REPORT ON PAGE 7
Corporal Balraj Singh
(in uniform, right), who
completed the intensive
Combat Diver Course of
the Singapore Navy’s elite
Naval Diving Unit.
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
DECEMBER 24, 2021
MCI (P) 034/10/2021
LAND VTL CAPACITY
TO BE HALVED
FROM JAN 21
ODE TO 1983
TO KEAN YEW’S
SPEED AND GUILE
Man beaten to death after alleged
A man was beaten to death for
allegedly trying to commit an act of
sacrilege at Amritsar’s Golden Temple,
the holiest shrine of the Sikh faith.
Local media reported that the man
jumped over a railing into the temple’s
inner sanctum during evening prayers
NDTV said he tried to grab a sword
kept in front of the Guru Granth
Sahib, the Sikh holy book, when he
was stopped by worshippers and later
beaten to death. The police have not
been able to establish his identity.
Government lays out controversial
Bill to raise women’s marriage age
The Indian government has presented
new legislation in Parliament, seeking
to raise the legal age at which women
can marry from 18 to 21, a move that
rights activists say will do little to
change long-held social mores and
instead penalise adult women.
The Prohibition of Child Marriage
Amendment Bill was introduced in
the lower house of Parliament on
Tuesday amid protests by opposition
lawmakers. It has been sent to a
parliamentary panel for further
Foxconn’s Chennai plant to be
shut this week after protests
Apple supplier Foxconn’s plant near
Chennai will remain shut this week
following protests sparked by a food
Police on Monday released dozens
of those detained for blocking a key
highway after the food poisoning
incident last week at the plant that
led to 150 employees being admitted
O’Brien suspended from Rajya
Sabha for ‘unruly behaviour’
Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP and
floor leader Derek O’Brien, who is the
quiz master, was suspended
from the Rajya Sabha (Upper House)
on Tuesday for the remaining part of
the Winter Session after he allegedly
threw the rule book at the chair during
a discussion on the Election Laws
(Amendment) Bill, 2021.
Asked why he was suspended,
Mr O’Brien said: “Because this
government doesn’t like to listen to
tutorials. For six minutes, I gave this
government a tutorial.”
Kerala police register case against
athletics star P.T. Usha
Police in Kozhikode, Kerala, have
registered a case against India’s former
star runner P.T. Usha and six others
for their suspected involvement in real
Former athlete Jemma Joseph
complained that that she had paid
around Rs46 lakh ($82,992) for an
apartment after Usha promised it
would be completed on time. But the
apartment remains incomplete and
Jemma has been unable to get her
money back from the developers.
Kerala High Court delivers justice
to 8-year-old girl
After half a dozen hearings and seeing
that there was no action from the state
government, the Kerala High Court on
Wednesday directed compensation be
paid to an eight-year-old girl and her
father who were publicly humiliated
by a woman police officer.
Justice Devan Ramachandran ruled:
“We cannot let our daughters grow up
in anger; immediate remedial steps
should be taken. No one can dispute
that her fundamental right under
Article 21 to lead a dignified and full
life was violated.”
The court granted a compensation
of Rs150,000 to the child.
Political tension engulfs
foundation stone ceremony
Tension prevailed at the
Ramateertham temple in Andhra
Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district on
Wednesday when former Union
Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju tried
to remove the plaque installed to lay
the foundation stone for the
reconstruction of the temple.
He was apparently angry over his
name being written at the bottom of
the plaque. After an argument
involving the police and state
government officials, Deputy Chief
Minister P. Pushpa Srivani,
Endowments Minister V. Srinivas and
others laid the foundation stone.
Tamil Nadu farmer’s daughter gets
scholarship to study in US
Swega Swaminathan, a small farmer’s
daughter from Kasipalayam village in
Tamil Nadu’s Erode district has
received a full scholarship of Rs3 crore
to pursue a bachelor’s in Chicago
University in the United States.
She is the first in her family to go to
college for further education. She aims
to become a scientist.
