‘I Learnt Cooking, Focused On Fitness In Covid-19 Times’

Rio de Janeiro Olympics silver medalist and world champion PV Sindhu is always looking for new ways to improve her skills and fitness. The latest, in a series of measures, is her visit to London. An eight-week stint in London will entail what she needs to do to improve on her recovery at a private lab run by Gatorade first and then also playing there. Gatorade lab is reckoned to be a modern sports institute, where top athletes undergo various tests to see how their body behaves after a tough match and what needs to be done to get the juices flowing again. It is well known that Sindhu, who keeps slogging on her fitness and speed will also use the opportunity to play in London with top guns.

In an exclusive chat with LokMarg, Sindhu shares her thoughts on how life was since outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown thereafter. She has faced tough times with the media in Hyderabad, her hometown, as well, but is now used to it.

How did you spend time after the lockdown was announced?

Well, it was fine, I was still training from home and then I looked at ways to keep myself busy. I spent time playing with my nephew (sister’s son) and the family. I managed to do a lot of new things like keeping myself busy learning to cook and painting. I did not get bored really during lockdown. Of course, there was no badminton (tournaments) obviously.

How did you resume training? And was it tough to find your rhythm back after the forced lockdown?

Well, as I was training during lockdown from home, so it was not tough for me. It took me a few weeks (to get the feel) when we got back to the courts. But for me, it was not like begin from the start really.

Definitely, when you are away from badminton and you do not connect with the shuttle, it will take time. I think for me getting the rhythm back was easier.

And did the lockdown affect your fitness regime?

In the lockdown, I had my trainer giving me the set of drills (schedule) to follow. Morning I was busy on court. I had my fitness drills in the morning, and evening was different. I had my workout in the gym, focused on my fitness and speed. Most important was to keep working out hard.

And your diet plan?

Well, diet, I eat rice, so I continue with it. I avoided junk food and did not eat much of oily food. For me, recovery is very, very important. As I also have my personal physio, I was stretching out which is very important to ensure I remained fit. When I needed treatment from the physio, they were there. I have to stay in peak shape.

Any the key areas of learning in your sport?

Well, as regards key areas, I want to focus on every aspect. This is the time to learn more strokes and I want to learn everything new possible. There are no tournaments immediately for me so it is a good time to keep learning strokes and keep improving. I have so much time, so there is nothing wrong in learning.

Your thoughts on the postponed Tokyo Olympics?

Well, the Tokyo Olympics, I hope to do well. We have tournaments before that in 2021. I am hopeful I will do well and one at a time is my mantra.

How did you deal with Covid-19 during the peak as an athlete?

I have been taking of myself care during Covid-19 and even now. Every individual should do that, in fact. Wear a mask, use sanitiser and maintain social distancing. In my case, when I returned home, I always washed and showered.

Please tell us about the role of your parents in your life?

My parents have always supported me in my life. They have helped me and supported me all along. I am lucky as they were both sportspersons, they know what best I need.

Your thoughts, looking ahead?

I do hope Covid 19 goes away and all the people can lead normal lives. For athletes, being on court is so important. I would say all people need to enjoy sport. It was tough during the pandemic as all the events got cancelled.

I think it is very important for all of us to stay positive. I am sure normalcy will return and we all need to be positive in our lives every single day.

ALSO READ: Sania Mirza’s On Life Amid Pandemic

India Prepared To Defend Territorial Integrity: Modi

Indian soldiers have the power to give a befitting reply to those eyeing the land of the country, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, adding that today India is fully prepared to protect its territorial integrity, sovereignty and honour.

“India’s posture and approach at its borders have changed. Our brave soldiers are fully equipped and prepared to give a befitting reply to those who put their evil eyes on us. Security apparatus and infrastructure along our borders are stronger than ever!” Prime Minister said in Gujarat on the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

“The way some forces have openly come in support of terrorism is a global concern for world peace and humanity. It is more imperative now than ever that all nations, governments and sects must unite to defeat all forces that aid and abet terrorism,” he added.

He also said all countries of the world need to unite against terrorism, no one can benefit from terrorism and violence.

“The country can never forget that some people were not saddened at the sacrifice of the security personnel during the Pulwama attack. At that time, these people were only doing politics…I request them not to do such politics in the interest of the nation,” he added.

