India en Tue Oct 12 12:00:59 IST 2021 sidhu-attacks-those-who-offer-lollipops-for-seeking-votes-ahead-of-polls <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday hit out at politicians who offer "lollipops" just ahead of polls, in an apparent attack on his own party-led government in the state, and urged people to vote only on the agenda of Punjab's welfare.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>His remarks came on a day when Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi announced slashing of the power tariff by Rs 3 per unit for the domestic sector and increasing the dearness allowance for government employees.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Addressing a gathering of the Hindu Mahasabha in Chandigarh, Sidhu wondered if anybody would talk about the welfare of the state.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"They (politicians) offer lollipops...this is free, that is free, which happened in the last two months (ahead of the Punjab Assembly polls slated to be held early next year)," he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The cricketer-turned-politician asked people to question those politicians as regards how would they fulfil such promises.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stressing on a roadmap for the revival and welfare of the state, he asked people to cast their votes on the agenda of development, not for "lollipops".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"There should be a question in your mind whether the intention is only government formation or coming to power after speaking lies, making 500 promises or the welfare of the state," Sidhu said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said politics has become a profession and it is no longer a mission.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"It is my objective to bring back people's trust, which has faded away from a politician," the Congress leader said while pointing out that parents do not want their children to become politicians these days.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said he would die but never sell Punjab's interests.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sidhu said Punjab had an outstanding debt of Rs 5 lakh crore and blamed the governments that ruled the state over the last 25-30 years for this.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Municipal committees and government rest houses were mortgaged, he said, adding that this debt is to be paid by the people of the state.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Wherever there is talk of compromise, Sidhu throws away the post so that your trust is not broken. For me, it is a 'dharm yudh' (battle of principles) and I cannot be defeated in this 'dharm yudh', I know this," he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Congress leader also took on those who say the state's coffers are filled.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"If that is the situation, then give Rs 50,000 as salary to the ETT (Elementary Teacher Training) teachers and give it (the money) to the contractual teachers," he said.&nbsp;</p> Mon Nov 01 22:55:36 IST 2021 vinod-rai-bjp-should-apologise-to-nation-sachin-pilot <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Congress leader and former Union minister Sachin Pilot on Monday hit out at the BJP and ex-Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai for attempting to destabilise the previous Manmohan Singh-led government.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Former CAG Rai on Thursday had tendered an unconditional apology to Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam for "wrongly mentioning" him as one of the MPs who had pressured him not to name former prime minister Manmohan Singh in the CAG report on 2G spectrum allocation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Speaking to reporters here, Pilot said, "The 1,500 page judgement and fake story in the audit report of around Rs 1.76 lakh crore 2G scam and coal scam during the UPA rule under the leadership of Manmohan Singh has ended. The biggest thing is that the former CAG who levelled allegations, had in an affidavit, accepted that there were factual mistakes, and that he had lied."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Vinod Rai prepared a concocted story to defame and destabilise the Manmohan Singh government, on which the BJP leaders made a lot of noise and also made efforts to defame the then government. But today, it is clear the government of Manmohan Singh was completely a clean and honest government," Pilot said, and added that the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) along with other BJP leaders and Rai should tender an apology to the nation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Congress leader also said party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is working for the honour and justice of farmers, youth, unemployed persons and women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Uttar Pradesh is sitting on numerous problems, but the government instead of resolving them believes in divisive politics, and is cheating the public. Priyanka Gandhi has raised her voice against the harassment of farmers, and she is standing as a shield for the honour of women and daughters. Change is certain here, and the public is swiftly reposing its faith in the Congress," Pilot said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sharpening his attack on the BJP, Pilot said it gained the mandate of the people through lies ('jhoot'), deceit ('chhal') and camouflage ('chhadam'), then broke the faith, and is working to incur benefits to its capitalistic friends.</p> Mon Nov 01 23:51:55 IST 2021 madras-hc-declares-vanniyar-reservation-law-unconstitutional <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Madras High Court on Monday quashed a special law allowing 10.5 per cent compartmental reservation to the Vanniyar community and its sub-castes in Tamil Nadu. A division bench comprising Justices M. Duraiswamy and K. Murali Shankar declared the law as “ultra vires to the Constitution of India.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The court asked the state government how it could provide special reservation to a particular community of the Most Backward Class (MBC) without conducting any caste-based census. Stating that Vanniyar is only a single caste entry in the list of castes, the judges said that the Special Act “intended to group seven sub-castes such as Vanniyars, Vanniy Gounder, Gounder, Padayatchi, Palli and Agnikula Kshatriya as one class. However these sub-castes would always be treated as one caste. No homogeneous caste can be kept in different class.”&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Justices Duraiswamy and Murali Shankar allowed a batch of writ petitions filed in the Madras High Court as well as its Madurai Bench challenging the validity of the law passed by the then AIADMK government, just hours before the announcement of the general elections to the state Assembly. The judges said that the law was passed without any quantifiable data on population.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They further said that the degree of backwardness of the classes were also not measured.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While the AIADMK government brought the special law as a temporary arrangement, the subsequent DMK government led by Chief Minister M.K. Stalin gave effect to it in admission to colleges, which complicated the situation further.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Appearing in support of the reservation, Advocate K. Baalu pleaded before the court to pause the order for one week, as several students and people of Vanniyar caste have enrolled into education and employment as per the reservation. But the bench rejected Baalu's plea stating that the high court had already made it clear that admissions and appointments made through the special reservation were subject to the outcome of the writ petitions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The judgment is a huge disappointment for us and for the Vanniyars,” said Baalu who is also a senior leader of the Pattali Makkal Katchi which initiated the reservation fight for the Vanniyars.