Times of India

Shah’s rousing speech in Bengal which Lutyens Media fudged

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Since Lutyens Media—Times of India, Indian Express, Hindustan Times and The Hindu—is so hopeless, I took to computer to read the local daily, The Telegraph and catch the action from ground in Kolkata this morning.

The event I was excited about was Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the capital of Bengal—the first since the 2019 Elections in May which all but buried the ruling dispensation of Trinamool Congress. Shah was visiting Kolkata and inaugurating a pandal of “Durga Puja.” He later addressed a crowd of 11,000, mostly BJP workers, at Netaji Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.

I took to The Telegraph after the Lutyens Media failed me in terms of details of Shah’s address. Every line in Lutyens Media was honed in on the National Register of Citizens (NRC), a Supreme Court-mandated exercise which was taken recently in Assam and excluded over 19 lakh citizens.  Lutyens Media, not one of them, sees logic in throwing out infiltrators which the NRC is all about. Instead, the projection is that the right-wing Centre is hell-bent on making life miserable for Muslim minority. What is infiltration is persecution of minority Muslims in their eyes.

But I found The Telegraph worse. It has put Amit Shah’s speech as lead story of its edition today. The newspaper prepared me for its bigotry with the headline itself: “Shah shifts focus, assures all but one.” In the text, it quotes Shah: “I assure all refugees—Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Buddhist and Christian—that the government of India would not ask any one of them to leave the country.” The newspaper then adds a line of its own: “The home minister of the Union of India did not mention one community.”

The Telegraph, of course, was stoking the fears of Muslims. That they are being targeted by a “communal” right-wing government in the Centre. It was pulling wool over the eyes of its readers by blurring the distinction between refugees and infiltrators; between Citizenship Bill and NRC.

Citizenship Bill is aimed to provide shelter and dignity to lakhs of Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Buddhist and Christian refugees who have fled Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh due to religious persecution. NRC, on the other hand, is an exercise to stop infiltrators who have sneaked in into India and can’t be called refugees. In terms of definition too, refugees and infiltrators are two completely different things. Refugees are fleeing state persecution. Infiltrators are coming in with devious motives of their own.

But our newspapers are hell-bent in sensationalizing and distorting the ground reality. One has no way of checking Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s claim of 19 deaths so far due to NRC fears since her writ runs large in the state. But clearly she is desperately pulling all stops to ensure her Muslim vote bank stays intact. Politicans, who project themselves as protectors of a community, are known to heighten their fears and insecurities for their own benefit. What if lives are lost and families ruined in the narrative manufactured by them?

Most newspapers have given a miss that Amit Shah called out Mamata Banerjee on her doublespeak—she was the one who on August 4, 2005 demanded infiltrators be thrown out of Bengal in the state assembly. Now the shoe is in the other foot!

They have also left out Amit Shah’s perceptive comments on Bengal of today:

That at the time of independence and now, Bengal’s industrial production (27% then, 3.3% now), industrial jobs (28.9% then, 4.2% now), medicine production (70% then, 6% now), bank deposit numbers (22% then, 6.3% now) have shown  staggering fall.  That, those were the years when Bengal was known for its literature, music, religious and spiritual leaders, and scientists? “Where’s the Sonar Bangla we all dreamt about,” Shah had thundered, “Is this why you removed Communists?”

Shah touched a raw nerve of ruling dispensation of Bengal when it reminded the gathered audience in his unique, compelling way. “Are you happy that Article 370 is abrogated,” he asked the jam-packed stadium. As a deafening noise of approval went up, Shah chipped in with his punchline: “But do you know that TMC (MPs) walked out in protest when Article 370 was being abrogated in the Parliament,”?

The rising cultural assertion among the masses of Bengal led to BJP cornering 18 seats to 22 of TMC. “Now no one stop you from delaying the “visarjan” in Durga Puja…nobody has the guts to stop Durga Puja  or Basant Puja, Saraswati Puja, Ramnavmi and Janmaashthmi,” said Shah which struck a chord with the audience. As is known, Mamta Banerjee postponed “visarjan” on more than one occasion to let muharram be observed on its scheduled date. Shaken by the 2019 general polls, she is now rushing and practically inaugurating every major Durga Puja pandal in the metropolis in her bid to woo Hindus.

Political battles are ok and certainly partisan but the nation is hurt when newspapers forsake their objectivity and neutrality. None have bothered to bring the larger picture of Shah’s address to its readers. Instead, the method is manipulation. None have questioned the shambolic law and order situation in the state. None have bothered to train their investigations on Narada, Sharada or Rose Valley scams. None have pointed out that at least 30 BJP members have been killed in the fourth months since 2019 General Polls.

(Post script: For the benefit of readers, here’s the link where you could see Amit Shah’s address in entirety).

 

PC denied bail: Is Times of India out of its’ mind?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Is Times of India out of its’ mind?

It front pages a story “HC praise PC, but declines to grant bail” which is a complete flip on the chilling pronouncement by the High Court against jailed former Union minister P. Chidambaram that has led his family, friends and supporters deeply red-faced.

Chidambaram has been lodged in Tihar jail since August 21, one of the most high-profile arrests of independent India, over allegations by India’s premier investigating agency, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), that he helped INX Media gain Rs 305 crores from foreign investments in 2007 through Foreign Investment Promotion Board.

Alongside is Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigating P. Chidambaram on the alleged offence of money laundering which, the allegation is, was meant to profit his son, Karti Chidambaram.

The “praise” Times of India is attributing to High Court in favour of P. Chidambaram has been taken out of context. The newspaper claims the court acknowledged Chidambaram had been a “strong finance minister and home minister and presently member of Indian Parliament.”

