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Gauri Lankesh Killed for Rs 13,000 says Parshuram Waghmare   #WTFnews

Gauri Lankesh Murder: Killed The Journalist For Rs 13,000, Says Prime Accused Parshuram Waghmare

Gauri Lankesh Murder: Killed The Journalist For Rs 13,000, Says Prime Accused Parshuram Waghmare

Journalists paying tribute to slain journalist Gauri Lankesh | File Image | (Photo Credits: PTI)

Bengaluru, June 18: Parshuram Waghmare, the main accused in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, has said that he killed the Bengaluru journalist for Rs 13,000. A report by Mirror Now TV on Monday said that Parshuram has told the investigating agencies about the amount that was paid to him to kill Lankesh.

Waghmare had reportedly last month confessed to having killed Lankesh. Waghmare reportedly told SIT, “I was told in May 2017 I had to kill someone to save my religion. I agreed. I didn’t know who the victim was. Now, I feel that I should not have killed the woman.” (Also Read: Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik Compares Gauri Lankesh Murder With Dog’s Death)

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara said that a chargesheet will be filed in the case once the probe in the murder case is completed. “I do not want to reveal anything as the investigation is going on, any statements of mine shouldn’t affect the investigation. Once the probe is complete charge sheet will be filed and further process of law will take place,” Parameshwara told reporters in Bengaluru.

On June 12, the SIT arrested Waghmare in Karnataka’s Sindhagi city, who is suspected to have killed Lankesh. Furthermore, five persons – K.T. Naveen Kumar alias Hotte Manja, Amol Kale, Manohar Edve, Sujeeth Kumar alias Praveen and Amit Degvekar were arrested in connection with the case.

Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her Bengaluru residence on September 5, 2017

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Arundhati Roy: ‘The point of the writer is to be unpopular’

The acclaimed author and activist answers questions from our readers and famous fans on the state of modern India, the threat of AI, and why sometimes only fiction can fully address the world

by 

Arundhati Roy does not believe in rushing things. With her novels, she prefers to wait for her characters to introduce themselves to her, and slowly develop a trust and a friendship with them. Sometimes, however, external events force her hand. One of these was the election of the divisive Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi as Indian prime minister in May 2014.

At the time, Roy had been working for about seven years on her second novel, the successor to her stunning, 1997 Booker prize-winning debut, The God of Small Things. But Modi’s victory forced her to “really put down the tent pegs” on what would eventually become The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.

“It was just a moment of shock for people like me,” says Roy, twirling an elegant, checked scarf around her neck like spaghetti around a fork. “For so many years, I’d been trying to yell from the rooftops about it and it was absolutely a sense of abject defeat and abject despair. And the choice was to get into bed and sleep for five years, or to really concentrate on this book. I didn’t feel like writing any more essays, although I did write one, but I felt like everything I had to say had been said. It was time to accept defeat.”

It may have felt like defeat to Roy, but the arrival of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness last year was a cause of celebration for nearly everybody else. The novel, now out in paperback, opens in Delhi, in what appears to be the 1950s, and introduces us to Anjum, a Muslim hijra or transgender woman. In the second part of the book, the story moves to Kashmir and we follow a new protagonist, Tilo, an architect who becomes involved with a group of Kashmiri independence fighters. The strands eventually converge, but along the way dozens of odd characters dip in and out of proceedings. It’s not always immediately clear what purpose they are serving; it’s only at the end of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness that you realise what an extraordinary and visceral state‑of‑the-nation book Roy has created.

“What I wanted to know was: can a novel be a city?” says Roy. “Can you stop it being baby food, which can be easily consumed? So the reader also has to deal with complexities that they are being trained not to deal with.”

Much of Roy’s own experience feeds into The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, not least the fact that she studied to be an architect and has campaigned for Kashmiri independence. For herself, she realised very quickly that architecture was not for her. “I graduated but I didn’t actually build anything, because I wasn’t really cut out to be making beautiful homes for wealthy people or whatever,” she says, smiling. “I had too many arguments with my bosses. Kept getting sacked for bad behaviour. For insolence!”

So finding her way to writing was probably for the best then? “It started with knowing very early that I couldn’t have a boss!”

Even now, at the age 56, Roy manages to retain a healthy rebellious streak. We meet in London, at the offices of her publisher, Penguin Random House, a couple of days after the end of the Hay festival. I notice she hadn’t appeared at the festival and wondered if there was a reason. There was: Tata, the Indian conglomerate that owns everything from steel plants to tea company Tetley, sponsored various events at Hay under the banner “Pioneering with Purpose”. Roy has in the past been critical of it as one of the “mega-corporations” that run modern India. She didn’t want to be a hypocrite.

“There are so many of these corporate sponsors and mining companies,” Roy explains. “For example, Vedanta, which sponsored the Jaipur literary festival in 2016. I’ve been writing about them for the last 10 years. Recently, there were 13 people killed [by police] on the streets of Tamil Nadu protesting against one of their projects. It’s a big conflict for me, because so much of my writing is about what these people are up to and then they have these free-speech tents. So I just avoid them.”

Arundhati Roy at a protest in New Delhi, 2008.
 Arundhati Roy at a protest in New Delhi, 2008. Photograph: Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty Images

Roy, who lives in Delhi, instead wanted to use her time in London to confirm the publication of her collected nonfiction work. In the 20 years between her two novels, these projects have occupied most of her time. She has written powerfully about government dams, the 2002 Gujarat massacre, and spent almost three weeks walking through the forests of central India with Naxalites, a Maoist group that seeks to defend the rights of the tribes whose land, abundant in minerals, is being developed. It is a considerable body of work: so much so that when the essays are released next year – with the title My Seditious Heart – the book will run to more than 1,000 pages.

Her political writing often lands Roy in hot water in India. In early 2016 she even felt it necessary to leave Delhi for London, after student protests broke out in universities across the country following the hanging of a Kashmiri separatist whom Roy had praised. “I didn’t fear for my welfare as much as I feared for my book,” she says. “I was very vulnerable at the time because I was just a few months away from finishing The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, and because there were students being put into jail, mobs were on the street. The main TV news channel was saying: ‘Who’s the person behind this?’ And it was me. But I came [to London] and I went straight back in nine days or 10 days, because I knew this was not my thing to run away.”

Roy describes her nonfiction as “urgent interventions”, but ever since Modi came to power she is mostly drawn to writing fiction. It seems unlikely, then, that we’ll have to wait another 20 years for a new novel. “Who knows, but I hope not!” she says. “Because I really have so enjoyed writing fiction again. But I must say that, the times are so uncertain, there’s going to be a very, very hard year in India and I don’t know what’s going to happen. I can’t ever say in advance what I’ll be doing …”

She shakes her head and laughs, “It’s a highly unplanned life.”

Famous fans’ questions…

Lionel Shriver.
 Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian

Lionel Shriver
Author
Do you ever worry that your work as an activist detracts – or at least distracts – from your fiction, and are you concerned that sticking your neck out politically changes the way readers and critics respond to that fiction?

