SECURITY: While Rhea Chakraborty who started the whole controversy is in judicial remand Kangana Ranaut (above) has been given Y category security status by the CRP at the instance of the Himachal Pradesh government.
BY RAJAN NARAYAN
AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when Swapnil Walke, the Margao jeweller who is reportedly a BJP sympathizer was stabbed and shot dead in broad daylight. For a Saturday following the week when Vishwajit Rane finally agreed to convert the South Goa district hospital into a Covid-19 centre. For a Saturday following the week when we learnt that the most effective drug against Covid-19 Remdesivir is not supplied to patients in government covid-19 hospitals. For a Saturday following the week when India and China seemed to be headed for another war. For a Saturday following the week when like late Manohar Parrikar, Claude Alvaris also took a U-turn on resuming mining in Goa. For a Saturday following the week when Rhea Chakraborty was arrested by the Narcotics Bureau in Mumbai. For a Saturday following the week when the number the fatalities in Covid-19 cases in Goa were confined to only government hospitals.
AND a few stray thoughts on the cold-blooded murder of Swapnil Walke, the Margao jeweller who is reported to be a BJP sympathizer. There are different theories on why Swapnil was stabbed and shot just after noon. Within the jewellery community the story is that it was not an attempt at robbery so much as a supari killing. The story goes that an Evender Rodrigues sold some jewellery, allegedly stolen jewellery, to Swapnil. During the lockdown period Rodrigues went to Swapnil and asked him for some remaining money owed. The jeweller claimed that because of Covid-19 and the lockdown he was not in a position to offer the money.
From other reports it would appear that Rodrigues’ offence is that he stole gold jewellery to re-sell to small jewellers at a cut rate. However, despite all this common wrongdoing the BJP seemed is determined to protect the reputation of the jeweller who is the Secretary of All Goa Gold Dealers Association and son of BJP Executive Committee member Krishni Walke.
BJP top brass did not want to it be known that Swapnil was among those few jewellers in Goa who offer a market for stolen jewellery. As long as the case was with the Margao police it was considered a cold-blooded murder without any intension of it being a jewellery robbery. But from the time the case transferred to the Crime Branch it is being made out to be a simple case of an attempted burglary. It was a simple case of attempted murder.
This is not unusual because in many crimes the police version changes when cases get transferred to the Crime Branch which is closer to politicians. The most tragic aspect of the murder is that nobody came to the rescue of the jeweller who put up a tough fight against his killers. Apparently only two doctors from a neighbouring clinic came to his help to try and staunch the loss of blood, the victim was bleeding profusely due to the stabbing injuries. The two women who were trying to stop the bleeding even appealed to car owners to stop and help take the jeweller to Hospicio hospital. While nobody was willing to lend their car or come to the help of the young 35-year-old jeweller some of them had enough time to make a video of the incident!
Perhaps they thought it is a film shooting and not a real life deadly murder. It is obvious that Goa, where rushed readily to help anyone in trouble has changed. All that has changed and now nobody wants to get involved in what looks like a crime, not because of the risk of being hurt themselves but to avoid getting involved with the police. Even in simple accident cases nobody intervenes as they are afraid of future harassment by police. Even the declaration by Director General of Police ….that those helping accident victims or taking them to the nearest hospital would not be harassed, nobody is willing to trust the police.
Which of course does not excuse the inhuman and insensitive behaviour of those who witnessed a murder but did nothing to safe a life.
AND a few stray thoughts on Health Minister Vishwajit Rane agreeing to convert the South Goa district hospital into a Cobid-19 centre. Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat has being persistently asking why the South Goa District Hospital remained idle for more than five years? The tender for the 500-bedded hospital was awarded to the GSIDC in 2015. Part of the premises were completed and handed over to the district health authorities. The hospital is even equipped with the latest equipment, but it remained unused. The rumour is that Vishwajit Rane delayed it because he wanted to offer it to a private party to start a private medical college in the premises of the South Goa District hospital which was meant to replace Hospicio hospital.
The battle has been won for the moment for the war has yet to be over. Health Minister Rane has not clarified whether the district hospital will be a permanent replacement for the Hospicio hospital. The impression given is that the South Goa district hospital will only be used temporarily as a Covid-19 centre. The old Hospicio is crumbling but it is to be reverted back to the status of a district.
There are two stories of the South Goa district hospital being allegedly kept empty for the private medical college. If the Health Minister is serious about using the district hospital for a Covid-19 centre why are the entire premises not being used? Surely this is a better alternative than using stadiums and industrial training institute hostels as Covid-19 training centers?
The harsh ground reality is that there is a serious shortage of beds for critical patients in the States. This is the reason why the causality figures keep going up. In the highest mortality rate registered since Goa turned from Green Zone to Red Zone 11 people died on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. This is the largest number of deaths on any single day. The Covid-19 management team claims that the high mortality rates are because of the delay in patients coming to the hospital. At the same time Covid-19 management also tells patients not to come too early but wait for the 4th or the 5th day as the symptoms do not manifest themselves immediately! One of the reasons for the high rate of mortality may be the fact that the most affective drug, Remdesivir, which is expensive is not made available to patients in government Covid-19 hospitals.
Which is ironical as Remdesivir is manufactured at the Cipla plant located at the Verna industrial estate in Goa. We understand that 90% of the drug has been pre-ordered by the United States of America. Surely the government of Goa can apply pressure on the company to not only give priority to Goa but also offer a major discount if not for free? Significantly, with the exception of —–one death in a South Goa hospital none of the patients admitted to Manipal or SMRC have fallen victim to the contagion.
