The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 20-01-2023 | 02:50 pm
In the wrestling arena or out of it, fighting as a candidate of the BJP or the Samajwadi Party, in the contest as candidate or with his wife as proxy, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has rarely lost a bout. But that streak might end now, with the growing allegations of sexual harassment against him by women wrestlers, who are demanding Singh’s resignation as the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).A wrestler who tumbled into politics via the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, and who continues to face a case in the Babri Masjid demolition, Singh, 66, has kept his feet planted on the ground courtesy the image of a “dabangg” leader – or a “shaktishaali (powerful)” one, as he likes calling himself — who doesn’t need the BJP as much as the BJP needs him in at least half-a-dozen districts around his native Gonda in Uttar Pradesh.Singh is six-term MP (once from the SP), who has represented Gonda, Balrampur and now moved onto Kaiserganj, while his son Prateek Bhushan is into his second term as MLA from Gonda Sadar.This formidable record also explains why despite several scraps with the party, including the government of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, there has been no attempt to touch his 10-year tenure as the WFI president and as vice-president of the United World Wrestling-Asia.Local leaders talk about the grand celebrations he holds every year on his birthday on January 8, where students shortlisted via a talent search examination are rewarded with motorcycles, Scooty and cash. This year, the event in Gonda and adjoining districts such as Lucknow, Ayodhya, Bahraich, Shrawasti, Balrampur and Barabanki saw the participation of Union Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary.BJP leaders also mention the goodwill Brij Bhushan Singh has earned due to his active association with more than 50 educational institutions, including engineering, pharmacy, education and law, that that he helped set up in Bahraich, Gonda, Balrampur, Ayodhya and Shrawasti districts.“He has developed an empire in these districts through his clout. He gives a fee waiver to those students who are unable to pay. So, if he wins elections, it is both because of his clout and goodwill,” says a BJP leader from Gonda.At the same time, BJP leaders say, the party has kept its distance by not giving him any position within the organisation and Union government despite his repeated poll wins. His own team of workers look after his constituency including day-to-day issues that might come up.“Singh only takes the symbol of the party. He wins elections on his own,” says another party leader.The confidence means Singh has got away with incidents such as his criticism of the Adityanath government during the floods in the state in October last year. He accused the administration of being ill-prepared, not doing enough for relief, and said people had been left “bhagwan bharose (to the mercy of god)”. Singh also said that the existing government did not tolerate criticism and took it personally.While the Opposition raised the remarks to attack the Adityanath government, Singh did not earn any rebuke from the BJP.He has praised SP leader Azam Khan, one of the BJP’s biggest bugbears in the state, as “a mass leader”, and threatened Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray against visiting Ayodhya till he had apologised publicly for “humiliating” north Indians in Mumbai. The BJP had been courting the MNS leader as an ally at the time of topsy-turvy politics in Maharashtra.In private, the BJP had dismissed Singh’s remarks as publicity stunts.It was due to his association with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and his influence in the areas around Ayodhya that Singh initially came to the notice of the BJP. The party first fielded him from the Gonda Lok Sabha seat in 1991. He won, and never looked back. In 1996, when he did not contest, the party gave a ticket to his wife Ketaki Devi Singh, and she too won.A constant presence at wrestling tournaments, be it national or international, senior or junior, Singh can be spotted with a microphone in hand, overseeing bouts, often shouting out instructions to referees, stopping and starting bouts and, at times, even throwing the rule book at judges. When he can’t be there, he is known to “monitor the proceedings virtually”.Whatever comes of the serious allegations Singh is now facing, that is almost certain to change.
CHENNAI: A group of Madras University students on Friday screened a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. They were protesting against the Union government blocking the online links to the documentary.The members of Students Federation of India (SFI) in Madras University had sought the university's permission to screen the documentary in the university's auditorium. However, the university authorities did not give permission. So, a group of students gathered outside the auditorium and tried to screen the movie. University staff tried to prevent the screening. Students argued that it was not banned in the country and went ahead screening it on a laptop."The BBC documentary exposes how the riots against the minorities were supported by the then Gujarat government headed by Modi in 2002. The SFI had called for screening of the documentary on every campus in the country to expose Modi’s role in the riots," said SFI Chennai central district president V Arunkumar.Mirudhula, another student, said the protest was organised to save democracy. "The Union government is misusing its power by blocking the documentary. They are spreading hatred against Muslims and minorities," she said."The preamble of the Constitution says it is a democratic, secular republic. However, the government is blocking access to the BBC documentary to prevent students from knowing the truth about the Gujarat riots," said SFI state secretary Niruban Chakaravarthy.When contacted, Madras University officials told TOI that the auditorium was not available on Friday and some students from outside the university screened the documentary. However, students said they were postgraduate students studying social sciences in the university.
