Ayisha with child actors
in a still from the
Malayalam film Ennu
Muslim woman’s Hindu kids
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
APRIL 7, 2
MCI (P) 079/10/2022
OVER TEKKA CENTRE
Death toll in Indore temple
collapse rises to 36
The death toll after a floor collapsed at
a Hindu temple in Indore rose to 36
on Friday after rescuers discovered the
body of the last missing person.
Dozens of worshippers celebrating a
major religious holiday plunged into
the stepwell on March 30 after the
floor covering it collapsed, plunging
them into about 7.5 metres of water.
The bodies of dozens of victims
were cremated on pyres near the scene
of the accident last Friday after brief
Rahul Gandhi appeals defamation
Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi on
Monday appealed against the
defamation conviction that resulted in
his expulsion from parliament two
The 52-year-old was sentenced to
two years’ jail for the remarks he
made in 2019, which were seen as
insulting to Prime Minister Narendra
Modi and those sharing his surname.
Gandhi is looking to overturn the
conviction before elections that are
due next year. The hearing is
scheduled for next week.
Man arrested for starting fire on
train that kills three passengers
Maharashtra Police’s Anti-Terrorism
Squad on Wednesday reportedly
nabbed a man suspected of starting a
fire on a Kerala train that killed three
people. According to ANI, the man,
identified as Shahrukh Saifi, was
arrested at Ratnagiri railway station.
Shahrukh allegedly poured petrol
on a co-passenger, injuring several
others, inside the Alappuzha-Kannur
Executive Express on Sunday after the
train left Kozhikode railway station.
The reason for his act is not known.
Five arrested over human sacrifice
at temple in Guwahati
Police in Assam have arrested five men
accused of conducting a human
sacrifice, nearly four years after the
discovery of the victim’s headless body
at a temple left officers baffled.
Ms Shanti Shaw, 64, was killed and
decapitated with a machete in 2019
after visiting the temple in Guwahati.
Police made no headway in the case
until Ms Shaw’s body was finally
identified in January, sparking a
renewed investigation that tracked
down several culprits.
Police said the alleged ringleader,
Pradeep Pathak, 52, had orchestrated
the killing as part of a religious rite to
mark the anniversary of his brother’s
death. He and four others were taken
into custody between March 25 and
April 1, with police still hunting for
the remaining seven accomplices.
One dead as sectarian clashes
rock eastern India
Authorities deployed hundreds of riot
police and cut mobile Internet services
in parts of eastern India on Sunday
after violent clashes erupted in at least
eight states during the religious festival
Police said one person was shot
dead in Bihar’s Nalanda district on
Saturday after groups clashed in the
town of Biharsharif. This came a day
after mobs fought running battles and
set fire to homes and shops.
Nearly 100 people have been
detained and police are investigating
Seven tourists killed in avalanche
An avalanche in the Himalayas killed
at least seven tourists, the Indian army
said on Tuesday, adding that more
than 370 people were rescued from
the area in Sikkim.
The avalanche, reported around
noon local time, struck near Nathu La,
a scenic mountain pass connecting
Tibet to Gangtok, the capital of
Sikkim, according to India’s Border
Police are still searching for more
people who might be trapped under
thick layers of snow.
Landslides near hydro projects
unrelated to construction
Landslides around hydro-power
projects in the Himalayas were caused
by topography, geological conditions
and rainfall, the Power Ministry said
on Wednesday, citing a study that
ruled out construction as a factor.
The Indian Institute of Remote
Sensing study of nine sites of state
hydro-power board NHPC in
Himalayan states showed “landslide
activities around hydro-power projects
are not related to the construction
activity of the project”, the ministry
said. Several avalanches in the region
killed at least 120 people over the last
Jobless rate hits three-month high
India’s unemployment rate climbed to
a three-month high of 7.8 per cent in
March amid concerns a global
slowdown will hurt Asia’s third-largest
Urban joblessness remained
elevated at 8.4 per cent, compared
with about 7.5 per cent in rural areas,
according to data from the
Mumbai-based Centre for Monitoring
Indian Economy. In February, the
overall rate was 7.5 per cent.
Milk imports soar as disease hits
local cattle stock
Buying milk is getting expensive in
India and the price could soon hit an
all-time high, forcing the world’s
biggest producer to step up imports to
boost supplies and ease cost of living
Farmers are wrestling with a rare
double whammy: a lethal condition
called lumpy skin disease in their cows
and a draw-down in market-ready
cattle stock after the coronavirus
pandemic slowed breeding.
Milk prices have already jumped
more than 15 per cent to Rs56 (90
cents) a litre over the past year – the
fastest rise in a decade – making it
difficult for the government to bring
retail inflation below the central bank’s
Dior eyes India’s luxury market
with landmark show
Christian Dior Couture showcased its
Fall 2023 collection in Mumbai on
March 30, becoming the first fashion
house to unveil the latest lines in India
as luxury brands tap new markets in a
hunt for their next billions.
Everything from sari-inspired skirts
to boleros to vibrantly-coloured outfits
in silks, including those in an Indian
pink, were on display, with the
Gateway of India as the backdrop.
Dior, the second-biggest brand of
billionaire Bernard Arnault’s French
luxury behemoth LVMH, and the
decision to add India to its seasonal
schedule shows a rising interest to tap
the nation’s rising wealth.
