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Conspiracy to change Vijay Karnataka?

Mr. Bhatt and his family with Hindu pontiff Raghaveshwara swameeji

Vishweshwar Bhat, editor of Vijaya Karnataka, the mass-circulation Kannada daily owned by The Times of India group, has resigned.

Bhat’s decision was announced to his staff on 8th Dec 2010 after a meeting with ToI chief executive officer Ravi Dhariwal and chief marketing officer Rahul Kansal who had flown down to Bangalore. Bhat confirmed the resignation adding that, although he had no negative feelings for the company, he had begun to feel “slightly uncomfortable” in the last few months. “I decided to quit when things were all right,” he said. E. Raghavan, a senior jouranlist who retired as editor of the Economic Times editions in the south and currently edits the Kannada weekend broadsheet Vijaya Next will be VKs next editor.

The charitable version for the exit is that Bhat wanted a three-year sabbatical to go abroad and study which the Jains of Times group were disclined to give. Bhat says he intends to pursue higher education now, although the buzz is he may join a soon-to-be-started Kannada news channel. The no-compete clause in Sankeshwar’s deal with Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd also ends next year opening up new possibilities on the Kannada media map.

However, the press club gossip reveals another version in a hushed tone. This version says that Bhat was promoting right wing nationalism appealing to the majority Hindus, attracting the ire of Christians, Muslims and Communists. They waited for opportunities, highlighted their viewpoints and were able to convince ToI management to push Mr. Bhat to a corner. Their efforts over years to change the course of the news paper finally became successful. Ofcourse, Mr.Bhat was taking sides even within the BJP singing to the tune of Ananth Kumar faction. But, it is the anti Hindu lobby, the strategic proselytising Christian interest, that is being pointed at for the fall of Mr. Bhat.

Several instances of the past few years are worth remembering before coming to the conclusion.

When Bhat was nominated unanimously for an honorary doctorate by the Karnataka University Dharwad (KUD) syndicate, the Karnataka chapter of Transparency International dashed off a petition, signed by Justice Saldana, accusing the editor of being “primarily responsible for instigating and fuelling communal hatred by regularly publishing extremely volatile and offensive articles and editorials.” Karnataka Governor Hans Raj Bharadwaj picked up the thread and shot down the nomination of Mr. Bhat’s to the honorary doctorate. While senior officials of Education department vouched for the impartiality of the university decision, Governor was influednced by the letter by Justice Saldana. [DC Feb 10th].

Simultaneoulsy, The Federation of the Dakshina Kannada Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Unions launched agitation in the month of February against Mr. Bhat. Interestingly, these organizations had demanded withholding of the doctorate by the KUD to Mr. Vishweshwar Bhat and had appealed to the administrative board of ToI to relieve Mr. Bhat of his post. The union had also threatened to launch a protest against ToI in the entire state and also at the national level if Mr. Vishweshwar Bhat does not resign from his post. Mr. Bhatt decided not to accept the honor citing personal reasons.

Mr. Bhat had become the target of lobby after he initated a debate on conversions through noted Kannda writer S.L. Bhyrappa in the immediate aftermath of the attack on Christians at the beginning of the tenure of BSY as Karnataka Chief Minister.

Can a newspaper (or magazine or website) publish anything in the name of a “debate”? This question was asked repeatedly as the Mangalore police took cognisance of two separate complaints against Vijaya Karnataka, for two different articles published on two different dates. They have been charged with “spreading hatred” among the people and “disturbing peace in society”.

On 27 December 2008, the Mangalore South police station, registered a case (FIR No 343, dated 27-12-2008) in connection with an article written by the noted Kannada author S.L. Bhyrappa in Vijaya Karnataka on 16 October 2008. The case was registered on a complaint filed by P. B. D’Sa, president of the Dakshina Kannada unit of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

In his complaint, D’Sa alleged the article titled ‘Inthaha ghatane bere yava deshadalli nadedeethu‘ (In which other country would such an incident take place?) incited communal feelings, in the wake of the attack on churches in Karnataka in September last year. It was alleged that the article by Bhyrappa cast doubts on “the integrity of Mother Teresa and a number of other Christian saints in reference to their contribution to humanity. The complaint said the article had hurt the feelings of Christians, and pointed to a number of demonstrations and jathas taken out by Christians against it. The local diocese had termed the article “communally provocative” when it was published.

