fortune by begging, especially in Central London, as per latest research and TV programme. Their take home pay, rather free butty normally exceeds £500 a day if they pitch their tent on the right, most lucrative spots, such as outside busy tube and railway stations where continuous flow of human traffic gives high dividends. Unfortunately most beggars are homeless addicts sleeping rough; spend this easy come money on drugs and alcohol. They also suffer from ill health; illnesses like TB, pneumonia, heart problems and many more. Being homeless, they are unable to register with GP, nor are inclined to seek medical help in A & E. No wonder their average life-span is just 42, compared to national average of 80, even more for women. So giving money to these people out of kindness is an act of cruelty most of us are unaware of. The best way to help them is to give them roof over their heads, as most charities do during Christmas holidays and to open soup kitchen, provide them with healthy, nutritious food, follow into the footsteps of our Sikh brothers who are most active on this front! It is indeed a shame on our politicians who waste some £15 billion on overseas aid and our monthly contribution of one billion to overflowing EU treasury while thousands of our citizens sleep rough and die young in so called fifth largest economy in the world! Kumudini Valambia By email

Bitter Sweet Reunion Like Brexit, Nazanin’s heart rendering storey is a long ongoing saga that has touched many hearts but not that of our politicians who have made her plight a million times worse, first by Boris Johnson who was Foreign Secretary when his ignorance, in making a statement that Nazanin was in Iran to train journalists made her plight worse. In fact she was there to meet her parents and introduce her sweet little girl Gabriella to her parents. Then the seizure of Iranian Super Tanker, off the coast of Gibraltar, giving Iran a cause for tit for tat action, doing EU’s dirty work, on behalf of France and Germany, who were laughing behind our backs, this stupidity baffled most pundits. Why our politicians still behave as if we are obliged to police the world, have an Empire to govern when we are not able to govern ourselves, having a third general election in five years, competing with Italy and banana republics! Moreover government has frozen £400 million of Iran’s assets in British banks; money rightfully belongs to Iran. Nazanin will never be freed, even after serving her five year sentence, will be detained indefinitely under other thumpedup charges, until the Government freezes Iranian assets. As a gesture of goodwill, Iran has allowed her daughter Gabriella to leave the country to start schooling in Britain. While this action has led to a bitter sweet reunion with her father, it has devastated Nazanin, as her weekly visit to prison to see her mum was the highlight for Nazanin, made separation bearable. Government should learn lesson that any Iranian citizen who apply for British citizenship, should not be allowed to hold dual citizenship, as is the norm in most countries. As usual, it will take decades if such a law is ever introduced. This is downside of British democracy. Bhupendra M. Gandhi By email


Coventry Labour candidate Zarah Sultana apologises for 'celebrate death of Tony Blair' tweet Labour’s newly selected general election candidate for Coventry South has apologised for a social media post where she said she would celebrate the death of ex-Labour prime minister Tony Blair. It has emerged Zarah Sultana, aged 26, who was selected to replace veteran MP Jim Cunningham last week, made the controversial remark in 2015 in response to a post claiming nobody’s death should be celebrated. She tweeted: “Try and stop me when the likes of Blair, Netanyahu and Bush die.” Ms Sultana said sorry on Twitter after the Jewish Chronicle newspaper found the now deleted Twitter posts. The newspaper also reported her support for “violent resistance” by Palestinians fighting the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. The former Birmingham University student, Unite the union member and parliamentary officer for Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) tweeted: “I posted these tweets five years ago when I was a student, from an account I then deleted. “I wrote them out of frustration rather than malice, in response to the endless cycles of global suffering, violence and needless killing resulting from decisions by political leaders. In particular, the Iraq War and the killing of over 2000 Palestinians in 2014, mostly civilians, which was condemned by the United Nations. “I do not support violence and I should not have articulated my anger in the manner I did, for which I apologise. Criticism of Israel is not, of course, antisemitic in and of itself. And I believe that the conflation between the actions and policies of the Israeli government with

the beliefs and actions of Jewish people can itself be a form of anti-Semitism. “I support Labour’s policy of pursuing a two-state solution, with the full rights of Israelis and Palestinians respected as enshrined under international law. However, in the past I was sometimes careless in the way I expressed my distress at the situation in Palestine, seeing Zionism simply as a political ideology. “I have since learnt more about Zionism’s different meaning to different people and I would engage in such discussions very differently today. While for many Palestinians , Zionism is seen as the ideology of the Israeli government, representing illegal settlements and second-class citizenship for Palestinians, for many Jewish people, Zionism represents Jewish people’s right to a nation state, and their right to safety after the Holocaust and the centuries of oppression and persecution preceding it. “I have learnt how important it is to be mindful and sensitive of the different perspectives. I wholeheartedly condemn antisemitism – whether it is propagated by the far-right or tolerated and unchallenged by some on the left. “I have marched against the antisemitic far-right all my life and if elected as the Labour MP for Coventry South, I will do all I can to support my Jewish constituents and to stand with them in fighting the prejudice and oppression they face.”

BAPS sends Burglary Crime Prevention Tips Recently BAPS Neasden have had three satsangis whose houses have been broken into. In two of the cases the satsangis (from Brent and Harrow) were out at the time. On the other occasion, the satsangi was held down while they burgled the house. Below are some of the guidelines received from the police following the burglary. • Close and lock all your doors and windows, even if you are only going out for a few minutes.

• Do not leave car keys or identification documents near doors, letterboxes or windows. • Keep your valuables out of sight and do not keep large quantities of cash at home. • Leave some lights on if it will be dark before you get home, consider timer switches. For more information on how to protect yourself against burglary log on to cp/crime-prevention/residential-burglary/





9 - 15 November 2019

Vegan school meal options Fake university website for promised after mother's campaign College of Suffolk shut down

A Scottish council has agreed to provide vegan meals in all its schools, following one mum's yearlong campaign. Alexis Kasravi, whose five-year-old daughter attends a school in Clydebank, had petitioned West Dunbartonshire Council for the change since her she was in nursery. She struggled to find options to feed her daughter and faced opposition from council officers. But now all schools and nurseries in the area will provide vegan meals. The problems started when Mia was in nursery last August. She said the nursery initially agreed to provide vegan meals but after a few weeks this was stopped by a council officer. "The head of catering came into the nursery and said to them 'No you have to stop. You're not allowed to provide for Mia. The mother is not allowed to

provide for Mia. And we're not going to provide either'," she said. The nursery does not allow parents to send food in for their children, in case of allergies and other health issues. Ms Kasravi then contacted a vegan charity who helped her challenge the policy. The Vegan Society promotes lifestyles free from the use of animal products. It was recently registered in Scotland. Dr Jeanette Rowley, the charity's legal adviser, said: "We are delighted to have been able to help Alexis and Mia." "All children, regardless of their ethical convictions, should be able to benefit from government-funded schemes; we applaud the school and council for recognising this." "Veganism is protected under human rights and equality law, which means if a child is eligible for a free school meal, the duty is not

to discriminate by providing a vegan option." Chris McGovern, a former head teacher and chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, which works to raise standards and choice in state education, praised West Dunbartonshire's decision. "Children don't learn unless they're being properly and happily fed," he said Ms Kasravi is relieved she will not have to ask for vegan meals to be provided when her daughter reaches secondary school. But West Dunbartonshire Council remains one of only a handful of Scottish local authorities to provide for vegan children. Chef Craig Grozier said vegan food was not necessarily more difficult or expensive "if you do it cleverly". He said the important thing was for school and parents to talk to each other about dietary needs.

Hundreds of London minicabs could be 'working illegally' Hundreds of London minicab drivers may be working fraudulently after buying qualifications, the BBC has found. Drivers must sit mandatory exams to get a licence. But a BBC undercover investigation has exposed colleges cheating the required tests. Transport for London (TfL) said it would immediately investigate at least 1,667 applications in light of the evidence. TfL, the licensing authority, said it was "deeply concerned" by the findings. The growth in taxi booking firms such as Uber have

seen the number of private hire vehicle licences in use that were issued in the capital surge by 86% between 2011 and 2018, from 61,200 to 113,645. Under the cab application process, along with a criminal record check and medical test, drivers must sit a topographical exam and an English test at one of eight official TfL testing centres. Evidence of these exams can also be accepted via other qualifications including BTecs, which are usually taken at private colleges and centres.

The qualification can be used to gain a minicab licence from many councils across the UK. One of these colleges, Vista Training Solutions in Newham, east London, offered to take the tests for several BBC researchers for £500 per BTec. At a mandatory English and maths assessment answers were read out to eight candidates taking the BTec fraudulently. Registers were falsified before the online BTec exam was taken by the managers on the candidates' behalf.

A website promoting a fake university that highlighted a county's links to Ed Sheeran and Harry Potter to try to dupe potential students has been shut down. Suffolk Trading Standards said the made-up College of Suffolk in Ipswich offered degree courses in acting, musical theatre, dance and performance. It advertised fees ranging from £3,500 to £8,900 and claimed it had been founded in the 1990s. Trading Standards said it was probably aimed at international students. The website, which had been online since April, told viewers "from Ed Sheeran to Harry Potter, Suffolk has a connection to loads of world

famous people". It also used a photo of the real University of Suffolk and claimed it was "shaping an amazing future for our students". Sasha Watson, Suffolk Trading Standards community engagement officer, said the Department for Education alerted Suffolk County County to the website. The site for the "very obvious" fake college was taken down "within days" once it was spotted, she said. "All the courses were very much like arts and dramatics, TV and film, I think it was a real draw to someone who wanted to get into the famous industries," she said.

Ms Watson said it was not known if anyone was duped by the website, but no-one in the UK has contacted a law enforcement agency and none abroad had been in contact. Ms Watson also urged people to be vigilant when looking at college and university websites. Suffolk Trading Standards said it closed down the website with the assistance of the National Trading Standards eCrime Team, based in North Yorkshire. Ms Watson said they were not able to trace the people behind the website, but suspected they were abroad and "hiding behind various website registration companies".

University lecturers and support staff are to strike for eight days in disputes over pay and pensions. Members of the University and College Union (UCU) will walk out between 25 November and 4 December, following votes in favour of industrial action. The strike action will affect 60 universities across the UK, UCU says. The group Universities UK said it hoped the action would not go ahead, but said plans were in place to ensure disruption to students is minimal. As well as the eight days of strike action, union members will begin other forms of industrial action when they return to work, such as working strictly to contract,

not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action. The action relates to two separate disputes - one on pensions and one on pay and working conditions. In ballots last week, 79% of the 53% of UCU members who voted in the ballot over changes to pensions, backed industrial action. In the ballot on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads, 74% of the 49% of members who voted, backed strike action. In total, the UCU says 43 universities are taking industrial action over both pensions and pay and conditions and include University College London and City University. Staff at a further 14 insti-

tutions are striking over pay and conditions dispute only: Bishop Grosseteste University, Bournemouth University, Edge Hill University, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow School of Art, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, St Mary's University College, Belfast, Roehampton University, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Brighton, University of Kent and University of Oxford. And three universities are walking out over a dispute over pensions alone: Scottish Association of Marine Science, University of East Anglia and Institute for Development Studies.

University workers vote for eight-day strike

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9 - 15 November 2019

SCRUTATOR’S Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a conversation,. Professor Banerjee told reporters that he came away impressed by the Prime Minister grasp and awareness of poverty and the policies, which he explained in some depth, to reduce its scale to negligible levels. There was, it appears, a meeting of minds which must have left a number of the BJP faithful – among them Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee with PM Modi Railway and Commerce Minister Piyus Goel – silent. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who had come to Professor Banerjee’s defence against alleged ‘fanatics.’ Following his meeting with Abhijit Banerjee, the Prime Minister tweeted: ‘Excellent meeting with Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee.’ and was left with an abiding impression of his concern for ‘human empowerment.’ Thanking the Prime Minister for his time and for sharing with him his ‘way of thinking about India, which was quite unique,’ was Professor Banerjee’s responase (Times of India, October 23). Robust response to Pakistan escalation The Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir erupted when 7 Pakistani commandos attempted to infiltrate it, were intercepted by an Indian Army unit and killed in the exchange of fire that ensued. This incident was followed by a massive Indian artillery barrage, around 40 miles deep into deep Pakistan territory demolishing seven terrorist training camps and killing an estimated 50 jihadis. Using terrorism as statecraft as blatantly as Pakistan has done, and is doing, carries risk of powerful retaliation. It is clearly an ascending cycle of retaliation, for which Pakistan must bear the consequences. A Pakistan dutifully raised the spectre of a nuclear conflict, but India dismissed such threats as spectral absurdity (TV channels October 22). BrahMos test-fired from Nicobar Island India’s supersonic BrahMos cruise missile was successfully test-fired by the Indian Air Force from one of the Nicobar Islands. Its target was hit as planned. The Indian Army has equipped key formations with BrahMos – a potential battlefield gamechanger, developed jointly by India and Russia (TV channels, October 22).

the services, it received substantially lower funds for the acquisition of foreign weapon systems, and hence was compelled to develop home-grown technologies. The Army and Air Force were given top priority as the Pakistan and China threat perceptions were from land and air. The Defence Minister said the Navy’s capabilities now were a guarantee that the infiltration of jihadi squads from Pakistan in fast patrol boats, that had led to the surprise assault on Mumbai in November 2008 never occurred again (Statesman, October 22). Siachen opened to tourism The Siachen Glacier, once the world’s highest battlefield has been opened to tourism by the Indian government. From the 1980s and next decades the Siachen Glacier became contest of arms between India and Pakistan. The challenges to body and mind were fearful, as were the death toll, but India was able to develop new life-saving technologies that eventually won the day. Tourists at this bleakest of sites was considered impossible, unthinkable and unimaginable – today a reality (Hindu, October 22). India, Philippines forge closer defence ties India and the Philippines have pledged to bolster defence ties during a visit to Manila by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind to

Manila to mark the 70th year of the establishment of diplomatic relations. President Kovind and his Filipino counterpart Rodrigo Duterte held talks to take bilateral relations forward. President Kovind said: ‘We have strong cooperation in political in political, defence and security counter-terrorism, trade and investment as well as in agriculture, science and technology and health fields...We are committed to closely together to defeat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.’ The recent sinking of a Filipino boat by a Chinese fishing trawler provides the background to the outcomes of this visit (Statesman, October 19).

India has climbed 14 places 63 in the World Bank ranking in ease of doing business. Its heady ascent from 130 – when the Modi government took power in June 2014 – in an established UN list of 193 member states, has been little short of spectacular. The target for India now is 50th place. China was listed 32 and Russia 28. New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Denmark, South Korea and the United States are the first six respectively (Hindu, October 25). Larsen &Toubo growth surge

for a merge of public sector telecom companies MTNL and BSNL, relaxing norms for for retailing of auto fuels, grant of ownership in Delhi’s unauthorised colonies and increasing the minimum support price for rabi crops for the 2019-20 season (Business Line, October 24). Bandhan Bank up in the stars When Chandra Shekhar Ghosh started out in 2001 with a microfinance institution, his goal was modest. In 2015, spurred by reports of rising suicides by indebted farmers in Andhra Pradesh, he took a giant leap forward in August 2015, setting up

Jihadis killed in Kashmir shootout Three members of the Al Qaeda’s local affiliate, including its chief Hameed Lehari, were shot dead by Indian security forces in an encounter in south Kashmir. This is an ongoing struggle aided and abetted by Pakistan – clearly a long haul in which the Pakistan state is likely to come off the worse for wear (Statesman, October 24). Indian growth recovery The Indian economy is showing signs of recovery following the recent slowdown to an annual 5 per cent, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) growth projection for the country 7 per cent in the next fiscal, starting 1 April 2020 (Statesman, October 24). Infrastructure to get $1.3 trillion Thew government will spend $1.3 trillion on infrastructure development over the next five years , said Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, addressing a meeting of a steel global forum (Statesman, October 27). Swelling Foreign Exchange India’s Foreign Exchange reserves have swelled to a record $440.75 billion, according to the Reserve Bank of India (Statesman, October 27). HDFC second Quarter surge The Housing Development Finance Corporation mortgage lender has posted a robust 27 per cent growth in the second quarter of the current fiscal ending September 30 (Hindu, October 20).

Navy leads with Indian systems Defence Minister Rajnath Singh complimented the Navy for its reliance on indigenous technologies. As the Cinderella of

India up in ease of doing business

Shankar Raman

Engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro reported a record second Quarter growth of 13.3 per cent and rise in revenue to Rs 2,527, 26 crore. CEO Shankar Raman said: ‘Despite of the slowdown in the economy, the company is well on track to achieve the revenue growth guidance.’ (Hindu, October 24). Bajaj Auto posts 22 per cent rise Bajaj Auto Ltd posted a standalone second Quarter rise of 22 per cent amounting to Rs 1, 402 crore compared to Rs 1,152 crore for the same period in 2018. Motor cycle sales grew 7 per cent (Hindu, October 24). Slowdown over: Mercedes Benz Luxury German carmaker Mercedes Benz was cautiously optimistic that the Indian economic slowdown had bottom out. ‘The slowdown for us is over,’ said Martin Schwen, MD, CEO, Mercedes Benz. He ascribed this to the government’s stimulus measures and rising consumer demand in the run-up to the festive season. (Hindu, October 20). Online loans light up Diwali shoppers The demand for short-term loans is growing from Tier I cities to small towns with the approaching festive season . which lasts to the New Year. Bridge loans are sought after at the month’s end when people tend to run out of cash. According to a survey by online and paperless personal loan provider Money/Wise consumers have been taking loans between Rs 10,000 to Rs 500,000 for purchases and even for business expenses (Business Line, October 24). BSNL-MTNL merger

President Ramnath Kovind with Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila

Among key measures before Diwali, the government’s decision

Chandra Shekhar Ghosh,

Bandhan Bank in West Bengal, halving the interest rate. The bank added 8,000 customers a day thereafter, of whom the overwhelming majority were the poorest in society gaining access to finance for the first time in their lives (Business Line, October 26). TCS to double pay of ‘Hot Talent’ The rise of digital technologies, critical changes in skills requirements are pressuring companies to revise their talent acquisition and retention. Hence Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s largest software provider is looking at fresh ways of attracting new talent into its ranks going forward. TCS National Quality Test eliminated the need for campus recruitment and cut down hiring time to six weeks from four months. Incentives ‘We are offering the top people who took our national test and another test. If they clear that test we call them ‘Hot Talent’ and they are offered double the salary,’ said Millind Lakkad, Executive Vice President and Global Head, Human Resources. ‘In addition, we decided to do the same for internal employment. We’ve done it for employees with three years of experience. We’re giving them the same digital test,’ he said (Business Line, October 23). BJP retain power in Maharashtra, Haryana The ruling BJP has retained power with reduced majorities in the State Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana In the former, the Shiv Sena issuing as spoiler with its demand that it be given its rightful share of ministerial appointments (Times of India, Hindu, Statesman, October 26, November 1).





9 - 15 November 2019

How Sutton celebrated Diwali

“Our London” GLA Member for Brent and Harrow

Navin Shah

Demonstration on Diwali Day In the period leading up to Diwali I made substantial efforts to prevent the insensitive and provocative demonstration planned on the Diwali day itself, culminating outside the Indian High Commission, against India’s recent actions in Kashmir.

