Monthly Archives: JULY 2017


Smriti Irani gets I&B, Narendra Tomar Urban Ministry as Venkaiah Naidu Resigns
18.07.17 - TEAM PT
Smriti Irani gets I&B, Narendra Tomar Urban Ministry as Venkaiah Naidu Resigns



Union textile minister Smriti Irani was on Tuesday given the additional charge of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting while Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh was handed over the charge of Urban Development. 

The rejig took place after senior party leader and NDA vice presidential candidate Venkaiah Naidu resigned from his ministerial responsibilities on Monday. 
 
Tomar is currently the Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj and Irani is the incumbent Minister for Textiles. In a Cabinet reshuffle in 2016, both the Union Ministers lost their portfolios. Irani was replaced by Prakash Javedekar as the HRD Minister and Piyush Goyal replaced Tomar and was given additional charge of Minister of Mines.
 
Naidu, who filed his election papers on Tuesday, quit the Modi cabinet hours after he was picked to take on opposition’s Gopalkrishna Gandhi in the August 5 election.

A prominent leader of the BJP,  Venkaiah Naidu has also served as its national president from 2002 to 2004. BJP President Amit Shah announced his candidature for the August 5 Vice Presidential election after a 90-minute meeting of the BJP’s Central Parliamentary Board chaired by Shah and attended by top leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
The 68-year-old BJP veteran is expected to sail through as the electoral college comprises 790 parliamentarians from both Houses, where the NDA has a majority with 410 members.




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Venkaiah Naidu is BJP's Vice President candidate
17.07.17 - PT BUREAU
Venkaiah Naidu is BJP's Vice President candidate



Springing a surprise, the BJP announced Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu as its nominee for Vice President, further proof that the party plans to further expand south-wards.

It is not clear how enthusiastic Naidu, 68, is for the new assignment, but India is very likely to have dyed-in-the-wool RSS men as president and vice president.

Naidu's nomination is likely to again bring into focus Arun Shourie's now-famous quip about the Union Minister's intellectual capacities. In his address to a gathering at the Press Club of India in support of NDTV and against alleged needling of the TV channel for running a crusade against the government, Shourie had said Naidu was incapable of writing three paragraphs cogently.

Shourie, known for his considerable intellectual prowess, wondered why newspapers publish Naidu's articles when editors were well aware he cannot write. Now, Naidu will be pitched against opposition candidate, former diplomat Gopalkrishna Gandhi, again an intellectual power house.

A few weeks earlier, Naidu, when asked about his possible nomination, had said he did not want to be Rashtrapati or Uprashtrapati. "I am happy being Usha's pati," he had said. Usha is the name of the Union Minister's wife. The two have been married for 47 years now.

The vice presidential election is scheduled for August 5.

Naidu is a fourth term Rajya Sabha MP, and this will help him in running the upper House, a major duty of any veep. 

Naidu became a Rajya Sabha MP first in April 1998, and was then re-elected to the upper house in 2004, 2010 and 2016. He also headed the BJP for a few months in 2002, and then again in 2004. 

He is a member of BJP's Parliamentary Board and Central Election Committee, and acted as the party's spokesperson all too often.





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16 Amarnath pilgrims dead, 30 injured as bus falls into gorge
16.07.17 - TEAM PT
16 Amarnath pilgrims dead, 30 injured as bus falls into gorge



Several pilgrims are feared dead and over 30 injured after a bus carrying Amarnath Yatris fell into the gorge in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday. 19 injured are being airlifted for treatment.
 
The bus carrying the pilgrims skidded off the road, turned turtle and rolled down into the nullah at Nachlana belt of Ramban late this afternoon, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ramban, Mohan Lal said.
 
Police said that in the afternoon one yatra bus bearing registration No. Jk02Y-0594 fell into Nashrana Nallah in which about 40-42 yatris were travelling. Traffic movement on Jammu-Srinagar national highway has been stopped temporarily due to landslides at Khuni Nallah and Ramsoo.
 
 PM Modi also expressed his grief over the incident.
 
Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh has spoken to J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti regarding the unfortunate accident near Ramban. He said, ” My heart goes out to the families of Amarnath Yatris who lost their loved ones in the bus accident. My prayers are with the injured. Spoke to J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Muftiji regarding the unfortunate accident of the bus carrying Amarnath Yatris near Ramban.”
 
Witnesses said that local residents started a rescue operation immediately after the accident occurred and were soon joined by the police and a column of the Army.

Members of the State Disaster Management Force too have rushed to the area. Two Army helicopters too were pressed into service, reports added.
 
The 40-day Amarnath yatra started on June 29 from the twin routes of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district. It is scheduled to culminate on August 7, coinciding with the festival of Raksha Bandhan.

More than two lakh yatris have paid obeisance at the cave shrine so far.
 
However, forty pilgrims have died in the first 18 days of the yatra including eighteen in mishaps, 14 due to cardiac arrest and other ailments and the remaining eight in the July 10 terror violence at Botengo in Anantnag district.