I have always quarrelled with this word “activist”. I think it’s a very new word and I don’t know when it was born, but it was recently. I don’t want to have a second profession added to writing. Writing covers it. In the old days, writers were political creatures also, not all, but many. It was seen as our business to be writing about the world around us in different ways. So I don’t feel threatened or worried about that. For me, my fiction and my nonfiction are both political. The fiction is a universe, the nonfiction is an argument.

What I do worry about is the fact that writers have become so frightened of being political. The idea that writers are being reduced to creators of a product that is acceptable, that slips down your throat, which readers love and therefore can be bestsellers, that’s so dangerous. Today, for example in India, where majoritarianism is taking root – and by majoritarianism, I don’t just mean the government, I mean that individuals are being turned into micro-fascists by so many means. It is the mobs and vigilantes going and lynching people. So more than ever, the point of the writer is to be unpopular. The point of the writer is to say: “I denounce you even if I’m not in the majority.”

Nina Stibbe
 Photograph: Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi/Commissioned for The Guardian

Nina Stibbe
Author

Which Beatle is your favourite and why?

John Lennon. I can say that in my sleep! Why? Because I always felt that there was a sadness that was wrapped with brilliance. And, this is not the reason that I love him – I also love the way he looks. This morning I woke up and felt a little jealous of seeing Yoko Ono and him together. I was like, “Fuck!” Although it was really before my time, but still…

George Monbiot
 Photograph: Fiona Shaw for the Guardian

George Monbiot
Writer and environmentalist

In a world racked by climate breakdown, ecological collapse and the marginalisation of billions, what gives you hope?

One of my books of essays is dedicated to “those who have learned to divorce hope from reason”. So being unreasonable is the only way that we can have hope. I am often among people who battle every day, but when you’re in there with them it’s not all grim. These are people who have their backs to the wall and are fighting for survival, but so much of the time they spend laughing at stupid things.

For example, when I was inside the forests of central India with the comrades, one night everyone was asleep and I saw this guy typing something on his solar-powered computer. So I said: “What are you doing?” And he said: “Oh, I’m issuing a denial. You know, if all our denials were published, they would run into several volumes.” So I said: “What’s the most ridiculous denial you’ve ever had to issue?” And he said in Hindi: “No brother, we didn’t hammer the cows to death.”

Arundhati Roy on the banks of India’s Narmada River, where she campaigned against a new dam, 1999.
 Arundhati Roy on the banks of India’s Narmada River, where she campaigned against a new dam, 1999. Photograph: Karen Robinson

The story was that the current sitting chief minister had promised in his election campaign that, if he won the elections, every rural household would get a cow. So once he won, to pretend to deliver on his promise, they rounded up all these elderly cows and then they were subcontracted to people who were expected to deliver them to these far-flung households in the forests of indigenous peoples. Some of them just killed the cows halfway through and then said the Maoists did it. It served so many purposes: they didn’t have to bother delivering them, and the Maoists come out of it as anti-Hindu.

So there’s often a graveyard humour and a steely resilience, and I believe that the only way – if at all – the machine can be pushed back is through these resistances. And I’m on the side of the line with them.

Eve Ensler
 Photograph: Annabel Clark/Guardian

Eve Ensler
Playwright

What reader’s response to The Ministry of Utmost Happiness surprised you the most?

Ha-ha, there are several. One is that it’s a book that doesn’t pretend to universalise anything or conceptualise anything. It’s a book of great detail about a place. So the first thing that surprised me was that it has been translated into 46 languages – that it is being read in Vietnam, in Georgia. It was never designed to be that kind of an easy read. I got a letter from someone in Palestine the other day who said: “Thank you for making space for the poetics of other languages in your book.” That was amazing because the book is imagined in more than one language. And given the climate we have in India right now, I’m happy to say that it’s been pirated and even being sold to me at the traffic lights. For half-price!

Wendy Doniger
 Photograph: USA Oxford University Press

Wendy Doniger
US Indologist whose book The Hindus: An Alternative History was recalled by its publisher, Penguin India, in 2014
Do you think it is possible for writers and publishers to join forces to find ways to oppose prosecutions for blasphemy (or “offending” religious feelings) under laws like Indian penal code section 295A? Or at least to change the charge from a criminal to a civil offence?

If we’re talking India in particular, I feel that it is possible. I know Wendy Doniger’s publishers let her down very badly. It was very wrong what they did, because they were not even taken to court. It was just this crazy man who makes a business out of going after people in this way. This is the way the criminal justice system is used in India, as harassment. So they could have backed her, but they didn’t.

At the moment what is happening in India is that censorship is being outsourced to the mob. Some person comes out and says: “Oh you’re not showing rajput in a good light,” or any community starts feeling that they can burn down cinema halls, they can stop a film release, and it’s all being allowed. In the same way, writers have been killed and shot and threatened. The government can try to act as if it’s not involved, but its involvement is in protecting the mobs. It’s a question that leads to many questions and Wendy Doniger has suffered.

Shobha Rao

Shobha Rao
Author

When did you know your childhood was over?

It’s not over yet! It should never be over for writers. The people I fear most are the people who I look at and I can’t imagine what kind of a child they were. Because of the circumstances in which I was born and how I lived, I had to be in some ways a pretty adult child and I would like at least some part of me to be a pretty childish adult.

Kate Hudson
 Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

Kate Hudson
General secretary of CND

It’s 20 years since India’s Pokharan nuclear weapons tests. At the time, you powerfully and convincingly demolished the claims that such weapons were deterrents to war. Now the narrative from the White House is one of “usable” nukes. How can we defeat this drive towards global self-destruction, and how can a new movement be built?

I don’t know what the answer to this question is. But one thing that’s truly on my mind now, and I know it will sound paranoid – but I think we do need to be paranoid – is artificial intelligence. Perhaps AI can do better surgery than surgeons, write better poetry than poets and better novels than novelists. But what it does is make the human population almost surplus: it makes it unnecessary. One argument is that it will be the end of work and the beginning of play; that people can be looked after. But people could be looked after now, as we know there’s enough surplus to do that, and it doesn’t happen.

When human beings become surplus, that’s where these smart nukes and chemical and biological warfare – these things that are genocidal – begin to really worry me. Because I do see a time when the masters of the universe will decide that the universe is a better place without most of the population. Artificial intelligence is a way of becoming the perfect human being, which fascists have always thought about: the supreme human being. If you can think of that, if that is your goal, then certainly you can think of the other. I worry about it.

Ali Smith
 Photograph: David Levenson/Getty Images

Ali Smith
Author

I am a fan of all your writing in all its forms, but what is it that the novel makes possible for us that no other form of writing does?

When photography came, there was a certain kind of art that it put out of business. When film came, there was a certain kind of theatre that it put out of business. So what the novel has to do, what I felt when I wrote The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, is [ask] what can it do that nothing else can?

