June 06, 2011
Drama continues on Day 3 of the Baba Ramdev fast at new venue in Haridwar. Anna Hazare's fast seems like the government news reel that used to be shown before a James Bond movie at the cinema halls.
The other news stories today....
Digvijay Singh blames VHP, RSS
Jayanthi Natarajan says Congress won't be cowed down.
Union textiles minister says he never forced or arm-twisted former Aircel chief C Sivasankaran to sell his business to Maxis. He says he has never forced anyone to do business with him.
Read our 12:52 pm post for the background.
The attacker is also a teacher at the Vidya Bharti School in Jhunjhunu. The government's media department says the newspaper he claims to represent does not exist.
If you see the TVvisuals carefully, notice that the attacker, Sunil Kumar, actually walked up to the dais with his shoe in hand, a foot away from where Dwivedi sat.
If he had really wanted to throw the shoe at Dwivedi, he would have just had to extend his arm and swat him. Splatch.
The BJP says the Congress has annoyed the media as well. And Digvijay disappoints with a really boring statement that the shoe-thrower, so to speak, is an RSS assailant. It's been said already.
The condition of Raj Bala, the woman who received spinal injuries in the police lathicharge at Ramlila Maidan in the wee hours of Sunday, remained
critical today at the G B Pant hospital here, doctors said.
Raj Bala (51) is one of the 71 people injured in the pre-dawn police crackdown at Ramlila Maidan, where yoga guru Ramdev was holding his indefinite hunger strike.According to doctors at the hospital Raj Bala is still in a critical condition and under continuous monitoring.
"She does not have spontaneous respiration and is on ventilatory support. She is cosnscious and is obeying simple verbal commands. She is quadraplegic and is on drugs to maintain blood pressure," a doctor with G B Pant hospital said.
Just in: Congress spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi was assaulted with a shoe at a press conference in New Delhi. The attacker, who is believed to be from the RSS,was assaulted as well. Dwivedi was allegedly attacking the RSS and the BJP at the conference.
Moot point: The shoe did not hit Dwivedi, much like every other attempt that was made at other targets -- George W Bush,P Chidambaram, Suresh Kalmadi, among others...
Dwivedi brushed off the incident, but said it was pre-planned.
Where is Digvijay Singh today? Not a peep out of him post Baba eviction.
But the Congress has made up for his silence defending its action against Ramdev. The Congress today said the yoga guru cannot be compared with Mahatma Gandhi.
It said the party will continue to fight forces which divide the nation in the name of religion and said it wasridiculous to compare the incident to Jallianwala Bagh
Apart from the method of protest used, satyagraha, Ramdev to his credit, never really compared himself to Gandhi.
News on India's biggest tax evader, Hasan Ali. The High Court today gave the Enforcement Directorate two weeks to reply on the lack of notification to Ali. The court also asked the ED to take the accused to hospital for treatment tomorrow.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is still recuperating in Saudi after he was hit by shrapnel, but he will have to make some quick decisions.
The United States and Britain have asked Saudi to persuade to formally stand down in exchange for immunity from prosecution and financial guarantees about his future.
Washington and London are insisting that Saleh should now be urged to implement a deal under which he would give up power in exchange for immunity from prosecution and financial guarantees.
Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao is in Bangladesh on a two-day visit to review bilateral relations. Rao will call on Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina among others. The visit is being seen as providing a platform for Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's visit to Dhaka in the near future.
Guess we'll see Rao in gorgeous Jamdani saris soon...
Love it or hate it, Salman-starrer Ready is a box office success.
Taran Adarshtweets: Ready: Has emerged the second biggest opener ever. Collects Rs. 40.65 cr net in weekend 1. Fri 13.15 cr, Sat 12.25 cr, Sun 15.25 cr.
Details awaited on the aircraft deal with the US.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today said the opposition party does not have any sympathy for the yoga guru and is trying to extract political mileage."BJP is fishing in troubled waters. They have no sympathy for Baba Ramdev," Azad said.
He also accused the RSS of trying to divert attention from the Malegaon blasts and other such issues by supporting Ramdev.
On timing of the police crackdown, the Union Health Minister said it was a matter pertaining to the law enforcement agency and said it was a betrayal on Ramdev's part to not keep the promise he made during the negotiations with the government, he said.
