Pressure mounted on the West Bengal government on Tuesday after a five-member fact-finding committee submitted a detailed report on the alleged post-poll violence in the state to the Union Home ministry. The committee members include former Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court Permod Kohli, former Chief Secretary Anand Bose, retired DGP Nirmal Kaur, and retired IAS Madan Gopal.
The committee has criticised the state administration, with the report saying that the post-poll violence could have been controlled had the administration and police acted in time. The Member Secretary of this committee contacted the Chief Secretary on 20 May 2021 to seek views of the state government. The Chief Secretary sent a reply requesting the Member Secretary to contact the Home Secretary. The Member Secretary sent two messages and a reminder e-mail, but “unfortunately the Home department did not respond”. The report of the fact-finding committee may be placed before the Supreme Court.
Citing reports, it said that over 25 people, including women, were murdered; over 15,000 violent incidents took place, 7,000 women were molested, and 16 out of 26 districts of Bengal were affected. A large number of people, fearing death, migrated to the neighbouring states of Assam, Jharkhand and Odisha.
Three members of the fact-finding committee—Anand Bose, Nirmal Kaur and Madan Gopal—went to Bengal on a field visit on 15 May 2021. The findings of the committee are from the night of 2 May 2021 when violence following the announcement of poll results allegedly started across the state. According to the committee, this is a clear indication that most of the incidents are “pre medicated” and “organised”. Mafia dons and criminal gangs, who were already in the police records, led and carried out the attacks. It was a targeted destruction and had the purpose to deprive the livelihoods and choking the victims economically.
The report said: “The magnitude and reach of the post-poll violence touched many villages and towns all across the state simultaneously, beginning from the night of 2 May 2021. This is a clear indication that most of the incidents are not sporadic but premeditated, organised and conspiratorial.”
The report further said: “It is noteworthy that in most of the incidents, the leaders, followers, field-level functionaries, voters, family members belonging to a particular political party were targeted.”
As per the report, “In most of the cases, victims were afraid to lodge a complaint with the police either due to fear of reprisal or due to the lack of faith in the police. Those victims who gathered courage to go to the police were either turned away or flatly refused to register the case. Many people left to fend for themselves, leaving their homes and villages for safer destinations, to shelter camps within and outside the state.”
“Victims from Phoolimari (1 and 2), Rampur left their homes out of fear and threat to their lives and took shelter at the Sri Rampur Hindu School at Kokrajhar district in Assam. Similarly, many victims are at the Pokalagi, Ronpagli and Chhagulia relief camps in Dhubri district and at Tamarhat camp in Kokrajhar district in Assam,” the report said.
According to the report, goons forcibly took away the Aadhaar cards and ration cards from the victims and demanded a written undertaking not to support the particular political party. “The horrific atrocities on women cannot be described in any language as on the fateful night of 2 May and on subsequent nights, groups of goondas, ruffians, and supporters belonging to the ruling party entered the homes and brutally raped and molested women. Tragically, even elderly women were also not spared. In most of the cases, the local police became silent spectators and even refused to receive complaints from aggrieved people,” the report said.
“In a particular instance, a sole hand-pump, which catered to the drinking water needs of a community, was destroyed and the connecting bridge to the said village demolished by using a JCB to isolate the villagers who voted against the ruling party candidates.”
The report said: “The government should initiate disciplinary proceedings on those delinquent officers, including All-India Service Officers, who failed to discharge their duties in protecting lives and prevent destruction of properties. The services of retired Judges of High Courts or Supreme Court should be sought to head this inquiry proceedings.”
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ART EXHIBITION UNRAVELS DICHOTOMY, MULTIPLICITY OF URBAN LANDSCAPE
On a busy Saturday evening at the Triveni Kala Sangam in New Delhi, amidst the intellectual conversations, the setting sun and the aroma of filter coffee in the air, stood a shiny white exhibition room, with huge pieces of monochromatic art hung at the walls and people silently observing them, then murmuring something and then looking again.
A new art exhibition titled ‘Layered Dichotomy’ by Delhi-based artist Shruti Binay is being presented in this room at the Triveni Gallery, Mandi House, from November 21 to 30. Shruti, a young, budding artist, through this exhibition of paintings, drawings and mixed media works, attempts to “embrace life’s multiplicity”.
