The News – Baroness Sayeeda Warsi wins libel payout from Jewish News over defamatory allegations

Murtaza Ali Shah

London – UK, 19 March 2018. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Britain’s first Muslim female cabinet minister and former Chair of the Conservative Party has won libel damages and legal costs from the influential Jewish News over an article that wrongly suggested she had sought to excuse the actions of Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists.

After Sayeeda Warsi took legal action and sued the publication for defamation and libel, the Jewish News has published a front page apology and agreed to pay Warsi £ 20,000 in damages, which she said she is donating to a handful of charities, as well as her legal costs.

The defamatory article, which was also published on Jewish News Online, was written by former army officer Colonel Richard Kemp in which the author claimed that Warsi had objected to action being taken against British Muslims who murder and rape for the terror group. Warsi said in her libel action that these claims were “untrue and offensive”.

Before the matter reaches the London High Court, the Jewish News accepted the allegations were “wholly untrue and should never have been published”.

In a statement Carter-Ruck, the law firm that acted for Sayeeda Warsi, said: “As Jewish News has now accepted, these allegations were wholly untrue and should never have been published.

Baroness Warsi is utterly appalled by the actions of ISIS and all terror groups (indeed, she is widely reported to be on an ISIS death list herself) and has never said anything to remotely suggest otherwise.

She also believes that ISIS fighters returning to the UK should face the full force of British law.

“As well as publishing a front page apology, Jewish News has also agreed to pay Baroness Warsi £20,000 by way of damages (which she will be donating to The Savayra Foundation UK, a women’s empowerment charity, Nisa Nisham, a Jewish and Muslim Women’s network, Wakefield Hospice and others) as well as legal costs.”

The Savayra Foundation UK is Warsi’s charity set up to promote education and empowerment of women. It works with widows and orphans in Pakistani city of Gujjar Khan. Parts of the libel victory amount will go towards this charity.

Commenting on the outcome, Baroness Warsi said: “The article was untrue and offensive. Predictably, it was widely shared online and on social media and caused a divisive debate, and as a consequence I was subjected to much abuse over a period of 7 months.

I am a passionate supporter of interfaith relations, and unfounded allegations such as the ones published by Colonel Kemp and Jewish News serve only to reinforce and inflame the divisions between communities.

I indicated at the outset that an early apology and retraction could have brought this matter to an end; however, the contempt with which Jewish News dealt with the matter for the first 6 months forced my hand. I am pleased that they have now apologised and accepted that Colonel’s Kemp’s article was utterly false and should never have been published.

By contrast, as perhaps befits an individual who appears to wantonly publish inflammatory and offensive comments without a thought for the consequences (let alone the truth), Kemp himself has been too cowardly even to respond to my solicitors’ correspondence.

I’m delighted that the damages which Jewish News have agreed to pay will be put to such good causes, including for women in both the Muslim and Jewish communities, so something good can emerge from this sorry episode”. – Crisis Deepens in Aam Aadmi Party as Senior Punjab Unit Members Split Over Kejriwal’s Apology to Majithia

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 18 March 2018. Taking Arvind Kejriwal’s apology to former Akali minister Bikram Singh Majithia as a big embarrassment, Aam Aadmi Party’s Punjab Chief Bhagwant Mann today resigned from his post. Notably, Bhagwant Mann had won Parliamentary election from Sangrur in 2014 on AAP’s ticket.

Sharing the development with his followers on Facebook, Bhagwant Mann wrote, “I m resigning as a president of AAP Punjab… but my fight against drug mafia and all kind of corruption in Punjab will continue as an ‘Aam Aadmi’ of Punjab”.

Arvind Kejriwal’s apology has drawn sharp wrath of his own prominent party legislators in Punjab.

Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Sukhpal Khaira tweeted “We’re appalled and stunned by the apology of Arvind Kejriwal tendered today, we don’t hesitate to admit that we haven’t been consulted on this meek surrender by a leader of his stature”.

In another tweet, Khaira said, “We promise to continue our tirade on the burning issue of drugs destroying the youth of Punjab”.

The AAP’s Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu also reacted sharply to the apology, tweeting, “Arvind Kejriwal’s apology to Bikram Majithia in the defamation case on drugs is a let down to the people, especially the youth of Punjab.

We in Punjab have not been taken into the loop. Our fight for Punjab continues.”

Meanwhile, senior AAP leader Harvinder Singh Phoolka asked party legislators to not resign but seek autonomy for the party in Punjab. He said this would work better in benefit of Punjab. Earlier, the Lok Insaf Party had also split from the Aam Aadmi Party. Several AAP MLAs have also requested a meeting with Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi.

