The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

April 28, 2016

BJP trains guns on Sonia Gandhi over AugustaWestland scam, Congress denies charges, calls it 'character assassination'

United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi has landed in a soup over the Augusta Westland deal.

The BJP has said that the conviction in Italian courts, clearly points towards a scam and serious irregularities on part of UPA government.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has said that Sonia Gandhi was allegedly involved in court proceedings of the scam in Italy.

The Rajya Sabha saw acrimonious scenes after Swamy raised the issue. It was in 2010, when the UPA had signed a contract with UK-based helicopter firm AugustaWestland to buy 12 helicopters for IAF for Rs 3,600 crore.

In February 2013, italian police had arrested firm's CEO and another official for paying briges to win the deal with IAF. After the development, the then Congress-led UPA government had cancelled the deal.

In the judgment, Italian court mentions conversations and there is a mention of 'Mrs Gandhi' and 'her closest advisers'. BJP has alleged that the Congress leaders were involved and has said that party should come clean.

The Congress has, however, said that it was during UPA regime that the AugustaWestland company was black-listed. It says that the BJP is acting desperately and is targeting Sonia Gandhi, unnecessarily. The party has claimed that it was character assassination.

TIH Bureau

HRD minister Smriti Irani's proposal to teach Sanskrit in IITs invites ridicule, social media users criticise plan to promote 'dead language'

Union Minister for HRD Smriti Irani is again in the midst of controversy and is facing criticism.

The reason is her plan to teach Sanskrit in Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

The proposal has met with ridicule, as Sanskrit, an ancient language of the priestly class among Brahmins, has never been a spoken language in India.

Yet, comes the bizarre proposal from the Human Resources Development Ministry. The population that can speak the language is minuscule and comprise mostly of Brahmin priests or students in Sanskrit colleges but even proficiency of the few thousands who claim to speak, is doubtful.

Twitterati reacted with shock. Many made fun of the proposal. However, there were some who wanted it to be revived as it is an ancient language and is considered to have an influence on other living languages.

The social media reaction on Facebook was equally unsparing. The reason is that Sanskrit was used by Brahmin priestly class and was never a spoken language among masses.

Even the priestly class didn't use it for conversation in ancient era, when Prakrit was the language of communication. The lower caste were not allowed to even learn the language and there was strict punishment for the 'crime'.

However, right-wing Hindutva groups have been proponents of the ancient language. HRD ministry has invited flak for several decisions in recent months. "Teach nuclear physics to students literature", wrote a Facebook user, to express his outrage over the proposal.

TIH Bureau

April 19, 2016

'Jungle Raj' in Gujarat: Anandiben-led BJP govt mishandles Patel agitation, protesters burn down home minister's property

Gujarat is again on the boil. Patels are on the streets and home minister Rajni Patel's residence has been burnt down.

The government claims that the protests have been controlled now and there is no more violence, but the fact remains that the community is bitter and angry.

The minister's unoccupied house in Mehsana was set afire by angry Patidars who want their leader Hardik Patel, released from the jail.

Hardik Patel has been in jail ever since he was booked for sedition last year and was thrown into the prison, since then.

The Patels want reservation in jobs and education like other backward castes. However, the Gujarat government has refused to budge.

But with Jat agitation succeeding in meeting the objective in Haryana, the Patidars (or Patels) in Gujarat are even more furious and are back on the streets.

On Monday, a Bhavin Mansukh Kunt, a 27-year-old, committed suicide as a mark of protest against Anandiben government's indifference towards the demands of the Patel community. In Mehsana, Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Surat too, normal life was affected.

TIH Bureau

April 13, 2016

BJP move to name Gurgaon after Dronacharya, who got tribal student's thumb severed, backfires; Dalit-Tribal leaders irked

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decision to rename Gurgaon as Gurugram has backfired as Bahujans are upset with the move.

The ML Khattar government decided to change Gurgaon's name in memory of 'Guru Dronacharya', the mythical royal teacher of Pandavas.

Dalit leaders have said that it was an insult to the majority of Bahujans--the Dalits, Backwards, Tribals and Minorities.

