Union Home Minister Amit Shah unveiled a life-size statue of former union minister and president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), the late Arun Jaitley, at the premises of Ferozeshah Kotla ground here on Monday.
Made by noted sculptor Ram Sutar — the 96-year-old man behind the “Statue of Unity” depicting Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat — the statue is the first for any politician-cum-sports administrator at a sporting facility in recent times.
The event was to mark Arun Jaitley’s 68th birth anniversary.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, DDCA president and Arun Jaitley’s son Rohan, and cricketer-turned-Member of Parliament Gautam Gambhir were among those who attended the function.
The move to install the statue faced sharp criticism by former Test captain Bishan Singh Bedi, who demanded the removal of his name from one of the stands.
Reaching to Bedi’s remarks, Rohan Jaitley said, “Bedi ji is the “Bhishm Pitamah” of Delhi cricket. If he has reservations, there are better ways of discussing them.
“I’m a youngster and expect to be guided by the elders in the fraternity. His name on the stands is his legacy, an honour bestowed upon him. The DDCA will request Bedi ji to withdraw his demand.”
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NEW DELHI: A controversial build-up notwithstanding, the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) on Monday unveiled the statue of its former president Arun Jaitley at its premises in the memory of the late administrator and political figure.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah unveiled Jaitley’s life-size statue, prepared by 96-year-old renowned sculptor Ram Sutar, the man behind the making of the iconic Statue of Unity in Gujarat.
Former India cricketer Bishen Singh Bedi had severely criticised the DDCA for choosing to install the statue of an administrator instead of an inspirational cricketer and even demanded that his name be removed from one the stands at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground.
BCCI President and former India captain Sourav Ganguly, India opener Shikhar Dhawan, ex India opener Gautam Gambhir, who is also a BJP MP from Delhi, BCCI Vice President Rajeev Shukla and Union Minister Hardeep Puri attended the unveiling ceremony along with a number of DDCA officials.
“Arun was like an elder brother to me. He was known for his sportsmanship spirit in political circle. He remained aggressive in his speeches but never lowered the dignity of the Parliament,” Shah said in his tribute to Jaitley, who remained DDCA President for 13 years.
“Arun always put his own interest at the back, never sought publicity and rose during the Emergency days when he spent 19 months in jail. His political journey started then. He was multi-talented and fulfilled a range of responsibilities.”
Ganguly said Jaitley’s contribution was immense in the development of cricket in Delhi, though the DDCA has been in “turmoil” for some time.
“When we play and get 100, it gets recognition but lot of people work behind the scene and help the cricketers. He was a cricketer’s person. that is the role of an administrator,” he said.
“I remember a phone call (he) made during the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. We had lost the first game and the whole country went berserk but he (Jaitley) said that association supports you and you play well. These small things matter, he was a great human being,” said Ganguly.
“This is a remarkably talented state which has produced so many players, Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma, Rishabh Pant now and many in the past. A settled DDCA is good thing for Indian cricket and hopefully they can do it.”
Gambhir said the installation of Jailtely’s statue is a perfect tribute to him.
“We won the Ranji trophy during his tenure and the stadium was also built. Honesty, (being) intellectual and absolute transparency are important for any administrator and he had that,” said Gambhir.
Washington: Members of Khalistani separatists desecrated the statue of Mahatma Gandhi during a protest organised by Sikh-American youths in support of farmers who are protesting against the recently enacted agri laws in India.
Hundreds of Sikhs from in and around Greater Washington DC area, Maryland and Virginia, along with many from other states like New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina, on Saturday carried out a car rally to the Indian Embassy in downtown Washington DC, where they gathered to express solidarity with the protesting farmers.
However, the peaceful protest was soon hijacked by the separatist Sikhs who were carrying Khalistani flags with anti-India posters and banners which said they represent The Republic of Khalistan.
During the protest, many of the pro-Khalistan Sikh youths flashing Kirpans jumped on the statue of Mahatma Gandhi and pasted a poster over it. The group was raising anti-India and pro-Khalistan slogans.
The Indian Embassy condemned the mischievous act by hooligans masquerading as protesters.
“The statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Plaza in front of the Embassy was defaced by Khalistani elements on 12 December 2020. The Embassy strongly condemns this mischievous act by hooligans masquerading as protesters against the universally respected icon of peace and justice, it said in a statement.
