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Madras High Court makes singing of Vande Mataram mandatory in schools, govt offices



Madras High Court

Verdict came on a petition filed by an individual who failed a teacher recruitment exam because he didn’t know what language the national song was originally penned in.

The failure of K Veeramani, who failed his Bachelor of Teaching (BT) Assistant selection exam conducted by the Tamil Nadu Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB) because he apparently didn’t know what language Vande Mataram was originally written in, has got the Madras High Court to rule that private schools and government offices in the state must make singing of the national song mandatory!

Veeramani had moved the Madras High Court claiming that the TRB answer key for the examination mentioned that the national song was originally written in Sanskrit although he had read in several books that Vande Mataram had been penned in Bengali. The questionnaire for the selection exam had asked the language that the song had originally been written in and Veeramani had answered ‘Bengali’ only to later realize that he had lost 1 mark for his reply and failed to secure his selection because of it. His contention was that he secured 89 marks in the exam, a single point shy of the selection target – a mark he should have been awarded because in his opinion he had answered the question correctly.

And so, the Madras High Court’s Justice MV Muralidharan, who was presiding over Veeramani’s case, decided to ascertain whether the answer to the petitioner’s piquant problem had been lost in translation.

Justice Muralidharan’s verdict in the matter that came on Tuesday could, however, lead to some controversy since singing of the national song – made mandatory in schools and educational institutions by some in BJP-ruled states across India – has in the past met with strident opposition from some Islamic organizations who claim that it goes against the tenets of Islam.

In his judgement, Justice Muralidharan said that singing of Vande Mataram in schools, government offices, private entities and industries in Tamil Nadu should be compulsory. The court ruled that private and government schools across the state should ensure that their students sing Vande Mataram “at least twice in a week, preferably on Monday and Friday” and that “the song can also be played in other government and private establishments at least once in a month”.

Interestingly, the judge noted that “If people feel it is difficult to sing the song in Bengali or in Sanskrit, steps can be taken to translate the song in Tamil.”

Perhaps alive to the potential consequences of his order given the controversies that have erupted over it in recent years, Justice Muralidharan also ruled: “In the event, any person/organisation has difficulty in singing or playing the song, they shall not be compelled or forced to sing it, provided there are valid reasons for not doing so.”

The judge hoped that this order “shall be taken in the right spirit and also implemented in letter and spirit by the citizenry of this great nation”.

Curiously though the verdict came after much deliberation by the court – which happens to have the second highest pendency of cases among all high courts of the country with 3,02,846 cases pending as of January 2017 and only 38 judges out of its sanctioned strength of 75.

Since Veeramani had contended in his prayer that his answer of Vande Mataram being originally written in Bengali was correct and that the TRB was wrong in saying that the national song was penned in Sanskrit, Justice Muralidharan asked the TRB to clear its stand.

The TRB in turn pleaded that the song was originally written in Sanskrit but was translated later to Bengali.

The court then asked the Advocate General of Tamil Nadu, R Muthukumaraswamy, to find out the right answer. On July 13, Muthukumaraswamy informed the court that while the original language of  ‘Vande Mataram‘ was Sanskrit, it was first written in the Bangla script – thus making contentions put forth by both, Veeramani and the TRB, acceptable (depending on how the question is interpreted).

Justice Muralidharan finally ruled on Tuesday that Veeramani’s must be included as a BT Assistant but also decided to make singing of the national song mandatory.

India News

Lucknow court shootout: Western UP gangster shot dead by man dressed as lawyer

Maheshwari himself was a dreaded shooter and was booked under several other criminal cases. He was also said to be a close aide of Munna Bajrangi, who was killed while serving time in Baghpat prison in 2018.  



Gangster Sanjeev Jeeva

Security in India’s courtrooms and court complexes were again exposed on Wednesday when gangster Sanjiv Maheshwari, also known as Sanjiv Jeeva, was shot dead by a man dressed as a lawyer right inside a Lucknow court.

Sanjeev Maheshwari had come to the SC/ST court for hearing in a murder case and was entering the courtroom when the shooter opened fire, injuring a young girl and a policeman.

Maheshwari, who led a criminal gang in Western UP, was said to be a close aide of gangster-politician Mukhtar Ansari. He was accused in the murder case of BJP MLA Brahmadatt Dwivedi. Ansari is currently serving life imprisonment. The shooter was nabbed by lawyers in court and police and has been identified as Vijay Yadav.

Maheshwari himself was a dreaded shooter and was booked under several other criminal cases. He was also said to be a close aide of Munna Bajrangi, who was killed while serving time in Baghpat prison in 2018.  

The police constable injured in the attack sustained a bullet wound in his right leg and his colleagues helped him out of the court complex. He is undergoing treatment in the Lucknow Civil Hospital. Meanwhile, heavy police deployment has been made in the Lucknow court as well as the city after the shootout.

