SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
MAY 10, 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
Protests erupt after top judge
cleared of sexual harassment
Dozens of protesters gathered outside
the Supreme Court in Delhi on
Tuesday, a day after a panel of judges
dismissed a sexual harassment
complaint against the chief justice,
carrying placards demanding a new
and impartial investigation.
A former court assistant accused
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi of having
made unwanted sexual advances last
The 64-year-old has denied the
charges and an internal panel of judges
cleared him of wrongdoing, a court
statement said on Monday. But
protesters said they were not satisfied
with the decision.
Kedarnath temple reopens
The Kedarnath temple in the Garhwal
Himalayas of Uttarakhand was
re-opened to pilgrims yesterday. The
government had taken up the uphill
task of clearing the snow by using
bulldozers and reconstructing the huts
damaged in the 15 to 20 ft heavy
snowfall at Kedarnath area, situated at
a height of 11,755 ft in the
Most of the snow has already
melted. But the peaks around the
temple, believed to be 1,200 years old,
are still covered with thick sheets of
Weddings, lower prices set to
boost gold demand
Gold demand in India is expected to
rise in the June quarter from a year ago
due to a higher number of auspicious
days for weddings and a fall in local
prices ahead of a key festival, said the
World Gold Council (WGC).
A rise in consumption by the
world’s second-biggest gold consumer
could help global prices, currently
hovering near a four-month low.
“Prices are attractive. In the second
quarter, we might see a surge in
demand due to Akshaya Tritiya and
higher auspicious days for weddings,”
said Mr Somasundaram P.R., managing
director of WGC’s Indian operations.
Indians celebrated Akshaya Tritiya
on Tuesday, when buying gold is
This year, the contribution to sales
from weddings could rise as the Hindu
calendar shows 37 auspicious dates for
weddings from just 21 in the second
quarter a year earlier, up 76 per cent,
Mr Somasundaram said.
SIA plane lands in New Delhi with
‘hydraulic leak’ in nose wheel
A Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight was
forced to make an emergency landing
in New Delhi on Wednesday after
pilots reported a technical glitch that
affected the nose wheel of the Airbus
An airline spokesman said that
Flight SQ406 experienced a hydraulic
system issue before arrival at Delhi’s
Indira Gandhi International Airport on
Wednesday evening. The aircraft
landed at about 8.20pm, half an hour
later than scheduled.
While no injuries were reported,
Indian media reported that the runway
had to be closed for 18 minutes, which
affected several other departures.
Missing Uttar Pradesh constable
found serving jail term in Tihar
Police in Uttar Pradesh took five
months to realise that one of its
constables who had gone missing after
a month-long leave in November last
year was in fact a convict in the 1987
Hashimpura massacre serving a life
sentence in Delhi’s Tihar jail.
Kanwar Pal Singh was posted at
Bijnor’s Barhapur police station. His
contract was terminated last Friday
after a departmental inquiry.
The 55-year-old had been convicted
by the Delhi High Court on Oct 31 last
year, along with 15 others, of shooting
42 men in Meerut’s Hashimpura area
UN praises India’s response to
The United Nations and other experts
have praised India for its early warning
systems and rapid evacuation of more
than one million people, which they
said helped minimise loss of lives from
a deadly cyclone that battered Odisha.
Cyclone Fani, one of the biggest to
hit India in years, tore into the state last
Friday, before swinging towards
Twenty-nine deaths were reported
in Odisha and 13 in Bangladesh.
Police rescue suspected
Rohingya victims of trafficking
A dozen Rohingya refugees, including
teenagers, have been rescued from a
suspected human trafficking operation,
police in Mizoram state said on
Monday, after the group entered India
from Bangladesh without valid travel
Acting on a tip-off from local
charities, police raided the house of a
woman on Sunday to find the
Rohingya refugees – who they suspect
were going to be trafficked onwards to
Malaysia or Taiwan.
“They had no valid permits, but we
couldn’t arrest them because we
realised they are victims of human
trafficking,” said Deputy-Inspector
General Lalbiakthanga Khiangte in
Mizoram’s capital city of Aizawl.