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The Times of India – DSGMC reacts strongly to sentencing of Jagtar Singh Tara in Beant assassination case

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 19 March 2018. Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC), which is controlled by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), reacted strongly to the sentence pronounced on Jagtar Singh Tara in the case of assassination of Punjab chief minister Beant Singh.

The committee juxtaposed it with the failure of the justice delivery system to punish culprits of violence against Sikhs in November, 1984.

In a statement issued on Saturday, DSGMC president Manjit Singh GK, who heads SAD’s Delhi unit, sought to draw a contrast between the swiftness used against Tara and the failure of CBI and judicial delivery system in prosecuting and punishing those who murdered of thousands of Sikhs in Delhi in November 1984.

“CBI and justice delivery systems act very swiftly when cases are against Sikhs but where does this swiftness disappear when Sikhs are victims and cases and complaints are against people like Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and Kamal Nath, alleged perpetrators of violence against Sikhs.

Crucial witness against Tytler, Abhishek Verma has been expressing willingness before CBI to undergo a lie detector test but the CBI, which has given a clean chit to Tytler thrice, fails to get his lie detector test conducted. The same CBI acts with eagle eye against Tara,” Manjit Singh GK said.

According to him, the CBI, which failed to get a single culprit convicted for murder, robbery and rape, acts with double energy against Sikhs. It will be a sad day when Sikhs will have to cross the constitutional line for justice. Central agencies should stop treating Sikhs like second rate citizens,” he said.

The Hindu – Dravida Nadu: from political oblivion to centre-stage

Despite the heat that it has managed to generate in the past few days, Dravida Nadu as a rallying cry has lost its potency due to multiple factors, say observers

B Kolappan

Chennai – Tamil Nadu – India, 19 March 2018. The demand for a separate Dravida Nadu has become a talking point exactly 55 years after the DMK dropped the idea in 1963.

Though the idea was in the air for quiet sometime, especially after actor Kamal Haasan sought to theorise it before the run-up to the launch of his party, it was DMK working president M K Stalin who brought the issue to the fore when he responded to a question on the perceived momentum gaining in support of the demand.

Mr Stalin subsequently argued that the neglect of the southern States by the BJP government at the Centre had actually fuelled the idea. To drive home the point, he quoted DMK founder C N Annadurai’s famous statement that “the reasons for creation of the Dravida Nadu continue to hold good.”

Interestingly, the concept of Dravida is a philological term introduced by Christian missionary Robert Caldwell, and according to his biographer Vincent Kumaradoss, the word gained currency following the publication of his Comparative Grammar in 1856.

Caldwell said he used the word Dravidian instead of the narrower term “Tamulian”, which has found its place in all works on the Indian languages, and argued that Dravidian languages were fundamentally different from Sanskrit and had a common origin.

The Dravida Nadu as a political idea was originally floated by Periyar E V Ramasamy who came out with the slogan “Tamil Nadu for Tamils” in 1938 in response to the plan to introduce compulsory learning of Hindi across India.

By the following year, his clamour had changed to Dravida Nadu because of the South’s cultural oneness. Though Periyar said the two demands were the same, it never gained traction outside the Tamil areas.

‘Outdated idea’

“The idea of Dravida Nadu is passé. It never gained traction. Among other things non-Tamils did not share the concerns of the Tamils and perhaps felt that they would be dominated by the Tamils in any such arrangement,” explained R Kannan, the biographer of DMK founder C N Annadurai.

“Ironically, in 1955 when the idea of Dakshin Pradesh was proposed by the Centre, Periyar “killed” the idea at its birth telegramming Chief Minister Kamaraj to oppose it as the non-Tamils would dominate in such an arrangement,” said Mr Kannan.

Today, the demand for more powers and autonomy are being articulated by the other southern States in the same way as it was articulated by the DMK as early as in the late sixties, he pointed out.

However, describing Dravida Nadu as an “outdated idea”, Su Venkatesan, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artistes Association, contended that Periyar had defined non-Brahmins as Dravidian.

“Today the Dravidian identity has transformed into nationalities based on languages. The BJP is launching an all-out attack to erase the linguistic identity of various nationalities, there is a need to protect their rights and identity,” he said.

Those wedded to the ideology of Tamil nationalism are also highly critical of the idea of Dravidian concept and P Maniarasan, the leader of Tamil Desiya Periyakkam, felt that it was a ploy to quell the emergence of Tamil Nationalism.

“If Mr Stalin is really serious about creating a Dravida Nadu, let him visit the neighbouring States and muster support. Is he ready to include the proposal in the election manifesto of his party? Is he ready to convene a special general council of the DMK to propagate the idea,” he asked.