TAS Committee, Paul Scully MP and Cllr Geetha felicitating Ragasudha

Telugu Association of Sutton has celebrated Deepavali at Wallington Girls High school recently. More than 100 families have attended the evening. Children and young adults have presented a variety of cultural programs under the guidance of Silpa Vemuri, Executive Secretary of TAS. Yoga dance, Bharatnatyam, and several other acts have entertained the 300+ audience members present. President of TAS Naveen Jalagadugu has extended the

invitation to Paul Scully, Member of Parliament for Sutton and Cheam, Cllr. Greetha Morla of Milton Keynes, who has also introduced the core members and outlined the objectives and achievements of the organisation. Speaking at the event, Paul Scully has commended the contributions of the members of Indian diaspora to the UK and expressed joy to be part of the celebrations. The program was anchored by Thulasi Peddineni. On the occasion, dancereducator Ragasudha

Vinjamuri was presented with award, citation and the title of Natya Kala Tejaswini for her contributions to Art and Culture in the UK. Authentic festive dinner followed the felicitation. Functioning as an informal team initially and officially registered recently, TAS is incorporated as a not-forprofit organization with a mission is to identify and address social, cultural and educational needs of the Telugu Community members of the Borough of Sutton.

Maidenhead Hindu Society celebrates Diwali crux of the whole Diwali story – goodness over baddies.” The preparations for the all-important celebrations can be complicated – and Seema was keen to show her appreciation for those who helped.

The Hindu festival of lights was celebrated on Sunday with a series of performances at St Piran’s School. The Hindu Society of Maidenhead’s Diwali activities included the ritual Havan Puja, a Bhajan Kirtan musical performance, and a

children’s play. Raffles and lunch were also enjoyed by the hundred-plus visitors to the Gringer Hill school. Seema Sharma, the chairwoman of the Hindu Society, said: “It is basically good over evil, that is the

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I lobbied the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the Home Secretary Rt Hon. Priti Patel to have this demonstration banned. In the end the demonstration was not banned but I’m pleased that appropriate measures were taken by the Mayor of London and the Commissioner of Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick which meant the Diwali day turned out to be uneventful outside the Indian High Commission! I have always believed in giving credit where it’s due. So, I fully appreciate Mayor Sadiq Khan’s frank, speedy and robust response to my letters in which he condemned, without any reservations, the demonstration and confirmed to me that his team were working closely with the Metropolitan Police and had a ‘robust’ policing plan to ensure that the violence, mayhem and aggression would not be repeated by the protesters as it happened outside the Indian High Commission on India’s independence day. I am proud of London’s rich and enviable cultural and religious diversity with people of different origins living

of ban and giving me the information I already had from the Mayor of London. Given the very positive and decisive actions Mayor Khan took, demonstrating his total belief and commitment to working with and protecting London’s diverse communities, I am extremely disappointed that some religious Mayor of London bodies still saw if fit to Sadiq Khan decline Mayor’s visits together in peace and harto some temples. I don’t mony and I’m glad that think such actions are in the Mayor recognised in his lettrue spirit of our Hindu, Jain ter the very significant conand Sikh values. I accept tribution Indians make to that the feelings in the the success of London as Hindu/Indian communities world’s leading city. It is about how Labour leadervery reassuring that the ship has tackled the Kashmir Mayor was and is concerned issue are still running very about the divisions that high but it’s important that such ill-conceived protests it is recognised that there can create. are a large number of As to the total ban of the Labour Party members demonstration itself, the including elected member Mayor confirmed to me that like me who have been genbanning is entirely the uine friends and supporters responsibility of the Home of Indian diaspora and will Secretary. From my past continue to support and experience I know this to be work with Indian communitrue because when I tried to ties and organisations get a march banned by the through thick and thin. We English Defence League need to be careful otherwise (EDL) in Harrow, I was told we are at a risk of throwing by Met Police that we needthe baby out with the bath ed Home Secretary to act on water. I reiterate that the it. Given this fact, I wrote to Labour Party needs to the Home Secretary Rt. explain its position on Hon. Priti Patel to ban the Kashmir and engage with Kashmir rally forthwith. I British Indians. Equally, I was hopeful I’d have a posiurge that efforts are made by tive outcome. Regrettably British Indians and the after a long delay all I got Indian Government to was a typical bureaucratic building bridges with the reply side stepping the issue Labour Party.




9 - 15 November 2019


Diwali reception of Hindujas

Left to Right Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Mr Gopichand P Hinduja

On 28th October, Monday, the Hindujas’ hosted their annual Diwali celebration in the eminent preence of peers, MPs, industrialists, journalists, ambassadors and diplomats.

and communicating his message for peace and understanding. He said, “My father always believed money is nothing in life. It is the friends and the relationships that is the real wealth of a human being.” Although Non-Resident Indians for generations, the Hindujas have proactively promoted closer relations and better understanding between what they call their “mother country” India and Britain, where they are located. Representing HM Government and the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, remembered Mahatma Gandhi, who he described as one of his personal heroes. The Mayor of London Sadiq

A cross section of politicians were present including former Cabinet Ministers Phillip Hammond and Jeremy Hunt, Nadhim Zahawi, Minister of State at the Department for Business and former leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Vince Cable. Others present included Lord Mayor of London, Peter Estlin and Neil Basu, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Celebrating the Festival of Lights, Gopichand P Hinduja, Co-Chairman of the Hinduja Group, emphasised on the significance of Diwali in today's politics

Khan, also highlighted that there were more than half a million Hindus in London, which is more than the rest of Britain put together and in excess of the population of the same faith in other European countries. The Hindujas’ Annual Diwali celebration dates back to when they moved

their operations to London in 1979 on leaving Iran following the fall of the Shah. They initially hosted their Diwali parties at New Zealand House in London, where their offices are located amongst those who attended were the then prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Diwali at the House of Commons

This year’s Parliamentary hosts were Bob Blackman MP and Lord Dholakia OBE and Jayesh Jotangia from the APPG Hindu group. The celebration started with opening prayers by the priest from ISKCON, and the President of HFB, Mrs Trupti Patel, in her opening address spoke about the importance and significance of Diwali to the Hindu Community. The co-hosts were accompanied on stage by the three Vice-Presidents of HFB: Mr Punnet Dwivedi (Scotland), Mr Tarang Shelat (Midlands) and Dr Ramesh Pattni (South). Rt Hon Priti Patel, the first Hindu Home Secretary highlighted the importance of Diwali as a celebration of the noble Hindu values. She added that Hindus are very much

Photos Courtesy: CK Naidu

On Wednesday 23rd October, the Hindu Forum of Britain [HFB] celebrated its 19th Diwali event at the House of Commons with over 200 representatives from all sections of the society.

LIVING BRIDGE Diwali at Anoopam Mission Rohit Vadhwana Diwali celebration in London is so elaborated that one may not miss India. We attended two celebrations on the day of Diwali: Anoopam Mission and Bhakti Dham Manor, Stanmore. The morning was at Anoopam Mission where Annakut Darshan was organised on the day of Diwali from 1130 hours. The first aarti started at 1200 noon and continued every half an hour till 1600 hours. Hundreds of devotees visited the temple in lots, did darshan of Annakuta offered to Lord Swaminarayana and had prasad. Anoopam Mission is located at Denham, near Uxbridge and spreads across 14 acres of land. Initially, the Mission began in 1978 in a small home but as the number of devotees grew; The place became small and so the search for a bigger piece of land began and the current property was acquired in 1981. The sanctum was constructed in this plot in 1989. As of today, there is a medium-size temple where devotees offer prayer to Lord Swaminarayana. It is inspired by Guruvarya Param Pujya Sahebji. An old, handwritten manuscript of shiksha patri, one of the originals, is kept in the temple. The original feet imprints of Shri Sahjanand Swami is also kept in the Mission. A trustee informed that the feet marks, pad chihn, of Swami was originally framed in a glass but it cracked. So a thicker and stronger glass was used for framing it but the same thing happened again. Then a toughen glass and finally, bulletproof glass was used to frame the feet mark, but both cracked. A saint visiting Mission concluded that it was a sign of feet mark having energy and therefore no need to change the cracked glass. Since then, the worshipful feet marks of Swamiji are kept in the cracked glass. Anoopam Mission conducts various activities for the benefits of families of devotees. Apart from Bhajan, Aradhana, and religious functions, Mission conducts Gujarati classes on the premises for children. There is a facility for holding marriage and other celebrations. It has undertaken development in three phases, the first being construction of temple which was completed in 1989, the second is a community centre and the third phase will be residential block. It will be a grand campus once all three phases are complete and will be useful to the community for social and religious functions.

(Expressed opinion is personal)

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Diwali at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, Kingsbury

Annakut at Three Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury

(L-R) Bob Blackman MP, Trupti Patel, Shashi Vekaria, Vascroft Contractors, Priti Patel MP and Velji Vekaria, President SKLPC during the lamp lighting ceremony

visible in all sectors in the UK, and that the community was going from strength to strength in their contributions to the UK society and economy. Paul Scully MP while referring to his Indian heritage as his grandmother who was born in Kolkatta, applauded the fantastic British Indian success story and said “I am looking forward to celebrations in

Sutton with my whole family.” Emphasising on the importance of the festival, Shailesh Vara, MP said that in present time, there is great need in the world for light of wisdom and forgiveness. Keerti Naren Dasa presented a stunning classical Indian dance performance based on a story of Ramayana and which was

really appreciated by all the guests. Pandit Satish Sharma, the General Secretary of the NCHT UK said that 2020 will prove to a significant year for HFB in its presence in the UK as the political voice of the UK Hindus. Dr T Jotingia, President of the Vishwa Hindu Parisad was given an opportunity to launch their booklet of Hindu Conclave.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan was guest of honour at the Diwali celebrations at the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury on Monday





Shezad Khalil Classic Encounters

Shezad Khalil

Sunetra Senior


hezad is a creative marketing consultant, working for the independent dance company, Morph Dance Company. Morph Dance, who specialise in cutting-edge South Asian dance, have produced a plethora of shows for the acclaimed Leicester Curve theatre: the artsy hub of Leicester city, itself known for great grass-roots theatre.

enacts the basic classic movements of Kathak dance in front of the audience: ‘it was not Spiderman or Superman that spoke to me – it was this mythical God.’ It is the relatable story of an everyday saga. The detached voice-over adds: ‘I loved dance, but this wasn’t ok as a boy.’ Subhash acts out his love of the role of father, another taboo emotion for men who must be visibly rough, as he instead folds his arms to cradle a baby: ‘I married and became a father.’ Later, Subhash mimes a beggar on the street using graphic facial language to inhabit the marginalised character, as the narrative tells us his first trip to India was not quite the Bollywood glamour he expected. Not unlike the homeless people he sees around him, he feels an outsider in his home country. Actual experience is widely in conflict with the perceived story. However, the underlying instincts of the dance also demonstrate the potential of being freed: more specifically, the power in becoming a realer version of oneself by accepting the colourful multitude of choice surrounding, and ultimately fighting back against convention itself. Accordingly, Subhash’s movements later evolve into strong, idiosyncratic hip-hop dances, gripping in their

The positive impact of these two authentic platforms converging has never been clearer than in Morph’s recent production, Classic Encounters, featuring rising experimental dancer, Subhash Viman Gorania. The performance emerges an ode to the beautiful paradox that is traditional identity being redefined as cosmopolitan over time. Also choreographing the show, dancer, Subhash, communicates the complex concept of modern cultural identity as a product of grand migratory flux in the 21st Century by drawing from his own South Asian heritage: “It was a joy to draw such a big audience for this particular dancer’s first full length show, Classic Encounters,” Shezad told us. “As well as exploring a pertinent message at a crucial time, I believe what’s made the response so big is Subhash’s ability to present a panoramic theatrical experience too. He uses a fascinating multiplicity of cultural languages and dance vocabulary.” Indeed, not only is Subhash a consummate dancer, stunningly flexible with his body, but also engages different expressive mediums such as dramatic theatre, painting, and light design as he dynamically moves across the stage. Shezad added: “this also conjures the meld of mythical and urban environments.” *** Shezad himself holds a PhD in dance and was especially attracted to the project of ability to preserve the elegance of tradiClassic Encounters as a showcase of tional dance that came earlier. They Subhash’s diverse dance method. “He is morph into confident martial moveunique through and through– there’s no ments as the dancer gradually negotiates one style or signature.” A 1hr long piece, his cumulative outer experiences. Shezad the feature length show is “a mix of commented: “we can pick and choose Bharatanatyam, physical theatre and who we are, and this doesn’t have to be contemporary dance.” In Classic confusing or frightening.” Indeed, the Encounters, Subhash moves with a magraw yet expressive medium of the talentnetic ease that physically reflects his ed dancer directly emphasises this as inner journey through multihe jumps in and out of engineered cultural life. This ingepyramids of light, refusing to niously reveals the emobe categorised, even as his tional landscape 'It’s good to environment tries to catch underlying objective swim in the him. He defends his primilife events. A drawaters of tradition, tive, elusive self. matic voiceover Here, Shezad talked neutrally tells us of but to sink in them interestingly on another Subhash’s experiis suicide!’ central theme. “Bullying is ence of bullying, his another key issue in Classic attempt to balance traEncounters. Even before the ditional ethnic expectashow, this topic resonated with tions with modern and westaudience members, being an underrepern influences, the breakdown of resented topic in public discourse.” This the overarching divide of the feminine idea actually speaks to the wider intimiand masculine, and finally, his embrace dation culture of the current socio-politof dance as the best way to express his ical landscape. Indeed, there are times deepest self. Subhash as the dancer when Subhash’s emotive dance evokes simultaneously acts out this more immethe poignant fluid movements of Joaquin diate intuitive reality alongside. Phoenix in the recent hit Hollywood ‘I related more to the power of Shiva,’ film, Joker, which also criticised the artiSubhash’s conscious voice continues to ficial construct of identity politics as narrate in the background, as he feelingly

oppressing a vital personal truth. Subhash’s immersive dancing then at once reconciles subjectivity with social expectation, portraying a triumph of human spirit. “Subhash’s dexterity transcends, in the show, to be more than just a dance. It is a sensory exhibit.” Rather than trying to clinically fix identities, Classic Encounters, tell us, we should try to open up the way we think about them in the first place. This will always be more loyal to people’s actual wants and desires. Indeed, animatedly traversing through joy and pain, surrender and clashing, the show concludes as cathartic as it has been intense. Ultimately, the piece celebrates the dissolution of physical boundaries to welcome the depth of individuality as a mandatory source of life. Shezad concluded as a creative consultant: “I’m reminded of a lesser known quote by Ghandi: it’s good to swim in the waters of tradition, but to sink in them is suicide!’ You’ve got to have confidence, and let that move you forward. Then you’re moving the right way.” And so, being part of a genuine brand, Shezad helps deliver a fundamental ideological piece. Classic Encounters possesses all the sophistication of the West End with none of the airs. “In good marketing, you’ve got to really care for the product. Otherwise, you’ll never really reach people. Good PR and honesty go hand in hand.”

How did marketing become a particular focus for you? I enjoy working in tech, and am fascinated by the visual. I’m a very visual learner, having a background in theatre and historical theatre. I love promoting the evolution of certain forms, from the industrial to the humanities: e.g. how does post modern dance take the traditional and interpret it? I am passionate about pushing forward that message. I work across marketing and editorial. As well as promoting dance, I have written several articles on this topic. What makes a good marketing consultant, in addition to being truly invested in the product? It seems you have to be mentally flexible? Yes. A few related skills are: imagination. You’ve got to be able to think outside the box. Secondly, knowing your audience and targeting that demographic, making sure you are tailoring your marketing to that group, using social media well. You need to adapt. You need to be able to change your material on the surface to meet the needs of certain audiences, respecting that relationship with them. Morph Dance Company on Twitter: @SubhashViman



9 - 15 November 2019


A 33-year-old student is seeking £200,000 in damages from his university because he failed to get the marks that he wanted. Umer Riaz, pictured, has vowed to take his battle to the highest court in the land when his case was kicked out by Cardiff County Court after the University of South Wales told a judge he had ‘no prospect of success’. Riaz came to the UK to study from Islamabad, Pakistan, received a pass – the equivalent of a third class degree. He started studying chemistry in 2011 but had to re-sit his first year after failing to get the required credits. In 2014 his second year modules had to be deferred until the next year after he said he ‘suffered a fall’. Mr Riaz, who represented himself, said: ‘I was quite good at my studies and I passed my English courses back home. ‘I was the youngest and my family wanted to give me the opportunity for higher study. My parents are illiterate, they didn’t go to school."


Labour MP and Deputy Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has been elected by MPs as the new Commons Speaker, after John Bercow stepped down. In the fourth and final round of voting, Hoyle, the Labour MP for Chorley, received 325 votes to Labour MP Chris Bryant's 213 and pledged to be a “neutral” speaker. Speakers must be politically impartial, which means he will be required to resign from the Labour Party in order to carry out his role. Earlier on election day, Shailesh Vara, the MP for North West Cambridgeshire, withdrew from the contest to be the next Speaker tweeting his support for Sir Lindsay Hoyle. Vara said he was pulling out from the race in order to avoid "split[ting] the vote".


On Tuesday, 5th November Home secretary Priti Patel announced a new special envoy for countering violent extremism as part of a wider counter-terrorism strategy. Former Labour Party MP John Woodcock, has been named as the first incumbent of the post. He has prior experience of working on counter-terrorism legislation as a former member of the Parliament’s Defence Select Committee and Home Affairs Select Committee. The 41-year-old, who has made scathing attacks on Jeremy Corbyn''s leadership, had been sitting as an Independent MP in the House of Commons since his Labour Party whip was withdrawn in April 2018 pending an investigation into a sexual harassment allegation. He denies the allegation from a former female staff member.


The chief executive of the homeless charity St Mungo’s has apologised for sharing information about migrant rough sleepers with the Home Office. It was previously revealed that St Mungo’s worked with Home Office patrols when they went out on the streets in search of rough sleepers deemed to be in the UK illegally to arrest and deport. St Mungo’s had earlier denied that it had passed on either the locations where rough sleepers bedded down or personal information about them to Home Office enforcement teams without their consent. Some of the rough sleepers who were identified on immigration enforcement patrols were subsequently forcibly removed from the UK. Some of these removals have now been found to be unlawful and the Home Office is paying compensation. “Our policy now is clear – we don’t share information with the Home Office without the client’s full and informed consent unless we are legally obliged to do so.” He added that currently help for migrant rough sleepers to get off the streets was “far from adequate,” said Howard Sinclair, chief executive of St Mungo’s. In May 2016, the government introduced a new policy which regarded rough sleeping in itself as a breach of EU rules. This meant that people sleeping rough were liable to more rapid detention and removal with less opportunity to find alternative solutions.