They said that an unjust teacher's memory is being cherished and the district is being named after him, which shows the mindset of the BJP government. The move won't be tolerated, they said.

Dronacharya alias Drona is remembered as the unjust teacher who acted unfairly against a poor, common student. He was teacher to royals and was against the commoners and lower-castes' right to learning.

Drona had asked the 'lower caste' student Eklavya to cut his own thumb and give it to him (Drona) as Guru Dakshina. This is the tale in the Hindu epic Mahabhara. The mythical battle between Pandavas and Kauravas was fought in Kurukshetra in today's Haryana.

The aim was that Drona's favourite disciple, the royal prince Arjun, could have no rival in archery. Hence, Dronacharya is seen as a villain by Dalit, tribal and backward populace that forms 80% of the population in the country.

TIH Bureau

April 12, 2016

"Sai Baba a ghost, Hindus should not worship him", says Shankaracharya who predicts more rapes after women's entry in Shani temple

In a controversial statement, Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati has said that Sai Baba must not be worshipped.

"For Hindus, the status of a dead person is that of 'pret' (ghost) and Muslims call it 'jinn' (djinn).

What else is there at Shirdi? If you worship a ghost, it will cause drought", said Saraswati, a pro-Congress seer.

Shankaracharya said that Sai Baba's idols were now in almost every house in Maharashtra and this is the reason for drought in the State.

Incidentally, there are nearly 10 states in India, that are facing severe drought this summer, and Maharashtra is not alone.

The Hindu seer went on to say that women's forcibly entry into Shani temple in the State was a bad omen. "If women worship Shani, there will be more rapes in the country", he said. Swaroopanand Saraswati is one of the most influential and respected Hindu religious heads.

A major protest was launched by women for entry into the Shani Shingnapur temple recently. After the protests, the women have now been allowed to enter the temple and perform worship just like the male devotees.

TIH Bureau

April 10, 2016

Temple tragedy: 60 killed in massive fire in Puttingal Devi temple at Kollam in Kerala, 200 others injured in blaze

In a shocking incident, over 60 persons were feared dead when a massive fire broke out in a temple in Kollam in Kerala.

The incident occurred at the famous Puttingal Devi temple on the wee hours on Sunday.

Initial reports suggest that 200 persons have been injured in the blaze.

The fire started when crackers were burst during a ceremony and the fire spread. Reports suggested that the shed where firecrackers were stored, caught fire, and this resulted in the huge fire.

The injured victims were rushed to hospital. There were hundreds of persons on the temple premises then. During the event, firecrackers were burst and it led to the massive explosion and fire, said sources.

Rescue efforts were on but the death toll is yet to be confirmed. Due to the chaos, it was difficult to initially save people. A government source said that the number of those who died was more than sixty.

TIH Bureau

April 9, 2016

Judge Prabhakar Gwal who was known for tough action against bureaucrats-politicians' corruption nexus dismissed in Chhattisgarh

A chief judicial magistrate who was known for his integrity has been dismissed in Chhattisgarh.

Prabhakar Gwal, who was posted as chief judicial magistrate in Sukma, has been removed from service by state government.

Gwal had reputation of an upright judge who had become an eyesore for the powerful politicians and bureaucrats, as he took cognisance of corruption related complaints and took strong action.

Interestingly, the hight court had resolved that it does not appear reasonable to hold a departmental inquiry against Gwal. Hence, the law department 'decided' to dismiss the officer. Government didn't immediately cite reason for dismissal, later saying that it was done in 'jan-hit' (public interest).

However, now the magistrate has been dismissed. Gwal was known for his judgment in the PMT aper leak scandal case as several powerful persons including bureaucrats and politicians were involved in the nexus. He had  convicted many offenders and sentenced them to jail.

He had also ordered registration of case of fraud against Bilaspur transport department officials for corruption. Gwal had refused to accept the closure report that CBI filed in the case of suicide of IPS officer Rahul Sharma.

Besides, a district collector had asked him not to listen to complaints of citizens and an audio of the conversation had gone viral, leading to controversy and embarrassment for the state government.