So, to the benefit of readers, this is what Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said in denying bail to P. Chidambaram.

“It is on record that large sum of monies has come into the companies owned/or controlled by the co-conspirator Karti P. Chidambaram during the relevant period for the favours shown by the petitioners to the INX Media.”

Holding that the “order of remand for judicial custody of the trial court is justified”, Justice Kait said: “It cannot be disputed that if the case is proved against the petitioner (Chidambaram), the offence is on the society, economy, financial stability and integrity of the country.”

“It is  fact that the entire community is aggrieved if the economic offenders, who ruin the economy of the state, are not brought to book as such offences affect the very fabric of democratic governance and probity in public life,” he said.

Justice Kait seemed to agree with the submission of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the material witnesses have been approached by the accused “not to disclose” any information regarding him and his son Karti.

“He has deep roots in Indian society and maybe some connection abroad. But the fact that he will not influence the witnesses, directly or indirectly cannot be ruled out…Moreover, the investigation is at an advanced stage…therefore, this court is not inclined to grant bail,” said Justice Kait.

This by any chance looks like praise to you?

The truth is Justice Kait began his pronouncements with the words: “This court cannot dispute the fact that the petitioner has been a strong Finance Minister and Home Minister and presently, Member of Indian Parliament…”

Judicial pronouncements usually build up its narrative putting all things in perspective. Justice Kait’s delivery on Monday was no different. But to headline your story as “HC praise PC” is a complete travesty to a damning verdict.

It is also no excuse that the newspaper was struggling for space to fit in the story. We have this comical situation of Lutyens Media reserving first four pages of its print editions these days to advertisements in the festive season. Yet it couldn’t find space for a “strong” former Union minister who is feared by the High Court, if the offence is proved, to have affected “the society, economy, financial stability and integrity of the country…that the entire community is aggrieved if the economic offenders are not brought to book…”

 

Barkha Dutt’s bizarre rant on P. Chidambaram in Tihar jail

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

On the two sides of political divide, India’s Right and Left-Liberals, only a handful enjoy a persona such as P. Chidambaram. He is an elite among elitists, second only to Gandhis, and his gravitas in public appearances suggests of a man bred in arrogance. He isn’t of a light-banter type, back-slapping his friends. Never a dhoti and a khadi shirt has been worn with a swagger which could put  rockstar in shade.

Chidambaram wears a smile which he could patent. It’s a benign, patronizing smile, never warm, only a favour which he is bestowing to his audience. When he speaks, there is this cocked eyebrow judging you on your incompetence. He is that Pope of politics who is used to reverence from his audience.

In a sense, it’s a classic cloak borrowed off from the Nehru-Gandhis: A benevolent knight, God’s chosen one for his people, who must have his cake while the masses must revel in the crumbs. A blue-blooded Congressman never questions the scions; and never lets down the coterie and sycophants who must do his bidding.

The morning after Tihar got arguably its most famous occupant, Lutyens Media who breed and multiply like mosquito do in sewers and gutters, were busy treating the moment as a victory of sorts. Hindustan Times lettered “Chidambaram, Karti get relief from arrest”;  Times of India made much of Supreme Court disapproving of High Court judge quoting Enforcement Directorate (ED) note; The Hindu didn’t forget to mention Chidambaram and son got anticipatory bail in Aircel-Maxis money laundering case;  and Indian Express, the daddy of them all, front-paged “Judge-slams-agencies”.

I mean a heavyweight-like-few-others is in notorious Tihar jail. Chidambaram is a thread which could showcase the entire gamut of alleged corruption in the decade (2004-2014) of UPA rule, reveal the arteries and veins which gutted body India, arguably institutionalized corruption; sterilized bureaucracy and defanged investigating agencies. It has a far bigger implication for the present and the future then a mere judicial custody. Yet our Lutyens Media has just taken a note of his arrest: There are no sermons, no digging up the dirt, no editorial – nothing.

The servile TV channels for once were not too keen on TRPs. None of them stationed their cameras in front of Tihar Jail for images which could have lasted them a week. No helicopters like they did once as Sanjay Dutt was being whisked to the Yerwada jail. These were the very channels who were aghast when CBI men were jumping the fence of Chidambaram’s residence. Yet the TV grabs of the year were not shot, nor archived for posterity. As if they wanted to erase people’s memory, sanitize history.

I scanned the timeline of Shekhar Gupta, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose etc on twitter and found nothing this morning. JUST NOTHING.  The one of Barkha Dutt though was outrageous. She may have changed media affiliations faster than actors change clothes in a song sequence but her crooked logic is unimpaired.

Ms Dutt is aghast as to why Congress is not taking to the streets on the matter of P. Chidambaram! Could you believe it! Ms Dutt is asking Congress to mobilize public opinion and come out in support of its two stalwarts (the other one being DK Shivakumar). She would rather have the party alienate the people than dump the allegedly corrupt. She is exhorting Congress to defend the two infamous.  She views DK Shivakumar as a fire-fighter for Congress; and can’t get over the fact that the Party has done no better than depute its legal luminaries or arrange just a press conference for P. Chidambaram. She is asking Sonia and Rahul to sit outside PC’s residence and court arrest alongside him. She is asking if Priyanka Gandhi could accompany Robert Vadra, why not here? Barkha sure is a queen of the bizarre.

It is no different to how Lutyens Media treated the Sunanda Pushkar murder (yes, murder now that it has been established she was poisoned). There was no journalism of courage, no intense gaze which could penetrate the layers of deception. Or how they treated the Sonia-Rahul bail in National Herald case, AgustaWestland and many other scams: just in passing. It’s different from the anniversary they run on an Akhlaq and a Pehlu Khan; a Gauri Lankesh or an Asifa Bano.

