India: Country passing through rising intolerance says former President Pranab Mukherjee

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE INDIAN NEWS AGENCY THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

‘Country passing through rising intolerance,’ says former President Pranab Mukherjee

Pranab Mukherjee expressed concern over rising intolerance and violation of human rights, coupled with a widening gulf between the rich and poor with top one percent rich pocketing the lion’s share of country’s wealth.

INDIA Updated: Nov 24, 2018 13:42 IST

Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
Former President Pranab Mukherjee addressed the National Conference on ‘Towards Peace, Harmony and Happiness: Transition to Transformation’, in New Delhi on Friday, November 23, 2018.(PTI)

Former President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday expressed concern over rising intolerance and violation of human rights, coupled with a widening gulf between the rich and poor with top one per cent rich pocketing the lion’s share of country’s wealth.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the two-day national conference on “Towards Peace, Harmony and Happiness: Transition to Transformation”, organised by Pranab Mukherjee Foundation along with the Centre for Research for Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID).

“The land which gave the world the concept of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ and the civilisational ethos of tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness, is now in news for rising levels of intolerance, manifestations of rage and infringement of human rights,” Mukherjee said.

“Peace and harmony prevails when a nation celebrates pluralism, practices tolerance and promotes goodwill among diverse communities and when we purge the toxin of hatred, envy, jealousy and aggression from our everyday lives,” he said.

He said “happiness is higher in countries that ensure their inhabitants basic amenities and resources, greater security, autonomy and freedom as well as sufficient educational opportunities and access to information. People are manifestly happier in countries where personal freedoms are guaranteed and democracy is secured.”

“Regardless of economic conditions, citizens are happy in a climate of peace,” Mukherjee said.

Referring to the statistics, he said, “If these statistics are anything to go by, we appear to be caught in a ‘rising economy, receding happiness’ syndrome. Our growth paradigm calls for an urgent look.”

Paying tributes to Guru Nanak Dev on his 549th birth anniversary, Mukherjee said given the times we are living in, it is important to recall his message of “peace and oneness”.

He also recalled what Chanakya said that “In the happiness of the people lies the happiness of the king” and the Rig Veda saying that we must live in one assembly, speak in one voice, with our minds in accord.

In a poser he asked whether the state was functioning in conformity with the preamble of the Constitution guaranteeing socio-economic and political justice, liberty of expression and thought and the equality of status and of opportunity, Mukherjee said that on the ranking of the happiness of common man, India ranks at 113, on the index of hunger, India is at 119. Similar is the situation on the rating of malnutrition, suicides, inequality and economic freedom.

Mukherjee said, “We need a State that inspires confidence among people in its ability to surmount challenges before us. We need the media and citizens, who even as they claim their rights, are equally committed to their responsibilities.”

Referring to the Parliament, Executive and the Judiciary, Mukherjee said in recent past these institutions have come under “severe stress” and their credibility is being questioned.

He said “There is a widespread cynicism and disillusionment with the governance and the functioning of these institutions.”

However, former President said that to “save democracy”, it was incumbent upon these institutions to “win back the trust of the people, without any delay.”

Former Union Minister and BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi in his valedictory address described as “disturbing” the merging scenarios where the “techno-economic system adopted to produce a democratic egalitarian world order has resulted in an exploitative, extremely unequal and fragmented world”.

“Mankind today is, therefore, unhappy, more turbulent, more violent, more fundamentalist and more alienated than ever before”, Joshi said.

The root cause of this “out of balance world” needs to be investigated, the veteran leader said.

First Published: Nov 24, 2018 09:49 IST

Lion Air crash: Body of Indian pilot identified

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

 

Lion Air crash: Body of Indian pilot identified

Indian pilot Bhavye Suneja’s body was cremated in Indonesia on Friday.

INDIA Updated: Nov 25, 2018 08:28 IST

Lion Air crash,Lion Air,Indonesia Plane crash
Lion Air investigators examine part of the landing gear of the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 at the port in northern Jakarta on November 5.(AFP Photo)

Indonesian authorities have identified the body of Indian pilot Bhavye Suneja who captained the ill-fated plane that crashed into the sea on October 29. He was cremated on Friday.

