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Sex video scandal: War of words between Siddaramaiah & Kumaraswamy turns personal

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Bengaluru, May 25 (IANS) The war of words between Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and the former Chief Minister Kumaraswamy in connection with the alleged sex video scandal turned personal on Saturday.

Taking exception to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s statement that former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda had sent his grandson, sex video scandal prime accused Prajwal Revanna to a foreign country, Kumaraswamy questioned whether Siddaramaiah had sent his “son abroad to die”.

“Whoever it is, pain is pain. An incident occurred in your (CM Siddaramaiah’s) family. Did you send him abroad? Are you responsible for his death?” Kumaraswamy said.

He said all leaders are talking about the diplomatic passport but they have no knowledge of the law as a diplomatic passport cannot be revoked immediately.

Addressing Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D.K Shivakumar as “CD Shivu,” Kumaraswamy said that the person needs not to be addressed as Shivakumar. “He should be addressed as CD Shivu. Why did you talk to broker Shivaramegowda (former Congress MP)?” Kumaraswamy asked.

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“If Shivakumar has no role, why did he speak with BJP leader G. Devaraje Gowda and Shivaramegowda to malign the Deve Gowda family? He is carrying out the work of a ‘pimp’ and a ‘broker,’” Kumaraswamy said.

He said that the Home Minister should conduct the investigation in an unbiased manner. “Let them take action against the real culprit, we don’t have any objections,” he said.

Responding to the allegations, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that it has been eight years since the death of Rakesh Siddaramaiah (his son).

“To bring up the matter now is foolishness. They are doing it for political reasons. He died in 2016, what is the relevance now? The case against his elder brother’s son is of rape,” the Chief Minister said.

He said that under which section is it said that distribution of videos is a more serious crime than committing rape? “Which IPC section explains this? The punishment is given under the IPC sections, and Kumaraswamy is referring to which section?” the Chief Minister asked.

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“Kumaraswamy says that exposing victims is a more serious offence than rape. I want to ask which IPC section deals with this offence. Let him explain if he has any new criminal law of his own,” the Chief Minister said.

He said that the Ministry of External Affairs has issued the passport to Prajwal Revanna and it has to cancel it. “It has been 15 days since we wrote a letter to the ministry. The SIT also wrote a letter. What more do they want? They should not keep finding faults with the investigation,” the Chief Minister said.

–IANS

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Madhu Khanna’s book ‘Tantra on the Edge’ wins 2024 Oxford Bookstore Art Book Prize

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Madhu Khanna’s book ‘Tantra on the Edge’ wins 2024 Oxford Bookstore Art Book Prize

Madhu Khanna’s book ‘Tantra on the Edge’ wins 2024 Oxford Bookstore Art Book Prize

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) The Oxford Bookstore Art Book Prize on Wednesday announced ‘Tantra on the Edge – Inspirations and Experiments in Twentieth-Century Indian Art’ by art historian Madhu Khanna, published by DAG, as the winner of its second edition.

The award ceremony was hosted by May-Elin Stener, Ambassador of Norway to India and Sri Lanka, underscoring the significance of this literary accolade.

Instituted in collaboration with Visual Arts Gallery in 2022, Oxford Bookstore Art Book Prize is India’s only prize that recognises outstanding contributions to the field of art books.

Madhu Khanna and DAG were felicitated with the trophy, a certificate and Rs one Lakh Indian Rupees cash by the Chair of Jury Dr. Alka Pande; Ambassador of Norway to India and Sri Lanka, H.E Mprize . May-Elin Stener and Ms. Sunaina Anand, Founder and Director, Art Alive Gallery in the presence of artists, gallerists, designers, publishers, authors, diplomats and literary enthusiasts from the industry.

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In addition to the winning title, the jurors appreciated two more titles: Shilpa Shah & Rosemary Crill’s ’The Shoemaker’s Stitch: Mochi embroideries of Gujarat’ in the TAPI Collection published by Niyogi Books and ’Thota Vaikuntam’s Thota Vaikuntam: A Celebration’ published by Aleph Book Company.

Speaking at the ceremony, the winner Madhu Khanna said:, “Receiving this award from the Oxford Bookstore is a momentous occasion in our history. Writing this book has been a journey of passion, and dedication. As we move into the 21st century torn by violence and ecological degradation, we must reclaim the spiritual heritage of Tantra and Yoga inherited from the anonymous Shilpi-yogins and sage-scholars of the past. It is because of their legacy that we are able to celebrate today, the timeless modernism of Tantra Art and its philosophy.”

“It has been an exciting journey of collaborating with my fellow jurors in the selection of the Oxford Bookstore Art Book Prize Winner. An interesting diversity of artistic expression across mediums, disciplines, and visual culture was showcased within the nominated works. Picking a winner from the pool of fascinating works was a challenging task, but ultimately, ‘Tantra on the Edge’ rose to the top,” said the Chair of Jury, Dr. Alka Pande while announcing the winner.

