MCI (P) 135/03/2018
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
JANUARY 18, 2019
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Singapore-India love story
Singapore Press Holdings
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Case filed against woman who
entered Sabarimala temple
Kerala police have registered a case
against Kanaka Durga, one of the two
women who entered the Sabarimala
Temple on Jan 1 triggering violent
protests across the state.
Police took action on the basis of a
complaint that she assaulted her
mother-in-law Sumathy Amma on
reaching her home at Perinthalmanna
in Malappuram district on Tuesday.
A case was also registered against
Mrs Sumathy after Ms Durga said she
was attacked by her mother-in-law.
Ms Durga said she was hit on her
head with a wooden reaper as she
stepped into her house.
A few policemen who were on duty
in front of her house rushed her to the
Government Taluk Hospital at
Perinthalmanna. Sub-Inspector P.S.
Manjitlal said the injury was not
Chennai boy crowned India’s
youngest chess grandmaster
D. Gukesh has become
India’s youngest chess
grandmaster at 12
years, seven months
and 17 days.
The boy from
Chennai received the
title at the 17th Delhi
International Open Chess tournament
on Tuesday after beating compatriot
D.K. Sharma in the ninth round.
Gukesh overtakes R.
Praggnanandhaa, who held the record
at 12 years and 10 months.
689 endangered soft-shell turtles
recovered in West Bengal
West Bengal’s Criminal Investigation
Department on Tuesday recovered at
least 689 endangered Indian soft-shell
river turtles and arrested four people.
Based on a tip-off, the police
apprehended Lachman Kumar, 30, Raj
Kumar, 25, Sushil Kumar, 20, and Raju
Kumar, 30, from Uttar Pradesh’s
Sultanpur district while they were
onboard the Doon Express.
They were arrested before they
could dispose the consignment in
Hooghly district’s Bandel.
They were travelling from Varanasi
with the endangered turtles. The seized
turtles and the men have been handed
over to the range officer of Durgapur
division for legal action.
Football coach Constantine
resigns after Asian Cup defeat
India’s national football team coach
Stephen Constantine resigned after
they were knocked out of the Asian
Cup following a 1-0 defeat by Bahrain
in Sharjah on Monday.
India needed a draw to progress to
the knockout stage but finished last in
Group A after conceding an
injury-time penalty that allowed
Bahrain to leapfrog them into third
It was Constantine’s second stint as
India’s coach. His first tenure between
2002 and 2005 saw him guide India to
the top 100 of the Fifa rankings.
Kumbh Mela attracts 20 million
pilgrims on first day
Throngs of devotees took a dip at the
Sangam, the confluence of the Ganga
and Yamuna rivers and the mythical
Saraswati, as the Kumbh Mela opened
on Tuesday in Prayagraj.
Hindus believe that doing so will
cleanse them of their sins.
The seven-week festival, which runs
until March 4, has been billed as the
world’s largest human gathering.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi
Adityanath said 22.5 million Hindus
plunged into the icy waters on the first
day of the Kumbh.
Prime Minister to inaugurate
three-day Vibrant Gujarat summit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived
in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, yesterday on
a three-day visit to his home state to
launch the biennial Vibrant Gujarat
Global Summit and other events in the
state capital and Ahmedabad.
Heads of five countries and over
30,000 national and international
delegates, including a group of 20
businessmen leaders from Singapore,
are attending the ninth edition of the
Mr Modi will also inaugurate the
state-of-the-art public hospital Sardar
Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Medical
Sciences and Research in Ahmedabad
48 injured at Jallikattu event
At least 48 competitors were injured, 14 of
them seriously, in the bull-taming sport
Jallikattu, which was held at Palamedu, near
Madurai in Tamil Nadu, as part of the Pongal
festivities on Wednesday.
Some were given first aid at the site while
others with serious injuries were sent to the
The event is a traditional spectacle in
which a bull is released into a crowd of
people and multiple participants try to grab
the hump on the bull’s back with both arms
and hang on to it while the bull attempts to
Participants hold the hump for as long as
possible, attempting to bring the bull to a
They stand a chance of winning prizes,
which include scooters and household
The dangerous sport was banned by the
Supreme Court on grounds of animal cruelty
in 2015. However, the ban was lifted in 2017.