And there are things it can do. There’s a quote from James Baldwin in The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: “And they would not believe me precisely because they would know that what I said was true.” So if you were to take out the political milestones in this book and just do nonfiction about them, they would not be what they are. Only a novel can tell you how caste, communalisation, sexism, love, music, poetry, the rise of the right all combine in a society. And the depths in which they combine. We have been trained to “silo-ise”: our brains specialise in one thing. But the radical understanding is if you can understand it all, and I think only a novel can.

Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell
 Photograph: Luke Walker

Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell
Directors of Grafton Architects
You have said that literature is not about issues, that it is about the world, about everybody, that literature is a monumental, profound, beautiful and complicated thing. Would you apply the same values in your contemplation of architecture?

Yes, of course. I’m a student of architecture, and if I had to choose a profession again I would choose architecture, because I do believe it’s about everything. One of the people who made me want to become an architect was Laurie Baker; he was British but had lived in India all his life. He used to do what was called no-cost architecture, where you pay a lot of attention to material and where it came from: he was so against the idea of his buildings living for ever. I learned from him that beautiful architecture is not directly proportional to how much it costs or how much money you put into it. So for me, it’s a very fundamental and beautiful art, certainly extremely profound in terms of how you should be thinking about it.

Arundhati Roy in 2002, after being released from jail for contempt of court.
 Arundhati Roy in 2002, after being released from jail for contempt of court. Photograph: Manish Swarup/AP

Readers’ questions…

With regards to your fiction, would you be able to describe the balance between research, autobiography and imagined worlds? How important is it to you?
James Corcut

I don’t do research. What generally happens is I begin to get curious about something for no reason and then I just find it impossible to contain and I’ve written nonfiction. But especially in the novel, these things just settle in you and you become like a sedimentary rock. The characters come by and it’s almost like you’re walking down the street and someone catches your eye and you meet them again and then you become friends. It’s a bit like that. One of the ways in which I write, especially when I write fiction, is just that I wait. And something just comes knocking at your door. You have to be open to it. You have to allow it in, more than pursue it.

I’m very much part of those worlds that I describe. So sometimes it might be really autobiographical and I don’t know. When you’re open to allowing these characters in, everything is autobiographical, no? Esthappen in The God of Small Things says: “If in a dream you’ve eaten fish, does it mean you’ve eaten fish?” For me, those worlds are all very osmotic: experience, autobiography, imagination, understanding. And that’s why it all needs to mix and settle and it’s not segmented.

My friends and I often debate “the best Bookers”. Mine happen to be, in no particular order: DisgraceThe God of Small Things and Midnight’s Children. I’d like to think that you, too, have these “pub conversations” – so, what’s your favourite Booker novel, and why?
Viren Mistry

I don’t have these conversations, because I don’t feel like thinking about books in this way. Books are unique and so I don’t think of them hierarchically. I understand that people need to give prizes, but it’s so particular to you and I don’t even think of “Booker books” to begin with.

You have been fiercely expressing your disagreements with the state, irrespective of political parties in office. Have you ever wished to go into electoral politics? If yes, why haven’t you yet? If no, why?
Anand Aani

No. It’s such an important place and time in which to be a writer, where you’re not burdened by the idea of soliciting people’s support. Where often it’s so important to stand alone, to be a person who expresses themselves very clearly on certain things. So I can only see it as a great defeat if I really wanted to come into politics or stand for elections or ask people to like me or vote for me. It’s just not in my DNA to do that. I cannot even conceive of becoming a person who needed to change something about the way they were dressing or thinking or speaking to get someone to vote for me. To suddenly start going to a temple and pretending I’m really religious because I want to win the Hindu vote, I can’t do it! I’d be terrible at it!

You once said: ‘Each time I write an essay I get into so much trouble I promise never to do it again.’ What was the last essay you wrote and did you get into any trouble?
Cate Lobo

Well, the last essay I wrote was actually about the trouble, it was called My Seditious Heart. But previous to that, I wrote a piece called Professor, POWabout GN Saibaba. He is a professor of literature, paralysed in his lower body, and he was thrown in prison and sentenced to life for… I don’t know what all the reasons are, but he’s accused of being a Maoist and working against the state. He’s still in prison now and is in a bad state.

I’ve known him for a long time and when I wrote Professor, POW I was charged with criminal contempt of court. I have a long history of contempt of court, being accused of contempt of court – I’ve also gone to prison for it. So I had to appeal to the supreme court to quash it, which they have not done, but they have put it in cold storage. It’s so tiring, but it’s OK for me. Because of the work I do, I have lawyers who are friends. I have the money to fly to the other city where the appeal is being heard and hire a hotel and stay there. But let’s say you’re a young journalist or a young writer who doesn’t have that – what do you do? You’re finished! So the idea is: “Let’s make this an example, let’s break up the stride, then the mobs will come there and will shout at you.” It just goes on and on.

How do you write the parts that make us cry? And do you cry when you read them back?
Brendan Ross

Writing and crying are things that people do differently. For me, I’m always writing: when I’m walking, when I’m shopping, when I’m thinking. There’s a processing that’s going on – and the heartbreak is close to the surface all the time. But there’s a difference between the retelling of a tragedy and when you sometimes don’t actually tell it, but what it reflects is even more tragic. So often when I think about things, yes, I do cry, but I shift between laughter and tears and anger. That’s what I meant about never stopping to be a child: you have to always be in touch with those feelings.

What female writers have inspired and influenced you?
Sofía Guerrero

Oh, so many. Of course, I have read Jane Austen in the past but long ago. I don’t know if I’m inspired by her, but I’m maybe interested in her. There’s Toni Morrison, whose Beloved was a great inspiration. The memoir of [Russian poet] Osip Mandelstam’s widow, Nadezhda Mandelstam [Hope Against Hope] – oh God, what a book, just incredible. And recently I read this book called Barracoon, it’s just come out. Zora Neale Hurston was an anthropologist and she transcribed a first-person account of the last slave, who was captured 50 years after slavery was abolished. He has a memory of the whole thing, of how he was kidnapped from his village in Africa – not kidnapped by white people, but by another tribe – and then sold into slavery to American slave traders. So it complicates the way you think about things.

It seems that The Ministry of Utmost Happiness suggests it’s possible to live in a world that is carved out of, yet also away from, the degradations of a class- and caste-ridden (also ableist, homophobic etc) society. Is such a world possible only in novels, or do you think it’s possible in real life?
Alpana Sharma

I don’t think that The Ministry of Utmost Happiness should be viewed as a manifesto, that it’s proposing an alternative way of living. It’s a story about certain particular and unique people who find their way in a unique way. By having these people, you are shining a light on what society is really like and the fact that you can’t ignore caste and gender and all of that. It’s really about that.

