BA FLIGHT: Indian family allegedly discriminated against, made to leave plane due to crying child

New Delhi – VIJAY SHAH via ALIX CULBERTSON and Sky News

The UK national air carrier British Airways (BA) has been accused of racism after a family hailing from India was evicted from a flight after a child in their group would not stop crying, reported Sky News.

The child’s father claims he was subjected to ‘humiliation and racist behaviour’ and Indians are demanding a boycott of the airline, according to the report.

 

The father, AP Pathak, a civil servant, was travelling with his family from London City Airport to Berlin on the 23rd July, 2018, was placing his three-year-old son in a special child seat when the infant began to cry. Pathak’s wife began consoling the child. It was at that point that Pathak alleged a cabin crew member approached them and threatened to throw the child out of one of the plane’s windows while directly scolding the little boy.

The crew member then returned a second time where he also said the family would be ‘offloaded’ if the child refused to stop crying. The response of the unnamed crew member was said to have left the Pathaks ‘petrified’, Sky News reported.

The plane was then returned to the terminal, where security officers boarded it. The Pathaks were approached and were forced to give up their boarding passes. Another family, also Indian, were also relieved of their passes. Both families were then marched off the aircraft.

In a complaint letter about the flight written to India’s aviation minister, Suresh Prabhu, the father also claimed that the same crew member also made racial comments about ‘bloody’ Indians.

Representatives of BA have claimed the Pathaks were repeatedly asked to sit their son down and fasten his seatbelt for safety reasons, otherwise the plane would not have been able to take off.

The controversy has made headlines in the media in India, where many have urged Indians to stay away from BA. Some critics on social media described the treatment of the two families as ‘shameful’. A small number though said that BA was right in their decision to remove the Pathaks, with one saying “I don’t feel bad about this at all, we Indians don’t respect or value our Indian resources, be it trains or airplanes, this is good learning for us”. Another, identified as Khushi tweeted: “Indian parents start howling too when kids start howling – three-year-olds outside India are taught how to behave socially.”

SOURCES:

Shere Singh/Facebook.

“Indian family thrown off British Airways flight over ‘crying child’ ” – Alix Culbertson, Sky News/Sky UK (9 August 2018) https://news.sky.com/story/indian-family-thrown-off-british-airways-flight-over-crying-child-11466706

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Condor Airplane on Grey Concrete Airport · Free Stock Photo” – Pixabay via Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/condor-airplane-on-grey-concrete-airport-163792/

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SUPPORTING ENGLAND DESPITE THE HATERS: Shop manager stands up against football racists

Ilford – VIJAY SHAH via ELLENA CRUSE and Ilford Recorder

A shop owner of Indian heritage, who was allegedly abused by racists and warned off his show of support by a fellow Indian after adorning his business with the flag of St. George in support of the England World Cup football team has vowed to fight back against the prejudice he suffered by increasing the number of flags flying at his shop, the Ilford Recorder newspaper reported today.

The unnamed owner of GMS Heating & Plumbing Spares, Ilford Lane, in the London-Essex town of Ilford, a Sikh Punjabi, declared his backing of the ‘Three Lions’ team by placing the distinctive red-and-white cross of England around the outside of his store, as well as a string of smaller flags of all the national teams in the World Cup across the shopfront.

 

The decorations riled some locals, who did not understand why a person of Indian origin was supporting England, even though he had lived in the country for forty years and had been supporting the national team for twenty years. Staff at GMS began receiving hate mail and letters criticising their manager’s allegiances. One handwritten missive accused the manager of forgetting his heritage and disavowing his culture and skin colour. The rambling letter went on to say that if National Front racists had seen the flags, the shop owner would have been ” [kicked] back to Indian with out (sic) your trousers on and give you flower (sic) to take”

The note, written anonymously and addressing the GMS owner as ‘Uncle’, annoyed the man and he has vowed to now add more England flags to his football display. 

The manager told the Recorder that the letters would not stop him supporting his favourite side, but that it had cast a shadow over the store’s World Cup celebrations.

“It is shocking how backward minded people think that by supporting the country you live in you will be dishonouring our religion or insulting India,” he added.