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Ambassador Stener stressed that for her being a part of the jury was also in line with Norway’s sustained and renewed focus on art and culture.

“At home in Oslo, we are increasingly looking at promoting art and culture as a cherished export of Norway, one that comes with a strong foundation and rich heritage. Norway also strongly advocates for artistic freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of expression. By being a part of this prize, we at the Embassy, are delighted to contribute to the art world in India.”

The jury commissioned for the second edition of the prize included Stener; Director, Apeejay Surrendra Group, Priti Paul; Museum curator, art historian, author and jury chair, Dr. Alka Pande; Director General, Bihar Museum, Anjani Kumar Singh; and Founder and Director, Art Alive Gallery, Sunaina Anand.

–IANS

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North Andhra suffered due to 'political domination by outsiders', says BSP leader

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North Andhra suffered due to 'political domination by outsiders', says BSP leader

North Andhra suffered due to 'political domination by outsiders', says BSP leader

Visakhapatnam, July 17 (IANS) Bahujan Samaj Party’s Andhra Pradesh state coordinator and former DGP Dr J. Purnachandra Rao on Wednesday alleged that north Andhra suffered due to “political domination by outsiders”.

At a zonal meeting of the BSP here, he vowed to fight for the cause of the region, saying it suffered damage due to lack of local representation in politics.

He lashed out at the apathy of the political parties that ruled the state for long, and left Uttarandhra (north Andhra) high and dry, despite the region being endowed with excellent natural resources and human capital.

The BSP leader alleged that since Independence, the region has been languishing in every field, and cursed with the continuous political representation by settlers.

“Gifted with 350-km odd coastline, verdant forests and hill regions, fertile lands, and copious rainfall, besides amicable and hardworking people, the region has not got its due. For example, in the last four decades, all the members of the Vizag Parliament constituency were imported, and they failed to meet the expectations of the people, owing to a lack of emotional connect with the region. Similarly, several MLAs are settlers,” he said.

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Purnanchandra Rao said that the most recent systematic destruction and plunder of the region by the YSRCP’s de facto rulers of the region only worsened the situation.

“Aggravating the situation are the drug menace, pollution and lack of education, medical and logistics infrastructure in the Agency region,” he said.

He stated that the region has many unsolved issues that require commitment and sincerity, “both grossly absent among leaders”.

“The privatisation of the steel plant, delay in realization of the railway zone, expansion and development of ports, pollution, fishermen’s issues, drug menace, and negligence of irrigation projects, to name a few. We demand that all these be addressed by the alliance government, on a war footing.”

He demanded the state government to conduct the BC caste census and honour all promises made to backward classes during the elections.

He also criticised the “double standards” of the TDP-led alliance government, for not embarking on the crucial backward class caste census.

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“It is ridiculous when the TDP promises 34 per cent seats in local bodies, and 33 per cent seats in the Legislative Assembly, for BCs, without caste census. This is impossible to implement and only seems like an eyewash and a false promise. We find it shocking that the skill census has taken the place of the caste census which has been in demand for decades. We demand that the government launch the BC caste census and keep all its promises for BCs, SCs, STs, and minorities,” he added.

–IANS

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IANS Analysis: Chinese cultural re-engineering continues against Uyghurs

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IANS Analysis: Chinese cultural re-engineering continues against Uyghurs

IANS Analysis: Chinese cultural re-engineering continues against Uyghurs

New Delhi: A June 2024 report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) reveals that China systematically changed the names of around 630 villages that held historical and religio-cultural significance for the Uyghurs of the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Although renaming villages is a process that is in force since 2009 and has affected some 3,600 villages until now, a close examination exposed that a fifth of these changes, which mostly took place between 2017 and 2019, signalled a deliberate attempt at cultural erasure.

This revelation is far from anomalous considering Chinese activities in the bordering territory, officially called Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which is also the largest province in China.

In the past few years, several reports by international human rights organisations, journalists and research groups have increasingly pointed to the egregious cultural re-engineering and atrocious human rights excesses that the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs have been subjected to by the Chinese state.

The Uyghurs are an ethnic minority group, constituting half the population (around 12 million) of the Xinjiang province. Historically located along the ancient silk route, the region was a hub of cross-migration, reflected in the diversity of the ethnic groups that inhabit it. Apart from the Uyghurs, it also houses the Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tajiks, Mongols, Uzbeks, Tatars, as well as the Han Chinese.

Since 2018 when the UN alleged that China had detained at least one million Uyghurs in what it calls ‘counter-extremism’ centres, the province has come to international limelight. However, the Chinese state’s tussle with Xinjiang can be traced far back, at least, until the first half of 20th century. In 1933 and 1944, an independent East Turkestan was declared in the region, but the movement came under the Chinese jackboot when the region was annexed in 1949.

