India became the very first ‘eastern country’ to come out in full support of French President Emmanuel Macron. This happened when Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself tweeted with a statement that officially proclaimed the condemnation of the heinous attacks in France and extended his solidarity with the French in the fight against terrorism. This took place after the second set of attacks in Nice, France and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, many countries have opposed the language and the stance taken by Mr Macron. The European Union countries, along with Canada, the USA and UK have extended their support whereas few countries in the Middle East along with Pakistan and Turkey, have started campaigns to boycott France goods. These countries affirmed that Mr Macron has targeted the Islamic faith and profoundly insulted it in the name of defending the right to freedom of expression.
On October 16, Samuel Paty, a French schoolteacher allegedly showed a caricature of Prophet Mohammed in his class which had “hurt the religious sentiment” of a Chechen-origin teen who got infuriated and beheaded his teacher. The French police then shot the suspect. Later, on October 22 two women in hijab were stabbed under the Eiffel Tower. On October 29, three people were killed at a church in Nice when an attacker armed with a knife beheaded them. With such back to back happenings in France, it looks like the country reeling through a deep religious crisis.
In India, back in the 2000s, an article was published in a lesser-known Hindi monthly from Madhya Pradesh, ‘VicharMimansa’, titled, ” Yeh chitrakarhaiya Kasai? (Is he a painter or a butcher?).” The article targeted painter MF Husain and accused him of hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus by painting Goddess Saraswati naked.
The article had sparked waves of anger among Indians, and Mumbai Police had to register cases against MF Husain under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. Several petitions were also filed against the renowned painter.
In the two incidents, religious sentiments of different communities were hurt in the name of freedom of speech and the actions taken were different too. The support extended to Emmanuel Macron and his statement is quite contrary to the Indian legislative fabric as guarding of the religious sentiments is an essential element of the Indian Constitution.
PM Modi shares a personal rapport with Emmanuel Macron. Mr Macron invited PM Modi to the G-7 Summit of 2019 in Biarritz. It is observed that France has shown extreme support to India at the UN Security Council on issues of Kashmir and sponsored terrorism by Pakistan. France helped India in listing Jaish-e-Mohammad, a terrorist group’s chief Masood Azhar in 2019.
This robust support to France by India could be another diplomatic move by PM Modi for maintaining strong international relations.
However, there are and were numerous crimes reported in India, which attained media attention, witnessed social media outrage but was turned a blind eye by the PM, may that be murder of Nikita Tomar in Faridabad, the Hathras gang rape, the killing of two sadhus in Palgar or the Munger firing incident.
When two Sadhus along with their driver were killed in Palghar in Maharashtra by villagers in the very presence of police officers on April 16, the nation was stunned. The brutal killing was the result of WhatsApp rumours of thieves operating in the area during the countrywide coronavirus lockdown. The country was stupefied seeing the viral video of mob lynching, which lead to outcry for justice. However, PM Modi maintained his silence without giving the much-needed attention.
His delayed reaction and action, when a 20-year-old was alleged raped, murdered by four upper cast men and reportedly burned by the police without the consent of family in the Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh was not only a source of vote bank for Opposition, but angered the whole nation. The girl was allegedly raped on September 14, after fighting for her life for two weeks, she succumbed to her injures on September 29. On September 30, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath through a tweet informed the nation that PM Modi had asked to take strict action against the culprits. However, PM himself was silent about the incident.
आदरणीय प्रधानमंत्री श्री @narendramodi जी ने हाथरस की घटना पर वार्ता की है और कहा है कि दोषियों के विरुद्ध कठोरतम कार्रवाई की जाए।
— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) September 30, 2020
In case of Munger, where an 18-year old boy was shot, and several others were injured in firing after clashes during the immersion of Goddess Durga in Bihar. The incident stirred the nation. Moreover, it gave a political plank to the Opposition in the poll-bound state. Opposition slammed and questioned, why BJP and PM Modi is silent on the Munger firing incident.
Meanwhile, on October 26, when Nikita Tomar, a college student was shot dead outside her college in Faridabad, Haryana, in broad daylight, the nation expected PM to respond. Yet again, he maintained silence.
Uncanny silence of the PM is an irony, while he is quick in responding to the attacks happening worldwide. PM is expected to act against the crime, atrocities happening in home.