The Embassy said it has lodged a strong protest with the US law enforcement agencies and has also taken up the matter with the Department of State for an early investigation and action against the culprits under the applicable law.
The Washington DC Police and Secret Services had a sizeable presence when all this happened Saturday afternoon.
Around half-an-hour later, another group of pro-Khalistani supporters hung a dummy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture with a rope around the neck of the statue.
After more than an hour, a secret service agent was seen coming near the statue and apparently telling the youths that they were violating the law by indulging in vandalism.
On June 26, President Donald Trump had signed an executive order, according to which an individual can be imprisoned for up to 10 years for destroying, damaging, vandalising, or desecrating a monument, memorial, or statue within the United States or otherwise vandalises government property.
The statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the presence of then US president Bill Clinton on September 16, 2000, after the US Congress passed a law in this regard in 1998.
This is for the second time that Gandhi’s statue has been desecrated by miscreants. The first such incident was reported on the intervening night of June 2 and 3.
Farmers from different parts of the country, especially Haryana and Punjab, have been camping at various border points of Delhi for over two weeks to demand a repeal of the three farm laws.
LONDON: There is a question mark over the future of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Wales after an official Welsh government review into Britain’s colonial and slave trading history drew up a list of memorials that require a rethink.
‘The Slave Trade and the British Empire: An Audit of Commemoration in Wales’ report released this week also shortlists the commemoration of Britain’s war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Robert Clive, referred to as Clive of India for his role in establishing Britain’s colonial hold in India, as “persons of interest” to move to a second stage of the review process.
Wales has a bronze sculpture of Gandhi at Cardiff Bay, unveiled in 2017 to mark the 148th birth anniversary of the leader of the Indian national movement. In the audit, he has been classified under Category E of persons of interest who “require examination as having been highlighted by campaigners”.
“His comment in a speech in 1896 that whites were degrading Hindus and Muslims ‘to a level of Kaffir’ is taken as suggesting that he believed Indians to be better than Black Africans.
“Historians have taken a range of views of his culpability, saying that it would have been premature to expect equality in turn-of-the-century South Africa or identifying Gandhi as having turned a blind eye to brutality against Africans,” notes the audit document.
“Nevertheless, Gandhi’s later leadership in India inspired leaders in Africa, including Nelson Mandela. A statue of Gandhi in Pietermaritzburg was unveiled in 1993 by Desmond Tutu,” it adds.
The inclusion of Gandhi on the list is mainly linked with some online campaigns against similar sculptures in Leicester and Manchester. However, those campaigns have had widespread counter-campaigns in favour as well.
“It was a matter of great pride that our city with the generous support of the donors was able to celebrate the life of Bapu who was so inspirational in the creation of modern India and such an example to the rest of the world,” said Peter Soulsby, the Mayor of Leicester as he pledged to protect the city’s Gandhi statue earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Churchill also falls under Category E, with the audit taking note that “specifically, he has been accused of failing to take sufficient action to relieve the Bengal famine of 1943 through his antipathy to Indian independence”.
“He expressed a belief in the superiority of the ‘Anglo-Saxon race’ and was opposed to dismantling the British Empire, taking a romanticised view of its achievements. These were not unusual attitudes in his Victorian-born generation,” it adds.
The assessment on Robert Clive, after whom a street is named in Wales, falls under Category A or “people who took part in the African slave trade”.
“The East India Company took part in the slave trade from 1621 to 1843 (its territories were excluded from the abolition act of 1833). Robert Clive began as a junior employee in 1744, commanded military campaigns in India and rose to be the Company’s Governor General until 1767,” it reads.
The Welsh government audit was launched in July this year in the wake of the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, which included the very public toppling of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol in southern England.
“This audit is concerned with purposeful commemoration in the form of statues, street names and building names. Such commemorations in some cases put people who were responsible for slavery and exploitation literally or metaphorically ‘on a pedestal’, often without any accompanying interpretation,” the report explains.
“The culpability of several of these individuals in slavery or other abuses is open to debate and interpretation. Several shifted their positions considerably as they considered issues in depth or as attitudes changed around them,” it adds.