Competitors trying to control a bull at the annual Jallikattu event in Palamedu village on
the outskirts of Madurai.
January 18, 2019
Indian techie youngest to climb
world’s tallest peaks
Indian techie Satyarup Siddhanta
climbed the 4,285-metre high volcanic
peak Mount Sidley in Antarctica on
Wednesday and became the youngest
person in the world at 35 years and 274
days to scale the tallest mountains and
volcanoes in all seven continents.
According to the Guinness Book of
World Records, Daniel Bull, an Aus-
tralian, was the youngest to climb these
peaks. He achieved it at the age of 36
years and 157 days, completing the sum-
mits between 2006 and 2017.
Siddhanta scaled these peaks be-
tween 2012 and 2019. He is the only In-
dian to scale “Seven Summits and Seven
“I played the national anthem on the
summit,” Siddhanta said over a satellite
phone. “It’s very cold and overcast here.
I suspect I have sustained frost bite on my
According to Dipanjan Das, Sid-
dhanta’s close friend who coordinates his
logistics during such trips, it took the
climber 10 hours to reach the peak from
the base camp.
“Very few mountaineers in the world
– about seven or eight– have completed
the feat. He becomes the youngest,” said
mountaineer Debraj Dutta, secretary of
the Indian Mountaineering Federation,
Eastern Zone chapter.
On Dec 15, 2017, Siddhanta scaled
Mount Vinson, Antarctica’s highest
point, to become the fifth Indian to com-
plete climbing the tallest peaks in each
continent, the so-called Seven Summits.
Last year, he scaled Pico de Orizaba,
which is the highest volcanic peak in
Based in Bengaluru, Siddhanta hails
from Haridevpur in Kolkata and is a soft-
ware engineer by profession.
Veteran mountaineers said the speed
with which Siddhanta, an asthmatic dur-
ing his childhood, achieved the feat made
it more remarkable.
“I am proud of Satyarup as a moun-
taineer for his world record. His feat is re-
markable since he achieved it in less than
seven years and in the face of fund con-
straints,” said Basanta Singha Roy, who
became the first Bengali to climb Mount
Everest in May 2010 and went on to scale
three peaks above 8,000 metres.
The son of middle-class parents, Sid-
dhanta worked for two companies in two
different shifts to raise funds for his trips.
“Our anxiety will not go till he safely
comes back. There is danger in every
step. Descending is considered no safer
than ascending,” said Siddhanta’s
mother Gayatri, who is anxiously wait-
ing for his return.
Siddhanta’s next target is to reach the
North Pole to complete what is known as
the Adventurers’ Grand Slam – which is
reaching the two poles and summiting
Mount Everest. In December 2017, he
skied 111km to the South Pole. He had
climbed Mt Everest on May 21, 2016.
Hindustan Times, Indo-Asian News
Mountaineer Satyarup Siddhanta.
“I played the
on the summit.
I suspect I have
bite on my
– Satyarup Siddhanta
Even 12 years after she survived an acid
attack by a jilted lover during a train jour-
ney to Delhi from her home-town
Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh , Pragya Singh
remains a beacon of hope for scores of
such burn victims.
The gritty 35-year-old has helped
about 200 women victims of acid attacks
undergo 300 surgeries for free and given
them not just legal and financial aid but
also jobs to rebuild their lives.
“The horrific incident happened 12
days after my marriage when I was 23 (in
April 2006). A vindictive ex-lover threw
acid on my face and body while I was
asleep in the train. I was in intensive care
for several weeks and had 15 surgeries
over two years to open my nasal cavity
and mouth which got burnt,” Pragya told
Living in Bengaluru since 2007 with
her husband and later giving birth to two
daughters, Pragya set up Atijeevan Foun-
dation in 2013 to make lives of other
burn victims better and happier.
Though the traumatic incident made
her hope for cosmetic surgery to erase
the burns and make her look nice again,
she learnt to accept her appearance to
march ahead in life.
“I realised soon that there was no end
to surgeries, which can only improve ap-
pearance slightly. I reconciled to the in-
evitable, as regaining the original face
was wishful thinking,” she said.