Talking about what inspired this collection, Shruti told ANI, “I am fascinated with the things around me. I stay in Gurgaon, so, for me, buildings, metro bridges, structures, architecture have always fascinated me. I have simplified those structures into lines and forms. I find the urban landscape interesting because I think I see life in it. You see the fabric in some of these paintings, that gives a different kind of life to the piece. In all my paintings you will see something moving, the sense of life is there in most of them.”
She added, “I have tried to include human forms as well because that is the best way to express myself, by connecting with my own self. Most of the paintings have been liked by people and I see the ones with human forms are being liked the most, as people most easily can connect to them.”
In the exhibition the theme of the collection revolves around dichotomy, and it could be seen and reflected in varied ways from one piece to another.
“I like to play with the medium, so in my paintings, you would see different layers created, with different kinds of textures such as paper, fabric, I’ve used tea bags and paper pulp, old paper. There’s a plane surface, and then there is a textured surface as well. Somewhere there is strength and somewhere it’s all worn out. Mostly they are monochromatic, with a wash-off look…but then some colours like blues, greens, reds stand out in other places. That’s the dichotomy I’ve tried to present,” she explained.
URANUS COLLECTS OVER 2.5 TONS OF USED COOKING OIL TO TURN IT INTO BIODIESEL
Providing a commercially viable solution to the food industry to dispose of its used cooking oils (UCO), Uranus Oil Corp, a Chennai-based startup in renewable energy and waste management solutions, collects UCO for a price and supplies them to manufacture biodiesel, a cleaner and greener form of diesel.
Uranus has recently set a record by collecting over 2.5 tonnes of UCO in a month from restaurants, hostels, canteens and other similar sources in and around Chennai. UCO poses a threat to human health, when consumed, and to the environment, when dumped untreated. Hence, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and Biodiesel Association of India, have recently launched the Repurpose UCO (RUCO) program, to prevent UCO from getting into the food supply chain or the environment, and to use it for producing biofuel.
Uranus is an authorised UCO aggregator, enrolled in the RUCO program. The company distributes ‘RUCO cans’ to hotels, hostels, canteens, and other such outlets to collect the UCO, and supplies the collected oil to Pan Oleo Energy Limited (formerly, DCI Limited), a large-scale biodiesel manufacturer and renewable energy company in Tamil Nadu, which converts UCO into biodiesel, a cleaner and greener form of diesel.
Uranus is scaling up its operations rapidly in order to collect about 15 tonnes of UCO per day by the end of 2022.
In his comments, Mr. Vasanth JB, Co-founder of Uranus Oil Corp, said, “Edible oils are the primary source of unsaturated fats and vitamin E in human diets. They are used in frying, baking, and other types of cooking and food preparations in restaurants, fast foods and households. However, when cooking oils are reheated again and again, they release toxic substances. These oils also increase free radicals in the body which in turn cause inflammation and various chronic diseases. If there is no alternative to collect UCO, they could find their way to smaller restaurants, dhabas, and street vendors or be discarded in an environmentally hazardous manner. Our model offers a commercially appealing and effective solution in this space.”
UCO is a key ingredient in making biofuel, specifically biodiesel which can be used as an alternative to conventional petrodiesel.
Tiktok rival Lomotif launches in India
With Tiktok’s ban in India, the country continues to witness a rise in content creators, who continue to experiment with short video formats, and apps that become a voice for them to showcase their talent, we have yet another popular US-based app: ‘Lomotif’ joins the bandwagon.
Featuring the currently popular short video format, the app has entered the Indian market at just about the right time with the space constantly evolving. Founded by Singapore-based Paul Yang in 2014, and acquired by ZASH Global Media and Entertainment, the app gives access to a global audience, and its patent technology allows users to immerse themselves in a super-engaging reel format of content. At the same time, with a comprehensive platform such as ‘Lomotif’, competitors should be alert because they are here to stand out.
Since TikTok was banned, the country has seen several local apps emerge and try to stir creators into telling their stories. LOMOTIF, firstly, does not just want the users to create their stories, but do so uniquely and in a way that will make their audience ‘move’ by just being themselves.
Secondly, they want the creators to create and foster global partnerships and that itself makes them a winner. So, with pre-build editing and mixing available and constant endeavors by the app creators to localize content for the Indian audience, we sure have a winner materialising.