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>V. Murugendhiran, one of the petitioners against the law, welcomed the court order and said that the law was implemented not based on caste-wise census.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Tamil Nadu government in its affidavit said that “it is baseless” to term the enactment of the law as a political motive for electoral gains. The government further argued that it is a myth to claim that the internal reservation to the Vanniyars had affected the other communities falling under the MBC category.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The court through this judgment has conveyed that previous chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami did this (enactment of the law) with procedural irregularities only for political gains and not for social justice. Now the DMK is also under compulsion to go for an appeal to gain the Vanniyar vote bank which is 13 per cent as per Amba Shankar commission reports. They will now fight in the Supreme Court. But it may be recalled that the Supreme Court was also not positive towards the Maratha, Gujjar and Patel reservations,” said political analyst Raveenthran Thuraisamy.</p> Mon Nov 01 22:17:49 IST 2021 four-get-death-for-2013-patna-serial-blasts-at-modis-rally <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A special NIA court on Monday awarded death sentence to four of the nine people convicted in the 2013 serial blasts that left six dead in Patna at the venue of an election rally addressed by Narendra Modi, then the Gujarat chief minister and BJP's prime ministerial candidate.</p> <p>Special NIA judge Gurvinder Singh Mehrotra, who had on October 27 pronounced the nine guilty, also sentenced two other accused to life imprisonment, besides awarding 10 years rigorous imprisonment to as many and seven years in jail to another convict.</p> <p>According to Special Public Prosecutor Lalan Prasad Singh, who argued on behalf of the NIA, capital punishment has been awarded to Haider Ali, Noman Ansari, Mohammed Mujibullah Ansari and Imtiyaz Alam.</p> <p>The court took a grim view of the series of explosions which were aimed at causing heavy casualties at a gathering of innocent people, Singh told reporters outside the court.</p> <p>Two others - Umar Siddiqui and Azharuddin Qureishi - had confessed to their involvement during trial. The court, considering their confession, did not award death sentence to them but only sentenced them for life, he added.</p> <p>Notably, five of the convicts - Haider Ali, Mohammed Mujibullah Ansari, Imtiyaz Alam, Umar Siddiqui and Azharuddin Ansari - were awarded life imprisonment by the court three years ago in connection with the serial blasts that had rocked the international pilgrim city of Bodh Gaya three months prior to the explosions at Gandhi Maidan in Patna.</p> <p>Singh said of the remaining three convicts, Ahmed Husain and Mohammed Firoz Aslam have been awarded 10 years' rigorous imprisonment, while Iftikhar Alam got seven years in jail.</p> <p>The NIA had filed chargesheets against altogether 11 people in connection with the Patna blasts that took place on October 27, 2013, when Modi was addressing his maiden public meeting in Bihar.</p> <p>One of them was a minor and his matter was referred to the juvenile justice board. Another person was acquitted by the court for want of evidence.</p> <p>A series of low-intensity blasts and the resultant stampede had left six people dead and scores others injured.</p> <p>No terrorist outfit had claimed responsibility for it, but it was suspected that banned outfits SIMI and Indian Mujahideen were behind the incident.</p> <p>The NIA argued its case forcefully and cogently. Besides statements of witnesses, electronic evidence was placed on record. It was established that the convicts were involved in the conspiracy which was hatched in Raipur followed by preparing of explosives in Ranchi, Singh added.</p> Mon Nov 01 21:00:05 IST 2021 indian-muslims-have-nothing-to-do-with-jinnah-owaisi-on-akhilesh-yadavs-remarks-on-jinnah <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>All India Majlis-e-Itthehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi hit out at Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, on Monday, over his remarks on Muhammad Ali Jinnah, asking the SP chief to “read some history.”</p> <p>Addressing a gathering on the 146th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, on Sunday, the SP leader had said, &quot;Sardar Patel, father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Jinnah studied in the same institute and became barristers. They helped (India) get freedom and never backed away from any struggle.&quot;</p> <p>The SP chief also referred to the ban imposed on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) by Patel, the then Union home minister, following Gandhi's assassination in 1948, saying only he could do it.</p> <p>Reacting to the statements, the AIMIM chief said, &quot;If Akhilesh Yadav thinks that by giving such statements he can make a section of people happy, I think he is wrong and he should change his advisers. He should also educate himself and read some history.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Akhilesh should understand that Indian Muslims have nothing to do with Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Our elders rejected the two nation theory and chose India as their country,&quot; <i>ANI</i> quoted Owaisi as saying.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the BJP too hit out Akhilesh asking why was the SP chief praising Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.</p> Mon Nov 01 17:52:40 IST 2021 sc-sets-aside-calcutta-hc-order-banning-firecrackers-during-fest <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Supreme Court on Monday set aside the Calcutta High Court order banning firecrackers during Kali Puja, Diwali and other festivals this year to check air pollution amid the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A special bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi also asked the West Bengal government to explore the possibility to ensure that banned firecrackers and related items are not imported in the state at the entry point itself.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The bench, which assembled during the Diwali break to hear the matter, was hearing the pleas against the October 29 order of the high court banning the sale, use and purchase of all types of firecrackers in the state.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The state should ensure that there is no use or display or bursting of firecrackers of any type at all during Kali Puja, Diwali celebrations as well as Chhath Puja, Jagadhatri Puja, Guru Nanak's birthday and Christmas and New Year's eve celebrations this year," the high court had said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It had said that only wax or oil-based diyas may be used for the occasions.</p> Mon Nov 01 16:40:37 IST 2021 former-maha-home-minister-anil-deshmukh-appears-before-ed-mumbai <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, who skipped five Enforcement Directorate summons in the past, finally appeared before the agency here on Monday for questioning in a money laundering case registered against him and others, officials said.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He arrived at the agency office in the Ballard Estate area of south Mumbai around 11:40am, accompanied by his lawyer and his associates.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Deshmukh, 71, appeared before the agency but after the Bombay High Court last week refused to quash these summons.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Officials said the federal probe agency will record the statement of the NCP leader under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with the criminal investigation being carried out by it in the alleged Rs 100 crore bribery-cum-extortion racket in the Maharashtra Police establishment that led to Deshmukh's resignation in April.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The questioning and recording of statements sessions are expected to be long as officials said Deshmukh was a "key person" in this case and needs to be grilled on a number of subjects in the case including the disclosures made by suspended Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze during ED questioning.