Shivnath Thukral, Top Lobbyist For WhatsApp (Meta), Held Stake In Company That Worked For Modi, PM Office, BJP
An independent investigation has found that Shivnath Thukral, a top official with WhatsApp Inc, which is owned by Meta (formerly Facebook), held stake in a company that provided software to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Bharatiya Janata Party, the prime minister’s office, and a federal government ministry.
According to this investigation published by www.newslaundry.com, Thukral, who is currently public policy director, India, with WhatsApp Inc, had once owned a stake in Opalina Technologies. He gave up his stake in Opalina before joining Facebook on October 24, 2017. But Opalina, where Thukral’s father still holds shares, continues to work for the BJP and Modi.
According to the registrar of companies in the government of India’s ministry of corporate affairs, Thukral – who is also a former journalist and worked as managing editor with NDTV Profit, a business news TV station – was a director of Opalina Technologies between March 2015 and October 2017 and owned a 7.5 per cent stake in the company since October 2014.
Just nine days before he joined Facebook India, Thukral resigned as Opalina’s director. Around the same time, he transferred his shares in the company to his father Kul Bhushan Thukral. So, a stake in Opalina remained with the family, even though Shivnath Thukral himself had joined Facebook.
Thukral was public policy director (India and South Asia) at Facebook from October 2017 to March 2020, after which he left the post to become public policy director (India) at WhatsApp. Simultaneously, between October 2020 and September 2021, he was also interim public policy director (India, South and Central Asia) for Facebook after Ankhi Das’s controversial resignation.
Thukral is known for his proximity with Modi. He had worked as a part of Modi’s election campaign in 2013 before Modi became India’s prime minister in May 2014. According to unnamed “former Facebook employees” quoted by Time magazine, “a key reason Thukral was hired in 2017 was because he was seen as close to the ruling party”.
Dalit Family Stopped From Cremating Kin At Crematorium In Madhya Pradesh
In a blatant case of caste discrimination, a Dalit family in Madhya Pradesh was stopped by some people from performing the last rites of a relative on an elevated platform at a cremation ground. The incident occurred on April 29 in a village 62 km from Guna district and was reported on Tuesday after a video went viral.
The family of 70-year-old Kanhaiya Ahirwar had taken his body to the cremation ground on Friday but three persons from the village allegedly stopped them from performing the last rites on the facility’s platform. In the viral video, a person is heard saying the family was not allowed to use the cremation ground’s platform for the funeral.
The family later performed the funeral on land near the platform. The police said three men named Narayan Singh Meena, Rambharose Meena and Dilip Meena were arrested and charged under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
In March 2021, a Dalit farmer was forced to delay his wife’s cremation for over 24 hours after upper-caste members refused to allow the funeral procession to pass through a land they had encroached on. The funeral was held only after the authorities cleared the encroachment the next day.
In August 2021, a family was forced to take off the funeral pyre the body of a Dalit woman in Malwa district after upper-caste men opposed it saying that the cremation ground was ‘reserved’ only for them.
Curfew Imposed, Internet Cut In Rajasthan’s Jodhpur After Hindu-Muslim clashes
A curfew was imposed and internet blocked in parts of Jodhpur, a city in Rajasthan state, after clashes reportedly broke out between Hindus and Muslims during religious festivals for both communities, each of whom wanted to raise religious flags in the same area. Muslims were marking the end of Ramadan month of fasting, and Hindus were celebrating a festival called Parshuram Jayanti.
Things had calmed down overnight, and Eid prayers took place on Tuesday peacefully. However, clashes between Hindus and Muslims later erupted again in at least five different areas in Jalori Gate.
“Local media is saying at least 10 people have been injured and one person has been taken to hospital,” Al Jazeera’s Elizabeth Puranam reported. “Police tried to disperse the crowds using batons and tear gas. The crowd then attacked a police post and injured four officers.”
Anti-Muslim sentiment and attacks have surged across India since April 10, the day of the Hindu festival of Ramnavami.