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Death
News of his death in Karnataka came as a shock to his family back in Ottappalam, as Midhun had not informed them about taking part in the challenge.
  • Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 18:11

Midhun Khosh, a 22-year-old native of Ottappalam in Palakkad district, had been looking forward to this ride for months, preparing hard for the task he believed wasn’t easy. But unfortunately for the avid biker and engineering student, it turned out to be his last ride.

Midhun, a fourth year student of Nehru Engineering College in Pambady, met with an accident early on Wednesday morning in Karnataka’s Chithradurga, when his bike collided with a lorry. He died on the spot. According to his family, Midhun was taking part in a riders’ challenge by the US-based Iron Butt Association (IBA). His target was to ride 1,610 kilometres in 24 hours.

Midhun had not informed his family about taking part in the riding challenge. He left home on Tuesday evening, saying that he was going to Coimbatore to buy some things required for his project work. Naturally, the news of his accident and subsequent death in Karnataka came as a shock to his family back in Ottappalam.

Midhun’s body has been sent to Ottappalam after post-mortem procedures and is expected to reach home by Thursday night. His uncle Ashokan told TNM that the family had no clue about Midhun’s plan to take part in the biking challenge. 

“He was very interested in riding and used to go on trips often. When my brother (Midhun’s father) got a call from the Karnataka police informing about his death, we went to his room and checked. It was then that we found a hand-drawn map of India, in which a route was marked. From Coimbatore to Bangalore to Hubli and back to Ottappalam. His target was to cover more than 1,600 km in a day,” Ashokan said. 

He said that if Midhun were to complete the riding challenge, then his name would be put up on the association’s website and he would receive a certificate of appreciation. 

“One of his seniors in college had completed this ride and that’s how Midhun got inspired. He had told his friends about it. When taking part in such challenges, their only aim is to complete the task on time and safety goes for a toss,” Midhun’s uncle said.

In fact, Midhun had gone live on Instagram during his ride from Ottappalam and said that he was not able to maintain his speed due to heavy traffic. Midhun used to regularly share photographs from his bike rides on his Instagram profile. A post from February this year says that he completed a 1,000-km ride from Coimbatore.

Other riding challenges by IBA include SaddleSore 1600k – 1,610 km (1,000 miles) to be completed in 24 hours, SaddleSore 2000k – 2,000 km in 24 hours and Bun Burner 2500k – 2,500 km in 36 hours.

According to the IBA website, there are five steps to earning a SaddleSore or Bun Burner 1500 certification. 

1. Choose a safe route, 2. get a start witness, 3. collect and track receipts, 4. get an end witness and 5. copy and submit your documentation. Since safety is our primary concern, no pre-registration of your ride is needed. Our goal is to give you added flexibility to decide on any given day whether the combination of weather, your motorcycle and most importantly, your attitude, is ready for a big ride.

 

 

 

Karnataka 2018
Karnataka goes to polls on May 12.
  • Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 16:01
“This election is not about road, gutter or drinking water…This election is about Hindus vs Muslims, Ram Mandir vs Babri Masjid.”
 
This is what BJP’s Belagavi Rural (Mumbai-Karnataka region) MLA Sanjay Patil can be heard saying in a highly circulated video. The speech was part of his poll pitch on Tuesday.
 
“I am Sanjay Patil, I am Hindu, this is a Hindu rashtra and we want to build the Ram temple. If Lakshmi Hebbalikar says she can build the mandir - vote for her. They will build Babri Masjid instead. Whoever wants Babri Masjid, Tipu Jayanthi they should vote for the Congress. And who wants Shivaji Maharaj and Ram Mandir should vote for the BJP,” the MLA during his speech.
 
 
 
The Congress criticised the controversial calling the BJP “communal”.
 
“This is how one digs one's own grave. In the case of BJP MLA mentioned below, it's @BJP4Karnataka's grave.Clearly, for BJP, it's not about development. It has always been about communal politics,” KPCC president G Parameshwara tweeted.
 
 
The BJP so far has been evasive over the MLA’s speech and is yet to condemn it and when TNM reached out to BJP spokespersons, they refused to comment on the issue.
 
Sanjay Patil was booked by police in November 2017 for his comments against CM SIddaramaiah during a public rally.
 
He had questioned Siddaramaiah’s religion while opposing his decision to hold Tipu Jayanti celebrations.
 