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Man Denied Entry Into A Kolkata Mall For Wearing Traditional Dhoti And Kurta
15.07.17 - TEAM PT
Man Denied Entry Into A Kolkata Mall For Wearing Traditional Dhoti And Kurta



A man was allegedly stopped from entering Kolkata's Quest Mall on Saturday for wearing a 'dhoti'. The incident happened on Saturday when the guest was stopped by the security guards outside the mall.

The man was wearing a traditional Indian dress, a dhoti, and was "respectably dressed", according to his friend, Debleena Sen, who was with him when the incident took place.
 
"Yet another incident. After a series of restaurants it's now a mall refusing entry to someone. A man wearing a dhoti and kurta was not allowed to enter a mall in Kolkata today. Apparently wearing dhoti or lungi isn't allowed in this particular mall anymore,” Debleena, a Kolkata-based actor, wrote in a Facebook post. 
 
She added that "this form of racial profiling has induced in our society so much that it's disgusting."
 
In the post, she mentioned that the guards first stopped the guest who was wearing dhoti. Later they allowed his entry only because the guest questioned them in English. In the video, the guest is seen asking the reason behind not allowing his entry but the mall officials seem clueless. 
 
"The guards outside stopped him and confirmed with someone over the walky-talky and then let him enter only because the man in question argued in English,” she said. 

However, the class bias witnessed did not stop there as when the two friends approached the mall management, a man there clearly stated that it was their policy to not let anyone wearing a dhoti or a lungi to enter the premises, she said.

"When the manager of the place (some woman) came in and sat down to talk, she told me strictly that I cannot video record anything even though I clearly have the right to record anything in a public space. That's when we decided it's best to leave the place to rot,” she said.
 
Hours after Debleena Sen shared the matter on Facebook, it became viral and the post has been shared by more than 1200 people so far.

However, no reaction has been received from the Quest Mall authority so far.

In a similar incident which took place last month, a northeast woman was denied entry in Delhi Golf Club because she was wearing a jainsem, a traditional Khasi dress.




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SIKH WITH CIGAR
Newspaper depicts turbaned Sikh smoking cigar, angers community
14.07.17 - PT BUREAU
Newspaper depicts turbaned Sikh smoking cigar, angers community



IN A RATHER poorly-executed attempt to recreate a modern, Sherlock Holmes-style detective in a comic strip, but in a Sikh avatar, India's leading national English daily, Hindustan Times, has ended up rubbing the Sikh community on the wrong side as it depicted the turbaned, bearded detective Maharaja Sikander Singh, not only drinking in a pub but lighting up a cigar pressed firmly between his lips.
Depicting a Sikh smoking has always been anathema to Sikhs, as much as portrayal of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is unacceptable to most Muslims. The Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has now taken a strong exception to the Hindustan Times' transgressing that very clear line and has asked the newspaper to apologise.
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Depicting a Sikh smoking a cigarette or a cigar has always been anathema to Sikhs, just as any pictorial depiction of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is unacceptable to Muslims. The DSGMC has now taken a strong exception to the newspaper transgressing that very clear line.
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Many Sikh scholars said it was terrible that the illustrators, the creators of the comic strip, senior editorial staff at this newspaper and the editor, remained either totally ignorant, or were part of the deliberate effort to rile the Sikh community in particular and all Punjabis in general.
 
In its July 2 edition, in the Brunch section that is part of the Sunday edition of the newspaper, the comic strip, headlined "A Gentleman's Wager," depicted the self-styled Sikh detective Maharaja Sikander Singh being challenged by a pucca sahib "at the Eccentrics Club, London" to guess the professions of three men, a feat the detective pulls off successfully, winning the wager. The scene is set in 1910, London.

But in an effort to probably portray the character as close to Holmes as the executors – Arjun Raj Gaind, the writer, and Vivek Shinde, the illustrator – could manage, they ended up committing what is near blasphemy for the Sikhs: depicting the Sikh detective with not just a glass of liquor, but also lighting a cigar pressed between his lips.

Jagmohan Singh, a Delhi-based lawyer, has filed a notice on behalf of the DSGMC, asking the printers and publishers of the newspaper to apologise and withdraw the objectionable strip.

Another lawyer, Manjit Singh Butalia, has circulated a note on social media, claiming that he has informed authorities at the highest level, including the PMO and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, besides briefing the Akal Takht jathedar. Till date, the Sikh clergy has not taken up the issue in public.

Neither, for that matter, has any prominent leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal has picked up the gauntlet. That a newspaper, founded by Master Sundar Singh Lyallpuri, founder father of the Akali Movement and the Akali SAD in Punjab, will commit such blasphemy and then remain blatant and obdurate on the issue is what has riled the Sikhs most.  
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The newspaper depicting the Sikh detective smoking a cigar continues to be freely available to anyone on its website. Subsequent editions issues have not taken any note of protests by the Sikh community.
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Many Sikhs will recall that when the Hindustan Times took birth, Mangal Singh Gill (Tehsildar) and Chanchal Singh (Jandiala, Jalandhar, then Jullundur) were in charge of the newspaper while Pt Madan Mohan Malviya and Master Tara Singh were among members of the managing committee. 