What the BJP's memorandum to the President said...
Never since those fateful days of June 1975 has the country witnessed such abrutal attack on civil liberties and democratic rights enshrined inthe Constitution as it did just past midnight on June 4-5 this year.
YourExcellency, as the guardian of the sacrosanct Constitution, we believe it isyour duty to safeguard its principles and ensure that people's rights are nottrampled upon.
... The barbaric attack on peaceful supporters of YogaGuru Baba Ramdev by the Delhi Police on the instructions of the UnionGovernment, is truly reminiscent of General Dyers' psychopathic action againstfreedom fighters in Jallianwala Bagh.
Never before in recent history has bruteforce been unleashed on an assembly of unsuspecting people who were peacefullysleeping at that hour.
The BJP led by L K Advani met the President this afternoon and demanded anemergency session of parliament should be called to discuss the Ramdevissue and the brutalities of the Delhi police unleashed on the night of June 4at Ramlila Maidan.
He was accompanied by leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj, party president NitinGadkari, former president of the party Rajnath Singh and deputy leader of RajyaSabha S S Ahluwalia.
They presented a memorandum to the President. Excerpts follow.
Just in: A suicide bomber in the northern city of Tikrit and gunmen in the Iraqi capital killed a total of seven people this morning.
Iraqi security officials said four people died after the gunmen in speeding vehicles opened fire on two security checkpoints in Baghdad.
Skeletons in Arnold Schwarzenegger's closet are jostling for space.
Apparently, Tiger Woods' infamous mistress Rachel Uchitel has denied that she had an affair with Arnold Schwarzenegger after they were linked up recently. She claimed she was contacted by a 'high-profile journalist', who told her the word was out that she had a "long-lasting' affair with the former California Governor.
According to her, there is no truth to the affair, as she has never met Schwarzenegger. "I''ve never met Arnold. Never even thought about him. I don't like his movies, I'm not even a fan, she said.
We agree with our taste in movies.
Civil society activists led byAnna Hazare today boycotted the meeting of the joint drafting committee on Lokpal bill saying government's intentions raised serious doubts about having a strong anti-corruption watchdog and protesting against the police crackdown on Ramdev.
The activists have also sought rescheduling of the next meeting of the JDC on June 10 to some other date becauseof some prior engagements of Hazare.
After a meeting of the activists,Shanti Bhushan, the co-chair of the panel, wrote a letter to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Chairman of JDC, saying the government desires to practically leave everyone out of Lokpal's ambit -- Prime Minister, horse trading of MPs, middle and lower bureaucracy judiciary.
"My wife left me, I left her, and I was destroyed by this event,' Bob Geldof told a hushed auditorium. "I couldn't get beyond the huge immensity of loss that universal grief. Pain crowded in my head. I couldn't find a way over or beyond it. It was too much, the whole thing. "I hated women. I didn't trust them. I didn't want to be near them."
ReadGeldof's moving speech about the power of love that moved an audience to tears
Revealed: The new anti-stress potion.
Apparently, it's pomegranate juice according to new research.
The study, as reportedin the independent.co.uk says that having the drink every day resulted in lower stress hormones and a reduction in blood pressure.
And on a serious note...
Brahma Chellaney tweets:Indian PM and his government may be weak on national security but they're cold-bloodedly swift when their political interests are challenged
Kiran Bedi:Anna team will sit on June 8 for peaceful fast-anshan at jantar mantar. If permission not given grp may be compelled to court arrest
Ramesh Srivatson Twitter
Delhi Police denies any lathi charge. They insist that all the beatings were for free
When the Supreme Court says things like Suo Moto, (Nitin) Gadkari thinks they are talking about him
While on Ramdev, Hazare, and the Indian state, an interview withArundhati Roy in the guardian.
She says the government is "trying to keep me destabilised. Anybody who says anything is in danger'.
The Booker prize-winning novelist on her political activism in India, why she no longer condemns violent resistance and why it doesn't matter if she never writes a second novel.
The police say 30 people were injured in the scuffle following the swoop-down at the Ramlila grounds late Saturday night; Ramdev says over a 100 were injured both at the grounds and when they were hauled off to the police station.
Ramdev also said the police set fire to the stage thrice; police said thestage caught fire accidentally.
