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27 MARCH 2023



It is a dig that seems to infuriate the BJP like no other. On Sunday, the ruling party hit out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for saying that his name was “not Savarkar”. Gandhi made the comment at a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday when asked if he would apologise for the remark that got him disqualified as Lok Sabha MP the day before.

In a series of tweets, BJP leader and Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur said Rahul could never be Savarkar as the Hindutva ideologue was known for his determination. Thakur wrote, “Dear Shri Gandhi, you can never be SAVARKAR even in your best dreams because being Savarkar requires strong determination, love for Bharat, selflessness and commitment. @RahulGandhi You can never be… ‘SAVARKAR’ (Read in Caps).”

Taking a dig at Rahul’s visits abroad, Thakur said Savarkar “neither spent six months in a year holidaying abroad nor did he seek intervention from foreign powers”. When Savarkar went to England, he “blew the bugle of war against the British to free Mother India from slavery”, said the minister. Thakur claimed that such was the respect for Savarkar’s patriotism that none other than Bhagat Singh went to Ratnagiri in Maharashtra and arranged for Savarkar’s book India’s First War of Independence to be translated and circulated in Punjab.

Thakur claimed that well-known leaders and thinkers at the time were in awe of Savarkar’s patriotism and courage, adding that the Congress in its Kakinada session in 1923 passed a special resolution “in favour of Savarkar”.

The Union Minister said the govt led by Indira Gandhi, Rahul’s grandmother, released a documentary on Savarkar to acknowledge his “valour, sacrifice, and selfless service to the nation”. Thakur posted the image of a letter, dated May 20, 1980, in which Indira Gandhi wrote, “Savarkar’s daring defence of the British govt has its own important place in the annals of our freedom movement.” The letter was written to Pandir Bakhle, the secretary of a trust set up in Savarkar’s memory.

“Think. In honour of the great personality Veer Savarkar, his grandmother used to do all this,” wrote the Union Minister. “None of the great men of that era would have said wrong things about him. Today, Rahul Gandhi says all these things. He is not insulting Savarkar but insulting his grandmother, Netaji Bose, Bhagat Singh, and even Gandhi ji.”





At the day-long "Sankalp Satyagraha" launched on Sunday to protest the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi, top Congress leaders exuded hope for electoral change and Opposition unity in the run-up to six state and 2024 Lok Sabha elections, even as they rejected the ruling BJP’s charge that the former Wayanad MP insulted OBCs and the country.

“Can the son or a martyr who walked thousands of kilometres from Kanyakumari to Kashmir with the message of national unity insult the country or its people?” AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra asked, addressing the “Sankalp Satyagraha” at Rajghat.

Priyanka Vadra, mounting a strong defence for her brother Rahul, said he was “raising people’s voices”, and noted, “I get a sense that everything is going to change after today”.

“Time has come to raise the voice against an arrogant govt. If Rahul Gandhi can be barred from contesting elections for eight years, it does not bode well for the country or its democracy. Something is very, very wrong,” Vadra said, attacking the BJP leaders for “abusing her late father, her mother, her brother repeatedly.”

“This country’s Prime Minister is a coward. Take me to jail, but the truth is this country’s Prime Minister is a coward. He is hiding behind his power and (he) is arrogant. But this country’s tradition is that people reply to an arrogant king. This country recognises an arrogant king. This country knows the truth,” she said, adding that while no punishment has been given to BJP leaders for abusing her family, Rahul’s conviction happened in a jiffy.

She invoked Lord Ram and the Pandavas in defence of Rahul and said, “Lord Rama persisted with his duty despite being exiled. Will you call Lord Rama parivarvaadi? Pandavas also did their duty. Were they parivarvaadis?”

Vadra asked the BJP if it wanted her family to be ashamed of their contributions. “The blood of my family has nurtured democracy in India. We are ready to do anything to preserve this democratic tradition. We are not scared. We will fight back with greater strength,” she said.

“When arrogant dictators are unable to answer questions, they retaliate with suppression. The entire Cabinet, the govt and all MPs are trying to save one person. Who is this Adani?” she asked.

Earlier, Kharge dismissed BJP accusations that Gandhi had abused the OBCs. “They talk of OBCs now. Is Lalit Modi OBC? Is Nirav Modi OBC? Is Mehul Choksi OBC? They fled with people’s money. They are fugitives. Why are you so pained if they are criticised? You (BJP) punish the person who works to save the country and help looters escape?” Kharge said pledging several satyagrahas in Rahul’s defence.





The Ministry of External Affairs summoned the Canadian High Commissioner on Saturday to convey India’s strong concern about the actions of separatist and extremist elements against its diplomatic Mission and Consulates in Canada this week.

The Govt sought an explanation on how such elements were allowed, in the presence of police, to breach the security of our diplomatic Mission and Consulates, stated a MEA release on Sunday.

In one instance, India’s High Commissioner to Canada Sanjay Kumar Verma was forced to cancel his appearance at a function in Surrey, British Columbia, after 200 protesters, some wielding swords, gathered in front of the venue demanding the release of fugitive Amritpal Singh.