There is no escaping the fact that a few luminaries and media houses are part of this “eco-system.” This eco-system is willing to ignore corruption, blood stains, violence, seditious conduct and harm to this country as long as it serves their agenda. Their sense of democracy and secularism has a skewed prism. Never lose an opportunity to hang them out to dry.

Guide to nail 5 essential lies on Jammu and Kashmir

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

You are subjected to five essential lies on Jammu and Kashmir. Please use the below Primer if your teenage daughters, coffee friends or a stranger in transit try to shame you on celebrating the new status of Jammu and Kashmir. Who knows, inadvertently, you might be creating new foot soldiers to take on the Break-India forces and its stooge media. So here it is:

Abrogation of Article 370 is illegal:

Article 370 comes under part XXI of the Constitution of India which deals with “Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions.”

Article 370 was not incorporated when Maharaja Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession on October 26-27, 1947.  It came a full two years later in October 1949 at the instance of Sheikh Abdullah, who was a member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the Constitution.

Indeed, Article 370 became operative only in 1952.

So give a resounding kick in the butt to those who say that Jammu and Kashmir agreed to become a part of India only after it was assured the special protection of Article 370.

A bit of history won’t hurt you either.

India’s law minister, Dr. B.R.Ambedkar was firmly opposed to Article 370. This is what Dr. Ambedkar said to Sheikh Abdullah (as quoted in Dr. BR Ambedkar, Framing of Indian Constitution, by Dr S.N Busi):

“Mr Abdullah, you want India should protect your borders, she should build roads in your area, she should supply you food grains…but you don’t want India and any citizen of India to have any rights in Kashmir…To give consent to this proposal would be treacherous…I cannot betray the interests of my country.”

A full decade on, even Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru was conceding in Parliament on November 27, 1963: “Article 370 is part of certain transitional, provisional arrangements. It’s not a permanent part of the Constitution.”

Next year, a private member’s bill sought the abrogation of Article 370 in the Parliament. It received a near-unanimous support. Prakash Vir Shastri had moved the bill in the Lok Sabha. Among supporters were stalwarts like Ram Manohar Lohia and K. Hanumanthaiya, a senior Congress leader.

Hanumanthaiya had then pointed out that fellow MPs, irrespective of party affiliations, had wanted the abrogation of Article 370 to be made into law. He had said: “To go against or to anything against this unanimous opinion in this House is to disown constitutional responsibility in a convenient manner. Article 370…stands in the way of full integration.”

Out of the 12 MPs who opposed the abrogation of Article 370, seven were from Congress, many of them stalwarts, including Inder J. Malhotra, Sham Lal Saraf, HV Kamath and Bhagwat Jha Azad.

And by the way, how come abrogating Article 370 is illegal when the Bill wa passed by two-thirds in the Rajya Sabha and four-fifths in the Lok Sabha this month?

Who benefitted from Article 370? Obviously, the common people of J& K didn’t. The Shia community, Gujjars, Bakkarwals, Gaddis, other Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled castes and people living in Ladakh and Kargil didn’t.  Nor did Kashmiri women who made the mistake of marrying a non-resident and couldn’t purchase or transfer property to their children.

Now, with its abrogation, a total of 106 Central Laws will now be extended to J & K. A load of benefit schemes would come the way of local citizens. Prevention of Corruption Act, Land Acquisition Act, National Commission for Minorities Act, Right to Education Act etc would become applicable.

Why Not Remove Special Status of North-East States Too

This again is an argument forwarded by mischief-makers relying on your ignorance. Tell them that Article 371 (a) to (j) for North Eastern and other states are SPECIAL and not TEMPORARY provisions. That is to protect the development of a particular region for particular tribes. These being special provisions are permanent in nature. They are not temporary as Article 370 was in J & K.

Basic Rights to Kashmiris Are Being Denied:

Oh, Really?

Restrictions in the form of suspension of internet or even mobile services occur every year in the Valley on Independence Day, Republic Day and Eid for the last 30 years! Durations of these restrictions have been far longer in the past.

Do you know the extent of clampdown in the Valley when it suffered a long spell of violence in 2010? What were the conditions during the long spell of unrest during the Amarnath land agitation in 2008? Why was Farooq Abdullah government (before 1984) was termed as Curfew Government?

Between 1990-1996, the Valley remained under curfew on an average 300 days in a year! It was largely under Governor’s Rule between 1990-1996.

Was it not a clampdown in the Valley when Mobiles were introduced in India in 1990s but not in Jammu and Kashmir? (It came about only in 2003 under the Atal Behari Vajpayee government).

Why was there no outcry then?

Now let’s look at the ground conditions in Jammu and Kashmir at this very moment. Activist Rahul Pandita spent 10 days in the Valley after the abrogation of Article 370 and this is what he wrote in Times of India this Sunday:

“I went around in a small car with a local number. I had no curfew pass. There were barricades but security forces could be convinced to let go, as we did several times.

“District Commissioner Srinagar had issued 161 passes to local journalists (while you kept hearing on your TV sets that journalists were unable to go anywhere).

“On Eid (no less), the government took more than 60 journalists on a chopper ride over Srinagar. (Despite stringent restrictions, many reached their neighbourhood mosques).

“Security was totally removed from downtown Srinagar between 4-7 p.m. Boys came out, they painted a little graffiti, but they did not indulge in clashes (Hey, BBC and Reuters, read that).

“Spoke to cross-section, families of policemen, from Shia community and other silent ones who say they are ok with Article 370 abrogation.”

Political Arrests Are Unprecedented:

A reality check.

