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Sabarimala verdict supporter’s ashram attacked




Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 27: An ashram run by a supporter of the Supreme Court’s Sabarimala verdict came under attack early on Saturday here, Kerala Police said, and announced a probe by a special team.

While Swami Sandeepananda Giri accused the BJP-RSS combine for the attack, a Sabarimala tantri family member said the monk himself set his property ablaze to implicate the saffron brigade, who in their turn named the Left party for trying to frame them for the religious fallout.

Two cars and a two-wheeler parked outside the ashram were set on fire around 2 a.m., said Giri, who was present on the premises at the time.

Giri has been taking a strong stand against the BJP-RSS combine in the state that has criticised the apex court’s September 28 verdict opening the gates of the Lord Ayyappa shrine for all women.

The attack coming amidst an ongoing crackdown on protesters who prevented women between the 10-50 age group from entering the temple between October 17 and 22, saw Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan immediately by Giri’s side.

Vijayan was accompanied by Finance Minister Thomas Issac and State Devasom Minister Kadakampally Surendran.

“The Sangh Parivar is trying to silence me for my position taken against them,” Giri told Vijayan, fearing for his life.

The Chief Minister who has taken a strong stand against any breach of the court’s verdict asked Director General of Police Loknath Behra to take immediate action.

The security at the ashram has been taken over by the police, Behra said, adding that a special team headed by Trivandrum City Commissioner P. Prakash would be investigating the attack and “nothing will be left to chance”.

Vijayan told the media at the ashram that the secular minds of Kerala were fully behind Giri. “Kerala knows the stand that the Swami has taken and is known for his secular outlook.

“Those behind this attack will be taken to task and the criminals who have done this will be brought before the law,” he said.

Rahul Eashwar, a member of the Sabarimala tantri family, who had come under attack from Giri said that it’s for the police to find out who was behind the arson.

“If the police finds out that I am responsible, then I should be arrested and if it’s found out that the Swami himself started the fire, he should be taken to task,” said Eashwar.

Senior Congress legislator K. Muraleedharan under whose constituency the ashram is located dismissed Eashwar’s statement. “I know what the Swami stands for and he will never do such a thing. This is nothing but a baseless allegation,” said Muraleedharan.

However, state Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson A.N. Radhakrishnan told the media that it’s the Communist Party of India-Marxist who has attacked the ashram.

“The CPI-M is behind this attack and propagating that we are behind it. We have no role in this,” said Radhakrishnan.



Amit Shah-Amarinder Singh meet on farmers’ issue

The meeting started at Shah’s residence soon after the Punjab Chief Minister reached there, minutes before the fourth round of government and farmer representative meeting at Vigyan Bhawan began.




Amarinder Singh Amit Shah

A crucial meeting started on Thursday noon between Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here as the next round of talks between farmers and the Centre also got way.

The meeting started at Shah’s residence soon after the Punjab Chief Minister reached there, minutes before the fourth round of government and farmer representative meeting at Vigyan Bhawan began.

Amid the escalating farmers protest around Delhi, spearheaded by farmers from Punjab and Haryana, Shah and Amarinder Singh’s meeting is significant.

They were expected to discuss the issues plaguing the army of farmers around the national capital’s periphery.

Tens of thousands are perched along Delhi’s Singhu and Tikri borders since November 26. These farmers owe allegiance to over 32 farm unions and are huddled under an open sky at the onset of a long winter, refusing to budge until their demands are met.

The Singhu and Tikri borders, and also Chilla and Ghazipur ones have now been hosting these multitudes for over a week. Hundreds of farmers have almost blocked entry and exit out of the capital.

Shah and Punjab Chief Minister’s meeting took place after the Home Minister met Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal for about half-an-hour ahead of government and farmers’ representatives meet.

The fourth round of meeting with over 32 farmer leaders started at Vigyan Bhawan after the earlier talks remained inconclusive on December 1.

In the last meeting, the farmers’ representatives had unanimously turned down the Centre’s proposal of a special committee to thrash out the differences and resolve concerns over the farm laws.

A breakthrough was not expected in a single meeting, sources had said, in view of the government firmly standing by the laws it has called “historic reforms” in the farm sector.

The farmers though have hardened their stance, warning that if on Thursday “the last chance” for the government to take a decision on the laws was not taken the stir could intensify further.

In place of a committee, they have demanded a special session of parliament to repeal what they have called “black laws” made to favour corporates — which not entertained might lead to a chokehold across the nation, not just Delhi.

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MDH owner Mahashay Dharampal Gulati passes away

According to MDH Masala, Mahashayji used to donate 90 per cent of his salary to charity. A trust run by MDH runs several hospitals and schools in Delhi.





New Delhi, Dec 3 : Mahashay Dharampal Gulati, the owner of the spices brand ‘MDH’ passed away on Thursday morning.

Reports suggest that his health deteriorated recently and he was undergoing treatment at a Delhi hospital.

On Thursday early morning, he suffered cardiac and passed away.

Born in 1923 in undivided India in Sialkot, now in Pakistan, Mahashay ji, also popularly known as ‘Dadaji’, had a very humble beginning.