He added that the way the truth (about the Pulwama attack in India) has been admitted in the parliament of the neighbouring country, it has exposed the real faces of those who did politics over the incident.

The Prime Minister further stated that 130 crore Indians together honoured the COVID19 warriors in their fight against this pandemic.

“The way the country has proved its collective potential during this time is unprecedented,” he added.

Speaking about boosting tourism here, PM Modi said, “A seaplane service from Sardar Sarovar to Sabarmati riverfront will be started today. This will help boost tourism in this area. All these efforts are going to increase tourism in this area too. Tribal people are getting equal chances of employment. I congratulate the Government of Gujarat and the people of the state for these achievements.”

“Many new sites like Jungle Safari Park, Ekta Mall, Children’s Nutrition Park, Arogya Van have been launched here in Kevadia. In the coming time, on the banks of ‘Maa Narmada’, not only India but this place is going to make its place on the tourism map of the whole world,” he added.

The Prime Minister also wished people on the occasion of Valmiki Jayanti today.

“Sardar Patel gave the present form to India by making the diversity of the country, power of free India by uniting the hundreds of princely states of the country. In 2014, we all started celebrating his birthday as a festival of the unity of India,” he added.

Sardar Patel, who is credited with uniting all 562 princely states of the pre-independent country to build the Republic of India, passed away on December 15, 1950. (ANI)

AAP Govt Says Covid Spike Linked To Bad Air, Winter

Blaming the recent spike in COVID-19 cases to a combined effect of the festive season, decrease in temperature and increased pollution, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Saturday said that people have also started giving less importance to wearing face masks.

This comes a day after the national capital reported 5,891 new COVID-19 cases, the highest number in a single day, taking the total count of cases to 3,81,644. It is the third consecutive day that the the city has reported over 5,000 new cases.

“It is a combined effect of the festive season, decrease in temperature and increased pollution. The experts had also suggested that at this time COVID-19 cases could rise. People are also giving less importance to wearing face masks,” Jain told reporters here.

He said that the people are fed up with COVID-19 and taking precautions over six to seven months and urged everyone to continue following safety measures like wearing masks and washing hands, etc to prevent the spread of the virus.

“We had increased the ICU bed capacity in the city by around 1,000. We had also reserved 80 per cent of beds for COVID-19 patients but the court intervened and stayed the decision. Currently, around 1,200 of the total 2,900 ICU beds are vacant,” Jain said.

“Masks will protect people not only from the COVID-19 but air pollution as well,” he added.

Speaking about removing the 20 people limit on DTC buses, Jain said, “It is not a problem if people are wearing face masks. However, if people are not wearing face masks, even 20 people is too many. We have not entirely removed the upper limit. Only as many people will be allowed to board the bus as many seats there are available.”

Meanwhile, the air quality in the national capital has dipped owing to stubble burning in the neighbouring states including Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. (ANI)

Armenia, Azerbaijan Not To Target Civilian Installations

Foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan on Friday reached an agreement on not targeting the civilian population and non-military objects in accordance with international humanitarian law, said a joint statement issued Friday.

The two sides will also start to recover and exchange remains on the battlefield, and provide a list of currently detained war prisoners for eventual exchange, according to a statement by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group co-chairs.

They will also provide in writing comments and questions related to possible ceasefire verification mechanisms in accordance with item 2 of the Oct. 10 joint statement, the statement said.

On Friday, the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, namely Igor Popov of Russia, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States, met separately and jointly with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov in Geneva.

“The Co-Chairs once again called on the sides to implement, in full, their commitments, including the immediate establishment of a humanitarian ceasefire, in accordance with the October 10 Moscow Joint Statement, which the sides reaffirmed with Paris on October 17 and in Washington on October 25,” the statement said.

It added that the co-chairs will continue working with the sides intensively to find a peaceful settlement of their latest conflict.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at loggerheads over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh since 1988. Peace talks have been held since 1994 when a ceasefire was reached, but there have been sporadic minor clashes. A new round of armed conflict broke out along the contact line on Sept. 27. (ANI/Xinhua)

Confessions Of A Terrorist State

At 15:30 hours (local time) on February 14, 2019, a convoy of 78 vehicles, transporting 2,500 Central Reserve Police Force personnel, passed through Lethpora near Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir when it was hit by a car carrying 300 kilograms of explosives. At the time, all fingers pointed towards Pakistan. However, Prime Minister Imran Khan and his spin-doctors wasted no time in disassociating themselves with the horrific terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 40 jawans.