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The PRC claims that Xinjiang has been an integral part of China since 206 BC. More recently, in the 1990s, there were violent attacks that were linked to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) that demanded an independent state of East Turkestan in place of Xinjiang.

Thereafter, the post 9/11 Global War on Terror enabled China to justify its actions against the Uyghur community as its battle against ‘the three evils’ of separatism, religious extremism, and international terrorism.

An end to religio-cultural repression and ethnic discrimination have been long-held demands of Uyghurs, but the Chinese state has always met their protests with brutal crackdown, most exemplified in the Ghulja massacre of 1997.

The year 2009 also witnessed riots in the region’s capital Urumqi as Uyghur demonstrators outraged against state-driven Han Chinese migration, ensuing in a bloody state response.

This marked a turning point and the CCP then directed all the state’s might to collectively punish the Uyghur people in the name of counter-extremism.

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The most glaring of the PRC’s repressive acts against the Uyghurs has been the programme of mass arbitrary detention and indoctrination, officially referred to as Vocational Education and Training Centres (VETC).

Initiated in 2014 and expanded in 2017, these heavily guarded ‘re-education’ camps have been grounds for systematic torture, forced labour and sexual abuse, according to multiple reports.

In 2019, the Chinese government claimed that they had closed most of these VETCs, but reports from international research institutes such as the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) raise concerns that the PRC may be increasingly utilising the formal prison system for Uyghur repression. A 2022 HRW report revealed that half a million people had been prosecuted in Xinjiang since 2017.

Moreover, along with the state-incentivised Han Chinese migration into Xinjiang, the Uyghurs are subjected to forced sterilisations, abortions, and IUDs, in what many have termed ‘demographic genocide’.

Between 2015 and 2018, birth rates in the Uyghur regions of Hotan and Kashgar plummeted by over 60 per cent, compared to the nationwide statistic of 4.2 per cent. Combined with this is the programme of mass surveillance involving frequent checkpoints, collection of biometrics, and face-recognition cameras. This Panoptican policing regime prominently emerged under Chen Quanguo, Xinjiang’s Communist Party Secretary, infamous for already implementing his methods of social control in Tibet.

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This high-tech surveillance system is then put to the service of mass-imprisonment of Uyghurs, who are routinely picked up for donning a veil, growing a beard, texting Quranic verses, visiting mosques- essentially practising their religion.

Additionally, there are intense restrictions on travel and even contacting people from countries China considers ‘sensitive’. The Chinese surveillance-state even sends out party officials to stay in Uyghur homes from time to time to check in on their behaviours. Not to mention, the Chinese state has also enacted the alteration or destruction of several mosques across the region in recent years.

While some countries label Chinese activities in Xinjiang as ‘genocide’, a 2022 UN report claimed that they could have amounted to ‘crimes against humanity’.

Few countries such as the US, Canada and so on, as well as the EU have consistently raised this issue and even gone on to sanction Chinese officials and entities linked to human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

However, China has been able to utilise its economic and strategic heft to make many countries kowtow to its official line. The most notorious among these are the Muslim-majority countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, UAE, Iran, CARs, Turkey, and so on, which have not just kept silent but went above and beyond to advocate ‘non-intervention in Chinese affairs’ by the international community.

–IANS

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IANS Interview: Phone-tapping controversy must be thoroughly probed, says Sachin Pilot

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IANS Interview: Phone-tapping controversy must be thoroughly probed, says Sachin Pilot

IANS Interview: Phone-tapping controversy must be thoroughly probed, says Sachin Pilot

Jaipur, July 17 (IANS) Former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who is also AICC General Secretary, on Wednesday, said that the 2020 phone-tapping controversy must be thoroughly investigated.

He also strongly criticised the state government for mulling to implement new laws in Rajasthan which will curtail government benefits for a particular community, adding that the state has certain laws for politicians too.

He also attacked the state government over the Budget, saying that the Budget does not address the immediate concerns of the farmers and the youth.

Interview excerpts:

IANS: The 2020 phone-tapping controversy has resurfaced again. The recordings have gone viral in which one of the voices purported to be of the former Chief Minister. How do you view this controversy?

Sachin Pilot: The matter is sub judice so I am unable to speak much about it but there should be an unbiased inquiry in the case. The invasion of privacy is not unacceptable in a country like ours. Issues like Pegasus have also come up in the last few years and veteran leaders like K.C. Venugopal’s phone also had spyware installed in it. A thorough investigation is a must in this case.

IANS: The state government has said that a new law will be implemented in which government benefits will be curtailed for couples who have more than two kids. The BJP state President has also supported it.