16 UK



9 - 15 November 2019

Diwali at Trafalgar Square Why a Dharmic Election Manifesto? Dharmic communities have largely been ignored by British political parties. Their real interests have rarely been on the political agenda. The fault lies mainly with Dharmic communities, especially Hindus and associated groups, because they are disorganised, led by individuals who are politically active to further their own interests and that of their children. In fact, some of the self-appointed leaders of the community appear to be agents of the government and political parties and do their bidding to the detriment of their own communities. But the biggest self-inflicted shortcoming of Dharmic communities is the failure to vote. The iron law of politics everywhere is that if you don’t vote nobody listens to you or cares about your interests. During the past few months, the failure of Dharmic communities to vote and choose competent leaders who serve the community selflessly and courageously has come back to haunt them unprecedentedly. They have been physically attacked by Jihadi and Khalistani thugs in London while they were engaged in innocuous Independence Day celebrations. Threats of violence were also made in cities like Birmingham and Leicester, where ethnic and religious animosity was being instigated. The sacred Diwali event of the Dharmic community in London was also targeted for disruption more recently and all the political parties were complicit in allowing it to happen. The communities to which the thugs belong have a high voter turnout and some individuals implicitly threaten violence if their demands are not met and all political parties are apparently wary of them. At present, the approximately 4 million Muslim voters in Britain can make and break governments because they vote in large numbers and in accordance with strong advice from their community leaders and mosques. And, quite clearly, the Labour Party can no longer achieve political power in Britain without its Muslim vote bank. In addition, do consider how articulate and effective the Muslim leadership is, in contrast to the bumbling, tongue-tied and poorly educated self-appointed leaders of the Hindu community. These Hindu leaders are apparently more interested in being seen on television by their friends and family than mounting an effective defence of the vital interests of their community. This is the reason why the Dharmic Ideas and Policy Foundation has formulated a pragmatic, but pointed

manifesto of political demands for the forthcoming national general elections of December 2019. The first part of the manifesto articulates the minimum demands and expectations of the Dharmic community, which they are not prepared to negotiate. And these demands should not be bartered away in exchange for an OBE or peerage that many Hindu community leaders crave shamelessly. The second part of the manifesto pertains to wider political, economic and social concerns that the Dharmic community shares with the vast majority of the citizens of the United Kingdom. By identifying these, the Dharmic community underlines the shared traditional values of a Britain under siege from medieval ideologies and threats of violence to achieve them. Ultimately, these demands from the Dharmic community are for upholding the traditional values of a vibrant civil society, comprised of philanthropic entrepreneurs, a sense of fair play and justice for all and an unequivocal defence of freedom of conscience and expression. The Dharmic Ideas and Policy Foundation is advising the Dharmic community to vote for the Conservative Party, though it has done nothing for it so far. However, the threat posed by all other political parties to the interests of the Dharmic community is so great that the Conservatives should be their defensive pragmatic choice at present. But the third part of the manifesto contains a declaration of intent of the Dharmic community to contest future elections in marginal constituencies in order to impact outcomes that will have negative consequences for political parties. Kind Regards Gautam Sen, Director Dharmic Ideas & Policy Foundation Chairman: Prof. Nath Puri | Director: Dr. Gautam Sen | Communications: Mukesh Naker 143 Cavendish Rd, Leicester. LE2 7PJ United Kingdom E: W: Council Members Dr. Come Carpentier | Dr. Jakob de Roover | Dr Jasdev Rai | Dr. Koenraad Elst | Dr. Manish Pandit | Abhinav Agrawal Rajiv Varma | Dr. Rakesh Sinha | Mr. Rohit Patel | Prof. S. N. Balagangadhara | Sandeep Balakrishnan | Smita Barooah | Swami Vigyananand | Dr. Yvette Rosser

Law firm supports diversity award On Tuesday 22nd October, Axiom Stone Solicitors, one of London’s fastest-growing business law firms, supported and encouraged the Diversity Award at the Westminster Business Council Awards. The award was presented to Chocolate Films, a Battersea-based video production company. Jonathan Metliss said, “Axiom Stone is delighted to support the WBC’s Diversity Award and we congratulate Chocolate Films' worthy winners.” The Westminster Business Council Awards reward and promote businesses who operate in, and

Axiom Stone’s Chairman Jonathan Metliss (left) alongwith law firm Partner Shyam Mistry and Rachel Wang, co-founder of Chocolate Films

support the economy of, the City of Westminster. Axiom Stone is a fullservice practice with over 100 staff at its offices in Mayfair, Edgware and

Birmingham. Supporting the Diversity Award was particularly appropriate for Axiom Stone which is known for supporting a diverse client portfolio.

On Sunday 3rd November, the British Indian diaspora gathered at the Trafalgar Square to celebrate Diwali and the event was attended by the Mayor of London alongside the Indian High Commissioner to the UK Her Excellency Mrs. Ruchi Ghanashyam. “I want to extend my warmest wishes to everyone celebrating Diwali in London and across the world. Diwali truly brightens our evenings as we unite

alongside our Hindu, Sikh and Jain brothers and sisters to celebrate the festival of lights. “Diwali’s central message of openness, peace and mutual respect is one we can all learn from. The festivities in Trafalgar Square are always a joy to attend and show that London is open to all. From my family to yours, I wish you a Happy Diwali and a prosperous new year,” said the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

Ruchi Ghanashyam with Sadiq Khan

Bengali daily Bartaman’s editor passes away

Governor of West Bengal paying respect

Subha Dutta, the Editor of Bartaman Patrika, Bengal’s second largest Bengali daily, passed away on 21 October 2019, at a Kolkata hospital, after brief illness. Mrs Dutta was the younger sister of the newspaper’s founder, owner and famous journalist Barun Sengupta.

Her obsequial rites ceremony (shradh) was held at the Royal Bengal Room, City Centre, Salt Lake, Kolkata on 31 October. It was attended by the Governor of West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankar and wife, as well as Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee along

with many cross party ministers, politicians and leading industrialists. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also sent a letter of condolence to the family. Mrs Dutta is survived by her daughter Rupanjana and son-in-law Vivekanand.

Down the Literary Memory Lane Continued from page 2

As I had not taken any notes, I was somewhat reluctant to take the responsibility. I remember CB’s words, “Bhupendrabhai, if I feel you could not do it, I would not have asked you.” In the end I submitted 1500 words piece well before deadline. This increased my confidence to no end, feeling I could write on any subject, even novels and I did! Since those early days, AV/GS has now conquered hearts and minds of our community; CB’s name is in the forefront when our community’s interests are threatened. The latest example is our fight against Labour Party, taken over by leftist, anachronistic and supported by “Vote Bank” politicians with short-sighted policy that will put the party in hibernation for decades to come. Without the support of British Indians, that include Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Indian Christians and Indian Muslims and Jewish community, the most progressive, articulate and well educated ethnic minorities, who now see Conservative Party as their natural home; feckless Labour will remain in the doldrums, in opposition for some time, until there is a change in the eccentric leadership, someone like Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair to emerge and save the party, lead it to occupy Central ground rather than being obsessed with outdated Left Wing tendency! It is a pity; as I like and admire many Labour’s encapsulate policies, including renationalisation of some of our popular services that

has detreated beyond belief since privatizing! Moreover there are many excellent Labour MPs, devoted to their constituents beyond call of durt. The reason why Asian Voice is my favourite weekly is that it has attained such a high quality that there are so many interesting articles, news and comments to please every reader, young, old and intellectuals. My favourite pages are Comments, Alpesh’s Political Sketchbook, Readers Voice, CB’s “As I See It”, Rupanjana’s in-depth articles on current issues and many more, although I do miss columns such as House Trained and Kapil’s Khichdi. For younger readers there is Bollywood with beautiful, eye-catching photos of actors and actresses, as well as film reviews. I feel AV/GS can diversify, add few more columns that would become instant success and that is Q & A on medical problems, chaired by an experienced doctor, as well as “Agony Aunt” answering readers’ social and family letters, as is the norm in most of our national papers. Let us hope that AV/GS will climb even more height, sit on the top of Mount Everest in literary sense, in the coming decade and be the mouth-peace of our peace loving, law abiding, highly educated community, the envy of the rest of the ethnic minorities.

Your opinnion matters to us. Share your experience and your journey with us by writing to us at:





9 - 15 November 2019

Spurned husband armed himself with two crossbows to shoot and kill his ex-wife A spurned husband shot his pregnant ex-wife with a crossbow after 'festering with hatred' over her new relationship, a court has heard. Former hospital site manager Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, 51, is on trial for murdering Devi Unmathallegadoo, 35, by shooting her in the heart with a crossbow bolt at her home in Ilford, east London in November last year. He denies the charge. Ms Unmathallegadoo was eight months pregnant with a child from a new partner, the court heard. The baby survived after being delivered by Caesarian but she died hours later The Old Bailey heard the couple had married in Mauritius in 1999 but had separated in 2012 and divorced two years later. Their marriage was arranged when Devi was 15 and Unmathallegadoo was 30 years old.

Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo

Devi Unmathallegadoo

Imtiaz Muhammad

At the time of her death, Devi was living with her new partner, builder Imtiaz Muhammad, and expecting his child. The prosecution say Unmathallegadoo emerged from the garden shed of her home armed with weapons including a hammer, knife, cable ties, duct tape and scissors. Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC told the court: 'From 2015 the defendant had started to make preparations for the attack and by

March of last year at the very least he was storing his weapons and the necessary equipment to carry out this attack in close proximity to Devi's home which was where the attack was to be carried out. 'By March 2018 he had acquired two crossbows and numerous arrows or bolts with which to carry out the attack.' Before the killing, he allegedly carried out surveillance on the house to deter-

mine whether or not the garden shed was padlocked. By the morning of the killing he had installed himself in the shed and lay in waiting, Mr Horwell said. Mr Muhammed saw Unmathallegadoo first he ran from the shed into the home, the court heard. Unmathallegadoo had worked as a site manager at the Newham General Hospital until he resigned in 2013. He denies murder. The trial continues.

Rapist, 28, is jailed for 15 years after attacking victim in home at knifepoint A man who raped a woman at knifepoint before burgling her home has been jailed for 15 years. Diljeet Grewal, 28, had arranged to meet his victim, a woman in her thirties, at her home in Hillingdon, north west London. When she opened the door he produced a knife and began raping her, before stealing her phone and money from her handbag. He threatened her with the knife again, demanding more money, before he had a final search of the house and fled. The woman contacted a friend who reported the

Diljeet Grewal

horrific two-and-a-halfhour ordeal to police. Grewal was found guilty of rape and aggravated burglary and was sentenced to 15 years behind bars at

Isleworth Crown Court. Officers attended the scene and found Grewal lurking outside the address. He was detained immediately and taken to a west London police station. A knife, which Grewal denied was his, was found to be used in the attack after forensic examination. Police spoke to the woman, who was injured during the attack, before she identified the man as her attacker. She was supported by specially trained officers from the West Area Safeguarding Team throughout the investiga-

tion. Detectives from Hounslow's Safeguarding Team launched an immediate investigation where forensics were analysed and CCTV footage was seized. The chilling clip shows Grewal enter the victim's property through a communal bike store wearing a hood. Grewal was charged with rape and aggravated burglary on 29 April, and found guilty on August 3. A judge at Isleworth Crown Court sentenced Grewal with 15 years' imprisonment, with a further five years on licence upon release.

UK terror threat level downgraded from 'severe' to 'substantial' The UK's terrorism threat level has been downgraded to 'substantial' from 'severe', meaning an attack is now 'likely' rather than 'highly likely', the Home Secretary Priti Patel said. There are five levels of terror threat, with the highest being 'critical' - meaning that an attack is highly likely and will come in the near future. After dropping from the second-highest tier, severe, the UK is now on the third rung of danger. Below 'substantial' is the 'moderate' threat level, which means attacks are regarded as possible but not likely. The least serious level is 'low', and is used when attacks are considered highly unlikely. Patel announced the downgrading Monday in a

written ministerial statement to Parliament. In it, she said: 'Despite the change in the threat level, terrorism remains one of the most direct and immediate risks to our national security. 'Substantial continues to indicate a high level of threat; and an attack might well occur without further warning. 'As ever, the public should remain vigilant and report any concerns they may have to the police. 'Government, police and intelligence agencies will continue to work tirelessly to address the threat posed by terrorism in all its forms. The threat level is kept under constant review.' The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) part of MI5 - makes the decision on the threat level inde-

File photo from the Manchester Arena attack in May 2017

pendently of Government ministers, after weighing up intelligence and known terrorist groups. A review is carried out every six months. The level was raised to 'critical' in May 2017 after the Manchester Arena bombing and later downgraded to 'severe', where it has remained since September 2017. The Prime Minister's official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: 'This is a decision made independently by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre.

'JTAC conducts a formal review of the threat level every six months. This process is independent of ministers. The threat level of substantial means that an attack is likely. 'Terrorism remains one of the most direct and immediate risks to our national security and the public should remain vigilant and report any concerns they may have to the police. 'The Government, police and our world-leading intelligence agencies will continue to work tirelessly to keep people safe.'


An 11-year-old pupil drowned on a school trip to a theme park after she was flung from a boat without any teachers in it, an inquest heard Monday. Evha Jannath (pictured) was playing a game with her friends to see 'who could get the wettest' on the Splash rapids ride at Drayton Manor Park on May 9 2017. They were seen standing up on multiple occasions, against the rules of the ride, which they went on as part of a trip organised for pupils with 'good behaviour'. One of the teachers on the trip, Aaminah Rasid Isat, told her inquest Evha and four friends had asked to go on the ride by themselves. She said the girls had already been on the ride earlier in the day and their behaviour had been 'responsible enough' for them to be allowed to go again on their own. The inquest, which is being held before a jury at Stafford Coroners Court, was also told that three teachers went in one boat together, while nine pupils in two separate boats went unaccompanied. Headteacher of Jameah Girls Academy, Erfana Bora, added that the teacher acted in line with the school's health and safety policy on the day. The coroner heard how Evha was 'propelled' head first into the water after it crashed into a barrier. She was seen wading through the water on CCTV at thigh-level, before trying to climb up a moving travelator. But tragically it was covered in algae and she slipped, falling 12ft into much deeper water and vanishing. The inquest, which is due to last two weeks, continues.


A shoplifter was arrested at a Leeds Lidl store in possession of a corrosive liquid capable of causing "significant harm to the human body." The liquid was so dangerous that it burned through a police officer's latex glove and caused burn injuries to her finger. Mohammed Rahman was found in possession of ammonia alkali which had been poured into a spray bottle marked 'coconut fragrant body mist'. Rahman had the liquid in his rucksack when he was arrested for assaulting a security guard who stopped him from entering the Lidl store in Hunslet. Rahman was also in possession of meat tenderiser and a foil bag used to conceal items and prevent store theft alarms from being activated. Andrew Horton, prosecuting, said Rahman was taken to Elland Road Police station where the liquid was found wrapped in tinfoil. The officer who handled the item noticed it was leaking and had a strong smell. The liquid burnt through her glove, causing blistering and bleeding to her finger. The officer had to go to hospital for treatment. Mr Horton described the bottle as a "fearsome weapon". He said the liquid was used as a drain cleaner but was capable of causing significant damage if inhaled or was in contact with the body. In a separate incident, Rahman was involved in a dangerous police car chase while driving his brother's Nissan Micra on May 12 this year. Rahman failed to stop for officers and drove at 70mph in residential areas in Chapeltown and Gledhow. He crashed twice during the pursuit before running from the car but was arrested nearby. Rahman, of Harehills Avenue, Harehills, pleaded guilty to theft from a shop, assault, going equipped for theft, possession of cocaine, two counts of possession of an offensive weapon, dangerous driving, driving without a licence and driving without insurance. He has 32 previous convictions for 51 offences, including for possession of drugs and driving while disqualified. Rahman was jailed for two years and two months




9 - 15 November 2019

Consultant Editor Financial Voice Alpesh Patel Dear Financial Voice Reader, Election time. Who will be better for the economy? Who is in your personal selfish interests? Oh, don’t kid me. You want a strong NHS -for personal use don’t you. Well, let’s assume you even think Labour are in the running after their vitriol to India at their Party Conference. Let’s assume you think that it’s worth supporting their candidates who are powerless clearly to do anything anyway to stop such emergency resolutions – so not much use are they? Let’s play the fun game of which Party would be better for the economy. Hmmm…both major parties want to spend more and make the State the largest it’s been since the 1970s. Why is that bad? Well, in one sense it’s not. It depends what the money will be spent on. The Tories famously are accused of 13 wasted years from 1951 to 1964 when they were in power for spending on things which did not raise growth. Labour, well, they are led by a nationalizing socialist, some would say Marxist. So what’s so bad about that? Well, several things. First, to be able to spend, Britain needs to borrow. To borrow at low rates, it needs a Government the world is willing to lend to. It’s more willing to lend to the Conservatives at low interest rates than it will be to Labour. I tell you that as a financier. Second, spending on investment projects gives a return. What concerns me about Labour is arch anti-India former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne. This man cannot pass a week on Facebook without having a go for Kashmir being sperate to India. He was the muppet who wrote ‘sorry we’ve spent all the money’ when his Party lost the last election. So what about nationalization. Those who remember Labour’s income’s policy and nationalization and have read the Benn Diaries will know they were totally out of their depth and in the end it was the Unions not the Government that was running the country. The idea of nationalization, just like Marxism and socialism can be seductive to the young, until reality bites and they also read Animal Farm. Human nature takes over. People decide that from each according to their abilities, and to each according to their needs, does not end well in reality when grievances, and envy, and greed are added. What I do like, is one idea from the economic left which the Conservatives have adopted – wage management ie raising the living wage. But if you are managing salaries, why not rents too? I think we should. Rent caps. What about salaries – no, tried that in the 70s. It didn’t work. Begging unions for ‘pay restraint’ doesn’t work. They are as human and greedy as the hedge fund manager. There, free market competition is the best albeit imperfect controller of salaries at the top end.

Payday lender QuickQuid 'on verge of collapse' UK's payday lender QuickQuid is on the brink of collapse, with administrators set to be called in within days, according to reports. It would be the latest highcost credit provider to go under in the wake of a crackdown by regulators. Wonga went bust last year, leaving Cash Euro Net, which owns QuickQuid, as Britain's largest payday lender. Reportedly, the company has lined up Grant Thornton as administrators. An administration could make it difficult for thousands of customers who have complained about the firm to claim money back as they will be placed into a queue with other creditors. Like Wonga, QuickQuid has faced a deluge of com-

plaints from customers who say they were mis-sold payday loans. “These people have been left to fend for themselves by Wonga, the FCA and the FOS,” Morgan said. “They’ve been allowed to fall through the cracks with nobody taking responsibility for their mistreatment." Many Wonga customers have received back just a fraction of the amount that they would have been due if the company had remained solvent. QuickQuid is owned by New-York listed Enova International.

Call for ban on UK private jets by 2025 Private jet flights to and from UK airports contribute as much to the climate crisis as 450,000 cars per year and should be banned as soon as 2025 to encourage development of electric planes, according to a thinktank with close ties to the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. In a report exposing the scale of fossil fuel private jet emissions, the Common Wealth thinktank found there were 128,000 flights between UK and EU airports in 2018 using private jets, representing 6% of total UK air traffic. A further 14,000 trips were also made to destinations outside Europe. The thinktank said the global heating impact of private flights to and from UK airports is roughly 1m tonnes of CO2 equivalent each year – the same as the annual emissions of around 450,000 typical cars on Britain’s roads. It said that

one private flight from London to New York was equivalent to driving a typical UK car non-stop for four and a half years. It added that a ban in five years’ time would help spur the development of electric alternatives. Shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, said the party would examine the report and “consult with industry on the introduction of a phase-out date for the use of fossil fuel private jets”.

He added: “Climate targets cannot be met without curbing pollution from air travel, and a passenger on a private jet produces 10 times the emissions of someone on a regular flight. This simply cannot be ignored.” According to the Common Wealth assessment, a typical private jet passenger journey within Europe emits seven times as much greenhouse gas as a flight in business class on a typical airliner –

10 times as much as flying economy class and around 150 times as much as an equivalent journey using high-speed rail. Industry estimates also suggest that about 40% of private jet movements are empty leg journeys, in which aircraft are repositioned for the convenience of the super-rich and corporate customers who use them. Even when full, private jets on average will carry as few as five passengers. Almost half of all private jet traffic in Britain passes through five airports around London, given its status as the home to the most billionaires in Europe and as one of the world’s biggest financial centres. Luton airport, roughly an hour north of the capital is the busiest, with almost 15,000 private aircraft departures in 2017, followed by Farnborough, Biggin Hill, Stansted and Northolt.

