Off the record

Off the record

No videography for police

Excitement was at its peak among hundreds of people who had gathered at Kochi in Kerala on Saturday to witness the razing down of high-rise buildings. Police personnel found it difficult to control the crowd and prevent them from going beyond the 200-metre boundary line from the implosion sites, which were drawn for the safety of the people. Almost everyone, including women and children, was vying to get the best video on their phone cameras. Later, a police officer could be heard telling his junior colleagues that he too wished to take a snap or video on his mobile, but controlled his desire as it would have become news for some TV channel in case of any lapse in managing the crowd.

Arjun Raghunath,

Tough questions in store 

The Ministry of Home Affairs and Delhi Police are likely to face tough questions on Monday when top officials appear before a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, as they are scheduled to meet. Home Secretary A K Bhalla and Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik have been summoned by the panel to get a briefing on ‘Rising crime in Delhi and National Capital Region’. The capital is witnessing a wave of protests over the CAA-NRC as well as fee hike in JNU. Both officers will have to explain police action in Jamia Millia University, where policemen are alleged to not have even spared the library. They will also face questions from the panel headed by senior Congress MP Anand Sharma about the allegations that police did not pro-actively engage in JNU, where ‘masked’ people allegedly belonging to Hindutva organisations wrecked havoc on the campus and attacked students and teachers.

Shemin Joy, New Delhi

Congress or
BJP icon?

In raising a banner of protest against the Modi government, Congress is now picking up icons usually associated with the BJP to send its message to the masses. On Sunday, Youth Congress activists donned saffron robes to dress up as Swami Vivekananda and took out a march in the national capital to mark the monk’s birth anniversary. Youth Congress activists highlighted Vivekananda’s teachings such as unity and pride in the past to send a message to remain united against present-day ‘divisive forces in the nation’.

Sagar Kulkarni, New Delhi

‘Chhapaak’ versus ‘Tanhaji’

Now, even Bollywood movies are divided on political lines. According to many, ‘Chhapaak’ belongs to Congress, while BJP has ‘Tanhaji’!  As the two much-awaited films were released on Friday, student wings of the two rival political parties — the NSUI and the ABVP— were ready at a Bhopal multiplex with free tickets to be distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis. Bemused cine-goers lapped up the tickets with both hands, without betraying their own political proclivity. The student-activists returned happy, having made a political point to their rivals.   

A day after ‘Chhapaak’ protagonist Deepika Padukone had made her surprise appearance in solidarity with the injured students at JNU, the Kamal Nath government announced the Meghna Gulzar film tax-free, much to the consternation of the BJP. In retaliation, the saffron party’s student wing decided to root for Tanhaji, scheduled to release on the same day.

Rakesh Dixit, Bhopal

New arrivals at zoo

The forest department of BJP-led Assam government celebrated the birth of two greater adjutant storks inside Assam State Zoo in Guwahati by cutting a cake on the occasion of Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary. A pair of the greater adjutant stork, a species facing threat of extinction, were bred artificially inside the zoo for the first time and had completed one month on Sunday. Assam forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya, while addressing a small gathering said it was decided to celebrate the occasion on Vivekananda’s birth anniversary as the saint and the reformist had taught everyone to treat the birds and animals with equal love and care. Cakes were distributed while Purnima Devi Barman, an expert of storks, who also leads a public campaign to save storks in Assam was felicitated on the occasion.

Sumir Karmakar, Guwahati

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