REPORT ON PAGES 4 & 5
MCI (P) 135/03/2018
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
OCTOBER 19, 2018
IS A BIG
She talks about her time with
her grandfather and
how warm and affectionate he was
Union junior minister quits after
sexual harassment claims
UNION minister of state for external
affairs M.J. Akbar has resigned after
21 women accused him of sexual
harassment, making him the most
prominent figure to be felled by the
#MeToo movement sweeping the
world’s largest democracy.
The 67-year-old said he is stepping
down to fight his accusers in court.
Mr Akbar has filed a defamation
case against journalist Priya Ramani,
the first woman to accuse him of
harassment dating back to a time when
he was a prominent newspaper editor.
“As women, we feel vindicated by
M.J. Akbar’s resignation,” Ms Ramani
Former MP’s son threatens
couple with gun
AFTER evading the police for four
days, Ashish Pandey, the son of former
Bahujan Samaj Party Member of
Parliament who was on the run after
brandishing a gun at the Hyatt Regency
Hotel in Delhi, surrendered in a Delhi
court yesterday. He will again appear
in court today.
Pandey, a realtor, was seen in a
video that went viral on social media
showing him in an argument with a
couple outside the hotel on Saturday.
He is seen threatening the couple
with a licensed gun.
Allahabad renamed Prayagraj
ALLAHABAD will now be officially
known as Prayagraj. This was decided
by the Uttar Pradesh cabinet at a
meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi
Adityanath on Tuesday.
The state’s Health Minister
Siddharth Nath Singh said the decision
was made after taking into account the
rich cultural, historic and religious
heritage of the city.
He added that the name Prayagraj
has been mentioned in ancient Hindu
Aspiring model’s body found in a
suitcase in Mumbai
A 20-YEAR-OLD man has been
arrested on suspicion of killing an
aspiring model he met on the Internet.
Police say Muzammil Sayyed, a
student from Hyderabad, invited the
girl, identified as Mansi Dixit, to his
flat where they had a heated argument
leading to a scuffle.
He then killed her with a heavy
object, before stuffing the body in a
suitcase and leaving it by the side of a
road in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Police tracked down Sayyed after
the driver of the taxi, which the
student took to dispose the body,
Bullet train off to a slow start
A YEAR after India’s bullet train
project kicked off, only 0.9ha of land
have been acquired out of the 1,400ha
needed, according to the National
High Speed Rail Corporation which is
leading the project.
The US$15 billion (S$20.6 billion)
project is facing resistance from
farmers who are unhappy with the
compensation given for the land
acquired from them.
At the current rate of land
acquisition, the bullet train, built with
Japan’s shinkansen technology, may
miss its 2023 completion target.
The planned 508km line will link
the financial capital of Mumbai with
the economic hub of Ahmedabad.
First railway station in a tunnel
FOR the first time in India, a railway
station will be built inside a tunnel at a
height of 3,000 metres on the strategic
Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line, close to the
China-India border. The Keylong
station in Himachal Pradesh will be the
first on the railway network to be
inside a tunnel spanning 27km.
Once completed, it will connect
important locations between Bilaspur
and Leh such as Sundernagar, Mandi,
Manali, Keylong and other towns of
Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and
Number of Zika cases in
Rajasthan rises to 100
THE number of people infected with
the Zika virus in Rajasthan rose to 100
It prompted the government to rush
an Indian Council of Medical Research
team to the state to intensify vector
A health ministry official in Delhi
said 23 of the affected are pregnant
women, adding that 20 new Zika cases
confirmed on Wednesday were from
Jaipur and two neighbouring districts.
Singapore Press Holdings
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
V.K. Santosh Kumar
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BreadTalk opens outlet
SINGAPORE home-grown food
company BreadTalk has returned
to the Indian market with an
outlet in Delhi kicking off sales on
Tuesday, a day before its actual
Many of the offerings in the
Delhi outlet are similar to those in
Singapore, but BreadTalk in India
has also tried to broaden its appeal
Located on the first floor of
Select Citywalk shopping centre,
Indian customers can buy the
brand’s signature floss bun, Japan
light cheesecake, Hokkaido roll,
chilli pepper dog, pumpkin loaf,
Singapore curry chicken bun and
Prices are similar to those in
Singapore, with items ranging
from 65 rupees ($1.20) to
Kerala shuts down over Sabarimala
HE state-wide shutdown called
by the Sabarimala Karma
Samithi yesterday saw a huge re-
sponse in Kerala with only a few private
vehicles moving on roads.
The dawn-to-dusk shutdown, backed
by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Na-
tional Democratic Alliance, was called
against Wednesday’s police attack on
protesters who were opposing the entry
of women within the age group of 10 to
50 to the Lord Ayyappa shrine at Sabari-
At a few places in Kozhikode, Malap-
puram and the state capital Thiruvanan-
thapuram, protesters stoned buses of the
Kerala State Road Transport Corpora-
tion following which its operations were
Due to Mahanavami (ninth day of
Navaratri), all state and central govern-
ment offices, banks and educational insti-
tutions were closed. Shops and markets
also remained shut. Attendance was
poor at the information technology
parks in Thiruvananthapuram and
Kochi, reported IANS.
Hindu hardliners blocked intersec-
tions and threatened drivers as they
stepped up their campaign to bar women
from one of India’s holiest temples.
The Lord Ayyappa temple was sup-
posed to allow women of all ages from en-
tering its premises from Wednesday,
when it opened for monthly pujas, fol-
lowing an order last month by India’s
highest court. But hundreds of tradition-
alists, throwing stones at baton-wielding
police, defied the order – surrounding
and shouting at any woman attempting
to make it to the hilltop site.
Angry young men also surrounded
and smashed the car windows of female
television reporters and threatened oth-
ers, including an AFP reporter. Another
female correspondent was kicked.
Overnight local Hindu groups de-
clared a 12-hour shutdown of local busi-
nesses, telling drivers that their vehicles
would be attacked if they took anyone to-
wards the temple.
“Some men came to the parking lot
early on Thursday and warned taxi driv-
ers against defying the shutdown call,”
taxi driver Praveen, in the town of
“They warned drivers at several
nearby parking lots and hotels. Anyone
who defies it will be risking damage to
his vehicle,” he added in an account cor-
roborated by other drivers.
Delhi-based female journalist
Suhasini Raj, who managed to climb up
the pathway to reach the temple yester-
day, was forced to abandon her trek fol-
lowing a massive protest.
The India reporter for The New York
Times and a colleague, a foreign na-
tional, managed to go past the Pamba
gateway but were stopped midway by an-
gry devotees who erected a human wall.
According to witnesses, the protest-
ers forced the two journalists to return.
“Traditions that have existed since be-
fore courts cannot be tampered with,”
said Mr Krishna Kumar, a tall, muscular
man in his 20s at one crossroad in the
town of Kozhencherry.
The entry of women at Sabarimala
was long taboo but was formalised by the
Kerala High Court in 1991, a ruling over-
turned by India’s Supreme Court last
The restriction reflected an old but
still prevalent belief among many that
menstruating women are impure and the
fact that the deity Ayyappa was reputed
to have been celibate.
But the Supreme Court ruling en-
raged traditionalists. Biju S. Pillai, a local
man in his 30s, said he returned from
working in Dubai to “protect the sanc-
tity of the temple”.
Massive protest... Hindu
activists, both male and
female, blocking a road
– Mr Krishna
Kumar, a man
in his 20s in
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