‘We were very excited with the initial response to the beta testing of our app in India, which led to launching the app in India with the support from Socialkyte, our strategic partner. The content creation market is ever-growing and LOMOTIF will emerge as a platform where we can see a spirit of collaboration, build a community of creators who want to showcase their realness via their content and a source of entertainment for the viewers. I thoroughly enjoyed the launch and the response was overwhelming.’ says Ted Farnsworth, Chairman & Co-Founder of ZASH Global Media and Entertainment.
Gurjot Batra, Co-founder of Socialkyte says “We always believed Lomotif would be a huge success in India and to see our initial response from the Indian market even exceeded our expectations.”
Vidur Mahajan & Bharat Agarwal, co-founders of Socialkyte added, “We believe collaborations are the new economy and are very excited to bring the Lomotif platform to our creators. The app’s advanced editing tools will truly help them explore their talents”
Interestingly, with a soft launch, they have already kickstarted and initiated a dance-off challenge with none other than the Dance King himself i.e. Remo D’souza. They also had several exciting challenges executed like a #DanceRemix with Shakti Mohan spearheading the same. Several artists have already started using the app to launch their music videos.
On a side note, Socialkyte will enable access to their network of 100,000 influencers collaborating and growing together. They have a specialised dashboard with advanced filters that enables brands to find the right creators for their campaigns. With these common goals and interests, this partnership is bound to be a successful one. Taking all of this into consideration, it’s evident that their vision is simple: to get creators to create diversified and unique content to grow exponentially.
The launch this weekend was spearheaded with Ted Farnsworth, highlighting the app features alongwith popular actors like Asim Riaz, Ravi Kishen, Sanjeeda Sheikh, Adaa Khan, Vikkas Manaktala, YouTuber Anushka Sen and singer Tulsi Kumar. The launch also saw singers Shirley Sethia and Guru Randhawa rocking the stage with their performances.
OUR USP IS TIMELESSNESS: ROHINI SINGH GUPTA, CO-FOUNDER, JUST CHIFFONS
In an exclusive interview with NewsX as part of NewsX India A-List, Rohini Singh Gupta opened up about her brand Just Chiffons, the USP of her company and much more.
Rohini Singh Gupta, Co-founder, Just Chiffons, recently joined NewsX for an interview as a part of NewsX India A-list. In the exclusive interview, she opened up about her brand Just Chiffons, the USP of her company and much more. Excerpts:
Speaking about her brand Just Chiffons, Rohini said, “Just Chiffons was started by my mother. She wanted to look for nice chiffons for herself in Indore. She could not find it in the market and so she thought she might as well design herself and started making a few. The relatives started coming in and said, ‘it looks so nice, give it to us,’ and that is how we traditionally started. Slowly and steadily, it has become a name in Indore and in India as well. “
Talking about her journey with the brand and how did she come on board, she reminisced, “I would accompany her in her errands the market and sit with her, the workers and just listen and observe. I also studied BSc so it was very different but I always have an interest in being with my mother all the time, when back home in Indore. I had that interest and slowly when I moved back to Indore after my studies, I started taking an even deeper interest. It came naturally sitting with her and talking about sarees and the colours, the designs. It came very naturally.”
When asked about the USP of Just Chiffons, “Basically, I feel our USP is timelessness. The chiffons are so versatile, yet classic. They can be worn over the period of time. It can be passed through generations. They are very elegant.”
Giving us an insight into the first exhibition of Just Chiffons and response over the years, she said “Over the years, initially people said, ‘oh this is back in fashion.’ We have actually revived it again and now they feel okay, it looks really nice. Another point is our price point. They are not that expensive and cost about 8 to 25 thousand, which is very much viable with everybody. The response has been really good. Since we have also launched our website last year and because of our Instagram and social media, it just come up. Slowly and steadily, we are gaining followers and are getting a lot of queries.”
Talking about the impact of Covid on Just Chiffons, she said, “Covid was obviously a shock for us. The first month, everything was cancelled. We didn’t know what to do but we have to look for the benefit of our artisans and our workers.”
HUNAR HAAT CREATED NEWER OPPORTUNITIES FOR ARTISANS AND CRAFTSMEN: MUKHTAR NAQVI
With 300 stalls, this is the largest participation by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs in the India International Trade Fair this year.
