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‘H.O.P.E’ describes India’s success, says PM Narendra Modi to Durban

There are around 1.2 million people of Indian origin in South Africa, most of whose ancestors were brought here as indentured labour

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  • ‘Hope’, where H stands for harmony, O for optimism, P for potential and E for energy; describes India’s success story, said Modi
  • There are around 1.2 million people of Indian origin in South Africa, most of whose ancestors were brought here as indentured labour
  • India registered a healthy growth rate of 7.4 percent this year, 2016, he said it was the bright spot in the global economy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Friday, July 8, called South Africa the birthplace of satyagraha and said it was in South Africa that Mahatma Gandhi conceptualized his politics.

“India’s rise is a story of rare resilience, renewed resurgence, superb speed and spectacular scale,” Modi said in his trademark Indian diaspora rally at the Ticketpro Dome, the entertainment hub of Johannesburg.

“Today, India’s success story can be defined in just four letters, ‘hope’, where H stands for harmony, O for optimism, P for potential and E for energy,” he said to the cheers of over 11,000 people.

“The credit for this does not go to Modi but to the 1.25 billion people of India.”

Modi started his speech with a mixture of English and Hindi.

“When I see all of you, I am reminded of your ancestors and their struggles and bravery,” he said.

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“Under decades of apartheid isolation, they not only preserved culture, tradition, and language, they also gave them new wings to flourish,” he stated.

“The beauty of Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Urdu and Telugu continues to enrich the fabric of South African society.”

There are around 1.2 million people of Indian origin in South Africa, most of whose ancestors were brought here as indentured labour.

This apart, there are also estimates of 15,000 to 20,000 Indian nationals and professionals who are new immigrants.

“The colours of Holi, the sparkle of Diwali, tastes of Pongal, and festivities of Eid are not just the rainbow of Indian traditional cultural resources,” Modi said wearing a Madiba shirt, an Indonesian batik shirt that was a favourite with late anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

He reminded the crowd that after international sanctions were lifted on cricket in South Africa on July 10, 1991, India was the first country that the South African team toured.

Modi urged the people to join in India’s growth story.

“India is a land of opportunity for those who want to innovate and create, trade and invest,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Image Source: vpaksh.com
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Image Source: vpaksh.com

“Come, see the transformation that is taking place in India.”

Stating that India registered a healthy growth rate of 7.4 percent this year, 2016, he said it was the bright spot in the global economy.

The Prime Minister said India and South Africa have similar aspirations and challenges.

“India and South Africa are strategic partners. We should build a partnership that spans the entirety of human endeavour,” he said.

According to Modi, this partnership can scale new heights in diverse fields “from agriculture to health care, from culture to commerce, from industry to institution building, from investment to information technology, from mining to manufacturing from sports to science and technology, and from defence to development”.

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“As South Africa works for economic prosperity, safety and security, it will find in India a trusted and reliable partner,” he stated.

The Prime Minister concluded by saying that the Indian community in South Africa was a window to India’s heritage.

“Your achievements, your contributions, and your success make us all proud,” he said.

India and South Africa signed four agreements on Friday following bilateral discussions led by Modi and South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria.

Following the diaspora rally, the Prime Minister left for Durban where his engagements were scheduled for Saturday, July 9.

Modi arrived in South Africa from Mozambique on Thursday night, July 7, on the second leg of his four-nation tour of Africa.

This is his first visit to mainland Africa and is also the first prime ministerial visit from India to South Africa since then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in 2013 for the G20 summit in Durban.

Prime Minister Modi is set to visit Tanzania and Kenya after the South African visit. (IANS)

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Star ICC Asks Anonymous Accuser Of Sexual Assault Charges To Step Forward

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were "clear instructions" given to make the sales team fulfil the targets.

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Star ICC
#MeToo: Star India internal panel writes to anonymous accuser to come forward

The Internal Complaints Committee of Star India on Sexual Harassment (Star ICC) has written to the anonymous accuser — who had alleged “sexual exploitation” of women employees — asking her to reach out to the committee or its external member on allegations made by her in tweets.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Star ICC, formed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 said it had reached out to the accuser through two emails on the ID provided by her through her tweets. The committee’s external member is Veena Gowda, a Mumbai-based woman rights lawyer.

The accuser, who tweeted through handle @ApurvaS17 — saying she would remain anonymous — had made sexual harassment allegations against the company’s officials in an open letter.

Star ICC
Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt.

Asked to comment on the allegations, a Star India spokesperson said in a statement that despite no response by the anonymous accuser to the messages sent, the Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy” in respect of the allegations.

“We strongly urge any genuine complainant to approach the Star ICC. At Star, we stand with women in drawing the line on any behaviour that violates human dignity or the ability for women to pursue their dreams with respect and freedom. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment,” read the statement in response to an email query by IANS.

It also said that the anonymous tweet shared on October 13 raised an allegation that “runs completely counter to everything we believe in and the norms and values that we deeply embrace.”

The statement further said: “Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt to malign and defame the reputation of the company and the CEO.” It said that Star reserves its right to initiate appropriate legal proceedings in this regard.

Star ICC
The Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy.

The accuser in her tweets had said that the #MeToo movement had encouraged her to come forward and that she had quit her job at Star India in the Airtime Sales section after 26 months and nine days and was now a homemaker, “taking care of my baby and hubby in a beautiful country, far away from Mumbai.”

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were “clear instructions” given to make the sales team fulfil the targets in case they want to continue with their employment contract, “for which even if you have to take the clients to a hotel room and sleep with them for days.”

She said there were many instances when she and three of her female colleagues (interns) had clear instructions to reach a hotel after office hours for a private party hosted for influential friends.

Also Read: India’s Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar Quits Following #MeToo Harassment Allegation By Women

She says the influential friends were “mostly bureaucrats and sometimes politicians and foreign nationals” who were “all ready to violate you, force you to dance against your wishes, drink with them, make drink(s) for them, exchange your numbers and even quietly accompany them to their respective rooms if they want you to”.

Veteran writer-director Vinta Nanda, who earlier this month accused actor Alok Nath of sexually violating her 19 years ago, wrote on Twitter: “I’m neither shocked nor surprised. I salute your courage to have come out and spoken out. The rot runs deep.” (IANS)