Tests of eye drops linked to US
deaths show no contamination
No contamination was found in
samples of eye drops made by India’s
Global Pharma Healthcare, a product
linked to three deaths and blindness in
some patients in the US, broadcaster
NDTV reported on Tuesday citing
India’s health ministry sources.
Indian tests found the samples to be
of “standard quality”, the report said,
nearly two months after US agencies
warned against using the Artificial
Tears eye drops, citing potential
contamination by drug-resistant
A tourist taking a selfie at the
Tulip Garden in Srinagar,
Jammu and Kashmir, on
An explosion of colours –
and long queues of traffic –
marked the opening of Asia’s
largest tulip garden, which has
1.5 million blooms.
Over the next month,
thousands of visitors are
expected at the 30ha garden
on the shores of the
picturesque Dal Lake to see
more than 60 varieties of tulip.
It takes a year and an army
of gardeners to prepare for the
“There are over 543 beds
spread across the four terraces
of the garden,” said garden
supervisor Mushtaq Ahmad
Mir, who meticulously maps
out which variety and colour
of tulip appear in each of the
Dazzling display of 1.5 million tulips
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A. VISHNU VARDNI
Amid the skyrocketing stall rental and
food prices at this year’s biggest Gey-
lang Serai Ramadan Bazaar, Mr Raj
Govin and his family continue to sell
their signature food item – the local
delicacy prawn vadai – at just a dollar.
This is by far the cheapest in the
bazaar that is hosting 700 stalls.
This year’s Ramadan Bazaar fea-
tures eight vadai stalls, of which
Mr Raj’s Mr Wadeh stands out with its
The stall, which sells only prawn
vadai, returns to the bazaar after three
years. But this time, it is missing
co-founder Manonmany, Mr Raj’s wife
who died in July last year. She was 60.
Mr Wadeh was the couple’s maiden
venture. They started it in 2002 when
Mr Raj was out of work.
The secondary school sweethearts
took a leap of faith to invest their
savings in the vadai business that hops
pasar malams or night markets.
While Mr Raj prepared and fried
the vadai, Mrs Manonmany would
manage the stall and serve the cus-
As the face of the shop, Mrs Manon-
many’s absence is also felt by the
“She loved talking to people. She
could make anyone’s day. Sometimes
the shop feels so empty without her
positivity and cheerful presence,” said
Mr Raj, 65.
Regular customers who visited the
family stall this year would ask after
Mrs Manonmany and Mr Raj would
sometimes reply with “she’s at home”
to mask the grief.
It is in her memory that Mr Raj and
his children are selling their prawn
vadai at $1.
But it is not without its challenges.
Mr Raj, son Vekneshvaran and
daughter Mogana Ruba have to grap-
ple with rising costs, inflation and the
$16,000 rental – which is eight-fold of
what it was in 2002.
Mrs Manonmany was a staunch
believer in giving back to the commu-
nity during Ramadan, Mr Raj re-
counted. Since their first venture at the
Ramadan Bazaar in 2002, she always
advised the family to prioritise their
customers instead of profit.
They used to sell three pieces of
vadai for $2.
“Many Muslim customers break
their fast with our prawn vadai,” said
“Regular customers have even intro-
duced their grandchildren to our vadai.
This is a time for us to show gratitude
for all their support.”
The family-run business braved the
bazaar-less period of the pandemic by
quickly adapting to a delivery system.
When asked about retirement,
Mr Raj smiled and said: “I will keep
running the business to my last day
and join my wife.”
Mr Raj Govin with daughter
Mogana Ruba and son
Come April 15, the open field at Birch
Road in Little India will come to life
with Tamil New Year festivities, cul-
tural showcases and public events.
Organised by Little India Shopkeep-
ers and Heritage Association (Lisha),
the annual Indian Cultural Fiesta re-
turns with a collection of 15 dance
performances representing the differ-
ent Indian ethnic groups in Singapore.
This will be complemented by a
week-long Indian Ethnic Exhibition,
which centres on signature dishes from
the 15 groups.
Hosted in English, the expected
crowd of 1,000 guests will be treated
to a three-hour showcase of invigorat-
ing dance performances.
There will also be a week-long
Indian Ethnic Exhibition which will
give insights into these 15 communi-
On April 16, the show Chithirai
Kalai Vizha will mark the Tamil New
Year with a commemoration of classi-
cal Tamil poet and philosopher Avvai-
yar. There will be a range of cultural
components including classical dance
Popular Indian orator Bharathi
Bhaskar will discourse on Avvaiyar’s
works and thoughts. The one-hour talk
is a key highlight of the free event.
Avvaiyar was noted for writing
From April 1 to April 30, 64 street
banners on both sides of Serangoon
Road will carry her proverbs in English
and Tamil along with their simplified
Birch Road will also host other
events including those targeted at stu-
dents, migrant workers and tourists.
Among the line-up are competitions
and informative sessions that aim to
increase awareness on the Indian her-
itage and culture.
Visitors will also get the opportu-
nity to taste different Indian food, with
five heritage restaurants – Gayathri,
Junior Kuppana, Flavours, Shivam and
Nagarkovil Arya Bhavan presenting
their wide range of dishes.
By paying just $10, each visitor can
taste the preparations at all five restau-
More information on the Tamil New
Year festivities can be found at the
A. VISHNU VARDNI
Ushering in Tamil New Year
with cultural showcase
Orator Bharathi Bhaskar will be talking
about the works of Avvaiyar.
“I will keep
my last day
– Mr Raj Govin
$1 prawn vadai for the love of his wife
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