Sheikh Abdullah was in prison for more than a decade. And he wasn’t under house arrest like the present Valley leaders are. He was packed away to Kodaikanal not by Modi but by Pt. Nehru.

Shyama Prasad Mookerjee was kept under house arrest for 44 days without any chargesheet or FIR in Kashmir Valley. Have you heard of any outcry of human rights violations on Mookerjee?

And what’s the definition of these political leaders of Kashmir Valley who thrive on elections which see only a sample of 8-10 per cent voters’ turnout? It allows them to make it to the Lok Sabha, to the state assembly, to form state governments, generation after generation, to perpetuate their dynastic rule?

And if so upset by political detentions, shed a tear for those who are detained in Jammu too!

Demography would change; Kashmiri culture would vanish

Well, when lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits were driven out of Valley on gunpoint, the demography change didn’t matter to the champions of these pseudo-seculars.

(Ironically, when Assam is trying to weed out the outsiders to save the local, indigenous culture, these pseudo-seculars are in support of the infiltrators. So guys, make up your mind: You can’t be resisting outsiders in one state and supporting outsiders in another!).

Does Kashmiri culture imply that they remain in a state of poverty and unemployment generation after generation? Isn’t the aspiration of a largely young population—70 per cent are below 40— is for real? Don’t they know that every year, in the civil services exam, you have a topper or someone in the Top 20 from the Valley? That about 30-40 Class 12 pass-outs from terror-affected districts qualify in the IIT-JEE exams. That at least 50 people qualify for the NEET exam, the all-India entrance for medical colleges?

Shobhaa De could be first in a long list to be exposed

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

An interesting sideshow calls for your attention. It’s serious too and has wider implications.

We have long wondered why a few of our journalists, politicians, film personalities, media houses, academicians and historians speak the language of Pakistan on matters of Kashmir and Indian Muslims. Why their concerns for refugees extend to Rohingyas but not to Kashmiri Pandits. Why they get worried about a demography change in Kashmir Valley but stand by the demographic distortion in Assam. Why Hindus lynched doesn’t even elicit a pause while a similar tragedy for a Muslim evokes a diatribe. Why animal-sacrifice is sacred for one while Jallikattu sport is animal-cruelty by others. Why Triple Talaq Bill is persecution of Muslim males but arrests under dowry act is justice. Why a Mamata Banerjee could openly appease the Muslims but the Prime Minister chanting “Jai Shri Ram” is communal.  Why skullcaps knocked off a Muslim head is bigotry but a Durga Temple vandalized, idols broken in the heart of India’s Capital is passé

The irrepressible Dr. Subramanian Swamy has an interesting explanation on such Break-India forces. He says that most of such voices are funded by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan. Even if neutral, all these inimical forces route their ill-gotten money through hawala by Dubai black money channels which in fact is controlled by ISI. The deal of the game is simple: You be of use to us to cause distortion of facts and a general amnesia in Indian state and we won’t spill the beans on what we do for you. But if you don’t, one line in press and you are finished, Dr Swamy tells of ISI’s implicit threat.

One such line has finally appeared in press. Shobhaa De, a regular columnist in Times of India, has been called out by former Pak envoy to India, Abdul Basit, for writing a pre-separatist piece on Jammu and Kashmir at latter’s prompting. Ms De has denied the allegation but really what other options she had? Nobody neutral is believing her as outpouring of reactions on twitter show. Her journalistic career is over in disgrace. All this by a stray comment in an obscure blog.

This must have sets alarm-bells ringing in dozens of such Shobhaa De’’s hidden in plain sight amongst us. Twitteratis have composed their own list but we won’t fall for it, not yet. But an educated guess is that the “disclosure” on Shobhaa De wasn’t accidental. A small pawn in a Great Game has been sacrificed to warn other rogues embedded in India’s fabric to do some meaningful damage to a purposeful Modi government. (Or why would you get headlines of “Sober Eid” in Kashmir Valley when governor Satyapal Malik is inviting everybody to come and see the exact opposite happening on ground).

India’s stand on abrogation of Article 370 and 35A and dilution of Jammu and Kashmir from a state to a Union Territory has dropped the baby of pretence. You are either this or that side of the divide: the clever game of rearranging the narrative and peddle the Pak agenda won’t work. Pakistan would demand “compliance” from these journalists and academicians; lawyers or social activists; filmi-sets or politicians. What fun would it be when such names are stripped of the cover of immunity and laid bare amidst us, as Shobhaa De currently is.

One has long wondered why a socialite with little idea of complexities and nuances of our political, cultural, economical or historical perspective gets to write in edit pages of India’s premier newspaper. It’s not also if her language is electric—why even a Twinkle Khanna in comparison reads better. Her readers, if any, ought to be on Page 3 and certainly not on the hollowed edit pages where burning, larger issues are in focus.

This is the set which ensures that anger in India is managed whenever a terrible tragedy happens in Kashmir Valley or in rest of India. Whenever a major attack happens in Kashmir or elsewhere, the bogey of “dara hua musalman” comes into play. It happened in 26/11 which, if it was a Modi government, would’ve certainly caused a war with Pakistan. When Pulwama happened, an orchestrated campaign in Lutyens Media began about Kashmiri students fleeing from rest of the country. The same narrative is overwhelming the front pages of Lutyens Media about “subdued Eid”, “scared” Kashmiris and the Valley being turned into a new “Palestine.”

We all know this is not true. So far government has ensured no untoward incident happens in the wake of their sensational decision on the troublesome state. But we all know that Pakistan won’t keep silent. It would use all tricks in the game and one of it is the “sleeper-cells” it has woven into India’s fabric. They are not allowed to be neutral. A goat is fattened not for nothing, to use a typical Eid flavour of the season.

