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Social media personality Preeti and her brother Subhas with
their mother Sellam.
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
NOVEMBER 8, 2019
MCI (P) 078/03/2019
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Singapore Press Holdings
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
V.K. Santosh Kumar
Marketing Team Head
Man kills 10 with cyanide-laced
The Andhra Pradesh police on
Tuesday arrested a serial killer, who
allegedly murdered 10 people in the
last two years by giving them
cyanide-laced “prasadam” (religious
Vellanki Simhadri alias Shiva
resorted to the killings in Krishna, East
Godavari and West Godavari districts
between February last year and
October this year after suffering losses
in a real estate business.
Police investigations revealed that
the man, hailing from Eluru town,
claimed he had supernatural powers
and collected money and gold from
people, before giving them
Pakistan asked to remove
Two days ahead of the
highly-anticipated inauguration of the
cross-border Kartarpur Corridor, India
on Wednesday voiced concerns over
the presence of three Sikh separatist
leaders, including Jarnail Singh
Bhindranwale, in an official
promotional video of the corridor
released by Pakistan and has raised
the matter with Islamabad.
The video shows posters by Sikhs
for Justice group featuring photographs
of Pro-Khalistan leader Bhindranwale
and his military adviser Shabeg Singh,
who were killed during Operation
Blue Star in 1984. Sikhs for Justice is
a banned outfit.
The video was released on Monday,
ahead of the Nov 9 inauguration of
the Kartarpur Corridor, which will
connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine
in Punjab with the Kartarpur shrine in
Pakistan, where Guru Nanak Dev
spent his final days.
Boeing says India will be
fastest-growing aviation market
India will be the world’s
fastest-growing aviation market over
the next two decades, according to
Boeing, which expects the South Asian
nation will need 2,380 aircraft in that
period at a value of US$330 billion.
The United States manufacturer’s
forecast is slightly higher than the one
it made in December last year, when it
said India would require 2,300 new
aircraft worth US$320 billion over
Buffalo Bheem fetches Rs 14 crore
at Pushkar Fair
A Murrah buffalo, weighing around
1,300kg, has fetched Rs14 crore ($2.7
million) at the Pushkar cattle fair in
Rajasthan’s Ajmer city.
The buffalo, named Bheem and
showcased among 5,000 animals, is
owned by Jodhpur-based Jawaharlal
Jangeed. His son Arvind said the
buffalo regular diet is 1kg ghee,
butter, 25 litres of milk, 1kg cashew
nuts and almond which amounts to a
monthly expense of Rs1.5 lakh.
Minister brings Jallianwala Bagh
soil to national museum
Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patel
on Tuesday brought soil from
Jallianwala Bagh in an urn to Delhi to
mark the centenary of the 1919
British colonial era massacre.
The central Tourism Ministry said
the soil will be kept at the National
Museum and serve to inspire youths
and people about the sacrifices made
by India’s freedom fighters.
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre took
place in Amritsar during the Baisakhi
festival on April 13, 1919, when the
British Indian Army under the
command of Colonel Reginald Dyer
opened fire at a crowd staging a
leaving over 400 people, including 41
Fresh row over Amaravati
missing from map
With Amaravati missing from India’s
latest map released last week, a fresh
row broke out in Andhra Pradesh over
the future of the state capital.
The map, released by the Central
government in the wake of the
creation of the Union Territories of
Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,
shows all states with their capitals
except Andhra Pradesh.
As it comes amid the continuing
uncertainty over the future of
Amaravati, the opposition Telugu
Desam Party (TDP) launched a fresh
attack on the YSR Congress Party
TDP leaders cited this as proof of
the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led
government dumping Amaravati as the
state capital and deciding to relocate
the capital city to some other location.
Goa village ‘suspends’ tourist
Days after amateur shutterbugs
thought they have lost their
opportunity to capture the scenic
beauty of Goa, the panchayat in North
Goa’s Parra has scrapped a
controversial tax levied on tourists.
Parra is best known for its scenic
road lined with coconut trees, which
has serveed as a backdrop in several
Bollywood films, including the
Shahrukh Khan-starrer Dear Zindagi.
The decision to levy the tax,
ranging from Rs100 to Rs500, had
triggered a controversy in Goa, after
an outraged local resident published a
photo of the panchayat’s signage
announcing the tax and uploaded a
video of tourists being levied the fee
on social media.
Delhi’s air improves to ‘poor’ as
The air quality in New Delhi improved on
Wednesday as schools reopened after the
Indian capital saw its highest levels of toxic
smog in three years.
Delhi’s air quality index (AQI), which
measures the concentration of poisonous
particulate matter, was recorded at 216 in
the “poor” category, according to the
Central Pollution Control Board.
This was a marked improvement from
Sunday when the city recorded its worst air
day since 2016, with an AQI at a “severe”
level of 494, and from Tuesday’s AQI at 324
in the “very poor” category.
The Delhi government declared a public
health emergency last Friday, with schools
told to stay shut until Tuesday and the
elderly warned not to venture outdoors.
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India has deployed thousands of additional security
forces and roped in about 16,000 “digital volun-
teers” to sanitise social media of inflammatory posts
ahead of a crucial Supreme Court verdict on a
disputed religious site.
Hindus and Muslims have for decades been
bitterly divided over the 16th-century Babri mosque
in Ayodhya, a city in the northern Uttar Pradesh
state that Hindus believe is the birthplace of their
Tensions boiled over in 1992 when Hindu zealots
destroyed the mosque, sparking religious violence
that killed 2,000 people.
