Nelson Mandela’s gravesite in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, will eventually be opened to the public.Opening Mandela’s gravesite to the public will be one of the projects to mark the centenary of Mandela’s birth in July 1918. (Image: Roel Wijnants)Nelson Mandela’s gravesite in Qunu, now only accessible to family, will be open to the public once developments in the area are completed.“It is something that will happen in the future,” said Ndileka Mandela, the oldest grandchild of the statesman, who died in December 2013, told the Sunday Times newspaper.“It would be selfish of the family to say that we’ll close it to the public, because Madiba was a people’s person. At some point we will open it to the general public.”However, another grandchild, Ndaba Mandela, did say it would still “take some time” as various processes would have to be followed.Grandson Mandla Mandela confirmed discussions about the matter were under way. He also said that the ANC and various sectors of the government would be consulted.“I don’t think this is a family issue only. There has to be a dialogue.”Mandela, who died at the age of 95, is buried on a hill in his childhood Qunu homestead in rural Eastern Cape.His birthday, 18 July, is celebrated later this week. The United Nations has declared the day the annual Nelson Mandela International Day, on which people are encouraged to do something to help others. In South Africa, the day has been expanded into the full month of July, known as Mandela Month.Source: News24WireWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material
Saying that the historic 1818 battle of Bhima-Koregaon represented a watershed moment for the Dalit community in their struggle against caste prejudices, newly elected Gujarat Assembly legislator Jignesh Mevani on Sunday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governmentrepresented a ‘neo-Peshwai’ mentality.Mr. Mevani was among several notable progressive speakers who addressed a humongous congregation at the Elgaar Parishad at the historic Shaniwarwada to commemorate the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon of January 1, 1818. As many as 500 soldiers of the untouchable Mahar community had fought alongside the English to defeat the forces of Peshwa Bajirao II in the battle.Lashing out against regional parochialism, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student activist Umer Khalid “apologised” for not delivering his address in Marathi. “Ours is not the xenophobic credo of the ‘Marathi Manoos’ but a celebration of plurality and diversity … forces are aware that the battle of ideas cannot be won by words and hence are resorting to bullets,” said Mr. Khalid.Relevance todayCommenting on the murders of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, Communist leader Govind Pansare, scholar M.M. Kalburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh, Mr. Khalid said the Bhima-Koregaon bicentenary was not merely a commemoration of the struggle of the Mahar community against the Brahminical Peshwa rule, but had modern-day echoes in the ongoing fight of progressives against Hindutva forces.Radhika Vemula, the mother of the late research scholar Rohith Vemula, said, “The Bhima-Koregaon battle was a defining moment for the Dalit community. Today, the BJP government represents the ‘neo-Peshwai’ mentality … it is this mentality and their agents, be it ministers or legislators, who conspired to killed my son and persecute Dalit scholars like him.” Ms. Vemula said that people must take inspiration from the 1818 battle and form a joint front of progressives to combat the ‘new Peshwai tyranny’. Earlier, following much controversy over the event, the police eventually granted permission to organisers with several caveats, specifying that the programme would not include objectionable slogans, posters, banners or feature acts that would “hurt sentiments of members of any caste or religion”. The event had met with considerable opposition from Hindu outfits and pro-Brahmin groups.Groups from across StateThousands of people from more than 250 progressive social outfits, including several left-leaning, Ambedkarite groups across Maharashtra, participated in the event which was symbolically held at the Shaniwarwada fort, the erstwhile seat of Peshwa power. For Dalit activists and progressives, the narrative of the Bhima-Koregaon battle is emblematic in the ongoing struggle against caste oppression and Brahminical domination.The six-hour event, which began at 2 p.m., featured cultural programmes by groups like the Kabir Kala Manch. Later in the evening, the speakers joined lakhs from the Dalit community to visit the Koregaon Ranstambh (victory pillar), a memorial dedicated to the battle in the village of Bhima-Koregaon, 30 km from the city.