The legal department of Chhattisgarh government has dismissed him. It is not clear that what led to the dimissal. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ledaer Sanket Thakur has said that the judge was threatened by a BJP legislator after which he (Gwal) was transferred and has now been dismissed.

AAP has condemned the action and has said that the act shows the anarchy in Chhattisgarh. The party has said that Gwal was upright and hence the state government didn't want a judge who took on the corrupt within the ruling party.

TIH Buraeu

April 4, 2016

"Once they polished shoes, today they rule us", says BJP leader Madhu Mishra in Brahmin convention in Aligarh

In a shocking statement, a BJP leader said that those who once polished shoes are today in power.

Madhu Mishra, who is BJP leader in Aligarh, was addressing a Brahmin convenion in Aligarh.

Addressing the gathering, she said that those who cleaned shoes are today 'ruling us with the help of constitution'.

Clearly, the target was 'lower castes' as leaders from the historically disadvantaged groups including backward castes and Dalits have been in power in UP for most part of the last quarter century now.

The constitution was drafted by Dr BR Ambedkar, the immensely popular Dalit leader. She allegedly said that there was need to fight the Dalit uplift. The statement has now evoked sharp reactions.

Uttar Pradesh is India's most populous state and since early 1990s, it is chiefly the Dalit or Backward politicians who have ruled the State. BSP supremo Mayawati has been chief minister several times.

Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh has also ruled the state and now his son Akhilesh Yadav is CM in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP has taken disciplinary action against the woman leader of the BJP who was also BJP Mahila Morcha president. Latest reports suggest that she has been expelled from the party.

TIH Bureau

April 3, 2016

Shameful: Baba Ramdev 'wants to kill' for refusal to say Bharat Mata ki Jai, says law ties hands else would have 'chopped heads'

Controversial Yoga guru-turn-trader Baba Ramdev has once again landed in a soup over his recent statement.

Ramdev who has been in midst of several controversies in the past, said that his hands were tied by law, else he could have killed [cut off head] of person(s) who refused to say 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'.

This shocking comment was made along with the statement that 'hundreds and thousands of heads would be cut off for refusal to chant the slogan'.

Ramdev also said that a man wearing a topi gets up and says that he won't hail the Bharat Mata. The reference is to AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, who had recently said that he won't say Bharat Mata ki Jai.

The Yoga guru has got close to  BJP over the years. He had earlier supported the Anna Hazare agitation and had to run away from the dais when the police had swooped down at the venue of the protests.

Later, he ventured into his range of food products. Several of his food products have been found sub-standard. However, Ramdev has a huge following among Yoga practitioners and he has nursed political ambitions.

TIH Bureau

Dalit teenager Delta Meghwal's murder in Jain College in Rajasthan leads to nationwide outcry, protesters demand justice

The murder of teenaged girl Delta Meghwal has angered the citizens all over the country and protests are taking place across India.

The incident occurred in Jain College, Nokha in Rajasthan.

People took out on the streets in different cities in Rajasthan and as far as Bangalore to demand justice for the girl.

She is suspected to have been raped and murdered. The role of a PT instructor Vijendra Singh is under suspicion. The victim's kin allege that even after death in suspicious circumstances, college didn't take action.

No complaint was made to police against the suspect and the attempt was made to hush up the death. The talented girl, who was an artist as well, was found dead on the premises of the hostel.

The body was later thrown in a water tank. Shockingly, even after death, the body was taken in a municipal garbage carrying vehicle without video-graphing the scene. It is being termed as an institutional murder.

Earlier, Dalit student Rohith Vemula's death in Hyderabad, had raised the issue of atrocities against students belonging to SC/ST communities. Delta Meghwal, 17, who hailed from Barmed, was studying to become a teacher.

She had been honoured by the chief minister and her painting is kept in CM House. She was studying in Jain Adarsh Teachers' Training Institute, Nokha in Bikaner. It is suspected to handiwork of a section of college authorities in cahoots with the killer(s).

It is suspected that the management tried to hush up the case. Her last call to her family suggested that she feared for her life. There has been demand to conduct an impartial inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of the teenager. Several online campaigns have also been initiated to seek justice for Delta Meghwal.

TIH Bureau

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