Commented on the law and order situation in UP, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said the question is not who is being killed but the question is that one is being killed in the presence of high security.

In his reply to a journalist’s question on the incident, UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said the police will not spare anyone who is involved in the killing.

Lucknow DM Surya Pal Gangwar told the media that Maheshwari was shot dead, a girl of 8-10 years has also been injured. He added the shooter has been caught and the investigation into the incident has begun.

In Delhi, gangster Jitender Gogi was killed in a shootout in a Rohini court in 2021. The inter-gang rivalry ended with the knifing murder of Tillu Tajpuriya inside Tihar Jail in May this year.

The security of local courts has been a matter of concern for judges with former Chief Justice of India Justice NV Ramana raising it with the government.

A three-member SIT (Special Investigation Team) including Mohit Agarwal ADG Technical, Joint CP Nilabja Chaudhary, Ayodhya IG Praveen Kumar has been constituted to investigate the incident: UP CM Yogi Adityanath.

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India News

Wrestlers meet Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, put forth 5 demands, protest still on but suspended till June 15

On Wednesday morning, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and the top wrestlers, led by Olympic Medallist Bajrang Punia, began a crucial meeting at Anurag Thakur’s residence.



Wrestlers Protest

With the Central government offering to complete the probe against Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh by June 15, Olympian Bajrang Punia told the media that the agitation by the wrestlers will be suspended till then.

On Wednesday, the wrestlers met Sports Minister Anurag Thakur at his residence after the minister had tweeted late last night that he looked forward for a discussion with the protesters.

Reports said the wrestlers represented by Sakshi Malik and Punia have made five demands in the meeting with Anurag Thakur. Their demands were: (1) Free and fair elections for the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), (2) a woman to be made the WFI chief, (3) withdrawal of the Delhi Police case against the wrestlers registered on May 28, (4) the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and (5) preventing Brij Bhushan or his family or his acolytes from being part of WFI.

Punia, Sakshi Malik, and her husband Satyawart Kadiyan, who is also a wrestler, attended the meeting. Vinesh Phogat did not attend the meeting as she was to attend a pre-scheduled panchayat in her village Balali, Haryana. Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait, who supports the protesting wrestlers, did not attend the meeting.

In the space of five days, this is the second meeting between the protesting wrestlers and the government. Wrestlers met Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday night and briefed him on their demands. Shah had asked them to trust the investigation process.

The wrestlers have been demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who they have accused of sexual harassment, since January this year. The wrestlers resumed their protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on April 23 at Jantar Mantar. On May 28, they were removed from the protest site by police and detained for violation of law and order after they began a march to the new Parliament building without permission. The police action resulted in an iconic photograph of Sangeeta and Vinesh Phogat.

The rub in this melee is that while the government is willing to accept most of their demands, the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is also the BJP MP from Kaiserganj, and wields significant clout in that part of Uttar Pradesh, remains a tricky question.

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India News

Section 144 imposed in Kolhapur after clashes break out over socmed post with offensive audio message, Tipu Sultan photo  

The Law and order is the state affair and Maharashtra government takes the responsibility of it. He also appeals to the public for peace and calm. Police investigation is under way and action will be taken against those found guilty.



Kolhapur clash

Prohibitory orders have been issued in Kolhapur on Wednesday banning the assembly of five or more persons till June 19 after clashes broke out between two groups. Right-wing outfits objected to the use of Tipu Sultan’s image along with an objectionable audio message as a social media status put up by a few residents. Police had to lathicharge to disperse the crowd as the situation became tense.

Police have also applied for banning mobile internet from Wednesday till Thursday evening to prevent the issue from snowballing. On Tuesday, a group of right-wing activists held a protest demanding action against those who put the image of the 18th-century Mysore ruler along with an offensive message on their social media profiles. Police assured action and told them to return. Police also informed the protesters they had booked some people in connection with the post.

Kolhapur SP Mahendra Pandit said the protesters again hit the streets on Wednesday. Few organisations had called for a Kolhapur bandh and the members of these organisations gathered at Shivaji Chowk early today. After their demonstration ended, the crowd began to disperse but some miscreants started pelting stones, forcing police to use force against these people to disperse them. The SP also said they appealed to the agitators to maintain peace and withdraw the agitation.

Dipak Kesarkar, guardian minister and minister of education and Marathi language, said action has been taken against those who had used Tipu Sultan’s image along with an objectionable audio message with the detention of 21 people so far.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde appealed for calm and peace. He said law and order is a state responsibility and the Maharashtra government will act. Police investigation is under way and action will be taken against those found guilty. Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said this was part of a larger well-thought out plan by some people.

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