Gauri Day: Commemoration Meet held on Gauri Lankesh’s 56th birth anniversary

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.

Sources: The News Minute, The Quint

Fire breaks out in Bengaluru bar, five killed

A deadly fire at a bar and restaurant in Bengaluru has led to the demise of five people. The fire broke out in the early hours of the morning at around 2.30 am. The accident took place at Kailash Bar and Restaurant, an establishment in Kumbaara Sangha building in Kalasipalya.

The deceased were employees at the restaurant and were asleep on the premises when the fire started.

The fire and emergency services were notified by passers-by when they saw smoke coming out of the restaurant. A fire rescue vehicle and two fire tenders were immediately sent to the location where they doused the fire and recovered the five dead bodies.

Officials have reported that the possible cause of the deaths was asphyxiation. The deceased have been identified as Prasad, 20, Swami, 23, Mahesh, 35, (all three natives of Tumakuru),  Keerthi, 24, a native of Mandya and Manjunath, 45 a native of Hassan. 

The cause of the fire is still undetermined. Police official MN Anucheth gave a statement saying that the fire department is still in the process of assessing the damage caused to the building. Only after the inspection is complete will an official cause be revealed.

He also stated that the department is speaking to witnesses to gather more information. The police have filed a case of criminal negligence against the owner of the bar who is currently absconding.

Govt to allow IISc Rs 3,000 crore to produce nano material

The Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has been allowed preliminary permission by the union government in setting up a Rs 3,000 crore metalwork according to the Indian Express. 

This will manufacture gallium nitride (GaN), which is a nanomaterial. These are semiconductors which are considered the most effective in the field of ‘strategic technology’. Examples of such technology are radars and communication systems. 

The IISc’s Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE) will serve as the base for the foundry. Headed by associate professor Srinivasan Raghavan, the CeNSE was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015. 

They are in the process of creating electronics which would use GaN, which is already being sold around the country. This would also help in the creation of a new industry in the due course of time. 

Scientifically speaking, the material is said to have ‘unique’ electronic properties. It is also tough and can work at high temperatures which is much better than silica. 

According to Prof Raghavan, in every device, whether it is a laptop, AC or an automobile there are electronic circuits that have to handle very high power and voltages. These are the circuits that are involved in power electronics. 

Recently in its engineering courses, IISc has seen an increase in research alliances with various industry players. They have partnered with telecom, automobile and aviation giants for the same. 

Sources: The Indian Express and Financial times 

Apple to start manufacturing in India

Wistron Corp, Apple’s Taiwanese manufacturing partner is setting up an assembly in Bengaluru with sole motive of assembling iPhones.

A source, who asked not to be named, said the Indian government and Apple were still discussing “the repatriation of long-term profits from local sales and exports.”

Karnataka government welcomed Apple’s proposal to begin initial manufacturing operations in Bengaluru which is the tech hub of Karnataka, hinting it is moving forward with its plans to assemble iPhones in India.

“Apple’s intentions to manufacture in Bengaluru will foster a cutting edge technology ecosystem and supply chain development in the state, which are critical for India to compete globally,” stated the Karnataka government.

Priyank Kharge, IT Minister of Karnataka told Reuters that he believes Apple will most probably begin the manufacturing in the state by the end of April, or beginning of May.

Another source, that also requested Reuters not to state his name, said that no memorandum of understanding or agreement has so far been finalised with the Karnataka government.

Wistron’s spokesperson, Joyce Chou revealed that the final production of smart phones from the Bengaluru plant is expected sometime in the first half of 2017. She refused to comment on whether it would be a captive iPhone assembly site.

California-based Apple company, Cupertino, is eager to assemble its phones in India which considered to be one of the world’s fastest growing smartphone market.

Sources: NDTV, Indian Express

Image source: Financial Express

Snapdeal to offer Cash Delivery service

Snapdeal, an online marketing hub of India has recently started an service called Cash@Home. This service allows people to order cash and have it delivered at their doorsteps. According to Snapdeal, this service has been launched as a gesture by them in order to allow their users to access cash easily without having to stand in long queues at banks or ATMs, which is a result of the demonisation.

Cash@Home now provides service only to some parts of Bengaluru, Gurugram, Hyderabad and Surat, but the service will soon come into effect in the other major cities as per the feedback from the users and the availability of the notes.

An amount of Rs 2000 can be requested per day. The consumers will be provided with a PoS machine to swipe  their ATM card and will receive their cash by Snapdeal courier partners at the time of delivery.  ATM cards of all banks will be accepted.

“The launch of the cash on demand service is intended to further help our consumers tide over any cash crunch that they might face in addressing their daily needs,” said Rohit Bansal, Co-founder, Snapdeal, as reported by NDTV.

