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Google cancels Dalit activist talk on caste bias after pressure from employees, Google replies

A senior Google employee Tanuja Gupta who had invited US based Dalit activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan has also resigned from her post following employees pressure



Sundar Pichai

The tech giant Google has finally replied to US based Dalit activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan whose talk on caste bias had been cancelled in April after some of their employees revolted against the company calling her a Hindu phobic and anti-Hindu.

The caste discrimination has no place in its workplace. The company also have a very clear, publicly shared policy against retaliation and discrimination in workplace, a Google spokesperson said.

The Washington post had revealed the news that the Dalit activist talk had been cancelled due to its employees continuous mails to cancel her talk. The journal has also exposed that the groups of Google’s employees sent out mass emails through the company intranet to cancel the talk on cast bias.

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Thenmozhi had then written to Google CEO Sundar Pichai saying that she was troubled by this development and that her talk will only help Google’s employees understand the issue better.

In her letter to Pichai, Thenmozhi said they are both Tamil — while he is from a Brahmin family, she is from Dalit family. Even a consultant like her is facing casteist smears in the company that he leads. Imagine what a caste-oppressed worker at Google would face if they dared to come forward, she wrote.

Thenmozhi Soundararajan, a Dalit rights activist based in the United States of America (USA) and the founder and executive director of Equality Labs, a nonprofit that advocates for Dalits, was scheduled for a talk to Google News employees on the occasion of the Dalit History Month.

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The issue also snowballed after Tanuja Gupta, the senior manager at Google who had invited Thenmozhi to deliver the talk, quit Google in protest after being pulled up for inviting her.

In her goodbye email, Gupta questioned whether Google wanted its diversity efforts to succeed. Retaliation is a normalized Google practice to handle internal criticism and women take the hit, she wrote.

In a statement, Thenmozhi said she cannot find the words to express just how traumatic and discriminatory Google’s actions were towards its employees and herself, as the company unlawfully cancelled a talk about caste equity. Caste discrimination, even unrecognized, is bad for business and it creates unsafe and hostile workplaces, she said.

This engagement will not only support Google staff and many global reporters in better understanding and covering this structural South Asian issue, but also allow Google to better support caste-oppressed journalists in a meaningful way, especially at a time when they face so much violence for covering this issue, she said.

Thenmozhi, who was formerly the president of Ambedkarites Association of North America (AANA), which has chapters across the US, Mexico and Canada, is a globally recognised anti-caste campaigner, and has been behind efforts to bring international attention to this South Asian system of social segregation.

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Shashi Tharoor files nomination for Congress Party’s presidential election, shares aspirations to seek changes in high command culture

Tharoor, while talking to the media, stated that he believes that a new leader, who has not been demotivated and dismayed by the current working conditions of the congress, can be the one who can come up as a refreshing leader and appeal to more voters.



Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor on Friday filled for his candidacy ahead of the Presidential elections of the Congress party. The Congress MP had announced his intention for running for party president as soon as the schedule for the party elections was fixed. Madhusudan Mistry, election authority chairman, accepted Shashi Tharoor, Thiruvananthapuram MP, papers at the All India Congress Committee Office.

The Congress MP before officially filing for his candidature had visited Rajghat in honor of Mahatma Gandhi. Tharoor shared the pictures on his Twitter and wrote that he paid tribute to the man who built India’s bridge to the 21st century and also echoed sentiments shared by the former prime minister, Rajeev Gandhi.

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The caption echoed Rajeev Gandhi’s dreams of India being an old country yet a young nation, and the dream of his dream for India to be strong, independent, self-reliant, and be amongst the top-ranked nations of the world in the service of mankind. The tweet showed how Tharoor still believes in the legacy left behind by Rajiv Gandhi.

Tharoor, while talking to the media, stated that he believes that a new leader, who has not been demotivated and dismayed by the current working conditions of the congress, can be the one who can come up as a refreshing leader and appeal to more voters.

He further addressed his underdog tag in the presidential election, however, he did further highlight that the Gandhi family had assured him they will hold a neutral role and won’t back anyone as an official candidate in the party’s presidential elections. Tharoor further said that Gandhi family welcomed his decision to run in the presidential elections.

The Congress MP also reflected on his aim for High command culture and highlighted the problem of how every decision is referred up to Delhi, directing toward the Gandhi family playing the decisionmaker role.

Tharoor’s counterpart and key candidate pit against him is Mallikarjun Kharge who has already claimed the support of all the senior party leaders according to Ashok Gehlot. However, Tharoor with high spirits welcomed the competition as he stated that Kharge is the Bhishma Pitamah of the Congress party and added that they both are not rivals, but rather colleagues, suggesting that there is no bad blood between the leaders.