Mothercare to appoint administrators for UK chain Mothercare, the baby and maternity retailer, is to appoint administrators to its UK high street chain, putting 2,500 jobs at risk. The retailer said it had become clear its 79shop UK chain, which lost £36.3m last year, would not return to profitability and that it had failed to find a buyer for the business. The shops will stay open until administrators have been appointed and wound down the business. The move does not include Mothercare’s profitable overseas operations, which have more than 1,000 stores in more than 40 countries. The company said the UK administration filing was a “necessary step in the restructuring and refinancing of the group”. The company had already

cut its UK store total from 134 after a collapse in sales and earlier this year sold the Early Learning Centre toy brand in a desperate attempt to keep the UK business afloat. Mothercare’s move is the latest blow to the UK high street. It follows the collapse of a number of well-known names in recent months, including Karen Millen and Bonmarché. Others, including House of Fraser, Debenhams and Arcadia Group, have used an insolvency procedure

known as a company v o l u n t a r y arrangement (CVA) to close shops and cut jobs. Mothercare has struggled in the UK in recent years, hit by competition from the supermarkets and online retailers. A CVA last year failed to prevent its collapse into administration. Richard Lim, chief executive of the Retail Economics consultancy, said: “This is perhaps one of the most highly anticipated collapses on the high street. The retailer was already on life support, having conducted a CVA last year. The cost-cutting operation and disposal of assets have not gone far enough to revive plummeting profits. Years of underinvestment in the online business and its inability to differentiate itself as a specialist for

young families and expectant parents has been the root of its seemingly inevitable downfall. As competition has become fiercer they have been beaten on price, convenience and the overall customer experience.” Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, said: “Mothercare disappearing from our high streets would be a huge loss to the new parents who rely on it and the thousands of workers whose jobs are at risk. The government must urgently meet with unions and the company to safeguard these jobs. Under the Conservatives, our high streets continue to suffer. They are at the heart of our communities and desperately need saving. Labour’s five point plan will rejuvenate Britain’s town centres and protect jobs.”

UK construction slide continues unabated: PMI British construction activity, which has been consistently shrinking for six months, now records the fastest fall since the 2009 financial crisis. Brexit worries and a general economic slowdown are being considered as the reason behind the declining growth. The IHS Markit/CIPS construction PMI rose to 44.2 in October from 43.3 in September, roughly in line with economists’ forecasts, but this was still the thirdlowest reading since 2009

and pointed to a fall in output. “UK construction companies experienced a downturn in business performance during October as political

uncertainty and subdued economic conditions again combined to hold back sales,” IHS Markit economist Tim Moore said. Construction companies reported the seventh successive fall in new work, ordered less raw materials and did not replace staff who quit. Official data showed construction output rose by 2.4% in the 12 months to August, the most recent figures available, but last month smaller

housebuilders reported the weakest demand since 2013. Britain had been due to leave the European Union on Oct. 31, but Brexit was delayed for the third time this year after Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to get an exit deal through parliament in time. House building dropped off in October at the fastest rate since June 2016, the same month as the referendum that set Brexit in motion, while civil engineering projects declined at the fastest rate since October 2009.





9 - 15 November 2019

SHOW ME THE MONEY! Financing is often a very important component of a property purchase. To put it into perspective typically most of the money used to invest in a BTL property often doesn’t come from the investor. It comes from a lending institution. This means the investor is the minority stake holder. There are a fortunate few investors who detest banks and lenders. And never take a loan. They purchase only in cash. Credit is still abundant, especially in the UK; although not with the same loose criteria as during the pre-credit crunch era. Suresh Vagjiani Sow & Reap London Property Investment

Currently, we are arranging a mortgage for a Doctor client who took a mortgage with us over a decade ago. He has returned to purchase a property in the wealthy suburbs of North West London, dominated mostly by Gujaratis. The purchase price is £1.3M and the loan required is 90%. This is an extremely high level of loan especially at a level above £1M. To compound this issue the client is touching 60 years of age. On the plus side, the income is substantial enough to cover the mortgage requirements. Being in the medical industry means he’s in a sector where the demand is not likely to decrease. We have managed to place this case at an extremely competitive rate. This example demonstrates that there is still plenty of credit available even at such high levels. This is the level where if the property market takes a dip this is the price point which will most likely be effected. The credit is available to those who qualify for it. Pre credit

crunch there were two major differences. One was that credit was available to all, irrespective of income. I remember hearing one broker boasting ‘as long as you have a pulse, I can get you a mortgage’. The danger is after getting the mortgage you may no longer have a pulse. The other major difference was the loan could be based on the value of the property, not the purchase price. This key point was not utilised to the extent it should have been. At the time, we were writing about case studies as to how this could be done. The take up was limited. There should have been a queue. This allowed the investor to purchase with no money in his or her pocket. In fact, if the discount was large enough one could end up with money in their pocket after the purchase. A BTL mortgage only works if the property is in a lettable condition from day one. At times if work is required to be done then this type of product would not be suitable. Other options would need to be looked at, and in some scenarios a bridging loan might be considered more appropriate.

The bridging market in London has mushroomed. A client who has just purchased a probate property in order to turn it into an HMO contacted us to see if we could arrange a competitive rate for a bridge. He already had a quote of 0.6% per month. I actually thought this was extremely cheap and told him as much. However, I said we would take a look to see if we could beat this quote. After some research and negotiation we actually were able to beat his quote, and managed to get him a rate at 0.44% per month. This only comes to 5.28% per annum. Exceptionally competitive. This allows him to close the deal, finish off the project within 6 months, and be in a position to refinance to a conventional BTL mortgage product.

AGONY AGENT IS HERE TO HELP! Q: What is a cannabis factory, and how do I spot one? A: In our experience, most tenants will respect your property and the terms in the agreement. However, there are a small minority that will cause problems. Some problems are minor, and some are a little more on the larger scale, for example finding that your property is being used as a cannabis factory. The media might have you think that this is a common occurrence, however, in over

15 years in the industry we have only come across this issue once. They can be easily identified, as you will find green plants everywhere, irrigation systems hanging from the ceiling, and lighting and ventilation fans within the property. That is all very well if you have access inside the property. However, even without access inside, there are ways of spotting one. Tell-tale signs from the outside are: ● ●

smell – it is strong and sickly sweet you spot equipment such as lighting


● ● ● ●

racks and ventilation fans being taken in perhaps the windows have been blacked out or permanently covered people coming and going at all times of the day and night through a gap in the window you spot strong lights being left on day and night constantly misted windows and signs of condensation

If you suspect that your property is being used as a cannabis factory, you must inform the police right away, and refrain from tackling any of the occupants

themselves as they are likely to be criminals involved in serious crime.

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9 - 15 November 2019

After US Fed rate cut, FPIs head back to India Despite the economic slowdown and poor performance by the core sector, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) are heading back to India, with investments worth £1.43 billion in October the largest monthly inflow into equity in the current fiscal year (2019-20). Total investments by FPIs were to the tune of £1.91 billion in October, including £472.7 million into the debt market, which is also the highest monthly flow in the current fiscal, according to figures available from the NSDL. The sustained inflow of FPI money is the major reason for the rise in the benchmark Sensex to an alltime peak in October, say market experts. While foreign inflows into the capital market continue unabated, the sustenance of FPI interest mainly hinges on the economic fundamentals. Markets are betting on a revival in the growth in the first or second quarter of next year. If the slowdown deepens, FPIs can exit faster than they entered India. It

happened many times in the past. The renewed interest of FPIs in India and buying by mutual funds have taken the market to an all-time high even though the economic fundamentals are not rosy. Mutual funds, which were getting an average monthly inflow of around £800 million in SIPs (systematic investment plans), are also big buyers. “Economic growth has slowed, consumer spending has come down but the market is getting good inflow of funds from FPIs and funds…and remains at all-

time peak,” said veteran BSE dealer Pawan Dharnidharka. The FPI revival has come after they pulled out around £3 billion in July and September. The cut in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve has prompted foreign investors to turn their attention to emerging markets like India where interest rates are still high. The US Fed, recently, cut interest rates for the third time this year as the US economy continued slowing amid ongoing trade disputes and weak global growth. The federal funds rate,

which affects the cost of mortgages, credit cards and other borrowing, will now hover between 1.5 and 1.75 per cent. When compared to this, the RBI’s repo rate is 5.15 per cent after the fifth rate cut this year. The US market is also flying high with the Dow Jones stopping just short of an all-time high. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite scored all-time highs with gains of 1 per cent and 1.1 per cent. According to Care Ratings, there are indications that there would not be any further rate cut by the Fed in the next policy. But this also means that the dollar can weaken a bit as lower rates in the US imply weaker economy which in turn can push up other currencies. Therefore, the rupee can get some stability on the external front. “Also lower US rates can help to boost FPI debt flows into India which can be taken as a positive. Debt inflows were around $ 1.2 bn in October so far and continuation would help to firm up the rupee further,” it said.

Indian govt unlikely to slash income tax rates The Indian government has virtually ruled out a reduction in personal income tax, including in the forthcoming Budget, with well-placed sources citing examples of higher rates in several countries such as China, the US and the UK, apart from the lack of fiscal space to reduce the levy. The government’s decree to slash corporation tax rate to 15% for new companies in September had sparked speculation about a reduction in personal income tax (PIT), which was raised to over 42% for high net worth individuals (HNIs) in the last Budget. What has added to the demand is the recommendation of a committee on income tax, which had advocated a

reduction in rates. Sources conversant with the thinking in the government said while a case is made out in terms of social security benefits offered in countries with higher tax rates, these can see high levels of taxation at lower slabs too. The government, said the sources, has been steadily increasing social security and reducing tax burden for lower income earners. Critics have, however, argued that a much larger section of the population in countries with higher tax rates has access to public healthcare and education apart from pension and unemployment allowances. For instance, in the UK and the US, nearly 90% of the primary and secondary

students were enrolled in government-funded schools. In case of healthcare, Indians had to bear nearly 65% of healthcare expenses, as against 15% in the UK and 11% in the US. Government sources, however, said that the argument for lowering PIT was weak since several exemptions were available, which helped lower the actual incidence. During the 2018-19 financial year, for instance, the government is estimated to have offered concessions to the tune of £10 billion to individuals and HUFs through deductions on investment in public provident fund and pension schemes, apart from other sops. Besides, the government believes that by providing a complete rebate on

income up to Rs 500,000, together with tax benefits on investment and other deductions, an individual can have zero tax liability on an income of up to Rs 650,000. While countries with higher rates also offer social security, government sources countered it by saying that in some of these countries, additional payment is required for social security benefits and the better off sections, in any case, do not avail of the benefits. “The situation is similar in India. Someone in the top bracket is not going to use these services,” said a source. The government in last fiscal missed its direct tax collection target, and for this financial year it has set a higher revenue mobilisation goal of £138 billion.

Tatas may look at bidding for Air India Tata Group might consider bidding for the struggling Air India. In an interview, Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran said that he will get his team to look into the matter. “Ideally it should be a Vistara decision, not a Tata Sons decision. I’m not going to run a third airline (in addition to Vistara and AirAsia) unless we merge. There are issues. I will never say yes or no. I don’t know,” he said. Interestingly, Air India was run by the Tata Group before the Indian government acquired a 49% stake in the airline in 1948. Tata Group to bid on Air India would expand its exposure to the airline industry. Two of its own airlines – Vistara and AirAsia are running in losses. In the financial year ending

March 2019, Vistara’s losses doubled to £83.1 million. Vistara is a joint venture between the Tata group and Singapore Airlines. Meanwhile, Air Asia too is struggling to keep up. Its losses amounted to £67 million, almost five times over its losses in the previous year of £12.5 million. Tata Group runs AirAsia India in a joint venture with Malaysiabased AirAsia Berhad. For FY19, Air India too posted a massive operating loss of £460 million, while its net loss stood at £840 million. Air India, which has been struggling to find a bidder after the government said that it plans to sell 100% stake in it. It has a massive debt of £5.84 billion and recently state-owned oil companies sent a letter asking them to pay up dues or they will stop supplying

aviation turbine fuel (ATF). Tatas to pump £650 mn into Tata Motors In a move to strengthen its balance sheet, Tata Sons will pump £649.5 million into Tata Motors which will be one of the biggest fund infusions this fiscal by the parent company. Tata Sons will route the funds by subscribing to equity shares worth £302.5 million and warrants worth £347 million of Tata Motors. The issue price of the equity shares and exercise price for the warrants to be converted into equity within 18 months from the date of allotment have been fixed at Rs 150 apiece. The funds from Tata Sons will be used to pare Tata Motors’ automotive debt of £5 billion. After the allotment of equity

in brief


Three Indian-origin CEOs, Shantanu Narayen, Ajay Banga and Satya Nadella, are among the world’s top 10 best-performing chief executives, featured in a list complied by the Harvard Business Review (HBR). ‘The BestPerforming CEOs in the World, 2019’ list by the HBR features 100 CEOs and has been topped by American technology company NVIDIA’s CEO Jensen Huang. On the 6th spot is Adobe CEO Narayen, followed by MasterCard CEO Banga, ranked 7th and Microsoft chief Nadella on the 9th spot. The list also features Indiaborn CEO of DBS Bank Piyush Gupta on the 89th spot. Apple CEO Tim Cook is ranked 62nd.


India presents the same economic opportunity as China did at the beginning of its boom phase, and will the third largest economy by 2039, according to Bloomberg. However, the country faces challenges in terms of disruptive forces such as automation, digitisation, climate change, protectionism, and populism. According to a report released with Bloomberg’s New Economy Drivers & Disrupters Index, while India has favourable demographics and a far-reaching reforms agenda, which has the potential to supercharge growth, there is a barrier to rapid development. “The country is even more exposed to disruptive forces than China, as it is ranked 80th,” the report said. The report highlights the complex challenges that come with this shift in power from the West to the East. It concludes that new economies are poorly positioned for the disruptive forces.


The Modi government announced a massive revival package of nearly £7 billion for the ailing telecom PSUs - BSNL and MTNL - as it looks to nurse back the “strategic”, but heavily bleeding, companies to health and profitability over the next three-four years. The two companies – which together hold about 14% market share in the mobile business - will also be merged. The merger will await sorting out of some operational and regulatory issues since MTNL is a listed company. The revival package aims to make the loss-making companies competitive again by giving them access to 4G spectrum; helping them retire a large number of employees through an attractive VRS package; and monetising their locked assets such as large swathes of land, and telecom towers.


N Chandrasekaran

shares and the conversion of warrants into equity, Tata Sons’ stake in Tata Motors will increase to 44% from the current 35%. At the consolidated promoter level, Tata Group currently owns 38% in Tata Motors, the biggest company within the conglomerate in terms of revenue. Tata Sons had stated earlier that it wants to tighten its grip over key Tata entities by having at least 50% stakes in them. It holds over 70% in software behemoth TCS and 49% in Tata Communications.

The Reserve Bank of India has refused to relent on its guidelines requiring chief executives of private banks to mandatorily retire at the age of 70, setting the stage for Aditya Puri to step down as HDFC Bank managing director and chief executive officer next October, while Romesh Sobti will retire as IndusInd Bank chief at the end of the financial year. While bankers had been indicating that the regulator was reviewing the retirement age, sources said, a few months ago RBI conveyed its decision to the two banks where the incumbents were nearing the retirement age, with many expecting a fresh extension. Some bankers had raised the issue of bringing RBI’s rules on a par with the new Companies Act that allows CEOs to continue till the age of 75. But RBI is of the view that 70 years is a reasonable age for a private bank chief to hang his boots as banking is a high-pressure job.





9 - 15 November 2019

2,500 Indian pilgrims to attend Kartarpur opening ceremony ISLAMABAD: The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) of Pakistan released the itinerary for jatha of pilgrims who will be visiting Pakistan for Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary celebrations from November 5 to 14 and said that 2,500 of them will also attend the inauguration ceremony of Kartarpur Corridor on Pakistani side scheduled for November 9. A jatha of around 5,000 pilgrims from Punjab and other states will be entering Pakistan through Wagah on November 5 and 6 (via train). This includes 1,900 pilgrims being sent by the SGPC from Punjab, which is done annually on Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary, and rest of the pilgrims are from other states. Amir Hashmi, spokesperson of ETPB, said that around 2,500 pilgrims from India will be attending Kartarpur Corridor inauguration ceremony on November 9. “Over 5,000 pilgrims will be arriving on November 5 and 6 via Wagah and will be taken to Gurdwara Janam Asthan, Nankana Sahib. Around 2,500 of them will attend Kartarpur Corridor opening ceremony on

November 9,” he said. As per the itinerary for pilgrims released by ETPB, first batch of Sikh yatris will arrive on November 5 at Wagah railway station and will be taken to Nankana Sahib gurdwara Janam Asthan. Then on November 6, second batch will arrive. On November 7, approximately 2,500 of Indian yatris will be taken to Darbar Sahib Kartarpur (Narowal) by road in buses. On November 9, “after attending the inauguration ceremony of Kartarpur Corridor”, Indian yatris will be taken back to Nankana Sahib by road through buses. On November 10 and 11, they will stay at Nankana Sahib and on November 12, they will attend bhog ceremony Akhand Path and Nagar Kirtan on 550th Gurpurab at Gurdwara Janam Asthan. On November 13 and 14, the yatris will return to India. Dr Amir Ahmed, chairman ETPB, said that Indian pilgrims will be given all facilities and arrangements have been

completed for their stay in Pakistan. A source from the SGPC, meanwhile, said that the Sikh body is sending 1,900 pilgrims from Punjab and rest are being sent from other states by the central government. “Earlier also, jathas visiting Nankana Sahib are taken to Kartarpur gurdwara, but not always. However, Kartarpur gurdwara is among approved sites for Indian pilgrims since 2005,” he added Waivers for Indian pilgrims Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said he has waived off two requirements for the Indian pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. "For

74 passengers killed in Pakistan train fire LAHORE: A fire swept through a Pakistani train, killing 74 people and injuring nearly 40 others after two gas cylinders that passengers were using to cook b r e a k f a s t exploded, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the minister of railways said. The fire destroyed three of the train’s carriages. It was on its way to Rawalpindi, near the capital, from the southern city of Karachi. “Two stoves blew up when people were cooking breakfast, the presence of kerosene with the passengers in the moving train further spread the fire,” Ahmed said. Many were killed when they leapt from the moving train to escape the flames, he said. People sneaking stoves onto trains to prepare meals on long journeys is a common problem, the minister said. Shortly before the fire broke out, the conductor had ordered some passengers to stop cooking but they had ignored him, Ahmed said. But several survivors questioned whether the fire was sparked by a cooking accident, telling media they believed the cause was a short-circuit in the train’s electrical system. Television pictures showed fire and black smoke pouring from the train’s windows after it came to a stop on a stretch of line flanked by fields. “People were jumping off, some of them were on fire,” a witness said. Some of the victims were burned beyond recognition, said the deputy

commissioner of the district. PM Imran Khan ordered an inquiry to be completed on an urgent basis. Train accidents are common in Pakistan, where the railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment. Media reports suggest that railways officials did not notice when passengers boarded the train, carrying gas stoves. The railway minister has admitted his administration’s failure for not checking the cylinders the passengers brought with them. “It was our fault. And we will investigate it,” he said. It was the worst disaster on Pakistan’s accident-plagued railway system in nearly 15 years. About 130 people were killed in 2005 when a train rammed into another at a station in Sindh province, and a third train hit the wreckage. In July, at least 23 people were killed in the same district when a passenger train coming from the eastern city of Lahore rammed into a goods train that had stopped at a crossing. Accidents often happen at unmanned crossings, which frequently lack barriers and sometimes signals.

Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I have waived off 2 requirements: i) they won't need a passport - just a valid ID; ii) they no longer have to register 10 days in advance. Also, no fee will be charged on day of inauguration & on Guruji's 550th birthday," Khan tweeted. His move came after India asked Pakistan not to insist on levying a fee of USD 20 per Indian pilgrim. Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had also appealed to the Pakistani side to withdraw the fee. Pakistan has been insisting on the service fee to meet operational costs of the corridor linking Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur, Punjab. Last month, India had disapproved the move to impose the fee. Amid strained ties between India and Pakistan, New Delhi and Islamabad on October 22 finally signed the ‘Kartarpur Sahib Corridor Agreement.’

Sharif’s condition remains critical LAHORE: Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif's health condition remains critical as his platelet count has dropped again, a day after it rose to 51,000, his personal physician said. Sharif, 69, was admitted to the Services Hospital from Pakistan's anti-graft body's custody after his platelets dropped to a critical low level of 2,000. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo's platelets increased from 35,000 to 51,000, showing improvement in his condition. 'Former PM Nawaz Sharif remains critical. The treating doctors tried to reduce the Steroids dose being given to him but unfortunately resulted in drop in platelet count again,' said Adnan Khan. The doctor said the cause behind the drop in platelets needs to be diagnosed and established without delay. 'A very delicate balance has to be maintained between coagulation and anti-coagulation to sustain fragile unstable health status,' Khan said. Earlier, the doctor had tweeted saying that the former prime minister's health was in a critical condition and he was fighting a battle for survival. The Islamabad High Court suspended Sharif's sentence for eight weeks in a corruption case, paving way for his release on medical grounds. He had already secured bail from the Lahore High Court in the money laundering case linked to the Chaudhry Sugar Mills. Maryam Nawaz released Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz has also been released on bail on Monday. Maryam, who is also vice-president of PMLN was, however, barred from leaving the country. The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday granted bail to Maryam, who was arrested on August 8 in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case.




9 - 15 November 2019

16 get death penalty for killing girl in Bangladesh DHAKA: Sixteen Bangladeshis along with the school principle have been sentenced to death for the murder of a 19-year-old student, Nusrat Jahan Rafi, who was burned to death in April after complaining of being sexually harassed. Nusrat was killed after she refused to withdraw a complaint of sexual harassment against him, the public prosecutor said. The killers poured kerosene over Nusrat, 18, and set her on fire on the roof of her madrasa in April in the southeastern district of Feni. Police said in their chargesheet that the murder was carried out on the orders of the principal. The case was summoned at the women and children repression prevention tribunal in Feni, where the judge, Mamunur Rashid, delivered the verdicts to a packed, chaotic courtroom after a fast-tracked trial. The death sentences will be sent to the country’s high court for confirmation and are likely

Nusrat Jahan Rafi

to be appealed. “The judgment proves that no one is above the law,” public prosecutor Hafez Ahmed said after the court verdict. He said the defence lawyers had tried unsuccessfully to establish that Jahan had committed suicide. Defence lawyer Giasuddin Nannu said his clients will challenge the verdict in the high court. According to the evidence, after Nusrat arrived at the school to take an exam, a classmate named Poppy lured her to a rooftop, where five

others – including three of her classmates – tied her hands and feet with a scarf before setting her on fire. The conspirators had hoped to pass off the incident as suicide by self immolation, but the plan fell through after flames burned through the scarf binding her and she was able to get down from the roof for help. Her brother recorded a video statement from her in the ambulance on a mobile phone. Having sustained 80% burns, Nusrat died five days later, having been moved to a hospital

in Dhaka. Nusrat’s death sparked public outrage and mass demonstrations calling for her killers to be punished. She had faced pressure to withdraw a complaint to police in March accusing the school principal of attempted rape, her family said. Local media reported that police were deployed in and around Nusrat's home for the security of the family members amid fears of reprisals. PM Sheikh Hasina had met her family and vowed to bring the killers to justice. “I can’t forget her for a moment. I still feel the pain that she went through,” mother Shirin Akhtar said as she burst into tears at her home following the verdict. Nusrat's brother, Mahmudul Hasan Noman, demanded that the death sentences be carried out swiftly and sought protection for his family against reprisals. “We live in fear. We were threatened even today in the courtroom,” Noman said.

Tamils to back ruling party candidate in Lanka prez polls COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s Tamil National Alliance (TNA said they would support the country’s ruling party candidate, Sajith Premadasa, in the November 16 presidential election. “After our central committee meeting held in Vavuniya, we have decided to back Sajith Premadasa,” TNA spokesman and legislator M A Sumanthiran told reporters. “His manifesto will be more acceptable to Tamils (compared) to other candidates,” Sumanthiran said. In his manifesto, Premadasa

Sajith Premadasa

has pledged “maximum devolution of power within an undivided and indivisible Sri

Resolution moved to honour slain IndianAmerican cop WASHINGTON: A resolution has been introduced in the US House of Representatives to honour slain IndianAmerican police officer Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, who was shot dead on duty during a traffic stop in Texas in September. The resolution described Dhaliwal as a remarkable and selfless hero who represented the very best of American ideals. The 42-year-old Harris County sheriff's deputy was gunned down on September 27 while conducting a routine mid-day traffic stop in northwest of Houston. He was the first Sikh in Texas to receive a policy accommodation to practice his religion while serving as a police officer. Dhaliwal was widely regarded as a role model for Americans of all faiths wishing to serve their communities in law enforcement and the armed services, it said. Extending condolences to Dhaliwal's family and loved ones, the resolution said the House stands in solidarity with the people of Houston, Harris County and the Sikh community across America, as they celebrate the life, and mourn the loss, of the "remarkable and selfless hero who represented the very best of America's ideals".

Lanka”. Sumanthiran said TNA leader R Sampanthan would consult other parties in the Tamil alliance before officially announcing the TNA’s stand to back Premadasa. Samanthiran said the 13-point plan of the Tamil political parties’ had not been presented to any of the presidential candidates. The 13 points included the demand to permanently merge north and eastern provinces, granting Tamils political autonomy in a federal solution. These points

are seen as Tamil hardline by the Sinhala majority. Premadasa’s main rival Gotabhaya Rajapaksa relies on the Sinhala majority to be elected president while Premadasa is seen as the more secular choice. The Tamil and Muslim votes are crucial to form the government. In 2015, President Maithripala Sirisena, who was the main opposition challenger, secured most of the minority votes when he defeated Sri Lanka Freedom Party’s Mahinda Rajapaksa ending his 10-year rule.

Hindi most popular Indian language in US WASHINGTON: Hindi continues to be the most widely spoken Indian language in the US, followed by Gujarati and Telugu. Hindi was spoken by 874,000 people in the US as of July 1, 2018, a slight increase of 1.3% from 863,000 in 2017. Since 2010, the numbers have increased by 265,000 (43.5%). However, in terms of percentage increase, the number of Telugu-speaking individuals far outstripped speakers of other Indian languages in the US, rising 79.5% between 2010 and 2018. The American Community Survey (ACS) data for 2018 released by the US Census Bureau shows that 67.3 million residents in the US, aged over five (which includes nativeborn, legal and illegal immigrants) speak a

language other than English at home. Around 21.9% of US residents speak a foreign language at home - the percentage is only a tad higher than the 21.8% reflected in the 2017 data. The survey covers over 2 million households. At 375,000, the Bengali speaking US-based population has shown a rise of nearly 68% over the same eight-year period. This is followed by those who speak Tamil, showing an increase of 67.5% to stand at 309,000 as of July 1, 2018. It should be noted that individuals from countries other than India too speak Bengali (predominately Bangladesh). Tamil is also spoken in countries such as Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia. Immigration experts say the spike in the Bengali-speaking population may also be

representative of a larger inflow to the US from Bangladesh. No of people who speak Gujarati dips Surprisingly, the numbers of those speaking Gujarati and Telugu dipped slightly between 2017 and 2018. Those speaking Gujarati stood at 419,000, a decline of 3.5% over the previous year. And there were 400,000 Telugu speakers as of July 1, 2018, as against a slightly higher figure of 415,000 in the previous year (a decline of 3.7%). If figures of 2010 are compared with those of 2018, number of Telugu speakers increased from 223,000 to 400,000, a rise of 79.5%. This is not surprising as a fair share of technology sector employees, are said to hail from Andhra and Telangana.


A US-based software engineer, whose name was listed in the Green Card backlog, died suddenly and as a result, his pregnant wife has been rendered out of status resulting in her inevitable return to India, a report said. Shiva Chalapathi Raju, who was based in North Carolina, died last week. Since the family was in line for Green Card, Raju’s death would mean that his wife, Bobby Sowjanya, has been rendered out of status. Raju had been working with Oracle as a developer client. He had also worked for Wipro and British Petroleum. The Indian Green Card backlog community took to Twitter to raise the issue. Many expressed outrage at Senator Dick Durbin’s opposition to Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act 2019.


The 32-year-old sister of an Indian-origin Islamic State terror group suspect was given a restraining order preventing her from contact with a UK journalist after a court was told that she had become “obsessed” with him. Konika Dhar, the sister of British Muslim convert Siddhartha Dhar who was dubbed “Jihadi Sid” by the UK media after featuring in IS videos, was said to have sent Sunday Times reporter Richard Kerbaj and his ex-girlfriend with inappropriate messages after he interviewed her in 2015.


Women Action Forum (WAF), a women’s rights organisation in Pakistan, has moved the Sindh high court for the removal of the country’s ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram, terming his re-appointment “illegal, unlawful and liable to be struck down”. Akram had replaced Maleeha Lodhi shortly after PM Imran Khan’s speech at the UNGA. Akram had served on the same post from 2002 to 2008. WAF filed a petition in the court mentioning allegations of domestic abuse against the diplomat. In 2003, US had asked Pakistan to waive Akram’s diplomatic immunity so that he could be prosecuted under US law on assault charges after allegations that he had beaten a woman at his New York residence in December 2002.


A court in Bangladesh's capital granted bail to micro-credit pioneer and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus over the firing of three employees by Grameen Communications, where he is chairman. Acting chairman of the 3rd Labor Court in Dhaka, Zakia Parveen, granted the bail when Yunus appeared before the court. The country's high court had set a Nov 7 deadline last month for him to appear in person. It had asked authorities not to arrest or harass Yunus before the deadline. Court official Wasiur Rahman said the court granted bail of 10,000 takas ($120) in bonds in each of the three cases. Defense lawyer Mustafizur Rahman Khan said Yunus would not be required to appear in person before the court until any indictments are handed down. The labor court had earlier issued an arrest warrant for Yunus after he failed to appear because he was abroad.


A Bangladesh opposition leader was jailed in absentia for three years for threatening the prime minister in what his party said was another example of government critics being muzzled. Thousands of opposition activists have been arrested under the rule of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has tightened her grip on power since being re-elected in December. Giasuddin Quader Chowdhury, a vice-chairman of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was found guilty of making statements "conducive to public mischief" and "criminal conspiracy", the court said.





9 - 15 November 2019


Pakistan’s firebrand cleric-cum-politician Maulana Fazlur Rehman convened an allparty conference to discuss the future course of action as the 48-hour deadline he set for PM Imran Khan to resign expired without him stepping down. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) leader, who is leading a huge protest dubbed as ‘Azadi March’, said the movement to oust the prime minister “will continue to move ahead and will never be on the back foot”. Rehman’s call for the protest has been supported by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Qaumi Watan Party, National Party and Awami National Party. Rehman accuses Khan of bad governance and demands the government follow radical Islamic laws. Khan has ignored the protesters' demands. Rehman's radical religious schools have provided men for both the Afghan Taliban militant group and the anti-government Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. Rehman has come under attack by human rights activists who have criticized his fiery speeches as well as his refusal to allow women at his protest march. Even women journalists were barred from the rallies until an outcry forced him to relent. Meanwhile, the Lahore high court has accepted for hearing a petition demanding action against Rehman for “challenging the writ of government, delivering hate, provocative and seditious speeches against the state”, the report said.


Hong Kong slid into recession for the first time in a decade in the third quarter, weighed down by increasingly violent anti-government protests and the protracted US-China trade war. Five months of protests have battered the Chineseruled city’s retail and tourism sector, and there is no sign of the demonstrations abating. Police tightened security ahead of more potential clashes. The city’s economy shrank 3.2% in JulySeptember from the preceding period, contracting for a second straight quarter and meeting the technical definition of a recession, according to government data. From a year earlier, gross domestic product contracted 2.9%. The readings were the weakest for the Asian financial hub since the global financial crisis in 2008/2009.

BABY WITHOUT A FACE BORN Portugal has suspended an obstetrician suspected of negligence after a baby was born without a face. The baby, Rodrigo, was born on October 7 without a nose, eyes or part of his skull but the deformities were only discovered during his delivery at a hospital in Setubal, about 40km south of Lisbon. Portugal’s Medical Council unanimously voted to suspend Dr Artur Carvalho from practising for six months. The obstetrician has six other complaints against him, dating back to 2013. Caravalho had followed the pregnancy of Rodrigo’s mother in a clinic where he performed three ultrasounds but didn’t report any oddity. The parents were alerted to a possible anomaly after they requested a further ultrasound test in the sixth month of the pregnancy, but were reassured by the doctor.


Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari has sacked the governors of all seven provinces at the recommendation of the government, his office said. The president relieved the governors from their posts in accordance with the constitutional provisions at the recommendation of the council of ministers, the president’s office said. A cabinet meeting held earlier had recommended to the president to relieve the governors from their posts. The province chiefs were appointed two years ago by then Sher Bahadur Deuba government.

How the US tracked down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Americans for five months. The The five-year fight against ISIS US also got information from an culminated on October 26, ISIS courier and one of Saturday night in what Baghdadi’s wives, both of whom President Donald Trump had been arrested and termed as “dangerous and questioned. Over the next few daring nighttime raid” that months, the CIA worked with killed the group’s founder and Iraqi and Kurdish intelligence to leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. pinpoint Baghdadi’s location, Put together, the overall even placing spies in the region Baghdadi operation is one of to track his movements. In this painstaking intelligence work, case, according to Trump, they ending with a complicated found him. “A couple of weeks military mission. It was a ago, they were able to scope him crowning, cinematic out,” he said at the White House achievement for the United without going into detail. States. It was “as though you It turned out that Baghdadi were watching a movie,” Trump Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was in the northwestern Syrian told reporters at the White town of Barisha in the home of House after announcing the About 50 to 100 US Abu Mohammed Salama, mission’s success. Cornered by commandos took off in eight another extremist group an American military dog in an helicopters - mostly CH-47 commander. The distinctively underground tunnel before he Chinooks - from a military base bearded Baghdadi is believed to detonated a suicide vest, near Erbil, Iraq. It was a have never left the compound Baghdadi killed himself and two dangerous flight, and the after his arrival. of his children. Above ground aircraft took fire while they flew Here’s how that operation the long-time confidant who low to the ground for roughly 70 which took place 6,000 miles betrayed him watched as US minutes. They also had to fly from the White House Situation Delta Force commandos loaded over airspace controlled by Iraq, Room - played out. Baghdadi’s body parts on to a Turkey, Syria, and Russia, which “Jackpot” helicopter. increased the possibility An assault force of 30 Delta Baghdadi took extensive someone might miscalculate Force commandos and 60 measures to conceal his because they believed the US whereabouts for nearly a decade. The self-declared caliph of ISIS had long been believed to be hiding in safe houses along the Iraq-Syria border, mostly in Iraq, where he was born. In January he travelled to Isis’s last stronghold in the Syria border town of Baghouz but left before the final battle in which it fell in March, heralding the end of the territorial caliphate. The US got actionable intelligence over the summer As far back as February 2018, Ismail al-Ithawy, a top aide to Houses destroyed in the raid that President Trump said had ended the life of the the ISIS leader, offered Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Rangers began training for a raid information to Iraqi intelligence was attacking them. on a replica of the Barisha about how gatherings with At midnight eight Black compound built on the US Baghdadi would go, giving Hawk and Chinook helicopters, airbase outside Arbil in Kurdish agents their best glimpse into his supported by Apache attack northern Iraq. The informant movements. “Ithawi gave helicopters, took off from Arbil reported that Baghdadi was valuable information which and al-Asad airbase in Iraq for a about to move to a safe house in helped the Iraqi multi-security staging post in Syria. Six armed Jarabulus, to the east. American agencies team complete the Reaper drones and fighter military commanders visited the missing pieces of the puzzle of aircraft took off from Kuwait White House to ask President Baghdadi’s movements and and five naval guided missile Trump to sign off a Saturday places he used to hide,” an Iraqi cruisers and destroyers were night raid named in honour of security official said. But US placed on standby in the Gulf. It Kayla Mueller. officials needed concrete, was a dangerous flight, and the credible information aircraft took fire regarding his location while they flew low so they could act on it. to the ground over Early this summer, they enemy territory got just that. They were before arriving above won over after Ithawy Barisha for roughly smuggled out a piece of 70 minutes. underwear that was However, the DNA matched with Russian and Turkish samples taken when militaries, which Baghdadi had been a US controlled the prisoner in Iraq’s Camp airspace over western Bucca in 2004. Syria, were warned to According to hold fire. “There was multiple reports, a a chance that we disaffected ISIS would have met member tipped off unbelievable fire,” Kurdish forces in Syria Trump said. to Baghdadi’s general The clatter of the location. Mazloum helicopter blades Abdi, the commander of brought local fighters those Kurdish fighters, running, believing a tweeted that there had regime attack was been joint intelligence under way. They cooperation with the The dog that tracked down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the tunnel fired at the aircraft;

the Americans shot back, killing them all. After landing, the Rangers fanned out to encircle the compound, pushing civilians back as Delta Force commandos rushed the wall with explosives, blasting a hole. An Arabic translator called for noncombatants to surrender and 11 children and two men ran out. The commandos were confronted by five fighters running towards them, wearing suicide vests. All five were shot dead. Four were women, believed to be Baghdadi’s wives and relatives. But Baghdadi, strapped with an explosive vest, grabbed three of his children and took off into a series of tunnels underneath the compound. Conan, a Belgian Malinois dog with four years of combat experience, followed Baghdadi’s scent to the tunnel entrance. He entered the hole and was confronting Baghdadi when the Isis leader detonated his suicide vest. The commandos discovered that Baghdadi had dragged two of his children, both under the age of 12, into the tunnel with him. In the explosion, his head came off whole. A commando looked at it and radioed back: “This is Baghdadi. Jackpot.” A field DNA test proved a match. The assault forces were on the ground for two hours, collecting Baghdadi’s body parts and laptops, USBs and phones, a potentially valuable cache of information. The US troops loaded the helicopters with their booty, two prisoners, believed to be Abu Mohammed and his son, and the informant. After they took off missiles were fired, flattening the compound to ensure it wouldn’t become a shrine to the dead ISIS leader. Baghdadi’s remains were also taken into custody and were flown to a naval vessel in the Gulf for burial at sea, just as Osama bin Laden’s remains had been disposed of, and the US forces returned to their bases in Iraq. The disposal was “complete and was handled appropriately,” according to Army Gen. Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The remains of at least two of his wives, who were also strapped with explosive vests, were left behind.