New Delhi: Delhi University's Arts Faculty campus saw police action as students sought to screen a BBC documentary on PM Narendra Modi even as the government has imposed restrictions. Here is the story as it unfolded, in 10 key factsStudents at Delhi University were dragged away by police from the campus on Friday evening as they sought to publicly screen a controversial BBC documentary series about PM Narendra Modi and the BJP's alleged communal politics. This came just two days after similar scenes were witnessed at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi. Student activists said the police acted violently even though the intention was for students to peacefully watch the documentary. They also alleged that "Sanghi goons" — reference to members of the BJP's mentor body RSS and its wings — attacked those gathered for the event too. Are police in-charge Sagar Singh Kalsi said 24 students were detained and the situation is now "back to normal".University officials said no permission was sought for a public screening and there were also orders issued by the district administration against any mass gathering. DU Chief Proctor Rajni Abbi, who called the cops, saw justification in the police action. "Yes, students have been detained. Have they taken permission? When police have imposed Section 144, why have they collected?" she said. She alleged that the students were "not even interested" in showing the documentary. "They just want disruptive things."The two-part series, which references the 2002 Gujarat riots and recent incidents of communal violence, has been termed by the central government as false and motivated propaganda. The government has used emergency powers to force social media outlets such as YouTube and Twitter to take it down.Ahead of screening that was planned for 5.30 pm, large number of students — led by those belonging to Left parties and other Opposition parties — gathered at DU Arts Faculty area and protested imposition of Section 144 in the area to stop the screening.Clashes erupted as right-wing student groups allegedly came to protest against the event. Those wanting the screening raised slogans of "Delhi police, go back", and the police began detaining some people who were allegedly "not students, but anti-social elements"."We were about to start the screening when Sanghi goons attacked us and started dragging those gathered for it. Police closed the gates and did not allow people to enter for the event," said a student who had come for the screening from the DU-affiliated Hindu College.The DU official said holding a mass screening was the point of contention. "They can watch it at their homes; who's stopping them?" said Chief Proctor Rajni Abbi, adding that she suspected they were outsiders. About police violently dragging students, she said, "Why are they here, first of all? [The screening] is not allowed here."The screening attempt was at the latest of such protests events held across the country, including in Delhi, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram. Opposition parties have slammed the BJP for trying to ban the documentary altogether. Student groups have led the protests.The BBC has defended the series as a “rigorously researched” piece of journalism that wants to highlight important issues.Post a comment
A 1,262-page charge-sheet names Jaysukh Patel as the main accused and an "absconder".Nearly three months after a British-era bridge crashed in Gujarat's Morbi, killing 135 people, Jaysukh Patel, the top boss of the company hired for the maintenance and repair of the bridge, has been named the prime accused in a charge-sheet.Jaysukh Patel, the promoter of Oreva Group and managing director of Ajanta Manufacturing Limited, has been missing since the incident in October. A warrant was put out for his arrest last week. To evade arrest, he filed a request for bail on January 16.A 1,262-page charge-sheet names him as the main accused and an "absconder"."All steps are being taken to arrest him as soon as possible. He is untraceable right now," said senior police officer Ashok Yadav.Oreva Group, a company known for making wall clocks under the Ajanta brand, was inexplicably given the contract for the renovation, operation, and maintenance of the 100-year-old suspension bridge over the Machchhu River. The bridge collapsed on October 30, four days after it reopened.A Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the state government cited several lapses by the Oreva Group, like shoddy maintenance, the failure to limit the number of people on the bridge and the unrestricted sale of tickets.The police say around 300 people were on the bridge and it collapsed when the cables snapped.Patel is listed as the 10th accused alongside the nine arrested earlier, including the subcontractors, daily wage labourers who worked as ticket clerks, and security guards. But the opposition has alleged that the "big fish" are roaming free.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe BJP government in Gujarat faced accusations of shielding the politically influential industrialist ahead of the assembly elections, which the party swept.The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report on the incident revealed that rusty cables, broken anchor pins, and loose bolts were not addressed during the renovation of the bridge. The report also stated that Oreva Group did not hire any expert agency to assess the load-bearing capacity of the bridge before opening it to the public.