The Congress MP in his interview also put forward that he aims to seek changes in order to rejuvenate the party and reimagine the leadership while also reiterating the core ideology and focusing on broadening participation by focusing on youth. Tharoor also added his aspirations to see an ethos of politics in social work return if he becomes Party President.

Tharoor, however, while remarking and highlighting the changes he aspires to achieve if he wins stated that the Gandhi Family is and will be the moral conscience, ultimate guiding spirit, and the foundation pillar of Congress

Apart from Tharoor, many names came forward who were supposed to declare their run for the presidency including Ashok Gehlot and Digvijay Singh, however, it is finalized that the key candidate for the presidency will be Malikarjun Kharge.

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Congress party files complaint against Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, allegations of spreading fake news and creating enmity between groups

The complaint also suggested that the upload of the tampered video along with the caption was a deliberate and motivated attempt to outrage the religious sentiments of the Hindu community with the help of tampered footage.



Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit

On 30th September, Jairam Ramesh on his Twitter uploaded a tweet, informing the people about the case filed against filmmaker Ashoke Pandit over his Tweet on Rahul Gandhi. The Congress Party has accused Ashoke Pandit of spreading misinformation, offending religious sentiments, and promoting enmity between different groups.

According to allegations, The filmmaker had uploaded an alleged tampered video of Rahul Gandhi on his Twitter with the caption that said Janaudhari Rahul Gandhi refuses to perform prayer and added that the reason for him to do so is clear. The filmmaker had however deleted his Tweet after the post drew flak from a lot of users.

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In the complaint, the video is said to be a tampered version of Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Gujarat’s Rajkot where the Congress party leader can be seen to be refusing to pray to goddess Durga. It further clarifies that in the original video shows quite the contrary, and added that Rahul Gandhi in the original video be seen offering a prayer to goddess Durga.

The complaint also suggested that the upload of the tampered video along with the caption was a deliberate and motivated attempt to outrage the religious sentiments of the Hindu community with the help of tampered footage.

The complaint further denoted that the filmmaker has a following of more than 3 lakh users which marks him as an influential figure in the eyes of the public. The complaint further remarked that the way the Pandit’s post on Gandhi had provoked the mass of his followers to resort to hatred and outrage by exposing them to fake news.

The Congress party further claimed that the filmmaker has a history of sharing such posts on his social media. Ashoke also insulted goddess Durga by sharing the tampered and distorted video of Rahul Gandhi, read the complaint.

The Congress party asserted their claims of Ashoke Pandit’s slander was a well-thought-out attack rather than an opinion by arguing that the filmmaker knew about the religious beliefs of Rahul Gandhi, a member of Parliament, and still went ahead to share doctored footage that provokes and incites outrage over religion.

Aside from this, the Congress party is carrying out their 5-month Bharat Jodo Yatra which is traveling from Kanyakumari to Jammu and Kashmir, covering 35,000 kilometers. The Congress party will also conduct its party’s presidential elections on the 17th of October. The candidature for party presidency won’t include anyone from the Gandhi family due to the flak given by the opposition over the narrative of the dynasty politics. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor is among the names in the running.

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Nitish Kumar hints at inquiry into IAS officer’s want condoms remarks, officer apologizes after social media outrage

The Nation Commission for Woman has sought an explanation from the senior bureaucrat for her insensitive conduct.




Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday hinted at an inquiry into senior woman IAS officer Harjot Kaur Bumrah’s want condom remarks, two days after social media outrage over her response to a girl’s demand for free sanitary napkins during a seminar in Sashakt Beti, Samriddh Bihar in the state capital Patna.

Responding to a journalist’s query about the National Commission for Women (NCW) notice on Bumrah, Kumar said the orders are in place to inquire into the issue, which he learnt about from newspapers. If the IAS officer’s behaviour is found to be against that spirit, action will be taken against her, Bihar Chief Minister told the reporters.

The officer has issued an apology for her controversial remarks that arose after a video footage of the function held on September 27 went viral on social media. Her remarks triggered a massive social media outrage.

Additional Chief Secretary ranks officer’s remarks came at a state-level workshop organised in collaboration with UNICEF. After the video of the workshop went viral, social media users slammed the IAS for her condom reference to the valid question.

Following the incident, the NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma wrote to Harjot Kaur and asked her to submit her explanation to the woman panel within seven days.

Responding to a girl’s question, which got applauded by the audience, IAS Harjot Kaur Bamhrah, the managing director of Bihar’s Women Development Corporation, said today she asked for sanitary pads and in future, she will also ask the government for free condoms. Why do people need everything for free, she further asked saying this mentality is incorrect. If the government could provide free sanitary pads to girls as it is providing numerous other facilities for free, the girl had asked the Bihar IAS officer.

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