What moments in your life give you solace?
Sylvie Millard

The moment when I just put my cheek on my dog’s tummy. I have two of them, and one has a considerable tummy, but the other is slightly more delicate. Both of them used to be strays. I found them. One of them, her mother was killed by a car on the road outside my house. Her eyes were closed and she was so small and I had to feed her with a dropper and now she’s huge. The other one I stole. I’d see her tied to a lamppost night and day on this road, and I just took her. Later, I told the people that I’d taken her, and they said: “OK, we didn’t want her.”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jun/17/arundhati-roy-interview-you-ask-the-questions-the-point-of-the-writer-is-to-be-unpopulars

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Parashuram Waghmare- The Utensil Seller who went too Far #GauriLankeshMurder

The utensil seller who went too far
Parashuram Waghmare
In tiny Basavanagar, posses of officious-looking plainclothes police officers, especially from Bengaluru, are an uncommon sight. So, when such a bunch arrived at Ashok Waghmare’s modest residence on the afternoon of June 11, neighbours peeked out of their windows and a curious crowd gathered around their home. When the Special Investigation Team (SIT) officers left the dusty village, they took with them Waghmare’s eldest son, Parashuram.

The 26-year-old, a man with bushy eyebrows and heavy stubble, is suspected to be the assassin who pumped four bullets into feisty journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh in September last year.

Waghmare’s neighbours couldn’t believe it; the local cops, too, were sceptical. Yes, he had been under the scanner since 2012 when he tried to foment communal trouble in the nearby town of Sindagi, in Vijayapura, by hoisting a Pakistani flag, and he was associated with Hindutva outfits, especially the Sri Ram Sene, but that association was mostly restricted to social causes.

“Whenever he was asked to come to the station, he would tell us, ‘Ek aur mauka do, sir’ (Please give me one more chance). He was required to come to the the station once a week back in 2012 and 2013, but since the case is old, we would keep a watch on him only occasionally,” said a senior police officer from Sindagi.

On Friday evening, though, the SIT claimed that Parashuram Waghmare had confessed to killing Lankesh. An SIT officer told this newspaper that Waghmare said “he did not kill Lankesh for money”. “He did it to protect the rights of Hindus and their religion.”

According to the police, on September 5 last year, Waghmare said he rode pillion with a stranger to Lankesh’s residence and opened fire at her, as he was instructed. He returned to Vijayapura on September 6. Waghmare has also reportedly claimed that Amol Kale from Pune, who was known to Waghmare as ‘Bhaisab’ had directed him to come to Bengaluru to stay for about a week and execute the plan.

Waghmare stayed at a rented residence near Sunkadakatte near Magadi Road during his Bengaluru visit.

In the coming weeks, several theories will be floated about Parashuram’s motivations for his alleged crime, and there will be several loose ends that would need to be tied up, but what is striking, though, say law enforcement agencies, is this pattern of young directionless men being radicalized by what they believe to be an underground group of extremists with a pan-Indian presence.

According to a senior SIT official, Lankesh, as well as rationalists MM Kalburgi and Govind Pansare, were assassinated by an underground group of radicals, one among many, who despite having links with various fringe right-wing outfits, appeared to operate on their own, and lured drifters and goaded them to commit crimes after systematically indoctrinating them.

“KT Naveen Kumar, the first person to be arrested in the Gauri Lankesh case, was spotted at a spiritual seminar organised at Ponda, in Goa, and Waghmare was spotted at a seminar at Vijayapura. The group to which they belong has a very rigid hierarchical structure. The plotting is done by three to four people, while information is shared with the rest on a need-to-know basis,” said the SIT official. If the SIT’s claim regarding Parashuram’s confession is indeed true, he appears to have been the right candidate.

Ashok Waghmare, who sold cooking utensils, migrated to Basavanagar from Lingasagur, in Raichur, in late 2011. His son, then barely out of his teens, was already an active Hindu activist. He tried his hand at various things over the years, including helping his father with his utensils business, but failed to stick to any job, and these included working with an agency that promoted the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana in Sindagi, to being a computer operator. But what he was more interested in, say cops from Singadi, was organizing social events and tournaments. Most people in the town and his village knew him as a “soft-spoken, god-fearing man”. Cops in Bengaluru suspect that he often visited Vijayapura to cement his contacts with right-wing outfits. “But, as of now, we have confirmed that he was personally not associated with Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Jana Jagruti Samiti,“ said an SIT official. According to police records, Waghmare was unemployed when he allegedly killed Lankesh. KT Naveen Kumar, the first person to be arrested in the Lankesh murder case, sold pump sets in Maddur; and the rest of the men chargesheeted in the case – seven in all – were small-time businessmen, or unemployed. The SIT told this newspaper that Amol Kale from Pune, Amit Degwekar from Goa and Manohar Edave Vijayapura were the main conspirators along with Dada alias Nihal who is absconding. Suchith Kumar alias Praveen from Shivamogga was in charge of logistics, while Naveen Kumar was his accomplice.

Parashuram was reportedly roped in, in as late as August last year, and only met up with Kale, Degwekar and Edave.

Kale was reportedly associated with Hindu Jana Jagruti Samiti in Pune, while Amit Degwekar was extensively probed in connection with the 2009 Margaon blast. The SIT is presently of the opinion that the main plotters behind the Gauri Lankesh murder are based either in Goa or Maharashtra. Potential shooters are given an air gun and taken for target practice before they are called to a safe house in the target’s city before the final recce and murder.

On Saturday, Ashok Waghmare cut a lonely figure, as he waited for his turn to be grilled in connection with his son’s arrest at the SIT’s office in Bangalore. “My son has not done it, he is innocent,” said Waghmare, breaking into a loud wail.

Parashuram was a religious man, but it was never an obsession, he claimed. Parashuram’s close friend, Rakesh Math, who was arrested along with him in 2012 for creating communal trouble in Sindagi, was also grilled by the SIT.

According to Nikam Prakash Amrit, Superintendent of Police, Vijayapura district, Waghmare was more closely associated with Sri Ram Sene in Bijapur than it would seem. But Sri Ram Sene founder Pramod Mutalik told this newspaper that he was a member of the RSS till 2012.

“Waghmare has no links with Sri Ram Sene,” Mutalik said before ending the call.

https://ahmedabadmirror.indiatimes.com/others/sunday-read/the-utensil-seller-who-went-too-far/articleshow/64617579.cms

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I killed Gauri Lankesh to save my religion: Waghmore to SIT

Statements Gauri Lankesh’s murderer –
“I had to kill someone to protect my religion”
“I didn’t know who I killed
” “Now I feel, I should not have done it”

Rajiv Kalkod| TNN | 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Parashuram Waghmore claimed he didn’t know who he was killing when he pumped four bullets into Gauri on September 5, 2017, SIT sources said
  • Waghmore said he was brought to Bengaluru on September 3. He had been trained to use an airgun in Belagavi

Gauri LankeshGauri Lankesh

BENGALURU: The special investigation team probing the murder of Gauri Lankeshhas said that Parashuram Waghmore, picked up from Vijayapura district in north Karnataka earlier this week, has confessed to killing the journalist-activist.

