Suspension of IPL - an Overdue Decision

Mafazah Sharafuddin
May 4, 2021

The IPL is being suspended now in the wake of several players testing positive for COVID. This occurred despite the prior claims of the bio bubbles being an effective way to prevent transmission. 

Despite many accusation of insensitivity, the BCCI were content to let the IPL go on until this development. This is despite the massive COVID crisis India is suffering through.

As Indians on social media clamored for help due to the lack of beds and oxygen in the hospitals in the middle of the pandemic, names of cricketers fill the headlines. The IPL has always been a massive event in India. However, in the wake of a global health crisis that required the 2020 Olympics to be postponed, the fact that the IPL was conducted comes as a shock. 

Several cricketers withdrew from playing this year. Their reasons ranged from having relatives who have tested positive, being wary of putting their vulnerable loved ones at risk, fear of being unable to return home as international airport ban travelers from India etc. However, several big names still lent their support to the IPL being conducted mid-pandemic among players and patrons alike. Notably, there is Jay Shah, BCCI Secretary and son of the Home Minister, Amit Shah. A senior Indian cricket board official had told Reuters that the IPL must go on as it lifts spirits in times of such negativity. 

This of course, is a gross oversimplification as cricket does give entertainment, it is also a group sport. Despite claims of being extensive in taking precautionary measures, multiple players are now infected, and everyone who has interacted with the players have been exposed to the virus. 

This raises the question whether the BCCI will rethink its statements regarding T20. The BCCI had priorly stated that T20 would be conducted. They added that in case they are unable to conduct T20 in India due to COVID, their plan B is to have it hosted in UAE, rather than cancelling the event.

While the BCCI’s move to conduct the IPL can be considered disgraceful, the reactions to the same were not much better. Media houses, too, rushed at the opportunity of giving news coverage to the IPL. Several people like Faye Dsouza and Rana Ayyub are using social media to shed light on the severity of the COVID situation in India. This includes posting videos of crematoriums etc. that are not getting covered by mainstream media. Amidst this, big media houses seemed to be content in highlighting cricket. 

The New Indian Express stood out among other reputed media houses in India.  They posted an announcement from the Editor stating that they will not be covering the IPL as they disagree with it being held in the midst of such a tragic time. 

Each match so far has been extensively covered by several media houses. Meanwhile, the SC had to give specific orders to stop booking people for asking for help finding oxygen, beds or medicine in the wake of scores of cases of the same occurring in UP, Maharashtra and Haryana. 

There is no doubt that the move to suspend the IPL was a wise one, but the timing of it is still questionable. It seems as though to the IPL organizers and player, the issue that is causing people to die in thousands in the country did not matter until it reached their arena. It is also dubious to the ethics of news to have media houses covering cricket at this time. 

While ‘to entertain’ may be one of the functions of the news, it seems as though ‘to inform’ and ‘to educate’ have taken a backseat.

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News Network
July 11,2021

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Addis Ababa, July 11: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's Prosperity Party won the most seats in Ethiopia's parliamentary election, the election board said on Saturday, a victory that assures him another term in office.

Abiy hailed the June 21 vote as the country's first free and fair election after decades of repressive rule. However, an opposition boycott, war in the northern region of Tigray, ethnic violence and logistical challenges in some areas overshadowed the election. Voting did not take place in three of Ethiopia's 10 regions.

Abiy's party won 410 of 436 parliamentary seats, election board deputy chairperson Woubshet Ayele announced in the capital Addis Ababa. Chairperson Birtukan Mideksa said the board had delivered a credible election.

Opposition leader Berhanu Nega said his Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice party (Ezema) had filed 207 complaints after local officials and militiamen blocked observers in the Amhara region and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' region.

The election was the first test of voter support for Abiy, who promised political and economic reforms when he was appointed prime minister by the governing coalition in 2018.

Within months of taking office, Abiy lifted a ban on opposition parties, released tens of thousands of political prisoners and took steps to open up one of Africa's last untapped markets.

He now faces international pressure over the war in Tigray and accusations from rights groups that his government is rolling back some new freedoms, which it denies.

Abiy's newly formed Prosperity Party faced a fragmented opposition of dozens of mostly ethnically-based parties. The opposition parties Ezema and the National Movement of Amhara (NAMA) each won less than 10 seats.

Voting in the Harar and Somali regions was delayed until September over security concerns and problems with ballot papers.

No date has been set for voting in Tigray, where the military has been battling forces loyal to the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the region's former ruling party, since November. The fighting has displaced 2 million people, and the United Nations has warned of famine conditions in parts of the region.

At the end of June, the TPLF seized control of most of Tigray and the regional capital Mekelle, eight months after the conflict erupted.

The government announced a unilateral ceasefire after days of TPLF advances. The TPLF has presented a list of seven demands that it says are a precondition for a ceasefire, including the withdrawal of the military and its allies from parts of Tigray currently administered by the neighbouring region of Amhara, which also claims the land.

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News Network
July 11,2021

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Bengaluru, July 11: Veteran BJP leader and former union minister Thawarchand Gehlot on Sunday took oath as the 19th Governor of Karnataka succeeding Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala. 

The Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka administered him the oath of office and secrecy to Gehlot at the Raj Bhavan in the presence of outgoing Governor Vajubhai Vala, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, his cabinet colleagues, MPs, MLAs and senior officials of the state government.

The 73-year old Gehlot was the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment at the centre, and was leader of the House in Rajya Sabha before assuming the new role in the southern state. He is familiar with Karnataka as he served as the state in-charge for years between 2006 and 2014 when he was party general secretary.

A Dalit leader, born on May 18, 1948 at Rupeta in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, he graduated in B.A form Vikram University in Ujjain. Gehlot entered politics in 1962 through the Jan Sangh and had occupied several positions in BJP including its Parliamentary Board and Central Election Committee.

President Ram Nath Kovind had announced the appointment of Gehlot as the new Governor of Karnataka on July 6.

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July 20,2021

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Mumbai, July 20: Actor Shilpa Shetty's husband, businessman Raj Kundra has been arrested by the Mumbai police over a case involving pornographic films. The Mumbai Police said they arrested Mr Kundra on Monday "as he appears to be the key conspirator of this".

The police also said they have "sufficient evidence" against him, though they added that further investigations are in progress.

The case -- involving creation of pornographic films and publishing them through some apps -- was registered with the Mumbai Crime Branch in February this year.

"There was a case registered with the Crime Branch Mumbai in Feb 2021 about creation of pornographic films and publishing them through some Apps. We've arrested Mr Raj Kundra in this case on 19/7/21 as he appears to be the key conspirator of this. We have sufficient evidences regarding this," the Mumbai Police Commissioner said in a statement.

Denying any wrongdoing, Raj Kundra had sought anticipatory bail in the case.

Shilpa Shetty married Raj Kundra in 2009 and they welcomed their first child, son Viaan Raj Kundra, in 2012. The couple welcomed their second child - a daughter named Samisha via surrogacy, last year.

Raj Kundra - the owner of an app called JL Stream -- was part owner of Indian Premier League cricket team Rajasthan Royals.

In 2013, he was questioned by the Delhi Police in connection with the betting and spot-fixing scandal that engulfed Indian cricket.

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