Being amongst one of the fastest-growing nations of the world, it is crucial that the Prime Minister should start addressing the social issues of the country.
All You Need To Know About National Institute Of Food Technology Entrepreneurship And Management Bill 2021
On July 26, 2021, Lok Sabha passed a bill under the ministry of Food Processing Industry. The bill is titled as National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021. The main motive of this bill is to address issues with the Food Processing Industry, Entrepreneurship and one Institution for National Importance. With the passing of this bill, the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) and National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) is now merged as Institutions of National Importance, and it aims at providing various research and advancement in learning about the Food Industry and its associated branches. The bill was first introduced in the house in February 2019 but was pending due to protest by the opposition.
Significance of Institutions of National Importance (INI)
With the passing of this bill, the institutions enjoy greater autonomy through which they can carry out various courses, research attracting skilled faculties and students from all over the country and overseas. Good standards in education will be adopted to improve the present and future of education in this branch and sector, overcoming the technological gap in the country. This law aims to improve and introduce new changes in food, bio-nanotechnology, cold chain technology etc. The desired efforts will be taken in terms of human resources and infrastructure developments, labs for research etc. Liberty to open centres anywhere in India is also granted to INI and include courses regarding food technology certification and improving the workforce of the country.
Some other important features of this act are the Institution has been authorized with the Board of Government, Senate and other acting Authorities. The Council of Board will include 16 members from different branches from the same field. The Head will be Chairperson, who will be a skilled person from the Food Industry, the Director, Dean and Registrar. Members appointed from Centre and State Governments, Members from FSSAI and Council of Agriculture Research, as mentioned in the bill. The 16 members of the board will carry out work of taking administrative decisions, creating annual budgets and paths for institution progress as an organization, establishing departments, their appointment terms of services, faculties etc. The Board of Council also holds power to grant Honorary Degrees and Diplomas. The Senate shall be the principal academic body of the Institute, consisting of the people such as Director as the Chairperson; Registrar; Full-time skilled level Professor; and Three academically skilled Individuals nominated by the board from the field.
The Union Minister of Food Processing Industry, Mr Pashupati Kumar Paras, expressed his gratitude to PM Modi for this landmark step in this industry from his Twitter handle, indicating new opportunities in Food Technology Industries. Therefore, this Act looks promising on paper with new opportunities and in Educational Development. Amidst the Pegasus Spyware and repeal of the farm laws, this looks positive from the Modi Government.
लोकसभा में आज, राष्ट्रीय खाद्य प्रौद्योगिकी, उद्यमिता और प्रबंध संस्थान विधेयक, 2021 (निफ्टेम विधेयक, 2021) को पारित किया गया।
इस विधेयक के पारित होने पर इससे जुड़े हर व्यक्ति को बधाई देता हूँ और साथ ही खाद्य प्रसंस्करण से जुड़े छात्रों को भी बधाई देता हूँ। @MOFPI_GOI
— Pashupati Kumar Paras (@PashupatiParas) July 26, 2021
Fake News: Accountability Of News Organisations
Fake news is false news stories or hoaxes, which are deliberately released to misinform and to create chaos in society or among readers. Fake news is one of the main reasons behind the disruption of peace in society and it becomes more dangerous in volatile places. Fake news is generally shared with propaganda to mislead the audience by hiding or twisting the truth. However fake news isn’t new to the web, it recently became an enormous problem in today’s digital world. Fake news mostly comes from sites that are bogus or have sensationalized stories.
Most of the users do not check the facts before sharing the information on their social media, which can be a reason for widespread fake news. So, it is important to differentiate between fake news and authentic news to maintain harmony in society and to avoid false news and its repercussions.
Fake News Stories
- On 2nd April, a team of doctors, health workers, and revenue officials were attacked by the family members of a 65-year-old man who died of COVID-19 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh because of the fake video which claimed that healthy Muslims were being injected with the virus, reiterating the risks and physical manifestations of misinformation.
- On March 22, 2020, Mr. Modi’s new term ‘Janta curfew’ has sparked a buzz on the Internet. Social media users started interpreting PM Modi’s concept of ‘Janta curfew’ in their own ways. Social media was flooded with a certain ‘scientific explanation’ behind the curfew as to how it will break the chain of transmissions of the deadly coronavirus infection. The claim was found out to be misleading. PM Modi, while announcing the curfew, didn’t mention this particular ‘scientific’ logic behind it.
