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Kodava protests in Karnataka: Warring factions must unite and speak in one voice

The Kodavas in Karnataka are up in arms again.

On the back of reports that there was a nude protest on 7 December, by some tribals over the eviction of 577 families from the Devamacchi Reserve Forest in Diddalli, in Kodagu district, which has however been denied both by an embarrassed government and activists alike, activists have now vowed to continue their protests until the tribal dwellings are made permanent and property documents handed over to them.

But wait, these protests are not supported by the Codava National Council (CNC), which has been spearheading much of the community’s cause. The president of CNC, NU Nachappa told Firstpost, “I don’t want to comment, they are not localites, some 10 days back they came from outside Coorg for plantation work, not for Kodava plantation work but for Consolidated (Coffee) Tata company work. And some politicians took them and dropped them in the forest.”

Nachappa says,“We are the original inhabitants and tribals of this land. Some 10 years back so many came from other states, like Kerala, and they keep on coming, they’re not tribals. Bangladeshis are also there now, they too are claiming they’re tribals. We’re not against anybody, we want to prove our identity, otherwise, we will vanish from this land. I don’t want to comment because they’re outsiders, they’re not inherent settlers of the forest.”

On 7 December, several families living in huts in the forest were evicted and their huts razed by forest officials, on grounds that this was reserved forest limits. A secret video shot by a local had surfaced on television channels and social media on Sunday about the nude protest during the eviction. Deccan Herald reported that eight persons, including tribal leader Appaji had been arrested for indecent protests. after forest, revenue and police officials cleared about five acres of forest land at Diddalli.

On Sunday, calling it ‘Sankalp’ day, activists, human rights commission members, tribal rights awareness panel members and local leaders protested outside the Ashrama School near the forest in Diddalli, in Kodagu, where the tribals are currently staying. Among the leaders supporting their cause, was also senior journalist and activist, Gauri Lankesh.
Firstpost reached out to Gowri Lankesh,“Nachappa claims the protestors are not tribals at all? Your comments?”

File image of Kodava Protests. Wikimedia CommonsFile image of Kodava Protests. Wikimedia Commons

File image of Kodava Protests. Wikimedia Commons

Gauri Lankesh, “People who had set up hutments belong to Jenu, Kuruba and Yerava communities. They are on the scheduled list. It is idiotic of Nachappa to say they are not tribals at all.”
While the two warring factions stand divided over the very nature of the tribals who were evicted, the Karnataka government has refused to budge, saying that the evicted tribals would be rehabilitated in any other area, but in the reserve forest, where the families had built their huts. Kodagu district in-charge minister MR Seetharam told the media that the tribals would be rehabilitated soon, and if there was any slip-up by the forest officials, action would be taken.

Meanwhile, there were press reports that that coffee planters were behind the evictions of the tribals from their settlement in Diddalli, as the coffee planters wanted them to move back to line houses where labourers of coffee plantations live. Deccan Herald reported that the tribals had earlier lived in these line houses in the estates at Virajpet, Balele, Kutta, Gonikoppa and Siddapura and paid poor wages and had moved out over bad working conditions.

When Firstpost asked Nachappa about these media reports, he said, “No, no, they (the plantations) are not dependent upon them. Nowadays, Assamese and Bangladeshi labour are coming. All this is bogus created by the Maoists. There are plenty of labourers now, agencies are there, daily they are coming – after 2/3 years, they claim they’re original inhabitants.” He added, “But coffee planters are not Kodavas, 60 per cent are owned by North Indian business tycoons, Burma Chettiars and Kerala people and Reddys, they all have 2/3 acres properties. We continued our struggle and made complaints…we Kodavas may not have property, our population is living in a compact area. They are worried, they want to destroy our identity. They want to de-populate Kodavas and re-populate others.”

When Firstpost posed the same question to Gauri Lankesh, she said, “My sources say yes some estate owners who want cheap and bonded labourers are behind the tribal hutments being destroyed.”

This is not the first time that the Kodavas have been in the news. Only last week, according to a Times of India report, the Chief minister Siddaramaiah had directed the social welfare department officials to discontinue the ongoing ethnographic and socio-economic survey, which had been undertaken to check if the Kodava community qualified for tribal status. The survey was stopped in the wake of former MLC and advocate AK Subbaiah seeking the CM’s intervention, stating, “Kodavas don’t need any tribal status. They are way forward in terms of socio-economic parameters and literacy. They cannot be compared to tribals like Kadu Kuruba and Hakki-Pikki, among others.”

This was a strange move by the Karnataka government as the survey had been undertaken after representation from different quarters. This included All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesperson and leader Brijesh Kalappa, also the legal advisor to the CM. Deccan Herald reported as early as March 2016, that Kalappa while demanding tribal status for Kodavas had said, “It was not just a spur of the moment to seek any benefit, but the culture and tradition practised by Kodavas are akin to tribals in the State. Earlier, especially post-independence, Kodava IPS officers were in large numbers. Now, the number of such officials in civil service has dwindled. Owing to lack of reservation, Kodavas are not able to get their due share in such top service oriented jobs. So, if Kodavas are considered as tribes and reservation facility is extended, they can benefit from it.”
Even AICC general secretary Oscar Fernandes had joined his voice to the demand of the CNC. In fact, as far back as 2011, the UPA government had directed the then BJP government to take up the survey following petitions by the community.

The CNC’s demands has a long history of 22 years of trying to get the rights of the Kodavas enshrined under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. The Hindu reported in 2013 that among the CNC’s demands were ethno-linguistic-tribal-minority status for the Kodavas; ‘Kodava thakk’ (language) in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution; political reservation on the lines of the Anglo Indians; and formation of a Codava Land Autonomous Region.

Asked about the stopping of the ethnographic survey, Nachappa told Firstpost, “At the age of 27 I started this movement and have been fighting this for 26 years. Subbaiah has become a spokesman for major communities in Karnataka, they want to impose hegemony on us. Karnataka is not a homogenous state, it’s a heterogenous state… In his entire political career, he has not done any good either for Kodavas or for the entire country. He’s only interested in creating rift between communities…I am fighting peacefully for my Constitution and fundamental rights. We are a different ethnic group and minority group, it’s our constitutional duty to give space to our community.”

Stating that “Kodavas are hospitable people, lovable people, not more than a lakh, I am approaching the UNHRC…our movement is a peaceful movement, under the Indian charter and Indian constitution, we are asking that the (Kodava) identity, historical continuity, ancestral property, entire language and culture should be protected,” he added, “My organisation is the sole and irreplaceable voice of the Kodava world.”

When Firstpost asked Gowri Lankesh what the real issue was, she said, “The real issue here is the utter disdain on the part of the government and administration regarding the lives of poor tribals. The same government and district administration does not raise a finger against Nachappa who illegally entered protected forest area twice to erect memorials for the alleged ‘thousands’ of Kodavas who were butchered by Tipu Sultan. But when poor tribals who seek freedom from bonded labour set up hutments the powers that be unleash JCBs on them. By doing so they have proved that they are only anti poor, they have shown that they are working at the behest of feudal landlords.”