RTI Amendment Bill 2019 & the fake charade of Tharoor

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Andimuthu Raja of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) calls it “a dark day for democracy.” Shashi Tharoor of the Congress sees  it a bid to remove “the two greatest armours of institutional independence” and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, views it as an attack on “our democratic right to information.”

Serious isn’t it. Who doesn’t know Raja or Tharoor or Chowdhury.  I mean we all have heard of 2G licenses,  Sunanda Pushkar and “gandi naali (drainage)” slur. They are our much-in-news parliamentarians who today have hogged our newspapers for faking their concern on the amendments to the Right To Information (RTI) Act 2019.

On Monday, Lok Sabha trembled to their din on the amendment to the RTI Act, 2005. As per the amendment, the Information Commissioners (ICs) will have terms and salaries decided by the Centre, instead of being on par with those of Election Commissioners. Tharoor bristled with rage: “Are you bringing this amendment because an IC asked the PMO to reveal the PM’s educational details?” Chowdhary found it an attempt to “keep tab on the Commission and kill its freedom.” NK Premachandran of Revolutionary Socialist Party (never mind if you haven’t heard of him) is convinced the amendment is an attempt to benefit the Central government.

All this for defining the terms and salaries of Information Commissioners?

So, here are the facts. The RTI Amendment Bill 2019 in no way compromises the autonomy or independence of RTI Act 2005. The amendment leaves Section 12(4) of the Act, which ensures autonomy and independence of the Act, untouched.  The appointment of Information Commissioners (Section 12.3) is also not tampered with.

Now to the terms and salaries of Information Commissioners.  The present amendment bill seeks to amend section 27 of RTI Act 2005 which DOESN’T define the tenure and terms of conditions for the ICs in its present form!!! Does clearing “ambiguity” on RTI Act sound like a “dark day for Indian democracy” to you?

As per the RTI Act 2005, chief information commissioner is equal to Chief Election Commissioner and there by equal to a Supreme Court judge. Similarly, the state Chief Commissioner is equal to election commissioner and thereby equal to Supreme Court judge.

This itself is an anomaly, considering the fact that Election Commission is a statuary body while Supreme Court and Election Commission are constitutional bodies.

The other contradiction is that CIC and state information commissioners enjoy the status of Supreme Court judge but the verdict passed is liable to be challenged in the High Court.  The present bill seeks to correct this anomaly.  Besides this amendment hasn’t originated from the government alone but also held by several sections of society and judiciary.

For example, the Rajiv Garg vs UOI Supreme Court judgment of 2013 directed that decision be taken on uniformity of service condition of various tribunals. Similarly, the Second Reform Commission in its 13th report of April 2009 also recommended that there is need for greater uniformity in service conditions. The recent judgment of high court of Kerala states that the Chairman and member of the CAT do no occupy the exalted position of the judge of high court merely because they are given the same benefits.

The present amendment merely is enabling legislation which will authorize the government to frame the rules by amending Section 27 and to deliberate upon the tenures and terms of Central and State Information Commission through Section 13 and Section 16 of the RTI Act 2005. The amendment would further streamline and institutionalize the RTI Act and further facilitate its delivery.

BJP sources say that the commitment of Modi government to strengthen the RTI Act is manifest in the fact that it has introduced the 24-hour portal and a mobile App for convenience of filing RTI anytime, 24 hours, 365 days in a year.

The present government has also implemented Section 4 of RTI Act whereby suo motto (on its own) information is now available on all the government websites even without having to file an RTI to seek information.

The leader of the largest opposition party (read Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of Congress) is also a member of the selection committee when there is no recognized member of opposition in Lok Sabha.

And for all this good, Shashi Tharoor calls it a RTI Elimination Bill.

Said a BJP source: “Those who have vested interest in using RTI as a tool of blackmail are making motivated allegations against the RTI Amendment Bill 2019 which are totally unfounded and unsubstantiated.”

Oh is it? RTI as a tool of blackmail? So next time you read screaming headlines in the Indian Express or The Hindu or Times of India or Hindustan Times or any other Indian daily curse the mugger who might have gained behind this charade of “scrutiny” for public good.

Meanwhile, the RTI Amendment Bill was passed with 218 “yes” and 79 “no” in Lok Sabha on Monday.

 

 

Would Indian Express not mind a communal flare-up?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

On a day when every mainstream national daily has lauded the message of “peace and brotherhood” in the Shoba Yatra at Hauz Qazi to douse communal animosity, Indian Express has chosen to flare it up.

Times of India clapped the “peaceful procession”; Hindustan Times extolled Muslims in reinstalling temple idols and even The Hindu put “communal harmony on show” in its headline. But you read Indian Express and it seems they were at a different event than the one being covered.

Beginning with its headline – “On day 3 BJP MPs visit, VHP leader says: Can turn Hauz Qazi, Ballimaran into Ayodhya” – to its content, Indian Express has insinuated “saffron terror” in the form of massive Hindu turnout and speeches by a couple of insignificant entities. Still undone, they inserted a completely unrelated mention with these words: “The issue also figured on the latest cover of the RSS mouthpiece Organiser, with the headline #Temple Vandalism Perils of Minoritarianism.”

Every reader who has read Indian Express today (July 10, 2019) would carry the impression of Saffron intimidation.  A reader would fear impending communal riots in an area where Hindus and Muslims have lived cheek-by-jowl for generations.  A reader would interpret the presence of 3 BJP MPs as a tacit acquiescence by the party leadership.

And what could be the consequences? Hindus and Muslims gulping this poison within them, and not just in Hauz Qazi. A temple vandalized here; a mosque desecrated there, riots erupting; lives lost, police and security overcome by mobs, government in limbo and the unrest in India bringing in sharks from Western shores at the smell of blood in the pool.

