49 CELEBRITIES WRITE A LETTER TO PM, SPARK INTOLERANCE DEBATE

NEWS

The debate over rising intolerance in India gained fresh ammunition after 49 celebrities from various walks of life wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The lengthy three page letter claimed that the ‘hate crimes rate’ had risen in the recent path. Categorically mentioning that Lynchings against Muslims, Dalits & other minorities are on a rise.

Here are a few excerts of the letter.

‘DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT NUMBER OF TRAGIC EVENTS’
‘LYNCHING OF MINORITIES MUST BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY’
‘PM HAS CRITICIZED LYNCHINGS IN PARLIAMENT’

‘CRITICISING IS NOT ENOUGH’

‘LYNCHING SHOULD BE DECLARED NON-BAILABLE OFFENCE’

‘EXEMPLARY PUNISHMENT SHOULD BE METED OUT’
‘NO CITIZEN SHOULD HAVE TO LIVE IN FEAR’
‘JAI SHRI RAM HAS BECOME A PROVOCATIVE WAR CRY’
‘STOP RAM’S NAME FROM BEING DEFILED IN THIS MANNER’

‘CAN’T BRAND DISSENT AS ANTI-NATIONAL’

‘DISSENT MAKES COUNTRY STRONGER’

Even claiming the chants of Jai Shree Ram were being used as a war cry.

49 signatories of the letter included the following prominent personalities

SHYAM BENEGAL, FILMMAKER
REVATHY, ACTOR
ANURAG KASHYAP, FILMMAKER

APARNA SEN, FILMMAKER/ACTOR

KONKONA SENSHARMA, FILMMAKER/ ACTOR
MANI RATNAM, FILMMAKER
RAMCHANDRA GUHA, HISTORIAN
SHUBHA MUDGAL, SINGER/ MUSICIAN
This however drew sharp criticism from the ruling party. Many questioned the artistes & accused them of spreading panic in the name of condemnation against hate crime.

In the meanwhile those backing the letter say, this move by the celebrities will only help the government as it backs the government in strengthening laws against hate crimes.

The debate of intolerance has gained pace in the last 5 years, but what remains to be seen is will the government change this perception in the next coming 5 years.

‘CHOW-CHOW BATH’ SARKAR CRUMBLES, BUT WHAT NEXT IN KARNATAKA?

NEWS

In exactly 14 months, the coalition government of Karnataka collapsed.

The government failed to secure the trust by a margin of 4 votes. While BJP secured 105 votes, Congress-JDS only had 99 votes. This means 20 MLAs skipped the session bringing down the total to 204.

The magic number was 103 & coalition didn’t have the numbers during the trust vote.

The coalition had tried hard to delay the trust vote. Every tactic in the rule book was tried and after 4 days of intense debate and face off, the trust vote took place.

The session witnessed a Division Vote wherein head count of MLAs took place in the assembly. Following the vote count it was clear Kumaraswamy didn’t have the numbers.

The Chief Minister then submitted his resignation to the Governor.

The Governor then immediately accepted his resignation and requested him to continue as a caretaker CM

What next in Karnataka?

What happens next in the big question on everyone’s mind. BJP President Yeddyurappa is expected to stake claim after meeting the Governor Vajubhai Vala.

Fate of the 15 rebel MLAs remains unknown. As the speaker is yet to accept or reject their resignations.

Scenario 1:

If their resignations are accepted, there could be re-election on their seats, which means the tussle for power could extend

Scenario 2:

If resignations are rejected, then under anti-defection law they could be disqualified as the whip remains. This drama could also escalate in Supreme Court.

BSP in the meanwhile also sacked its lone MLA for defying the party whip. The MLA was asked to cast his vote for the coalition, but he refrained from the proceedings

Situation in Bengaluru

Meanwhile section 144 was imposed in the capital city of Bengaluru. However once the reports of trust vote results emerged, BJP supporters celebrated the win.

DRAFT EDUCATION POLICY ROW: RAJINIKANTH BACKS SURIYA

NEWS

Over the last few days Tamil Actor Suriya has faced flak from both the Bharatiya Janta Party & the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu over his comments on the controversial Draft Educational Policy. The actor is now however drawing support from his peers.

Superstar Rajinikanth backed the actor at the launch of a music festival. India Today reports that the actor said the following in his defence of his colleague,

Suriya’s statement will echo in the Prime Minister’s Office. I second what Suriya said about the National Education Policy. Suriya has been witnessing the hardships faced by students and has experience of working closely with them through his Agaram Foundation. People say Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hear when I speak. But this time his views on the subject will be heard by the prime minister

The new Education Policy created massive uproar last month after it proposed the controversial three language policy. A policy that could make Hindi Compulsory across India drawing widespread criticism from Southern states especially Tamil Nadu, later forcing the centre to clarify.

Previously Suriya faced massive flak for saying that the Government’s latest policy will not help those from the rural background as the draft education policy didn’t focus on quality education, three language policy & also criticised the fact that anganwadis with less than 10 students can be shut down.

The actor runs an NGO called as Agaram Foundation, a trust that reportedly helps underprivileged students.

After Actor turned politician Kamal Haasan had also previously backed Suriya

However both BJP & AIADMK slammed the actor over his comments. The actor was accused of being ignorant and has been accused of instigating people against the policy.

PAKISTANI PM FACES GLOBAL EMBARRASSMENT AT UNITED STATES THRICE

NEWS, World Affairs

Ahead of Pak PM Imran Khan’s visit to US, the Pakistani administration went all out to portray this visit as a major diplomatic coup by their ‘enigmatic leader’. The country wanted to peddle Imran Khan as the emerging world leader. But little did Pakistan realise that this visit would turn into their biggest nightmare.

This is Imran’s first visit to USA and his upcoming meet with Donald Trump is being hyped by the Pakistani media as a big win for the Islamic Nation.

But ever since Imran Khan has set his foot in America he has only faced global embarrassment, not once but thrice.

Numero Uno: ‘Grand Welcome’

Imran Khan’s first snub was at his arrival. Surprisingly or not so surprisingly, no official from US Government was present to receive him when he arrived. A ceremonial welcome is usually reserved for foreign head of state.

Imran Khan who was accompanied by his Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and his Commerce Advisor Abdul Razzak and was welcomed by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Numero Dos: the Letters of Dissemt

If ‘no welcome’ wasn’t enough, Imran was embarrassed yet again after 10 members of US Congress wrote to US President Donald to lodge a protest against Human Rights abuses in Pakistan & forced conversions of Hindus in the Islamic Nation at the time of his visit. These US leaders also added that ‘Pakistani Government was terrorising Sindh through enforced disappearances’

Not only did Imran Khan face dissent from US, 16 members of European Parliament wrote to Trump asking the US leader to ensure deteriorating situation in Balochistan was addressed.

Numero Tres: Anti-Pak slogans at Imran event

Pak media touted Imran Khan’s speech at Washington DC as the spectacle in the US, but embarrassment was in store for Pakistan when Baloch activists disrupted Imran’s speech and raised Anti-Pak slogans

Clearly Pakistan’s desperate bid to propel Imran Khan has failed, but the real question is, will Imran admit to his failures or will the pak leader remain blind to his shortcomings?