“These are the wrong people, not the ones who enjoy being part of the English culture.”

David Landau, a senior caseworker at the local people relations charity Redbridge Equalities and Community Council, said abuse in any form should not be tolerated and needs to be reported.

“This is a rather unusual situation but abuse is abuse and if someone is abused for putting up England flags this is wrong,” he said.

“It shouldn’t be happening and racism needs to be condemned.”

Another South Asian-owned business on the same Ilford road, which runs through the far west of the town along the border with Newham, also reported receiving similar letters after they also flew English flags outside their premises.

SOURCES:

Ilford Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/IlfordRecorder/

“Abusive letters won’t stop Ilford Sikh shopkeeper from displaying England flags during the Football World Cup” – Ellena Cruse, Ilford Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd (24 June 2018) http://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/ilford-manager-will-put-up-more-england-flags-after-abusive-letters-1-5574492

IMAGE CREDIT: 

“SO7192 : Old Castle pub in Bridgnorth” – Jaggery, geograph (2 July 2014) https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4099318

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Jaggery and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

SRIDEVI: Bollywood film icon passes on

Dubai – VIJAY SHAH via Filmfare, sources

The Indian film star Sridevi Kapoor, popularly known as simply Sridevi, has died at the age of 54 after suffering a cardiac arrest while attending a nephew’s wedding in Dubai, UAE. 

The actor, known for her screen siren roles in the Mumbai-based film industry during the 1980s and 1990s, was once one of the Indian film industry’s most highly paid. Famed for her good looks and superb acting, her death yesterday was greeted with shock by India’s film fraternity and her worldwide army of fans.

 

According to the Indian Express, many current Bollywood stars including Priyanka Chopra, Jacqueline Fernandes, Sidharth Malhotra and others have taken to social media to express their condolences. Initial reports and commentary suggest that she suffered a ‘massive heart attack’ while attending the marriage celebration of her relative Mohit Marwah, along with her husband Bonny Kapoor and one of her daughters, Khushi. Initially regarded as a hoax when first reported, Sridevi’s death was confirmed as fact by her brother-in-law Sanjay Kapoor. Sridevi was said to have had no history of heart problems.

Sridevi was born in the Indian town of Sivakasi, in the Tamil Nadu state in the south of the country, in 1963. Named originally as Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan to mixed-race Tamil and Telugu parents, she began her career as a child actor aged just four in regional movies in both the Tamil and Telugu languages, before getting her big break in mainstream Hindi cinema in 1975, in the hit iconic film Julie. She won several awards and wowed observers with her sensual dance numbers and duplicity of roles. Her fame became global, even gaining a cult following in Afghanistan after the fall of the film-hating Taliban administration. In later years, she had invigorated her career and also took up modelling.

The actor’s body will be repatriated back to her home in Mumbai in the forthcoming days. Concerned fans and friends of the Kapoor family have being heading to her home to comfort her other daughter Jahnvi, who did not attend the wedding due to work commitments.

SOURCES:

Chirag Makwana/Sunny Atwal.

Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/

“Breaking news: Sridevi passes away” – Filmfare.com/Filmfare (25 February 2018) https://www.filmfare.com/news/bollywood/breaking-news-sridevi-passes-away-26779.html

“Sridevi” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sridevi

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Sridevi05.jpg” – Bollywood Hungama, Wikimedia Commons (24 March 2013) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sridevi05.jpg

BATHINDA GO-KARTING TRAGEDY: Woman dies in accident at go-kart course

Bathinda – VIJAY SHAH via LUCIA SUAREZ SANG, Fox News and India sources

A go-kart fan in India has died after getting her hair caught in the wheel of the vehicle she was racing in, according to a news report published in the US’s Fox News website yesterday.

Puneet Kaur, aged 28 years, was visiting the Aqua Village amusement park, a popular destination for families near her home in Rampura Phul, a locality of the Punjab city of Bathinda, when the incident occurred. She had been visiting the park with her husband, Amardeep Singh and their 2-year-old son and their family when they decided to try out the go-kart racing course.