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Deshmukh released a video message before going to the ED office in which he said that he himself is deposing before the agency after the Bombay HC order came last week.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"It was reported in the media that I was not cooperating with the ED...I went to the CBI twice after I was petition is still pending in the Supreme Court but it will take time and hence I myself have gone to the ED," he said. "I and my family cooperated with the ED when they raided us [in June]," he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Deshmukh questioned the whereabouts of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, saying he made the bribery allegations against me but where is he now?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Bombay High Court, in its judgement issued on October 29, said Deshmukh failed to prove that probe agencies had been acting in a malafide manner against him.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It said if Deshmukh apprehended his arrest by either the ED or the CBI, he had the right that was available to any other citizen or litigant to approach the appropriate court to seek protection.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The court, however, directed the ED to permit Deshmukh's lawyer to remain present within "visible distance but not audible distance" during the questioning.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ED case of money laundering against Deshmukh, who was earlier the home minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, and others came after the CBI booked him in the corruption case related to allegations of bribe made by former Mumbai Police commissioner Singh.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The first summons to Deshmukh, his wife and son Hrishikesh came soon after the ED raided their premises in Mumbai and Nagpur in June.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It subsequently arrested two of his aides in this case, personal secretary Sanjeev Palande (51) and personal assistant Kundan Shinde (45).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Deshmukh had earlier approached the Supreme Court but got no relief on the ED action.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ED also had attached assets worth Rs 4.20 crore that were stated to be "beneficially owned" by Deshmukh.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ED claimed its probe found that "Deshmukh, while acting as home minister of Maharashtra, with dishonest intention has received illegal gratification of approximately Rs 4.70 crore in cash from various orchestra bar owners, through (suspended) Sachin Waze, then the assistant police inspector of Mumbai Police." "Further, with the help of Delhi based dummy companies, Deshmukh family laundered the tainted money of Rs 4.18 crore and projected it as untainted by showing the same as amount received in the Trust namely Shri Sai Shikshan Sanstha," the ED had alleged.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ED case against Deshmukh and others was made out after the CBI booked him in a corruption case related to allegations of at least Rs 100 crore bribery made by former Mumbai Police commissioner Singh.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray after he was removed from the police commissioner's post, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh had asked Waze to extort over Rs 100 crore a month from bars and restaurants in Mumbai.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Deshmukh, while denying any wrongdoing, had maintained that Singh made the allegations against him after he was removed from the post of Mumbai Police Commissioner.&nbsp;</p> Mon Nov 01 15:33:40 IST 2021 case-registered-against-kerala-bishop-joseph-kallarangatt-over-his-narcotic-jihad-remark <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The remarks by controversial Kerala bishop Joseph Kallarangatt on alleged "love and narcotic jihad" landed him in trouble, as a case has been registered against the Christian leader over his statements.</p> <p>Kallarangatt had triggered a controversy a few weeks ago, saying Christian girls were largely falling prey to "love and narcotic jihad" in Kerala and wherever arms cannot be used, extremists were using such methods to destroy the youth belonging to other religions.</p> <p>A case was registered against Kallarangatt by Kuravilangad police in Kottayam district on the direction of judicial magistrate court, Pala, following a complaint filed by the Kottayam district president of All India Imams Council.</p> <p>The case has been registered under section Indian Penal Code (IPC), sections 153A (offence of promoting disharmony, enmity or feelings of hatred between different groups on the grounds of religion, race etc.) and 153B that pertains to making prejudicial references, reports <i>Onmanorama</i>.</p> <p>The BJP had backed the remarks by the bishop saying cases of “love jihad” and drug abuse victims have been rising. However, the Catholic leader had faced backlash from the Congress and the ruling left. "Narcotics is not something that affects a particular community, it is something that worries all of us. While steps are being taken to stop drug abuse in all possible ways, it is not right to assign a particular religion's colour to narcotics. It only has the colour of anti-socials," Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said.</p> Mon Nov 01 22:05:55 IST 2021 viewing-gallery-in-goa-to-be-better-tourist-spot-than-eiffel-tower-gadkari <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday said the proposed viewing gallery on the upcoming bridge on the Zuari river in Goa will be a better tourist attraction than the renowned Eiffel Tower in Paris in France.</p> <p>The bridge, which is coming up parallel to an existing one on Panaji-Margao highway, is expected to be completed by September next year, but attempts are under way to open at least one lane before that, the Union minister for road transport and highways said. “The work on the Zuari bridge is going on. We have planned a viewing gallery by constructing two towers as part of this bridge. It will be a better tourist attraction than the Eiffel Tower. It will have a restaurant and art gallery besides special spaces for small-time vendors to sell arts and crafts,” Gadkari said.</p> <p>Addressing a function to inaugurate the link of the national highway between Loutolim and an industrial estate located at Verna in South Goa, Gadkari said there will be parking space beneath the bridge, and people could arrive even in boats.</p> <p>Gadkari also said work on the Mumbai-Goa national highway will be completed in the next one-and-half years, adding that difficulties encountered in some of the packages have now been addressed.</p> <p>He said it was the dream of former Goa chief minister late Manohar Parrikar to create such infrastructure in the state and projects he had proposed were now being completed.</p> <p>The bridge on Mandovi river, which was inaugurated before Parrikar died (in March 2019), was being used by 66,000 vehicles every day, which had reduced traffic jams in Panaji.</p> <p>Projects worth Rs 12,000 crore had been implemented in Goa since 2014, Gadkari added.</p> <p>Referring to the under-construction Mopa Airport, Gadkari said his ministry would complete a connector road at cost of Rs 1,200 crore.</p> Mon Nov 01 15:14:07 IST 2021 parliamentary-panel-on-it-chaired-by-tharoor-may-call-facebook-whistleblowers-to-india <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Facebook whistleblowers may be called to India later this month to depose before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology, with the required permission being sought from the Lok Sabha speaker, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is the chairman of the panel, said on Monday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Frances Haugen, a former Facebook data scientist-turned-whistleblower, has alleged that the social network giant's products harm children and fuel polarisation in the United States. She has testified before the US Senate Committee.