The population of Kodagu district is around five lakhs, of which Kodavas are reported to be only around 65,000 people. So, any division in their ranks is not going to help the Kodava cause, but will only undermine their struggle. The warring factions need to come together to represent the Kodava community, which has contributed immensely to the country, with several famous Kodava names populating the armed forces, civil services, sports, journalism and literature.

While the jury is still out on whether the 577 families who were evicted from the Devamacchi Reserve Forest in Diddalli, in Kodagu district were tribals or squatters – it’s time for the two warring factions to sit across the table and sort out their issues and speak in one voice.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 11:09 IST

Rajya Sabha MP holds march in support of demonetization in Pune

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hundreds of people on Sunday took part in a march in Pune, which was carried out in the support of the Centre’s demonetization move.The march, organised in the morning by Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakade, started from Deccan Gymkhana area and concluded at the Council Hall. “The decision of demonetization will have positive effects on the Indian economy in future and Rs 9 lakh crore have been deposited in banks post the demonetization move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Kakade, also a well-known developer, said.”To support PM Modi’s fight against black money and corruption, the march was organised here, which saw hundreds of persons in attendance,” he said. Modi on November 8 had announced his government’s decision to demonetize the Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes.

Call your MLA: Activists find innovative ways to oppose steel flyover in Bengaluru

Bengaluru: There is nothing like a productive holiday, and that’s exactly what activists in Bengaluru seemed to have during the Moharram and Dussehra holidays. They have come with several innovative means to stop the construction of the proposed steel flyover that connects Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport Limited (KIAL) to other parts of the city.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

It includes a “call your MLA” campaign every Wednesday, Twitter marathons, RTIs, PILs, and a human chain on 16 October along the length of the proposed flyover. The events are organised by Citizens Against Steel Flyover (CASFo), a newly formed social media group, which has several prominent citizens leading and participating in it.

Srinivas Alavilli, software professional and coordinator of CASFo, told Firstpost, “When I originally saw reports in the media about a ‘steel flyover’ for Rs 1,350 crores, which has now ballooned to Rs 1,791 crores, my blood boiled. Many of us have been fighting for public transport. Commuter rail, metro, more bus, bus rapid lanes, reduced bus fares, you name it. Many proven alternatives but no takers. I started a petition that caught on very quickly. Sane voices lent support to my petition and we were told the steel flyover has been put on hold or canceled. Yet, it came back like a phoenix.”

Alavilli’s petition started gathering momentum with several thousand Bengalureans being part of CASFo. The Forum reached out to Bengalureans through Whatsapp, Twitter and emails. Among events planned are appeals and memorandums to government agencies, a petition, events on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter marathons (trending topic), Call your MLAs on Wednesday, Human chain along the length of the proposed steel flyover on 16 October (Sunday), and Public debates inviting experts from BDA and the Karnataka government.

Many of the local editions of newspapers, including the Deccan Herald and The Times of India have been leading campaigns against the steel flyover in their city editions as well.

Why oppose the flyover: A past imperfect

So what are the media, the activists and citizens mainly protesting over? First, lack of planning in putting up a cost Rs 1,791 crore of taxpayer money for a steel monstrosity. Second, the destruction of three flyovers, two skywalks and one magic box underpass, to implement the steel flyover, and third, chopping off 812 trees, intrinsic to the spirit of Bengaluru.

To be built over a stretch of 6.72 km from Basaveshwara circle to Hebbal, the steel flyover is estimated to cost Rs 1,791 crore and is expected to be completed in 24 months. The project will be executed by Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) and Nagarjuna Ltd, with the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) overseeing the construction. BDA will acquire around one acre for the project.

What is interesting to see is that the BDA has no clue as to the exponential growth Bengaluru has been experiencing, or, its population. The introduction to its Masterplan2015 says, “As one of the world’s fastest growing cities, Bangalore is experiencing a steady increase in population (3.25% current annual growth rate). Its population is likely to be 10 million by 2021.”

Bengaluru is estimated to have already touched 10 million in 2016.

So, it’s obvious that the Masterplan 2015 is already redundant. What is also interesting to see is that BDA has enunciated in its Masterplan 2015, to “facilitate an integrated system of transport that serves as a framework for new development as well as offers affordable choices for transport by: Developing a Mass Public Transport System (MPTS); Promoting a Commuting Railway System (CRS); and Promoting multi-articulated dedicated bus lanes along the main axes.”

So then, what changed? Doesn’t the agency and its officers read their own document?

It doesn’t require a town planner to tell that a congested city like Bengaluru needs more avenues of public transport service — more buses, rail links, and metro service, and less private vehicles on the roads.

Take the example of the nearly 9 km long elevated highway to Electronic City from the Central Business District, which was touted as the solution to the traffic congestion to the IT hub. In just days, it created a huge bottleneck at the Silk Board junction. My own experience, of commuting daily to Electronic city from CBD, can at best, be described only as a nightmare. The elevated highway would take about 10 minutes, but the bottleneck at the Silk Board junction could take anywhere between 20 minutes to 45 minutes to negotiate.

It’s obvious, that the elevated highways have really not solved Bengaluru’s traffic congestion, they have only aggravated them.

Architect and urban designer Naresh Narsimhan, who has been spearheading much of the protests including putting up videos on his Facebook page (Facebook/nareshnarasimhan) on how the steel flyover would look in reality, told Firstpost: “Such an elaborate scheme is not required at all! There are bigger junction messes elsewhere too! The Silk Board mess is a proof of what happens without integrated planning.”

Stating that “there’s definitely a contractor-politician nexus”, he suggested that Bengaluru should have a larger mobility perspective and plan more public transport like pedestrian and bicycle friendly and mass transit oriented. “Two small flyovers — one at Windsor manor junction and another at Cauvery junction will solve the problem for quite some time,” he said.

The commentators in the media have been equally vocal against the steel flyover. Not mincing his words, senior journalist and commentator, Ramakrishna Upadhya, told Firstpost, “It’s nothing but loot. We are going to lose money and it will spoil the city. Nobody knows how it’s going to benefit the city or what kind of iron and steel is going to be used. You can’t have this steel flyover in the middle of the city. It has to be stopped. Right now the cost is Rs 1,791 crores but by the time it’s finished it is going to be much higher. With this money they can easily build 16 flyovers, where it’s really required, like the Nimhans road which are congested. They have not consulted any experts like traffic, engineers or planners.”

That’s not all though. The state government has a very poor record of planning projects, and not implementing them, especially to ease traffic to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), and then discarded them later on. One such plan was to build a high-speed rail link to the airport under the Bangalore Airport Rail Link Limited, which was constituted in 2009-10 with just that single goal. The link was to cut travel time from Mekhri Circle to the airport to 25 minutes and was estimated to cost Rs 5,767 crore. However, recently Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) was asked to take over the work and extend the Metro to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). At present BMRC has proposed nine possible routes to the Airport, and asked the public to vote for them. The plan, however, has been facing opposition from environmentalists.