“Indonesian authorities have confirmed identification of body of Capt.Bhavya Suneja. The remains will be handed over to the family in presence of @IndianEmbJkt today. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family,” tweeted external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

His body was cremated in Indonesia on Friday. “His parents, wife and in-laws are there. The body was handed over to the family Friday and cremated the same day,” said Rohit Dhingra, cousin of Bhavya’s wife.

The Lion Air flight, with 188 fliers and crew on board, crashed into the sea off Java, minutes after taking off from Jakarta.

First Published: Nov 25, 2018 00:08 IST

14 killed as bus falls into ditch in Uttarakhand’s Damta

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

 

14 killed as bus falls into ditch in Uttarakhand’s Damta

The private-run bus was on its way to Vikas Nagar from Jankichatti in the district when it fell into the gorge near Damta, District Magistrate Ashish Chauhan said. Ten people died at the spot and two succumbed at a nearby hospital, he said.

INDIA Updated: Nov 19, 2018 08:31 IST

Uttarakhand,Uttarkashi,killed
At least 12 people were killed and 13 injured when the bus in which they were travelling fell into a 150-metre-deep gorge in Uttarkashi district on Sunday;rescue operation is underway.(ANI/Twitter)

At least 14 people were killed and 14 others injured after a bus fell into a ditch on Sunday in Damta town of Uttarkashi district in Uttarakhand.

Six of the injured were air-lifted to AIIMS, Rishikesh and Jolly Grant hospital in Dehradrun by the rescue teams which comprised of local police and members of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) team, said officials. The rescue operation is still underway.

Police say the accident took place around 12 noon when the bus, carrying over 20 passengers, was travelling from Jankichatti to Vikasnagar on Yamunotri highway. The bus’ driver, who is also among the injured, lost control over it near Damta and it fell in an 80-metre deep ditch.

“As soon the local police and SDRF received information about the accident, teams were rushed to the spot for rescue operation. Sensing the gravity of the accident, a SDRF team was rushed to the spot from Sahastradhara and another one from Badkot. Apart from this, 17 personnel were rushed from battalion headquarters,” said senior superintendent of police, SDRF, Barinderjit Singh.

“The rescue operation is still on and the number of dead could increase,” he added.

Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat sent condolences to the family members of the deceased and injured and assured them of compensation. He has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the accident..

First Published: Nov 18, 2018 17:37 IST

Death toll from Mogadishu bombings climbs to 41

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS OF INDIA)

 

Death toll from Mogadishu bombings climbs to 41

Twin car bombs exploded within moments of each other, followed by gunfire and a third blast near a popular hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the sky.

WORLD Updated: Nov 11, 2018 12:00 IST

Mogadishu bombings,Mogadishu,Somali capital
People rescue a wounded person following three blasts of suicide bomb car attacks in Mogadishu on November 9, 2018.(AFP Photo)

The death toll from a series of car bombings near a popular hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu has jumped to at least 41, police said on Saturday.

Friday’s attack was the latest in a wave of bombings by Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate which has been fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed Somali government for over a decade.

Twin car bombs exploded within moments of each other, followed by gunfire and a third blast, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the sky.

Police official Ibrahim Mohamed said that information received from various hospitals indicated that the number of dead had reached 41, with another 106 wounded.

“Most of these people were civilians and nearly 20 of them died in minibuses that were passing by the road when the blast occurred,” he added.

Another security official, Abdirahman Osman, told AFP that nearly 50 had been confirmed dead so far, although the final number was not yet known.

Officials on Friday had put the death toll at about 20.

First Published: Nov 10, 2018 20:55 IST

India set to sign S-400 missile deal during Vladimir Putin’s visit next week

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Amid US sanctions, India set to sign S-400 missile deal during Vladimir Putin’s visit next week

India will sign the S-400 missile system deal with Russia during the annual summit between PM Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin next week, hoping for a US sanction waiver, and to prevent Russia from directly selling weapon systems to Pakistan if India says no to the deal.