The second complaint, booked by the Mangalore North police six days later, on 2 January 2009 [case (FIR No. 2, dated 2-1-2009)] deals with an article written by Pratap Simha, a sub-editor with the paper who writes a weekly column published on 20 September 2008 [Title of the article : ‘Haagantha helidavanu yaava Bajarangiyu alla‘ (the person who said so is not a Bajrang Dal man)].

The complainant in this case is James Louis, vice-president of the Bharathiya Crista Seva Sanghatane (BCSS). And here, too, the charges are identical: of endorsing the bashing of the minority community and seeking to create discord among various communities.

Predictably, the author of the article (Simha), the editor of the paper (Bhat), the resident editor (Kumaranath) and the printer (Ramesh) have been named in this complaint. But also standing “accused” are five directors of Vijayanand Printers Limited (VPL), the Times of India subsidiary that publishes the paper: Ravi Dhariwal, Chinnen Das, Anand Sankeshwar, Bhaskar Das, and Probal Ghoshal.

This complain drew the attention of ToI bosses in Bombay and Delhi. Although the complaint does not mention why ToI directors have been named as accused. All it says is that they are all responsible for the publication of the article. The attempt to implicate the directors in the case that is pointing to a possible planning to corener Mr. Bhatt. It was a pressure tactic to draw the attention of the owners of VK and to convince them and also to provide a justification to act. The real intention, now it appears, to change the editorial policy of the paper away from cultural nationalism supportive of Hindutva. Dalits, as usual, provided cover to the conspiracy through protests in recent weeks against Mr. Bhatt, VK and ToI management.

Recent surveys also showed that Vijaya Karnataka‘s readership and circulation were decreasing providing additional ammunition to the ToI management. Bhat’s resignation is the third reorganisation exercise undertaken by VPL president Sunil Rajshekhar after shutting down The Times of India Kannada edition and launching Vijaya Next.

Sources:         Bhatt resigns      Announcement       Letter by Saldana      Doctorate controversy      Protest by Dalits       Pressure buildup      Thatskannada

Gill hails Indian performance in Asiad

Ashwini Chidananda

India’s Ashwini Chidananda celebrates after winning gold as she stands in the podium with silver medallist from China and bronze medal-winner of Japan at the medal ceremony of the women’s 400m hurdles at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China on Thursday. PTI

 

 

Sports Minister M S Gill on Friday congratulated the Indian medal winners at the Guangzhou Asian Games in China and said country’s brilliant performance in the quadrennial event has set the foundation for a good show at the 2012 London Olympics. “I am very happy at the outstanding performance of Indian athletes at the ongoing Asian Games. Overall, performance is excellent of our sportspersons. I am confident that they will do well at London Olympics in 2012,” Gill said in his congratulatory message.

“I particularly noted the gold winning performance of Joseph Abraham and Ashwini Chidananda in 400m hurdles. Tintu Luka also did credibly well by winning bronze in 800m. She has got great potential. I also noted the performance of Vikas Krishan, the boxing boy from Bhiwani,” said the sports minister.

Gill also added that the government provided all kinds of financial support to the athletes to prepare better for the event and said the same kind of monetary assistance would be ensured to the sportspersons for the next two years leading up to the Olympics.

“I also hope everybody notes the Government of India’s contribution to this. Against the normal budget of Rs 40 crore for coaching, t

Source:   Hindustan Times

SC questions appointment of Thomas as CVC

 

Supreme Court questions appointment of P.J.Thomas as the CVC when a criminal case is pending against him. While Congress and the government struggles to provide satisfactory answers, the suspicion that his Christian tag and support from Sonia have helped his rise has been  strengthened. 