Metro or no Metro is not the only question

E Sreedharan who is also known as the ‘Metro Man’ and is principal adviser to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, advocated the rail link during his visit to the city in August this year. He felt that with the Kempegowda International Airport being nearly 45 km from the city, a high-speed rail link, which had been virtually scrapped by the government, was more feasible option rather than extending the Metro rail network. “Imagine the kind of land required for the Metro project and the amount of time it would take to complete it. The best option would be a high-speed rail, with check-in facility at the centre of the city itself,” he had told The Hindu.

Rasheed Kappan, special correspondent at Deccan Herald, who has been spearheading the campaign for a rail link to KIA, told Firstpost, “Two years ago the cost of the steel flyover was Rs 1100 crore, one year ago it was Rs 1350 crore, and now it is Rs.1791 crore. If the rationale was to improve the transport link to KIA, the Karnataka state government should think of putting up a rail link. The rail link will cost only Rs 100 crores and it can be completed in three months. The links are already there and there are existing tracks from Bypannahalli to Yelanakha. There are railway lines under the trumpet flyover too. Right now, the entire rail stretch has only eight to 10 trains, running once in 20 minutes. This can be increased. All they would need to do is put up some sidings and platforms. The rail links would also cost only a fraction of the cost of putting up a Metro link.”

Says Alavilli, “What it really is all about is citizens batting for public transport, because we all know the only real answer to Bengaluru’s traffic nightmare is public transport. Not a flyover. The commuters from Outer Ring Road cannot even get out of their own campus. People spend 70 minutes at a single junction — Silk Board. Give us the bus. The metro. The commuter rail. Any one of these options will have much larger impact than a flyover that supposedly saves seven minutes.”

Meanwhile, the Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF) has filed a writ petition in the high court challenging the action of government and BDA to propose the construction of the elevated road.

But is the Karnataka government listening?

Ragging gone bad: Dalit nursing student in Karnataka forced to drink toilet cleaner

On Tuesday, a 19-year-old Dalit nursing student from Kerala was in a critical condition after being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital (KMCH) with serious stomach problems, reported Deccan Chronicle.

She was reportedly forced to drink toilet cleaner by her seniors in another shocking case of college ragging. The student, identified as Aswathy, who hails from Pulluvanpadiyil near Edappal, is in the first semester of her nursing course at Al Qamar College of Nursing at Gulbarga, the Deccan Chronicle report adds.

Representational image of Karnataka police. Getty images

Representational image of Karnataka police. Getty images

Aswathy was reportedly ragged by a group of eight senior girls at the women’s hostel of the college on 9 May. After five days, her condition exacerbated and she was sent home by college authorities, reported The Times Of India.

According to her relatives, the doctors suggested a major surgery because the chemicals from the toilet cleaner had severely damaged a part of her oesophagus.

Aswathy had told a local TV channel, reported International Business Timesthat they weren’t allowed to eat or close the windows at night or to go home during vacations. She further said that the senior girls forced the juniors to drink toilet cleaner, and insert their fingers inside their mouth to purge all of it. Later, she had to be admitted to the hospital where she had to remain in the ICU for five days in Bengaluru.

The girl, who belongs to a poor family, had taken an education loan to join college. Her uncle claims that she has been ragged since she joined college five months ago, The Times of India added.

Awasthy’s mother has approached Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the DGP in Bengaluru demanding action against the seniors.

Chennai: Four arrested for gangrape of young woman

A 21-year-old girl has been rescued after she was allegedly held overnight by four men who gangraped her.A report in Deccan Chronicle states that she was held and raped at Guduvancherry in Kancheepuram district. The four accused have been identified as Kannan (21), Chandrasekhar (18), Jayachandran (21) and Ganapathy (24). On Monday evening, the police arrested the four men who are from Tirunelveli. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The girl was reportedly working in a plastic manufacturing company and lived with her widowed mother. The men are said to have been known to her and lured her saying they should celebrate her birthday on Sunday night. According to the police, the girl was taken to a local market first where they bought her a gift. They then took her to a place in Vallanchery where the other two men joined them, forced her to drink liquor and took turns to rape her. On Monday morning around 2:30 am, the girl managed to escape and people heard her shouting and came to her rescue. The police told the daily that her mother did not want to file a police complaint at first as it would ‘shame’ the family. It was reported that the men took videos of her as well and told her that they would post them on WhatsApp if she filed a complaint. The mother finally filed a complaint after friends and neighbours insisted. The four men were arrested on Monday evening and the victim was sent for a medical test.

Hyderabad: Popular dosa carts feel the heat from cops

Police in Hyderabad have started to impose time restrictions on carts that sell dosas during the night.A report in Deccan Chronicle states that dosa carts will now have to shut by midnight and can reopen only at 4 am. This restriction is said to have been issued under the City Police Act to maintain law and order in the city.South Zone additional DCP K. Babu Rao told the daily that they found that most youths involved in crimes were gathering near these dosa carts. “In the fist fight case which claimed a life last year, all the nine youths apprehended said they used to gather near dosa carts before fist fights,” he was quoted as saying. According to Babu Rao, the youths rush to violent spots when they come to know about minor incidents and end up causing a bigger issue. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cops in Hyderabad had conducted numerous raids across the city under ‘Operation Roaming Youth,’ ‘Mission Chabutra,’ and ‘Cordon & Search’. Post these, they decided to impose restrictions on dosa carts as well as wine bars and restaurants. However, since hospitals also make use of dosa carts and food carts, only those in their vicinity will be allowed to function.

Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Most eating joints to remain shut on May 16, voting day

May 16 is when Tamil Nadu goes to the polls and dry days have been declared on May 14, 15, 16. But the Election Commission has also instructed the state government to ensure that restaurants are shut on May 16. This is so that people working at eating joints can also go out and vote.A report in Deccan Chronicle states that most restaurants will comply with this order. While hotel owners would have been happier had they been allowed to operate, they have decided that they will adhere to the orders. R Srinivasan, secretary, Tamil Nadu Hotels’ Association was quoted by the daily as saying, “The Election Commission is serious about the order this year, as opposed to previous elections. The notice was issued ahead of time and restaurants that fail to comply will face serious consequences.” <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The order states that restaurants should remain shut till 7 pm. The restaurants plan to open after 7 pm, adds the report.