Is this what Indian Express wants? Don’t they know that its 10 days to the horrible event and Hindus haven’t even picked up a stone? Aren’t they mindful that sensible Muslims of Hauz Qazi are coming out in droves to ensure no communal rupture erupts in the vicinity? Can’t they lend an ear to the temple priest who says “Today’s event (Shobha Yatra) was organized to stand up against such people (who desecrate a religious place.) We want to cohabit with all other communities.”

To be sure, newspapers seek different angle to make themselves distinct. Someone might choose to highlight Rahul Gandhi and his biggest win in 2019 polls from Wayanad, Kerala while others might find his ousting from family bastion Amethi, UP bigger news. Someone might droll over BJP’s remarkable Lok Sabha show in Karnataka; others might dwell on how Tamil Nadu and Kerala have shut the door on them in South.

But today’s Indian Express is not an interpretation. It’s insinuation. An insinuation, which could trigger something far more sinister. Which could affect our generation, our next generation, the unity of this country, the future of India. Another Partition; another horror; another vivisection.

This issue of vandalized temple is high on the mind of millions of Indians. What next? How would it play out? Am I in a safe neighbourhood? What do I do about my daughter who returns from college to our deserted lane late in the evening? Or my son who is back only when the dusk falls on the fields in Moradabad?

Those who want an “akhand bharat” (United India) want Hindus and Muslims to live in peace and amity. Those who want  a “dismembered India” want Hindus and Muslims to tear themselves apart. Today, I see Indian Express standing with the latter. It would be difficult for them to convince me that their report wasn’t projecting the fear of fundamentalist Hindus—when the rest of mainstream media has lauded the restraint of Hindus.

Am I overreacting to a “small incident” in a “small lane” at the backdrop of a “minor incident”?  Didn’t World War I begin only because a prince (Archduke Franz Ferdinand) was assassinated on the streets of Sarajevo; that a stray protest in Tunisia could herald “Arab Spring”; that Soviet Union would come apart only because Ronald Reagan, a continent apart, had made arms race too prohibitive; that a “Euromaidan movement” could bring down a Ukrainian government; that  American revolution could begin because the elites had refused to pay taxes?

Its time Indian Express opens itself to scrutiny. The governments and the press bodies would have their own reasons to shrink from hauling them up. But they owe an answer to Indians and their country. Come out and debate this issue with me in an open forum. When the country’s future depends on Hindu-Muslim relations, Indian Express can’t seek warmth in the glow of, god forbid, torched homes and burning pyres.

And they left Priyanka Sharma grievously injured

(This is a reprint from NewsBred)

You know about Priyanka Sharma. The girl who was jailed by West Bengal police for sharing a meme on chief minister Mamata Banerjee. She has subsequently been released on Supreme Court’s intervention.

On her release, this is what Lutyens Media reported (headlines in bracket): Indian Express(“Morphed photo: SC grants bail to BJP workers, tell her to apologize”); The Hindu (“But court asks Priyanka Sharma to apologize for her action”); Times of India (“SC frees, directs her to apologize”) and last but not the least, Hindustan Times (“SC asks Priyanka Sharma to apologize to Bengal CM”). The word “apology” is in all the headlines or sub-headlines of these newspapers’ print editions of May 15, 2019.

But was apology a condition for Priyanka Sharma’s release? NO. It was an unconditionalrelease.  The court order clearly says her release was not “ subject to” her apology. SC did ask her to apologize but it was not a pre-condition. PERIOD.

However, none of the newspapers gave a truthful account. They made sure “apology” appeared in their headlines even though it wasn’t a pre-condition for Priyanka Sharma’s release. Little did they realize they would be caught in their own mesh within 24 hours.

Now switch to Scene II. Next day, Priyanka Sharma, on her release, called a press conference and asserted she would not apologize.

Now this became a problem for our Lutyens Media. How do they cover it? They couldn’t have ignored Priyanka Sharma’s press conference. Nor could they give headlines that Priyanka Sharma has refused to apologize.  Wouldn’t it amount to Contempt of Supreme Court? But if they press with this logical line, it would expose that “apology” was never a pre-condition. That all they had done was to dupe their readers a day before.

So they come up with another deceit. They made sure to mention Priyanka’s allegation that she was forced to sign a mafinama (apology affidavit). But they omitted her words that “she wouldn’t apologize”.  Scan through all the four Lutyens Media and their print edition today and see if you could spot “she wouldn’t apologize” in the headlines. NONE.

Imagine. If SC asks you to apologize and you refuse, it’s a eight-column banner headline.  But then apology was never a pre-condition.  All the readers of Lutyens Media got was lies and machinations.

Now comes the operative part of my piece. Guess why Lutyens Media were afraid to make a “hero” out of Priyanka Sharma? And this is where I want your attention. All powers move on brands. You create a brand which could gather mass and it would come handy in due course. Kanhaiya Lal (rebel youth), Arvind Kejriwal (Magsaysay Award) for instance.  These common men/women become a part of the eco-system where like-minded jurists, academicians, historians, actors, writers, bureaucrats, media all combine to create a matrix for unsuspecting readers and viewers from which they can’t break free. They make sure that you don’t hear/view/read any counter-narrative which could puncture their balloon of lies and deceit.

