Newsletter 24th June, 2018





Four days after the BJP walked out of the alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, Amit Shah accused the government of former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of “discriminating” against Jammu and Ladakh, and alleged that her and National Conference chief Omar Abdullah’s families had accumulated wealth at the cost of the state’s people.

Their “personal wealth” equals that of “the entire state”, the BJP president said in Jammu, while addressing a rally to commemorate the “historic martyrdom anniversary” of Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee.

During the time the BJP was in a coalition with the PDP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the state over a dozen times, and the Centre had given it an economic package of Rs 80,000 crore, Shah said. But even though the BJP had “repeatedly exerted pressure for equitable development (of the state), that dream did not come true”, he said. Also, “peace could not be restored, and a time came when (Army) Rifleman Aurangzeb and (Rising Kashmir) editor Shujaat Bukhari were brutally killed by terrorists.”

Shah told the rally: “Your (Congress’s) top leader’s statement is endorsed by the Lashkar-e-Taiba… Rahul Gandhi shall answer to the nation how the ideologies of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Ghulam Nabi Azad become the same.” Shah asked Saifuddin Soz to “stop dreaming” about the independence of Kashmir. “You can take a hundred births, but the BJP will never allow Kashmir to secede from India.”

The Congress hit back at Shah, saying he had no business lecturing the party on nationalism. “Our top most leaders have shed their blood and sacrificed their lives by becoming victims to terrorism and naxalism,” Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said.

He accused Shah of shedding crocodile tears after plunging J&K into deep turmoil by entering into an unethical and opportunistic alliance with the PDP, and asked him to reflect upon the hard facts instead of indulging in choreographed drama. There had been 16 major terror attacks on security installations, Surjewala said, and the BJP-led government had still chosen to invite the Pakistanis to investigate the Pathankot attack.

“It is none less than Amit Shah, who in a speech made on March 30, 2016 in Kolkata, had said that ‘Pakistan has made serious efforts in the Pathankot terror probe’,” Surjewala said.




The Congress has fielded veteran P Chidambaram to counter BJP’s charges that jehadis and Maoists had found sympathy in party chief Rahul Gandhi’s heart.

“The allegation that jehadis and Maoists have earned the sympathy of Rahul is laughable and absurd. Congress is stoutly opposed to the two groups,” he said in response to BJP leader Arun Jaitley’s Friday blog which argued that though historically the Congress would have been opposed to both jehadis and Maoists, they had sympathies of Gandhi.

“Who can forget that Congress lost its entire leadership in Chhattisgarh to Maoist violence? Under UPA, the government fought the jehadists in J&K and brought down the level of violence substantially,” Chidambaram rebutted.





Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria has been denied entry into Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Lahore for the second time in three months, despite having an official permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.

Nearly 300 Sikh pilgrims from India are visiting Lahore to observe the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Gurdwara Dera Sahib. The Indian High Commissioner was to meet the Sikh jattha as part of his consular duties but was denied entry into the gurdwara by security personnel.

India summoned the Pakistani Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi to lodge a protest. “Indian organisers, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), when contacted, expressed concern and dismay at the incident. The visiting pilgrims had asked Pakistan organisers to facilitate a meeting with the Indian High Commissioner and High Commission officials,” said the Ministry of External Affairs, calling it a violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and 1974 bilateral Protocol on visit to religious shrines.

However, Dr Mohammad Faisal, spokesman for Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Bisaria himself cancelled the visit. “Sikh pilgrims were protesting against maltreatment in India and release of controversial movies. (The) Indian High Commissioner was informed about the heightened pilgrim sentiments and he agreed to cancel his visit due to this concern,” he tweeted.

The Pakistani side is still citing alleged hostile sentiments among sections of the visiting Sikh pilgrims from across the globe owing to controversial film “Nanak Shah Fakir”. The same argument was used in April too when Bisaria was scheduled to meet visiting Sikh pilgrims on Baisakhi.

Subsequently, India accused Pakistan of making inflammatory statements and displaying posters at various places and shrines where the pilgrims were visiting to incite Khalistani sentiments. “Concerns have also been conveyed at repeated attempts by entities in Pakistan to extend support to secessionist movements in India and incite the Indian pilgrims, and Pakistan authorities asked to ensure that no such activity is carried out from Pakistan soil,” said the MEA in a statement on Saturday.








The Trump White House on Friday rolled out families of American victims killed by undocumented immigrants to counter the narrative of its abusive and racist treatment of illegal immigrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, arising from what critics say is its nativist outlook.

In a White House event focused on “American victims of illegal immigration”, Trump invited what were described as “angel families” to narrate stories of family members killed by illegal immigrants. “You hear the other side. You never hear this side,” US President Donald Trump said, noting that for these families, the “separation is permanent”.

“The word ‘permanently’ being the word that you have to think about. Permanently. They are not separated for a day or two days. Permanently separated… because they were killed by criminal illegal aliens,” Trump emphasised.

It was a transparent jab at those agitated about children being separated from parents illegally crossing into the US, a policy the President was forced to roll back earlier this week after national and international outrage.