He was also in a controversy for allegedly speaking in favour of Maharashtra over a border dispute. However, he later apologised for his statement.
Protest
The protestors said that the notes are almost of the same size and don’t have tactile markers, making them difficult to identify.
  • Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 15:58

Around 15 visually-impaired persons from Thiruvananthapuram protested outside the State Secretariat on Wednesday evening, to bring to the attention of the government the difficulties they face while handling the new currency notes in circulation since demonetisation.

The protesters held up posters that read: "Equal rights for all", "Let's make Kerala a disabled-friendly state", etc.

After demonetisation in November 2016, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced new denominations in different colors. However, with the new notes all coming in fairly similar sizes, unlike earlier, visually impaired people have been facing difficulties in identifying the notes.

Wednesday's protest was a means of bringing their difficulties to the attention of the government, Tiffany Brar, founder of Jyothirgamaya, a support group for visually impaired people, told TNM.

"Earlier, there was a uniformity in sizes. The biggest one was Rs 1,000 and the other notes were smaller in size, which made it easier for us to differentiate between denominations. But now, the notes are too similar in size. While earlier there was a difference of 10 mm in sizes, now it has reduced to just 5mm. They say that there are tactile lines on the notes, but we are not able to feel them," Tiffany said.

Visually impaired herself, Tiffany pointed out how they often get ripped off since they are no longer able to distinguish between the notes.

"Say when we go to a store or hire an autorickshaw. There have been instances where many of us ended up paying with a larger denomination note by mistake. Not everyone is nice enough to tell us we have paid extra. There are people who think they are lucky to have got some extra money," Tiffany said.

Tiffany and the others know that it would be impractical to demand the government to change the sizes of the notes, but feel that the notes should at least have distinguishable tactile lines.

"Say on a Rs 500 note, there can be 5 lines, on a Rs 2,000 note, there could be 6. Like that, we will be able to feel them and understand them, and so we needn't ask around for help. India has about 12 million blind people and there are regulations that exist, which say that we should have equal access to all public resources. Then why is the government not paying attention to us?" Tiffany asked.

The group hopes that the government will take note of their concerns and address their needs.

 

Sexual Harassment
TNCC’s letter to the President raises concerns about Nirmala Devi’s proximity to the BJP.
  • Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 14:56

In a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) puts forth questions with regard to professor Nirmala Devi’s proximity to Governor Banwarilal Purohit. In an audio conversation that went viral on Sunday, a professor of the Madurai Kamaraj University allegedly attempts to lure students into providing sexual favours to ‘certain higher authorities’.

While several parties in the state have condemned the Governor’s decision to order a probe into the matter when his name was used in the conversation, the TNCC refers specifically to Nirmala Devi’s alleged statement about the Governor.

In the audio conversation, Nirmala Devi can be allegedly heard saying in Tamil “Governor thatha illa.” Many have taken this to mean that the ‘higher authority’ involved is not Governor thatha while the TNCC along with some others interpret it as “the Governor is not a grandfather.”

Demanding to know how Nirmala Devi may have been “able to assess” the Governor’s physical condition, TNCC goes on to urge the investigation body to probe this angle as well.  

Citing the dictum Nemo judex in causa sua wherein an individual shan’t be a judge in their own cause, the letter demands that Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Vice Chancellor PP Chellathurai, the principal and the management of Devanga College of Art not interfere in the issue.

Governor Banwarilal Purohit had in his press conference held on Tuesday denied knowing Nirmala Devi. He had then said, " I attend so many convocations. Almost most of the members are on the dias. They move here and there. What can I do? I have not seen her face till date. What you are talking?" he said.  The Governor also added, "I am surrounded by my entire team. Even a bird can't come near me without my permission. Can't level such vague charges against me."

The letter also cites the incident of a woman in Cuddalore district, who alleged that the Governor who was on tour barged into her bathroom when she was bathing. The Raj Bhavan, however, had called the reports “malicious and incorrect”.

Further, the TNCC also enclosed alleged photographs of Nirmala Devi with Tamil Nadu BJP President Dr Tamilisai Sounarajan, National Secretary H Raja and Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan, stating, “As Nirmala Devi is very much close to the politicians of Bharathiya Janatha Party and the present Governor is also hailing from the same Bharathiya Janatha Party, is again alerting and raising various suspicious things.”

Demanding a High Court monitored probe by CBI, the letter calls for police protection for the life of Nirmala Devi as well as the students.