The Task and Finish Group behind the review states that its audit is intended to capture information and not provide any answers, with its findings now likely to progress to a next stage of analysing any actions required.
Depicted standing proudly on a plinth, the gold-coated canine is an Alabai, a Turkmen-bred variety of the Central Asian shepherd dog and a symbol of national pride in the reclusive, authoritarian nation.
State TV Watan Habarlary showed President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov waving to clapping onlookers as he unveiled the statue this week, in a ceremony replete with traditional dancers, a child holding a real Alabai puppy, and a balloon release. A video screen wrapped around the statue continuously plays footage of the local breed running through grass or the desert and playing with children.
Along with horses, dogs are considered part of the country’s national heritage and are widely used by the many traditional herders among the population of six million. Berdymukhamedov, 63, has written a book and a poem about the Alabai dog and in 2017 gifted Russian President Vladimir Putin with a puppy for his birthday.
The large, stocky breed is known as “wolf crusher” for its prowess in guarding sheep and goats and is also used to guard homes.
The golden statue is the latest addition to Ashgabat’s growing collection of monuments, joining a gold-coated statue of President Berdymukhamedov himself seated on a horse mounted on a white marble cliff, built at another major junction in 2015.
Berdymukhamedov has held tight control of the country since the 2006 death of his equally authoritarian predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov.
Other projects include a $2.3 billion airport shaped like a bird and a $5 billion so-called “Olympic village” for the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, according to British think tank, The Foreign Policy Centre.
Despite the glitzy capital and billions of dollars spent on architectural curiosities, Turkmenistan’s population faces hyper inflation and food shortages.
A 2019 report by The Foreign Policy Centre, suggests Turkmenistan’s economy — which relies on the country’s vast reserves of gas — is in the grip of its worst economic crisis and on the “brink of collapse,” driven in part by low gas prices and falling natural gas exports.
The government’s inaction to respond to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has also exacerbated the country’s already dire food crisis, which has been compounded by poor harvests and shortages of subsidized food, according to a September report from Human Rights Watch and the Turkmenistan Initiative for Human Rights.
Local people interviewed by the rights group reported waiting for hours in lines for subsidized food, of which up to 70 to 80% of their income goes toward, as prices skyrocket. Adding to their economic woes is that the pandemic has put many Turkmen out of work and slashed foreign remittance money to families, according to HRW. Authorities have never released unemployment figures but the FPC estimates that up to 60 to 70% of the eligible workforce is either unemployed or underemployed.
But HRW said the Turkmenistan government denies the existence of poverty in the country and has failed to provide relief to communities struggling economically.
“Turkmenistan’s government has prioritized the country’s image over people’s well-being,” said Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. “With no effort to identify and assist the people most in need at this critical moment, Turkmenistan is callously neglecting the most basic norms of human rights, which include the right to food.”
Previously, the Turkmen Foreign Ministry did not respond to CNN requests for comment regarding allegations that the government is responsible for human rights abuses. CNN has reached out to the Turkmen Foreign Ministry for further comment.
Turkmenistan has officially reported no cases of Covid-19 — one of very few countries in the world not to.
The US Embassy in Turkmenistan, however, said on its website the country “may be disinclined to do so if cases were confirmed” and that it has received reports “of local citizens with symptoms consistent with Covid-19 undergoing Covid-19 testing and being placed in quarantine in infectious diseases hospitals.”
Information coming out of the former Soviet republic — labeled by HRW as one of the world’s most repressive — is strictly controlled. There is no independent media and most foreign websites are blocked, according to the independent watchdog group Freedom House.
Human rights abuses are commonplace, activists often disappear, and forced labor is a concern, according to HRW. Foreign media outlets have little access to Turkmenistan; religious and political expression are “brutally punished” by the government; torture is rife in the country’s prisons, and no independent monitoring groups are allowed in the country, HRW said.
Some pet lovers buy treats for their favorite animals. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov of Turkmenistan has taken that a step further, unveiling a 19-foot-tall sculpture of a golden-colored dog to honor his favorite breed, the Central Asian shepherd.
The monument to the dog, tail aloft and head held high, was erected on a pedestal at the center of a traffic circle in the capital, Ashgabat, the state news agency of Turkmenistan said, adding that it reflected the breed’s “pride and self-confidence.”