“We must maintain a Strong Southern Border,” Trump insisted in a Friday morning tweet. “We cannot allow our Country to be overrun by illegal immigrants as the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief, hoping it will help them in the elections.”

Studies, notably a recent one in the journal Crimology, have shown that violent crime appears to fall when more immigrants are living in a community illegally, but the President has repeatedly maintained that crime increases with illegal immigration, a claim he extended to the situation in Germany although Germany itself has refuted it.

The White House counternarrative came even as Democratic lawmakers, including Indian-Americans, excoriated the administration for its policy, and the poor handling of its reversal, with no clarity on how children separated from incarcerated parents would be reunited.





Opec agreed on Friday on a modest increase in oil production from next month after its leader Saudi Arabia persuaded arch-rival Iran to cooperate, following calls from major consumers to curb rising fuel costs.

But the agreement failed to announce a clear target for the output increase, leaving traders guessing how much more Opec will actually pump. Oil prices rose by $1.85 to $74.90 a barrel.

US President Donald Trump was among those wondering how much more oil Opec will deliver. “Hope Opec will increase output substantially. Need to keep prices down!” Trump wrote on Twitter after Opec announced its decision.

The US, China and India had urged oil producers to release more supply to prevent an oil deficit that could undermine global economic growth.

The OPEC said in a statement that it would raise supply by returning to 100 per cent compliance with previously agreed output cuts, but gave no concrete figures.








Pending a final agreement on a pre-poll alliance and seat-sharing, the SP and BSP have entered into an informal understanding to not poach on each other’s ranks. Sources in both parties said the SP will not take in any BSP rebel and the BSP will, likewise, not induct any SP rebel. While neither party has issued a written directive in this regard, senior leaders of both parties described the informal understanding as a trust-building exercise to ensure that their alliance — seen in byelections for the Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana Lok Sabha seats and the Noorpur Assembly seat in Uttar Pradesh — remains intact for the 2019 elections.

SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said no BSP leader had joined his party in the last two months. “Since SP and BSP have in principle decided to form an alliance against the BJP for the Lok Sabha elections, the workers and leaders of both parties have already stopped switching sides,” Chaudhary said.

Leaders from the two parties who were planning to join any third party, too, had changed their minds after the SP and BSP announced their alliance, he claimed.




A BJP legislator who had to resign as minister for joining a rally held in support of the Kathua rape-and-murder accused has warned Kashmiri journalists to “draw a line” while reporting on the Kathua incident, reminding them of the fate of murdered editor Shujaat Bukhari.

Singh had begun his news conference in Jammu by thanking journalists for turning up in large numbers. He then appealed to the reporters from Jammu to stand up for Jammu before warning those from Kashmir to mend their ways. “Kashmiri journalists have created such a (vicious) environment there (in Kathua),” he said.

“Now I shall ask Kashmiri journalists to draw a line for yourself in your journalism, about how you want to live. Do you want to live like what happened to Basharat? Do you want such a situation to emerge?” Basharat, a PDP legislator, is the brother of Bukhari, the Rising Kashmir editor shot dead by suspected militants on June 14. “So mend yourself and draw a line so that (the bond of) brotherhood does not break,” Singh said.

Journalists in Kashmir have decided to approach governor N.N. Vohra seeking action against Singh.




Day One of the ban on single-use plastic and thermocol items in Maharashtra appeared to be a success, with commercial establishments in Mumbai and other major cities pulling out plastic bags, food storage containers, cutlery, etc, from public distribution on Saturday.

Prominent retailers like D-Mart, Reliance Retail and Big Bazaar said they have stopped distribution of plastic bags for the past several weeks. Store attendants were seen handing out cotton bags and asking customers to wrap groceries in brown paper bags at many places.

Fishmongers operating cold storages were seen wrapping fish in aluminium foil before packing it in paper bags.

The loopholes in the rules banning single-use plastic and thermocol items ensured that dealers in white goods were wrapping high-value products like televisions, fridges and mobile phones in bubble-wrap packing material. Officials at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation were clueless as to how bubble-wrap material was left out of the plastic ban.

Civic officials in Mumbai said they would initially refrain from fining citizens  caught with a plastic bag or two. “Our first priority is to stop the supply of the banned plastic items and hence we will target manufacturers and distributors. Citizens and small traders will not be harassed,” Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said.


Soon air-conditioners sold in the country could come with a default setting of 24 degrees Celsius and will allow temperature setting not below degrees as part of a campaign to promote greater efficiency in electricity consumption for cooling.

The ACs will also have labels indicating the optimum temperature setting that is best suited for savings in power bill and health of consumers. To begin with, the power ministry intends to issue an advisory to all commercial and public establishments such as airports, hotels, shopping malls as well as manufacturers to keep temperature setting at 24 degrees.

“Every degree increase in the AC temperature setting results in a saving of 6% of electricity consumed. Normal human body temperature is approximately 36-37 degrees Celsius but large number of commercial establishments, hotels and offices maintain temperature around 18-21 degrees. This is not only uncomfortable but is unhealthy,” the statement quoted power minister R K Singh as saying.