She spent a large part of her life in the uplift of Siddi tribal women and for the education of children.Junagadh: A Siddi tribe woman from Jambur village of Junagadh, Hirbai Ibrahim Lobi, has been honoured with the Padma Shri award, the fourth-highest civilian award by the government of India.A list of Padma Shri recipients was issued on Wednesday evening on the occasion of the 74th Republic Day.Hirbai hails from the African-origin Siddi tribe that resides in Jambur village near Gir forest in Gujarat, which is also the home of the pride of India, the Asian lion.In an exclusive interview with ANI, Hirbai shared her experience of working for the uplift and development of the Siddi tribal community.Hirabai Lobi has expressed special gratitude to the government of India, President Droupadi Murmu and especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi for honouring her with the Padma Award.She spent a large part of her life in the uplift of Siddi tribal women and for the education of children. Till now she has changed the lives of more than 700 women and innumerable children.Surrounded by Babbar lions, the livelihood of the women of the Siddi community depended on wood cutting, Hirbai told ANI. Being a radio enthusiast, she took it upon herself to support the women of her community.Since childhood, Hirbai used to get information about women's development schemes in Siddi through the radio.She first joined with Agakhan Foundation and then launched a campaign to make women self-reliant by associating with BAIF, a farmer's organization. So far, she has taught more than 700 women to open bank accounts and save money.She has played an important role in bringing women forward and also taught them farming. She provided employment to women with the help of social organizations through radio. Hirabai while speaking to ANI said, "I have not grown trees in the forest, but I have saved the forest from being cut."Hirabai lost her parents in childhood and was brought up by her grandmother. She has established several kindergartens with spirit of providing basic education to the children of the Siddi community.Apart from this, she established the Mahila Vikas Foundation in the year 2004 and has worked tirelessly to make Siddi women self-reliant. Due to these efforts of Hirbai, the women of Jambur helped their families by working in the grocery shops and tailoring.Till now she has been honoured with various accolades, but when she got the first prize of $500, she put all the money into the development of the village.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comSo far she has received Real Award from Reliance, Janaki Devi Prasad Bajaj Award and the Green Award.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayJai Jawan: Sonu Sood's Tug-Of-War With Soldiers
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: MP Shashi Tharoor disowned Anil Antony’s, senior Congress leader AK Antony’s son, claims that the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Gujarat riots will affect the sovereignty and national security of the country.“Our national security is not so fragile that a documentary made by the BBC would affect our security or sovereignty. Hence the argument that it would affect India’s sovereignty was not convincing,” said Tharoor, while reacting to the statement made by Anil Antony on the screening of the BBC documentary.On Antony resigning from the posts he held in Congress, Tharoor said that he hadn’t spoken to Antony. “I think he can speak for himself,” said Tharoor.Pointing out that all controversies over the BBC documentary was unnecessary, Tharoor said, “Had the government not gone over the top in condemning the documentary, thereby drawing attention to something that wasn’t otherwise available in India, there wouldn’t have been all these noises.”He flayed the Centre’s attempts to remove all links from social media platforms. “By not allowing the people to watch what they want goes against the tenets of democracy. Freedom of expression is a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this country. However, when a foreign organization talks about the Prime Minister or the country, it can be construed differently,” he added.“It is not proper for a government to ban the documentary. We cannot stand with that decision. Censorship is not part of our democracy and our Constitution. What the British diplomats reported about the violence that happened in Gujarat in 2002 has now been made as a documentary. It has to be remembered that our diplomats have also reported about the violence that had happened in Britain,” said Tharoor.“The Gujarat riots happened two decades ago, and it is a matter the Supreme Court has ruled on. The tragedy is something that all Indians, including Muslims, feel that we should now put behind us,” said Tharoor.