The 26-year-old claimed he didn’t know who he was killing when he pumped four bullets into Gauri in front of her house in R R Nagar, Bengaluru, on the night of September 5, 2017, SIT sources said on Friday. “I was told in May 2017 I had to kill someone to save my religion. I agreed. I didn’t know who the victim was. Now I feel that I should have not killed the woman,” sources quoted Waghmore as confessing to the SIT.

Waghmore said he was brought to Bengaluru on September 3. He had been trained to use an airgun in Belagavi.

“I was first taken to a house. After two hours, a biker took me to show the house of the person I was to kill. The next day, the biker took me to another room in Bengaluru. Another man in the room took me to the R R Nagar house again on a bike and dropped me back. I was again taken to Gauri’s house in the evening, by the same biker who had taken me the previous day. I was told that I had to finish the job that day. But Gauri had returned from work by then and was inside her house,” he allegedly told the SIT.

Amol Kale, Dada may have masterminded Gauri Lankesh’s murder

On September 5, I was given the gun around 4pm by the biker and we went to her house in the evening. We arrived at the right time. Gauri had stopped her car in front of the gate and was opening it from inside when I approached her. I coughed lightly and she turned towards me. I pumped four bullets into her,” Waghmore has allegedly confessed. “We returned to the room and left the city the same night…” he said.

The SIT sources said at least three people were with Waghmore in Bengaluru at different times: one was the man who brought him to Bengaluru, the second was the biker who took him to Gauri’s house on three evenings and the third was the one who took him to Gauri’s house.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/i-killed-gauri-lankesh-to-save-my-religion-waghmore-to-sit/articleshow/64608133.cms

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Sri Ram Sene Goons Start Fundraising for Gauri Lankesh’s Suspected Shooter on Social Media #WTFnews

The outfit’s chief, Pramod Muthalik, distanced himself from the case and said the fundraising was not being done at his behest.

Sri Ram Sene ‘Activists’ Start Fundraising for Gauri Lankesh’s Suspected Shooter on Social Media
Photo of Parashuram Wagmare who was arrested on June 13.
Bengaluru: The Special Investigation Team probing Gauri Lankesh’s murder is on the lookout for three others who facilitated the killing, including the man who rode the bike and took the suspected shooter, Parshuram Wagmare, to Lankesh’s home on the night of September 5 last year.

Interrogation of Wagmare – the 26-year-old Vijayapura resident now in the custody of the SIT – is currently on. He will remain in custody till June 25.

The custody of four others accused, who had been arrested two weeks ago from Karnataka and Maharashtra – Sujith Kumar (alias Praveen), Amol Kale, Amit Degvekar and Manohar Edave – has been transferred to judicial remand now.

In the meantime, Wagmare has found a flurry of support on social media – activists who claim to be with the Sri Rama Sene have started a fund-raising campaign on Facebook to help his family.

There are also efforts from other saffron organisations to help him get legal aid –Mumbai-based lawyer Veerendra Ichalkaranjikar is in court almost every hearing for the case against the six persons who are accused in the case.

Besides financial and legal aid, there are other activists like Manchaleshwari Tonashyal, whose Facebook page claims she is the women’s wing head of the Sri Rama Sene and an executive member of the BJP’s Yuva Morcha, put up a rather startling post.

“If there continues to be anti-Hindu activities carried out by s**t-headed elements who hit at the Hindutva foundation of this country, every house will see a Parashuram Wagmare being born,” she wrote.

This support from Rama Sene notwithstanding, the right-wing outfit’s chief distanced himself from the entire episode. “I do not know Parashuram Wagmare. There may be photos of mine clicked with him but everyday thousands of people take pictures with me at events, programmes or hotel,” said Pramod Muthalik, head of the Sene.

Photos of Muthalik posting with Wagmare have emerged in the last couple of days, and his name too has been mentioned by KT Naveen Kumar, the first accused in the case, in his confession statement.

Muthalik, however, said he does not know any of the six accused. He also said that Machaleshwari used to be with the Sene many years ago, but is with the BJP now.

He also added that he and his organisation is not on Facebook and any fund-raising for the accused is not being done at his behest. “If there is any fund-raising, it may be because of sympathies for his poor family,” he said.

“When they are not members of my organisation, how have I inspired them,” Muthalik asked while speaking to News18, “I only motivate people ideologically. I never ask people to indulge in physical violence.”

Asked what would happen if the police slap any cases against him for provoking youngsters to take up aggressive Hindutva, Muthalik said he is ready to face any such case, while adding he is not “directly linked to this case”.

https://www.news18.com/news/india/sri-ram-sene-activists-start-fundraising-for-gauri-lankeshs-suspected-shooter-on-social-media-1780087.html

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India – When Social Media Becomes Anti-Social

In the Northeast, a few posts have fanned unrest in recent times. Bikash Singh reports

In the winter of 2015, peninsular India was battered by the retreating monsoons that killed more than 500 people in cities dotting the south-eastern water margin and displaced more than 1.8 million citizens. Chennai was drowned in the unprecedented deluge, but what kept hope floating in the affected communities were the interactive social media. As conventional phone lines went dead, Facebook and WhatsApp became the platforms for residents marooned in the flooded townships to tell the world that they were safe – but needed urgent relief.

However, recent events show that unregulated messaging on the social media could rather harm law enforcement than help it. In India’s northeast, where militancy has stunted development for decades and the security forces are never too far from the town centre, unregulated social media may have played a major role in fanning recent incidents of mob violence in the volatile region.

In parts of Assam, the most populous north-eastern state and home to various indigenous tribes, a Facebook post had gone viral: It claimed that several child abductors from Bihar have entered Assam and are active along the Assam-Nagaland border – a thickly forested and mountainous terrain that is still difficult to police. The message was shared over WhatsApp and other social media platforms across most parts of Assam.

It was in this backdrop that two men from Guwahati – audio engineer Nilotpal Das and businessman Abhijeet Nath – visited the remote Kangthilangso waterfall in the KarbiAnglong district, around 260km from Assam’s capital. The two apparently had an altercation with Alphajoz Timung, the man who allegedly incited a mob to lynch the two visitors in KarbiAnglong on June 8.

Timung called up some people in Panjuri village and asked the mob to intercept a black SUV used by the duo. His text messages to villagers claimed that the two were child abductors and trying to escape with a minor boy.

The killing of the two men triggered angry reactions across the state. While prayer meetings were held, hate messages targeting the Karbi community now started mushrooming in different areas. Most of the protests were live streamed on Facebook.

Attempts were made to stop buses plying to KarbiAnglong from different areas.

The police arrested 36 people for spreading hate messages: Five of those arrested were responsible for making viral the videos of June 8 mob lynching.

Additional Director General of Assam Police (Law and Order) Mukesh Agarwala told ET: “As police launched a crackdown on inflammatory social media posts, the forwarding of such posts has drastically come down.”

Former president of Asom Sahitya Sabha, an apex literary body, and Padma Shree Rongbong said: “After the incident, there were attributions in social media that Karbis are junglee but this must be avoided. Such language against the Karbis should not be shared on social media. We must maintain the age old harmony.”