Standing by its theory that Dr Rajesh Talwar killed his daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj at his Jalvayu Vihar residence in Noida in May 2008, CBI has claimed in its appeal in the Supreme Court filed on March 8 that “burden of proof ” lies with Talwar.

The CBI appeal says the Allahabad high court failed to appreciate crucial “circumstantial evidence”, including nature of injuries, internet router activity, sound simulation test, and the testimonies of domestic help Bharti and two friends of the Talwars—Dr Rohit Kochhar and Dr Rajiv Varshney-—all of which establish the guilt of the dentist couple.

A bench of Justices B K Narayana and A K Mishra had acquitted Rajesh and Nupur Talwar on October 12, 2017.

Contesting HC’s observations, CBI contends that Bharti’s testimony proves that there were only four people present in the house that night, and when she reached the house next morning, the outermost door was latched from inside. Subsequently, security guard of Jalvayu Vihar Virender Singh claimed that he didn’t see anyone suspicious going in or out that night.

“When no outsider entered the house, burden of proof about their activity shifts to Talwars according to section 106 of the Indian evidence Act. The HC didn’t give credence to this particular aspect,” said a CBI officer, quoting details of appeal.

The HC, CBI adds, also failed to appreciate the evidence of Kochhar and Varshney, who told Rajesh Talwar about the blood stains on the stairs leading to the terrace and asked for the key, but were ignored.

About the murder weapon, CBI claims in its appeal that injuries on Aarushi and Hemraj’s head were caused by a blunt object, a golf club in this case, after the father found them in an objectionable state in the minor’s room. Further, neck of both the deceased were slit with a sharp-edged weapon like surgical scalpel, which is easily available with doctors.

The agency says a “khukri” cannot cause such an injury. Another important circumstantial evidence raised by CBI is the internet router activity at the Talwar residence. It says the Talwars were awake the entire night and were switching the internet router on and off.


Low-cost airlines IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet have raised their excess baggage fee to Rs 400 per kg beyond the 15kg allowed free.

For pre-purchased excess baggage, IndiGo and GoAir have raised the rates to Rs 1,900 for 5kg, Rs 3,800 for 10kg, Rs 5,700 for 15kg and Rs 11,400 for 30kg. The corresponding rates for SpiceJet in the domestic sector are Rs 1,600, Rs 3,200, Rs 4,800, Rs 6,400 and Rs 9,600.

IndiGo has also said that if customers booked on Lite Fare report at the airport with baggage to be checked in, they will have to pay Rs 200 for up to 15kg. On SpiceJet, passengers on hand-baggage-only fare have to pay Rs 400 if they have any check-in luggage.

State-run Air India is the only airline on the domestic sector that allows 25kg baggage free.

Earlier this month, full service carrier Jet Airways had changed its baggage rules to allow only one piece of check-in baggage weighing 15kg or less for the economy class with effect from July 15.


A dramatic stoppage-time goal from Toni Kroos gave holders Germany a 2-1 win over Sweden on Saturday to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup last 16.

Kroos curled in a superb strike from an indirect free-kick to grab the three points for the four-time world champions, who are now level with Sweden in Group F on three points and behind Mexico who have six.

Sweden took the lead in the 32nd minute when Ola Toivonen finished confidently after Germany’s Toni Kroos gave the ball away in midfield.

Marco Reus equalised in the 48th minute, meeting a low cross from Timo Werner, and despite having Jerome Boateng sent off in the 82nd minute, Germany kept going and Kroos earned them a famous win.

In the other matches yesterday, Belgium beat Tunisia 5-2 while Mexico beat S Korea 2-1.


India once again reasserted their supremacy over Pakistan as they clinically decimated the arch-rivals 4-0 in the opening match of the Champions Trophy hockey tournament, in Breda yesterday.

Coming into the tournament on the back of a disastrous Commonwealth Games campaign at the Gold Coast, where they finished a disappointing fourth, the Indians scored four fantastic field goals to make intentions clear that they meant business here.

Ramandeep, who was dropped from the CWG squad, answered his critics in style finding the net in the 26th minute before young Dilpreet Singh (54th), Mandeep Singh (57th) and Lalit Upadhayay (60th) too joined the scorers’ list.

India, eyeing its maiden Champions Trophy title, will play reigning Olympic champions Argentina in their next round-robin league match today.

The win also marked a positive start to India’s chief coach Harendra Singh’s fourth stint with the senior national side.


I’ve believed ever since that living on the edge, living in and through your fear, is the summit of life, and that people who refuse to take that dare condemn themselves to a life of living death. – John H. Johnson


A boy’s facebook status: ” I’m online during economic lecture hahaha 🙂

Friend commented : Jaldi cafe aa ja, mahol ekdam fit hai.

Dad Commented : dekh lo apne bete ki harkatein.

Mom commented : NALAYAK, class nahi karni to sabzi leke seedha ghar aa.

GF commented : I hate u, mujhse kaha daadi hospital mein hai, mil nahi sakta.

Daadi commented : “keede padein tujhe”

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