Huge trouble for the government if this is true. Apparently, a follower of Baba Ramdev was critically injured in Saturday night's swoop at the Ramlila grounds in Delhi.
The follower, a 50-year-old woman, is on ventilator and doctors treating her says her limbs are paralysed and she can'ttalk.
She was apparently hit on the neck, back and leg in the government swoop down, says the report on cnn ibn.
If true, how different is the UPAgovernment from Muammar Gaddafi's?And that's a rhetorical question.
At the CBI HQ: Former Aircel founder says Dayanidhi Maran forced him to sell his stake in Aircel to Maxis.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former chief of the International Monetary Fund, is expected to be arraigned today on sexual assault charges in connection with an incident at a posh New York hotel last month.
Strauss-Kahn, who was considered a front-runner in France's next presidential race before his arrest, is expected to plead not guilty, reports bbc.co.uk
He faces seven charges, including criminal sexual acts and sexual abuse. Authorities say he sexually assaulted a housekeeping employee at New York's Sofitel hotel on May 14.
While we await the Shiv Sena's response to Ramdev's comment that he mimicked his escape from the Ramlila grounds after Shivaji, the party said it disapproved of fast as a political weapon, but argued that yoga guru was a citizen of India, and had every right to create a political space for himself. Sena's comments -- in response to yesterday's police action against Ramdev and his followers in Delhi, and Congress leaders' remarks that Ramdev should stick to yoga -- appear inthe editorial of its mouthpiece `Saamna'.
"If a foreigner Sonia Gandhi can become the political Godmother ("guru-mata") of Congress leaders, why can not Ramdev, a citizen of this country, practise politics?" the editorial asked.
The CBI today began questioning businessman C Sivasankaran, whose testimony may increase the worries for Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran -- accused of involvement in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
Maran, who was the former telecom minister, is facing allegations of bending rules for granting 14 licences to Dishnet Wireless (now Aircel) during his tenure between 2004 and 2007.
Sivasankaran owned Aircel when Maran served as Communications and Information Minister in 2006 and alleged that Maran had forced him to sell his stake.
In international news -- Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh is recovering from surgery in Saudi Arabia to remove shrapnel from his chest, the bbc.co.uk reports.
He was flown to the country on a Saudi medical flight on Saturday, a day after being wounded in an attack on his presidential compound in Sanaa.
Thousands of people in Yemen have been celebrating his departure after weeks of anti-government protests.
A new poll in the UK has revealed that one in five British women goes topless abroad to get an all-over tan.
Those who are most ready to ditch their bikinis are East Anglian girls. According to reports, 28 percent of them do so on holidays. They also prefer spending a long time basking under the sun, averaging at least four hours a day. Scots are the second most likely to strip off, while Northern Irish girls (12.5 per cent) the least likely, reports the Sun. The Superdrug poll found that women in the age group of 35 to 44 stand the highest possibility of baring their boobs.
To answer the question -- no, we do not knowwhich beach these women lie about in.
Strategic analyst Brahma Chellaneyon Twitter:
It was at Bahrain's Pearl Square that a peaceful protest was broken up with batons and tear gas in a post-midnight raid on those fast asleep.
Its replication in New Delhi raises a key issue: Can a state snuff out peaceful protests by misusing laws and police and remain a democracy?
At the BJP's 24-hour Satyagraha at Rajghat over Ramdev's eviction, Sushma Swaraj sings and dances. The BJP is basically trying to move in on the vacuum left by Ramdev's forced exit from Delhi.
Baba Ramdev is addressing his supporters in Haridwar where he is continuing with protest against blackmoney etc., after being evicted from the Ramlila grounds in Delhi. He says the protest is receiving support from across the nation and thanked the SC for issuing a notice against his eviction.
He alleges that the stage at the Ramlila grounds had been set on fire thrice and his supporters had been hurt while putting out the fire.
On his attempted escape at midnight, he said he behaved like Shivaji. The Maratha king and his son Sambhaji had escaped captivity by Aurangzeb by hiding themselves in large wicker baskets. Once they reached Mathura from Agra, Shivaji shaved off his beard and moustache, to avoid recognition.
Meanwhile, the Kanchi Shankaracharya has criticised Ramdev.
