REPORT ON PAGES 9,10 & 11
Football fans in Kolkata perform a “havan” (fire ritual)
for Brazil’s success at the ongoing World Cup in Russia.
Millions shun cricket and shower affection
on Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo
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
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
BHUVI KEY TO
P.N. SIVAJI: MESSI
PM MODI: YOGA
PAGES 6 & 7
Singapore Press Holdings
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
V.K. Santosh Kumar
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WHEN Indian forest ranger Sanjay Dutta caught a python
last Sunday, he wanted to capture the moment too – with a
selfie. Unfortunately for him, the 18-foot rock python had
Perhaps a little camera shy, it tried to strangle its captor,
forcing Mr Dutta to struggle to free himself from its grip.
Luckily for him, he managed to escape unscathed.
Mr Dutta had earlier gone to the aid of frantic villagers in
Sahebbari, West Bengal, after they saw the python
swallowing a goat.
After rescuing the goat, Mr Dutta picked up the python
and wrapped it around his neck for the photo.
Mr Dutta’s bosses at the state’s forest department were
not amused. An inquiry has been launched into his conduct.
Mice shred Rs12 lakhs in Assam ATM
IN A peculiar incident, mice nibbled at
Rs12.38 lakhs ($24,760) worth of cash in
an automatic teller machine (ATM) in
Tinsukia Laipuli area in Assam.
The damaged notes were discovered by
technicians who were called to fix a
problem in the ATM on June 11.
When they forced open the machine, they found
piles of shredded cash, mostly Rs500 ($10) and
The ATM, managed by Guwahati-based financial
company FIS, was reportedly topped up to the tune of
Rs29 lakhs on May 19.
Haryana gives star ranking to villages
HARYANA has become the first state in India to give
star ranking to villages on the basis of seven social
parameters – sex ratio, good education, hygiene or
serenity, environment preservation, good governance
and social participation.
A total of 1,120 villages in the state have achieved
the star ranking under the “7-Star Gram Panchayat
Rainbow Scheme” launched in January this year.
Under the scheme, the villages will be rewarded
with Rs1 lakh for achieving each star.
Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister O.P.
Dhankar said that Ambala district topped the board
with 407 stars followed by Gurugram with 199 and
Karnal with 75.
National Digital Library launched
INDIA’S Human Resource Development Minister
Prakash Javadekar has launched the National Digital
Library, a repository of millions of academic texts
from around the world which will be available for
anyone to use.
It currently hosts over 17 million books,
audiobooks and images in over 200 languages from
more than 170 institutions.
The system, which is free for use, was built by the
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.
A beta-version of the portal was launched last year
and has been used by millions since.
Kerala to open 70 day-care centres
KERALA will open 70 new state-of-the-art
day-care centres for senior citizens this year.
“We have a huge responsibility towards
elderly citizens as it’s our duty to make their
lives more comfortable,” said Social Justice
Minister K.K. Shailaja.
“We are soon coming out with an
insurance scheme for them as well.”
At least 12.83 per cent of Kerala’s nearly 33
million population are aged above 60.
Goa and Hawaii to become sister states
GOA and Hawaii will soon sign a memorandum of
understanding making them sister states.
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said the
recent earthquake in Hawaii had delayed the process,
adding that the sister-state relationship could cover
culture, education, tourism and other fields.
He also commented on how similar the two states
look: “If you go to Hawaii and if you wake up
without knowing where you are, you will think you
are in Goa. I was there for three days when I was the
defence minister. I was surprised to see that it looks
exactly like Goa.”
Motorcyclist on anti-plastic mission
IN A bid to raise awareness about the harmful effects
of plastic pollution, Mr Abhimanyu Chakrovorthy
has set off on a 10,000km crowd-funded motorcycle
expedition through India and five Asian countries –
Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Nepal.
The 31-year-old media professional plans to set up
beach and city clean-up initiatives with the help of
non-governmental organisations in these countries.
He will also conduct short sessions and
presentations on plastic pollution and what India is
doing to fight it.
Truckers’ protests leads to standstill
THE indefinite nationwide truckers’ strike has led to
more than 50 lakh (5 million) vehicles remaining off
the road and causing a loss of more than Rs1,000
crores ($20 million) in the north-east.
Transporation of goods to the north-east has come
to a standstill as more than 30,000 trucks have
stopped plying from West Bengal – the gateway to
Truckers called the indefinite strike on Monday in
protest against the regular increases in diesel prices,
toll charges and third-party insurance premiums.