After FTII, Pune journalism department receives threat letter, packet with explosive substance

After the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), another city-based institute has received a packet containing ‘explosive’ substance, a detonator and a threat letter carrying a warning against inviting JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, police said on Monday.The Department of Communication and Journalism located in Ranade Institute building in Deccan area here, got the packet, with content similar to what was found in the FTII parcel on Saturday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Department of Communication and Journalism, which is run by the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), had received the parcel on Saturday, which was opened today.”A peon at the Department of Communication and Journalism in Ranade Institute had received the parcel on Saturday. But when it was opened today, it was found to be containing explosive substance, a detonator and a threat letter. The only difference in this packet (from the FTII parcel) was the name of the recipient,” said DCP (Zone I) Sudhir Hiremath of Pune Police.The letter was addressed to the head of the department Dr Madhavi Reddy, he said.When contacted, Vice Chancellor of SPPU, Vasudev Gade told PTI, “Madhavi Reddy came to my office and showed the parcel to me. The letter in the packet read, ‘You are supporting anti-national Kanhaiya Kumar and you will have to pay the price. A gift has been sent along with this letter.'” The police officer said that they were trying to establish whether the packets were sent before the Kanhaiya Kumar’s event held in the city on April 24 or after that.”Based on our investigation conducted so far, it seems that both the parcels were dispatched within the city and received at Deccan Post office on May 7,” he said.”We are trying to ascertain the stamps on both the parcels to understand the origin from where the parcels were dispatched. The stamps are not clear, hence it is difficult to ascertain the post office, from where it was sent,” he said adding that the parcel was sent through ordinary mail.Some students of the department were part of the organising committee, which had invited Kanhaiya Kumar in Pune on April 24. The students had formed a committee to invite him, after the BJP’s youth wing, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), had allegedly threatened to beat up the students if they invited the JNUSU leader. The event was finally held at Balgandhava Rangmandir here.The administration of the journalism department has approached Deccan Police Station to register a case.

Bengaluru to host first Million Marijuana March on May 7

Bengaluru is a cosmopolitan city where you’ll find people from all states of India. The city is now gearing up to join the Global Marijuana March which is held on the first Saturday of every year around the world. The Million Marijuana March is scheduled to be held on May 7 from Freedom Park to M.G. Road in Bengaluru. It has been organised by The Hippie Culture, India, and is being referred to as “a collective community effort to legalise the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and other uses.” The organisers have reportedly stated, “It is time to educate our people to scratch off the taboo and use a wonderful plant for our own and the planet’s growth.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Many youngsters have signed up for it already and their page on social media has been buzzing with comments. The organisers have stated on their page, “People just need common sense to understand that marijuana is not only for smoking. Can be used in medical, industrial, hospitality, food, etc, sectors.”One of the organisers has told the Deccan Chronicle, “We have already received confirmation from 1, 500 participants and we expect more.” The Hippie Culture is in the process of getting the required paperwork from the BBMP and the local police for the march. Quoting Article 19 of the Constitution, they say that like everyone else in India they have a right to freedom of speech and expression. They reportedly said, “Everyone has the right to assemble peacefully and without arms. So there should be no legal issues in organising this march.”

Banks have lost it: Sending Mallya to jail will make them double-losers

Is India losing the plot on Vijay Mallya, the failed airline entrepreneur who has lost some of his crown jewels in the booze business while trying to make Kingfisher fly long after it was time to say quits?

As things stand, Mallya’s diplomatic passport has been revoked, the government has asked Britain to deport him, the Rajya Sabha may expel him, the Supreme Court has taken a tough line by asking him to declare his foreign assets, and banks – for fear of being seen as conciliatory to a flamboyant businessman – have been rejecting his offers to settle out of hand. Mallya owes them Rs 9,000-and-odd crore, including accumulated interest.

Vijay Mallya. AFPVijay Mallya. AFP

Vijay Mallya. AFP

This is self-defeating. And Mallya has been taking his sob story to the British, and some of the things he has said to the Financial Times in an extended interview make eminent sense.

The key point we have lost sight of is the money. Sending him to jail or bringing him back in chains is hardly the point.

As things stand, Mallya is believed to have offered to pay up around Rs 4,000 crore, and while banks may say it is too little, too late, the question they need to ask themselves is whether they want to salvage some of their money or none at all? Are they getting enough vicarious pleasure out of Mallya’s humiliation to compensate for they monetary losses? One would think not.

It is fair for banks to ask whether Rs 4,000 crore, and the composition of the offer (some money now, most of it later) is fair to them. So this amount is worth haggling over with the playboy-turned-fugitive entrepreneur.

But if they are declining to talk to him purely because they are afraid of being targeted later for doing a sweetheart deal with him, it is time for politicians to step in and clear the air. In the current climate, where businessmen are seen as having got away with murder and politicians are trying to prove they are holier-than-thou, banks do not want to be seen as trying to help a businessman in trouble.

Not talking to Mallya when he wants to settle is double stupidity.

First, for allowing political influence to determine how much money they should lend to a business going steadily downhill after Mallya’s ill-fated purchase of Air Deccan.

Second, for not trying to claw back any of that money back, when, at last, Mallya has been forced to make some offer of repayment. You can doubt if the payment is enough, but a settlement is what banks should go for now.
So when Mallya tells the Financial Times that “by taking my passport or arresting me, they are not getting any money,” he is surely right.

We need to get out of this mindset that every business failure is only the result of crookery or deep financial conspiracy. This may be true of some crony relationships, which India has not lacked, but unless it is possible to prove this beyond doubt, we have to assume that businesses can flop, and money lost by banks.

Mallya is surely stretching the truth when he claims that “we have always been in dialogue with banks saying ‘we wish to settle”, as he told FT. The fact is he was evasive and used every legal loophole to delay the inevitable, including moving the Calcutta High Court against United Bank, which had declared him a “wilful defaulter”. But then delaying tactics are available to everyone. One can hardly fault Mallya alone for using the law to keeps bankers at bay. It was suspected that political influence helped keep them away earlier; now it is banks’ own wariness that may be preventing the recovery of some money.

Neither the government nor banks nor courts should lose sight of the main issue: the money.

The Supreme Court made a huge mistake when, instead of going after Subrata Roy’s money (he owes Sebi over Rs 36,000 crore, which is to be returned to investors in two illegitimate schemes that were scrapped), they incarcerated him in Tihar. The court is still trying to figure out how to get the money in and him out.

With Mallya too, the focus should first be on the money – and if the payment is inadequate, the banks can always request the courts to freeze his domestic assets for recovering whatever else they can from a sale.

If Mallya has broken the law, which could be in terms of delayed provident fund payments or non-payment to employees or the taxman, he can be proceeded against with evidence.

Trying to get him into jail first is pointless. We should be getting at his money. Ask Subrata Roy. The court went for him and his money is still out there, in assets of every kind. What a waste of time and effort when the money was always there for the courts and banks to target!

Andhra Pradesh: CM Chandrababu Naidu promises 5-day week, 30% additional HRA for staff

Secretarial staff who move from Hyderabad to Vijayawada are being promised huge benefits by Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. He has announced that in the new capital of Amaravati, the government will construct 5000 houses for employees. He has also approved their demand for a five-day week and 30% additional HRA. Landowners who give their land for the construction of the capital city will also get benefits, reported the Deccan Chronicle. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The AP government has also accepted the demand of metta landowners for 50 square yards of land as additional allotment, stated the report. Chandrababu Naidu was taking part in the housewarming ceremony of the temporary secretariat. At the function, he reportedly said that the government is set to provide all the necessary facilities for those who want to work from the new capital. He would look after them like a family member, he said. Chandrababu Naidu also added that all those who take part in the governance of AP from Amaravati should see themselves as shareholders. Employees had requested that they commute from Hyderabad to Vijayawada for some time and he had granted the request. He added that issues like education were there, so they would need to resolve those. The AP CM has stated that he wants to build a world-class capital soon so that it gives strength to the Telugu people, reported the daily.