Meanwhile, the CPI also put forth similar concerns, saying that the Governor was a suspect in the attempted trafficking of college girls. CPI State Secretary told The Hindu that a probe ordered by the Governor is unacceptable.

Speaking to media persons, R Santhanam, who heads the probe appointed by the Governor said, "We have a discussion with the Vice Chancellor and other officials. In the evening I will go to Arupukottai. After that on Saturday, I will return to Madurai and continue investigating.  I will return next week for 3- 4 days. "

When asked about the parallel investigations of the CB-CID and his own, he said, "There is no chance of a clash. The police will probe the criminal angle. My probe will be on what happened and who is behind this, whether University is involved in this or any University officials are involved, if yes then to what extent. If needed, I will definitely ask for help of police.

Fund Raising
The startup claims to sell 0.3 million cups of Chai a day and aims to grow this 5X in the next 3 years.
  • Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 14:11
Image source: Facebook

Bengaluru-based organized Chai Company Chai Point has raised $20 million in a s Series C funding round, led by Paragon Partners. All existing investors - Eight Roads (Fidelity’s India PE arm), Saama Capital and DSG – participated in this round, with some of them investing super pro rata.

Chai Point claims to be India’s largest organised brand in the Rs 1.5 Lakh crore Chai market targeting 1 billion Indians. With the average per capita consumption of the beverage increasing at a steady rate of 20-30%, the market is ever expanding. Chai Point has solidified its leadership position in the organized Chai segment and created a unique brand in a market which is now witnessing an aggressive formalization drive.

The startup claims to sell 0.3 million cups of Chai a day across all its channels – stores, delivery, and dispensers – and is poised to do 5X more in the next 3 years.

“This funding round is primarily aimed at further strengthening the brand’s multi-channel go-to-market. A substantial portion of our investment proceeds will go towards deepening our sales, marketing, and service operations for our automated hot beverage dispending business - boxC.in - which is the next growth driver for the business. High quality tea and coffee is fundamental to our growth and we are going to expand and refine our underlying sourcing program – ‘Garden to Glass’. Also, we look forward to delighting our customers with an especially enhanced food menu,” Amuleek Singh Bijral, Co-founder and CEO, Chai Point said.

Chai Point is looking to leverage technology to enhance the customer experience.

“Amuleek and his team have built a strong brand with Chai Point, which has a great potential to be among the top home-grown brands in the country. We look forward to working with the Chai Point team and helping them scale up their operations.” “We are bullish on the consumption story in India and are excited to partner with the Company. This investment is in line with our overarching investment theme of partnering high-calibre entrepreneurs with compelling business models,” Siddharth Parekh, Co-Founder and Senior Partner, Paragon Partners said.

Parekh will also be joining the Board of the Company. DCS Advisory India (earlier Signal Hill Capital) was the exclusive advisor to the company for this fund raise.

Controversy
In a video, Ram Gopal Varma admitted that he had given Sri Reddy the idea of abusing Pawan Kalyan to gain attention for her cause.
  • Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 13:26

The controversy unleashed by actor Sri Reddy has taken another turn. The actor had recently abused superstar and politician Pawan Kalyan. And now, she has apologised to him on Twitter. Pawan Kalyan had said that Sri Reddy should go to the police with her allegations rather than approach the media. 

After facing much backlash for her abusive comment and offensive gesture against Pawan Kalyan, Sri Reddy has issued an apology.

The actor wrote, “I apologize wholeheartedly to Pawan Kalyan’s mother. I didn’t do it deliberately, but what I did was definitely wrong, hence asking for an apology.”

In yet another twist to the tale, it has now emerged that it was director Ram Gopal Varma who instigated Sri Reddy to abuse Pawan Kalyan.

Reportedly, the director offered Rs 5 crore for abusing Pawan Kalyan.

After the revelation, Ram Gopal Varma admitted that it was he who had asked Sri Reddy to hurl abuses at Pawan Kalyan.

He released a video on Facebook, admitting to the accusation and asking for an apology.

“It was my idea to abuse Pawan Kalyan,” the director said, and went to justify it by linking it to dialogues from the Telugu hit Arjun Reddy. He claimed that the abuse words had been accepted when spoken by the male protagonist in the film but not when Sri Reddy said the same. 

“It was my suggestion, hence I am to be blamed. It wasn’t Sri Reddy’s idea. If somebody has to apologise, it is me. Because… although I didn’t abuse Pawan Kalyan, I influenced Sri Reddy to do so,” the director said.