Snake catcher nearly strangled by python during selfie
June 22, 2018
OLITICAL compulsions seem to
be the main reason for the
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and
Jammu and Kashmir People’s Demo-
cratic Party (PDP) parting ways in
Jammu and Kashmir on June 19. Many
had predicted the alliance of opposites
between the Hindu nationalist BJP and
PDP, which represents Kashmiri Mus-
lims, would not last a year. But the coali-
tion lasted three years .
The PDP had won 28 seats in the
87-member assembly in Muslim- major-
ity Kashmir, while the BJP won 25 seats
in Hindu-majority Jammu.
However, the uneasy alliance left
both parties apparently wary of their po-
litical base shrinking in view of feedback
that things had not worked out as desired
and could continue the same way till the
general elections next year, when Prime
Minister Narendra Modi will seek re-
election. The parties had formed the
coalition despite having major differ-
ences of views on issues such as the
Armed Forces Special Powers Act and
Article 370. While the BJP was keen to
project a strong nationalist image, the
PDP was keen on pursuing a “healing
touch” policy that included more open
borders and addressing the internal and
external dimensions of the Kashmir
problem through dialogue.
According to sources, the decision to
pull out from the Mehbooba Mufti-led
government was taken after feedback
from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak
Sangh, widely regarded as the parent or-
ganisation of India’s ruling party, that the
BJP was losing its sheen on the issue of
nationalism in view of militants repeat-
edly targeting security forces and sol-
There was a feeling that the visuals of
security personnel being pelted with
stones or being ambushed was neutralis-
ing the image that BJP had sought to
build for itself after the surgical strikes
against Pakistan-based militants in 2016
– which Mr Modi has repeatedly referred
to in his election speeches.
With less than a year left for the Lok
Sabha elections, BJP chief Amit Shah,
taking stock of the security situation
with National Security Adviser Ajit
Doval and reviewing feedback from
other security agencies, assessed that the
situation was not likely to drastically im-
prove in the coming months. He is be-
lieved to have realised that the party will
find it difficult to counter barbs on the is-
sue of national security by the Congress
and other opposition parties.
Jammu and Kashmir has been an elec-
toral issue for the BJP since its inception
and the party could ill-afford being seen
in the country as having been ineffective
in dealing with the militancy and other
problems in the state.
Having won all its seats from Jammu
and Ladakh, the BJP was apparently
sensing a growing sense of dissatisfaction
in the two regions with the performance
of the coalition government.
There was an apparent realisation
that pulling the plug too close to the Lok
Sabha elections would make it difficult
for the party to regain its support base.
“Due to the prevailing situation in
Jammu and Kashmir, we were losing
ground in Jammu and Laddakh region.
Any political party will be concerned
with this kind of situation,” a top BJP
Not extending the ceasefire initiative
after Ramadan and spending only
Rs35,000 crore of the total Rs80,000
crore announced as a package for the
state by Mr Modi in 2015 were among
the other reasons that forced the BJP to
quit. As terrorist activities continued dur-
ing the month-long Ramadan ceasefire,
the Central government on June 17 de-
cided not to extend its unilateral initia-
tive, declared on May 16 to coincide with
the holy month. The decision was taken
even after Ms Mufti urged the govern-
ment to continue with the ceasefire.
“She wanted to continue with the
ceasefire but the Centre was adamant be-
cause ceasefire results were not on ex-
pected lines,” a senior BJP leader said.
He also said that the chief minister had
very “poor” control over the administra-
tion. “How can a person like Shujaat
Bukhari be killed in daylight and that too
in Srinagar. This clearly shows her (poor)
grip on administration,” he said.
Bukhari, editor-in-chief of Rising
Kashmir, was shot dead by militants out-
side his office on June 14. His two secu-
rity guards were also killed.
Another BJP leader said that “our
cadres in Jammu and Kashmir and across
the nation are relieved after the decision
(to part ways)”.
Minister of State in the Prime Minis-
ter’s Office Jitendra Singh said that the
Centre under Mr Modi did its best for the
development of the state. With other po-
litical parties refusing to form alliances,
governor’s rule has been imposed in the
Indo-Asian News Service
Uneasy alliance comes to an end
Turning point... Relatives mourn over the coffin of editor-in-chief Shujaat Bukhari, who was gunned down on June 14.
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