 

According to police sources mentioned in the Indian national newspaper the Hindustan Times, Kaur and her husband Amardeep Singh got in one cart, while their child and his grandmother rode in another one. As the vehicles began racing, Kaur’s hair was suddenly trapped in the wheel of her cart, causing catastrophic injuries to her scalp.

“My wife and I were enjoying the ride on the go-kart. Suddenly, my wife’s hair got loose and I heard her scream. I raised an alarm and when the kart stopped, her scalp was peeled off. I do not know the quality of the rubber band and the helmet given to my wife,” Kaur’s husband told police, according to the Indian Express, another national newspaper.

After the accident, Puneet Kaur was immediately rushed to hospital, but tragically, she failed to make it. The incident is now under investigation by the Punjab police and the amusement park has closed the race track to visitors, pending the investigation’s outcome.

“The exact cause of death is unclear, but we will know after we receive details of the post mortem report,” a police officer told the British public service broadcaster BBC.

The manager for the amusement park told the Hindustan Times that the incident has “left everyone shocked.”

“Usually, all safety measures are followed,” Yadavindra Gardens manager Neeraj Gupta told the newspaper. “One person has been tasked with ensuring that all people wear proper head gear and follow other rules before using a go-kart. It is shocking this incident happened.”

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

MalibuSelfies, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/TlrWorldWidellc

Fox News, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/FoxNews

“Woman dies after her hair gets caught in go-kart wheel, police say” – Lucia I. Suarez Sang, Fox News/FOX News Network, LLC. (16 February 2018) http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/02/16/woman-dies-after-her-hair-gets-caught-in-go-kart-wheel-police-say.html

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free photo: Go Karts, Race, Ride – Free Image on Pixabay – 1444373” – Ajale, Pixabay (5 June 2016) https://pixabay.com/en/go-karts-race-ride-1444373/

NORTH INDIA WINTER RAINS: First showers expected 14 November

New Delhi – VIJAY SHAH via skymetweather.com

India’s first band of winter showers are only a weekend away with rain expected to fall over the states of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan and the capital territory of Delhi, all in northern India, skymetweather.com reported this past Friday.

 

The first few rains to end the dry season are expected to arrive 14 November, the article by Skymet Weather Services reports, as temperatures have noticeably reduced over much of India’s northern plains. According to Skymet, a westerly disturbance (possibly referring to a depression) will take hold over the northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir on the 13th of this month, inducing a ‘cyclonic circulation’ of cooler air over neighbouring Haryana and Punjab states, the first signs of the upcoming winter season. Punjab, Haryana and parts of north-west Rajasthan will experience some light to moderate showers by 14 November, reports suggest.

The Indian capital, New Delhi, is expected to see increased cloud cover by the same date, with light rains a possibility there too. The capital is currently experiencing a intense smog, that has caused warnings to be issued on air quality to the city’s residents and schools to be closed. People living in the neighbouring Himalayan areas in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh states are also likely to witness their first snowfalls of winter. Once the depression kicks, the entire northern region of India could see temperature drops of around two to four degrees Celsius, driven mainly by chilled air and icy winds blown south from the Himalayas.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

E-Rajasthan, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/e_rajasthan

SkymetWeather, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SkymetWeather

“First Spell Of Winter Rains In Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan Likely On November 14” –  skymetweather.com/Skymet Weather Services Pvt. Ltd. (10 November 2017) https://www.skymetweather.com/content/weather-news-and-analysis/first-spell-of-winter-rains-in-punjab-delhi-haryana-rajasthan-likely-on-november-14/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Beauty in the rain.jpg” – Palash vashisth, Wikimedia Commons (28 April 2017) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beauty_in_the_rain.jpg

AIR MAURITIUS CRISIS: Fifty pilots from India drafted in to man ailing airline

Port Louis – VIJAY SHAH and ABHI RAMSAHAYE via LeDéfi Media Group

A team of fifty pilots from India are being sent to the island of Mauritius to help solve a staff shortage that has brought the island’s national air carrier to its knees, reports local French-language news agency LeDéfi Media Group.

The island’s national and most significant airline, Air Mauritius is currently undergoing a crisis caused by many of its pilots refusing to report for duty, for reasons unknown. Several flights by Air Mauritius have already been cancelled since last Thursday, a serious problem for Mauritius, a popular holiday hotspot and for which tourism is a vital component of its economy.