Zee-Sony merger will create an
Japanese conglomerate Sony’s Indian
arm has finalised a deal with local
rival Zee Entertainment to form
India’s second largest entertainment
The merged entity will include
more than 75 television channels, film
assets and two streaming platforms.
It is poised to become a major
player in the country’s fast-growing
entertainment industry, challenging
rivals such as Walt Disney’s Hotstar.
Lookout notice against Akali
India’s Home Ministry has issued a
lookout circular against former Punjab
minister and senior Akali Dal leader
Bikram Singh Majithia.
On Monday, the 46-year-old was
booked under the Narcotic Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances Act on the
basis of a 2018 status report of a
probe into a drug racket.
The lookout circular, which
prevents a person from leaving the
country, was issued at the request of
the Punjab police.
Assam and Meghalaya to resolve
border disputes by Jan 15
In a big breakthrough in the
decades-old border dispute between
Assam and Meghalaya, Assam Chief
Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his
Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K.
Sangma on Wednesday decided to
resolve six of the 12 disputes before
Meghalaya’s Deputy Chief Minister
Prestone Tynsong said the meeting was
a “productive” and “good” one.
Patna police bust liquor unit run
from community centre
The Patna police in Bihar on
Wednesday busted an illegal liquor
manufacturing unit operating from a
government community centre in the
Assistant Superintendent of Police
Syed Imran Masood said that three
women involved in the operations
were arrested, although a man
managed to escape.
India beat arch-rivals Pakistan 4-3
to take bronze
The Indian men’s hockey team won
the bronze medal at the Asian
Champions Trophy after beating
Pakistan 4-3 in the third-place
play-off in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on
India lost to Japan 3-5 in the
semi-final the previous day.
Bollywood actor Ranveer
Singh (kneeling, second from
left) along with members of
India’s 1983 cricket World
Cup winning team at the
premiere of the movie 83 in
Mumbai on Wednesday.
The film, directed by Kabir
Khan, chronicles India’s win
under Kapil Dev’s leadership
(read the review on page 8).
Ranveer, who made a
stylish entry in an all-white
ensemble, got a tight hug
from Kapil (standing, fifth
from left), whom the actor
portrays in the movie.
His wife, Bollywood
actress Deepika Padukone,
stole the show in a stunning
strapless gown with a
Stars from the 1983 team
– such as Mohinder
Srikkanth, Roger Binny,
Madan Lal and Sunil
Gavaskar – were also present.
The highly anticipated film
will release in theatres today.
Bollywood and cricket stars attend 83 premiere
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V.K. Santosh Kumar
Channel Excellence Lead
Shah Rukh Khan entering a film set in
Mumbai (left) on Wednesday.
The investigation into the extortion
allegations in connection with the
Aryan Khan case was halted on
Wednesday till further orders, India
Aryan, who is the son of Bollywood
superstar Shah Rukh Khan, was ar-
rested in October in connection with
the Mumbai cruise drug seizure case.
The Mumbai police constituted a
Special Enquiry Team (SET) to investi-
gate the allegations of extortion that
were levelled against independent wit-
nesses K.P. Gosavi and Sam D’Souza
and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)
officials in the case.
The SET team questioned around
20 people. But the Mumbai police
have not registered a case as no
evidence has been found.
In an affidavit, independent witness
Prabhakar Sail, who was Mr Gosavi’s
personal bodyguard, claimed that Rs25
crore ($4.5 million) was demanded on
behalf of NCB zonal director Sameer
Wankhede for the release of Aryan,
who was arrested on Oct 3 and
granted bail on Oct 28.
It was alleged that Mr Gosavi posed
as an NCB officer and met Shah
Rukh’s manager Pooja Dadlani to take
money from her for the release of
Aryan, 23, on the night of the raid.
A senior police officer told The
Times of India that they sent a sum-
mons twice to Ms Dadlani, but she has
not appeared before the SET.
He added that the police were
thinking of closing the inquiry as
“there is no official complaint of
extortion and no one has come for-
ward for recording the statement.”
The NCB also formed a team to
probe the extortion allegations against
Mr Wankhede, whose term as its
Mumbai zone chief will end on Dec
31. The embattled officer has not
sought an extension.