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a series of tweets responding to the allegation that neither Parliament nor the government has called the Facebook whistleblowers, Tharoor said the parliamentary panel did not exist between September 12 and October 12. It was officially reconstituted in the second week of October.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It had to then adopt its agenda, submit it to the speaker and have it bulletinised before it could convene any meeting, the Congress MP said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"...the Committee will hold its first meetings of the new session on November 16 and November 17. Under our procedures video conferencing is not permitted. Testimony in person by witnesses from abroad requires the Speaker's consent. This is being sought," he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Top officials of the Indian arms of social media giants Facebook and Twitter and others have deposed before the parliamentary panel on various contentious issues.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Tharoor was earlier criticised by the BJP members of the panel, who sought his removal as its chairman.&nbsp;</p> Mon Nov 01 23:03:36 IST 2021 neet-2021-results-announced-days-after-sc-order <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The National Testing Agency (NTA) has started sending results of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Examination (NEET) 2021, to students via email. The agency said the results will soon be available on its website <a href=";LangId=P" target="_blank"></a>.</p> <p>Telangana's Mrinal Kutteri, Delhi's Tanmay Gupta and Maharashtra's Karthika G Nair shared the top rank scoring full marks. A tie-breaking formula will be used at the counselling stage for these three candidates, an NTA official said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fifteen candidates were identified using unfair means during the exam and their result has been cancelled, the official added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last week, the Supreme Court had stayed a Bombay High Court order and permitted the NTA to declare the NEET results for admission to undergraduate medical courses across the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The high court had directed the agency to conduct re-examination for two aspirants whose question papers and OMR sheets had got mixed up at a centre in Maharashtra. However, the apex court maintained that the results of over 16 lakh students cannot be withheld&nbsp;and the case of the two aspirants can be decided after Diwali vacation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The NTA, in its appeal to the Supreme Court, had said that the examination was conducted on September 12, and due to the high court's order it had not been able to release the results even though the same is ready for declaration.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The delay in declaration of results would affect and further delay the subsequent process of admission to Undergraduate Medical Courses i.e. MBBS, BDS, BAMS, BSMS, BUMS and BHMS Courses, the agency had said in the plea.</p> Mon Nov 01 22:30:52 IST 2021 delhis-air-quality-poor-for-sixth-day-on-trot-predicted-to-enter-red-zone-on-diwali <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The air quality in the national capital remained poor for the sixth consecutive day on Monday with stubble burning accounting for seven per cent of the capital's PM2.5 pollution.</p> <p>Air quality forecast agency SAFAR said the air quality is likely to improve marginally over the next two days due to winds coming from west and south-west direction.</p> <p>The ministry of earth sciences' 'Air Quality Early Warning System' for Delhi predicted that PM2.5 and PM10 levels in the capital may get pushed to 250 micrograms per cubic meter and 398 micrograms per cubic meter, respectively, on Diwali night.</p> <p>The acceptable limits for PM2.5 and PM10 concentration is 60 micrograms per cubic meter and 100 micrograms per cubic meter.</p> <p>"The air quality is likely to deteriorate on November 5 and 6 significantly and may reach the upper end of the very poor category. PM2.5 to be the predominant pollutant," it said.</p> <p>SAFAR said 3,971 farm fires were observed in the northwest region of Delhi on Sunday, the maximum this season so far.</p> <p>"The share of crop residue burning emissions in PM2.5 is low due to unfavourable winds for transport," it said.</p> <p>The Central Pollution Control Board's data showed the capital recorded a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 281. It was 289 on Sunday and 268 on Saturday.</p> <p>An AQI between zero and 50 is considered "good", 51 and 100 "satisfactory", 101 and 200 "moderate", 201 and 300 "poor", 301 and 400 "very poor", and 401 and 500 "severe".</p> <p>According to the CPCB, agencies in the Delhi-NCR region have resolved just 11 per cent of air pollution-related complaints since October 15, when the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) comes into force to deal with the worsening of air quality in the region.</p> <p>Only 47 out of 424 complaints have been resolved by agencies in Delhi and the NCR cities in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan between October 15 and October 30.</p> <p>Most complaints are related to construction and demolition activities, unpaved roads, road dust, open dumping of garbage and industrial waste and traffic congestion.</p> <p>GRAP is a set of anti-pollution measures followed in Delhi and its surrounding towns according to the severity of the situation. It comes into force in mid-October when air pollution levels in the region start worsening due to unfavourable meteorological conditions and stubble burning.</p> Mon Nov 01 19:37:16 IST 2021 india-covid-19-vaccination-certificate-recognised-by-five-more-countries <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Estonia, Kyrgyzstan, Palestine, Mauritius and Mongolia recognised the vaccine certificate provided by India, according to the ministry of external affairs (MEA).</p> <p>"Mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccination certificates continues! Five more recognitions for India’s vaccination certificate, including from Estonia, Kyrgyzstan, State of Palestine, Mauritius and Mongolia," MEA said in a tweet.</p> <p>On Friday, foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his intervention at the session on 'global economy and global health' at G-20 Summit, flagged the issue of facilitating international travel and talked about the mechanism of mutual recognition of vaccine certification as a means of achieving this.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Australian government recognised India's Covaxin. "Today, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) determined that Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech, India) and BBIBP-CorV (manufactured by Sinopharm, China) vaccines would be 'recognised' for the purpose of establishing a traveller's vaccination status,” Australia's medicines and medical devices regulator TGA said in a tweet.</p> <p>This recognition is for travellers aged 12 and over who have been vaccinated with Covaxin, and those 18 to 60 who have been vaccinated with BBIBP-CorV.</p> <p>—<b>With PTI inputs</b></p> Mon Nov 01 19:10:13 IST 2021 congress-launches-membership-drive-ahead-of-party-presidents-election <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Congress on Monday launched its membership drive across the country with all its state units holding meetings to discuss ways to ensure a large number of people join the grand old party.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The drive was launched by state unit presidents of the Congress, which also started an online membership campaign "JoinCongressSaveIndia". It urged people to join the party to save the country from forces trying to destroy constitutional values.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Congress has accused the BJP of spreading hatred and dividing society, and has said that it will fight back with Mahatma Gandhi's teachings of non-violence, truth and unity.