A sessions court in Alwar on Wednesday convicted self-styled god-man Kaushalendra Prapannacharya alias Falahari Maharaj for raping a 21-year-old law intern at his ashram last year and awarded him life imprisonment in the case. The court also imposed a fine of ₹1 lakh on the 61-year-old.The woman from Chhattisgarh’s Bilaspur had accused him of sexually assaulting her when she went to his ashram to meet him. The god-man commands a strong following both in India and abroad and the victim’s family was among his followers for several years, claiming to have given large donations to his ashram.Additional Sessions Judge Rajendra Sharma convicted Falahari Maharaj under Sections 376 (2) (c) (rape by taking advantage of official position) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code after taking on record the statements of 30 witnesses and examining 78 documents and 21 articles submitted to the court.The court had reserved its judgement for Wednesday after hearing the arguments of the prosecution and defence. A huge crowd gathered outside the court when the judgment was pronounced. Falahari Maharaj has been lodged in the Alwar Central Jail since his arrest on September 23 last year.The god-man was arrested from a private hospital in Alwar where he had got himself admitted, three days after the case against him was originally registered in Bilaspur. He had christened himself as Falahari Maharaj with the claim that he had survived by consuming only fruits for the last 25 years.Shortly after the god-man’s arrest, his photographs earlier with BJP leaders such as Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh and Raman Singh were widely circulated on social media.The woman, pursuing a law course in Jaipur, stated in her complaint that when she went to the ashram on the Raksha Bandhan day on August 7 last year, the god-man asked her to stay there in view of the lunar eclipse that day. During the night, he called her in his room and sexually assaulted her.
In a major blow to the Maharashtra Government, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the verdict of the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court, cancelling the 16% Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBC) reservation for postgraduate medical seats in Maharashtra.Late on Thursday night, the State CET Cell issued the schedule of the revised round of admission process, mop up rounds I and II, and institutional level round for private unaided, minority, medical and dental colleges in the State. The State Common Entrance Test (CET) cell said they would issue a fresh seat matrix soon, the Maratha community students will now be treated as open category candidates.The government had moved a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court last week. During the hearing on Wednesday, the court asked the lawyers to present statistics on number of students from the Maratha community, and the open category, who will be affected. “The SC has observed in a few lines that the SEBC quota is dismissed from this year’s post-graduate medical admissions in the State. While upholding the Bombay High Court verdict, it has ordered that the Maratha community students can be accommodated if there are any vacant seats. The EWS petition was adjourned,” senior advocate Ashwin Deshpande, representing the open category students, told The Hindu.Following the order, the State CET cell issued an admission cancellation notice and asked the admitted candidates from the community to collect their original documents and paid requisite fees from the institutes. “The admissions in the previous Rounds I and II of NEET-PG-2019 and NEET-MDS-2019 stand cancelled. The admission to post-graduate courses to State quota seats of the government, corporation, central government, aided, private unaided and minority medical and dental institutes shall be revised in the due course,” the notice read.Dr. Tatyarao Lahane, director, Directorate of Medical Research and Education (DMER) said they would follow the guidelines issued by the State government and CET cell. Anand Rayate, CET cell commissioner said the fresh seat matrix will be displayed and the process would start soon.“All admissions given through this quota have been cancelled. We had shown the seat matrix with SEBC quota and without SEBC quota to the Supreme Court, after which the verdict has been given. Now, once the government approves the new seat matrix, we will publish it immediately,” he said.Thursday’s order brought cheer to the open category aspirants.“Most of us will now get a much better seat. Earlier many of us were either getting periphery colleges in the State or none at all, despite having scored good ranks. At the same time, several students from the Maratha community who had scored ranks behind ours were getting seats better than us. Now, everybody will get a seat they deserve, including the Maratha candidates who will be considered in open category,” Dr. Angad Randive, an open category aspirant said.Dr. Suyash Patil, who had secured his seat in Smt. Kashibai Navale Medical College and General Hospital, Pune, said the government must at least increase the seats so they do not lose out on a year. “We have already spent one year studying and now we fear losing six more months. The least the government can do now is increase seats,” he said.
