Berlin, Nov 2, 2016: The first German edition of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo hit the news stands on Thursday, with a front page lampooning Chancellor Angela Merkel, almost two years after Islamist militants attacked its top editorial staff in Paris.
The magazine also picked on another symbol of post-war German might — Europe’s biggest carmaker Volkswagen, still struggling to recover from its diesel emissions scandal.
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“VW backs Merkel,” reads the headline, with a picture showing a VW mechanic fixing 62-year-old Merkel on a hydraulic lift, saying: “A new exhaust pipe and you’ll run for another four years.”
Merkel announced last month she would stand for a fourth term in elections next year.
Launch posters showed Merkel sitting on the toilet reading the magazine, with the slogan: “Charlie Hebdo. It’s liberating.”
The magazine, known in France for ridiculing political and religious leaders, became a symbol for the freedom of expression after two militants broke into an editorial meeting at its Paris office in Jan. 2015 and killed 12 people.
The Islamists accused the magazine of blasphemy for printing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.
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Some German customers said they were buying the magazine as a gesture of solidarity.
“For me, this is more a feeling that I support this and I want it to continue now that it has just started,” said Tim Wuennemann.
An initial run of 200,000 will be printed in Germany — twice the circulation of the country’s current best-known satirical magazine, Titanic. Some of its contents will be original, some translated from the French.
The boundaries of satire were tested this year when Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan took legal action against German comedian Jan Boehmermann for broadcasting a satirical poem suggesting the president engaged in bestiality and watched child pornography. (VOA)
NEW DELHI: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday attacked the Narendra Modi-led central government after the prices of cooking gas was again hiked, asking him to “vacate the ‘Sinhasan’ (post of the Prime Minister)”.
“Mehangi gas, mehanga rashan. Band karo khokala bhashan. Dam bandho kam do. Warna khali karo sinhasan (Expensive gas, expensive ration. Stop making hollow promises. Fix the rates and give employment or else vacate the post),” Rahul Gandhi tweeted attaching a news report of the hike.
Located in a dingy and dirty lane, there’s hardly any scope for the sun’s rays to penetrate into Surjeet Singh’s 50 sq yard home. The two room set is the only shelter for him, his wife, four children and widowed mother, to whom the house was alloted after his father was killed in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 — when he was just eight at the time.
“You can see how we are surviving. It has been now more than three decades of the 1984 riots, but seems our lives have remained stagnant. Forget justice, our condition of living has rather deteriorated. The riots shut our doors to a better life,” Surjeet, now 40, told IANS.
The Widow’s Colony in West Delhi’s Tilak Vihar was established by the government and alloted to the widows who survived as a part of the compensation to victims of the anti-Sikh riots that broke out on October 31, 1984 on the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. However, the present condition of the colony is extremely miserable; power lines hang low, garbage is littered over the narrow lanes and the drains are left uncovered.
Around 3,000 widows were alloted houses in Tilak Vihar but now only a countable are left. Many went back to Punjab while few have settled in other parts of Delhi.
Sixty-five-year-old Kuldeep Kaur, one a widow who has been residing in the colony since its inception, said that she has now learned to live with the traumatic and harrowing past pain but was worried about the future of her children and grandchildren
“I am old now and have accepted whatever was written in my destiny. The riots not just took away life of my husband but permanently closed the scope of leading a secured and decent life. My three children saw their father being burnt alive in front of their eyes; they didn’t attend school. And now, my son drives an e-rickshaw; what future will he give to his children,” Kuldeep Kaur lamented.
Surjeet Singh, who is a freelance photographer by profession, said he saw his father murdered by angry and violent mobs but was too young to understand what was happening. “Imagine a life without a father, how difficult it must have been for the widows to continue their lives with the sole earning member gone. At that time, women were not so educated to get a job. The situation after the riots was very bad,” he voiced.
The riots had majorly affected the children of the widows living in the colony; they got involved in addictions — started taking drugs and surrendered themselves to alcohol –and left schooling.
“Nobody could afford school, even though some went to school they couldn’t complete their education because the dreadful past was too difficult to forget and difficult to concentrate on studies. The boys of Tilak Vihar are actually useless but you cannot blame them,” Surjeet Singh pointed out.
Kuldeep Kaur recalled how their lives changed in a blink; she and her children had no roof to shelter them and had to spend many days hungery. Being less educated, she couldn’t get a job so took up a stitching work to continue her livelihood.
“And this is not just what I have gone through but tale of all the widows in Tilak Vihar. Kamane ka zariya khatam ho gaya hain (our medium of earning a livelihood is closed). Now they (the survivors of the riots) either run autos or have small shops of their own,” she further added.
The survivors pitched that despite knowing under what circumstances they live, there has been no help from the government.
“Its all gimmick by the political parties, whosoever comes to power. They leaders show their face either before the elections or during this time. They show their sympathy, give us false promises and then vanish, no sign of them for a year,” Surjeet Singh pointed out.
Kuldeep Kaur lamented that even the compensation amount which was offered by the government has not yet been fully given to them. She said: “Kishto mein milta hai (we get in installments). Had we got the money in time, our children could have at least completed their education, got a decent job and settled well.”
Surjeet Singh said that he doesn’t expect any monetary compensation — all that he wants is a better life for his children and doesn’t want them to struggle for a living.
“Only those who have gone through this knows the pain. But now, our hunger for justice have also died. We have lost all hope for the culprits to be punished. Every year many journalistst turn up, they talk to us, express their grief and gratitude, but nothing fruitful comes of it,” he replied.
“An earnest request,” Singh paused before adding: “Please do write something that forces the government to take up our case seriously.”
(Somrita Ghosh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)–IANS
Chandigarh, Sep 26 (IANS) The Haryana Police on Tuesday conducted raids in the national capital in a bid to arrest fugitive Honeypreet and Aditya Insan, close aides of jailed Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
Police sources said here that the raids were being conducted in Delhi and nearby areas of the National Capital Region (NCR).
One raid was being conducted in a house in Greater Kailash-II in south Delhi.
The move came a day after Honeypreet, whose real name is Priyanka Taneja, moved the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory transit bail.
A court in Panchkula, adjoining Chandigarh, on Monday issued arrest warrants against Honeypreet, Aditya Insan and Pawan Insan.
All three were booked by the Haryana Police on charges of sedition, inciting violence and being involved in the conspiracy to help the Dera chief escape after his conviction by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on August 25 on two counts of raping female disciples in 1999.
The Haryana Police had sounded an international alert against all three.
Honeypreet, in her mid-30s, is on the run since August 25, hours after Ram Rahim was convicted.
She has been the closest aide of Ram Rahim since 2009. The police is on her trail for nearly a month and raids have been conducted in Nepal, Rajasthan, Bihar and Haryana.
Honeypreet, who used to claim that she was Ram Rahim’s “adopted daughter”, starred as the main heroine in five films he directed, produced and acted in, in three years.
Last week, Honeypreet’s former husband, Vishwas Gupta accused her and Ram Rahim of having illicit relations and said their father-daughter relationship was a sham to fool followers.
Ram Rahim has been sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of over Rs 30 lakh.
His conviction led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 38 people dead and 264 injured. Isolated incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several other places in Punjab. (IANS)