The situation is slowly improving.

Across the mountains in Meghalaya, a local dispute snowballed into a major law and order problem in capital Shillong. Social media were used to post videos of mob violence and pitched battles with the police. The ripple effects were felt as far Punjab, as the messages appear to have involved a particular community.

Violence broke out between two groups of people in Shillong’s Punjabi Lane area after a bus driver was allegedly beaten up by a group of residents. The agitators later started demanding the eviction of Punjabi people settled in the Punjabi Lane locality. Curfew was clamped and additional security forces were rushed in to bring the situation under control.

In Shillong, there were rumours on the social media that a gurudwara was attacked and this sparked tension back home in Punjab after some news channels there reported the alleged incident. A delegation from Punjab government visited Shillong to find that it was just an output of the social media rumour mill. Subsequently, the federal minister of state for home affairs, Kiren Rijiju, clarified that no gurudwara was attacked in Shillong.

After the incident, there is curfew in Shillong since June 1. Even the Internet was shut down immediately after the clashes.

Deputy Commissioner PS Dkhar said that curfew will continue in Shillong until the administration is satisfied that the situation is fully normal. There are still restrictions on Internet services in Shillong. “While restriction on Internet will continue, the curfew will on until we are satisfied that the situation has improved,” Dkhar said.

Before the publication of the partial draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in December 31, 2017, apprehensive posts proliferated on the social media. The posts had communal overtones. The exercise in Assam involves more than 30 million people. Ahead of the publication, Assam Police announced that it would monitor the social networking platforms.

The remaining draft of the NRC, to be published on June 30, is now keeping people on the edge. The NRC exercise, aimed at weeding out illegal immigrants from the voter list, is being closely monitored by the police, as social media is full of fake news.

Assam has sought 150 companies of Central para military forces (CPMF), with intelligence reports suggesting that unscrupulous elements might try to create trouble in the run up to the NRC publication.

On May 30, Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the law and order situation in Assam. The state is restive after bitter protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The bill for making minority communities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for applying for Indian citizenship is under consideration of Joint parliamentary committee (JPC) of both houses. JPC recently visited Assam and Meghalaya.

Assam Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia said: “We will continue with the vigil on social media to ensure that no one can spread hate messages or objectionable posts on social media as the NRC updation is a sensitive issue. We have been reviewing the law and order situation in each district ahead of June 30, and I believe there should not be any law and order problem in the run up to June 30.”

Assam has started Cyberdome, a hitech centre for cyber security. Within hours after a man from Dibrugarh circulated fake news on June 10 that the All Assam Students Union has called for Assam bandh, the state police managed to arrest him.

Additional director general of Assam Police (special branch) Pallab Bhattacharya told ET: “We are monitoring Facebook posts… We are collaborating with the public to intimate the police about objectionable posts and this has created a positive effect and we have managed to block some accounts. We must start programmes in schools and create awareness about the flip side of social media.”

The government and mobile operators have now come up with protocols where mobile services can be suspended. Definite guidelines are being framed for the withdrawal of such services in the event of a law and order problem.

Principal Secretary Home and Political department, LS Changsan, added: “We have come up with the protocol when Internet services and mobile services can be suspended. This may be required for smooth functioning of the law and order machinery. I believe Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan have this protocol in place.”

A protest rally was held last Sunday in Guwahati against unidentified people responsible for lynching two men in central Assam’s Karbi Anglong district on suspicion of being ‘child lifters’

West Bengal Plans New Law to Tackle Fake News

Kolkata: The West Bengal government is working on a new law to tackle the menace of fake news and posts on social media, a move which comes against the backdrop of such posts stirring trouble and unrest in many parts of the country. A Home Department official said that the state government intends to bring more clarity on the nature of the offence and punishment for those responsible for spreading fake news and posting morphed photographs with an aim to disrupt peace and communal harmony or spread hatred in society.

The state government has been preparing a data bank on fake news circulated on social media in West Bengal and other parts of the country in the past couple of years besides, keeping records of past offenders while framing the new law, he said.

The new legislation comes after several reports of fake news circulation surfacing in the state during the last couple of years. The recent incidents in Shillong, Godda in Jharkhand and Karbi Anglong district of Assam have added to the concern.

Fake news, morphed photographs, pictorial representation and write-ups posted on social networking sites could have major implications which can create unrest among the people and require strict law to deal with it, the officer said.

Currently, in West Bengal people who are found responsible for posting fake news and morphed photographs with the intent of causing fear or alarm among the public or commit an offence against the state or against public tranquillity are booked under Sections 505(1)(b) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), he said.

https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TheEconomicTimes/#

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Will Journalist Shujaat Bukhari’s assassination finally force India to wake up?


The body of Shujaat Bukhari, editor of the English daily Rising Kashmir, is carried inside a police control room in Srinagar in Kashmir. Bukhari and his personal security officers were shot dead outside his office in Srinagar on Thursday. (Farooq Khan/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Shujaat Bukhari, one of Kashmir’s foremost journalists, was assassinated Thursday, the eve of Eid, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. For Indians, Bukhari’s death is a reminder of two things: The situation in terrorism-torn Kashmir is sliding into a black hole of possibly no return. And second, it is more dangerous to be a journalist in India today than ever before.

Last year, 11 Indian journalists were killed and 46 attacked. This year, India has slipped in World Press Freedom rankings to 138, just one place above Pakistan. Bukhari’s killing reminds us why we need to pay close attention to these horrific numbers.

His assassination (local reports say his head and abdomen were riddled with bullets) took place in Srinagar’s press enclave, right outside the office of the newspaper he edited. His personal security officers (since an attack on him in 2002, he was given police protection) were also shot dead. Ironically, the assault has taken place at a time when the Kashmir government had announced a temporary ceasefire by security personnel as a peace initiative for Ramadan.

As a longtime reporter on the Kashmir beat, I knew Bukhari for more than two decades — he was both a colleague and a friend. I believe he has been targeted for being a rare voice of moderation and reason in a public discourse bulldozed by ideological extremes. He refused to play to the jingoistic and hyper-nationalist gallery that currently dominates discussion about his home state. A couple of weeks ago, at a panel discussion in Delhi that I was moderating, he rose to bluntly say to the speakers: “Things are much worse in Kashmir than any of you care to admit. An entire generation is growing up hating India.” Equally, he did not pander blindly to the Azaadi (secessionist) brigade. He condemned militant violence and concerted bids to kill local policemen by terrorist groups. He publicly welcomed the cease-fire and remained an optimist about the power of dialogue and reconciliation. And he interacted regularly with affection and regard with several military generals. So, Kashmiri secessionists targeted him for not being anti-India, while hyper-nationalists targeted him for not being patriotic. On the day that he was killed, a video was shared by his critics on social media. In it, he was painted as an Islamist during a conference organized by a prominent think tank in Delhi, simply for refusing to support the publication of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Bukhari (who was not present when the remarks were made) responded calmly to the “diatribe” on Twitter, writing, “In Kashmir we have done journalism with pride and will continue to highlight what happens on the ground.”