Will it be safe for athletes and officials to go to Delhi? The Delhi Police’s security blueprint for the Commonwealth Games is sure to quell fears raised by a spate of reports in the foreign media that suggested athletes from several countries are considering pulling out of the event, fearing for their safety.Paramilitary personnel guard the Thyagaraj stadium.In terms of manpower and planning, the Game security plan surpasses the arrangements during the Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations in the Capital. More than 80,000 Delhi Police personnel, 17,500 paramilitary personnel, 3,000 commandos, 100 anti-sabotage teams, over 200 dogs and 15 bomb disposal squads will work day and night to ensure the safety of the more than 10,000 athletes and one-lakh foreign visitors expected in the city during the event.If a medal is what the athletes will aim for, the biggest achievement for Delhi Police officers will be an incident-free Games. Athletes, officials, dignitaries and foreign heads of states arriving in the Capital will be covered by a four-tier security cordon from the moment they step out of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).AIRPORT The parking lots around IGIA will be sanitised days before the Games and slots reserved for vehicles that will ferry athletes, officials and dignitaries to hotels.Each of these vehicles will be assigned an RFID (radio frequency identification tag) and their drivers issued with unique IDs. Anti-sabotage, commando and sniper teams will be deployed in and around the airport. A team of commandos will escort buses ferrying officials and athletes.advertisementBetween the airport and the Games Village, the Delhi Police will set up 15 posts. Armed guards stationed there will be ready to act in case of an eventuality.HOTELSCorridors and rooms of hotels that will host athletes and visitors will be sanitised and only verified hotel staff carrying ID cards provided by the Delhi Police will be allowed access. The hotels will have watch towers and access control. Even the food and water for athletes and officials will be first tasted by security personnel and food experts.VENUES The “impregnable security” plans of the Delhi Police get tested here. All persons except for state guests will get ‘park and ride’ facility at the first tier with only designated, pretagged vehicles allowed inside the outermost cordon manned by the traffic police.In the next cordon, spectators will be guided to their designated entry gates leading to seating galleries.The galleries will be under electronic surveillance with officers moving around in plainclothes.Snipers will be positioned on the rooftop of the stands.In the next cordon, security personnel will screen the barcode of tickets being carried by spectators, and keep photocopies of spectators’ ID and photos for record. VIP vehicles entering this zone will be checked for their special RFID tags and I-cards of the drivers verified. For the first time, licence plate scanners will be in use. There will be separate entry gates for athletes, Games officials, dignitaries and spectators.The entry gates where the RFID tags and vehicles will be checked will have boom barriers, tyre-killers and road blockers in place. In case any vehicle doesn’t comply with the mandatory RFID and other checks at the entry gates, all these gadgets will automatically activate.The exclusion zone, within 30m radius of the stadium, comes next. Here, even athletes will have to get off their vehicles and go through doorframe metal detectors, hand- held detectors and manual frisking. Baggage will be put through X-ray scanners.The X-ray scanners will have a memory back-up, saving images of 250 items last scanned.The zone will be CCTV-secured.Vehicle-mounted scanners called ‘mobile cargo container inspection equipment’ have also been hired to inspect cargo without opening containers. “This gadget can scan 20 containers in an hour,” a police officer said.GAMES VILLAGEThe Games village will have unprecedented security. “In fact, the steps beat the Parliamentary session arrangements in terms of checks and counterchecks put in place,” a police officer said. The place has a 3m-high perimeter wall with a 1.5m-high iron grill running over it. “But once inside athletes will feel free to move around,” the officer added.Only RFID-tagged vehicles driven by drivers with valid IDs will be allowed in. Tyre-busters and boom barriers will be installed at the entry gates. This apart, commandos, anti-sabotage teams and intelligence officials will be deployed in and around the complex.Each of the 574 vehicles assigned to ferry athletes to venues will undergo mechanical and anti-sabotage checks every morning.When athletes and officials staying at any of the nine designated hotels or Games Village venture outside the dedicated lanes, they will get a helicopter escort.advertisementOPEN EVENTSThe trickiest part of the security plan is to provide security for events such as marathon, cycling and walkathon, which passes through busy markets and residential areas. “We will not only put restrictions on movement of vehicles but even open telephone and electricity boxes and windows will be sealed for the duration of the event,” a police officer said. Snipers will be deployed along the route along with commandos.