New Delhi: After being involved in several controversies around her educational qualification, another controversy has surfaced regarding Human Resource and Development Minister Smriti Irani. It has been found out that Smriti Irani has two active PAN numbers.
While one number has her maiden name Smriti Ajay Malhotra, the other one has her husband’s name Smriti Zubin Irani. Interestingly, both the PAN numbers were active.
Both the numbers have the birth-date of the HRD minister.
Either Smriti Irani has not shared the information or the co-incidence can be that there is another person living in Mumbai, whose date of birth and father’s name is the same as that of Smriti Irani.
The Trump administration announced Wednesday it will restrict visas for Cambodians “undermining democracy” in the Southeast Asian nation following the dissolution of the main opposition party and a crackdown on independent media.
The State Department said it was a direct response to “anti-democratic actions” by the Cambodian government but did not disclose which individuals would be affected. It said visa records are confidential under U.S. law.
Spokeswoman Heather Nauert called on the Cambodian government to reinstate the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, which was dissolved by Supreme Court order last month, and free its leader Kem Sokha, imprisoned since September. She also urged Cambodia to allow civil society and media to operate freely.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has held power for more than three decades, has sought to neutralize political opponents and silence critics ahead of national elections next year. Kem Sokha has been charged with trying to topple the government with U.S. support, which Washington has said is a baseless accusation.
Nauert said Cambodia’s actions run counter to the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991. The United States and 18 other governments signed the accords, which ushered in democracy after the genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s, then occupation by Vietnam and civil war.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will restrict entry into the United States of “those individuals involved in undermining democracy in Cambodia,” Nauert said in a statement, adding that in certain circumstances, family members of those individuals will also be subject to visa restrictions. The department cited a provision of U.S. immigration law under which individuals can be denied entry if the secretary determines it would have “adverse foreign policy consequences.”
The White House has already terminated U.S. support of Cambodia’s national election committee, saying last month that the July 2018 vote “will not be legitimate, free or fair.”
“We will continue to monitor the situation and take additional steps as necessary, while maintaining our close and enduring ties with the people of Cambodia,” Nauert said.
Monovithya Kem, an opposition spokeswoman currently in the U.S., welcomed the visa restrictions and called for targeted financial sanctions on senior officials in Hun Sen’s government. Kem, who is the daughter of Kem Sokha, urged the U.S., Japan, Australia and the European Union to coordinate responses to the “crisis” in Cambodia and help win her father’s freedom.
Like many prominent opposition figures, Kem has fled Cambodia as she fears arrest.
Hun Sen has been in office since 1985 and has held a tight grip on power since ousting a co-prime minister in a bloody 1997 coup.
In recent months, the government has intensified restrictions on civil society groups and independent media outlets. In September, it shut down the English-language Cambodia Daily. Authorities have shuttered radio stations that aired programming from U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, whose reports they allege are biased.
The government also expelled the U.S. National Democratic Institute, which helped train political parties and election monitors, accusing it of colluding with its opponents.
Hun Sen has moved Cambodia closer to China in recent years and become increasingly critical of Washington. However, he’s been complimentary of President Donald Trump.
Speaking at Asian leaders’ summit attended by Trump last month, Hun Sen praised the U.S. leader for non-interference in affairs of other nations, but complained the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia was not adhering to the policy. (VOA)
A leader of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced that he would pay a reward roughly equivalent to $1.5 million to anyone who would behead an Indian actress and a film director.
Surajpal Singh Amu, a member of the BJP in northern Haryana state, is apparently upset about an upcoming movie, Padmavati, starring actress Deepika Padukone as the 14th-century Hindu queen Padmini.
The movie is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Amu alleged that the movie is misleading, not based on truth and offends Hindu sentiments in the country.
“We will reward the ones beheading them, with 10 crore rupees, and also take care of their family’s needs,” Amu said in an interview with India’s Asia’s Premier News (ANI) earlier this week.
Threats against movie
Amu also vowed not to allow the release of the movie and warned movie theaters to avoid playing the movie or risk being torched.
The movie was set to be released during the first week of December.
Rights activists have reacted strongly to the threats and urged the government to take action.
“This is pretty outrageous that you announce publicly and no action takes place at a time when people are being arrested for most trivial reasons in this country,” Gotum Naulakha, an Indian-based civil liberties activist, told VOA.
An official complaint has been registered against Amu, but many are criticizing the stance of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party — which controls the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — on the matter.
“I’ve not heard any official stance from the central government or the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,” Vinod Sharma, an Indian-based analyst, told VOA.
Anil Jain, a local BJP spokesperson, told ANI that the law applies to everyone in the state of Haryana and no one can threaten others. The central government has yet to react, however.
Bollywood actress Padukone stood her ground and said the movie would be released despite the threats.
“Where have we reached as a nation? We have regressed. The only people we are answerable to is the censor board, and I know and I believe that nothing can stop the release of this film,” Padukone told Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) last week.
Padmavati was controversial right from the start. Opponents of the movie stormed the filming of one scene and destroyed the film sets. They were upset that the director of the movie was distorting facts by alleging romance between the Hindu queen and the Muslim invader Alauddin Khilji.
Film director Bhansali, however, denies the allegations and maintains the story is based on a Sufi and medieval-era poem written about the Hindu queen. In the poem, the Hindu queen chooses death before the Muslim conqueror could capture her.
Some experts say the poem is centuries old and there is a possibility the Hindu queen might be purely a fictional character found only in folklore.
“There’s a lot of debate in India whether Padmavati was actually a living being many, many years ago or whether she was just an imagined person in a poem,” analyst Sharma said.
Rights activists maintain that if government fails to draw clear lines around the threat made by the politician, and discourage a growing sense of impunity for some, incidents like this will only increase and threaten the freedom of expression in the world’s biggest democracy.
“By letting loose and giving [a] sense of impunity to the goons of the ruling party or people who’re connected or close to the ruling party, we’re paving the ground for much bigger and [worse] things to happen in the near future,” Naulakha told VOA.
The movie is awaiting approval from India’s Central Board of Film Certification.
CHENNAI: Confirming his political plunge, actor Kamal Haasan on Sunday said the first step will be the launch of a mobile software app on November 7 – his 63rd birthday – that will enable him to be in touch with the fans and as well as enable book-keeping.
At a function to mark the 39th anniversary of his fan/welfare club, he said his political plunge by starting a political party is confirmed.
Kamal Haasan said the political party launch will happen in a calm manner and the launch of the mobile app is the first step on November 7.
He said his fans would contribute funds for the political party and the mobile app will facilitate keeping proper accounts of funds collected.
According to him, there is no shame in stretching out one’s hands for the welfare of the people and if only the rich pay their taxes properly, the country would be on the right path.
Kamal said November 7 is a day not to cut a cake and celebrate but a day to cut canals, obliquely referring to the flooding of several localities in the city due to recent rains.
The actor added natural disasters do not differentiate between rich and poor and all should be ready to take preventive measures then acting after the loss of dear ones.
According to him, suppression has become part of politics and it is not important how many people are threatening you, but what is important is what you are going to do.
Kamal Haasan said he is ready to take a beating but he is not a “mridangam” (a percussion instrument) to get hit again and again.(IANS)