9 - 15 November 2019


Yediyurappa rejects Congress demand for resignation over video BENGALURU: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has rejected the demand of the Congress for his resignation after a video clip of his alleged remarks over the resignation of Congress and JD-S MLAs surfaced. He also dismissed Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao's demand for resignation of BJP chief and union Home Minister Amit Shah. "It is foolishness. As an opposition leader, he does not know what he is speaking. Why should Amit Shah resign? They (rebel MLAs) were in Mumbai for two-and-a-half-months, how is he responsible? It shows that he, being in the Opposition, wants to take advantage of it


BS Yediyurappa

(the situation)," Yediyurappa said. "I have told workers not to speak nonsense in the meeting. They have resigned for their reasons. Let us wait for Supreme Court's decision and in the meantime, let us not speak anything on the MLAs," he

added. In the video clip that surfaced, Yediyurappa purportedly says that the decision of the 17 JD-S and Congress MLAs to resign, which led to the fall of the HD Kumaraswamy-led government in July, was taken by the central leadership of the BJP and that the party workers should honour the "sacrifice" of the rebel MLAs. Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that Yediyurappa has no right to continue in the office. Gundu Rao had alleged that BJP's central leadership was involved in toppling the coalition government of Congress and JDS and Shah has no moral right to

continue as the Home Minister. Cong to approach top court The Congress, meanwhile said that it would approach the Supreme Court with the "latest evidence". Congress general secretary organisation KC Venugopal, at a press conference, alleged, "We kept saying that under the leadership of Prime Minister and Home Minister, BJP is misusing all the government agencies to destablise opposition-led governments." The AICC incharge of Karnataka said, "now, there is a concrete proof and it is very shocking that Yediyuruppa is telling that the Supreme Court may give relief to the defectors and they can contest elections."

All-party meeting resolves to celebrate Parkash Purb jointly CHANDIGARH: An all-party meeting held at the residence of chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh resolved to jointly celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak on November 12 at Sultanpur Lodhi. The state government has planned a mega event at Sultanpur Lodhi, where Guru Nanak spent over 18 years of his life and attained enlightenment. It was observed at the meeting that even on earlier occasions, all such celebrations were organised by the state government and leaders of all political parties had jointly participated in it. The state government will set up its own stage on the occasion despite an appeal from the Akal Takht jathedar to join the Shiromani Gurdwara

Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) in celebrating the historic event. "It was unfortunate that certain political parties had this time decided to break from the tradition and exploit this pious and historic occasion to promote their vested interests," an official spokesperson said. The meeting resolved that the state government will invite leaders of all political parties, both state and national, for the November 12 function. In keeping with the religious sentiment of the event, all speeches will be restricted to propagating the Guru’s philosophy and his life, the spokesperson said. Besides the chief minister, his cabinet colleagues Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Charanjit Singh Channi, and state Congress chief Sunil

Jakhar were present at the meeting. Others who attended the meeting included Harbans Singh Kandhola (SAD 1920), Bhupinder Sambhar and Hardev Arshi (CPI), Gurparamjit Kaur Taggar (CPM), Sewa Singh Sekhwan (SAD Taksali), Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi (Sant Samaj), Jasbir Singh Garhi (BSP), Manjit Singh Bilaspur (AAP) and Harpal Singh Cheema (leader of opposition). The CM said the state government had been keen for all parties and their representatives to join its main event, irrespective of different political ideologies. The historic occasion should have been kept above petty politics, he said, adding that he had also requested the Prime Minister for a single function, to which he had agreed but things eventually did not work out.

Lashing out at the Akalis for politicising the issue, the CM said he was in favour of joint celebrations from the outset and, in keeping with this sentiment, will be addressing the gathering from the stage at the event being organised by the Union government at Dera Baba Nanak on November 9. Didn’t get invite: SAD, BJP The SAD and its ally BJP claimed that they didn’t get any invite for the all-party meeting. The allies hit back at Amarinder for showing his team of “courtiers” from little known parties at the meeting. SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said chief minister had revealed his true colours and finally come out in the open to challenge the supremacy of Akal Takht by defying its edict to participate in the joint celebrations being organised by the SGPC.


West Bengal governor calls for violence-free by-elections KOLKATA: Days after the Election Commission (EC) announced the dates for byelections in West Bengal, Governor Jagdeep Dhankar appealed to the political parties to ensure that the elections are free from any kind of violence. Speaking to media after garlanding the statue of Vallabhbhai Patel in Kolkata, Dhankar said, “By-polls must be violence free. Let’s hope for a free and fair by-election. The Lok Sabha poll (in Bengal) ended with a different kind of impression. We need to change that.” “I am hopeful that West Bengal will present an example of the most peaceful elections to

the world,” he added. The byelections in West Bengal for the vacant assembly seats - Kaliaganj in North Dinajpur, Kharagpur Sadar in West Midnapore, and Karimpur in Nadia district - will be held on November 25. The Kaliaganj seat fell vacant following the death of sitting Congress MLA Parmatha Nath Ray on May 31, 2019, while the Kharagpur Sadar and Karimpur seats fell vacant after sitting BJP MLA Dilip Ghosh and sitting TMC MLA Mahua Moitra won the parliamentary polls from Midnapore and Krishnnanagar Lok Sabha seats respectively. The last date of filing nominations was November 6 and counting will be held on

November 28. The Election Commission has decided to use EVMs and VVPATs in all the polling stations. The byelections will be significant as the beleaguered Congress and the Left Front have decided to go for a seat adjustment. Dhankar’s statement came three days after he went to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's house to attend the Kali Puja celebration on November 28. "My wife and I went to attend the puja, and we were there for two hours. We spent some time with her (Mamata),” he had said. The Governor also asked for a CD of songs composed by Mamata, which were played at the Puja. In the last few months,

Jagdeep Dhankar

the ruling TMC and West Bengal Governor have been locked in a war of words for quite some time over various issues. On September 19, 2019, the Governor faced criticism from the ruling TMC for visiting and rescuing BJP MP Babul Supriyo who faced strong protest by students of Jadavpur University after he went there to attend an event organized by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.


Deepa Jayakumar, the niece of the former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, moved the Madras High Court seeking to restrain the producers from going ahead with the former leader's biopic without her consent. Submitting that she was a legal heir of the late AIADMK chief, Deepa in a civil suit claimed that filmmakers AL Vijay, Vishnu Vardhan Induri and Gowtham Vasudev Menon did not have any legal right to produce the movie on the life and times of Jayalalithaa. Contending that the filmmakers might portray the life of her aunt and that of her as well in their "own version", the applicant said it might affect her privacy and that of her family. The biopic on Jayalalithaa, titled "Thalaivi" (the leader) in Tamil and "Jaya" in Hindi, is set to be produced by them and Kangana Ranaut has been identified to reprise the role of the former Tamil Nadu chief minister, she submitted.


Janata Dal (Secular) president HD Deve Gowda has dismissed any possibility of having an electoral tie-up with either the Congress or the BJP for December 5 by-polls in Karnataka, describing both the national parties as "not trustworthy" and having the "same character". In an interview, the former prime minister said JD(S) would contest the by-elections to fill 15 vacancies in Karnataka Assembly alone and "certainly maintain equidistance" from the Congress and the BJP. When asked about JD (S)'s strategy for the by-elections, the 86-year-old JD(S) patriarch quipped, "We have nothing to do with Congress and BJP. Both of them are not trustworthy. They will use us when they want and destroy us later. Both the parties are of the same character". The by-polls were necessitated due to the disqualification of 17 legislators of Congress and JD(S) under the anti-defection law by the then Speaker of Karnataka Assembly. The MLAs later filed a petition in the Supreme Court on which the order is reserved. Winning a majority of seats in the by-polls is necessary for the ruling BJP led by B S Yediyurappa to stay in power.


India shared the list of 575 pilgrims who will go in the inaugural jatha to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan through the Kartarpur corridor. The list also had the names of several prominent leaders who will attend the religious event. The names of the leaders include former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Ministers Hardeep Puri, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and other Punjab MPs-MLAs will participate in the event. After a long wait and several discussions, India and Pakistan on October 24 signed the agreement to operationalise the Kartarpur corridor for pilgrims of both the countries. According to the agreement signed by the ministry of home affairs, Indian persons of all faith can visit the place and the travel will be visa-free. However, the agreement will remain in force for 5 years and it can be extended by mutual consent. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the India side of Kartarpur corridor on November 9.


The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal government has banned gutkha and pan masala in the state. The state government has also issued a notification for the same. According to the notification, making, storing and selling all the things in which nicotine is found will be legally punishable. However, cigarette is not included in the notification. While this step taken by the West Bengal government has received appreciation, it is not the first state to come up with such law. Earlier, a few more Indian states have passed notification on a state-wide ban on sale or purchase of pan-masala and gutkha.





9 - 15 November 2019

The Rise and fall of East India Company

• Jagath Seths, the wealthiest bankers, offered Robert Clive £2 million • The period was of greatest corruption, loot and human rights abuse


he empire was won not on the strength of military superiority, but as a result of the cunning of a corporate house that was helped along by amoral Indian bankers who financed its operations. One of the fictions many of us have come to believe is that the British ruled India for almost two centuries. But after the Battle of Plassey (1757), all they consolidated their hold over was a part of Bengal. Similarly, you suggest that when people talk of British rule, they forget that until the middle of the 19 century, it was run by the East India Company, a joint stock company. It was extremely well known in the 18th century that it was a company that was running India, and this was a cause of some scandal. W i l l i a m Dalrymple, a British historian based in India, presents the picture of ‘loot’ and ‘takeover’ by the East India Company using Indian money. In his latest book, ‘The Anarchy’, he says, “I’m both an insider and an outsider”. Pandit Sunderlal, an Indian historian and M.P., was first to publish his Hindi book “Bharat mein Angareji Raj” way back on 18 March 1929 describing how the British came to India, Coat of arms of the East India Company slowly penetrated states. But this is exactly what they did.” the sub-continent and established an In August 1765 the East India empire. The book was banned by the Company defeated and captured the British Government on 22 March 1929 young Mughal emperor and forced him but the ban was lifted on 13 November to set up in his richest provinces a new 1937 when most of the Indian Provinces government run by English traders who had the Congress Governments. After collected taxes through means of a vast Independence, the Government of India and ruthless private army. brought out some editions of the book. The creation of this new government Danrymple earned fame for his marked the moment that the East India ‘White Mughals’ and ‘The Last Mughal’. Company ceased to be a conventional He presents his observations in the international trading corporation, latest book: “The Company makes its dealing in silks and spices, and became first territorial seizure with the support something much more unusual: an of the Jagath Seths, the country’s aggressive colonial power in the guise of wealthiest bankers. It was they who a multinational business. In less than asked the British to overthrow Siraj-udhalf a century it had trained up a private Daulah of Bengal and they offered security force of around 260,000 men – Robert Clive £2 million to do this. This twice the size of the British army – and was the moment the had subdued an entire Company realised it could Next Column: subcontinent, conquering defeat the vast Mughal Lala Lajpat Rai, a Great first Bengal and finally, in armies with a very small 1803, the Mughal capital of Patriot amount of its newly-trained Delhi itself. The Company's sepoys. And particularly from the 1780s reach stretched relentlessly until almost onwards, the Marwari and Jain bankers all of India south of the Himalayas was of Bengal, and later the Hindu bankers effectively ruled from a boardroom in of Benares and Patna, consistently London. The Anarchy  tells the backed the Company against other remarkable story of how one of the Indian forces.” world's most magnificent empires “What you got in the East India disintegrated and came to be replaced by Company period was maximum a dangerously unregulated private extraction — the period of greatest company, based thousands of miles corruption, loot and plunder as well as overseas and answerable only to its human rights abuses. But it was also the shareholders. period when Indians and the British Eventually, the State took over the were collaborating most closely. The reins of India in 1858, after the Company country was not conquered by white lost the faith of Parliament. In his most British manpower. It was conquered by ambitious and riveting book to date, Indian troops, who were recruited. And William Dalrymple tells the story of the these armies were being funded by East India Company as it has never Marwari bankers. There were never been told before, unfolding a more than 2,000 British traders in India timely cautionary Dr. Hari Desai in this period, most of them in Bengal. tale of the first g l o b a l (The writer is a SocioThe extraordinary audacity of the British c o r p o r a t e political Historian. was to borrow Indian money, train power.  Indian soldiers, and take on other Indian E-mail:

Unity in diversity our pride & identity: PM Modi Stating that India’s unity in diversity is the country’s identity and pride, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that this ought to be preserved and cherished by people. He added that when Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel set out to integrate more than 500 princely states into the Indian union, it was this “feeling of unity” that inspired many princely states to accede to India. “Several centuries ago, Chanakya (the philosopher who was advisor to the emperor Chandragupta Maurya) united the country. After Chanakya, it was Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who successfully united the country,” the PM remarked while presiding over the birth anniversary celebrations of Sardar Patel at Kevadiya on October 31. Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary is celebrated as Rashtriya Ekta Divas. The PM added that India’s stature is growing across the world because of its unity and India is quickly claiming its rightful place among world economies as well because of its unique character of unity amid diversity. Sardar Patel integrated more than 500 princely states into the Republic of India, but was not directly

These animals include giraffes, zebra, impala, oryx and wildebeest. Special import cargo arrangements were made to transport these animals from South Africa to the Sardar Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad. “A specialised Ethiopian cargo freighter aircraft was used to transport the animals. In total, 10 live animals were sent from Johannesburg in South Africa to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and from there to Ahmedabad,” said a top source at the SVPI airport.” “All the animals have been safely sent to Kevadiya. However, they cannot be immediately kept at the safari. There are certain protocols to be followed to ensure the animals, that are brought in from other countries, are in good health. Once the quarantine period is over, they will be g r a d u a l l y Sardar Patel Zoological Park receives 43 new inmates from across the world rehabilitated at the Jungle Safari in Kevadiya,” Earlier, an impressive entrusted with the task of said Rajiv Gupta, managing parade called the Rashtriya annexing the princely state director, Sardar Sarovar Ekta Parade was held at of Jammu and Kashmir. “If Nigam Limited. Kevadiya. Apart from the J&K issue were The world class zoo police personnel from five entrusted to Sardar Patel, that is being developed at states including Gujarat, the problem would not the Statue of Unity site, jawans from forces such as have lasted so long,” the will be spread across a the NSG, CRPF, NDRF, PM said. Without 1,300-acre plot. It will CISF and BSF also mentioning Pakistan, PM expand over seven levels showcased their talent. Modi said that India’s unity and will have lions, tigers, Reflecting on the is the biggest threat to the leopards, 12 types of deer government’s intention of country’s adversaries. and antelopes, giraffes, integrating J&K into the “Those who cannot win a zebras, rhinos and other country, a relatively large war against us are exotic animals, among team of J&K police took attempting to break the others. Sources confirmed part in the parade. Upon unity of our country. But that the zoo will be his arrival at Kevadiya, nobody has, and will ever inaugurated within the Modi offered floral tributes succeed at these attempts,” next fortnight. at the feet of the statue of said Modi. He added that The statue of Sardar Sardar Patel. the greatest tribute the Animals from Africa reach Patel, hailed as the world’s country can pay to Sardar Kevadiya tallest statue with a height Patel is to ensure that 1,300 of 182 metre, saw more Five different species of million Indians stay united. than 26,00,000 tourists animals have been brought He added that more than since its inauguration on from South Africa for the 40,000 people had lost October 31, 2018 generating world-class zoo to be their lives to terrorism in revenues of over £5.5 opened in Kevadiya, at the three decades and Sardar million from sale of tickets. site of Statue of Unity. Patel inspired him to take the decision to revoke Article 370. The PM said that all J&K and Ladakh employees will be eligible for 7th Pay Commission benefits. “The bifurcation will bring political stability to J&K; cooperative federalism will take root and new development projects like highways, railways and schools will take off,” said Modi. The PM read out a pledge urging people to preserve the unity, integrity and security of the nation.




9 - 15 November 2019

India opts out of regional trade pact RCEP India on Monday opted out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi putting his foot down and saying the country’s concerns, specially those linked to Chinese goods flooding the Indian market, were not addressed. “Our farmers, traders, professionals and industries have stakes in such decisions. Equally important are workers and consumers, who make India a huge market and the third biggest economy in terms of purchasing power parity. When I measure the RCEP agreement with respect to the interests of all Indians, I do not get a positive answer. Therefore, neither the talisman of Gandhiji nor my own conscience permit me to join RCEP,” Modi said at the RCEP Summit in Thailand, seven years after negotiations started for formation of 16-nation bloc, effectively wrecking its aim to create the world's largest free trade Prime Minister Narendra Modi with world leaders in Thailand. area having half of the world's population. repeatedly. Besides, there were elements in the trade package Chinese imports flooding India market was main concern which could have impacted the government’s economic policy. India’s “no” means the bloc will not become a reality - an For instance, RCEP would have forced the government to outcome that will not just annoy China, whose ire was evident reduce import duties on several goods, including mobile in the accusation in state-controlled media about India making phones, to 2014 levels, impacting the ‘Make in India’ last-minute demands, but also other members of the proposed programme. The Indian government also stood to lose around trade grouping who have been eyeing the Indian market. This £5 to 6 billion if it had agreed to the reduced duties. is the second time since 2014 that the government has taken a “Today, when we look around, we see during seven years of tough stand on global trade issues. Soon after taking charge, RCEP negotiations, many things, including the global the Modi administration had threatened to walk out of the economic and trade scenarios have changed. We cannot WTO’s Bali package, which could have impacted the country’s overlook these changes. The present form of the RCEP food procurement programme. agreement does not fully reflect the basic spirit and the agreed This time, the main concern was the threat of imports from guiding principles of RCEP,” Modi said. There were also fears China flooding the market. Indian negotiators said the terms that the weak rules could have allowed Chinese goods to be on offer did not address its worry despite it being flagged

routed via Vietnam or Thailand, while there was little to ensure that Beijing didn’t erect non-tariff barriers to block the entry of Indian medicines or rice. “India has consistently stood its ground to uphold our demands, particularly over controlling trade deficit, stronger protection against unfair imports and better market opportunities for Indian goods,” commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal tweeted. India, Saudi Arabia ink 12 agreements in Riyadh India and Saudi Arabia signed 12 MoUs and agreements in key sectors including defence industries collaboration, renewable energy, security cooperation and civil aviation. The agreements were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The two countries signed a Strategic Partnership Council agreement to further cement the bilateral ties in political, defence, security, trade and investment sectors between the two countries. MoUs were also inked on cooperation in fields of combating illicit trafficking and smuggling of narcotics and medical products regulations. An MoU was also signed between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL) and Saudi Aramco. Earlier, the Prime Minister delivered the keynote address at the third Future Investment Initiative (FII), also dubbed as the 'Davos in the Desert' and met several ministers of the Saudi leadership. Modi listed the attractiveness of the Indian economy and invited businessmen for investment. “From a purely buyer-seller relationship, India and Saudi Arabia are moving towards a closer strategic partnership that will include Saudi investments in downstream oil and gas projects,” PM Modi said as he began his official visit to the kingdom.

