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Gulf between promise and reality: Karni Sena is only one of the saffron Frankenstein

It is possible that even these arrests would not have been made but for the presence in India of the 10 ASEAN leaders for the Republic Day celebrations.

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Karni Sena Deepika Bhansali

Even as Narendra Modi was waxing eloquent on India as a “humanising and harmonising force” in Davos, none of these laudable attributes was on display in the country as rabid outfits with ideological links with the Prime Minister’s party were vandalising cinema halls and malls and attacking a school bus with children crying inside.

The most virulent of these marauding groups currently is the Karni Sena, which claims to represent the Rajput community, and the reason for its violent onslaughts on convenient targets is its anger about the supposedly distorted portrayal of the 14th century Rajput queen, Padmini or Padmavati, who may well have been a mythical figure, in the Bollywood film “Padmaavat”.

Although another Rajput group, as well as professional film critics, have rejected this charge and one of the latter has even said that the valour of the Rajputs and the self-immolation of the queen have been excessively glorified, the vandals have not been assuaged.

One reason why they have continued with their rampages is that the governments run by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajasthan, the traditional home of the Rajputs, and in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have been reluctant to act against the goons.

The official and political unwillingness to rein in the marauders is explained by their ideological affinity to the BJP, which identifies them as representatives of the community which is a potential vote bank. There have been others of their kind who have also indulged in murder and mayhem with impunity because of their awareness that a BJP government will treat them with kid-gloves.

The Karni Sena, therefore, is not the only Frankenstein reared by the right-wing Hindutva brigade. There are also those who assault and even kill anyone suspected of eating beef or transporting cattle and still escape punishment because of lack of evidence as in the case of the beating to death of Pehlu Khan in Rajasthan although he had a permit for taking cattle through the state in his truck.

Over the period when the BJP has been in power at the Centre and in several states, the boldness of these thugs has grown because of their immunity from any legal action. Nothing showed this defiance of the constitutional order better than the refusal of the Rajput activists to accept the Supreme Court’s clearance of the film, which had earlier been certified for release by the censor board.

The decision of some of the BJP-ruled state governments to appeal to the Supreme Court against the screening of the film (which was summarily rejected) must have also emboldened the brigands for it showed that the rulers sympathised with them just as when the governments had banned the film even before its release.

The vandals must have also been encouraged by the support which they have received from the saffron brotherhood’s formidable army of online warriors who have blamed Muslims for the attack on the school bus. As is known, these Hindutva netizens have a remarkable talent for spreading disinformation.

Despite the judicial negation of the ban, the prohibition is still virtually in force because the theatre owners are too scared to show the film lest their property is destroyed. Evidently, there is little faith in the ability or willingness of the BJP-led governments to maintain law and order.

Given this inability or disinclination, it is not surprising that the Karni Sena has not been called to account by either the Centre or the states for the threats which the organisation has held out against the leading actress in the film, Deepika Padukone, and the director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, about beheading them and boasting that their graves have already been dug.

Considering that these dire warnings have been issued with great gusto on television, there is obviously scope for legal action. When the government’s opponents have been booked for sedition on charges which haven’t passed muster in the courts, the Sena activists should also have been arrested. Yet, the number of arrests that has been made are few and far between and hasn’t helped in dispelling fear.

It is possible that even these arrests would not have been made but for the presence in India of the 10 ASEAN leaders for the Republic Day celebrations. What impression they will carry back about the arson and depredations being shown on television is not known. But foreign investors cannot but be perturbed about their prospects in India despite the promised cutting of red tape and the rolling out of the red carpet.

What the rampant lawlessness in the BJP-ruled states have revealed is the divide between Modi’s promise of development and the frightening ground reality where institutional authority, like that of the Central Board of Film Certification, is ignored and its chief is told by these anarchists not to attend the Jaipur Literary Festival in Rajasthan, and judicial orders are ignored. Yet, political considerations palpably hinder any serious attempt to bridge the gulf.

By : Amulya Ganguli

(Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected] )

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Hotel industry’s recovery to pre-Covid levels profits 3 yrs away: ICRA

“This will keep revenues moderated, resulting in operating losses and stretched debt metrics during FY2021 and FY2022.”

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Park Hotel Delhi

New Delhi, Oct 24 : The Indian hotel industry’s recovery to pre-Covid levels profits is at least three years away, ratings agency ICRA has said.