Nevertheless, Masood Azhar, the chief of the terrorist organisation, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), based in Pakistan, issued a statement claiming the responsibility for the deadly attack. Azhar was later added to the United Nations Security Council list of international terrorists on May 1, 2019. He still resides in Pakistan under the alleged protection of ISI.

In retaliation to the Pulwama attack, 12 Mirage 2000 Indian fighter jets crossed the Line of Control on February 26 and hit the JeM’s terrorist training camp in Balakot in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa deep inside Pakistani territory. The following day Pakistan Air Force jets entered Indian territory by crossing the Line of Control and in the ensuing dog fight, an Indian Mig 21 was shot down as its pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, chased the enemy into its territory.

On March 1, within less than 48 hours, Pakistan released Abhinandan, claiming that it was a goodwill gesture.

Two days ago, the former National Assembly speaker and leader of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Ayaz Sadiq, revealed that Pakistan Army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, was perspiring and his legs were shaking during a meeting of the parliamentary parties when minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi said that if Abhinandan was not released, India would attack Pakistan by 9 pm that day. The statement brandished not only the morale of the military but actually shook the whole structure of the Pakistan Army to its foundation. Sadiq said that Khan even refused to attend that meeting!

Earlier in February 2019, Khan had confessed in front of the parliament that he knew of an impending missile attack by India on Pakistan; therefore confirming the above revelation by Sadiq.

But this was not the end of the story. Faced with utter humiliation from an Opposition leader (Sadiq), the military establishment hurriedly assigned the task of recouping its lost prestige by instructing Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry to issue a counter statement at the House of Parliament. And that is when the confession of a terrorist state was made.

In an emotional speech made, the federal minister, accepting the responsibility of the Pulwama attack, confessed that “hum nay ghus kar marra Hindustan ko (We entered India to kill its armed forces)”. Not only that but he continued to boast that the way, in which the attack was conducted, was a matter of great pride and “under the leadership of Imran Khan it is a success of the whole nation”!

The above statement, which has not yet been expunged from the record of the National Assembly minutes, should be enough evidence to prove to the world community and above all to the Financial Action Task Force that the Pakistani civil government, its military and non-state actors like the terrorist outfit, JeM, are hand in glove in the execution of terrorist activities in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and beyond.

The statements quoted above are in itself a confirmation of what this scribe has always been emphasising upon that Pakistan’s army is involved in cross-border terrorism in Kashmir and that it is not a fighting army. On the contrary, it is a band of mercenary armed thugs who have taken a nation hostage for financial extortion by setting up business concerns in every sector of the economy and would fight anybody’s war if the price was right. (Recent example being sending troops to Azerbaijan to fight under Turkish command for $1,200 -$1,500 per army personnel)

The confessions of the former speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan and a sitting federal minister are more than enough to prove the role of the rogue state of Pakistan in manufacturing, harbouring and exporting terrorism in the region. This should remove any doubts from the minds of international human rights institutions such as the UN Human Rights Council who have only recently allowed Pakistan to be re-elected to the council for three years and to declare Pakistan’s membership to this august organisation null and void. Furthermore, the Financial Action Task Force should reconvene a special session and put Pakistan on the blacklist

Since the Pulwama attack, Pakistan has been continuously provoking India by endlessly firing mortar bombs across the Line of Control into civilian neighbourhoods. Pakistan has used the cross border firing as a cover to infiltrate jihadist terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir. Now is the time to pay them back by exposing them further in the eyes of the world community what sort of a nation-state Pakistan is and increase its fast-growing diplomatic isolation.

The best way to take revenge for the Pulwama attack is to hasten the return of the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir, hasten the completion of developmental projects and encourage non-Union Territory citizens of India to invest and capitalise on the Modi government’s recent law.

It should also settle the debate between the Modi government and Indian opposition parties regarding any doubts about its readiness in tackling Pakistan. Three-time prime minister of Pakistan and Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif’s speech that was broadcasted via satellite from London at the Quetta rally on October 25 should also be an eye-opener, in which he has directly accused the Army chief and ISI director general for exerting pressure on him to resign from his office.

