Thursday November 15, 2018
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24 filmmakers return national awards over ‘growing intolerance’

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New Delhi: Noted author Arundhati Roy and 24 filmmakers returned their National Awards on Thursday to protest against “growing intolerance” in the country even as veteran actor and BJP supporter Anupam Kher invited all Indians to march with him to Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Friday.

Arundhati Roy on Thursday said she was returning her 1989 National Award for Best Screenplay to protest against “ideological viciousness” in the country.

“I am very pleased to have found (from somewhere way back in my past) a National Award that I can return, because it allows me to be a part of a political movement initiated by writers, filmmakers and academics in this country who have risen up against a kind of ideological viciousness and an assault on our collective IQ that will tear us apart and bury us very deep if we do not stand up to it now,” Roy said in an article published in The Indian Express.

The winner of the Booker Prize for her book ‘The God of Small Things’, Roy won the national award for the film ‘In Which Annie Gives it Those Ones’.

Kundan Shah, the maker of the iconic film ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron’, and Saeed Mirza, were among the filmmakers who returned their National Awards on Thursday.

“Not to speak out would be a crime. We are speaking out to reclaim the soul and spirit of this land,” Saeed Mirza said.

“We are not against the BJP, we have protested against the Congress too,” said Mr Shah.

Filmmaker Kundan Shah has announced that he will return the National Award that he received for the iconic 1983 film Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron.

Meanwhile, Anupam shared on his Twitter page, “#MarchForIndia will start from India Gate, New Delhi at 10 a.m. on November 7. All INDIANS are invited. Jai Ho. 🙂 #IndiaIsTolerant,” .

The actor will be joined by a string of artistes, writers and painters for the march.

(With inputs from IANS)

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India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India, elections
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the 'Global Mobility Summit' in New Delhi, India, VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

India, elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Continues To Stay Mum On The #MeToo Movement. Wikimedia Commons

“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

India,India, elections
India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents as he accuses Narendra Modi’s government of buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault at a highly inflated price, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

India, elections
Modi Appeals For A Regional Front Against Terrorism, flickr

Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)