The ratings agency said that road ahead for the industry is rough as revenues and margins are expected to post record decline in FY21 with losses mounting over the next two years.

The hotel industry has witnessed one of the worst revenue declines, in Q1FY21, with revenues for the industry sample declining by 85 per cent.

“Given the high operating and financial leverage in the industry, the revenue decline led to huge operating and net losses in Q1 FY2021 despite the extensive cost-cutting measures adopted by most entities in the industry,” ICRA said in a statement.

“Despite sharp weakening in interest coverage, recourse to the RBI provided moratorium on debt servicing as part of its Covid relief package announced in March 2020 supported the industry.”

As per the statement, about 66 per cent of ICRA’s hospitality portfolio applied for moratorium under this scheme and several of these will apply for restructuring under the K.V. Kamath committee too.

“Although hotels have been gradually allowed to reopen, occupancies have remained subdued in H1FY2021,” the statement said.

“This will keep revenues moderated, resulting in operating losses and stretched debt metrics during FY2021 and FY2022.”

The industry has reported a 2.7 per cent de-growth in topline with flat operating margins at 22 per cent in FY2020.

“With an 85 per cent YoY decline witnessed in revenues in Q1 FY2021 and subdued occupancies witnessed in Q2 FY2021 as well, industry wide revenues are expected to witness sharp de-growth of 60-65 per cent for FY2021,” ICRA said.

“Despite several measures taken by the companies to variabilise the fixed costs, the industry is likely to report massive operating and net losses in FY2021.”

–IANS

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31% adolescents battled extreme anxiety in past few months due to COVID-19, says survey

About 31% surveyed adolescents battled extreme anxiety in the past few months worrying about the impact of coronavirus pandemic on their family’s financial status, according to a survey

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About 31 percent surveyed adolescents battled extreme anxiety in the past few months worrying about the impact of coronavirus pandemic on their family’s financial status, according to a survey of over 7,300 adolescents from four states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Odisha.

The survey on ‘What do the Adolescents have to say? COVID-19 and its Impact’ by NGO Centre for Catalysing Change was conducted in two rounds in the months of April, July and August.

Out of the 7,324 adolescents surveyed, 31 percent admitted to battling extreme anxiety worrying about the pandemic’s impact on their family’s financial status.

The survey also found that adolescent girls faced significant gender discrimination in these months due to the pandemic.

“Only 12 percent of surveyed adolescent girls had access to their own mobile phones to be able to attend online classes, while 35 percent boys had access to their own mobile phones,” the survey found.

“Further, 51 percent of the adolescent girls surveyed lacked access to essential textbooks in comparison to boys, highlighting how the pandemic had jeopardized girls’ access to education,” it said.

About 39 percent of the girls were found to be contributing to housework as opposed to the number of boys at 35 percent, it said.

Under the survey, the adolescent girls also stated how their mobility has been curbed, with only 39 percent girls saying they were allowed to go out alone in comparison to 62 percent boys of the same age who were allowed to go out alone.

“At the same time, only 36 percent adolescents knew the correct helpline numbers, while awareness about the use of the helplines was even lower. Only 18 percent was aware that the helplines could be used in reporting domestic violence and only 22-23 percent knew that it could be used in reporting child labour and child trafficking cases,” it added.

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Sahir Ludhianvi death anniversary: Top Bollywood songs penned by the legendary poet

On Sahir Ludhianvi’s death anniversary, here’s looking at top Bollywood songs written by the legendary poet!

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Sahir Ludhianvi

Born in Ludhiana, Punjab, in 1921, Sahir began writing since childhood. Born as Abdul Hayee, he found the word ‘Sahir’ while reading Iqbal’s poetry and decided to use it as his pen name.

Sahir’s poetry was remarkably concerned with socio-economic and political problems of the country. He often voiced problems of the downtrodden with his words.

Sahir’s debut as film lyricist was with Azadi Ki Rah Par and Baazi. In recognition of his contributions, he was honoured with Padma Bhushan. Sahir died in Mumbai on October 25, 1980.

On Sahir Ludhianvi’s death anniversary, here’s looking at top Bollywood songs written by the legendary poet.

Dekha hai zindagi ko kuch itna kareeb se

Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shayar hu

Kabhi Kabhi Mere DIl Mein

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