T H E H E A R T B E A T O F T H E I N D I A N C O M M U N I T Y
PAGES 12 & 13
How BJP’s master
strategist Amit Shah
won the assembly
polls for the party.
What next for him?
delivered to your doorstep. Call 6319-1800 or e-mail
Available at all major pharmacies and medical halls
PAGES 6 & 7
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
MARCH 24, 2017
Lake in Chandigarh, he needs
to search for Sukhna Lake and
Google Maps will show him the
way to get there from his current
It will also show bus routes and
stops, including details such as
departure and arrival times, the
names of bus stands and even
where to change buses.
The transit feature is also avail-
able in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru,
Chennai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Hyder-
abad, Pune and Ahmedabad.
Railways introduces rate card
THE Railway ministry has issued
a rate card on trains and ordered
that the cost of lunch should be
Rs50 and Rs30 for breakfast. This
comes after passengers com-
plained that the food and bever-
ages are being charged higher than
the listed price.
According to a report in The
Hindustan Times, angry passengers
have posted complaints on griev-
ance portals and social networking
websites regarding the quality of
food and catering services offered
by the private vendors employed
under Indian Railway Catering
and Tourism Corporation.
India first to get weather alert
technology that does not
IN A bid to connect people in
areas with lower connectivity and
data availability, IBM and The
Weather Company — owned by
IBM Business — launched India’s
first mobile alerting platform that
delivers weather alerts without
the use of Internet.
The technology uses peer-to-
peer connections on a “mesh
network” to send critical
weather alerts to people in
The technology links other
nearby phones to extend the
signal to help keep citizens
connected and informed, and
in the most severe conditions,
might even help save lives.
Super expressway between
Delhi and Jaipur
A NEW “super expressway”
is coming up between Delhi
and Jaipur. It will reduce the
distance between the two cit-
ies by 40km.
It will start from the Delhi-Gur-
gaon expressway near the Kherki
Daula toll plaza in Gurgaon and
pass through seven districts before
ending at the Rajasthan capital.
The total length of the express-
way will be 195km, as opposed
to the 235km that one needs to
travel to get to Jaipur from the
The “super expressway” is
expected to cost Rs6,530 crores
New policy offers affordable
healthcare for all
THE government has announced
that the National Health Policy
2017 proposes free drugs, free
diagnostics and free emergency
care services in all public hospitals
as part of financial protection at
secondary and tertiary care levels.
Said health minister J.P. Nadda:
“This policy looks at problems
and solutions holistically with the
private sector as strategic partner.
It seeks to promote quality of
care and the focus is on emerging
diseases and investment in promo-
tive and preventive health care.”
Racing champ Ashwin Sundar
and wife die in crash
DOUBLE Formula 4 racing title
holder Ashwin Sundar, 31, (be-
low) and his wife Nivedhita died
in Chennai on March 18 after
their car rammed into a roadside
tree and caught fire.
They were returning home from
a friend’s house at MRC Nagar
around 3.30am when the speed-
ing BMW ploughed into a road-
side tree on Santhome High Road.
The car burst into flames and the
duo were burnt to death.
“It’s a sad day for motor
sports,” Federation of Motor
Sports Clubs of India president
Akbar Ebrahim tweeted. “I knew
Ashwin since he was an infant
and I saw him excel in all forms of
TO OBSERVE World Spar-
row Day on March 20, the
Go Green Save Earth Foun-
dation in Lucknow launched
a Water to Birds campaign
for the summer season. The
day, which raises awareness
of the house sparrow, was
commemorated with free
distribution of box nests,
art competitions, aware-
ness campaigns and sparrow
The observance was initi-
ated by conservationist Moham-
med Dilawar of Nashik. It has
become a worldwide observance
to appreciate and preserve the
beauty of common biodiversity.
In the picture above, a sand
sculpture was created on World
Sparrow Day at Triveni Sangam in
Air train proposed to link Delhi
DELHI International Airport has
proposed a train service connect-
ing all the terminals of the Indira
Gandhi International Airport by
Minister of state for civil avia-
tion Jayant Sinha said the pro-
posed rail track is 5.5km, with
He added that Delhi Interna-
tional Airport has taken steps for
exploring all technical possibilities
for providing the air train facil-
ity in consultation with the Delhi
Metro Rail Corporation.
Google Maps to ease transit in
seven more Indian cities
GOOGLE India has expanded the
transit feature on Google Maps to
seven more Indian cities to help
users better plan their local com-
The newly added cities are
Chandigarh, Lucknow, Vadodara,
Indore, Mysore, Surat and Coim-
If a user wants to go to Sukhna
March 24, 2017
HE roller coaster ride of human rights
activist Irom Chanu Sharmila contin-
ues after her maiden foray into elec-
toral politics in her native Manipur.
She was catapulted to international lime-
light when she bagan her fast-unto-death on
Nov 4, 2000, to demand the repeal of the
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958
(AFSPA ). For the next 16 years, she was
force-fed with a feeding tube.
National and international recognition for
her fight against the law, which was enacted
to bring under control what the government
of India considered “disturbed areas” and
to enable its armed forces to exercise spe-
cial powers with immunity, earning her the
moniker Iron Lady of Manipur.
South Korea honoured the 45-year-old
with its highest civilian award. The cash com-
ponent of awards bestowed on her was con-
siderable, but Ms Sharmila donated all of it
to public causes. All through her much-publi-
cised fight against the AFSPA, politicians ap-
pealed to her to give up her fast and offered
her a role in politics.
However, she stood her ground.The anti-
climax to her stoic struggle came after she
decided to end her indefinite fast on Aug 9
last year, and expressed her wish to contest
this year’s assembly elections so as to ride to
power and oversee the revocation of AFSPA.
The decision was received with mixed feel-
She also announced last month her plans
to get married and that seems to have further
alienated her supporters, including women.
It was reported in the media that Mr Des-
mond Coutinho, a non-resident Indian from
Goa, and Ms Sharmila were in love for a
long time. It is said he visited Imphal to be
alongside her whenever she was presented
in a local court to face charges of attempted
On one occasion, Mr Coutinho was beaten
up by angry women activists on the court
premises after he held Ms Sharmila’s hand
inside the courtroom.
“In Manipur, this is socially not accept-
able,” a woman activist had said at the time.
Since then, Mr Coutinho stopped visiting
Imphal, but Ms Sharmila’s supporters seemed
to disapprove of her plan to give up her strug-
Members of Sharmila Kanba Lup, a pres-
sure group named after her, flayed her for
what it termed “abandoning the cause”. The
group was later dissolved.
Her women supporters — who had set up
a Save Sharmila Group — stopped extending
Once she was set free after being dis-
charged by an Imphal court, people did not
allow her to stay anywhere in the city, due
to which she again took refuge at the high-
security special ward of the Jawaharlal Ne-
hru Institute of Medical Sciences that was her
home for the last 16 years.
Later, she was allowed to stay in an ashram
near Imphal. During campaigning in Thoubal
constituency — where Ms Sharmila took on
then chief minister Ikrom Ibobi Singh — sev-
eral women wept on seeing her.
She sounded confident of her electoral
win. Bare-footed, she pedalled around the
constituency, about 35km from Imphal, to
However, she polled less than 100 votes.
The electoral rout has now forced her to
announce her retirement from politics.
Indo-Asian News Service
March 24, 2017
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