Apparently, the sale of land at Baba Ramdev's ashram is illegal. Now every single aspect of Ramdev's business empire, including the antecedents of his aides will be under the magnifying glass. Baba's aide, who is from Nepal, is believed to have escaped to India and then Haridwar after a criminal case. He is also being probed.
Yesterday, an emotional and angry Ramdev sharply criticised Congress President Sonia Gandhi at the first press conference since his dramatic arrest on Sunday morning,
'Baba Ramdev claimed that he was forcibly shifted to his ashram inHardwarfromNew Delhi's Ramleela maidan.
Alleging a conspiracy, he claimed:"They wanted to kidnap me and kill me or send me somewhere."
Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that he is "98 percent sure' that HuJI chief Ilyas Kashmiri was among those killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan's South Waziristan region on Friday.
"All ground intelligence shows that he is dead. What I can say is there is a 98 per cent chance he is dead," Malik said.
"Since we do not have the body. We do not have the DNA we need to confirm. This is the substantive evidence we are looking for,' he added. Kashmiri is allegedly killed in the drone strike that killed at least nine militants.
Yet, there remains a two per cent chance that he is alive since the US has not confirmed his death. It must also be remembered that the bodies of drone strike victims are so badly charred that it is virtually impossible to identify them.
On Twitter: Sushma Swaraj: We are calling on Rashtrapatiji at 12.30 pm today.
The BJP will seek the President's intervention on Ramdev, even as its top leaders including BJP President Nitin Gadkari are holding a satyagraha at Rajghat.
Down south in Chennai, an angry father and a former chief minister lashes out at the Centre.
DMK chief Karunanidhi last night blamed the Centre for the arrest of his daughter Kanimozhi in the 2G spectrum case."Kanimozhi is in Tihar jail and either it could be due to Centre's order or complacency," the DMK patriarch said in his first public meeting after the Assembly polls in his Tiruvarur constituency here last night.
Karunanidhi, who often turned emotional during the meeting, alleged that Kanimozhi had been arrested as the CBI had to hold someone accountable and said her mistake was his mistake -- of making her a shareholder in Kalaignar TV.
"I compelled her to become a shareholder with a view to secure her future," he said adding she was languishing in the jail under testing conditions.
"You know a flower kept there will wither away quickly due to the temperature there."Karunanidhi's comments come two days after he said on his birthday "...bad friendship will result in trouble."
Good morning! A weekend of theatrics andrelentless entertainment at the Ramlila Grounds in Delhi and how Baba Ramdev almost managed toslip away in a salwar kameez. Scroll down for the story.
Meanwhile, questions still being raised whether 26/11 plotter Ilyas Kashmiri is, in fact dead. The US still has to confirm it. Stay with us for the news as it happens.
Baba Ramdev gives UPA a sleepless summer (Indian Express)
Govt, particularly Sibal, did come under fire from some leaders for 'mishandling' of Baba's fast. Read
UP says no entry, shaken Baba fasts in Haridwar (Indian Express)
Less than 24 hours ago, he was daring the government in front of thousands of supporters at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. Forced out of the capital and with the Uttar Pradesh government foiling his plans to reach Noida, yoga guru Baba Ramdev, back at his sprawling headquarters here tonight, found himself isolated but continued his fast. Read
BJP to seek intervention of President on Ramdev, demand special Parliament session (DNA)
The party, whose top leaders including BJP President Nitin Gadkari are holding a satyagraha at Rajghat, accused the governent of shielding and protecting the corrupt. Read
Baba Ramdev eviction: UPA in tomb of deathly silence (DNA)
Sunday morning created enough flutter across the country's political opposition, after the post-midnight drama on Saturday/Sunday at the Ramlila ground. The Delhi police and the Rapid Action Force (RAF) resorted to teargas and lathi-charge to disperse the 80,000 and more crowd and whisked away Baba Ramdev. Read
Hazare camp to boycott Lokpal meet today (The Times of India)
Hazare's camp announced that they would boycott the joint Lokpal panel meet scheduled for Monday and sit on a one-day hunger strike on June 8. Read
Baba Ramdev almost got away in woman's garb (The Times of India)
Wooed by powerful ministers one day and chased down by cops through the streets the next, Baba Ramdev's 'interactions' with the government dramatically came a full circle early Sunday morning. Read