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The membership drive, which started on Monday, will continue till March 31 next year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those wishing to take up the primary membership of the Congress will have to make a declaration of abstention from alcohol and drugs. They will give an undertaking to never criticise the party's policies and programmes in public forums.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>New members will also have to give a declaration that they will not own any property in excess of ceiling laws and will undertake tasks, including "manual labour", prescribed by the Congress.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People can become a member of the Congress by paying a fee of Rs 5.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot urged the youth to join the party and said its ideology is dedicated to uphold the country's Constitution and its democratic values.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gehlot said the Congress is the oldest party in the country with a proud history and its leaders have sacrificed their lives before and after independence to keep it united.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said the Congress aims at ensuring unity, social harmony and equality and urged people to join hands with it to end the current era where "fascist forces" are bent upon destroying constitutional values.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Congress will also focus on training its cadre to counter the BJP's "false propaganda" and will work out modalities for the upcoming training programmes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The party's membership drive will be followed by organisational elections, which includes election of state unit presidents, vice presidents, treasurers, executives and AICC members by the Pradesh Congress Committee general body which will be held between July 21-August 20 next year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The election for the new Congress president would be held between August 21 and September 20 next year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The election of Congress Working Committee members and other bodies by AICC members will take place at a plenary session, dates for which will be announced before October 2022.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Congress will also undertake a mass agitational programme - 'Jan Jagran Abhiyan', across the country over rising prices from November 14 to 29.&nbsp;</p> Mon Nov 01 17:34:44 IST 2021 power-tariff-slashed-by-rs-3-per-unit-in-punjab-months-ahead-of-assembly-polls <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Punjab cabinet, on Monday, decided to slash power tariff by Rs 3 per unit for domestic consumers, a move which comes just months ahead of the assembly polls and will put a burden of Rs 3,316 crore a year on the exchequer.</p> <p>The announcement was made by Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi after the cabinet meeting. &quot;We are reducing power tariff by Rs 3 per unit for domestic consumers,&quot; said Channi while addressing reporters.</p> <p>It is a &quot;big Diwali gift&quot; for people, he said, adding that the decision will come into effect immediately.</p> <p>He said according to a survey conducted by his government, people wanted quality and cheap power.</p> <p>Punjab is going to the assembly polls early next year.</p> Mon Nov 01 17:37:22 IST 2021 akhilesh-yadav-wont-contest-next-assembly-polls <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav on Monday said he will not be contesting the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls early next year.</p> <p>He also said that an alliance between his party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) for the polls has been finalised. "Our alliance with RLD is final. Seat sharing is to be finalised," he told <i>PTI</i> in an interview.</p> <p>Akhilesh, currently the MP for Azamgarh, has never contested Assembly polls.</p> <p>Akhilesh has been preparing for the upcoming Assembly polls for months. He has already forged a tie-up with the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), an erstwhile ally of the BJP.</p> <p>At a rally in Hardoi on Sunday, Akhilesh said the ruling BJP was unlikely to find candidates eager for tickets given widespread public anger. "All sections of people have made up their minds to elect an SP government in the assembly elections, following which Uttar Pradesh will get back on the path to growth and prosperity," Akhilesh was quoted as saying on Sunday by <i>Hindustan Times</i>.</p> <p>On chances of taking uncle Shivpal Yadav's Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia (PSPL) along in the polls, Akhilesh told <i>PTI,</i> "I don’t have any problem in this. He and his men will be given due honour".</p> Mon Nov 01 13:26:55 IST 2021 tractors-will-reach-delhi-borders-from-november-27-tikait-issues-ultimatum <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Monday said the Centre has time till November 26 to repeal the contentious farm laws, after which farmer protests around Delhi would be intensified.</p> <p>November 26 would mark one year of the ongoing farmers' protests at Delhi's border points of Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur.</p> <p>The protests are led by farmers’ collective Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM). The BKU, whose supporters are encamping at Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, is also a part of the SKM.</p> <p>“The Central government has time till November 26, after that, from November 27, farmers will reach the border at the movement sites around Delhi on tractors from villages and strengthen the tents at the movement site with solid fortifications,” Tikait, the BKU national spokesperson, tweeted in Hindi.</p> <p>Hundreds of farmers are encamped at the three Delhi borders since November 2020 with a demand that the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, be rolled back and a new law made to guarantee MSP for crops.</p> <p>The Centre, which has held 11 rounds of formal dialogue with the farmers, has maintained that the new laws are pro-farmer, while the protesters claim they would be left at the mercy of corporations because of the legislations.&nbsp;</p> Mon Nov 01 12:56:13 IST 2021 talks-of-development-futile-without-assimilating-tribal-richness-chhattisgarh-cm-baghel <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The three-day National Tribal Dance festival organised in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, was an occasion for the tribal community from across the world to showcase their rich tribal heritage. Speaking at the valedictory function, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said that there is uniformity in the dance, music and traditional instruments of all tribal communities in the world. He said the tribal communities had remained neglected for centuries and the National Tribal Dance Festival was an effort to demonstrate the richness of the tribal culture.</p> <p>The chief minister said that without the tribal culture, there can be no subsistence of the society and all talks of development will appear futile without assimilating the tribal richness.</p> <p>The dance festival was also an occasion for the state to showcase to the world, Chhattisgarh government’s inclusive development model to empower the people.</p> <p>In the festival, artistes from seven countries, 27 states and six Union Territories participated. The participants from Jharkhand, Odisha and Assam won the top honours.</p> <p>At the inaugural function, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren had said that the tribal community had remained deprived of their rights. “I also come from a tribal community and experienced the same challenge that a tribal has to face before reaching this stage. The tribal community is struggling to preserve their culture and civilisation in this materialistic age.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Appreciating the Chhattisgarh government for giving Minimum Support Price (MSP) on minor forest produce, Soren had said this will empower the tribal community and lead the way for welfare of the marginalised. Currently, 53 minor forest produce are being procured on MSP and the state government has taken initiative to set up minor forest produce and agriculture-based industries.