India’s top court is expected to hand down its
ruling on competing claims to the site’s ownership
before Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi retires on Nov 17.
“Thousands of (additional) security personnel
from different agencies have been deployed in and
around Ayodhya. Additional vehicles, CCTV cam-
eras, body cameras and drones too have been
brought in,” said Ayodhya police senior superinten-
dent Ashish Tiwari.
“The police is also making other efforts to ensure
that things remain calm. We have enlisted around
16,000 digital volunteers from 1,600 villages in the
region to help monitor and flag sensitive content on
the social media.”
The monitors will report what they deem is
inappropriate content to police, who could then try
to track down the posters and demand that they
delete their posts or messages.
Ayodhya – considered one of the holiest Hindu
sites – is visited by religious pilgrims from all over
India throughout the year.
Around one million pilgrims are expected to be
there early next week for a bathing ritual in the
Saryu river that flows in the region.
“We just have to stay alert and sensitive to the
security of the visiting pilgrims,” said Ayodhya
district magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha.
“We are also keeping a very close watch on social
media to ensure there are no rumours or incite-
Authorities clamped down on movement and
assembly of people in the region last month when
the court was concluding its hearing into the dispute.
The district also banned firecrackers and drones,
only allowing them to be used if permission is
The Supreme Court has to decide on the appeals
against a key 2010 verdict by the High Court which
ruled that both groups should split the site, with
Hindus granted the lion’s share.
Many Hindus believe the medieval mosque that
stood there for 460 years was built only after the
destruction of an earlier temple.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata
Party has campaigned on constructing a new temple
on the site of the razed mosque for decades.
Rapid Action Force personnel patrol a street in Ayodhya.
Extra security ahead of Ayodhya verdict
November 8, 2019
year was an occa-
sion for the Nair
siblings to cele-
rap music video.
Preeti Nair and her brother, rapper
Subhas Nair, were given conditional
warnings by the police on Aug 14 for
the video, which questioned the use of
“brownface” in an E-Pay advertise-
“We came up with a video that
celebrates Deepavali and shows how
to make the popular south Indian
delicacy murukku,” said Preeti, who
goes by the moniker Preetipls on
In the video, named Murukku, the
pair sing a song which describes how
to mix flour, water and spices and
“Every year we help our mother
make murukku for Deepavali,” said
Preeti, 25, “So we thought, why not
make a video on that.”
The video, which was uploaded on
Oct 27, had almost 48,000 views
within 10 days on Facebook alone.
People from all races shared positive
comments on the thread.
Both Preeti and her brother Subhas
said Deepavali celebrations have been
integral to their household.
“Deepavali is such a multi-cultural
celebration in our house. There will be
so many international friends and peo-
ple from possibly all walks of life. It’s a
celebration for everyone,” said Preeti.
Added Subhas: “Deepavali is about
family. It is also about abundance. No
matter what happens in the year, it is a
blessing, as we celebrate with lots of
food and lots of fun.
“We invite friends to our house and
my mum will cook all the dishes. I
must say that she is a fantastic cook.
“I cannot remember ever going to
bed on the eve of Deepavali. We
prepare for the day-long festivities
throughout the night. Up to 100 peo-
ple usually visit us.”
Their mother, Madam Sellam Nair,
hardly sleeps as she prepares all the
dishes they like.
“It’s an entire buffet spread,” said
“She bakes all the cookies too. She
starts preparations almost a week be-
Added Preeti: “My mum makes as
many as 500 murukkus and many
other kuehs, such as tarts and suji.
“Most are not even Indian delica-
cies, but it’s a norm for Deepavali at
our house and many of my friends
have started to think that these are
“We give murukku to everyone. My
mother will pack it for everyone she
can think of. She will pass it to the
workers who clean our corridors and
even the cashiers at the supermarket
Deepavali is also an occasion for
the close siblings to celebrate and
forget the numerous challenges they
faced in their teenage years.
They grew up in hardship after their
father left them when Preeti was 15
Their mother brought them up sin-
gle-handedly and Subhas had to take
up as many as five part-time jobs to
support the family who lived in more
than 10 different homes over the
years, moving from one to another.
The siblings paid for their education
through the various financial assis-
tance schemes available.
As a prelude to the Murukku video,
Preeti released a “make-up tutorial”,
which was her first attempt at speaking
publicly in Tamil.
The siblings studied Chinese as
their second language in school.
“Initially I did not know why we
had to study Chinese in school. We
just accepted it,” said Preeti.
“Later we asked our parents and
they told us that learning Mandarin
will be useful for our future.”
Subhas even took up Higher Chi-
nese during his Junior College days at
Hwa Chong Institution. He later went
on to Yale-NUS College where he
obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in
Preeti studied at Raffles Girls’ Pri-
mary School and then went on to New
Town Secondary where Subhas also
After that, she studied Mass Com-
munications at Ngee Ann Polytechnic
and learnt skills like video editing.
The siblings pointed out that they
were not subject to personal attacks in
the aftermath of the controversial
video they produced.
“I often get nods from people in the
street,” said Subhas. “I reckon that it is
an acknowledgement for what we
(Top) Subhas, Preeti and their mother Sellam hosting their friends on Deepavali day.
Murukku video to celebrate Deepavali
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