President Ram Nath Kovind made his first speech to both Houses in the Parliament, expressing his hope that the Triple Talaq Bill will be passed soon. He was addressing a joint sitting of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha at the beginning of the Budget Session.
The President said, “My government has brought the Triple Talaq Bill to safeguard the rights of the Muslim women. And I am hopeful that Parliament will pass the bill.”
He emphasized upon how 2018 would turn out to be a vital year in India’s journey to realizing its full potential. He enlisted the various measures that the government had undertaken such as the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign. He also mentioned the Maternity Bill that has been passed. “Parliament has approved a bill granting working women paid maternity leave of 26 weeks.”
He encouraged the masses to promote and support the Swachh Bharat mission. “It is our duty that when we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019 we pay tribute to him by making our country completely clean.”
He also recognized the efforts made by the current government in promoting digitization. Broadband connectivity was already being initiated in villages across. He stated that 2.5 villages had already been connected.
Gauri Lankesh was shot dead at point blank range outside her house on the evening of September 5th, 2017. Her 56th birthday on January 29th was commemorated as “Gauri Day.” Several activists and supporters of the feisty assassinated journalist gathered in Bangalore, her hometown where she also breathed her last.
Attendees such as Kavitha Lankesh, Gauri’s sister and famed filmmaker, Irom Sharmila, Jignesh Mevani, actor Prakash Raj, Kanhaiya Kumar and Teesta Satalvad were present on the occasion.
Lankesh was the editor of ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike,’ a weekly tabloid in Kannada. Her death caused huge uproar of outrage across the country among journalists. This culminated in prominent flag bearers of the profession like Rajdeep Sardesai, Satalvad and H. S. Doreswamy to kick start a trust fund to sustain the publication. Prakash Raj spoke on the event stating that, “Her death has sprouted new voices like trees.”
Gauri was a mortal enemy to the concept of Hindutva and ring wing extremists. Since her death, countless accounts of her friends have poured in describing how she always feared for them, never for her own life. Vocally critical of the current government, the last editorial that she published prior to her death was on fake news that may have possibly contributed to the victories of the BJP.
It often seemed like she was on a crusade versus the machinery that was bent on altering the country’s fabric into Hinduism exclusively. She was a brilliant organizer with the ability to bring together varied social and political groups including Dalits, tribals, leftists and Muslims which is why she was considered dangerous by the opposition.
As time passes, we realize that we are still in the unknown about Gauri Lankesh’s murderer. However, when she died, various supporters of the BJP, and prominent members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or the RSS, very much a part of the same bloodline celebrated her killing on social media.
The Home Ministry of Karnataka was under extreme duress to produce results which sped up the investigation. According to the latest reports, the Special Investigation Team has identified the killers successfully and the investigation is currently in its terminal stages. Due to the sensitivity of these details, nothing has been disclosed.
The country waits with bated breath to receive full disclosure. But arresting Lankesh’s killers is not the end of the exercise. Her death served as a warning bell heard to dissenters of the government around the country. Lankesh’s killers deserve justice in its most brazen form, but the chapter will be completed when all protestors can speak without any fear, like Lankesh herself.
Uber Chief Dara Khosrowshahi is expected to embark upon his first visit to Asia in the week of February 19th. A spokesperson from Uber has revealed that Khosrowshahi plans to schedule meetings with top-ranking government officials, employees and business partners in Japan and India.
The head of Uber Technologies Inc. is on image mitigation program to better Uber’s recent controversy-filled past. Amid doubts about the company’s future in the region, Khosrowshahi is willing to cooperate and improve the issues that plagued the previous CEO Travis Kalanick.
The source said that the company wants to chalk out ways that “Uber can serve their riders, drivers, and cities better.” In the past week, the company finalized an agreement with Japan’s SoftBank Group Corporation. This made the Japanese investor the largest shareholder enabling Uber to compete with Ola in India and Grab in Southeast Asia.
Reports predict that Khorowshahi may seek to expand in the continent. Rajeev Misra, an executive of SoftBank who has joined the board for Uber recently spoke to the Financial Times advising that Uber needs to focus on its core market bases which are the US, Australia, Europe and Latin America. However, clearly, Khosrowshahi has different plans.