Supreme Court of India made strong observations on the appointment of P.J.Thomas as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) in the Central Vigilance Commission. “Without looking into the file, we are concerned that if a person is an accused in a criminal case how he will function as CVC,” a bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia said. The bench said it will go through the file and posted the matter after two weeks. Said the bench comprising Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar along with Justice S.H. Kapadia.

The Congress on Monday chose to remain silent on two serious matters relating to the appointment of Thomas as CVC.

Talking to reporters here on Monday, Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said it was not for the party to respond. The Law Ministry and other departments of the government dealing with the issue would surely give a response, she said.

Thomas is appointed because he is a christian and a christian party namely congress is in power at center, said one of the comments posted for one of the news items of Zee news.

Interestingly, Continental News, one of the Christian global website had described Thomas as a commited Christian while covering his appointment as CVC. “The previous Telecom Secretary of India, Mr. P. J. Thomas, a committed Christian, was appointed as the 14th Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) of India on Tuesday, September 7, 2010.”

Sources: The Hindu Zeenews Continentalnews

Passive smoking kills 60000 people

Around one in a hundred deaths worldwide is due to passive smoking, which kills an estimated 600,000 people a year, World Health Organization (WHO) researchers said on Friday, 26th Nov 2010.

In the first study to assess the global impact of second-hand smoke, WHO experts found that children are more heavily exposed to second-hand smoke than any other age-group, and around 165,000 of them a year die because of it. Children’s exposure to second-hand smoke is most likely to happen at home, and the double blow of infectious diseases and tobacco “seems to be a deadly combination for children in these regions,” they said.

Commenting on the findings in the Lancet journal, Heather Wipfli and Jonathan Samet from the University of Southern California said policymakers try to motivate families to stop smoking in the home. The WHO researchers looked at data from 192 countries for their study. To get comprehensive data from all 192, they had to go back to 2004. They used mathematical modeling to estimate deaths and the number of years lost of life in good health.

Worldwide, 40 percent of children, 33 percent of non-smoking men and 35 percent non-smoking women were exposed to second-hand smoke in 2004, they found.This exposure was estimated to have caused 379,000 deaths from heart disease, 165,000 from lower respiratory infections, 36,900 from asthma and 21,400 from lung cancer. For the full impact of smoking, these deaths should be added to the estimated 5.1 million deaths a year attributable to active tobacco use, the researchers said.

While deaths due to passive smoking in children were skewed toward poor and middle-income countries, deaths in adults were spread across countries at all income levels. In Europe’s high-income countries, only 71 child deaths occurred, while 35,388 deaths were in adults. Yet in the countries assessed in Africa, an estimated 43,375 deaths due to passive smoking were in children compared with 9,514 in adults. Pruss-Ustun urged countries to enforce the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which includes higher tobacco taxes, plain packaging and advertising bans, among other steps. Only 7.4 percent of the world population currently lives in jurisdictions with comprehensive smoke-free laws, and those laws are not always robustly enforced.

In places where smoke-free rules are adhered to, research shows that exposure to second hand smoke in high-risk places like bars and restaurants can be cut by 90 percent, and in general by 60 percent, the researchers said. Studies also show such laws help to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked by smokers and lead to higher success rates in those trying to quit.

Sources: Reuters

China set to appoint Bishops without Popes approval

China’s government-backed Catholic church will proceed with the ordination of a bishop who does not have the pope’s approval, despite objections raised by the Vatican. The Rev. Guo Jincai will be ordained in Chengde, in northeastern Hebei province, on Saturday, 20th Nov 2010. The ceremony is organized by Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.

Communist China forced its Roman Catholics to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, and worship is allowed only in state-backed churches, although millions of Chinese belong to unofficial congregations loyal to Rome. In recent years under Pope Benedict XVI relations have improved. Disputes over appointments in China’s official church have been avoided by quietly conferring on candidates, leading to several ordinations of bishops with the Holy See’s blessing.