Determined to get back on her feet,
she put an end to the reconstruction surg-
eries once her vital organs became func-
“Instead of being a victim, I decided
to be the change for other women who
are hapless victims of such a heinous
crime. I have been fortunate to have a
family who supported me financially and
emotionally during the treatment and re-
covery phase,” said Pragya.
Acid attacks on women in their 20s
are mostly by men whose romantic ad-
vances were rejected or spurred by fam-
ily feuds, including dowry harassment
and land disputes.
“Women account for about 80 per
cent of acid attacks, while the remaining
20 per cent are on men and children,”
The caustic attacks with sulphuric or
nitric acid, on sale at chemical stores,
melt skin tissues to expose bones and
cause damage to eyes, leading to partial
vision or blindness.
“Each surgery for restoration of func-
tioning of nose, mouth and eyelids cost a
whopping Rs 60,000 to Rs 1 lakh, de-
pending on the intensity of the acid
burn,” revealed Pragya.
“Some of the victims undergo 35 to
40 surgeries after a severe burn, which
are expensive and cause distress for years
to them and their families.”
Her foundation provides acid-burn
survivors a holistic support system and
has tied up with over 15 private hospitals
across the country to provide quality
medical care. The NGO, which functions
on private donations, also bears the
surgery cost for women victims who can-
not afford it.
One such survivor, Deepmala Tiwari,
28, a resident of Balrampur, about
170km northeast of Lucknow in Uttar
Pradesh, was attacked with acid by her
husband in 2014.
“My husband turned insecure after
he learnt that, as a teacher at a state-run
school in Balrampur, I made more
money than him and so he threw acid on
me,” she said.
Unable to afford the treatment, she
reached out to the foundation after learn-
ing about it through a friend.
“Pragya has been in touch with me
ever since, and the foundation took care
of all the costs for me to receive over 10
surgeries and filled confidence in me and
my family to continue leading our lives,”
Deepmala also received a course in
computer science before returning to her
teaching job in Balrampur. She now sup-
ports other acid attack victims as a coordi-
nator for the foundation.
“The foundation and Pragya have
been by my side through all the medical
procedures and the legal battle, after
which my husband was imprisoned for
14 years,” she said.
Deepmala in turn referred the founda-
tion to 23-year-old Reshma Khatun, who
suffered an acid burn at the age of 19 af-
ter she rejected a man’s proposal for mar-
“With the foundation’s support, I
could complete a vocational course in
computers and find a job,” Noida-based
Reshma told IANS.
Reshma, who works as a housekeep-
ing staff at a star hotel in Noida, said an
acid attack makes earning a living diffi-
cult, with employers reluctant to hire the
“It is inspiring to see women like
Pragya showing the way for other
women and men that life does not have
to stop with an acid burn,” Reshma said.
According to the National Crime
Records Bureau, there were 200 cases of
acid attacks on women in 2016 alone, al-
though NGOs estimate the number of
such attacks to be between 500 and
1,000 across the country.
“Seven of our field workers are acid-
burn survivors. When they visit homes of
fellow victims, the understanding among
them and their families is better as life
need not stop because of the attack,” said
With the help of volunteers, the foun-
dation also hosts camps and workshops
for the burn survivors across cities and
towns in the country, offering free legal
assistance, medical treatment and coun-
“We empower burn patients with
skills and vocational training for enhanc-
ing their livelihood. We help them in
learning computer skills, handicraft mak-
ing or pursuing higher education. En-
abling surgeries are not enough as they
need a purpose to get back to normal
life,” said the burn-survivor-turned-ac-
Following the Supreme Court’s 2015
ruling directing states to consider acid at-
tack victims as disabled for jobs, many
companies, which were hesitant to hire
burn patients, have been open to include
them in their workforce, as part of their
quota to include the disabled.
“There are challenges in placing burn
survivors in the industry as lot of corpo-
rates are reluctant to hire them. The few
companies coming forward to hire them
are paying low wages considering them
as incapable of doing their job,” Pragya
noted. Even as she admits that a ban on
the sale of acid in the market is not feasi-
ble, as it is used for industrial products
and sanitation, she wants states to regu-
late its supply in a diluted form.
Indo-Asian News Service
Bollywood actor Sonu Sood with volunteers and beneficiaries of Bengaluru-based Atijeevan
January 18, 2019
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