 

The Mauritian government, frustrated with the inactivity of some of Air Mauritius’ aviators, has struck a deal with the government of India, an important regional ally, to supply the fifty pilots from Asia, who Le Défi said are now ready and waiting to take orders and man Air Mauritius’ planes. The Indian contingent are currently on standby to take over controls should more Mauritian pilots refuse to enter the cockpit.

Mauritius’ prime minister Pravind Jugnauth condemned the unofficial strike by Air Mauritius’ flight crew, claiming they were betraying the country. The PM said at an inauguration of playing fields in Résidences Briqueterie, Sainte-Croix: I find it unacceptable that people can act against the interests of Mauritius,”

“There will certainly be repercussions, but they (the airline) have my support,”

The airline’s board of directors have already terminated the employment contracts of three pilots this past Friday. The dismissals were followed by a press statement from the board, in whixch it said  it had “taken note of the detailed report presented by management” whose initial conclusions “confirm a premeditated and concerted action”.

The Air Mauritius debacle mirrors a similar situation in Europe, when the Anglo-Irish economy airline Ryanair was forced to cancel hundred of flights after senior management messed up pilot working hour rotas following a change in statutory holiday periods. Also in the UK, another air carrier, Monarch, went into administration with the loss of 1,900 jobs after losing £100 million of profits due to terrorism and the impact of Brexit on the travel economy.

SOURCES: 

Defimedia.info, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/www.defimedia.info/

“AIR MAURITIUS : 50 PILOTES INDIENS PRÊTS À PRENDRE LES COMMANDES” – Abhi Ramsahaye, LeDéfi Media Group (8 October 2017) http://www.defimedia.info/air-mauritius-50-pilotes-indiens-prets-prendre-les-commandes

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Air Mauritius A330-200 3B-NBM HKG 2012-7-16.png” – Sergey Kustov, Wikimedia Commons (16 July 2012) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Air_Mauritius_A330-200_3B-NBM_HKG_2012-7-16.png

PHOTO MOMENT: Ganesh Chaturthi – Mumbai Ganpati

 

May all of your obstacles be overcome this Ganesh Chaturthi. Image by Supriya Tiwari.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Mumbai Ganpati‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Mum_Ganpati

mum_ganpati, Instagram (26 August 2017) https://www.instagram.com/p/BYPw3HenCFY/

tiwarisupriya392, Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tiwarisupriya392/

INFANT ENCEPHALITIS: New outbreak reported in Indian city

Gorakhpur – VIJAY SHAH via PRABHASH DUTTA and India Today

The latest stage in a series of infant encephalitis outbreaks has claimed the lives of around sixty children in the Indian city of Gorakhpur, in Uttar Pradesh state, India Today news magazine reported this Saturday. The city, which lies 200 kilometres north-west of India’s capital New Delhi has been the scene of yearly outbreaks of both Japanese encephalitis and acute encephalitis syndrome since 1978, a period of nearly forty years.

Official figures claim that so far, around 25,000 children have succumbed to both conditions, which is spread by mosquitoes and causes inflammation of the brain and can leave survivors mentally and physically disabled, since the first outbreak in 1978. Unofficially the death toll since then has been claimed to be double that, at 50,000. The unofficial tally includes those children who never made it to hospital and were not officially recorded by doctors. Lack of medical facilities, poor nutrition and hygiene and close contact in crowded family environments in Gorakhpur and other parts of Uttar Pradesh has seen regular encephalitis outbreaks impossible to control.

 

Government records suggest that since September 2016, 224 children had died of encephalitis at just one hospital, BRD Medical College hospital, where already sixty children died just this year. This is the only hospital within a 300-kilometre radius that has the facilities to treat encephalitis victims, some of which come to the hospital from as far away as Nepal. Most of the victims were below the ages of eight and ten. Including all age ranges, Gorakhpur has lost 114 residents to the lethal diseases this year alone..