However, Guo does not have the pope’s approval. The Vatican also said it was “disturbed by reports” that a number of bishops loyal to the pope are being forced by government officials to attend the ordination. It warned China that reconciliation efforts will be set back if the reports turned out to be true.

Liu said attendance by bishops at the ceremony would be voluntary and the ordination would go ahead as planned because the Chengde diocese needs a bishop. He said the association had informed the Vatican about its plan as early as two years ago. “A Catholic diocese cannot be without a bishop, or the Gospel cannot be spread,” Liu said. “We should not let any political reasons interfere with the spread of the Gospel in China.”

He said in time, China would elect bishops for more than 40 Catholic dioceses that are currently without them and expressed hope that the Vatican would endorse them. Liu maintained that the pope was “very friendly” to China but that some others in the Vatican were not. Recent estimates by scholars and church activists put the number of Chinese Catholics loyal to the pope as high as 60 million – three times the size of the official church.

Source: Washington Post

RSS holds nationwide protests against Hindu terror tag

 

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activists, led by their top leaders, Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010,  staged protests in several places across India against the central government’s alleged political conspiracy to link the group to terror activities.  Protests were held in almost all districts across India.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat led the protestors in Lucknow while general secretary Suresh Joshi addressed a rally in Hyderabad. Demonstrations were also held across Punjab, Haryana and Orissa.  In Delhi, MPs Prakash Javadekar and Balbir K Punj were among those who participated in the sit-ins.
The protests come in the wake of RSS leader Indresh Kumar and other activists being named in the chargesheet in the Ajmer blast case — three people were killed and 30 injured when explosives kept in a tiffin box exploded at the shrine of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chisthi Oct 11, 2007.
Addressing protestors in Lucknow, Bhagwat said the cases and allegations against the RSS were “baseless and politically motivated”.  He claimed  that no RSS activist could be even remotely connected with acts of terror and  he disowned all those who were suspected to be involved in such acts.
He also came out strongly in defence of Indresh: “The fact that the investigating agencies had failed to find any concrete evidence against Indresh proved our point that he was being falsely implicated simply because the UPA government wanted to give us a bad name.”  

The RSS chief alleged that since 2003 attacks were being carried out on saints as a well-planned conspiracy to demoralise Hindus. “First Kanchi Acharya was arrested and dirty allegations were levelled against him, then Swami Laxman, who was working for the welfare of tribals in Odisha was killed. Everyone knows about the conspirators, but they are still roaming free. This was done by those who knew that opinion of people will change due to work of these saints. Now dragging Sangh’s name is a part of that chain,” he said.
Bhagwat said that the problem was not for the RSS only but the entire Hindu society as an effort was being made to demoralise them by spreading canard. “Respecting the Constitutional traditions, we had been working silently so far, but this is the limit. Today danger looms large over peace, unity and integrity of the country and people should realise it,” he said. This is the first time the RSS chief has led a demonstration.
In Delhi, Punj said the central government was misusing investigative agencies and other institutions to “defame the RSS and its activists”.  

In Orissa, protests and rallies were held not just in the capital Bhubaneswar but also in places like Cuttack, Rourkela and Sambalpur.  Carrying placards and banners, hundreds of activists staged a sit-in near the Raj Bhavan. According to Orissa unit general secretary Gopal Prasad Mohapatra, the recent investigations of the Rajasthan Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) team probing the Ajmer blast were part of sinister designs to destabilise the country. Stating that Hindu organisations and religious leaders had been a constant target for several years, he said attempts were afoot to dishonour the Hindu religion.
In response to the call, demonstrations were also held in over 20 places in Punjab.  “Mass dharnas have been organised against hateful and politically motivated anti-Hindu propagandas of some leaders and political parties related with the union government,” said Munishwar, general secretary of RSS (Punjab).  “The chargesheet filed by the ATS, Rajasthan, in the Ajmer case and subsequent statements are irresponsible… In the 820-page chargesheet neither has Indresh Kumar been named as accused nor are there are any formal charges against him. But the ATS is still harassing him,” RSS spokesperson Kishor Kant said in Jalandhar.

via RSS holds nationwide protests against Hindu terror tag            NDTV

Torture to Indresh? BJP hesitating to join protests?