INDIA Updated: Sep 30, 2018 09:15 IST

Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India,Russia,Narendra Modi
Russian servicemen drive S-400 missile air defense systems during the Victory Day parade, at Red Square in Moscow.(Reuters/File Photo)

India will sign the S-400 missile system deal with Russia during the annual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin next week, hoping that it has done enough business with the US to secure a waiver from sanctions, and to prevent Russia from directly selling weapon systems to Pakistan if India says no to the deal.

Hindustan Times had first reported in April that the deal would be signed during the October summit and, in May, that New Delhi would go ahead with the purchase despite US sanctions against countries buying arms from Russia.

South Block officials said that the deal is also in line with India’s efforts to maintain strategic autonomy and not be dependent on any one nation for its military hardware imports.

The South Block officials told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity that while the purchase of five units of the S-400 missile system was cleared this week by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the deal to build four stealth frigates in collaboration with Russia is stuck on technical aspects.

Even though India has apprised US of its intentions to purchase the S-400 system and has requested a presidential waiver of CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), the Modi government has had to tread a fine balance between a new partner and an old ally which could cut off hardware spares in case the missile system acquisition is either delayed or shelved.

More than 60% of Indian military equipment, including fighters, tanks and missiles, come from Russia and without the spares, the armed forces’ fighting capability will be significantly emasculated. For instance, the Indian Air Force Sukhois and Indian Army T series of tanks and Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier Vikramaditya are all from Russia.

The other reason why the Modi government is keen to push the deal through is because it is worried, the officials added, that an upset Russia may directly sell arms to Pakistan just as it is doing so to China, skewing the military balance in the region.

Diplomatically too, deferring or shelving the S-400 deal will sour the close relationship shared by Prime Minister Modi and President Putin. PM Modi has personally invested a lot in building close ties with Putin, the officials said, although this has not come at the cost of India’s relationship with the US.

According to the officials, while Russian hardware may not be top of the line as compared to the US platforms in terms of technology, it is much cheaper initially and comes without additional conditionals on the buyer. While the tussle between the US on one side and Russia/China on the other have made a fit case for Indian state-owned defense manufacturers to step up to manufacture indigenous weapons at a rapid rate, the fact is that most have been found wanting.

For instance, the officials pointed out, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) cannot keep up with the requirements of the Indian Air Force for light combat aircraft (LCA). Nevertheless, the government is clear that the only way out of this imbroglio is to manufacture indigenous systems and platforms rather than be dependent on anyone, the officials admitted.

Meanwhile, the Modi government has deepened its military ties with the Pentagon by placing over $5 billion worth of orders with US defense contractors for strike platforms. India has placed orders for one more C-17 heavy lift transport aircraft (it already has 10), four additional P8I Neptune anti-submarine warfare aircraft, six additional Apache attack helicopters for the army, 24 Sikorsky helicopters for the navy, and M-777 lightweight howitzers. US F-18 and F-35 fighters are also in contention for the additional fighter order the Indian Air Force is evaluating.

First Published: Sep 30, 2018 06:59 IST

5 Best places to visit in September in India

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Best places to visit in September in India, here are 5 spots that you can’t afford to miss

Travellers, keep in mind that September is one of the best months to take a trip across India. Here are 5 spots that are perfect options for you.

TRAVEL Updated: Sep 09, 2018 12:52 IST

Asian News International
Best destinations for travel,Travel,Jaipur
Best travel destinations for September include Manali, Leh, Diu, Ziro and Jaipur. (Shutterstock)

September is probably one of the best months to travel almost anywhere in India. The weather is pleasant with the monsoon slowly starting to subside by the end of August, and there is cool weather needed for leisurely travel.