By the end of the day he was dead.

His killing has been officially called an act of terrorism by the government. It occurred on the same day that Aurangzeb, a soldier on the way home for Eid, was killed in South Kashmir by militants. But if these developments signal the clear and present dangers in Kashmir, they also remind us that if we don’t engage with balanced Kashmiri voices like Shujaat Bukhari, soon there will be no one but the fundamentalists left to talk to.

His killing reinforces the fact that whether in Kashmir or the rest of India, the journalists who are the most vulnerable today are the ones who have rejected ideological labels and have held on to the importance of nuance and complexity. In today’s polarized times, those who dare to tell a story in textures of gray, instead of one-dimensional colors, are the first ones to be smeared, vilified and targeted. We are called anti-national and traitors and “presstitutes” every day on social media.

And here’s the biggest shame. While Bukhari’s death has been described by all major media bodies in India as an “assault on the freedom of the press,” a section of the TV news media must reflect on whether it has encouraged hatred against its colleagues. Two of India’s leading channels are fronted by men and women guilty of prime-time hate mongering. Their shows are devoted to maligning not just fellow journalists but all civil society voices that do not conform to their meta narrative of what nationalism is. Their so-called patriotism is a fig leaf for pettiness and prejudice. Bukhari’s death is proof that their verbal violence can actually be a cue to the mob.

Bukhari’s assassination may finally get India to admit that the threats to Indian journalists are very real. Press freedom as we have known it is distinctly diminishing. To have an opinion today — especially one that does not fit into the dominant political narrative — is to be in the line of danger. A study by Reporters Without Borders recognizes that in some countries, including India, “the line separating verbal violence from physical violence is dissolving.”

Threats in an environment of fear come in many insidious forms as well. Character assassination, fake news, informal professional blacklists, politically organized online slander campaigns — these are weapons of mass intimidation in play. Over the past year, several Indian journalists, and women reporters in particular, have gone public about the threats we receive on a daily basis for simply having an independent opinion. For this, we have been mocked and jeered, and our public assertions have been trivialized and dismissed. Last year I filed a police case against unidentified men who would keep calling me from multiple numbers and threaten to rape and kill me for my reporting. This week, the police informed me that I would need to appear in court and accept that my case was being shut as the men could not be traced down.

A democracy where journalists are endangered is a democracy in peril.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/06/14/will-shujaat-bukharis-assassination-finally-force-india-to-wake-up/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1b7c07a222a4

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It’s tragic Priyanka Chopra is sorry for ‘Hindu terror plot’ in Quantico

The actor should condemn the mob instead of fanning its ego.

SANJUKTA BASU

Almost a decade ago, I blogged about my disappointment with Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty’s comment that anybody who wants to marry her should take her father’s permission, reinforcing the patriarchal idea that daughters remain subjugated to their fathers’ will even after becoming adults.

I am reminded of it today because even after a decade, leading Bollywood female icons are far from being truly empowered and still utterly incapable of being real inspirations for young Indian women. Highly successful women in popular culture are capable of making a big difference in the way the younger generation perceives what it means to be a brave, strong and independent. But is professional success enough?

Coming back to the present, actress Priyanka Chopra has succumbed to the coercive demands of an online mob outraging against her US television series Quantico. In one of the recently aired episodes of the series, there was a plot involving a Hindu extremist attempting to carry out terror activities that was busted by Priyanka’s character on the show.

 

The scene led to public outrage from the far-Right Hindu nationalists. In a press release, one of the fringe groups supposedly said: “Hindu Sena appeals to public in general to boycott any work, ads or movies of Priyanka Chopra and appeal to Indian government to strip her of Indian citizenship and deny her entry in India.”

Such demands are downright anti-constitutional and reek of the very intolerance and extremism they seem to deny, yet both the television studio and actress Priyanka Chopra have now apologised for hurting sentiments.

Chopra’s decision was unfortunate and shameful to say the least. At the outset, there was no valid basis for the furore over a piece of fiction, particularly when, for decades, both Bollywood and Hollywood have portrayed Muslims as terrorists and villains. The fact that Quantico has a plot involving a Hindu extremist is merely a reflection of the growing Hindu extremism in India.

It is just a case of art imitating life.

Secondly, Priyanka Chopra may have been able to build a perception of being a brave woman with strong values who has broken the glass ceiling but professional success is not enough unless you are brave enough to hold contrarian views in adverse situations.

priyanka-690-s_061318102634.jpg‘Padma Shri’ Priyanka Chopra could’ve done better. Photo: PTI

Time and again, some of the actions by Priyanka Chopra appeared to be hypocritical and bereft of any real ideology and simply following popular demands. In December 2017, in an interview to NDTV, she refused to take a stand on the controversy involving Deepika Padukone and her film Padmaavat. On being asked a direct question whether she condemned the death threats by Karni Sena and few BJP politicians, she raised a counter question: “Why do you media guys want to put us actors to a corner… so that you can run your ticker.” The audience clapped because she bravely snubbed the liberal media but truth is she just avoided taking a position which was likely to go against popular demand.

This was contrary to the boldness she pretended to have by taking a strong position against President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policy. It is rather hypocritical for her to speak out against the US president but not against fringe political elements in India.

Fans of Priyanka Chopra defended her double standards by arguing that the exercise of freedom of speech against politicians is not the same in India and US, and therefore she cannot afford to have strong contrary opinions in India. That is one explanation, the other is that in Hollywood, it is cool to hold critical opinion against Donald Trump. Either way, her actions are populist not brave.

This is not the first time the Hindu nationalist mob on social media has attacked Priyanka Chopra. In May 2018, the actor visited a Rohingya camp in Bangladesh and made an appeal to the world to care for the Rohingya children. The online mob was quick to attack her for supporting Rohingyas, one of the most persecuted communities in the world and the liberal media stood by her and condemned the outrage. But today, she gave up on her secular liberal principles. Either that, or maybe she never had any principle and her visit to the Rohingya camp was a mere photo-op, yet another fad among Hollywood actors.

priyanka-s_061318104257.jpgPriyanka Chopra met Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh as UN Goodwill Ambassador. Photo: Agencies

The timing of her apology is significant. Police investigation into activist Gauri Lankesh’s murder has revealed that she was killed by extremists who were well connected to Hindutva outfits and, in fact, groomed by Hindutva ideology. In the recent years, with the advent of a Hindu nationalist political regime at the top, there have been innumerable incidents of violence and crimes committed by people motivated with Hindutva ideology, and the patterns reveal a textbook case of religious extremism leading to the path of full-blown terrorism.

Hindu terrorism is no longer a myth, it is a grim reality.