Ambedkar Jayanti: How BR Ambedkar wanted to annihilate caste (Essay Excerpt)

On 12 December 1935, BR Ambedkar had been asked by the Jat-Pat Todak Mondal (Society for the Abolition of Caste System), a Hindu reformist group to address the annual conference and speak about the ill-effects of caste in Hindu society. When he sent his speech, titled the Annihilation of Caste to the committee they found the some of the contents against ‘Hinduism and its shashtras’. However, when he was asked to delete the offending paragraphs, he said that he ‘would not change a comma’,<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When the committee withdrew its invitation, he published the essay under the title Annihilation of Caste and its one of the most nuanced yet brutal take-downs of the oppressive caste system.Here’s an excerpt from that essay titled:
ALSO READ 125th birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar: This video tells us why we need him even todayThe real key to destroying Caste is rejection of the Shastras1: There is no doubt, in my opinion, that unless you change your social order you can achieve little by way of progress. You cannot mobilize the community either for defence or for offence. You cannot build anything on the foundations of caste. You cannot build up a nation, you cannot build up a morality. Anything that you will build on the foundations of caste will crack, and will never be a whole.2: The only question that remains to be considered is—How to bring about the reform of the Hindu social order? How to abolish Caste? This is a question of supreme importance. There is a view that in the reform of Caste, the first step to take is to abolish sub-castes. This view is based upon the supposition that there is a greater similarity in manners and status between sub-castes than there is between castes. I think this is an erroneous supposition. The Brahmins of Northern and Central India are socially of lower grade, as compared with the Brahmins of the Deccan and Southern India. The former are only cooks and water-carriers, while the latter occupy a high social position. On the other hand, in Northern India, the Vaishyas and Kayasthas are intellectually and socially on a par with the Brahmins of the Deccan and Southern India.
ALSO READ Rohith Vemula’s mother and brother to convert to Buddhism on 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar 3: Again, in the matter of food there is no similarity between the Brahmins of the Deccan and Southern India, who are vegetarians, and the Brahmins of Kashmir and Bengal, who are non-vegetarians. On the other hand, the Brahmins of the Deccan and Southern India have more in common so far as food is concerned with such non-Brahmins as the Gujaratis, Marwaris, Banias, and Jains.4: There is no doubt that from the standpoint of making the transition from one caste to another easy, the fusion of the Kayasthas of Northern India and the other Non-Brahmins of Southern India with the Non-Brahmins of the Deccan and the Dravidian country is more practicable than the fusion of the Brahmins of the South with the Brahmins of the North. But assuming that the fusion of sub-castes is possible, what guarantee is there that the abolition of sub-castes will necessarily lead to the abolition of castes? On the contrary, it may happen that the process may stop with the abolition of sub-castes. In that case, the abolition of sub-castes will only help to strengthen the castes, and make them more powerful and therefore more mischievous. This remedy is therefore neither practicable nor effective, and may easily prove to be a wrong remedy.5: Another plan of action for the abolition of Caste is to begin with inter-caste dinners. This also, in my opinion, is an inadequate remedy. There are many castes which allow inter-dining. But it is a common experience that inter-dining has not succeeded in killing the spirit of Caste and the consciousness of Caste. I am convinced that the real remedy is inter-marriage. Fusion of blood can alone create the feeling of being kith and kin, and unless this feeling of kinship, of being kindred, becomes paramount, the separatist feeling—the feeling of being aliens—created by Caste will not vanish. Among the Hindus, inter-marriage must necessarily be a factor of greater force in social life than it need be in the life of the non-Hindus. Where society is already well-knit by other ties, marriage is an ordinary incident of life. But where society is cut asunder, marriage as a binding force becomes a matter of urgent necessity. The real remedy for breaking Caste is inter-marriage. Nothing else will serve as the solvent of Caste.6: Your Jat-Pat-Todak Mandal has adopted this line of attack. It is a direct and frontal attack, and I congratulate you upon a correct diagnosis, and more upon your having shown the courage to tell the Hindus what is really wrong with them. Political tyranny is nothing compared to social tyranny, and a reformer who defies society is a much more courageous man than a politician who defies the government. You are right in holding that Caste will cease to be an operative force only when inter-dining and inter-marriage have become matters of common course. You have located the source of the disease.7: But is your prescription the right prescription for the disease? Ask yourselves this question: why is it that a large majority of Hindus do not inter-dine and do not inter-marry? Why is it that your cause is not popular?8: There can be only one answer to this question, and it is that inter-dining and inter-marriage are repugnant to the beliefs and dogmas which the Hindus regard as sacred. Caste is not a physical object like a wall of bricks or a line of barbed wire which prevents the Hindus from commingling and which has, therefore, to be pulled down. Caste is a notion, it is a state of the mind. The destruction of Caste does not therefore mean the destruction of a physical barrier. It means a notional change.9: Caste may be bad. Caste may lead to conduct so gross as to be called man’s inhumanity to man. All the same, it must be recognized that the Hindus observe Caste not because they are inhuman or wrong-headed. They observe Caste because they are deeply religious. People are not wrong in observing Caste. In my view, what is wrong is their religion, which has inculcated this notion of Caste. If this is correct, then obviously the enemy you must grapple with is not the people who observe Caste, but the Shastras which teach them this religion of Caste. Criticising and ridiculing people for not inter-dining or inter-marrying, or occasionally holding inter-caste dinners and celebrating inter-caste marriages, is a futile method of achieving the desired end. The real remedy is to destroy the belief in the sanctity of the Shastras.10: How do you expect to succeed, if you allow the Shastras to continue to mould the beliefs and opinions of the people? Not to question the authority of the Shastras—to permit the people to believe in their sanctity and their sanctions, and then to blame the people and to criticise them for their acts as being irrational and inhuman—is an incongruous way of carrying on social reform. Reformers working for the removal of untouchability, including Mahatma Gandhi, do not seem to realize that the acts of the people are merely the results of their beliefs inculcated in their minds by the Shastras, and that people will not change their conduct until they cease to believe in the sanctity of the Shastras on which their conduct is founded.11: No wonder that such efforts have not produced any results. You also seem to be erring in the same way as the reformers working in the cause of removing untouchability. To agitate for and to organise inter-caste dinners and inter-caste marriages is like forced feeding brought about by artificial means. Make every man and woman free from the thraldom of the Shastras, cleanse their minds of the pernicious notions founded on the Shastras, and he or she will inter-dine and inter-marry, without your telling him or her to do so.12: It is no use seeking refuge in quibbles. It is no use telling people that the Shastras do not say what they are believed to say, if they are grammatically read or logically interpreted. What matters is how the Shastras have been understood by the people. You must take the stand that Buddha took. You must take the stand which Guru Nanak took. You must not only discard the Shastras, you must deny their authority, as did Buddha and Nanak. You must have courage to tell the Hindus that what is wrong with them is their religion—the religion which has produced in them this notion of the sacredness of Caste. Will you show that courage?Source: Columbia UniversityRead the full essay here