Be it the mountains up north, the south, or even the deserts of Rajasthan, this month is a better time to visit tourist spots rather than going during the travel boom at the end of the year. Here are some recommendations for you from Confirmtkt and Travelyaari:

* Jaipur

Jaipur is a city in Rajasthan is a good place to visit for a fam jam where you can savour the local culture. There is chaotic traffic but also lots to shop, street food to enjoy and you can top off your stay at one of the numerous palace hotels in the region.

* Manali

The romantic city is surrounded by mountains and is a good place to travel to this September. It is a honeymoon destination, trekking paradise, a hippie hangout and even a quick getaway from your work commitments.

* Ziro

Honestly, anytime would be perfect if you are planning to visit this place among the hills. September is when you can glimpse the essence of the place and there is only mild rainfall. The remote hillock town offers a handful of activities, one of them being the acclaimed Ziro music festival which is a must-attend.

Go on a biking trip to Ladakh. (Unsplash)

* Leh: A trip to Leh by road is one of its kind and makes for a memorable experience. There are many surprises along the way.

* Diu

Diu is a small beach city in the union territory of Diu and Daman. It is a serene destination which is recommended as the best alternative to Goa. It boasts of cheap liquor, beachside shacks, and seafood. You can also indulge in sightseeing at the lesser-known Portuguese colony.

Follow @htlifeandstyle for more

First Published: Sep 09, 2018 11:01 IST

Stay calm and meditate, mindfulness can boost pain tolerance

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Stay calm and meditate, mindfulness can boost pain tolerance

A new study says that the meditative practice of mindfulness can increase tolerance to pain.

FITNESS Updated: Sep 09, 2018 12:38 IST

Press Trust of India
Health,Wellness,Fitness
The study shows that people who are more mindful than others feel less pain. (Shutterstock)

Mindfulness — a meditative practice that focusses on paying attention to the present moment — can increase person’s tolerance to pain, a study has found. Researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine in the US analysed data obtained from a study published in 2015 that compared mindfulness meditation to placebo analgesia.

They sought to determine if dispositional mindfulness, an individual’s innate or natural level of mindfulness, was associated with lower pain sensitivity, and to identify what brain mechanisms were involved. “Mindfulness is related to being aware of the present moment without too much emotional reaction or judgment,” said Fadel Zeidan, assistant professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “We now know that some people are more mindful than others, and those people seemingly feel less pain,” said Zeidan, lead author of the study published in the journal Pain.

In the study, 76 healthy volunteers who had never meditated first completed the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory, a clinical measurement of mindfulness, to determine their baseline levels. While undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging, they were administered painful heat stimulation.

Whole brain analyses revealed that higher dispositional mindfulness during painful heat was associated with greater deactivation of a brain region called the posterior cingulate cortex, a central neural node of the default mode network. Further, in those that reported higher pain, there was greater activation of this critically important brain region.

“The results from our study showed that mindful individuals are seemingly less caught up in the experience of pain, which was associated with lower pain reports,” Zeidan said. “Now we have some new ammunition to target this brain region in the development of effective pain therapies,” he said.

Follow @htlifeandstyle for more

First Published: Sep 09, 2018 12:38 IST

Insulin can boost your immune system, here’s how

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Insulin can boost your immune system, here’s how

Insulin, a hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreatic islets, can boost your immune health, says a new study.

HEALTH Updated: Aug 31, 2018 11:35 IST

Asian News International
Insulin,Health,Immune system
A lot of research has been done on the role of insulin in organs such as the liver, muscle and in fat to understand the regulation of glucose or blood sugar.(Shutterstock)

Insulin, a peptide hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreatic islets, boosts immune health, according to a new study. Toronto General Hospital Research Institute (TGHRI) scientists have identified a specific insulin signalling pathway that, when activated, revs up the response of T cells in the immune system to divide rapidly and secrete cytokines, chemical messenger proteins that activate the rest of the immune system.

A fast and effective immune response protects us against disease and life-threatening infections by destroying infected cells or microbes, while a wrong or inefficient one can cause immune system disorders or diseases to develop. “We have identified one of metabolism’s most popular hormones, specifically the insulin signalling pathway, as a novel ‘co-stimulatory’ driver of immune system function,” said Assistant Professor Dr Dan Winer.