"Would such a sacrilege ever happen if those at the helm of HT were aware of their own past?" said a senior Sikh scholar. The Hindustan Times media conglomerate is part of the KK Birla group, and is managed by Shobhana Bhartiya, granddaughter of KK Birla.
 
Some Sikh media sites have taken up cudgels, with the World Sikh News, that fashions itself as 'the future of Sikh media,' calling it a "clear attempt to denigrate the Sikh community" and the Sikh Siyasat reminding that smoking was one of the four prohibited conducts (kurehits) in Sikhism. 

Jagmohan Singh, editor of the World Sikh News portal and a well known Sikh intellectual working in the field of civil liberties, human rights and minority concerns, strongly criticised the objectionable graphic but said he was more surprised at the silence of certain organisations which are expected to check such nefarious acts.

"Generally, I would have expected Dal Khalsa, the SGPC, the Akhand Kirtani Jatha or the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Satikaar Samitis to raise their voice. So much so, that even the Sikhs of Delhi have not held any street protest. The community should tell the Indian media that it will not take such insults lying down,” WSN editor Jagmohan Singh told Punjab Today.

The World Sikh News (WSN) reported Butalia as saying, "Everybody knows that in Sikh Religion, use of tobacco is strictly prohibited just as in Islam the meat of pig is prohibited and in Hindu Religion, meat of cow is prohibited.”

In fact, the WSN went so far as to beseech the "Sikh world in general, Sikhs in Delhi in particular...to catch the bull by its horns."

"Even if the Hindustan Times apologises and withdraws the impugned comic strip, they should be made to pay such exemplary damages and the artist, printer and publisher sent to prison so that no one even in their wildest liberties would dare to do such a thing. Otherwise, we will have an Indian version of the French "Charlie Hedbo” here in Delhi," the Sikh portal known for taking up community-related issues said.

The fictional character of the Sikh detective smoking a cigar continues to be freely available to the newspaper's readers on its website. Subsequent issues of Brunch or Hindustan Times have not taken any note of protests by the Sikh community. 
 
In its July 9 edition of the Brunch, a note referred to the objectionable and sacrilegious content and said, "The author, illustrator and editors deeply regret any hurt or offence to the cultural sensitivity and religious sentiment of any community." The "regret” did not mention protests by the Sikhs. Further, compounding the mistake, the Hindustan Times neither removed the blasphemous content from its website nor made any effort to blur the illustration for which it expressed regret. 
 
(Updated with the inclusion of the newspaper’s "regret” in its July 2 edition. The objectionable content is still available on the newspaper’s website. An earlier version of the story had confused Jagmohan Singh, the lawyer, with Jagmohan Singh, the editor of the World Sikh News. The error has since been rectified. – Ed.)


 
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Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged. 
— Team PT




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Comment by: Jagmohan Singh

Neither I nor World Sikh News had filled any complaint. The said Jagmohan Singh who had filled a complaint on behalf of DSGMC is a lawyer based in Delhi. Kindly correct the reporting. Thanks.

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Comment by: admin

Thank you, sir, for pointing out the error. It has been addressed and the story has been updated. - Ed.

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Comment by: Kanwaljeet singh

Hurting any body's sentiment is very bad. But, I wonder how then, the artist/illustrator depict any negative character? Whatever she/he depicts will resemble somebody, will have some habits and will have to be attired someway. In the present case, the sentiments can be restored by removing the turban. It's fine. But, what will an artist do with a murderer, a rapist, a dacoit? which religion will allow its nomenclature or its attire, or any other resemblance to be used? The dangerous consequence is that the criminals will go u pointed. If some religion cannot stop its followers from participating in crimes, then how can it moraly claim to ban its depiction. It can be fine upto smoking n drinking, though even that will shade of a large part of population to be studied, portrayed or characterized in literatures or works of art.

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Comment by: admin

PT responds to Kanwaljeet Singh: We agree to certain points. If someone starts protesting that at no cost can a Sikh be shown as a rapist or a murderer in a movie, that'll be an unacceptable stand. But there are cases where either attempts to discriminate against a class of people on the basis of religion are clear transgressions, or deliberate needling of a community. We, for example, have a problem with Bollywood of 60s and 70s invariably using Christian or Muslim names for villains. So tomorrow if a movie has 16 virtuous characters with sanskritised Hindu names and two villains with Muslim names, many progressive people will have a serious problem. Any intelligent film director will know when he is entering a problematic territory. In the present case, there was no need at all to use the particular graphic. We suggest that you access the said page on the website and form your own opinion. We will be too happy to again publish your reaction on our website. Punjab Today remains grateful for any constructive engagement. -- Ed.

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