- Rumours were circulated on WhatsApp groups about a kidnapping gang operating in India’s western state of Maharashtra in 2018. The rumors eventually cause a mob lynching, that killed five migrant workers because they were suspected of being kidnappers.
- On November 13, 2016, when the government of India has demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and planned to replace them with new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes, rumors were spreading about Rs 2000 notes. Rumors claimed the new higher denomination currency comes with a Nano-GPS chip which acts as a reflector, giving precise location coordinates of the currency to permit every note to be tracked. However, the RBI officials had dismissed these as false and said the new Rs 2000 note does not have a Nano-GPS chip as is being claimed on social media, WhatsApp.
- In the pandemic situation, where vaccination has become crucial, in a series of viral videos it was seen that people are claiming that magnet was attracted to the arms of alleged COVID-19 vaccinated recipients. This kind of fake news can create misconceptions about vaccines and people may not take their jab of vaccines. The Centre has declined the claims that Covid-19 vaccines can make people ‘magnetic’. It has also dismissed theories about microchips in coronavirus vaccines.
Need of Accountability
False information on social media can cause huge problems. It is often done to influence political processes. Need for Accountability increases in such situations because the false information provided by certain news organizations can create a ruckus in society. Before publishing the news, it is necessary to check the facts.
If the news organizations, shared misinformation unintentionally they must remove the content right away and they should apologize to the readers. If fake news is spread with propaganda to create chaos in society, then the news organization should be punished under the law. The information must be checked before sharing it with other people.
Curious Case Of Pegasus: Explained
Pegasus is a spyware that can hack the victims’ mobile phones and read their SMS messages and emails. The Pegasus spyware is owned by an Israeli software company named NSO Group. According to the various reports, this company has targeted more than 50,000 phone numbers at the Global level, of which 300 are in India for surveillance.
The news broke out after the 17 media partners investigated. This investigation brought into the picture information about a leaked database of mobile telephone numbers of Indian Ministers, Opposition leaders, journalists, the legal community, business people, government officials, scientists, activists and many influential personalities of the nation.
Pegasus Spyware and India
According to the report by the agency, the Israeli company which sells Pegasus around the world says that its clients are confined to ‘vetted governments”, believed to number 36. The NSO Group also says that ‘the target list in India is not ours, never was.’ Their refusal of the leaked database has created a loophole in understanding this case.
This whole case has violated the integrity of democratic institutions. According to the report by the agencies, after the mobile phones of the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi and various other leaders were hacked under the Pegasus spyware surveillance. Multiple tweets were made against the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) government in India. This whole case has become one of the major threats in the political arena and the Indian Democracy.
Though at the start, it was used for national security purposes. The explosive expansion of surveillance technology vendors has become a vast human rights and a global security issue. If such surveillance technologies increase, it might cause a lot of problems to countries around the globe. Hence, as a precaution, all these countries need to work on regulating this technology.
According to the reports by the agency, one of the targeted phones by the Pegasus spyware was of the former election commissioner of India, Ashok Lavasa. Various such people and such opposition leaders were somehow against the BJP government having their phones hacked with the NSO-owned spyware. All these instances and the names in the leaked list have pointed figures towards the Modi Government.
The Modi government’s stand on this case was put forward in Lok Sabha by two serving ministers, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel. These two leaders were also featured in the leaked database. The recent Information Technology Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw defended the BJP government in the parliament by saying, “the expose was an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.” She even said, ‘any form of illegal surveillance is not possible with the checks and balances in our laws and robust institutions.’
This case has adjourned the parliament proceedings due to the protests inside and outside the house of parliament by the opposition party.
Pegasus Spyware and World.
In the statement given to the agency, Access Now, an organisation defending the digital rights of global users, said it was outraged that products sold by NSO were allegedly “used to hack and invade the private communications” of thousands of people across the globe.
At a global level, France’s Emmanuel Macron was targeted in the Pegasus spyware case. As the phone of French President Emmanuel Macron was hacked, the investigation was carried out and later on was published which was directed by the Paris-based non-profit journalism group Forbidden. After this case came in front of the whole world, the Pegasus spyware surveillance came into the picture.
If this continues for some more time, it will ruin India’s Democratic values at a global level. As well as this might become a huge technological threat between the different nations around the globe.
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