Although much work has been done on the role of insulin in organs such as the liver, muscle and in fat to understand the regulation of glucose or blood sugar and how the body metabolises or turns it into energy, little is known about how insulin impacts the immune system.

The goal of this research was to study how insulin regulates T cell function and what causes T cells to stop responding to insulin, Dr Tsai says, adding that T cells were chosen because they play a pivotal role in self-defense against infections. Using genetically engineered mice, the research team designed mice with T cells that did not have an insulin receptor on them, mimicking insulin resistance. They then observed what happened to the T cells in the mice under different stressors, such as the H1N1 flu virus.

Without the added boost or kickstart provided by the insulin receptor to help “re-energize” the T cells to mount an effective immune response, the T cells failed to destroy viruses such as H1N1 influenza. First author Dr Sue Tsai said, “In the future, we could harness this insulin signalling pathway to either boost the immune response to create vaccines, for example, or dampen it to heal inflammatory illnesses such as arthritis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.” The full findings are present in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Follow @htlifeandstyle for more

First Published: Aug 31, 2018 11:34 IST

Depression in children

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Depression in children, it can affect their social skills and academics

Mental health professionals should work with teachers and parents to identify depressive symptoms early by including self-reports from children in mental health evaluations.

FITNESS Updated: Aug 31, 2018 11:18 IST

Asian News International
Depression In Children,Depression,Symptoms Of Depression In Children
Is your child depressed? (Shutterstock)

Turns out, children who show mild to severe symptoms of depression in second and third grades are six times more likely to have skill deficits, such as difficulties with social skills or academics, than children without symptoms, a new study reveals.

The study was performed by researchers at the University of Missouri. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported that as many as 2 to 3% of children ages 6-12 might have major depressive disorder. Both parents and teachers had difficulties recognizing depression in children.

“When you ask teachers and parents to rate a child’s level of depression, there is usually only about 5-10% overlap in their ratings. For example, the teacher might report that a child has difficulties making friends in class, but the parent might not notice this issue at home. Some people would view that overlap as the truth about a child’s well-being and areas of disagreement as errors, but we need to explore the possibility that they each are seeing different aspects of children’s behaviour and mental health,” said Keith Herman, professor in the MU College of Education.

Herman and Professor Wendy Reinke completed profile analyses of 643 children in early elementary school to explore how patterns between student, teacher and parent reporting can be used to gain a holistic picture of a child’s mental health.

They found that even though 30% of children in the study reported feeling mild to severely depressed, parents and teachers often failed to recognize the child as depressed. However, teachers and parents were more skilled at identifying other symptoms that might predict long-term risk for depression, such as social problems, inattention and skill deficits. This could be crucial, as Herman found that the children showing severe signs of depression were six times more likely to have skill deficits than their peers.

“The gold standard for identifying children who might be at risk for developing depression later in life is to ask the children themselves. However, even if a child doesn’t say they feel depressed, certain outward behaviours might provide clues to the state of the child’s mental health. It’s important for teachers and parents to catch these behaviours early to prevent long-term problems that occur with depression,” added Herman.

Herman said mental health professionals can work with teachers and parents to identify depressive symptoms early by including self-reports from children in mental health evaluations. Screenings also should consider social difficulties, inattention and skill deficits as this might help provide support to at-risk students before they develop further depressive symptoms.

Activists arrested in police raids in five states over alleged Maoist links

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Activists arrested in police raids in five states over alleged Maoist links

Lawyer and trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj, poet P Varavara Rao, activist Gautam Navlakha, and lawyers Arun Pereira and Vernon Gonsalves were arrested.

INDIA Updated: Aug 28, 2018 22:15 IST

Yogesh Joshi and Nadeem Inamdar
Yogesh Joshi and Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Maoist links,Activists arrested,Pune police
Arun Pereira (in grey), a human rights activist and lawyer, arrested by Pune Police on Tuesday. (Praful Gangurde/HT Photo)

Pune police raided the residences of prominent lawyers and activists across five states on Tuesday and arrested five people for alleged Maoist links.