</p> <p>Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, in his message, said, “Adivasi brothers and sisters are repositories of our heritage, and they have been at the forefront of preserving our ancient wisdom. Every folk song, dance, painting and sculpture tells a unique story, and provides a window into the fascinating world of our ancestors. It is through these living traditions that societies and communities keep their collective memories alive. The Chhattisgarh Government has been working proactively to support and recognize the Adivasi artists while strengthening the spirit of diversity that is at the very core of the idea of India. The festival weaved different colors of the tribal culture and it was a relishing and rich experience for the artists from different places.”&nbsp;</p> Mon Nov 01 18:07:06 IST 2021 from-ayodhya-trips-to-diwali-puja-kejriwal-flaunts-hindu-side-before-polls <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>These days, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been exhorting Delhiites not to burst crackers on Diwali. These requests can expose him to criticism from certain quarters about being apathetic to the sentiments of Hindus.</p> <p>However, even as Kejriwal wants denizens to keep away from firecrackers, the rest of his messaging, played frequently on radio, is about him and his cabinet colleagues holding a 'Diwali Pujan' that will be telecast live on the evening of November 4. And for good measure, he ends the exhortation by declaring, “Jai Shri Ram”.</p> <p>For the second year in a row, his government will hold a Diwali puja that will be beamed live on TV. This time round, a replica of the Ram temple being built in Ayodhya is being put up at Thyagaraj Stadium for the puja to be held at 7PM on November 4.</p> <p>Kejriwal is wearing his devoutness on his sleeve. Only recently, he had visited Ayodhya where his piety was on display. His party played up Kejriwal's maiden visit to Ayodhya during which he offered prayers at the Ram Janmabhoomi site and performed aarti on the banks of the Saryu river. Shortly afterwards, he announced that the senior citizens of the national capital will be <a title="Ayodhya will be added to Delhi govt's free pilgrimage scheme: Kejriwal" href="">provided free travel</a> to Ayodhya as part of the Delhi government's Mukhyamantri Teerth Yatra Yojana.</p> <p>“We will welcome Lord Ram together. We will not burst crackers and will not cause pollution. Two crore Delhi residents will perform Diwali Pujan together at 7PM... May Lord Ram shower his blessings upon Delhi always,” Kejriwal says in his radio message.</p> <p>In the Diwali message, Kejriwal has chosen to focus on the festival's link with Lord Ram, rather than its more popular association with Goddess Lakshmi. The festival, which is more commonly seen as a celebration of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, is also believed to commemorate Ram's return to Ayodhya upon the end of his exile.</p> <p>Kejriwal and his party have been playing the Hindu card for some time. AAP leaders say this is an effort to neutralise the BJP's Hindutva agenda and the saffron party's endeavour to project other parties as anti-Hindu. But critics of Kejriwal's party have described it as a paler version of the BJP.</p> <p>The Delhi chief minister has in the past declared that he is a staunch Hanuman devotee and said that his government would work towards making Ram Rajya a reality in the capital. What stands out now is the emphasis on Lord Ram just months ahead of Assembly elections, especially in Uttar Pradesh where the AAP is hoping to emerge as a serious contender.&nbsp;</p> Mon Nov 01 15:55:07 IST 2021 sabyasachi-withdraws-mangalsutra-ad-bjp-minister-ultimatum <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee withdrew the advertising campaign for his label's mangalsutra collection after Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra issued an ultimatum to the brand. On Sunday, Sabyasachi was warned he would face a police case and statutory action if the “objectionable and obscene” advertisement was not pulled down within 24 hours.</p> <p>&quot;In the context of making heritage and culture a dynamic conversation, the Mangalsutra campaign aimed to talk about inclusivity and empowerment. The campaign was intended as a celebration and we are deeply saddened that it has instead offended a section of our society. So, we at Sabyasachi have decided to withdraw the campaign,” the popular brand said in a statement on Instagram.</p> <p>The advertisement that features intimate portraits of men and women had triggered massive backlash on social media where users called the campaign 'anti-Hindu'. The photos have now been deleted.</p> <p>Sabyasachi is the latest brand to be targeted over their ads in recent times. Last week, Dabur faced backlash for its Karwa Chauth ad for Fem Creme bleach. The ad, which had gone viral, depicted two young women preparing for their first Karva Chauth festival while one is applying bleach on the other's face. The ad again drew criticism from Mishra who slammed the idea of &quot;lesbians celebrating Karwa Chauth&quot;. Mishra had said that he had asked the state's director-general of police to probe a recent advertisement by cosmetics maker Dabur, saying it was a “serious issue” and asked why such material was circulated only for Hindu religious festivals.</p> <p>The attack on Dabur came soon after clothing brand FabIndia was forced to take down their Diwali promotional campaign titled 'Jashn-e-riwaaz'.</p> Mon Nov 01 11:27:39 IST 2021 ops-slams-govt-decision-to-celebrate-tn-day-on-july-18 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The opposition AIADMK on Sunday slammed Chief Minister M.K. Stalin's announcement on changing the Tamil Nadu Day from November 1 to July 18, saying it smacked of 'political vendetta' and dubbed it as an 'unsuitable move'.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Reversing the previous AIADMK government's decision, Stalin had on Saturday said the state's Formation Day will henceforth be celebrated on July 18, in lines with the rechristening of its name to the present one on that day and not on November 1. A government order will be issued soon for this purpose, he had said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Following the Linguistic Reorganisation of states, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala came into existence from the then Madras state on November 1, 1956.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>AIADMK Coordinator O. Panneerselvam said a child's birthday falls on the day it is born and not when it is given a name, referring to the ruling DMK's decision to alter the state's formation day in lines with it getting the present name, i.e. Tamil Nadu.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Incidentally, though late chief minister CN Annadurai piloted an Assembly resolution on July 18, 1967 to rename Tamil Nadu from Madras State, it became a reality two years later, after the proposal went through the Parliament and the then central government issuing a notification on the name change in 1968, saying it would come into effect from January 14, 1969.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Going by the chief minister's reasoning, only 14-01-1969 should be celebrated as Tamil Nadu day. A child's birthday should be celebrated on the day it is born ....," the former CM said in a party statement. Panneerselvam further said the birthday of a child, even if its name is officially changed 10 years after being born, is celebrated on the day of its birth and not the one in which the name change happened.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A building is also assumed to have been established on the day it is inaugurated and not when it was cleared at a proposal level, he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Similarly, the birthday of the child called Madras state which was born on November 1, 1956 with the present landscape, which was decided to be renamed as Tamil Nadu in 1967 and one which happened in 1969, is still Novmber 1, 1956."