 He also added that if the actor wanted more attention for her cause, it would be better if she makes some controversial statements targeting a big star. He gave an explanation by giving the example of Mahesh Kathi, Telugu film critic, who received a lot of attention because of his criticism on Pawan Kalyan and his fans, previously.

 “Nobody knew who Kathi Mahesh was, just because he made controversial statements against Pawan Kalyan, he got a lot of focus and attention,” he said.

The director also gave clarification on the Rs 5 crore offer. Shockingly, he said that the Rs 5 crore offer was to stop Sri Reddy from filing cases against producer Suresh Babu’s son Abhiram, as it would taint the image of Suresh Babu’s family.

“Though I know that Suresh Babu wouldn’t agree to this. I thought that someone from his family would give the money and stop Sri Reddy from further harming their family’s reputation," he claimed.

The director, however, clarified that Sri Reddy did not agree to the offer.

He said that though he offered such a big amount, Sri Reddy didn’t budge and that he was so moved by her determination that he wanted to help her. The "help" he offered was the idea to abuse a big star like Pawan Kalyan.

 

 

 

Protest
Protests were held against Raja’s remark in Chennai, Thiruvarur, Perumbalur, Namakkal, Karaikudi, Tiruppur, Velur, Salem, Cuddalore and Tirunelveli.
  • Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 13:12
Saradha V/Twitter

After BJP National Secretary H Raja took a veiled dig at DMK Rajya Sabha MP and DMK President M Karunanidhi’s daughter, Kanimozhi, the DMK held protests across Tamil Nadu demanding his arrest on Wednesday. 

Protests and demonstrations were held against Raja’s remark in Thiruvarur, Perumbalur, Namakkal, Karaikudi, Tiruppur, Velur, Salem, Cuddalore and Tirunelveli. Effigies of the BJP leader were beaten up and burnt across the state while slogans rang in the air calling for his arrest; in some places, his photos and posters were hit with slippers. In Namakkal, women protesters beat his effigy with brooms, according to Puthiya Thalamurai. An effigy of Raja was also burnt in Chennai. 

In Thiruvarur, protesters and the police clashed at the demonstration site, while in Perumbalur, all protesters were detained due to tensions between those protesting and the police.

In Karaikudi, protesting DMK workers blocked the roads, due to which the police beefed up security at H Raja’s home in the town, the report said. 

Protests broke out across the state after the BJP national secretary attacked Kanimozhi on Twitter, saying, “Would journalists question the leader who made his illegitimate child, from an illegitimate relationship, a Rajya Sabha MP, just like they questioned the Governor? Memories of Chidambaram Udayakumar, Anna Nagar Ramesh, Perambalur Sadiq Basha would haunt them.”

Raja’s uncivil and contemptuous tweet was in response to Kanimozhi condemning the Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit for patting a woman journalist on the cheek instead of answering her question after a press conference.

DMK spokesperson Saravanan and Kanimozhi herself have responded to Raja’s low blow.

“Even the High Court has asked whether he is suffering from a mental illness. We all want to ask, why has BJP kept such a low life as their national secretary? Does the BJP support these opinions? No action has taken so far, this is the hooliganism and arrogance of being in power,” Saravanan tweeted.

Kanimozhi told TNM that Raja’s tweet exposed how women are treated in society.

“Either you patronise a woman as seen in the press conference, or you try to personally attack her. Can a woman not be present in public places? This incident has shown what happens when a woman comes out in support of another,” she said.

She also called upon the BJP to respond to what H Raja has said.

“This is not going to make me step back or prevent me from taking up such issues in the future,” she added.

Read: DMK MP Kanimozhi slams H Raja’s ‘illegitimate child’ jibe: ‘Exposes BJP’s mindset’

Karnataka 2018
Internal surveys showed that the leader is still popular among constituents and it would be detrimental to the party if he didn’t contest.
  • Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 13:10

The suspense surrounding Shantinagar MLA NA Haris’ nomination is finally over. The Congress party has decided to give the two-time MLA a ticket to contest, sources in the party confirmed. They added that his candidature would be officially announced on Thursday.

On Monday, when the Congress released its list of 218 candidates, the party had not revealed its nominee for Shantinagar, fearing a potential fallout.