Tamil Nadu: Father arrested for stoning 11-month-old son to death

In Namakkal, Tamil Nadu, a 32-year-old farmer was arrested for torturing and stoning his 11-month-old son to death and burying the body in his farm at Jameen Ilampillai village. According to the Deccan Chronicle, Tamizhselvan believed that the child was born out of an illicit affair. The police stated that he hit the head of his son against the floor and pounded the child’s head with stones to kill him.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Wednesday, the body of the child was exhumed from the farm and a post-mortem conducted on the spot by government doctors. Tamizhselvan was arrested by the police for killing his child. The daily reported that P Tamizhselvan was arrested in December 2015 for torturing his wife Revathi and pushing her to commit suicide. Tamizhselvan had suspected that his wife was having an affair and used to torture her. She consumed poison and committed suicide in December 2015. The police had arrested him for abetting his wife’s suicide. Police told the daily that Tamizhselvan had a four-year-old girl, Mallika, and a 11-month-old son with his wife. In his absence, Tamizhselvan’s sister has been looking after the two children. He was released on bail on March 18.The daily reports that upon his release he went to his sister’s house and forcibly took the two children back to his house. When his father found the grandson missing he filed a police complaint. Tamizhselvan had disappeared and the police were hunting for him.On Wednesday, he surrendered to the village administrative officer Jameen Illampillai. He reportedly confessed to having killed his son with stones and burying the child on the farm.

Pune: Journalism students receive threat for inviting Kanhaiya Kumar

Journalism students at an institute in Pune have claimed they were threatened against inviting JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar for a discussion by a suspected activist of BJP’s youth wing, police said on Thursday.A non-cognisable offence has been registered against one Omkar Kadam, who is believed to be a worker of Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), after a complaint was lodged against him by students of Ranade Institute last evening, an official attached with Deccan Gymkhana police station said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the complaint, Kadam went to the institute last evening and threatened the students with “dire consequences” that if they invite Kanhaiya to the campus, they (students) will be “beaten up,” he said.Kadam also advised the students to go to Delhi to hear Kanhaiya, police said, adding preventive action would be take against the accused.”There were no plans to invite Kanhaiya; however, following the threat, we would like to invite him to hear his version of JNU incidents, the way we heard Alok Singh, JNU’s ABVP president on Tuesday during an informal discussion on ‘Truth of JNU’,” said one of the students.Ranade Institute is the journalism college of Savitribai Phule Pune University.

Bengaluru: Police book Uber driver misbehaving with techie

In Bengaluru, an Uber driver allegedly misbehaved with a techie passenger when he was driving her from HSR Layout to SG Palya on Tuesday night. The woman passenger’s brother complained to Uber on Twitter as well the police about the lewd driver say media reports. Her brother wrote to Uber on social media stating: “Soon after my sister boarded from HSR Layout sector 7, the accused driver stopped the car multiple times in the slow moving traffic. While waiting at the Silk Board signal, the driver started to touch himself while the car was stationary, and continued the lewd gesture until she reached home.” The brother has told media that Uber did not reply to their complaints immediately.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The woman techie also took to twitter to write about her traumatic experience. She wrote: “@Uber_BLR – Harassment on roads. You have creepy drivers on board. It is a tough life out there for women. I am sickened.”When she reached home and confronted the can driver he denied any wrongdoing reportedly. In fact, the cab driver apologised and told her to give him a five-star rating on the Uber app.The Bengaluru police have treated the case as high priority reportedly and are looking out for the driver.Though Uber had been alerted about the incident as soon as the incident took place (between 7.30 and 8.15pm on March 22), the company did not reply till 3pm on Wednesday.An Uber spokesperson has been quoted by Deccan Chronicle as stating that they have spoken to the passenger and driver and the driver has been wait-listed. They are also co-operating with the police. In July 2015, another techie was allegedly abused and harassed by an Uber driver as well. She filed a complaint with the police and the driver then dismissed by Uber.

Fergusson College row: Principal retracts letter written to Pune police, says ‘anti-national’ word was ‘typo error’

Less than 24 hours after writing to the police for taking action against those who allegedly raised ‘anti-national slogans’ in premises of Fergusson College campus, the principal has retracted the letter saying it was a ‘typo error’.ABVP activists and some students from Left organisations on Tuesday had heated arguments during an ‘informal’ discussion organised by the ABVP on ‘Truth of JNU’ at the Fergusson College campus. ABVP’s Jawaharlal Nehru University unit’s president Alok Singh was also present during the event.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, stating that the word ‘anti-national’ was included in the letter due to a printing error, the principal has retracted the letter.In a letter dated March 22, 2016, Ravindra Pardeshi, Principal of the college had urged Senior Police Inspector of Deccan Gymkhana Police station to take action against those who raised “anti-national slogans”.Police, who eventually intervened and dispersed the crowd, said that some students from Left groups reached the spot and started arguing with the ABVP members which led to angry exchanges and slogan-shouting.”The college had denied permission and still ABVP organised the program at a time when the examinations are going on,” said a student from an Ambedkarite group.But ABVP members said they sought permission, but as it was an informal discussion, the college authorities said the permission was not needed.Principal of Ferguson College had also said no permission had been granted to ABVP. The ABVP later staged another discussion at the Ranade Institute of Journalism. The institute authorities did not allow them in at first, so the ABVP members and the institute students started the discussion sitting on two sides of the gate.Later they were allowed to have a discussion inside the campus.

Tamil Nadu: High Court gives interim stay on triple talaq case

Nazeema who was married to M Mydeen Batcha, a railway employee from Rajapalayam, was issued a triple talaq by her husband in 2010. She had then approached the Madurai bench and filed a writ appeal. Now, the Madurai Bench of Madras HC has issued an interim stay on a lower court order which accepted the triple talaq divorce.According to a report in the Deccan Chronicle, Naeema stated in her writ appeal that during the wedding in 2007, her father had given 30 sovereigns of gold jewellery and Rs 40,000 cash as dowry to the husband’s family. She has alleged that her in-laws later started demanding more dowry and mentally tortured her. She then approached the All Women Police station, Bodi in 2009 and filed a complaint. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Her husband had asked her to withdraw the complaint with the promise that their married life would be peaceful. However, in April 2010, Batcha gave her a triple talaq to end their marriage. The daily adds that Nazeema approached the lower court in Theni to declare the triple talaq as null and void and the judgement was in her favour. But Batcha then filed an appeal in the additional district court Theni at Periyakulam in 2015. Post the trial, the additional district and session judge, Theni accepted Batcha’s triple talaq as valid.Justice R Mahadevan of the Madurai Bench of Madras HC has now passed an interim order against the lower court judgement, adds the report. The judge has directed Batcha to file a counter within three weeks.