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"So the announcement on celebrating Tamil Nadu on July 18 will not be suitable by any means. It amounts to saying the state was born 11 years later than it did and is an attempt at rewriting history.... is the peak of political vendetta," he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Panneerselvam cited the other states carved out of then Madras state celebrating their respective fomration days on November 1 and urged Stalin to withdraw his government's decision to observe Tamil Nadu day on July 18. AIADMK ally BJP and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) leader TTV Dhinakaran also opposed the move. BJP state unit president K Annamalai echoed Panneerselvam when he said a child's birthday falls on the day it is born.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"It is not fair on the part of the DMK government to change the Tamil Nadu Day from November 1 just because it had been announced so by the previous AIADMK government," he said in a statement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He recalled the earlier DMK government, under the late M Karunanidhi, changing the Tamil new year from 'Chithirai' (April) to 'Thai' to coincide with the Pongal festival in January. It was, however, reversed by the subsequent AIADMK government led by the late J Jayalalithaa.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dhinakaran, in a tweet, said Stalin's 'controversial' announcement was "unnessary" and should be withdrawn.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"While there are so many constructive work that have to be undertaken, the DMK government should stop such unsuitable activities and focus on people's welfare matters," he added.</p> Sun Oct 31 22:38:43 IST 2021 man-administered-covid-19-vaccine-instead-of-anti-rabies-jab-in-jharkhand-probe-ordered <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="'s-COVID-19-vaccine-reu.jpg" /> <p>A 50-year-old man, who had rushed to a health centre in Palamu district after being bitten by a dog, was mistakenly administered a dose of COVID-19 vaccine instead of an anti-rabies jab, a senior official said on Sunday.</p> <p>Raju Singh, who received dog-bite injuries in Naudiha village on Saturday, had already taken two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, he said.</p> <p>Chief medical officer-cum-civil surgeon of the district, Anil Kumar, told PTI it is a case of sheer negligence on the part of the health worker on duty, and added that a probe has been ordered.</p> <p>Disciplinary action would be initiated against the erring health worker, if found guilty, he said.</p> <p>The attending doctor had clearly prescribed anti-rabies injection for Singh, who is currently under observation, Kumar said.</p> Sun Oct 31 22:15:35 IST 2021 chhattisgarh-three-women-naxals-killed-in-encounter-in-dantewada <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Three women Naxals, collectively carrying Rs 15 lakh reward on their heads, were killed in an encounter with security forces in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district on Sunday, a police official said.</p> <p>The gunfight took place at around 6pm in a forest between Adwal and Kunjeras villages under Katekalyan police station limits when a team of District Reserve Guard (DRG) was out on a search operation, Dantewada Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallava told PTI.</p> <p>After the skirmish, bodies of three women cadres were recovered from the spot, he added.</p> <p>The deceased were identified as Raje Muchaki, Geeta Markam and Jyoti alias Bhime Nuppo, who were active as members of Katekalyan Area Committee of Maoists, Pallava said, adding that they were carrying a reward of Rs 5 lakh each on their heads.</p> <p>One 12 bore gun, two country-made revolvers, one muzzle-loading gun, two improvised explosive devices (IEDs), wires, medicines, Maoist literature and items of daily use were also recovered from the encounter site, he said.</p> <p>Further details are awaited.</p> Sun Oct 31 21:39:43 IST 2021 agents-sabotaging-our-party-bjp-dilip-ghosh-on-west-bengal-exodus <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>On the day BJP leader Rajib Banerjee returned to his erstwhile party of TMC, BJP vice president Dilip Ghosh warned that &quot;the agents who are still damaging the prospects of the BJP from within&quot; will be thrown out. In a Facebook post, the former BJP state president said: &quot;Many agents had entered into our party before the assembly polls. Many of them have already left, while others still remain and sabotaging the party. They don't want the BJP to become stronger. We will throw each of them out,&quot; Ghosh said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rajib is the latest in a long line of BJP leaders to do a&nbsp;<i>ghar wapsi</i>&nbsp;to the TMC.&nbsp;He had switched over to the BJP in January and unsuccessfully contested the assembly elections from Domjur seat in Howrah district.&nbsp;Not only did Rajib lose as a BJP candidate in his home base, the saffron party drew a blank in the assembly elections in Howrah, as it could not win any of the 16 seats in the district. In June,&nbsp;Mukul Roy, along with his son Subhranshu Roy, had rejoined the TMC, who had won the West Bengal polls with a landslide margin.&nbsp;Roy, an erstwhile strongman in the TMC and aide of Mamata Banerjee, had left the regional party and joined the BJP in November 2017. He was the first major TMC leader to switch over to the BJP. He played a key role in the furious growth of the BJP in the intervening period.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Responding to Ghosh's statement, TMC state spokesman Kunal Ghosh said, &quot;We don't know if Dilip Ghosh is referring to Suvendu Adhikari [the leader of opposition, who switched over from TMC to the BJP] as an agent. But the Facebook post reveals the growing feud within the BJP, which is falling like a pack of cards.&quot;<br> </p> Mon Nov 01 12:30:06 IST 2021 after-wankhede-nawab-malik-targets-fadnavis-over-drug-dealer-link <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik has made a series of 'exposés' on Twitter over the past week targeted at NCB officer Sameer Wankhede. Malik had alleged Wankhede was involved in extortion and had forged a caste certificate to clear the civil services examination.</p> <p>On Monday, Malik took aim at an even bigger target: Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Malik claimed that Devendra Fadnavis had links to Jaydeep Rana, an individual who is currently in jail in connection with a drug trafficking case.</p> <p>Malik had shared a cropped image of Rana on Twitter, asking, "Who is this". He then tweeted a larger version of the image showing Rana with Amruta Fadnavis, the wife of Devendra. Malik asked, "What is the connection of this drug peddler with BJP?"</p> <p>Malik also shared an image of Rana with Devendra Fadnavis.</p> <p>Malik alleged that Rana had financed the creation of the <a title="Devendra Fadnavis, wife sing and sway in music video on Mumbai's rivers" href=""><i>Mumbai River Anthem</i>,</a> a song featuring Devendra and Amruta that was released in 2018. Malik posted an image of the song's description that listed a Jaydeep Rana as "finance head". Malik was quoted by <i>The Free Press Journal</i> as saying "the drug business in the state grew under his (Devendra Fadnavis's) tenure".</p> <p>Malik demanded a CBI probe or judicial inquiry into the matter.</p> <p>Malik alleged Devendra Fadnavis had orchestrated the transfer of Wankhede to the NCB. He was quoted by <i>India TV</i> as saying "Sameer Wankhede is the kingpin who is running a drug racket in Mumbai... He was appointed by (Devendra) Fadnavis."</p> <p>Devendra Fadnavis responded strongly to Malik. He told a press conference Malik had links to the underworld. "Those who have relations with the underworld should not speak about me. I will present evidence of Nawab Malik's relations with the underworld. I am waiting for Diwali to pass," Fadnavis was quoted by <i>ANI </i>as saying.</p> Mon Nov 01 11:49:06 IST 2021 if-income-is-rising-people-must-accept-inflation-mp-minister-on-fuel-price-spike <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Amid a sharp rise in the rates of fuel, Madhya Pradesh minister and BJP leader Mahendra Singh Sisodia on Sunday asked people to be practical and accept a little inflation if their income is going up, saying the government cannot provide everything for free.