Stand-off between BJP, Sena over Maharashtra cabinet formation Maharashtra is seeing a stand-off between the Sena and its ally BJP over power sharing after the combine won a simple majority in the October 21 assembly election. The game of nerves between Shiv Sena and BJP threatens to drag on as there was no indication that the alliance partners are ready to engage in serious discussions to resolve differences even as opposition NCP and Congress showed readiness to do business with Sena. BJP and Shiv Sena contested the recentlyheld election jointly in Maharashtra. They sought vote for the ruling alliance saying theirs was oldest and natural alliance. When they were voted to power, the Shiv Sena and the BJP diverged on opposite routes over some "50-50" formula of power-sharing that was never put before the voters. It lies in the domain of ifs and buts what would have been

the election result had the voters known the secret "50-50" understanding between the BJP and Shiv Sena, as the latter has claimed. The voters assumed they were in agreement about forming government together and they voted for continuation of the government giving a clear majority unlike 2014 when they had contested separately. Their alliance had formed post-election in 2014. The view in BJP circles after Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis met home minister Amit Shah in Delhi was that Sena would have to make it clear that it is ready to discuss issues without preconditions. There seemed no give on demands such as a 50:50 share in ministries or splitting the CM’s term. Fadnavis told the media that the new government would be formed soon but did not elaborate. He also said his meeting with Shah was to seek assistance for farmers

New status for Kashmir Continued from page 1

This marks an important milestone in the history of J&K and, especially, Kashmir Valley’s tense ties with the rest of the country. The creation of the UTs of J&K and Ladakh coincides with the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, credited with the merger of over 560 states with the Indian Union and who has been promoted by the Modi government as the embodiment of national unity and muscular nationalism. The new lieutenant governors - G C Murmu in J&K and R K Mathur in Ladakh – assumed charge at separate ceremonies on October 31. Gujarat-cadre IAS officer Girish Chandra Murmu, a close confidant of both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah, replaced J&K governor Satya Pal Malik. Murmu, who enjoys special working rapport with Shah, will be the ears and eyes of Modi-Shah duo in J&K as BJP leadership endeavours to restore normalcy in the high-stakes, strife-hit Union Territory. A silent and industrious worker, Murmu earned confidence of Modi and Shah as joint and additional secretary home and CMO between 2008 and 2014 when Modi helmed the state. Government forces were on high alert to prevent anti-India protests or rebel attacks. Tens of thousands of police and paramilitary soldiers fanned out across the region, patrolling streets and manning checkpoints. Shops, schools and businesses have mostly

remained closed since August and streets were largely deserted. Authorities have eased some restrictions, lifting roadblocks and restoring landlines and some mobile phone services since Aug. 5. They have encouraged students to return to school and businesses to reopen, but Kashmiris have largely stayed home, in defiance or fear amid threats of violence. The Modi government said that Kashmir's new status will give its people right that were denied to them under its past special status, including a right to education, a minimum wage law and statutes ensuring the rights of minorities. An end to an antiIndia insurgency would boost tourism in Kashmir, known for its stunning mountain vistas, and encourage outside investment that would improve its economy. Visible changes Authorities changed the name of the staterun radio station Radio Kashmir Srinagar to All India Radio Srinagar. The station started broadcasting even before India gained independence from British colonialists in 1947. Srinagar is the main city in Indiancontrolled Kashmir. The most visible change is the absence of Kashmir's own flag and constitution, which were eliminated as part of the region's new status. With the formal abrogation of a clause in the Indian Constitution that gave exclusive rights to Kashmiris to land ownership, the Indians

affected by unseasonal rains. The unresolved situation, with just days to go for the deadline for formation of a new assembly to end, was seen as evidence of a continuing deadlock and brinkmanship as Sena MP Sanjay Raut told reporters that he had met governor B S Koshiyari and conveyed that his party was not responsible for the limbo. The BJP brass, sources said, was not taking its ally’s threats to explore alternative formations lightly, but was equally clear that there could be no concessions on the demands put forward by Sena. The party remains committed to a full five-year term for Fadnavis and is willing to consider a Sena deputy CM. NCP's offer for Shiv Sena "Nothing like it if the BJP gives the Shiv Sena chief minister's post. But if the BJP is refusing, an alternative can be given. But the

Sena should declare that it is no longer associated with the BJP and NDA. Alternative can be provided after that," NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said. Sources in the Sharad Pawar-led party also said that it told the Sena leadership that Sawant, the lone Sena minister in the central government, should resign before a new political alignment for government formation can be explored. "Arvind Sawant should walk out of the government. Only then NCP will open its cards," the sources said. NCP chief Sharad Pawar also discussed the deadlock over government formation in Maharashtra with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. A leader of Pawar’s party said that NCP was willing to join a Shiv Sena led government, with the Congress supporting from outside and its nominee getting the speaker’s post.

outside the region will now be able to purchase property and land in the region. Pakistan's response Pakistan rejected the downgrading of Indiancontrolled Kashmir's semi-autonomy and said the Indian-imposed changes violate UN Security Council resolutions and agreements between India and Pakistan. "The Indianoccupied Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized disputed territory. No step by the government of India can change this. These changes are illegal and void as per the relevant UNSC resolutions, and do not prejudice the right to selfdetermination of the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir," Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. India and Pakistan have fought two wars over control of Kashmir. Earlier, Pakistan had reacted strongly to the changes imposed by India in the area it administers by downgrading diplomatic relations with New Delhi and ending bilateral trade. It also has stopped train, bus and postal services. Pakistan has vigorously raised the issue at the United Nations, international human rights organizations and other forums. It says it will continue to give moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris opposed to Indian rule. The Modi government changed the terms of engagement with the separatists as well as Pakistan. The conversion of the state into two UTs means politicians in the Valley can, at most, hope for restoration of statehood. The August decision also means Pakistan will have to try hard to re-establish its locus on J&K as and

when the two sides decide to resume negotiations. The steps taken since - the communications lockdown, the defiance of global liberal sensitivities and the attempt to tap into the influence of right-wing globally represents the resolve to brazen out any unhappiness in global capitals. EU lawmakers blame Pakistan Twenty seven EU lawmakers visited Kashmir on October 29, the first foreign delegation since the special status of the region was revoked. Blaming Pakistan for the terrorist attacks in India, the 23-member team of EU lawmakers said during their visit to Kashmir that the scrapping of Article 370 was India’s “internal matter” and they stood by the country in its fight against terror. “If we talk about Article 370, it is India’s internal matter. What concerns us is terrorism, which is a global menace and we should stand with India in fighting it,” Henri Malosse of France told the select group of journalists at Srinagar’s Old Airfield at Rangreth at the conclusion of their visit. Newton Dunn of the UK, referring to the details provided to them by the Indian Army and the police, said, “Most terrorists killed in J&K have come from abroad. In fact, they came from Pakistan. It is an international problem. All protests be directed against terrorism.” The EU lawmakers said they interacted with the youth, politicians, women and traders during their two-day stay in Kashmir, adding that it was the “beginning of their engagement” with civil society there.





9 - 15 November 2019

Number of teenagers sent to hospital because of allergies has shot up by 65% in five years The number of children hospitalised with allergies has soared by two thirds in the past five years, alarming figures show. NHS data revealed 4,743 teenagers were given treatment in 2017/19 compared with 2,873 in 2013/14. Experts believe hypercleanliness in modern society may be making children's immune systems weaker. Figures showed there was also a 41 per cent spike in youngsters who were treated for anaphylactic shock in the same time. The deadly reaction is an overreaction by the immune system which causes the swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness. For teenagers, there were a third more cases of anaphylactic shock while for those 19 and over, there was a 10 per cent jump, the BBC reported.

Allergies occur when the immune system mistakenly identifies food as a threat and launches a protective response against it. Symptoms can include sneezing, itchy eyes, wheezing, hives, swelling, and even vomiting and diarrhoea. Food allergies affect about 7 per cent of children in the UK, according to Kings College London. Amena Warner, head of clinical services at Allergy UK, said teenagers may be more likely to need treatment than younger children because they start to become independent. She claimed this means they might not question food the same way as parents did and may not read food labels in detail. There have been calls for the government to introduce legislation on how schools should manage allergies following the death of Karanbir Cheema in 2017.

Karanbir, 13, known as Karan, was killed after cheese was thrown at him during break time at William Perkin Church of England High School in Greenford, West London. Following an inquest, the coroner said it was 'vital' nationwide allergy action plans were rolled out in hospitals and schools. Allergy specialist Prof Adam Fox told the said he had observed many occasions when schools seemed to be failing families. Professor Fox, a paediatric allergist at Evelina London children's hospital, told the BBC :'In the most extreme cases, parents seem to be genuinely frightened to send them to a school where they don't feel safe. One possible explaination for the rise in allergies is the 'cleanliness theory'. This suggests that protecting children from exposure to dirt makes their

Karanbir, 13, known as Karan, died after cheese was thrown at him during break time at William Perkin Church of England High School in Greenford

immune systems weaker. Coming across more different kinds of bacteria or viruses gives the body opportunities to learn how to fight them off. So keeping everything sterile or particularly clean may deprive the immune system of those opportunities and leave it weaker – like an untrained soldier.

High-risk men 'should get prostate cancer checks' Men born at high risk of developing prostate cancer should have extra checks every year from the age of 40, experts say. Men with certain mutations in their DNA, their genetic code, are more likely to develop prostate cancer. Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) said an annual blood test could help spot tumours early, when they were easier to treat. Prostate Cancer UK said any decisions needed to be made carefully. The ICR researchers said about one in 300 men in the UK had mutations in Brca2, which increases their risk. However, most will not know whether they carry the mutation in their DNA as it is not routinely tested for.

Brca2 mutations are the same genetic errors that increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women - and men will have been tested for it only if such cancers run in the family. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein made only by the prostate gland. PSA levels go up with prostate cancer but it is not a sufficiently reliable mea-

sure to justify screening all men for the disease. Prof Ros Eeles said: "Our research shows very clearly that men with the Brca2 gene fault are at increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer and that regular PSA testing could go some way to improving early diagnosis and treatment. She has been making the case at the National Cancer Research Institute Cancer

Conference, in Glasgow. She said men or anyone with a prostate and Brca2 mutations were nearly twice as likely to have a severe cancer that needed treatment rather than simple monitoring. Dr Matthew Hobbs, from the charity Prostate Cancer UK, said: "[We are] funding a project to model the long-term effectiveness of a range of potential screening strategies, including defining whether there are certain high-risk groups for whom the benefits of regular screening greatly outweighs the potential for overtreatment. "It may be that screening all men with a Brca2 mutation could be one of the answers, so we will look carefully at the results of this study."

Scientists use one drug to 'reverse' obesity, diabetes and slow down heart and kidney failure in mice A combination of two gene therapies may treat four diseases of old age - kidney failure, heart failure, type II diabetes and even obesity - a new study suggests. Scientists at Harvard University developed two therapies to treat malfunctions in three genes in mice. The human analogues of these genes are linked to the four common diseases in humans. Remarkably, mice given the single combo therapy saw better heart and kidney function and 'a complete reversal of obesity and diabetes' even in mice that were constantly given high-fat diets. The researchers say their discovery hold promise for making multiple diseases treatable at once and with a single treatment, and per-

haps for even extending human life spans. Time is arguably the most stubborn adversary of human health and longevity. Our risks for every disease go up, exponentially, with age. Aging at the genetic level is crucial to this process of deterioration. Every seven to 10 years, the majority of the human body's 37.2 trillion cells are replaced, with some of our most important parts and organs cycling more frequently still. And that instructions for what each of those cells needs to be is contained in our DNA. Time is not kind to DNA, which can be damaged by forces within the body, by those coming from outside body and totally spontaneously. Damage

spontaneously occurs in about 100,000 cells every single day. Damage accumulates over time, so our DNA instructions become increasingly imperfect - and so do our bodies, driving up our risks for diseases. As a result, the scientific community has debated for years whether ageing causes diseases or aging is itself a disease. One thing is for certain: they go hand-inhand. Yet treatment for those

disease of old age - including cancer, type II diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, high blood pressure, arthritis heart, kidney and liver diseases, to name a few - has mostly been developed in isolation. Gene therapies have emerged at the forefront of treatment for many diseases. So the Harvard team is developing a combination treatment to target multiple genes, the diseases to which their degradation is linked and even aging itself.


A DIY home urine or swab test could potentially help more women discover whether they are at risk of cervical cancer, researchers say. The new method could be used as an alternative to the smear test and would not require a visit to the doctor. Scientists at Queen Mary University of London asked 600 women to provide self-collected samples for screening. Although larger trials are needed, the work has been called "promising" and a potential "game-changer" by charities. The findings, being presented at the NCRI cancer conference in Glasgow, suggest the method is feasible and popular. However, larger trials may still be needed before the NHS could decide whether to offer it to patients, say experts. Even then, it would only be one option for women - as the researchers believe smear tests would continue in their current form. But the researchers say that in the future, some women could order the test kits online, use them at home and then send their sample by post to be analysed.


A recall of hummus from UK supermarkets - sparked by a salmonella scare last week - has been extended. The recall has been made by Welsh dip maker Zorba Delicacies, which supplies several supermarkets including Aldi, Morrisons, Lidl, Asda and Sainsbury's. The first recall covered goods with use-by dates of up to 7 November, but has now been extended to 17 November. The full list of hummus products subject to the recall can be found on the Food Standards Agency's website. The recall also includes products sold by John Lewis, Iceland, Booker, Spar, Safeway and The Real Deli. A Nando's branded product is also affected. Zorba Delicacies, which is based in Ebbw Vale, said further extensive testing of batches of the suspected ingredient had "resulted in a new presumptive indication of the presence of salmonella in a sample of the ingredient". "We immediately alerted the FSA [Food Standard Agency] and our customers of this finding. "While this will not be confirmed, for certain, until further testing has been completed, and despite all other samples being totally clear, we have taken the precautionary step of recalling additional hummus items based on this presumptive result." The FSA said that symptoms caused by salmonella usually include fever, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. It added: "If you have bought any of the [affected] products do not eat them. Instead, return them to the store from where they were bought for a full refund." Two years ago, Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer withdrew parts of their hummus ranges from stores because of a "production issue". Britain consumes about 12,000 tonnes a year of the dip, which is usually made of cooked and mashed chick peas, tahini (sesame paste), lemon and garlic.


Yash Puri returned from three months parental leave last week and immediately decided to spread the word about the benefit of spending time with his young children. "I see dads in the office who want to know about my story. They say: 'I wish I could do that', and I say: 'You can do it, you've got to bite the bullet'," the 37-year-old IT expert says. Mr Puri - a father of two - says many organisations don't know how to support new dads. "They are struggling how to understand to support the men. I don't think men know themselves they can do this," says Mr Puri, who is a partner at IT consultancy FIS. Taking parental leave is not always straightforward, not least because of the cost involved. The TUC has said problems can occur at the point that workers fall back on statutory pay when they take time out. Analysis by the University of Birmingham found only 9,200 new parents (just over 1% of those entitled) took shared parental leave in 2017-18. But companies are starting to offer enhanced parental leave - not just maternity leave - to respond to the demands of their staff. The latest is Goldman Sachs, which on Monday announced that men and women would get the same fullypaid leave, of at least 20 weeks, whether they had become new parents through birth, surrogacy or adoption. That follows two FTSE 100 companies - Standard Life Aberdeen and Vodafone - which last week announced steps to try to equalise the experience of men and women in the workplace when babies are born.

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




9 - 15 November 2019

Abhishek has an adorable wish for his 'Principessa' Aishwarya Rai Bachchan rings in her 46th birthday with husband Abhishek Bachchan and daughter Aaradhya. Junior Bachchan shared a picture of his wife with an adorable wish on Instagram where she looks straight out of a fairy tale. He wrote, "Happy birthday Principessa!!! " For the unversed, Principessa is an Italian word for princess. Wishes started pouring in for Aishwarya as soon as Abhishek posted the picture. Bipasha Basu, Genelia D'souza, Ritiesh Deshmukh, Sonali Bendre, Suniel Shetty, and others have commented on the post wishing the gorgeous lady. As per the reports Abhishek has also planned some surprise party for his lady love and once the two are back from Rome, they will host a party for family and friends. On the work front, Aishwarya was the voice of Walt Disney's popular fantasy drama, 'Maleficent's' Hindi dubbed version. The film was released this month and fans were quite impressed. Aishwarya's powerful voice catching each and every emotion of the evil fairy and self-proclaimed Mistress of all evil Maleficent.

Akshay teaches Nitara how 'being kind costs nothing'

Akshay Kumar is back spending quality time with the family after his recent release, 'Housefull 4'. Recently, he took daughter Nitara for a morning stroll which certainly must have turned into a life lesson for her. "Today’s morning walk turned into a life lesson for the little one. We walked into this kind, old couple’s house for a sip of water and they made us the most delicious gur-roti. Truly, being kind costs nothing but means everything!" Akshay tweeted, along with pictures of himself with Nitara, posing alongside an old couple. In one of the pictures, Akshay and Nitara are seen walking into a house with a thatched roof. The father-daughter duo went in for a sip

Kareena unveils the T20 World Cup trophies

of water and ended up being treated to gurroti. In the next picture, the 'Mission Mangal' actor, touched by the old couple's heartwarming gesture, is seen posing with them. Nitara can be seen standing next to her father, holding a sprig. Akshay's post especially resonated with fans because of the warm message. And appreciative comments instantaneously poured in on Akshay's tweet. On the work front, Akshay is currently riding high on the success of 'Housefull 4'. This marks his third super hit in 2019 alone, preceded by 'Kesari' and 'Mission Mangal'. Christmas, too, will be Akshay's, for he is waiting for the release of the Kareena Kapor Khan-starrer, 'Good Newwz.' Kareena Kapoor Khan has unveiled the trophies of both men and women's T20 World Cup in Melbourne. The Women's T20 World Cup will start from February 21, 2020 followed by the Men's World Cup which will start on October 18, 2020. “I am honoured to be a part of this prestigious evening. I would like to encourage all these women out there who are playing for their respective countries to pursue their dreams. It's truly empowering to see them stand tall on an international platform. They are

Anushka slams reports of selectors serving her 'cups of tea' Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli are one of the power couples of India. However, time and again Anushka has caught herself in a controversy that involve Indian cricket and her husband, India's skipper Virat. The rumour that is going viral is that Indian selectors were busy serving her cups of tea during World Cup 2019 held in England. Anushka who does not usually retaliate to such gossip took to Instagram to pen down a stronglyworded note on the same. She said that her name has been used in false stories but people should not take her silence as her weakness. Anushka wrote that she was an independent self-made woman who happened to be married to a cricketer. Former India wicket-keeper and batsman Farokh Engineer sparked the controversy in an interview saying, "All they were doing was getting Anushka Sharma

(Kohli’s wife) cups of tea." “It’s not like this last piece of ‘news’ has upset me more and that’s why I have decided to break my silence. They have all been as regressive and horrible and malicious and vicious. So, don’t take this letter as my retort to this ‘news’,” Anushka clarified. “My name has been used in fabricated stories claiming that I am a part of closeddoor team meetings and influenced selection processes and I have kept silent. My name has been wrongfully used to say how I have been given preferential treatment or how I have overstayed authorised time with my husband on foreign tours which if anyone really cared about finding out facts from the board, would know that I have always and always followed protocol but yet, I kept quiet,” she added in her note. an inspiration to one and all. My late fatherin-law was one of the greatest cricketers who played for the Indian cricket team and it is an honour for me to be unveiling the trophy,” Kareena said in a statement. On the work front, she will be next seen alongside Akshay Kumar in 'Good Newwz'. She will also be seen in 'Laal Singh Chaddha', featuring Aamir Khan in the titular role. Reportedly the shooting of the film has recently begun, which is an official adaptation of the Hollywood film 'Forrest Gump' starring Tom Hanks.





9 - 15 November 2019

Sonam, Anand Ahuja win Halloween dress up contest Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja are one of the most loved pairs in Bollywood. The duo have set the couple goals high with their romantic outings and loved up notes they share for each other on social media. But this time around, the glam couple upped the Bollywood's Halloween dress-up game hands down, as they dressed as Anarkali and Salim for a theme party. Pictures of the duo, dressed up as Anarkali and Salim, are not just epic, it also sheds light on the experimental nature of B-town's 'it' couple. On Halloween, Sonam channeled her inner Anarkali as she was seen dressed in the iconic character's costume. She even complimented her look with a huge iron chain wound around her neck. Meanwhile, Anand too made the extra effort and not just dressed up as Salim, but even dyed and styled

his hair to resemble the famed historical figure. Images of the duo from the Halloween party, where they turned up as Salim and Anarkali, are doing rounds on social media and the couple are garnering admiration and love for setting major fashion and couple goals yet again. Sharing their pics on social media, Sonam even recalled the iconic love track that will instantly remind you of the historic couple's tragic love story. She wrote on her Instagram timeline, "Pyaar kiya to darna kya?" On the work front, Sonam's latest release, 'The Zoya Factor', didn't do well at the box office. The actress will seek to set the record straight with her next project.