Tamil Nadu: Students vandalise and set college hostel on fire

College students at a private engineering college near Rasipuram, Namakkal have vandalised the college hostel.According to a report in Deccan Chronicle, the students set their college hostel rooms on fire, threw liquor bottles and damaged cots in rooms. The report adds that those staying in the hostel of the Muthayammal Engineering College were protesting the suspension of two students. The two students had allegedly got into a fight with the college authorities over the lack of water in the hostel toilets. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The private engineering college at Kakkaveri near Rasipuram has around 4,500 students of which about 780 stay in the hostel. On March 17, Manoj Prasad from Chidambaram and M.Tharun Varshan from Bargur in Krishnagiri, had reportedly abused the hostel warden as there was no water supply in the hostels. They are both third year students. As a result, the college management suspended them.To protest the suspension, the other hostel students went on a rampage and broke cots and set mattresses in the rooms on fire. They also reportedly threw liquor bottles. The fire was quickly put out, adds the report. The college has now shut the hostel and sent the students back home. Meanwhile, the Namagiripettai revenue inspector Vijayalakshmi has conducted an inquiry into how liquor bottles were brought into the hostel rooms. He is also investigating whether basic amenities had been provided for the students. The students have alleged that drinking water was available only on the first floor of the five-floor hostel which also lacked basic amenities.

Tamil Nadu polls to be held by late April or early May 2016

The poll dates for Tamil Nadu and four other states will be announced next week by the Election Commission (EC).According to a report in the Deccan Chronicle, a meeting with the Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners will be held after 1 March and then the election dates will be announced. Sources have told the daily that dates for elections to the Assemblies of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry would be announced before 6 March. A senior official was quoted as saying that the Election Commission is mandated to give a gap of at least 40 to 45 days from the date of announcement of polls to the polling date and thus the dates would be announced before 6 March.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The daily also reports that elections for the Tamil Nadu Assembly would be held either in the last week of April or first week of May. Tamil Nadu is to go to polls on a single day, unlike West Bengal or Assam which will have staggered polling.

Hyderabad to get a World Trade Centre soon

After Mumbai and Bengaluru, Hyderabad will be the third city in India to get a World Trade Centre. A report in Deccan Chronicle states that this will become another hub for international businesses in the city. There are World Trade Centres (WTC) in a 100 countries at this point.According to the report, the Telangana government is planning to set up the WTC in a public-private-partnership mode on outskirts of the city. The state government will get a licence from the World Trade Centres Association (WTCA) for the same. The headquarters of the WTCA are in New York. It was established in 1970 as a non-profit organisation to promote international trade.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Deccan Chronicle quotes industries minister Jupally Krishna Rao as saying that the WTC was part of the TRS government’s plan to transform Hyderabad into a global city. The government is planning to tie-up with Bengaluru-based real estate company Brigade Group. The Brigade Group has already secured a licence from WTCA for setting up a WTC in Hyderabad, along with Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai.Rao told the daily that the WTC project will be presented in the March budget. Around Rs 300 crore will be required for its construction and the government will work out modalities for executing the project in PPP mode, according to him. Each tower of the WTC in Hyderabad is expected to have 30 to 35 floors and state-of-the-art infrastructure.The government now has to allot the land for the WTC.

Bengaluru: Three students assaulted by residents for drinking tea on footpath

Local residents in Bengaluru allegedly assaulted three students for sitting on the footpath and drinking tea. The two girls and their male classmate were reportedly sitting on the footpath together, drinking tea. This seems to have angered the local residents who are said to have chased and assaulted them. The three students had come to Bengaluru from Kerala for their studies. A report in Deccan Chronicle states Angela Antony, Sherin and Nikhil, students of a private college, were sitting on the pavement at about 6:30 pm. A woman, who was a local resident, got into an argument with them asking why they were sitting there. Angela was quoted by the daily as saying that a crowd gathered and they started threatening the students in Kannada. The students were reportedly told that the footpath wasn’t theirs, they were foreigners and they were to drink tea only in the college premises. The woman also stated that was not the right time to sit there and drink tea. She then reportedly slapped Sherin on the shoulder. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The daily adds that the woman’s son followed Angela to her hostel. He also pushed Nikhil to the ground and then punched his face as well. He then hit Sherin in the ribs and twisted Angela’s hands and assaulted her. Some women rescued her but then told her she should behave herself. The report adds that their friend Niranjan came to their rescue. Angela was quoted as saying that Sherin’s limbs were swollen and Nikhil had a broken jaw and a sprained knee.

Bengaluru: Class nine student raped by PT teacher

A class nine student was allegedly raped by a physical education instructor at his sister’s home, reports the Deccan Chronicle.The teacher, identified as Lakshmikantha, had lured the student to his sister’s house outside the school’s premises which comes under Jalahalli police station limits. The 35-year-old had repeatedly sexually assaulted the girl between June and November last year. The girl shared the ordeal with her friends who then alerted the school management.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The management then conducted a detailed enquiry and found that the teacher was guilty. They filed a complaint with the Jalahalli police on Tuesday night. Police has filed the case under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and the victim has undergone a medical examination. Lakshmikantha has however quit work and gone into hiding.“The place of crime, where he allegedly sexually assaulted the girl, is outside the school premises, which is the accused sister’s house. The victim said that she was assaulted about three to four times between June and November,” said Mr TR Suresh, DCP (North Division). “But the school authorities found out only in January-end when the girl’s classmates informed a teacher, after which an inquiry was initiated by the school management,” Mr Suresh said.Jalahalli police recorded statements of victim and her parents and is on a hunt for the teacher. They have booked him under under Section 376 of IPC (for rape) and Section 6 of the POCSO Act (aggravated penetrative sexual assault).

Chennai: India’s largest railway station food court to come up at Tambaram

In six months, Chennai’s Tambaram station will have India’s largest railway station food court. There will be at least 25 brands that will dish out Indian and continental food to passengers and others at the station. The food court will be spread across three areas – the concourse, on the GST side and the Eastern side of the Tambaram railway station – according to a report in Deccan Chronicle. About 1.7 lakh commuters will benefit from this food court.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior officials of the IRCTC have told the daily that there will be everything from ‘medhu vada’ ‘appam’ and ‘parotta’ to pizzas and burgers here. It will take six months for the food court to be constructed and N Gopinathan, chief project consultant, has stated that they expect Rs 5 to Rs 7 lakh sales daily. The food court will be spread over 15000 square feet and be run and operated by JS Caterers, states the daily. JS Caterers are an Erode-based catering chain and have won the financial bid at Rs 4 crore per annum for the next 12 years.Praveen Khatri who is one of the designers of the food court told the daily that they will start with 14 counters at the basement of the main food court. The outlet will be air-conditioned and people can have coffee at the stands at the entrance.