The request for Cash@Home service can be placed through the Snapdeal app. Cash will be delivered one day after requesting for the service. A nominal amount of one rupee will be charged as a convenience fee, which the users will have to pay through FreeCharge or debit card. The e-commerce will operate this service with the cash they receive through Cash on Delivery.


Sources : NDTV, The Hindu, Scroll

EC to purchase new EVMs for 2019 Lok Sabha elections

The Election Commission of India has been granted  Rs 1009 crore to purchase new Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). This step has been taken to update the old machines before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The purchase will take place through Bharat Electronic Ltd (BEL), Bengaluru and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), Hyderabad.

According to the  Saturday’s approval,the election body has been assigned to buy 4,10,000 Ballot Units (BUs) and 3,14,000 Control Units (CUs) during 2017-18 and 4,35,306 Ballot Units and 71,716 control units during 2018-19. It will be a conjectural unit cost of Rs 7,700,and Rs 9,300 respectively. The approximate cost  will be will be Rs 1,009.6 crore.

On Wednesday, The Union Cabinet has also  given the poll body the authority to choose and to decide the amount to be ordered on BEL and ECIL as well. The decision should be based on their production capacity,and past performance in supply of machines. This will help Commission to manage everything. The Law Ministry stated to The Indian Express, “This would facilitate phasing out of obsolete electronic voting machines procured during 2000-2005. It will enable the Commission to replenish the stock with a view to meet the requirement of conducting General Elections to Lok Sabha and some of the state assemblies due in 2019”.

On July 20, the Union Cabinet had approved a similar proposal out by Election Commission to buy nearly 14 lakh new EVMs, the first tranche at a cost of Rs 9,200 crore during 2016-17 as well.

SOURCES: The Indian Express, TOI

IMAGE SOURCES: Representation Picture

Cauvery Issue: Understanding why Bengaluru was burnt

The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal was formed twenty-six years ago to settle the water dispute tussle between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Seventeen years after its formation, in 2007, the Tribunal came out with its final verdict. It pronounced that Tamil Nadu would be entitled to 12 km³ of water from the Cauvery river, while Karnataka should legally receive 7.6 km³ of water from the river. At that point in time, Karnataka was releasing only 5.6 km³ of water to the feuding neighbor.

Protests erupted in the state of Karnataka, with a state-wise bandh called by the Kannada Rakshana Vedike, a self-confessed pro-Kannadiga group, supported by 30-odd powerful trade unions. The bandh steeped into sectarian violence, with every social entity,  from corner kiosks to million-dollar information technology enterprises, being shut down. Air and train services were disrupted, buses were burnt, bringing the state to a standstill. While the political games continued, monsoon came to the rescue of Tamil Nadu, putting an interim break to public agitation over the issue.

Nine years have passed and the stalemate continues, with both the states refusing to budge or give in. After reassuming power for the second consecutive time, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa filed a petition on behalf of the state in August this year with the Supreme Court, urging Karnataka to release water as per mandate. The Supreme Court (SC) in response to the petition ordered that Karnataka release water and said that the Karnataka government should “live and let live.” Karnataka, though dissatisfied, complied with the order and started releasing water, but on the other hand, pressure from the political circles and the public mounted.

The Karnataka Chief Minister Siddharamaiah filed a petition with the SC to stay the order. While the SC refused to stay the order, it reduced water to be released from 15,000 cusecs to 12,000 cusecs. This leads to a repeat of 2007.

Mobs attacked businesses with Tamil Names in Bengaluru. Over 30 busses of the private bus operator KPN were burnt down. Violence also erupted on the Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway.

“The first incident of arson was reported from NICE road, Electronics City around 11.30am when miscreants set a goods truck of Tamil Nadu registraion on fire. Four more trucks, all from Tamil Nadu, were set ablaze in Nayandanahalli Junction and a mob attacked policemen who tried to stop them,” read a Times of India report. In retaliation, the police opened fire, and two people have reportedly lost their lives in the violence that ensued.

The Central government sent around 1,000 anti-riot personnel and around 10 companies of Border Security Force and Indo-Tibetian border police to both the states. While Siddharamaiah and his counterpart J.Jayalalithaa wrote angry letters to each other, Section 144 was imposed in Bengaluru city, Mandya, Mysuru, Srirangapatna and near four dams in the Cauvery basin.

On the other side of the border, people from Karnataka were mobbed, businesses operated by people from the state vandalized. Memes and posts against Sandalwood actors went viral, and petrol bombs were hurled at a popular restaurant under the Udupi banner in Chennai.

Over the years, nature of monsoon alone has given the people from both the states a break from continuing the violence. Important questions arise from this socio-political issue that has created an “uneasy disposition” in both the states. History traces those incidents of mob violence as uncontrollable only when it has been planned by institutions of authority. Are the parties in power refusing to sit down to settle the stalemate, in a bid to gain political sympathy?