By Rajan Narayan
AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when the BJP is misusing social media to distort history. For a Saturday following the week when air fares shot to an all-time high in the country. For a Saturday following the week when the state government decided to use robot bandicoots to clear drains. For a Saturday following the week when the horrors of driving in Panaji in the monsoon became a harsh reality. For a Saturday following the week when Donald Trump was delighted on the charge of taking top secret confidential document to his residence while leaving the office.
AND a few stray thoughts about the BJP misusing social media to distort history. People who posted messages on social media in praise of Aurangazeb and Tipu Sultan have been arrested. The Maharashtra Police registered an FIR against a 14-year-old boy from Beed district on Thursday night, June 8 for allegedly posting a social media “status message” glorifying Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Even as the schoolboy, who was in Mumbai on vacation, deleted the message and uploaded a video apologising for his post, some Hindutva organisations have called for a bandh in a village in the district.
This comes against the backdrop of some youth displaying photos of 17th century Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in a procession in Ahmednagar and tension in Kolhapur city on Wednesday, June 8 over the alleged use of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan’s image along with an objectionable audio message as a social media “status” message by some locals. The names of cities with a Muslim name have also been changed in Maharashtra. Ahmednagar has now being given the new name of Ahilyanagar. It is also proposed to change the name of Aurangabad with the BJP claimed is named after Aurangzeb.
There are 100s if not the 1000s of places in the country which have Muslim names. We do not know where this process of saffronisation will end. The BJP is even trying to displace the status of Mahatma Gandhi in history by glorifying Veer Damodar Savarkar who was a hard-core Hindutva promoter. Besides towns and cities several prominent roads in the capital city of Delhi like Akbar Road have also been changed to that of prominent BJP leaders.
SHOOTING AIR FARES
AND a few stray thoughts on airfares shooting to an all-time high in the country. The overnight airfare between Mumbai and Delhi has shot up to Rs14,000. There is also an alarming decrease in international airfare up to 50%. Goans will be among the ones affected as the airfare to the UAE has gone up by 34%. Post-covid-19 crises there has been lot of delayed travel. During the covid lockdown flights came down very sharply.
It is almost as though air passengers are engaging in revenge travel now after the pandemic. Not only domestic air travel but even international travel has increased sharply during the current year. Virtually every Goan we know is away on a Roman holiday. The most popular destination for Goans seems to be Europe, Sweden and Switzerland.
There is always been a huge surge in airfares every weekend on flights to Goa. This is because Goa has become the favorite weekend getaway destination for Mumbaikars and those from Bengaluru. A factor for the increase of fares is the hike in demand for air travel. The number of airports in the country have gone up by 30%. This increases the pressure on airlines to offer connectivity. The shutdown of Jet Airways which was another top airline has also affected the seats available on airlines.
It seems to be a post covid-19 trend but there are an increasing number of cases of Indian passengers misbehaving on domestic and international flights. A first-time flyer from the working labour class reportedly wanted the window opened so that he could spit out his gutka he was chewing in his mouth. In the business class of international airlines, you are permitted unlimited darru or booze. This results in passengers getting drunk. In one notorious incident, a passenger urinated on a fellow passenger thinking he was close to the toilet. There have also been cases of passengers trying to open the emergency door. Maybe the aviation ministry must start a campaign to teach passengers flying manners.
ROBOT BANDICOOTS NOW!
AND a few stray thoughts when the Goa government decided to use robot bandicoots to clear drains. The human bandicoots seem to have despaired of clearing the garbage in the big storm water drains underneath roads. The drains are ironically usually populated with living bandicoots which are giant rats.
In Goa there have also been instances of crocodiles emerging from the filthy nallahs. The h-tech smitten Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s government thinks that technology can be a substitute for human intelligence. Or perhaps some contractor sold them the idea of using mechanical robots to clear drains. There is no doubt there is an urgent need for the clearance of drains. Soon with the roads dug up Panaji will be totally inundated with monsoon rain water and there will be water lockjams everywhere. Arrangements shold be made for life jackets and rescue boats for citizens who get into trouble in the torrential rains expected. The worst affected by the drains and sub-standard roads are those riding two-wheelers. Every time they step out on a rainy day they run the risk of being splattered by dirty water splashed by passing four-wheeler driver without a thought for who is outside their window screens on the road.
AND a few stray thoughts on the steep increase in the delivery charges of Zomato and Swiggy food courier services. In addition to the normal delivery surcharge now there is introduced up to 50% for delivery during rush hours. The cost of food ordered from food Apps is twice the cost of the food in the restaurant. Initially the delivery boy claimed there was no delivery charge for orders from the eateries in nearby vicinity but these are all promotional lies. If you do not do Gpay or Phonepay you are forced to end up paying more on the billing in cash because invariably the delivery boy will pleade no change to return. I have no doubt that apart from the new surcharges with the monsoon season there will be a delivery in rain charge add on too.
AND a last stray thought on Donald Trump being delighted to be charged of taking top secret confidential documents to his residence while leaving his office. Former US President Donald Trump has been indicted in a classified documents case and this is the second time he is being indicted of criminal behaviour.
Trump is accused of unlawfully keeping classified documents and revealing classified information from these documents to unauthorised persons. A large number of classified documents have been recovered from Trump’s private residence in the state of Florida. While his supporters in the Republican Party see the prosecution as a witch-hunt, his critics see the case as pursuit of accountability for his arrogant behaviour.
Notably, Trump is not the only leader who kept classified documents at home. Documents have also been found at the private homes of President Joe Biden, dating to the time he was the vice-president during 2008-16 and former Vice-President Mike Pence, who was Trump’s deputy during 2016-20.
Here we would like to explain what the case against Trump is and how the case against Trump differs from the case of Biden and Pence. We also explore at the possibility of Trump going to jail and its effects on his second presidential bid which he is hopeful about winning. Trump’s indictment in the classified documents was unsealed recently and he was indicted on 37 counts and charged accordingly by American law.
An indictment is a formal accusation of the accused, establishing the charges against him. It marks the beginning of a court judgement trial. Once indicted, the next step is unsealing the indictment in which the exact charges are made public. “The New York Times” notes, “An indictment, whether it is handed up in federal or state court, is a formal accusation —not a conviction— and it is among the first moves a prosecutor can make to bring a case to trial. When a person is indicted in a criminal court in the United States, it means that a grand jury composed of residents chosen at random believed there was enough evidence to charge that person with a crime.”
Trump has been charged on 37 counts, including 31 counts under the stringent Espionage Act. Four counts are related to conspiracy and withholding or concealing documents and two counts are for scheming to conceal and making false statements and representations, according to BBC news.
The information he allegedly kept unlawfully concerned US nuclear capabilities, military secrets, and spy satellites. “The documents, according to the indictment, included details about U.S. nuclear weapons, spy satellites and the U.S. military. They were produced by the Pentagon and arms of the U.S. intelligence community, including the CIA, the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and other agencies,” reported Reuters.
The “LA Times” reported that it’s also alleged that Trump showed the documents to persons without security clearances at least twice in 2021. The report also said that Trump is also charged with ordering to not hand over the complete set of document to the authorities. The unsealed indictment reveals that the documents were kept at unsecured locations at his estate, including in a bathroom and ballroom. Photographs of the same have surfaced. The indictment also reveals that Donald Trump allegedly shared a classified plan of military attack with persons and also showed a classified map.
It seems the law in the US is still independent and free from political interference, at least in the case of Donald Trump.