Union Minister for Minority Affairs and Deputy Leader, Rajya Sabha, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, while speaking at the conclusion of the annual Hunar Haat event, said that the event had generated crores of rupees for artisans and craftsmen who were engaged in making indigenous products.
Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi at the event
Over 550 artisans and craftsmen from more than 30 States & UTs participated in the 33rd Hunar Haat
Over 550 artisans and craftsmen from more than 30 States/UTs participated in the 33rd “Hunar Haat”, organised at India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan from 14 to 27 November.
While talking to reporters on the conclusion of Hunar Haat, Naqvi said that while people purchased indigenous exquisite handmade products worth crores of rupees, the artisans and craftsmen have also received orders worth crores of rupees from national as well as international buyers.
“Hunar Haat” was also awarded the prestigious IITF2021 Silver Medal for strengthening its commitment to “Vocal for Local” and its strong presence at Trade Fair.
According to Naqvi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “mantra” of “Vocal for Local” and “Swadeshi to Swavlamban” have encouraged and promoted India’s traditional and ancestral legacy of handloom-handicraft.
With 300 stalls, this was the largest participation by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs in the India International Trade Fair this year. Canara Bank had set up a stall in the “Hunar Haat” to provide easy loans to artisans and craftsmen for employment and self-employment.
Renowned artists such as Annu Kapoor, Vinod Rathore, Sudesh Bhosale, Roop Kumar Rathore and Sonali Rathore, Suresh Wadekar and Padma Wadekar, Amit Kumar, Mohit Khanna, Prem Bhatia, Osman Mir, Rekha Raaj, Vivek Mishra, Ankita Pathak, Priya Mallick, Bhupendra Singh Bhuppi, Mirza Sisters, Posh James and others made memorable spectacular performances every evening at “Hunar Haat”.
The minister said that Hunar Haat’s virtual and online platform, and GeM portal, have opened enormous opportunities for economic empowerment of artisans and craftsmen. More than 7 lakh artisans, craftsmen and people associated with them have been provided employment and employment opportunities through “Hunar Haat” in the last about 6 years.
The next “Hunar Haat” will be organised at Surat from11 to 20 December; JLN Stadium, New Delhi from 22 December 2021 to 2 January 2022. “Hunar Haats” will also be organised in Mysuru, Guwahati, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Patna, Puducherry, Mumbai, Jammu, Chennai, Chandigarh, Agra, Prayagraj, Goa, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Kota, Sikkim, Srinagar, Leh, Shillong, Ranchi, Agartala and other places in the coming days.
TOBACCO COMPANIES MOCKING AT GUIDELINES IN HARYANA
The Central along with the state government has set up and issued a certain set of guidelines for the tobacco companies. But it came to the surface that tobacco companies are mocking the rules. Despite the ban on advertisements of tobacco products, the manufacturing companies continue to do so which is a matter of serious concern requiring the state government to take stern action against the violators. The aforesaid is revealed by a study conducted by Maharishi Dayanand University ( MDU) Rohtak in collaboration with Environment Sustainability Management (ESM) sale.
The joint report of both institutions showcased that the tobacco companies are selling to children below the age of 8 years in an organised manner which is a serious offence. What is of utmost importance to state is that more than 98 percent sale centers display cigarettes along with candies, chocolates, and toffees to promote tobacco products. Thus, the findings of the report indicate the violation of Prohibition of advertisements of cigarettes and other tobacco products section 5 and prohibition on the sale of cigarettes or other tobacco products to persons below the age of 18 years and in a particular area.
In this series, it is worth mentioning that a program was also conducted jointly by both institutions to provide information about the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003 which permits the tobacco companies to decide the points of sale as well as the target groups for their products.
The report showed that tobacco products, namely cigarettes and Bidi, were displayed near the educational institutions along with sweets and candy to attract the school children.
Doctor Rita Kotwal, Deputy Director, Public Health and State Nodal Officer, NPTC said that it is a matter of serious concern and alarming situation as the tobacco selling companies continue to breach the norms to woo persons below the age of 18 years. In order to keep children and adolescents away from tobacco use, the tobacco control action should be implemented strictly in the state. It is evident from the prevailing scenario that tobacco companies are leaving no stone unturned to woo the school-going children, requiring the concerned bodies as well as the state health department to come up with a foolproof strategy to tighten the noose around the neck of those breaching the norms.
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