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will on Wednesday stage rallies in defence of one of its leaders involved in the Ajmer blast case and against what it termed as the Congress-led central government’s anti-RSS and anti-Hindu religion politics [RSS to stage nationwide protest].   

RSS today charged investigating agencies probing the Ajmer Dargah blast of subjecting a senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar, named in the chargesheet in the case, “to physical and mental torture”, despite extending full cooperation to them. Referring to Kumar “whose name has been dragged into the chargesheet, citing a meeting”, RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav alleged at a press meet here that though Kumar had fully cooperated with the Anti Terrorist Squad, Rajasthan, “they subjected him to physical and mental torture and indulged in unacceptable method of investigation”. He said RSS would take legal steps on the matter in course of time but refused to divulge further details, saying “we want the investigation to take place in a non-political atmosphere”. [RSS alleges torture to Indresh Kumar

Meanwhile, it is reported that BJP can’t make up its mind on joining an RSS dharna on November 10 to protests. Asked if it would join the demonstration, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad was silent. The Sangh’s Ram Madhav, however, said “anybody is free to join the protests as individual swayamsevaks”.

A political aide to BJP president Nitin Gadkari — who owes his position to the RSS — said the leader was himself undecided. The lack of clarity, he appeared to suggest, was uncharacteristic given the alacrity seen in the past. Madan Das Devi, the all-India pracharak pramukh and an informal interface between the Sangh and the BJP, said he hadn’t heard from the BJP. “It’s up to the BJP. I am still awaiting word from their leaders.”

A BJP source disclosed that the view so far was that the party should confine itself to issuing supportive statements without getting proactive. “At least, the top leaders think we should not involve ourselves in such tricky situation [BJP in fix over Sangh protest].

Intellectual Devanooru Mahadeva declines Nrupathunga award

Devanooru Mahadeva

 

Thinker and Intellectual Devanooru Mahadeva has declined the Nrupathunga award for Kannada literature, instituted by the Bengaluru Mahanagara Transport Corporation (BMTC).

Stating the above in a letter to Dr. Nalluru Prasad, President of Kannada Sahithya Parishath, Mahadeva expressed gratitude for being chosen for the award and said that he would happily accept the award the very next day the State Government announced the implementation of State language or mother tongue as the medium of instruction in schools from first to tenth standard.

Until then, his conscience would not permit to accept the award, he said and added that he also felt embarrassed to attend pro-Kannada functions organised either by the Parishath or any other organisation advocating for Kannada language.

Dr. Prasad recalled that it had been the dream of poet laureate Kuvempu and litterateur Ha.Ma. Nayak too to enforce Kannada language as the medium of instruction in schools.

via Star Of Mysore Online.

Jamnalal Bajaj awardees – 2010

President Pratibha Patil on Thursday presented the Jamnalal Bajaj Awards for 2010 for outstanding contributions in social development. Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and Governor K. Sankaranarayanan were present at the occasion.

“The objective of these awards is to encourage, recognise and reward outstanding people who have given their lives for Gandhian ideas. We want millions to get inspired by them,” said Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation chairperson Rahul Bajaj.

Chewang Norphel, a 74-year-old civil engineer from Ladakh, was presented the award for application of science and technology for rural development. His ‘artificial glacier’ has helped farmers in the dry and difficult region of Ladakh get water supply in April and May — the most crucial period of sowing.