The statue was unveiled Wednesday in a ceremony complete with exuberant singers and twirling dancers, clouds of colored balloons, and a wraparound television screen on the statue’s base beaming out images of the dogs — the breed is known locally as Alabai — in action, according to footage released on YouTube by the state broadcaster Altyn Asyr.
An Alabai puppy, held by a young child, also made an appearance as Mr. Berdymukhammedov, an autocrat who rules over one of the world’s most repressive governments, watched with evident pride.
Mr. Berdymukhammedov’s love for the Alabai, which has come to symbolize national pride and power, has long been documented. Last year, he released a book about the breed, including a poem he reportedly wrote during a cabinet meeting. At the book’s launch, participants sang songs in honor of the dog in a packed hall.
The president’s son, Serdar Berdymukhammedov, widely seen as a potential successor, is the chair of the Turkmen Alabai Association, which held its first international meeting in August. The government said this month that it was preparing to nominate the dog for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage list as a cultural asset.
The Alabai has traditionally been used for protection and to guard livestock, and can be found across Central Asia in countries like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The dog statue was unveiled as part of a package of new infrastructure in western Ashgabat, the state news agency said, which also included several high-rise residential buildings and a shopping center.
Dogs are not the only animals that have captured his heart: He also has an affinity for the Akhal-Teke horse, a Turkmen breed known for its physical capabilities and golden sheen. That breed has already been memorialized; in 2015, the Turkmen leader unveiled a 69-foot-high gold statue of himself riding an Akhal-Teke.
The opulent monuments stand in stark contrast with the everyday lives of many in a country that remains impoverished despite rich reserves of natural gas that it largely exports to China.
Mr. Berdymukhammedov rules the country, which gained independence from Soviet rule in 1991, with an autocratic hand, controlling all media and punishing unsanctioned forms of religious and political expression.
Western human rights organizations are banned from Turkmenistan, and Human Rights Watch calls it “one of the most repressive and closed countries in the world.”
A small silvery depiction of a naked woman was designed to celebate the campaigner and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. But as soon as the statue to the icon was unveiled today’s campaigners and feminists began to express their anger about why the “mother of feminism” was depicted as a nude figure.
The 18th century philosopher, who was the mother of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, died at the age of 38 before her achievements were recognised.
Lawyers for a woman accused of using a statue of the Virgin Mary and a tin of mangoes to bludgeon a man to death are urging Victoria’s Supreme Court to effectively give her immunity from being tried a fifth time.
Katia Pyliotis’ murder conviction was overturned and a retrial, which would be her fifth, was ordered
Her lawyers said another trial would amount to an abuse of process
Evidence from a detective about a confession from another woman, Susan Reddie, was questioned in court
Today, her legal team urged the Supreme Court to issue a permanent stay on her case which they acknowledged in court documents would be “tantamount to an immunity from prosecution”.
“A fifth trial would now be so unfairly and unjustifiably oppressive as to constitute an abuse of process,” her barrister, Dermot Dann QC, said in court documents.
Detective’s missing diaries found
Mr Dann questioned the credibility of Warren Ryan, a current Queensland Police officer and former Victorian homicide detective who gave evidence in the case.
Senior Constable Ryan testified that another woman who claimed to have murdered Mr Abdelmessih later took back her confession.
He has long maintained that notes of the recantation made by Susan Reddie, an alcoholic with an acquired brain injury who had sex with Mr Abdelmessih for money, was in his police diary, which was lost when he left the force.
But in what the defence called a “shocking revelation”, the missing diary was recovered in June this year and actually contained a “further confession” from Ms Reddie.
The notes revealed that after having sex with Mr Abdelmessih in September 2005, for which she was paid $20, Ms Reddie claimed she used a statue of the Virgin Mary to bludgeon him.
Ms Pyliotis’s barrister, Mr Dann, said the police officer’s claim that the other woman had taken back her murder confession was “patently false”.
“Contrary to Mr Ryan’s repeated evidence, there is no diary note of the alleged recantation,” Mr Dann said.
“The facts of this case are highly unusual, and have been highly publicised. Much of that publicity has centred on the use of the statue of the Virgin Mary as a murder weapon.