Lawyer and trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj, poet P Varavara Rao, activist Gautam Navlakha, and lawyers Arun Pereira and Vernon Gonsalves were arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy, creating fear and enmity between various groups, and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The arrests were part of an investigation into the violence that rocked Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra on January 1 during the bicentennial celebration of a British-era war.

The near-simultaneous police raids, led by Pune (urban) police, began at 6am in Hyderabad, Delhi, Faridabad, Mumbai, Thane and Ranchi and continued till afternoon. Police said the operation was part of a probe into an event called Elgar Parishad in Pune on December 31, 2017, when various activists and Dalit organisations came together.

The next day, violence broke out at Bhima Koregaon, about 40 km from Pune, as tens of thousands of Dalits celebrated the 200th anniversary of an 1818 war between the British army, manned mainly by Dalits, and the state’s Peshwa rulers, who were notorious for oppressive caste practices. Widespread stone pelting left one person dead and four injured. Protests swept Maharashtra over the next two days, bringing the state capital Mumbai to a virtual standstill.

“We have arrested five persons today for their association with the Maoist movement and support to Elgar Parishad, which triggered violence the next day,” said Pune Joint Commissioner of Police Shivaji Bodkhe.

The arrests were condemned by several opposition parties.

Writer P Varavara Rao after a medical check-up following his arrest by the Pune police in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case, in Hyderabad on Tuesday. (PTI)

“There is only place for one NGO in India and it’s called the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). Shut down all other NGOs. Jail all activists and shoot those that complain. Welcome to the new India. #BhimaKoregaon,” tweeted Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

“No human rights activist should be arrested without a proper case. I defend the rights of everybody, more particularly human rights protestors. They are selfless NGOs, activists and obliged to fight in the enveloping darkness in dictatorial tendencies,” Congress spokesperson S Jaipal Reddy said. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) said the police raids constituted “a brazen attack on democratic rights and civil liberties”.

In the evening, the Delhi high court stayed Navlakha’s transit remand for a day, ordering him to stay in his house with two guards posted outside. He is allowed to meet his lawyers. A bench of justice S Muralidhar and justice Vinod Goel stopped the police from taking Navlakha to Pune and said they would hear the matter first thing on Wednesday. One police team also searched the residence of Father Stan Swamy in Ranchi although Swamy was not arrested in the absence of “evidence,” a senior official said.

According to the police, the names of those arrested on Tuesday cropped up during the interrogation of five persons arrested in June for Maoist links as part of the same investigation. These five were activist Sudhir Dhawale, lawyer Surendra Gadling, activist Rona Wilson, former Prime Minister’s rural development fellow Mahesh Raut, and retired professor Shoma Sen. They were arrested for allegedly having close Maoist links.

Those arrested on Tuesday were being brought to Pune on transit remand to be produced in the court on Wednesday said Bodke. Rao was arrested from Hyderabad, Bhardwaj was held in Faridabad. Another team of Pune police arrested Gonsalves in Mumbai and Ferreira from Thane. “We have recovered some documents, laptop, pen drive, hard disk and other material. The scrutiny of the seized items is on,” said a senior official on condition of anonymity.

Interestingly, Pune (rural) police has charged two Hindu right-wing leaders, Milind Ekbote and Shambhaji Bhide, for the violence on January 1 in Bhima Koregaon. Ekbote is currently out on bail while Bhide has not yet been arrested. The investigation into the Elgar Parishad event on December 31, 2017 is being conducted by the Pune (urban) police.

The arrests were opposed by several activists. “The arrests are a dangerous sign of a government that fears it is losing its mandate and is falling into panic,” author Arundhati Roy told PTI. Historian Ramachandra Guha called the action “absolutely chilling” and demanded the intervention of the Supreme Court to stop this “persecution and harassment” of independent voices.

First Published: Aug 28, 2018 21:54 IST