Government support of medical facilities and initiatives to combat the outbreak, of which Gorakhpur is the epicentre, have been minimal most of the time. In 2007, a government initiative was launched to save people live’s using drugs imported from China. While successful in many other parts of India, it failed to halt the march of encephalitis in the struggling eastern regions of Uttar Pradesh.

Recently, the Yoga Adityanath administration that governs the northern state launched a massive anti-encephalitis drive, vaccinating babies against catching the illness, but it will be years before results become conclusive, and the yearly sceptre of death is lifted from Gorakhpur’s innocent children.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

annapurnapande, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/ManyaPande

Abhijit Majumder, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/abhijitmajumder

“Gorakhpur has a history of children’s deaths, 25,000 kids have lost lives to encephalitis” – Prabhash K. Dutta, indiatoday.in/Living Media India Limited. (12 August 2017) http://m.indiatoday.in/lite/story/gorakhpur-encephalitis-deaths-brd-medical-college-hospital/1/1024551.html

IMAGE CREDIT:

“How is Japanese Encephalitis transmitted?” – Sanofi Pasteur, Flickr (22 February 2013) https://www.flickr.com/photos/sanofi-pasteur/8497288143

PHOTO MOMENT: Sarvajanik Ganeshutsav Mandal

 

A photo taken of the murti of Lord Ganesh at the Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav Mandal festival located in Love Lane, Mazgaon, Mumbai. Devotees of God as Ganesh are getting ready for the 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival which commences on the 24th August 2017. 

Please allow a few seconds for the embedded tweet and image to load as it may be slower on some browsers/connections.

SOURCES/IMAGE CREDITS:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

@lovelanecharaja

Mumbai Ganpati‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Mum_Ganpati

AUROVILLE: A unique city

Auroville, a young city lying around 10 kilometres from the former French colony of Puducherry (Pondicherry), now an Indian union territory, is an important hub of Hindu spirituality, which draws in thousands of people from all over the world. Set deep in the forests straddling the border of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, Auroville’s buildings are laid out in a unique formation reminiscent of the stars of a galaxy. Designed by architect Roger Anger, Auroville takes its name from Sri Aurobindo, a great philosopher and was established in 1968 by The Mother, also known by her birth name Mirra Alfassa, who was a close disciple of Sri Aurobindo and who hailed from France. Auroville came about as a haven from the religious and political strife of the time, and its whole mentality is geared towards serving God and realising the inner self.

 

 

One of the main ideas that governs the city is the improvement of personal relations among people, at a time when there was much strife and rivalry, and nowadays it encourages the perfection of people collaborating together as one humanity, and the devotees of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo courageously work together to improve relations between different groups of humanity. Auroville even received recognition in this dynamism from once Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, who spoke of the commune’s work in promoting harmony between different cultures and furthering understanding of how coexistence among human beings can help promote spiritual growth.

According to the Census of India 2014, only around 2,300 people live in Auroville, tiny by Indian standards. Around two-thirds originate from India, France and Germany. They are all governed by the civic cardinal rule, unique to Auroville, which states that no political, religious or spiritual organisation should use Auroville as a platform to proselytise for their faith or recruit followers. As a result, there are no political parties or political operations in Auroville, and there is also no concept of private property or money, with the land and homes held under a communal basis, via the auspices of the Auroville Foundation. Auroville also engages with intra-community activities with neighbouring villages and social outreach work.

Unlike the mayor’s office and local councils found in mainstream cities around the world, Auroville is administered by a committee elected by the locals, and residents can support or veto any measures put forward by the committee without having to deal with council red tape. In return, residents are expected to engage in daily programmes of work, for at least five hours a day, seven days a week, either on their own or collectively. When not working, many of Auroville’s inhabitants like to congregate at the Matrimandir to meditate and pray to and honour God, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother of Pondicherry.

 

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Tecnología GM‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/TecnologiaGM
“Esta es la ciudad más extraña del mundo: Auroville” – GrandesMedios.com – Cultura/Grandes Medios (21 February 2016) https://www.grandesmedios.com/esta-es-la-ciudad-mas-extrana-del-mundo-auroville/
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Auroville puducherry.jpg” – sillybugger/Ian.A, Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (1 May 2008) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Auroville_puducherry.jpg  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.