The Govt of Canada was reminded of its obligations under the Vienna Convention, and asked to arrest and prosecute the individuals who have already been identified as being involved in such acts.

Meanwhile, a group of Khalistan supporters gathered in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington D.C.  and many of their speakers tried to incite violence, but timely intervention by an alert US Secret Service and local police prevented a repeat of London and San Francisco incidents of vandalism at the mission.









Nato on Sunday criticised Vladimir Putin for what it called his “dangerous and irresponsible” nuclear rhetoric, a day after the Russian president said he would station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

Putin announced the move on Saturday and likened it to the US stationing its weapons in Europe, while insisting that Russia would not violate its nuclear non-proliferation promises. Although the move was not unexpected, it is one of Russia’s most pronounced nuclear signals since the beginning of its invasion of Ukraine.

While Washington played down concerns about Putin’s announcement, Nato said the Russian president’s non-proliferation pledge and his description of US weapons deployment overseas were way off the mark. “Russia’s reference to Nato’s nuclear sharing is totally misleading,” a Nato spokesperson said on Sunday.





In a startling remark, Pakistan's Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has termed ousted prime minister Imran Khan 'enemy' of the ruling PML-N saying he has taken the country's politics to a point where either "he (Imran) will get murdered or us".

In an interview to a couple of private TV channels on Sunday, Sanaullah said: "Either Imran Khan or us will get murdered. He has now taken the country's politics to a point where only one of the two can remain -- PTI or PMLN. PMLN's entire existence is in jeopardy and we will go to any extent against him to settle a score with him. Imran Khan has turned politics into enmity. Imran Khan is now our enemy and he will be treated like that," Sanaullah declared.

Asked if such remarks could result in anarchy in Pakistan, the minister said: "Anarchy already prevails in Pakistan."

Reacting strongly to Rana Sanaullah's statement, PTI leader and former federal information minister Fawad Chaudhry said: "This is a direct life threat to Imran Khan from the PMLN coalition govt….Is Sanaullah running a gang or govt?”









The ruling BJP on Sunday accused the Congress of using Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial to advance the personal cause of the Gandhi family and said while the Father of the Nation’s satyagraha was for the people, the Opposition party’s act seeks to protect one individual who stood convicted and sentenced by a court of law.

“We want to ask the Congress for whom this satyagraha is. Is it against Other Backward Classes whom Rahul Gandhi insulted with the most despising words? Is it against the courts which pronounced Rahul Gandhi guilty? Is it against the law which provides for automatic disqualification of convicted MPs? Or is it against Gandhi ji’s non-violence considering 1984 Sikh massacre accused Jagdish Tytler, a symbol of violence, is part of this event? BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi asked.

Launching a scathing attack on Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Trivedi retorted, “Give me the name of one national-level Congress leader who was killed by a British bullet, who was packed off to ‘kaala paani’ like Veer Savarkar; who was hanged under British rule or who suffered British batons barring Lala Lajpat Rai? History books written under your times taught us that Gandhiji secured freedom without bloodshed. And you say your family shed blood. Who should we believe?”

The BJP said the Opposition party’s Satyagraha at Rajghat was a “shameless display of arrogance and contempt for OBCs”.





Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday warned Congress leader Rahul Gandhi against insulting Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar, saying that he and his party won’t tolerate it. The Shiv Sena (UBT), the Congress and the NCP are part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance in Maharashtra.

“I want to tell Rahul Gandhi that we walked with you in your ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ as it was for the fight to save democracy. But I want to openly tell Rahul Gandhi that Savarkar is a God-like figure for us and we will not tolerate his insult…. We are together in the fight to save democracy. But do not make statements or take steps that will create fissures (between the Sena (UBT) and the Congress).

Reiterating Savarkar’s role and sacrifice during the freedom movement, he said that what Savarkar did and suffered was unimaginable.





The Karnataka Cabinet’s decision to scrap the four per cent reservation granted to Muslims under the 2B category is turning into an election issue in the state, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday alleging that the provision was made due to the “appeasement policies” of previous Congress govts.

Shah was speaking at the inaugural of Gorata Shaheed Smarak and Sardar Patel Memorial in Bidar. “The BJP does not believe in appeasement politics. The BJP govt in the state has decided that there will be changes in the reservation provided in the state. The Congress, to keep its vote bank happy, introduced four per cent reservation for minorities. This was scrapped,” the Home Minister said, noting that the reservation quota was divided between Vokkligas and Lingayats.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D K Shivakumar said that his party would reverse the decision on returning to power.





Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s claim that “Mahatma Gandhi didn’t have a university degree” has drawn criticism from Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of the Father of the Nation.

“M K Gandhi passed 2 Matrics, 1 from Alfred High School, Rajkot, second its equivalent in London, British Matriculation. He acquired, by studying and passing exams, a Law degree from Inner Temple, a law college affiliated to London university, and simultaneously got two diplomas – one in Latin and the other in French. Issued to educate the Deputy Governor of J&K,” Tushar Gandhi tweeted.