Today not only her neighbours but perhaps more importantly the people of Pakistan are looking for ways to get rid of the military oligarchy. The slogan popularised by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement “Ye Jo Dehshat Gardi hai, is kay pechay wardi hai (Uniform is behind the terrorism)” was rightly echoed by youth in the valley on Black Day on October 22 this year when they marched to the UN mission in Srinagar to hand a memorandum, accusing Pakistan of War Crimes. In a nutshell, the Pakistan Army, the civilian government of Khan and non-state terrorist outfits are hand in glove in the deadly trade of terrorism.

(The author is a human rights activist from Mirpur in PoJK. He currently lives in exile in the UK – ANI)

Shouldn’t Nitish Speak About Jobs, Migration: Tejashwi

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Friday asked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to speak on issues of unemployment and migration.

In a tweet in Hindi, Tejashwi Yadav said, “Respected Nitishji accepts that in 15 years of his government he has destroyed education, health and industries of the state. He also ruined the present and future of two generations. This is the reason why he does not speak anything about unemployment, jobs industries, investment and migration. Shouldn’t he speak on these issues ?”

On October 27, Tejashwi Yadav had said that by commenting on my family, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is targeting Prime Minister Modi and moreover he can only indulge in abusing me but he won’t speak on the real issues like inflation and corruption that affects people.

“By commenting on my family, Nitish Kumar is targeting PM Modi as he also has 6 siblings. Using such language, Nitish Kumar has insulted women and my mother’s sentiments. They don’t speak on main issues including inflation, corruption, unemployment etc, he can only abuse us,” said Yadav reacting to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s ‘nine children’ jibe at RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav.

“Whatever CM Nitish Kumar says, it is a blessing for us but he is indirectly trying to target PM Modi indirectly by attacking us,” he added.

Yadav further stated that RJD’s only focus is to provide jobs to the youth, eradicate poverty, construct open factories and food processing units.”People of Bihar have decided to vote for the issues related to the state,” he added.

Bihar saw a final voter turnout of 55.69 per cent in the first phase of assembly polls with the poll percentage better compared to that in 2015.

It was the first time voters had come out to exercise their franchise in an assembly election in the constraints posed by COVID-19.

“Voter turnout phase 1 across 71 Assembly Constituencies (ACs) in Bihar Assembly Elections 2020 – a robust 55.69% despite covid pandemic constraints.” Election Commission spokesperson Sheyphali Sharan said in a tweet.

The first phase of polling was held on Wednesday. (ANI)

World Condemens Terrorist Attacks In France

Scores of countries and heads of states have come out in support of France after a knife-wielding man killed two women and a man at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Nice and injured several others on Thursday.

The attack in Nice was followed by a knife-stabbing attempt at the southeastern French city of Avignon and another one at the French Consulate in Saudi Arabia.

The UAE has strongly condemned the terrorist act that took place in Nice which resulted in a number of victims, Khaleej times reported.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued a statement expressing its strong condemnation of these criminal acts. The ministry stressed its permanent rejection of all forms of violence that aim to destabilise security and stability and are inconsistent with religious and humanitarian values and principles.

Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif also strongly condemned the deadly knife attack in southern France and called it a “terrorist attack.” Zarif said in a tweet, “We strongly condemn today’s terrorist attack in #Nice. This escalating vicious cycle — hate speech, provocations and violence — must be replaced by reason and sanity.”

Apart from Iran and UAE, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also deplored the attack, calling “all civilized peoples must stand in full solidarity with France.”

“Israel unites in shock and condemnation of the atrocious attack at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Nice. All civilized peoples must stand in full solidarity with France against the scourge of terrorism. There can be no justification or equivocation,” Netanyahu tweeted.

Before Netanyahu, President Donald Trump had shown support to France, saying said that the United States is standing with its oldest ally in this fight.

“Our hearts are with the people of France. America stands with our oldest ally in this fight. These radical Islamic terrorist attacks must stop immediately. No country, France or otherwise can long put up with it!” Trump tweeted.

Saudi Arabia too condemned the attack that occurred near the Notre Dame church in Nice.

“We strongly condemn and denounce the terrorist attack that occurred near the Notre Dame church in Nice, France, which resulted in the death and injury of several people,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia tweeted.