Today, Senior Constable Ryan was grilled for hours over his recollection and his diary.
At one point, he was pulled up by Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth after he conceded he was speculating about some evidence.
“I’m not remotely interested in your speculating,” Justice Hollingworth said.
“You’ve done enough speculation in this case,” she said.
Later, the Supreme Court judge challenged the police officer on the consistency of his testimony.
“Your evidence just keeps shifting, Mr Ryan,” she said.
DNA evidence links accused to the scene: prosecutor
But Crown Prosecutor Angela Ellis argued that there was no basis for Ms Pyliotis to be effectively given immunity from prosecution.
“The absence of any entry relating to the recantation does not establish that the conversation with Susan Reddie did not occur, or more importantly, that Ryan’s evidence is false,” Ms Ellis said.
Ms Ellis pointed to forensic evidence that revealed Mr Abdelmessih had not had sex before his death, contradicting Ms Reddie’s confession.
“There was no forensic evidence to link Ms Reddie to the murder scene,” she said.
But Ms Ellis said Ms Pyliotis’s DNA was found on multiple items in the victim’s home, including on the statue of the Virgin Mary, a plastic bag, a toilet roll tube, a bloodstain on a tile and on a black glove.
Court documents revealed that the glove had been cut or torn on the left index finger, which matched a cut on Ms Pyliotis’ finger.
Ms Ellis urged the court to dismiss the application for a permanent stay.
“The interests of the accused must be balanced with the community’s right to expect that those charged with criminal offences are brought to trial,” she said.
“Here, an elderly man was brutally bludgeoned to death in his own home. The power to grant a permanent stay should be ‘used sparingly and with the utmost caution’.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today condemned vandalism by activists that brought down a statue of the country’s first prime minister in Montreal over the weekend.
Speaking to reporters at an announcement about COVID-19 vaccines, Trudeau said that while some of the country’s past leaders have done questionable things, acts of destruction are not the best way to advance the fight for equality.
“We are a country of laws and we are a country that needs to respect those laws, even as we seek to improve and change them, and those kind of acts of vandalism are not advancing the path towards greater justice and equality in this country,” Trudeau said.
“Actions such as that have no place in a society that abides by the rule of law,” he added in French.
The statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Montreal — like those some in other cities — was targeted by activists because of his association with the Indian residential school system, which forcibly removed Indigenous children from the “savages” in their home communities for education in largely church-run facilities where abuse was rampant.
Macdonald also opposed Chinese immigration on racist grounds, fearing it would dilute the British character of Canada.
The activists say the glorification of Macdonald is out of step with the modern push for racial justice.
The statue was toppled and decapitated during a protest calling on political leaders to de-fund police services — part of a wave of protests across the continent against excessive violence perpetrated by law enforcement against Black and Indigenous people.
Macdonald, who served as prime minister for some 19 years, is remembered mostly for his key role in bringing together a collection of disparate British colonies to create a new entity that is now one of the most prosperous and free countries on earth.
He spearheaded the construction of the transcontinental railway that united the fledgling country, encouraged immigration to develop Western Canada and backed tariff-based industrial policies that resulted in a robust domestic manufacturing sector.
“He was our first prime minister and I think it’s important to recognize the role he played in the creation of this country compared to world we live in now,” Trudeau said in French.
“We must acknowledge where there were comments, perspectives, certain actions that were unacceptable — That’s part of recognizing our history as a country.”
A number of other political leaders have condemned the destruction of the Macdonald monument, saying these vandals are intent on erasing Canada’s history and applying 21st century values to a leader who served more than a 150 years ago.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney asked that the damaged statue be sent to his province so it could be repaired and redeployed to acknowledge Macdonald’s contributions as the country’s first leader and a Father of Confederation.
“This vandalism of our history and heroes must stop,” Kenney said in a tweet.
“As his biographer Richard Gwyn wrote, ‘No Macdonald, no Canada.’ Both Macdonald and the country he created were flawed but still great.”
Quebec Premier François Legaultalso condemned the destruction of the Macdonald statue and promised to restore it to its rightful place at the Place du Canada in Montreal’s downtown core.
“Whatever one might think of John A. Macdonald, destroying a monument in this way is unacceptable. We must fight racism, but destroying parts of our history is not the solution,” he said.