IT’S NOW the turn of former MP and journalist Shahid Siddiqui to join the Bharat Mata debate. Writing in the RSS-affiliated journal Organiser, he says: “Bharat Mata is all that is great and wonderful in this nation of 1.25 billion people… I totally reject the idea that to say ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ is against Islam.” Stating that those who oppose this “are either trying to get cheap publicity or doing dirty politics,” he says even a few ulemas, who issued a fatwa on the issue, have been rejected and made irrelevant by the Muslim community. Siddiqui was earlier with the Congress, Samajwadi Party, BSP and Rashtriya Lok Dal. He was expelled from the SP after he interviewed Narendra Modi in 2012.
Ringing in Healthcare
IN A bid to popularise some of the basic messages for better reproductive and child health, the cabinet secretariat has sent a missive to the Ministry of Health that all Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) etc should have the Kilkari ring tone. The Kilkari ringtone, which was launched recently, is a set of health messages stressing the importance of hygiene, institutional delivery, vaccination etc. Almost the entire frontline team of primary health workers are armed with mobile phones through which the health of mothers and babies is tracked.
THE ODD-EVEN scheme seems to have the consistent support of the higher judiciary. In January, when the scheme was first implemented, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur car-pooled with Justice A K Sikri. Since then, CJI Thakur has moved to another house. Justice Kurian Joseph, who has shifted to CJI Thakur’s earlier accommodation, is now car-pooling with Justice Sikri.