Being a school dropout, he soon joined his father’s spices business at a very young age.

The flourishing family business suffered after participation and Mahashayji had to move to India and live in refugee camp in Amritsar.

But soon the family business of spices was set in a store in Delhi’s Karol Bagh. From there started the journey of building a spices brand with the birth of MDH in 1959.

Ever since then the brand has now established itself as the most recognisable one in the species segment with a global presence in over 100 countries.

And the brand itself has been synonymous with Mahashayji whose presence in TV commercials sporting a flowing white moustache and wearing red turban became an iconic image on Indian television.

His decision to appear on the masala commercials for his own brand became a big commercial success story making MDH and ‘Dadaji’ household names in the country.

His success was not without its share of rewards with reports suggesting that Dharampal Gulati navele the highest paid CEO in the FMCG space in 2017 drawing a mind boggling salary of over Rs 20 crore, much higher than the likes doyens of India Inc. that time.

According to MDH Masala, Mahashayji used to donate 90 per cent of his salary to charity. A trust run by MDH runs several hospitals and schools in Delhi.

For his work, Mahashayji was awarded the Padma Bhushan, third highest civilian award in India in 2019.

Dharampal Gulati took MDH to new heights with its masala packets selling in crores and becoming a household necessity. MDH now has a capacity of producing 30 tonnes of spices in a day. The baton now passes to the next generation to keep the flag flying.

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Once dreaded ‘queen of outlaws’ Phoolan now a ‘veerangana’

Phoolan Devi emerged as an icon for the Nishad community (boatmen) but after her brutal death in 2001, the community was not given adequate representation by political parties.




phoolan devi Bandit Queen

Bandit queen-turned-politician Phoolan Devi has been conferred the title of ‘veerangana’ (a brave warrior) by the Eklavya Welfare Society in Jalaun district.

Phoolan’s native village Garha Ka Purwa is located in Jalaun district and the Eklavya Welfare Society represents the Nishad community to which Phoolan belonged.

“The title of Veerangna has been conferred on Phoolan Devi because she was a true warrior — she fought for her honour and later, for the welfare of the oppressed.

“She deserves her and the young generations need to be told about her contribution. We will soon install her statue here,” said Gopalm Nishad, a member of the Eklavya Welfare Society.

Phoolan Devi, a bandit in the ravines across Uttar Pradesh and present Chhattisgarh and also Madhya Pradesh, had hit the headlines when she massacred 22 Thakurs in Behmai in Kanpur in February 1981 to avenge her sexual exploitation by a Thakur gang led by Lala Ram and Sri Ram.

In 1994, then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh withdrew the cases against Phoolan and she contested and won the Lok Sabha elections from Mirzapur in 1996 on a Samajwadi Party ticket.

Phoolan Devi emerged as an icon for the Nishad community (boatmen) but after her brutal death in 2001, the community was not given adequate representation by political parties.

The Nishad community constitutes about 4.5 per cent of the state’s population and are known to be among the Most Backward Castes (MBC).

The Nishad community has a sizeable population in about 40 assembly segments. Since the past one decade, they are trying to be included in the Scheduled Caste’s category but their demand has been caught in legal hassles.

An attempt was made to install Phoolan’s statue in Gorakhpur in 2016 but the attempt was foiled by the district administration that claimed that requisite permission for same had not been obtained.

The issue had revived an intense caste war between OBCs and MBCs in Uttar Pradesh.

Last year, Phoolan’s mother, Moola Devi, 90, who still lives in the village in abject poverty, had released the Chambal Manifesto on the eve of Lok Sabha elections to press for development of the Chambal region.

The 4-page manifesto was a compilation of the demands for the region which included the formation of the Chambal Commission for a scientific study of the issues and challenges faced by the people living in Chambal region along with solutions.

More than 40 years after she picked up the gun and turned into a bandit, following a dispute over four bighas of land with her cousin Maya Din, Phoolan Devi’s family in her native village in Jalaun district is still waiting to reclaim that elusive piece of land.

Meanwhile, the land that was initially owned by Phoolan’s father, Devi Din Mallah, and after his death, it still eludes her mother Moola Devi as the rightful owner.

Maya Din, son of late Devi Din’s elder brother allegedly grabbed the plot and did not allow Phoolan’s mother to till the land. Maya Din claimed the land was passed on to him as legacy.

Moola Devi said, “My daughter Phoolan fought with Maya Din for this land. Maya Din and his men ridiculed her and hurled abuses at her. She got together some girls from the village and staged a dharna on the land. The village elders tried to remove her from the land but failed. Then Maya Din hurled a brick at her and she fell unconscious. After this, she became a ‘baaghi’ (rebel).”

It is said that Maya Din ‘sold’ her off to Lal Ram and Shri Ram — heads of a Thakur gang of dacoits — who not only raped her but also held her captive.

A few years later, Phoolan Devi fell in love with another dacoit Vikram Mallah, who was later killed by the Lala Ram and Shri Ram gang.

To avenge the wrong done to her by the Thakur gang, Phoolan Devi gradually built up her own gang and the rest, as they say, is history.

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