Now Priyanka Sharma has become a readymade brand. Brand against totalitarianism, a beacon for freedom of speech, defiance, an individual against the system. She needs just a puff of air to fly and inspire millions others. Like a ray of light, it could remove the cover of darkness over readers. And that’s a problem for Lutyens Media. This is beating them in their own game. So they make sure Priyanka Sharma remains grounded. That she remains obscure, more grievously injured than perhaps she was in a West Bengal jail. What if they have to invent lies and twists finer details to gang up against a young girl and her inspirational struggle against tyranny. All those slogans for “democracy”; “freedom of speech” “freedom of expression” are only convenient tools. They were never in a fight against “the fascist forces.”

Readers, if you cross check the facts I mention and find them true, what could you do? PLENTY. I sincerely believe the “Deep State” or “Break India” forces largely depend on their two organs: (a) media; (b) a type of education without which you can’t make a career.  It’s their best bet to keep the citizenry uneducated and servile. That unfortunately is you and me. Suckered.

What you can do is to start reading your newspapers closely. And then cross-checking with those who keep an eye on them: Swarajya MagOpIndia and NewsBred etc. If you find you’ve been duped by your newspapers you could (a) confront them on social media, e.g twitter; (b) insist on a response; (c) and if both the first two options bear no results, stop paying and subscribing to these newspapers.

This would have a cascading effect. Lutyens Media would be forced to mend its way. If they don’t, they lose readers and become impotent organs for their masters. Trust me, if your newspapers are straightened out, India is saved. If India is saved, so are you and your kids.

Finally, if convinced this is what you should do. Copy and paste and tweet:

@indianexpress @timesofindia @htTweets @ the_hindu

As your readers, I want to know if “apology” was a pre-condition for Priyanka Sharma’s release? If not, why didn’t you mention it to us? Give me one reason why we should still continue to be your readers?

I am posting this tweet. You should do it too. Ask everyone around you to do so. Force a reaction from them. Corner them. Not once but every-time their lies are exposed in the websites I have mentioned above. Only when the readers rise up against their Lutyens Media would they fall in line. Or go out of business. The fangs of the snakes would’ve been drawn.

 

Modi attacks Mamata but look at newspapers you trust

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

I am presuming you to have missed the ferocity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal attack on West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in his two rallies on Saturday. Blame it on your newspapers, folks. And pay attention: Modi is to raid West Bengal again in his third rally in Siliguri on February 8 and you similarly would’ve a blanket pulled over eyes by your newspapers.

It’s important to call out these English mainstream newspapers. Indian Express and The Hindu are alleged to be the Left’s front soldiers (an irony for Mamata’s TMC it is which has uprooted decades of Left’s entrenched rule in West Bengal and logically the newspapers should’ve lapped up the charges against “Didi” –but no Modi and BJP are a bigger existential threat to Commies’ ideology); Hindustan Times is said to bat for Congress; Times of India is relatively neutral but that’s not to mean it’s objective: in an advertisement-ridden newspaper, important aspects of  a story are hacked without a thought.

I am not going to point out mischiefs of each newspapers though there is a great provocation on the part of Indian Express. Look at its headline: “After budget, Modi hardsells sops for farmers, middle class”.  Does it convey you Modi’s brutal attack on Mamata? If you are an Indian Express reader, take time out to read their coverage in full and you would be aghast. This editor is no journo but an artist. If you agree then spread the word to put lakhs of its innocent readers on guard (The newspaper is India’s sixth largest and are even more impressive on internet: India ranking 80; Global 982 as per Alexa).

So below are the specific punches which Modi threw at Mamata in his two rallies on Saturday (watch the two speeches in Thakurnagar and Durgapur; Modi is at his best) and compare it with the information your English newspapers have provided:

  • I am aware of what happened in Durgapur last night (Mamata’s poster put above Modi; welcome gates pulled down, Modi’s image blackened)
  • Centre has announced Rs 90,000 crores worth of project for people in Bengal. The West Bengal government has either not started or have stalled them.
  • By scrapping the Ayushman Bharat (health) Yojana, is West Bengal government being sensitive to the need of poor and deprived who need medical attention? Yeh nirdayi sarkar hai (this is a heartless state government).
  • Similarly, she (Mamata) doesn’t want CBI in the state. Why worry if you are innocent. When I was the chief minister of Gujarat, I was interrogated for nine hours by the agency. We said bring as many as you want. We don’t worry for we are honest. We never allowed institutions to get insulted. (Mamata may refuse CBI entry but that’s not “damaging institutions” and “democracy” for our cheat newspapers.)
  • Mamata is now seen together with opposition who only make false promises. Remember Congress has similarly announced loan-waivers for farmers 10 years ago (of Rs 52,000 crores). And they have done it again. In Rajasthan, the Congress government has thrown up its hands (and said we can’t waive off loans). In Karnataka, police is being sent after farmers who haven’t paid loans. Today lakhs of those are being waived off who even haven’t availed loans. As against a loan-waiving promised of Rs 2.5 lakhs, those benefitting have availed loans of a mere Rs 13!”
  • West Bengal government doesn’t even touch those projects in which the syndicate is not involved. They are afraid of RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority). Now flats have to be handed over in time. Black money won’t work. The (construction) lobby is being hurt. Chit Fund, Saradha, painting scams all lead to one door (ostensibly Mamata and TMC’s).
  • Everyone knows TMC has Trinamool Tolabaaji (extortion) Tax (TTT). From college admission to teacher transfer, it’s being levied. Students are being taxed.
  • Looking at this massive surging crowd (watch the videos, it’s like ocean of people), I am confident the people of West Bengal would assert themselves. Didi is following the same tactics (of repression and non-development) as was done by the Left. Such forces do not last. She may stop helicopter (of Amit Shah) from landing, may stop yatras (as was done recently) but the people won’t stop. I can clearly see it in your presence now.