Shah Rukh to join hands with Atlee?

If there's one thing that fans have been waiting with bated breath it is for Shah Rukh Khan to make an announcement about his next project. The actor's last release, 'Zero' tanked at the box office and failed to cast a spell on the audience too. SRK took a break after the debacle of 'Zero' and decided to spend some time with his family. While Shah Rukh has been busy learning how to make Italian food for his kids, fans have been motivating the actor to embrace the failure of his last release and sign his next project. Shah Rukh was supposed to start working on Rakesh Sharma's biopic, however, the actor chose to quit the film for the reasons, best known to him. Buzz about Shah Rukh's project with Tamil director Atlee had been in the news for the longest time. Now, exactly after 11 months, the Badshah of Bollywood reportedly will be teaming up with the 'Bigil' director. However, an official announcement and further details about the movie are awaited. Not so long ago, when a fan of SRK had asked Atlee about doing a film with the 'Ra. One' actor, he had said, "I have a huge amount of love and respect for #SRK sir and he also loves my work. Soon, hopefully, we will do something about it."

Want Ranveer to dance at wedding? Contact Deepika Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone left everyone in splits with their whacky sense of humour yet again. After bidding adieu to his moustache, Ranveer called himself 'Chikna' and recently, donned in a sherwani, he captioned a post, "Shaadi Season is here! Entertainer for Hire. Available for events, wedding, budday party, mundan." Reading his caption, wife Deepika Padukone wrote: "contact@deepikapadukone for bookings @ranveersingh." Needless to say, everyone loved this banter. Ranveer Singh's BFF and bro Arjun Kapoor commented, "Baba u are so cheap it's expensive" while Ekta Kapoor said, "Need dulha! Who is ur manager? Will contact." With Ranveer Singh's energy levels, its quite evident that in his presence any event will not have a single dull moment. The

actor recently surprised a couple at their wedding in Mumbai's JW Marriott Hotel and even shook a leg with their folks. Talking about performing at weddings, Ranveer had quoted the two things he learnt from Akshay Kumar on 'Koffee With Karan', which were to earn money and make a family. The actor will be next seen in the 1983 World Cup film, '83, which has an ensemble cast. Some days back, he had posted a picture with Deepika from the sets of 'Ram Leela' that went viral. As per reports, Ranveer is all set to reunite with Sanjay Leela Bhansali for their fourth film, 'Baiju Bawra.' It is based on the life of the famous medieval musician. Priyanka Chopra Jonas may play his romantic interest in the film.

Shahid is sharpening cricketing skills for 'Jersey' After pulling out an intense character of an alcoholic and drug addict surgeon in 'Kabir Singh', Shahid Kapoor is preparing hard to portray the role of a cricketer in his upcoming sports drama titled 'Jersey'. While the Shahid starrer is set to go on floors this month in Chandigarh, the latest image of the star has surfaced on the internet, where he is holding a bat in his hand. The actor has been taking regular practice sessions to hone his cricketing skill in this remake of Nani's Telugu hit that had released earlier this year. Talking about the film, Shahid recently said, "It took me some time to decide what to do next after ''Kabir Singh''. But the minute I saw ''Jersey'', I knew I wanted it to be my next. It is a wonderful inspiring and personal human journey that I connected with deeply. "According to a source, Shahid is "learning the ropes of playing a cricketer on-screen by regularly going for the cricket sessions." The remake is directed by Gowtam

Tinnanuri, who also helmed the original one and is produced by Allu Aravind, Aman Gill and Dil Raju. It is set to hit the screens on August 28, 2020. 'Jersey', is an emotional journey of an underdog cricketer (Nani), who begins his second inning to regain a place in the cricket team. It also featured Shraddha Srinath, Sathyaraj, Brahmaji and Ronit Kamra in pivotal roles. While the excitement for the film is high, the makers are still to announce the lead actress, who will be stepping into the shoes of Shraddha Srinath.




9 - 15 November 2019

Nayanthara's special gift leaves 'Bigil' actress in tears! 'Bigil,' the film which features Thalapathy Vijay and Nayanthara in the lead roles, was released on October 25. Directed by Atlee, the sports-drama featured Jackie Shroff, Vivekh, Yogi Babu, Kathir, Indhuja amongst others in the lead roles. The film did wonders at the box-office within a few days. Produced by Kalpathi S. Aghoram, Kalpathi S. Ganesh and Kalpathi S. Suresh under the banner AGS Entertainment, the film has been giving stupendous records. On the technical front, 'Bigil' is shot by 'Mersal' cinematographer G.K. Vishnu while Ruben and Muthuraj handles the editing and art departments respectively. The music is composed by AR Rahman. One of the Singapenneys of the film, Amritha Aiyer had taken to her social media and thanked her “sweetheart” Nayanthara for gifting her a wrist watch on her birthday. Sharing a few pictures, the actress wrote, “My most favourite person she’s such a sweetheart Also thank you so much for the gift you had given me for my Birthday which made me feel so special. I will cherish this forever Thank you for being so inspiring.”

Rajinikanth unveils the first look of 'Andha Naal'

TV Listing

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* Schedule is subject to change

Maithreya, son-in-law of noted producer S Guhan of AVM, who has changed his name to Aryan Shyam, has completed his first film titled 'Andha Naal', a thriller. Recently, superstar Rajinikanth unveiled the first look of the film. Apart from launching the project, the 'Petta' star also wished success for the lead actor and the team of 'Andha Naal.' The poster launch was also attended by M Saravanan and Aparna Guhan Shyam of AVM Productions, apart from the film's crew. The film is produced by R. Raghunandan of Green Magic Entertainment and presented by AVM

Productions. Directed by Vivy, AN is bankrolled by Green Magic Entertainment and presented by AVM Productions. Rajini shares a great rapport with the AVM family. Incidentally, 'Andha Naal' is also the name of the cult crime drama that starred Sivaji Ganesan and was produced by AVM back in 1954. It had no songs and dance routines.

Shruti Haasan turns into a 'wonder woman' Shruti Hassan has bagged stardom as an actress in Tollywood, Kollywood and of course in Bollywood. She was last seen leading in Surya's 'Singam 3', directed by Hari. The actress has multiple projects in her kitty and one of which is 'Laabam' in Tamil, directed by S.P Jananathan. The film stars Vijay Sethupathi in the lead and Jagapathi Babu in key role. The shoot of the film is currently ongoing and recently, a song sequence was shot in which Shruti has impressed the film's team with her amazing talents in a very different kind of dance. She had impressed them so much, that the team has described her as 'Wonder Woman' for appreciating her brilliant talent. 'Laabam' is a comeback film for Shruthi in Tamil and it is going to release in Telugu

too. The film is shot by the acclaimed cinematographer Ramji, and the music is composed by D Imman. The film is produced by Vijay Sethupathi under the banner Vijay Sethupathi Productions, in association with 7 C S Entertainment. On the other hand, Shruthi was roped in for Ravi Teja’s next #RT66, which will be directed by Gopichand Malineni. Sethupathi is currently awaiting the release of his 'Sanga Thamizhan' which features Raashi Khanna as the female lead. Written and directed by Vijay Chandar of 'Vaalu' and 'Sketch' fame, the film is produced by B Bharathi Reddy under the banner 'Vijaya Productions'.


















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* Schedule is subject to change







9 - 15 November 2019

Mahant Swami celebrates Diwali in Gondal

Gala Diwali celebrations were organised in the presence of his holiness in Gondal. On 25th October, Dhanteras, Mahant Swami performed Lakshmi pujan according to the traditions. On 26th October, Kali Choudash he performed puja for Hanumanji. On the occasion of Diwali on 27th October, Mahant Swami performed his routine puja and also did Chopda Pujan, while Haribhaktas performed Chopda Pujan at Akshar Chowk in the evening. Mahant Swami greeted 'Jay Swaminarayan' and imparted blessings to all the devotees on New Year's morning on 28th October. He said, 'Today is the New Year. We have the divine blessings of Shriji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj, Yogibapa, Pramukh Swami.” Maha Annakoot was held in the assembly room in the morning and 1186 dishes were served to the God. On 29th October, Mahant swami went to Rajkot from Gondal. On his arrival, Maha Annakoot was conducted in the Abhishek Mandap. On Labh Pancham, a dialogue on 'Shatabdi Sant' was presented. On 2nd November, an assembly of Haribhaktas of Jamnagar was held. On 3rd November, the students of BAPS Swaminarayan Chatralaya, Rajkot presented dance, video and dialogue in their annual-day function.

Coming Events ● Tulsi Vivah, Date: 10 November, Sunday, Time: 8:00 am followed by Mahaprasad, Venue: Shri Swaminarayan Temple Stanmore, Wood Lane, Stanmore HA7 4LF. Contact. 020 8954 0205 ● Bhagwad Geeta Festival and Concert organized by Chinmay Mission UK, Date: 16, 17 November, Time: From 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, Venue: Chinmay Kirti, 2, Egerton Gardens, Hendon, NW4 4BA, Contact: 020 8203 6288 ● Urja - Contemporary Dance Performance Date: 6 November, Friday, Time: 6:30 pm Venue: Nehru Center UK 8S, Audley Street, Mayfair London W1K 1HF, Contact: 020 7491 3567.

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India, Pakistan and the Sikhs: The Kartarpur corridor in its historical and political perspective This year is the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. To mark the occasion, the governments of India and Pakistan have agreed to open a corridor over the river Ravi linking two important Sikh shrines - Dera Baba Nanak (in India) with Kartarpur Sahib (in Pakistan) – associated with life and times of Guru Nanak. The corridor symbolises a new departure in the management of sacred spaces in the Punjab since the Partition. But this initiative comes against the backdrop of rising tensions between India and Pakistan occasioned by the confrontation over the Pulwama incident and the recent decision of the BJP government to abrogate article 370 of the Indian constitution which granted special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Although recent developments have severely curtailed diplomatic, economic and civil relations between

Indian Weavers - Poem by Sarojini Naidu

WEAVERS, weaving at break of day, Why do you weave a garment so gay? . . . Blue as the wing of a halcyon wild, We weave the robes of a new-born child. Weavers, weaving at fall of night, Why do you weave a garment so bright? . . . Like the plumes of a peacock, purple and green, We weave the marriage-veils of a queen. Weavers, weaving solemn and still, What do you weave in the moonlight chill? . . . White as a feather and white as a cloud, We weave a dead man's funeral shroud.

India and Pakistan, both countries remain committed to opening the Kartarpur corridor. This lecture at SOAS by Professor Gurharpal Singh will examine the historical and religious background to the opening of the corridor which has its roots in the division of Sikh sacred spaces in 1947 and their contested management since. It will also assess the extent to which the corridor can become a ‘bridge of peace’ between the two nuclear-armed rivals or whether it will remain ‘a bridge too far’. See below for more information.

Victoria and India: Woman and Empress In partnership with Historic Royal Palaces, the Historical Association are delighted to announce this event for primary and secondary teachers delving into the life of Queen Victoria. Discover the private woman behind the crown and her journey from a girl of 18 to the grandmother of Europe. This event will take place on Thursday 21st November at Kensington Palace, W8 4PX from

3.30pm till 8pm and will focus particularly on the concept of the Indian Empire, exploring the complexities of British rule in India and Victoria’s role within it, with a keynote from Priya Atwal on 'Adopting a Maharajah: Queen Victoria, Duleep Singh and teaching history in the UK'. A private view of the ‘Victoria: Woman and Crown’ exhibition is included as part of the event.


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What’s on ● The Indians Are Coming : Diwali Dhamaka – Reading The Indians Are Coming returns with an international line up, join Mickey Sharma, SJ Magic, Sukh Ojla & Omid Singh Date: Friday 15th November Time: 7.15pm till 9.30pm Venue: South Street Arts Centre, 21 South Street, Reading, RG1 4QU Tickets ( ● BAPA Diwali Celebrations The West Midlands Police Black and Asian Police Association (BAPA) invite you to celebrate Diwali 2019 with the local Hindu community. BAPA is proud to be organising the forth Diwali celebrations in the history of West Midlands Police and would like to extend this warm welcome to invite you to

celebrate with colleagues and friends from the local Hindu community. Date: Wednesday 13th November Time: 6pm till 9.30pm Venue: Shree Geeta Bhawan , 107-117 Heathfield Road, Birmingham , B19 1HL ● SOAS South Asia talk on India, Pakistan and the Sikhs: The Kartarpur corridor in its historical and political perspective Date: Tuesday 12th November Time: 6pm till 7.30pm Venue: Brunei Gallery, SOAS South Asia Institute, 10 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG Contact email: ● Abhimata - Solo Bharatanatyam by Rukmini Vijaykumar Abhimata is a solo Bharatanatyam presentation by Rukmini

Vijaykumar which explores the love in union and separation through the representation of various stories from the Bhagavatam, the Ramayana and the Puranas. Date: Friday 15th November Time: 7pm till 9pm Venue: The Bhavan, 4a Castletown Road, London, West Kensington W14 9HE ● Diwali Party - 2019 Date: Friday 8th November Time: 6pm till 11.55pm Price: £36-42 (available from t?id=31326) Venue: Mont Calm Hotel 2 Marble Arch, Wallenberg Pl, Marylebone, London W1H7TN



9 - 15 November 2019

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To placate India, UK explores separate CW shooting event To assuage India’s concern over non-inclusion of shooting at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Britain has asked the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and British Shooting to consider hosting a separate event for the sport in 2022. India has been protesting the exclusion of shooting from the 2022 CWG and has even threatened to boycott the Games over the issue. In a bid to placate the Indian sports administrators, British sports minister Nigel Adams, has been in contact with “both the Commonwealth Games Federation and British

Shooting to see if some common ground could be found on the matter.” Replying to a letter by India’s sports minister Kiren Rijiju to his British

counterpart on concerns over the exclusion of shooting at Birmingham, British secretary for digital, culture, media and sports, Nicky Morgan, wrote:

“While the decision (to include shooting in CWG) ultimately rests with the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee and the CGF, the government understands the strength of feeling in the matter.” Morgan’s correspondence to Rijiju added that Adams “has asked that CGF and British Shooting to consider the options to host a separate Commonwealth shooting event in the UK in 2022.” Morgan further said: “I hope this could provide a means for a shooting event to be held outside of the Commonwealth Games, which will allow Indian shooters to compete in the

UK in 2022.” The UK sports secretary also said that since shooting was not a core sports under the CGF constitution, and was not included in the original bid that was accepted by CGF in 2017, a comprehensive review was carried out by the Birmingham Games organisers looking at possibility of adding additional sports following interests and support from different quarters. “The review was fair and transparent and conducted as an open tender review process” she wrote, “Key criteria were set, written submission were made to the assessment panel, which

consisted of representatives from Birmingham 2022 OC, DCMS, Birmingham City Council and Commonwealth Games England by representatives of each sports. The panel offered the shooting community to explore options for a partial or wholly Birmingham-based option, delivering some disciplines outside of Bisley. However, the International Shooting Federation, the International Confederation of Fullbore Rifle Association and British Shooting decided against submitting a proposal if it could not include all four disciplines at Bisley.”

Insipid show by India in first Twenty 20 Mushfiqur Rahim hit an unbeaten 60 off 43 balls as Bangladesh beat India in the first Twenty20 match in the pollution-hit Delhi for the first time. The Tigers had not won in their previous eight T20 meetings with India. Chasing 149 to win, Rahim played some exquisite strokes as he scored a fourth T20 halfcentury to help his team reach 154-3 with three balls to spare. Rahim smacked eight fours and a six, adding 60 runs for the third wicket with Soumya Sarkar (39) to guide the chase after India, which was put into bat, reached 148-6. Sarkar scored 39 off 35 and stabilized the innings after Bangladesh lost Liton Das early. Sarkar put on 46

runs with Mohammad Naim (26) for the second wicket. Naim holed out off Yuzvendra Chahal (1-24). Rahim took over and displayed great control to set up Bangladesh's recordmaking victory. India was left with regrets, especially when Krunal Pandya dropped Rahim at midwicket off Chahal in the 18th over. "Nothing like beating India in India, so this means a lot to me," Rahim said. "We wanted to drag the game deep and target the pacers late on." With many regulars rested, including skipper Virat Kohli, India lacked options toward the end of Bangladesh's innings. Earlier, the hosts struggled with a sub-par

Bangladesh team celebrates victory

score. "It was a defendable score but we made mistakes on the field. They put us

under pressure right from the start when we were batting," stand-in skipper

Rohit Sharma said. "Our team is a bit inexperienced so they will learn from that."

India-Pak Davis Cup tie to be played at neutral venue The India-Pakistan Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie will be played at a neutral venue on November 29-30. The announcement by the International Tennis Federation has come as a huge relief for Indian tennis. According to a statement by the ITF, following a review of the latest advice given by independent security advisors, the Davis Cup Committee has decided to move the tie out of Pakistan. India was originally scheduled to play Pakistan in Islamabad in September. The Indian team, led by nonplaying captain Mahesh Indian tennis player Prajnesh Gunneswaran during a Davis Cup World Group match Bhupathi, had appealed to the All against Italy's Matteo Berrettini in Kolkata. (File Photo) India Tennis Association to nominate a neutral venue and independent security advisors, request for a change of venue. In has five working days to confirm the Davis Cup Committee has accordance with Davis Cup their proposed venue.” taken the decision that the Davis regulations, “the Pakistan Tennis “Following a review of the Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie Federation now has the choice to latest advice given by the ITF’s between Pakistan and India on

29-30 November 2019, must be played at a neutral venue. The ITF and Davis Cup Committee’s first priority has always been the safety of athletes, officials and spectators and the decision was made on this basis. “The venue will be announced once the choice has been submitted and approved.” It will be interesting to see whether AITA will now make a U-turn and call back Mahesh Bhupathi for the tie. Bhupathi had pulled out of the tie due to security reasons and AITA had named former India player and chairman of the its selection panel, Rohit Rajpal, as India's non-playing captain. Interestingly, Rajpal told reporters after his appointment that veteran Leander Paes would be available for the tie.

Sharma was out lbw cheaply. Opener Shikhar Dhawan (41) did hold one end together but India lost wickets at regular intervals. Lokesh Rahul (15) played a poor shot just when he was getting set. Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer (22) added 34 runs, but the latter holed out just after the halfway mark in the Indian innings. The big blow came when Dhawan was run out after a misunderstanding with Rishabh Pant in the 15th over. Pant, with 27 off 26 balls, then anchored the innings in the latter overs as India accelerated with 53 runs off the last five overs. The second T20 in the three-match series is at Rajkot on Nov. 7.

Ganguly wants Shastri to be more ‘involved’ with NCA Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, who made their debut together and went on to script many memorable moments for Team India, are ready to take fresh guard as administrators together. A day after meeting National Cricket Academy (NCA) chief Dravid in Bengaluru, new BCCI president Ganguly told reporters here, “It was a good meeting. Basically, we wanted to know about how the NCA functions.” Ganguly visited the NCA with other top BCCI office-bearers and met several officials there. “The meeting went for about two hours. I met him (Dravid) separately also to chalk out the way forward.” Ganguly did not elaborate on the roadmap for turning the NCA into a centre of excellence, but did say there were plans to get coach Ravi Shastri “more involved” in its activities. “We will create a system where Ravi’s involvement is more at the NCA till the time he’s coach,” he said about Shastri, whose contract lasts till the 2021 World T20.

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AV 9th November 2019  

Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 27 Vol 48)

AV 9th November 2019  

Asian Voice weekly newspaper (Issue 27 Vol 48)

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