CHINA CLAIMS AGAIN
AND a few stray thoughts on the escalating tension on the Indo-China border in eastern Ladakh. India claims that it is for the first time in 45 years that shots have been fired at the actual line of control. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) which is what the Chinese defined forces themselves, want to evict Indian soldiers from the strategic heights. India has claimed that 40 PLA troops in an action replay of the previous incident where several Indian soldiers were killed and injured, armed with rifles and spears aggressively approached the Indian posts at Mukhpari Top at 6.15 pm on Monday.
PLA apparently wants take control of the strategic heights of Mukhpari and Reqin. The Indian Army denies all allegations that it has crossed over the line of control or resorted to firing. The Chinese have admitted to kidnapping five young Indians from Arunachal Pradesh.
China in fact has been consistently claiming that the whole of Arunachal Pradesh belongs to them. The Chinese government has cancelled several summits and objected to Indian senior politicians visiting Arunachal Pradesh. This is a very dangerous situation as India is greatly outnumbered by the Chinese who have reportedly the largest army in the world. China in the past has already virtually taken over Nepal and Tibet which is the homeland of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan community living in India.
It may be recalled that the Dalai Lama who is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people the world over fled his homeland Tibet over 20 years ago and was given refugee status in India, he settled in Dharamshala is Himachal Pradesh. The provocation for the Chinese offenses is suspected to be the result of the economic boycotts which India has declared on China.
It may be recalled that India has banned over 59 apps including Tik Tok which has millions of fans the world over including India. The United States in fact is trying to force the US division of Tik Tok to sell the company to them. India has also banned the purchase of any items made in China ranging from cheap umbrellas to cosmetics to even images of gods and goddesses. China reminds me of the Ulhasnagar Sindhi Association which is located about 40km from Mumbai and manufactures any and every counterfeit item claiming to be Made in US
A. Even the soft drinks sold at Kalyan railway station, a major junction close to Mumbai, are likely to be counterfeit. The Chinese seem to have a genius for imitating products. They have even being accused of stealing very sophisticated electronic items from the United States and duplicated them in China. There are more Chinese students studying, working and living in the US than Indian students. Apple which used to manufacture almost their entire output in China because of low wages, is now under pressure to shift their manufacturing facilities to India. The commercial war against China is a double- edged sword. This is because most of the raw material for the India pharmaceutical industry, which is amongst the largest industries in the country other than IT, come from China.
AND a few stray thoughts on Claude Alvares, chairman of the Goa Foundation. He seems to have caught the U-turn virus of Goa’s former chief minister Manohar Parrikar. In a major U- turn after demanding and succeeding in getting mining of ore in Goa completely suspended, Claude has now called for the resumption of mining. This is at a time when mine owners have been demanding an extension in the leases renewed in 1989 by another 30 years.
The mining companies’ argument is that when the concessions granted by the Portuguese have been converted in 1989, why was the base taken from the year of Liberation in Goa in 1961? The mining industry argues that the base year for conversion of the concessions to leases should be the year they were converted, that is 1989, and not 1961. Curiously, the late Manohar Parrikar had claimed that it was he who suspended the mining industry a month before the Supreme Court’s order based on the findings of the Shah Commission. Amongst the bones of contention is the fact that many mining companies converted their concessions into leases long after the deadline of 1989.
This was primarily because only in the 2000 was there a very heavy demand for ore which is primarily used in the manufacture of steel, China was building huge stadiums across the country as it had been conferred the honour of holding the 2006 Olympics. The demand for steel and ore was so high that China was buying even ore with 50% ore content, though traditionally the Japanese and Koreans, who were main purchasers, would only accept ore with more than 58% FE content. The other problem with Goan ore is that comes in powder form and not lumps, no steel factory in the country has the technology to make steel out of fines (old dust).
In sharp contrast China can make steel out of any kind of ore. Claude Alvares seems to have finally realised how much economic damage his and his foundation has caused by getting mining suspended. Claude, however, wants the ore to be extracted by a government co-operative. Which is absurd as the government has no capacity to extract any natural substance, as has been dramatized by the nationalized Coal India. This forced the centre to privatise the coal Industry.
The Supreme Court has made it clear that all natural material that is extracted should be auctioned. The mining lobby is so close to the BJP that they want the present owners to retain the leases. The cases filed both by the private mining units, the government of Goa and the Goa Foundation are still before the Supreme Court. And in the meanwhile no progress has been made in recovering the Rs35,000 crore damages claimed by the Shah Commission, or even the much lower Rs4,000 crore estimated by the Parrikar’s CA
FROM GIRLFRIEND TO VILLIAN
AND a last few stray thoughts on Rhea Chakraborty, the live-in girlfriend of the late Sushant Singh Rajput, turning from heroine to villain. Rhea has been arrested by the Narcotics Branch of the Mumbai police. She has allegedly confessed that it was she and her brother who used to supply drugs to Sushant Singh Rajput and other top personalities in Bollywood. Rhea has gone to the extent of confessing that she herself used to take drugs and that the Sushant household used to have own drug parties.
The third player in the drama growing more sordid by the day is filmstar Kangana Ranaut, who is from Himachal Pradesh. Kangana who considers herself one of the outsiders harassed by the Bollywood mafia, has been attacking the big shots of the Hindi film or today’s Bollywood industry. Fearing that they may retaliate she has demanded and secured Y scale security which entitle her to armed protection besides a body guards at home.
Normally the personal security officers for those who have been extended security are provided by the security branch of the State in which the person resides. In this case, perhaps because Kangana Ranaut does not trust the Maharashtra government, the Central Reserve Police, all 13 of them, have been assigned the responsibility of keeping her safe.