Chennai airport takes steps to check Zika virus threat

With the Zika virus spreading rapidly to different countries, Chennai airport officials are taking steps to monitor incoming passengers. A report in Deccan Chronicle states that those arriving at the international terminal will be checked as a precautionary measure against the Zika virus.An important measure is vector surveillance which is being conducted to eliminate the breeding grounds of the Aedes mosquitoes which carry the Zika virus. The vector surveillance is now being conducted by the state government and the airports authority within 400 metres around the city airport. All the stakeholders including immigration officials have been sensitised, adds the report.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to an airport official, there are now signages at the airport to inform those flying out and arriving about the Zika virus. There are also in-flight spraying operations that are taking place and immigration officials have been told to check on anyone displaying symptoms. Airlines have been informed of the do’s and don’ts as well. At this point, there are no direct flights from Chennai to the affected countries, but transit points are a concern.

Telangana: Pregnant woman assaulted and paraded naked in Warangal

On Monday, a 20-year-old pregnant woman was stripped, assaulted and paraded naked in Wardhannapet by her husband’s first wife’s relatives. A report in Deccan Chronicle states that the relatives blamed the young woman for neglecting the first wife. They allegedly beat her up, burnt her private parts with a piece of burning wood and paraded her naked on the streets, The police and local people came to the help of the young woman, Anitha, and rescued her and admitted her to the local hospital. Now the police have filed a case against nine people including Anitha’s husband, Bbanoth Ravi, and the first wife Swaroopa. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Wardhannapet CI Santhosh has told the daily that Anitha and Ravi, who was a farmer, got secretly married in Tirupati in March 2015. But Ravi had already been married to Swaroopa for five years and had two children. Once Swaroopa found out, they had a big argument and he apparently started to neglect her and moved in with Anitha.The police have also told the daily that Ravi ill-treated Swaroopa and her parents when they questioned him. Swaroopa finally went to the panchayat who was looking into the matter. Ravi had reportedly told her he would give Rs 7.5 lakh to his children and divorce her. At the panchayat hearing, a fight broke out between Ravi, Swaroopa and Anitha. Ravi was attacked by Swaroopa’s relatives and he fled so they then attacked Anitha.Police cases were registered and Swaroopa and Ravi are now in custody along with some others adds the daily.

Govt develops app to help small industries: Union health minister

The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Jagat Prakash Nadda has said that the government is set to help small scale industries.A report in Deccan Chornicle quotes him as saying the government has developed a mobile application which will cater exclusively to small scale industries. Through this app, small scale industries can put forth its queries and problems and the government will immediately sort out the issue, he said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The announcement was made while addressing weavers, students and intellectuals at Madanapalle on Monday. Stressing that the handloom industry is the second biggest in the country after agriculture, he said that the government was committed to protecting the interests of weavers. He also said he had interacted with various sections of the people including women, farmers, weavers and those involved in the unorganised sector during last two years. Based on these interactions, he said that there have been issues identified which affect each section of the society. He said that these issues will be taken up with the ministries concerned so they can find a solution.

Abhorrent carriage of vigilante justice: Tanzanian girl in Bengaluru beaten, stripped, paraded naked

A 21-year old Tanzanian student was beaten, stripped off her clothing and forced to parade around naked by a lynch mob in Bengaluru. The absurd and downright disgusting incident occurred on Sunday, two days after a 35-year-old woman was allegedly run over by a car being driven by a Sudanese student.

According to Deccan Herald, the woman was killed on the spot, the car had hit motorcycles on Hesaraghatta Main Road in the city. The driver of the car,Mohammed Ismail, fled the scene. He was chased by locals, who attacked him. The locals set two cars on fire belonging to African students and thrashed two boys and a girl from Tanzania mistaking them to be Ismail’s (the driver) friends.

Representative image. PTIRepresentative image. PTI

Representative image. PTI

Deccan Chronicle reports that the 21-year-old, a second year Bachelors in Business Administration student from Acharya College, was beaten without mercy and stripped. She had arrived in another car to the scene with four others and had nothing to do with the accident, she was dragged out of the car and assaulted as the local police watched.

This other Deccan Chronicle report has named the hit and run assailant as Mohammed Ahad and says that he was returning home after a party. Ahad/Ismail’s car had hit two motorcycles and a car just a few meters close to the accident spot.

The News Minute reports that the angry mob burnt down a car — however, it is unclear as to whose car was burnt (the one that was the student’s or the one involved in the accident). Deccan Herald claims that the residents chased Ismail’s (Ahad) car, caught him, thrashed him and then set his car ablaze. Sify News claims that the mob also torched the second car along with their passports, ID cards, phones and ATM cards.

Bosco Kaweesi, legal advisor of All African Students Union told the journal that the mob thought the girl was with the same group (the ones who killed the woman) and forced them to come out of the car, “while three of her friends escaped, she was held by the locals, stripped, beaten up and paraded on the road,” he said.  It is stated in Deccan Herald that police rushed to the stop, additional forces were deployed to ease the tension; locals staged demonstrations seeking action against African students. The locals claim that they are frequently involved in incidents of rash driving.

Urine is as effective as Dettol, says Lalu Prasad Yadav

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president, Lalu Prasad Yadav, has stated that urine used to be an effective anti-septic in an emergency situation in the past.A report in Deccan Herald states that he made this statement when he was at the ‘Diverse disease and simplicity of homoeopathy doctors’ seminar organised by the Homoeopathy Science Congress in Patna.Lalu reportedly said, “Earlier, during our childhood days, whenever we used to sustain injuries, we would apply urine, which worked as anti-septic. Now people use Dettol, and some of them now use it (Dettol) to wash their hands. This is the only progress we have made.” The audience is said to have responded with laughter.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Later, endorsing the benefits of homeopathy, Lalu said that allopathy has side effects, but homeopathy does not.He added that he was filling in for his son Tej Pratap, the state Health Minister, as he was busy and could not attend the homoeopathy doctors’ meet.Responding to recent criticism of him acting like a ‘proxy’ for his son, Lalu clarified that he had gone to inspect the IGIMS hospital as it was was built when he was Bihar CM. “I just wanted to survey how the hospital was functioning nowadays,” the report quotes him as saying.

Girl student goes missing from IIT Madras

An IIT Madras student from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh has gone missing. The 26-year-old girl has reportedly left a goodbye note saying she has gone on a pilgrimage to the Himalayas. A report in the Deccan Chronicle states Vedantam.L. Prathyusha has been missing from January 17. She was a second-year student of MS engineering design.The note she left behind reportedly have been written in Tamil and English and was allegedly found in her room. The note states that she was leaving IIT M as she wanted to become a saint. It also stated that she was being protected by God and will never be found by her family.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prathyusha was reportedly in the Sharavati hostel at IIT Madras and then moved to the Sabarmati hostel. A member of the college staff has told the daily that she was always smiling and a nice person. Her college-mates also stated that she was a bubbly girl and that she did not appear to be depressed. The daily reports a collegemate as saying that they were shocked to suddenly hear that she wanted to attain sainthood. Meanwhile, IIT Madras has issued a statement stating that they have filed a police complaint on the request of the parents of a girl student. She reportedly left the hostel early morning January 17 but she never reached her parents home.