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Sachin Pilot: It is a political statement which has come without any substantial groundwork, without any framework or official discussion. Political leaders talking about such subjects are tinkering with the laws of the land. By doing this, they are only creating confusion in society. We have provisions in Rajasthan which says anyone having more than two kids cannot contest panchayat elections. For the politicians, who want to lead the society, these laws are fine but for common men, discussing such laws without paperwork or official discussions leaves them worried. Such a trend is not good for the state.

IANS: The INDIA bloc performed good in Rajasthan, especially the young politicians. Will we see more youth politicians in the coming days?

Sachin Pilot: I have always advocated for youth participation. During Congress’ Udaipur Declaration, it was decided that young leadership would be promoted in the party across India. It was also decided that 50 per cent of party posts would be given to party workers below 50 years of age in the Udaipur Declaration. So both party President Mallikarjun Kharge and LoP Rahul Gandhi are committed to the Udaipur Declaration’s strong implementation across the country.

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IANS: How do you see the INDIA bloc winning 11 seats after 10-year hiatus in Rajasthan?

Sachin Pilot: People in Rajasthan have given a befitting reply to the BJP-led state government. There are multiple power centres within the BJP. That is why you see confusion in the state. Only within a few months after the formation of government, a state minister has resigned and there is no status if his resignation has been accepted or rejected. The state has seen the worst in terms of water and power crisis in the summers. There is also no clarity in the Budget they (BJP) have announced. They say they are determined to give four lakh jobs in five years. Will they be contractual or regular? There is no clarity again. There is no roadmap or commitment of the state government. Also, the Central government has yet to announce the Budget. How can the Rajasthan government announce it then? It raises many questions. The state government has tried to make it a long-term Budget but issues of today like youth, farmers, and women have been ignored. Congress is hoping to win all five seats in the upcoming bypolls.

IANS: What about the 2028 Rajasthan Assembly elections? Who will be the next Chief Minister of Congress?

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Sachin Pilot: We are confident that Congress will win the 2028 Rajasthan Assembly elections but it is too early to speak about it. Changes in any organisation are a regular and routine process. I don’t see any immediate changes in Rajasthan Congress. As far as the Chief Minister is concerned, it is a tradition that there are no announcements about this post. In Congress, the members of the legislative assembly elect their leader. In recent 2023 polls, although there was a Congress Chief Minister (Ashok Gehlot) but still the Chief Minister candidate was not announced. We fight as a team and the winning candidates elect their leader.

IANS: Now you are AICC General Secretary and Jharkhand in-charge. Do you miss Rajasthan?

Sachin Pilot: I am fully involved in what the party is doing in Rajasthan but my responsibility is in Chhattisgarh too. I am participating in the Assembly as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. What is important to discuss here is the resurgence of Congress after Rahul Gandhi became LoP. He is leading from the front and is becoming the voice of the people. Right now we are strengthening the organisation and preparing for upcoming elections in states like Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand.

–IANS

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Monsoon to be active in peninsular & central India for next 5 days: IMD

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Monsoon to be active in peninsular & central India for next 5 days: IMD

Monsoon to be active in peninsular & central India for next 5 days: IMD

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday said the monsoon is likely to be active in peninsular, and central India during the next 4 to 5 days bringing heavy rainfall in these regions.

“Isolated extremely heavy rainfall very likely over South Interior Karnataka, Saurashtra and Kutch on 17th and 18th; Konkan and Goa, Coastal Karnataka on 18th July and isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall during subsequent 3 days,” the IMD said.

The details of the IMD forecast are as follows:

*Fairly widespread to widespread light to moderate rainfall accompanied with thunderstorms and lightning very likely over West and Central India, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka; isolated to scattered light to moderate rainfall over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Rayalaseema during next five days.

*Heavy to very heavy rainfall is very likely at isolated/some places over West Madhya Pradesh, Konkan and Goa, Madhya Maharashtra, Saurashtra and Kutch, Telangana, Coastal and South Interior Karnataka during the next five days.

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*Isolated extremely heavy rainfall very likely over South Interior Karnataka, Saurashtra and Kutch on 17th and 18th; Konkan and Goa, Coastal Karnataka on 18th July.

*Isolated heavy rainfall is very likely over East Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat Region, Kerala, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, and North Interior Karnataka during the next five days, Marathwada on the 17th and 20th;

In East and Northeast India, fairly widespread to widespread light to moderate rainfall accompanied by thunderstorms, and lightning is very likely over West Bengal and Odisha; scattered to fairly widespread light to moderate rainfall over Bihar, Jharkhand and Northeast India during the next five days.

In Northwest India, scattered to fairly widespread light to moderate rainfall accompanied by thunderstorms & lightning very likely over Delhi, Haryana, Punjab Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Rajasthan during the next five days.

–IANS

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