Mr. Norphel’s 20-year-old innovation has received many awards and recognition. “A team from Chile had recently visited me to emulate this project in their country. People want to implement it in Lahaul-Spiti in Himachal Pradesh,” he said.

Mr. Norphel artificially creates a glacier at an altitude 4,000-5,000 feet lower than a natural glacier. “A lot of water is wasted during winter. So, I tried diverting a channel from the main stream. In this way, the glacial run-off is stored at different altitudes above the village. When spring is to arrive, the artificial glaciers melt first, ensuring water supply for crops.”The natural glaciers start melting only after mid-June.

Chunibhai Vaidya, a nonagenarian from Ahmedabad, was given the award for outstanding contribution in the field of constructive work. The oldest living Gandhian, Mr. Vaidya has been active in many movements in Gujarat and Rajasthan for betterment of the poor and the marginalised. He has also authored several books.

Water supply

Mr. Vaidya was instrumental in providing drinking water supply to more than 352 villages in Gujarat. He has also mobilised social groups for various activities, like de-silting canals. “We are moving towards a very unjust society, where the distribution of resources in not equal. The government does not own the resources, the community does. We will fight for a just society.”

The award for development and welfare of women and children was given to Shakuntala Choudhary, a nonagenarian from Assam. She has trained thousands of gram sevikas through Kasturba Centres throughout the State, and also worked for maintaining peaceful and harmonious relations among various social groups.

The award for promoting Gandhian values outside India was given to Lia Diskin from Brazil. Ms. Diskin has formed a non-governmental organisation for community-oriented programmes in education, healthcare, human rights, environmental preservation, social welfare and cultural peace.

She has also been organising ‘Gandhi Week’ since the past 28 years.

The winners were chosen from 124 nominations across the world.

Source:  Nonagenarians among four Jamnalal Bajaj awardees.

Ancient insect may end Indian isolation theory

 

 

The discovery of a trove of insects preserved for millions of years in amber raises new questions about how long India was isolated before it joined the Asian continent, researchers said in a new study.

The insects — bees, termites, spiders, and flies — had been entombed in the vast Cambay deposit in western India for some 50 million years.

Scientists had long assumed that India was for a time an isolated island-continent, and consequently expected that the insects found in the amber would differ significantly from those elsewhere in Asia.

But researchers wrote in their study appearing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the insects were not unique as would be expected had India been sequestered for as long as they originally believed.

“We know India was isolated, but when and for precisely how long is unclear,” says David Grimaldi, curator in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History.

“The biological evidence in the amber deposit shows that there was some biotic connection,” he wrote, suggesting that an extended separation would have given rise to a unique flora and fauna.

India separated from present-day Africa and after about 50 million years collided with Asia, creating the Himalayas.

Rather than finding evolutionary ties to Africa and Madagascar — land masses geologists say India was most recently linked to — the researchers found relatives in Northern Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas.

“The amber shows, similar to an old photo, what life looked like in India just before the collision with the Asian continent,” says Jes Rust, professor of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Universitaet Bonn in Germany.

“The insects trapped in the fossil resin cast a new light on the history of the sub-continent,” said Michael Engel, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and curator of entomology at the University of Kansas.

“What we found indicates that India was not completely isolated, even though the Cambay deposit dates from a time that precedes the slamming of India into Asia,” he said. “There might have been some linkages.”

Sources

Ancient insects find shows India wasn’t isolated 50mn yrs ago   Insects Frozen In Amber Offer Clues To India’s Past   Fossil find in Gujarat tweaks India’s ‘breakaway’ story    India ‘may not have been an isolated island-continent 50mn yrs ago’  Ancient insect find raises questions about India’s origins   Indian Amber Fossils Shed Light On India’s Past   Frozen in time, 50 million years ago  Prehistoric creatures discovered in huge Indian amber haul   Insects in ancient amber reveal surprising ties  Amber Gives a Glimpse of Ancient India  700 species of insect found in ancient Indian amber   Insects in Ancient Amber Reveal Unexpected India-Asia Ties