South African radicals set British war memorial ablaze

Updated 03 April 2015
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South African radicals set British war memorial ablaze

JOHANNESBURG: Members of a radical South African movement burned and charred a momument to British soldiers who died in the Boer Wars (1899-1902), describing it as a “colonial statue,” the party and police said Friday.
The protesters “put (a burning) tyre over the statue” of a soldier in the centre of the southern town of Uitenhage, police warrant officer Basil Seekoei told AFP.
“We haven’t arrested anyone yet. We’re still busy with the investigation first,” he added.
Responsibility for the incident on Thursday was swiftly claimed by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a political party formed in 2013 by Julius Malema, formerly the firebrand youth leader of the ruling African National Congress, which expelled him after a conviction for hate speech.
Luxolo Jacobs, a self-proclaimed youth in the EFF, posted two photos on Twitter of the statue in flames and covered in plastic by party militants, with a message to Malema.
“The statue of the Anglo-Boer War fell in Uitenhage. When the Leadership speaks fighters respond,” Jacobs wrote.
Police said that the memorial was “not badly damaged”, since the stonework was merely blackened.
But the incident follows calls by Malema to bring down statues of South Africa’s former white rulers, British and Afrikaaner alike.
“We said that economic liberation must be accompanied by the falling of these colonial statues and we would want to see them replaced by liberation hero statues,” EFF Regional Deputy Chairperson Bo Madwara said on state-run SABC television.
South Africans are currently debating the status of colonial-era monuments more widely, after student activists at the University of Cape Town succeeded in having a statue of Cecil Rhodes boarded up.
Rhodes (1853-1902), the British colonist, mining magnate and politician for whom Rhodesia (modern Zimbabwe) was named, is seen in hostile circles as the embodiment of white oppression in southern African history.


India holds ‘Super Tuesday’ vote

Indian National Congress party president Rahul Gandhi (C) gestures after laying a wreath to pay tribute on the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre at the Jallianwala Bagh martyrs memorial in Amritsar on April 13, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 45 min 52 sec ago
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India holds ‘Super Tuesday’ vote

  • Rahul Gandhi is standing in Wayanad in Kerala state, taking a risk as south India is considered a stronghold of regional parties
  • This election is seen as a referendum on his five-year rule — which has seen impressive economic growth but not the jobs that the BJP promised

NEW DELHI: Indians are voting Tuesday in the third phase of the general elections with campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party and the opposition marred by bitter accusations and acrimony.
People lined up outside voting station at several places even before the polling started at 7 a.m.
The voting for 117 parliamentary seats in 13 states and two Union Territories on Tuesday means polls are half done for 543 seats in the lower house of Parliament. The voting over seven phases ends May 19, with counting scheduled for May 23.
The election is seen as a referendum on Modi’s five-year rule. He has adopted a nationalist pitch trying to win the majority Hindu votes by projecting a tough stance against Islamic neighbor Pakistan.
The opposition is challenging him for a high unemployment rate of 6.1% and farmers’ distress aggravated by low crop prices.
Modi is scheduled to vote on Tuesday in his western home state of Gujarat, though he is contesting for a parliamentary seat from Varanasi, a city in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The voting also is taking place in Wayanad constituency in southern Kerala state, one of the two seats from where opposition Congress party president, Rahul Gandhi, is contesting. His home bastion, Amethi, in Uttar Pradesh state will have polling on May 6. He will give up one seat if he wins from both places.
The voting is staggered to facilitate movement of security forces to oversee an orderly election and avoid vote fraud.
India’s autonomous Election Commission intervened last week to block hate speeches by imposing a temporary ban on campaigning by some top politicians across political parties.
Uttar Pradesh state chief minister Yogi Adityanath of Modi’s BJP was barred from campaigning, in the form of public meetings, road shows or media interviews, for three days for making anti-Muslim speeches. He said a Hindu god will ensure the BJP victory in elections, while the opposition was betting on Muslim votes.
Mayawati, a leader of Bahujan Samaj Party, was punished for 48 hours for appealing to Muslims to vote only for her party. India’s top court ordered strict action against politicians for religion and caste-based remarks.
Hindus comprise 80% and Muslims 16% of India’s 1.3 billion people. The opposition accuses the BJP of trying to polarize the Hindu votes in its favor.
Meenakshi Lekhi, a BJP leader, filed a contempt of court petition against Rahul Gandhi in the Supreme Court for misrepresenting a court order while accusing Modi of corruption in a deal to buy 36 French Rafale fighter aircraft. Modi denies the charge.
Modi has used Kashmir to pivot away from his economic record, playing up the threat of rival Pakistan, especially after the suicide bombing of a paramilitary convoy on Feb. 14 that killed 40 soldiers, in a bid to appear a strong, uncompromising leader on national security. The bombing brought nuclear rivals India and Pakistan close to the brink of war.
Opposition parties have consistently said that Modi and his party leaders are digressing from the main issues such as youth employment and farmers’ suicides.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety. Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989. Most Kashmiris support the rebels’ demand that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country, while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.