MLA NA Haris is in the eye of the storm after his son Mohammed Haris Nalapad was accused of brutally assaulting a man, Vidvat Loganathan, in an upscale eatery in Bengaluru ini February.

Vidvat had been hospitalised for two weeks considering the seriousness of his injuries.

With all the negativity surrounding the Haris family, the Congress decided to scout for other eligible leaders for the Shantinagar seat.

“Internal surveys commissioned after the assault still showed favourable results for Haris. He is popular and his constituents like him. Before pointing fingers at us, the Bharatiya Janata Party should look at their candidates. Their chief ministerial candidate is a man who had gone to jail. That says a lot about the BJP. They also have nominated leaders who have criminal cases filed against them. In this case, Haris is not the one who committed a crime, his son did,” a Congress source said.

Haris is said to have threatened to quit the Congress when his name was not announced in the first list. However, senior leaders in the Karnataka unit of the party are said to have asked him to hold on for a few days before they could announce his nomination.

Mohammad Nalapad was expelled from his post as the General Secretary of Bengaluru unit of the Youth Congress on February 19. Despite multiple attempts to obtain bail, Nalapad’s lawyers have been unsuccessful. The Karnataka High Court too dismissed his bail application and the state government filed a caveat in the Supreme Court opposing his bail. On Monday, the First ACMM court extended Nalapad’s judicial custody till April 30.

 

 

Cauvery water dispute
Several from Kollywood had supported the boycott of CSK matches in Chennai over the Cauvery Management Board row.
  • Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 12:52

The Tamil film industry has finally called off its 48 day long strike and new Tamil films will hit the screens from Friday.

However, several people have asked on social media why the industry is releasing new films when the Cauvery Management Board has not been set up as yet. Many celebrities from Kollywood had said that spectators must boycott the IPL matches that were to be played in Chennai. Others had said that the games should be shifted to other cities.

Slamming the film industry for looking the other way now and releasing films, angry social media users questioned their motives. They said there should be no new Tamil releases until the CMB is set up.

The Cauvery protests took a violent turn when CSK supporters were attacked by fringe elements during the CSK Vs KKR match held in Chennai on April 10, the first CSK match in the city. A slipper was also thrown into the field, allegedly aimed at players. These events as well as the protests on the road led to the Chennai matches being shifted.

The news came as a big blow to CSK fans who'd been awaiting the return of their team, which had been banned for two years. Director Bharatiraja and music composer James Vasanthan had said that protesting against the IPL would be the best way to bring international attention to the Cauvery issue. Others from the industry like Seeman, Karunas, Simbu and bigwigs Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan had also joined in the clamour against the IPL.

Karnataka 2018
The couple, who are getting married on April 27, say they wanted to urge their guests to vote in the upcoming Assembly elections.
  • Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 12:51

It’s election season in Karnataka and while parties are going all out to ensure that constituents actually come out on the day of polling to exercise their voting right, one activist has come up with a unique idea to urge people to vote.

Siddappa Doddachikkannanavar from Hangal is set to get married to Jyoti, who hails from Ranebennuru, on April 27. With the Assembly polls scheduled to be held just a few weeks after the wedding, the activist saw an opportunity to spread awareness about voting and came up with the idea of designing his wedding invitation card to look like a voter ID card.

The state president of the Kannada Srujanasheela Balaga, an organisation that promotes the language, and an employee with the Indian Railways in Goa, Siddappa said that wanted to do something to promote Kannada.

“I wanted to do something unique for my wedding to promote Kannada. When I discussed the same with my friend Karibasappa Gondi, a constable, he suggested that we should do something to encourage voting keeping in mind the Assembly elections. With the support of my friend Channabasappa, we designed a wedding card which resembles the voting ID card,” he told Mirror.

The unusual invitation card has the national emblem instead of the logo of the Election Commission on top and even has a unique code ‘SJMRG27042018’, which is a combination of Siddappa and his fiancée’s initials along with the date of the wedding.

Using the same font as a regular voter ID card, one side of the invitation card contains the name of the bride and the groom, the date and venue of the wedding and a picture of the couple. The other side asks family and friends invited to the wedding to vote responsibly.

According to Eenadu, the wedding card reads ‘Your vote is valuable’.

The voter ID invitation card also talks about the importance of blood donation and asks guests not to “sell their votes”, the Mirror said.

The couple reportedly took the effort and got prior permission from the District Collector in order to print their wedding invite in the form of a voter ID card.