Assam tribe pray for
bountiful harvest at
The Tiwa tribal community in
Assam’s Karbi Anglong district
celebrated the Wanchuwa festival
on Wednesday with great fervour.
The occasion is known to be
significant for the tribe living in
the hills and plains as it is related
to agriculture which is the
mainstay of their economy.
During the celebratory event,
the Tiwas pray for a bountiful
harvest and to protect their crops
from pests and other natural
The festival also sees men and
women put on makeup in the
form of a paste made from rice
powder as they prepare
themselves for a traditional
Tiwa tribesmen taking part in a dance during the Wanchuwa festival.
Leftists face exit
India’s once-vibrant communist parties
are in danger of falling off the political
map in this month’s general elections as
voters lose their revolutionary fervour.
From 61 parliamentary seats and a
key role in a coalition government
formed in 2004, the Communist Party
of India (Marxist), or CPM, and its hard
left allies slumped to just 10 seats in the
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury ac-
knowledged that the left cannot afford
another fall as he lobbied for precious
votes in the last communist bastion of
southern Kerala state.
In the past, tens of thousands of Indi-
ans turned out for communist rallies,
chanting proletarian slogans and wear-
ing hammer and sickle neck chains with
their Marxist-red T-shirts and hats.
But today, the movement is fighting
an increasingly desperate battle.
As the communists defend their six
seats in Kerala, Mr Yechury acknowl-
edged the critical stakes while keeping
up his onslaught against capitalism and
right-wing Prime Minister Narendra
Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party
“The youth were led away by a lot of
illusions,” he said of the erosion of sup-
port for the communists. “The neo-lib-
eral blitzkrieg agenda will become an El-
dorado and reality will hit them.”
The party secretary-general added
that the financial crisis of 2008 has
made many people look to the left
again. “This is the first chance when we
can test whether we are reversing the
trend or not,” he said.
“The 2019 election results are impor-
tant for communists – just as they are
important for India, since the results
will decide whether we remain a secu-
lar, democratic republic as defined by
our constitution, or not.”
The original Communist Party of In-
dia (CPI) is one of the world’s oldest
communist parties and became a power-
ful force after independence in 1947,
claiming to fight for the country’s poor.
Even though it was pushed back to
second fiddle status when the CPM
broke away in 1964, it remains one of a
plethora of rival left groups, including
four Revolutionary Socialist parties
with tendencies ranging from Bolshevik
to plain vanilla Marxist.
Between them, the parties claim
more than one million members. But po-
litical and personal infighting and the
rise of the BJP as India became richer
has overshadowed talk of a proletarian
The communists lost their other bas-
tion in the eastern state of West Bengal
in 2011 after 34 years in power.
The small northeastern state of
Tripura went over to the BJP last year,
leaving just Kerala.
The CPM manifesto is like a throw-
back to the 1960s, saying Modi has re-
duced India to a “junior partner of US
But it includes potential vote-win-
ners like tripling the minimum legal
wage of Rs18,000 ($350) a month and
free healthcare for all.
And the communists still have
diehard supporters in the southern state
which has some of India’s best social in-
dicators for health and education.
Student Ajith K. rode his motorbike
for three hours from his village in Ker-
ala’s Kasargod district to attend a
Yechury rally in Vadakara.
“My parents, brother and others in
the family are all lifetime communists.
We couldn’t think of voting for anyone
else,” he said.
Mr A.N. Shamseer, a CPM lawmaker
in the state assembly, proudly says that
the communists in Kerala “have a long
history of driving key social reforms”.
But the BJP, Congress and other so-
cial democratic parties are also promis-
ing better health care, education and so-
cial welfare for the poor.
In a new sign of the communists’ vul-
nerability, one of the two constituencies
where Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is
standing for election is in the Kerala
seat of Wayanad against a communist
“Kerala is their bastion, the last
stronghold, where the communists
need to fight,” said Mr Hartosh Singh
Bal, political editor of The Caravan mag-
azine. “It is a very very critical election
for their future.
“Many voters want classic left-of-
centre policies, which some parties of-
fer, but not the Marxism, which the
party’s cadres want. And the results are
there for all to see.”
Mr Sitaram Yechury along with Communist Party of India (Marxist) supporters at an election
rally in Perambra, Kerala.
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