“We reiterate the Kingdom’s utter rejection of such extremist acts that are inconsistent with all religions, human beliefs and common sense. We affirm the importance of rejecting practices that generate hatred, violence and extremism,” MOFA Saudi Arabia added.

This killings in France come days after Samuel Paty, a school teacher, was beheaded by an 18-year-old teenager on the outskirts of Paris after he showed cartoons depicting the Prophet during a lesson. Paty was posthumously granted France’s highest award, the Legion d’Honneur, and commemorated in the national ceremony at the Sorbonne University in Paris. (ANI)

Terrorists Kill Three BJP Workers In Kashmir

Terrorists fired upon three BJP workers identified as Fida Hussain Yatoo, Umer Rashid Beigh and Umer Ramzan Hajam in YK Pora, Kulgam on Thursday. They were shifted to a nearby hospital for treatment where they were declared as brought dead, Jammu and Kashmir Police said.

BJP Jammu and Kashmir spokesperson Altaf Thakur strongly condemned the killing of the BJP workers and termed the act as highly barbaric.

Thakur said that the militants don’t even spare the unarmed people on the auspicious occasion of Eid-e-Milad un Nabi. Thakur urged the police to track down the killers and punish them sternly.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor of the UT Manoj Sinha has strongly condemned the killings of the political workers who were shot dead by the militants in the Qazigund area of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district.

Expressing his anguish over the killings, the LG said that the perpetrators of violence are the enemies of humanity and such cowardly acts cannot be justified.

Law shall take its course and the guilty shall be dealt with sternly, he added.

The LG assured all possible help from the government to the bereaved families.

He also conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members and prayed for eternal peace for the departed souls. (ANI)

Manushi Wants To Focus On Women And Children Issues

Former Miss World and actor Manushi Chhillar who conceived and spearheaded a non-profit organisation, Project Shakti, aimed at improving the menstrual hygiene of women in India, on Friday said that she wants to raise awareness on issues regarding children and education in the near future.

Talking about her journey with the Miss World pageant, Chhillar said that it opened up her eyes to “life, sociated and most importantly, humanity.”

“My journey with Miss World opened my eyes to life, society, and most importantly, humanity. I cherish every moment because I got to meet the most incredible people across the world and came across fascinating stories of self-belief, self-reliance, and survival,” she said.

“I want to use my equity as an actor to take up more and more causes and dedicate my life towards bringing attention to initiatives on children and education. How we protect our future generation will lay the foundation stone on how this world will shape up,” the 23-year-old actor added.

The debutant also revealed her plans to expand the scope of work of her initiative Project Shakti.

“I’m already actively working on Project Shakti which I’m keen to expand and reach out to more women in newer cities of India. We had elaborate plans for 2020 but we had to wait on these discussions because of the coronavirus pandemic,” she said.

“I’m eager to roll out these plans and bring as much awareness across India about menstrual hygiene. It’s a cause that I feel deeply connected to,” the former Miss India added.

Chhillar is all set to make her Bollywood debut with Yash Raj Film’s periodic drama ‘Prithviraj,’ where she will be seen opposite Akshay Kumar. (ANI)

Pak Owns Up Pulwama Attack, Dubs It An Achievement

In an official acknowledgement of its role in Pulwama terror attack, Pakistan Federal minister Fawad Chaudhry boasted in National Assembly on Thursday that “Pulwama was achievement under leadership of Imran Khan” and that “Hindustan ko ghus ke maara hai”.

“We hit India by entering inside. Our achievement in Pulwama is the achievement of the entire community under the leadership of Imran Khan. You all also have credit (for it), Chaudhry told the National Assembly on Thursday.

The dastardly terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14, 2019 claimed the lives of 40 personnel. Terrorists rammed an explosive-laden vehicle in the bus. The convoy had of 78 buses in which around 2,500 personnel were travelling from Jammu to Srinagar.

Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack. Pakistan had repeatedly denied responsibility for the attack.

Days later India carried out airstrike on JeM’s Balakot terror training camp in Pakistan.

India had also withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan following the terror attack. It had said that the External Affairs Ministry will initiate all possible diplomatic steps which have to be taken to ensure isolation of Pakistan for having a direct hand in the incident.

The international community had expressed its strong support to India in the wake of the terror attack. (ANI)