Two attending news need to be brought to your notice, readers. One, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has accused Mamata’s government of not providing land to seal the India-Bangladesh border which is causing massive infiltration, including one of Jihadis, from the across the border. “Illegal citizens from Bangladesh are entering West Bengal,” said Rajnath Singh. (This while Mamata fights tooth and nail the Citizenship Bill, intended for induction of displaced Indian refugees from our neighbouring countries.)

Two, CBI is in hot trail of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar who it claims is missing and faces “imminent arrest”. Rajeev Kumar allegedly is delaying and diluting the SIT probe in the multi-crore Saradha and Rose Valley ponzi scams. As per CBI sources, they had summoned the officer twice for interrogation but he (Rajeev Kumar) had not been cooperating. Over to Times of India:

“CBI sources said when Kumar was leading the state Special Investigating Team (SIT), crucial evidence had either been lost or tampered with to save some influential persons in the state.

“After CBI summoned him, Rajeev Kuma had even written to then CBI director Alok Kumar Verma. The Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund probes were being headed by then special director Rakesh Asthana at that time, which apparently had become another bone of contention between Verma and Asthana…”

Well, well, well, I hope you get the drift readers. West Bengal is on fire. It’s at a critical trajectory where BJP is trying to fight back the Islamist, Jihadi forces and their takeover of Mamata’s land. BJP plans to turn the heat further in coming days. Amit Shah has begun his poll campaign; and so has Rajnath Singh, not to forget Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is coming over. Modi would be the mascot of these “Ganatantra Bachao (Save Democracy)” rallies across the state.

Meanwhile, I presume you are aware of the development that TMC Lok Sabha MP, Saumitra Khan had joined the BJP last month and likened Mamata Banerjee to Germany’s Adolf Hitler. If not, you could blame this too on your newspapers.

 

Kumbh Mela 2019 begins: English media couldn’t care less

The largest human gathering in human history began in Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj today (January 15, 2019) and our English mainstream media don’t like it.

Times of India does have a front page image but the rest were too worried about Alok Verma and Kanhaiya Kumar to bother about 150 million people visiting Kumbh Mela between January 15-March 4, 2019.

The Hindu ignored the news altogether giving rise to the speculation that its’ name is as misleading as Rahul Gandhi being a janaudhari. Indian Express and Hindustan Times have a token presence in inside pages, the kind you register when there is a death in the neighbourhood.

None of these English newspapers are enthused even though the human congregation is more than the population of 100 countries combined. It’s more heads than you can count in Germany, UK, France, South Africa or Australia. Give these journos a mombatti gang or 10 fat women hugging trees in South Delhi and it’s a completely different story.

They would give lectures on gender equality till Lord Ayappa regrets being a brahmachari and calls a press conference to say – I quit. But the sight of million s of men and women taking a holy dip together in the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers to wash away their sins is revolting to them.

The significance of thousands of years of belief and faith in Kumbh by millions of Hindus don’t matter to them. Though the coverage of Pope visiting Ecuador is front page anchor with picture to boot.  The Yadgar-e-Ghalib in Majnu  ka Tila is worthy of a special edition.

The biggest and most peaceful gathering of humanity for nearly two months is an awe-inspiring event. Sadhus come down from their caves in Himalayas, devotees brave cold weather and hardships, poor without money, feeble without strength still turn up at the banks of holy rivers because they believe in Samudra Manthan and their divinity. A thousand years under the calamity of Islam and Christianity, and loot, plunder and rape of a subjugated population couldn’t douse this flame of faith.

Our English newspapers would rather have us innocent readers NOT know about it all. I doubt if you know that Akshay Vat (Indestructible Tree) inside the Allahabad Fort has been thrown up to faithful millions by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It’s not out of bounds as it was under the Congress regime where you needed to take a special permit for it’s “darshan.”

It might be a myth in the eyes of our English newspapers that sage Markandeya once asked Lord Narayana to prove his divine power. Narayana duly flooded the world for a fleeting moment—only this tree stood erect above the water level. The historical evidence is still not enough for these English pen-pushers.  That Al Biruni mentioned it in 1030 AD.  Mughal Emperor Mohammad Akbar’s contemporary historian Abd Al-Qadir Badauni refers about it. Akshay Vat finds a mention in Tulsidas’ Ramayana. There is historical evidence of this tree being burnt, cut and dug by Mughal Emperors, none more so than by Aurangzeb, but so unfathomable are its roots that it kept springing back to life. That it has made it to UNESCO’s list of “Cultural Heritage o Humanity” still leaves our English mainstream media cold.

These newspapers though would bring out those obscure history books and dubious historians to tell you why Prayagraj ought not to be the name of Allahabad. The Prashant Bhushan’s Book of PILs could leave somebody inspired. Like Ayodhya, 70 years would still not be enough to clear the muddle. You could be given a lesson in history by the redoubtable Shobha De and Twinkle Khanna. A Swara Bhaskar could feel violated. Javed Akhtar and Naseeruddin Shah would be your professors of secularism.

Let not the lack of information be a dampener. The Indian Railways has over 800 special trains to Prayagraj during the event. Air India has announced a few additional flights. UP State Tourism Development Corporation is providing a helicopter service. Have no worries on security, roads, toilets or health services. Over 50,000 security personnels are deployed. Toilet exists over 120,000 in numbers. Over 220 km of roads have been built. Doctors abound in thousands. There are stalls of virtual reality (VR). Over 4000 wi-fi spots. An App which even provides instant weather forecast.

If you are a Hindu and live in India then I urge you to be in spirit, if not in person, with Kumbh Mela 2019. Fight the virus of blackout by our English MSM. Keep these “asuras” in your sight—their only strength is your ignorance. Be the light to drive away this darkness of India-breaking forces.