Aryan, who had to mark his atten-
dance at the NCB office in Mumbai,
has now been relieved of that formal-
On Wednesday, Shah Rukh was
spotted back at work. The 56-year-old
actor was photographed at a film set in
Mumbai. He was pictured entering it
in a black T-shirt and wearing glasses.
Several fan pages dedicated to the
actor shared the photo on Instagram.
It was the first time he was spotted
in Mumbai since Aryan was granted
bail by the Bombay High Court.
Shah Rukh was last seen in the
2018 film Zero, co-starring Anushka
Sharma and Katrina Kaif.
In recent months, he has co-pro-
duced Alia Bhatt’s Darlings, which
marks her debut as a film producer.
He also backed the standalone film
on Bob Biswas, featuring Abhishek
Bachchan in the titular role, which
released earlier this month.
Shah Rukh will next be seen in the
much-awaited film Pathan, alongside
Deepika Padukone and John Abra-
On Wednesday, he received praise
from India’s newly crowned Miss Uni-
verse Harnaaz Sandhu.
She told the Entertainment Times:
“I share a lot of respect and love for
Shah Rukh Khan.
“The amount of hard work he has
done and is still doing, it’s never
enough I think.
“But he has always stayed
grounded, he has always managed the
“And the way he has been talking
in every interview, that really inspired
me, that it’s just about your attitude
that takes you places. He is a wonder-
ful artiste and a wonderful human
Indo-Asian News Servic
India’s capital New Delhi on Wednes-
day banned Christmas and other cele-
brations ahead of New Year to contain
a possible surge in the Omicron coron-
avirus variant, as the city reported the
country’s highest number of cases
along with Maharashtra.
On Thursday, India’s Omicron tally
reached 236 across 15 states, out of
which Maharashtra and Delhi reported
65 and 64 cases respectively.
Maharashtra, where Omicron cases
have been rising, also advised people
to avoid gatherings. India has reported
no deaths from the variant. Its health
minister has said that most known
cases are asymptomatic.
“No cultural event, gatherings, con-
gregation can take place for celebrat-
ing Christmas or New Year in Delhi,”
the Delhi Disaster Management Au-
thority said in its circular on Wednes-
The authority, whose writ covers a
sprawling city of 20 million people,
added that there has been a persistent
rise in Covid-19 cases in the last few
days. “It is the need of the hour to
control the spread of Covid-19 cases
including the Omicron variant,” it
On Tuesday, the Central health
ministry urged states to prepare for
potential infection surges and gave
them the green light to impose restric-
tions on crowds and large gatherings,
marriages and offices.
The Delhi government also imposed
a 50 per cent seating capacity limit in
restaurants and capped the number of
people permitted at weddings to 200.
The highly infectious Omicron has
brought back fears of a possible third
wave in India.
National Covid-19 Supermodel
Committee member Vidyasagar re-
cently said that India will experience
Omicron’s third wave but it will be
milder than the second wave.
“The third wave is likely to arrive
early next year in India. It should be
milder than the second wave due to
large-scale immunity present in the
country now. There will definitely be a
third wave,” he told ANI.
The Indian government has not yet
decided whether to offer booster shots
to citizens despite calls to do so from
some states and medical experts.
India’s tally of daily new Covid-19
infections has halved within the last
month and the government is racing to
inoculate all 944 million adults.
It has administered at least one
vaccine shot to about 87 per cent of
the eligible population.
India recorded 7,495 new Covid-19
cases on Thursday. The overall tally
has reached 34.76 million, the second
highest globally behind only the
“Definitely not the time to drop
(our) guard or be complacent as the
threat is looming large,” Mr Rijo John,
a health economist at the Rajagiri
College of Social Sciences in the
southern city of Kochi, said on Twitter.
A new Covid-19 care facility, which can accommodate around 500 patients, in an indoor
stadium at the Commonwealth Games Village in New Delhi.
Delhi bans year-end celebrations over Omicron fears
No evidence of extortion found in Aryan case
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