If Priyanka Chopra was indeed brave and if she ever read the newspaper she should have condemned the mob instead of fanning their ego, and enabling their intolerance and extremism. It is a great thing for young Indian women to be inspired by her because she broke the glass ceiling in the entertainment industry. But unless popular icons are brave enough to question patriarchal authority at home and powerful fascist regime in public, the imagery of who is a “brave” “strong” and “independent woman” remain ambiguous and confusing.

Not Priyanka Chopra or Shilpa Shetty, but Swara Bhaskar is who Indian women should be looking up to if they want to know who a brave strong and independent woman is like.

https://www.dailyo.in/variety/hindu-terror-in-quantico-priyanka-chopra-must-not-apologise/story/1/24864.html

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‘Rising Kashmir’ Editor Shujaat Bukhari Shot Dead In Srinagar #WTFnews

Shujaat Bukhari was the editor of the newspaper ‘Rising Kashmir’ and was given police protection since an attack on him in 2000.

'Rising Kashmir' Editor Shujaat Bukhari Shot Dead In Srinagar

Shujaat Bukhari was shot by unidentified gunmen at the Press Colony in Srinagar.

SRINAGAR: 

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Shujaat Bukhari shot while he was stepping out of his office in Srinagar
  2. He was hit with multiple bullets from close range
  3. 3 gunmen came on a motorcycle; also shot his security guards

Senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead this evening outside his office in Srinagar in an audacious terror attack that has left the nation in shock. Mr Bukhari, the editor of Rising Kashmir newspaper, was shot at close range in the attack in which his two security officers were also killed. He was attacked when he had stepped out of his office in Press Colony in the city to head home. He was hit by multiple bullets at close range. The killers emptied their magazines into their victims before fleeing the scene.The police say the killers were waiting for Shujaat Bukhari to come out of the building and it appeared to be a planned attack. It was not clear, however, who were responsible for the attack, Jammu and Kashmir police chief SP Vaid told NDTV.

“Today at about 7:30 pm when he was coming out of his office and boarding his car, three terrorists, who had come on a motorcycle, opened fire. Two of his PSOs (personal security officers) were also hit… They were shot before they could react,” he said.”They (the terrorists) chose the iftaar time when everybody was rushing home. We will look into who these people are,” he added.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti visited the police hospital, where his body was brought, to console his grief-stricken family and appeared close to tears herself. “It’s very difficult to believe. He came to meet me just a few days ago,” she said.

shujaat bukhari shot

Shujaat Bukhari was shot while coming out of his office in the heart of Srinagar.

From the Editors Guild of India to the Press Club, condemnations of the attack were immediate and unreserved, calling on the state to improve security conditions for journalists.

Calling Mr Bukhari “a voice of moderation and a courageous, big-hearted editor”, the Editors’ Guild said his killing “is a new low in a rapidly deteriorating environment for media practitioners in Kashmir, in particular, and in the country in general”.

“An attack on a journalist challenges the very foundations of a free press and vibrant democracy and more so in a state like Jammu and Kashmir… The Guild calls upon the Centre to take necessary steps to ensure a situation where the media can discharge its duties without any fear of violence,” its statement read.

The attack took place hours after Home Minister Rajnath Singh held a security review meeting for the annual Amarnath pilgrimage that starts later this month. Sources say Rajnath Singh’s peace initiative in Kashmir, a ceasefire, may not extend beyond Ramzan, which is expected to end with Eid tomorrow.

Press Club of India strongly condemns the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, Editor of Rising Kashmir,by a group of terrorists in Srinagar on Thursday evening.
Press Club of India is shocked and saddened by this mindless terror attack that claimed the life of Shujaat Bukhari in the holy month of Ramzan. He had started his career as a young reporter with Kashmir Times and moved to The Hindu as its Kashmir correspondent in the 90s where his in-depth, analytical and objective reporting from the Valley got him recognition on the national and international level.
Later, he established his own English daily Rising Kashmir.
Press Club of India has time and again underlined the threat to the lives of journalists working under difficult and challenging circumstances and demanded protection for them.. Reports said that Mr. Bukhari’s two personal security guards also sustained injuries in the terror attack.
Terror attack that took Shujaat Bukhari’s life shows that lives of journalists are not at all safe. Forces inimical to restoring peace in Kashmir Valley have silenced a voice of reason, logic and peace.
Press Club of India deeply mourns the loss of Shujaat Bukhari’s life and extends its condolences to the bereaved family in this hour of crisis.
Gautam Lahiri                      Vinay Kumar
(President)                             (Secretary-General)

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UP BJP to set up ‘cyber sena’ of 200,000 social media experts to tap voters

Social media will be used for implementing various programmes pertaining to organisation, social integration and dissemination of information related to various schemes of the Centre and state govt

The UP has geared up to prepare its “cyber sena” for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, with the party hoping to have around 200,000 such trained social media experts across the state within the next three months.

At a recent meeting of the members and office bearers of the of UP BJP, vice-president of the saffron party’s state unit, JPS Rathore, said, “For the upcoming general elections to Lok Sabha in 2019, we are preparing across the state, and at every polling booth, there has to be a cyber yodhaa (cyber warrior).”

The IT kaaryakartaas (workers) of the party had come from different parts of the state.

“The internet and social media have become an effective and efficient tool to take various welfare measures to the masses. They have also evolved as a viable medium to communicate the party’s thoughts to the masses. The party is mulling to prepare an army of 150,000 to 200,000 trained workers across the state,” Rathore told PTI.

Rathore exuded confidence that the “trained workers will be ready in the next three months. ”

When asked whether this army has been made specifically for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rathore said, “The party always remains in an election mode. As soon as one election gets over, we start preparations for the next. Election preparation and creative work for the organisation continue simultaneously.”

He said that keeping in mind the parliamentary elections, social media can play an important role in spreading awareness among people who are 18-year-old or more to enrol themselves as voters.

“For the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, we have to constitute a social media team at every polling booth, which will become an example for other state units of the party,” he told the workers.

Social media will be extensively used for implementation of various programmes pertaining to the organisation, social integration and dissemination of information pertaining to various schemes of the Centre and state government, he said.

Rathore also said that the trained workers will be used to link new voters with the party. “They will make efforts to ensure that names of genuine voters are in the voter’s list, and that no fake voter’s name exists on the voter list,” he said.

Head of IT cell of UP Sanjay Rai while interacting with the IT workers of the party said, “Cyber warriors have to approach every citizen with a new strategy, while ensuring that information pertaining to various schemes, policies and achievements of the Centre reach the voters.”

He also said that efforts should be made to reach to various educational institutes and link students supporting the through NaMo app and with the state party unit’s IT cells.

“The creative thoughts of the students must be used for expansion and development of the party,” Rai said.

The UP BJP’s IT cell chief also said that party workers can enrich themselves through the NaMo app, and also spread awareness among people in their vicinity.

“Camps will also be organized to link new supporters through NaMo app,” he said, d adding that the re-constitution of the IT cell is likely to be done by July 10.

Anoop Gupta (secretary of UP BJP) said that the IT department will be strengthened for the 2019 and it will be made more hi-tech.

 

Agencies

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