In a separate tweet, Tushar said: “I agree Bapu didn’t hold a degree in Entire Law!”.

In his speech at ITM Gwalior, while differentiating between literacy and education, Sinha had said:” In the country many educated people think Gandhiji had a law degree. Gandhi ji had no degree,” Sinha said. “Many of us who think that Mahatma Gandhi had a law degree, no he didn’t. His only qualification was a high school diploma. He qualified to practise law but he didn’t have a law degree. He had no degree. Just look at how educated he was. He became the Father of the Nation,” the L-G said.

On the occasion, Sinha also talked about saint Kabir Das and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar to make his point that degree does not determine education.





With its registration under the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) under “suspension” for the past three years, the country’s richest religious Trust, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), faces an unprecedented situation: a mounting stockpile of foreign currency in cash anonymously dropped as “hundi” collections which cannot be deposited in its designated bank account.

The State Bank of India has forbidden the Trust from depositing any foreign contributions — described as “hundi’’ donations — into its designated account.

Reports suggest that it is “technical discrepancies” and not any misutilisation of funds due to which TTD’s FCRA registration has been kept in abeyance for the past three years.





Even as the race to establish space tourism and colonise the Moon and Mars has picked up the pace, satellite communications company OneWeb will keep its focus on providing broadband connectivity around the world to the three billion people who don’t have access to high-speed Internet, Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal told a group of reporters on a Zoom call on Sunday.

Speaking after completing Bharti Enterprises-backed OneWeb’s global constellation, Mittal said the India operation of the satellite communication service is expected to start around July-August though clarity on how spectrum would be allocated is awaited. 

OneWeb launched its final 36 satellites on Sunday morning to complete a constellation of 618 satellites. The OneWeb constellation design calls for 588 satellites for global coverage and additional satellites are planned for resiliency and redundancy.

“By the year-end, OneWeb will be ready to roll out global coverage, enhancing its existing connectivity solutions that are already live in regions north of 50-degrees latitude as it brings new areas online by partnering with leading providers," the company said.

On whether disruption was likely in the space/satellite communication sector like in the case of telecom, Mittal said competition in the industry was heating up but there was room for many.

Along with OneWeb, Mittal pointed to Starlink, the satellite internet constellation operated by Elon Musk's SpaceX, and Amazon-backed Project Kuiper completing the space communications industry. But OneWeb's 600-plus Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, which are located far closer to Earth than Geostationary orbit (GEO) satellites, would set it apart from other competitors, he stressed.

“We will be the only one which has a combination of GEO and LEO satellites. That is a very powerful, potent combination," Mittal said.





Teary eyes and a roar towards the camera — Nikhat Zareen went through the full wringer of emotions after a closely-fought gold-medal match (50-kg category) that saw her emerging as World Champion for the second straight year. It was the culmination of an arduous tournament in which she had to overcome as many as six challengers owing to her unseeded status.

Winning back-to-back golds at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships was a feat achieved only by the legendary Mary Kom. At just 26 years, Nikhat is slowly filling those giant shoes. The crowd-favourite beat Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Tam 5-0 at a packed KD Jadhav Indoor Hall in New Delhi on Sunday. But the unanimous decision was no reflection of how close the bout was.

Shortly after Nikhat’s bout, Lovlina Borgohain won a contentious 5-2 decision against Australia’s Caitlin Parker to claim her first ever Women’s World Boxing Championship gold medal (in 75-kg category). The middleweight Assam boxer was awarded the fight 3-2 in a split decision. She then got two points from the evaluator and the observer under IBA’s new bout review system.

These two wins capped a dream weekend for Indian boxing after the two gold medals on Saturday.

It was a change in weight category, from 52 kg to 50 kg, that had left Nikhat unseeded at these World Championships. In her six gruelling, physically taxing bouts, she spent a cumulative 45 minutes ducking, weaving and charting a path over the roughest of seas to get her second World Championship gold.





Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty capped off their impressive campaign with a title win, beating China’s Ren Xiang Yu and Tan Qiang in the final of the Swiss Open Super 300 badminton tournament here on Sunday.

The second-seeded Indian pair, the 2022 World Championships bronze medallist, was solid in defence and dished out an attacking game to outwit the world No. 21 pair 21-19, 24-22 in 54 minutes.

It was the first title of the season for India with Satwik and Chirag putting to rest the disappointment of last week’s All England Championships where they had exited in the second round.

Overall, it was the fifth career world tour title for the Indian pair, who had claimed the India Open and French Open last year, besides securing the Thailand Open in 2019 and Hyerabad Open in 2018.





I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. - James Baldwin





Despite the ease of communication on modern day ships, one of our sailor friends called home after very long and said, "Hi sweetie, how are you?"

"Not too good," says the wife. "I'm feeling very weak."

"And why are you so weak?"

She says, "Because I haven't eaten in 4 days."

"That's terrible! Why haven't you eaten in 4 days?"

The wife answers, "Because I didn't want my mouth to be full of food if you should call."


Comments (0)

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