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The minister also said the consumption of fuel has gone up as every member of the family is now using a vehicle unlike in earlier days.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Public should understand that if our income is increasing then we will have to accept some inflation. It's a practical thing," Sisodia told a press conference here.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Panchayat and Rural Development Minister was replying to a question on why can't the state government provide relief to the common people by slashing the Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The government cannot give everything (to citizens) for free. The government gets revenue from tax collection on petroleum products and this is spent on welfare schemes and developmental works, he said.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sisodia said people cannot say that the prices of petrol and diesel should remain the same as they used to be ten years ago even though monthly salaries of people have gone up from Rs 6,000 to Rs 50,000.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The minister said the income of all the sections of society has gone up during the past few years.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Earlier, there used to be only one motorcycle in the family for the father (head of the household). Now every person in our home uses a vehicle so the consumption of petrol and diesel is increasing rapidly," he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Didn't the inflation go up in the country during the tenure of previous Congress governments? Has it increased only under the Narendra Modi government? We have to accept that it is a continuous process, he said.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Responding to a query, he said the shortage of DAP fertilisers will be sorted out within a week.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Talking about holding long-pending Panchayat elections in Madhya Pradesh, Sisodia said these elections were initially postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then due to some legal hurdles.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said the state government is determined to hold these elections at the earliest.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sisodia said the state government has developed a mobile phone application for the international marketing of the products prepared by the Self Help Groups (SHGs).&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; These SHGs will also be helped by marketing their products on e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart, he said.&nbsp;</p> Sun Oct 31 21:02:35 IST 2021 rajib-return-to-tmc-shows-abhisheks-rise-in-state-as-mamata-goes-national <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The return of <a title="Rajib Banerjee returns to Trinamool after 9 months in BJP" href="">Rajib Banerjee to the Trinamool Congress</a> has brought out a strange phenomenon of West Bengal politics. Those who had left the TMC months ago and made fiery speeches against the party, in particular targeting Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee, have been allowed to re-join the party on one precondition. The precondition was that they would have to accept the leadership of the younger Banerjee.</p> <p>Mukul Roy, Sabyasachi Dutta and now Rajib have all been made to eat humble pie and have promised to the party that they would accept Abhishek as their leader.</p> <p>Thus a new era has begun in the Trinamool Congress. Mamata Banerjee is not fading, but Abhishek has taken centre-stage. It is now clear Abhishek (34) is taking over the party leadership in the state while Mamata is going to national politics.</p> <p>Needless to say, Abhishek's growth depends much on Mamata's success in national politics. Abhishek also has to ensure growth for the TMC in other states.</p> <p>Therefore, he is keeping the local internal rivalries in the TMC at bay and bringing back the people who had left the party and badmouthed him.</p> <p>Many in the TMC had objected to the re-induction of Roy. But they were made to toe the party line. In Salt Lake, minister Sujit Bose had openly opposed the re-induction of Sabyasachi Dutta. But Bose was asked to remain silent.</p> <p>Kalyan Banerjee, MP and the party's chief whip in Lok Sabha, vehemently opposed the inclusion of Rajib, who hails from Howrah. Kalyan pointed to the role Rajib played during the Assembly elections when he used the Central security forces, assigned for his security by the Narendra Modi government, to assault TMC workers in Howrah.</p> <p>Being a former heavyweight in the party, Rajib's inclusion was delayed as a result of this opposition. But finally, Kalyan was mollified and Rajib found his place in the party not in West Bengal but apparently in Tripura.</p> <p>Apparently, the BJP defectors would have to work to build the party outside the state; Rajib's inclusion is an example of this new arrangement. This is the stand the party has taken to defuse internal tension.</p> <p>Many TMC leaders have told THE WEEK, with an air of confidence, that the defectors would not get back the status they had. But since the TMC has a growth strategy not only in the state but outside, it needs more experienced leaders and people like Rajib would be required. So the feuds of the past are being forgotten, for the time being.</p> Mon Nov 01 09:41:22 IST 2021 if-taliban-moves-towards-india-air-strike-ready-yogi-adityanath <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that Pakistan and Afghanistan are &quot;feeling disturbed&quot; by the Taliban, but if the insurgent group moves towards India, &quot;an air strike is ready&quot;. He was addressing the Samajik Pratinidhi Sammelan, during which he also launched an attack on his political opponents in the state. &quot;Today, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country is powerful, and no country can dare to raise its eyes towards India. Today, Pakistan and Afghanistan are feeling disturbed because of the Taliban. But, the Taliban knows if it moves towards India, an air strike is ready,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a statement issued by the Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP, Adityanath, referring apparently to SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar, said, &quot;His [Rajbhar's] thought process is confined only to the development of his family. While the father wanted to become a minister, one son wanted to be an MP, and another an MLC. The shops of such people indulging in blackmailing must be shut,&quot; Adityanath said. Without naming Rajbhar, Adityanath further said, &quot;There were two ministers from the Rajbhar community in my cabinet. In the meeting, one minister opposed the construction of a memorial in honour of Maharaja Suheldev in Bahraich, while Anil Rajbhar wanted a grand memorial to be built. Today, a grand memorial is being built in Bahraich. The BJP government has named the medical college in Bahraich, after Suheldev. What have the opposition parties done for Maharaja Suheldev?&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said that the &quot;followers of Muhammad Ghori and invader Ghazi fear that if a a Suheldev memorial is built, people will forget Ghazi, and trash those indulging in political blackmailing. This is why they indirectly oppose the memorial of Suheldev.&quot; Sharpening his attack on other rivals, Adityanath said the SP, BSP and the Congress have nothing to do with development.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Without naming the SP, Adityanath asked whether those &quot;who murdered Ram devotees have the courage to seek apology from the people of the country?&quot;</p> Mon Nov 01 08:33:00 IST 2021 grandma-told-me-not-to-cry-if-something-happened-to-her-rahul-gandhi-recalls-indira-gandhis-death <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Recounting Indira Gandhi's assassination and funeral, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said just hours before her death she told him not to cry if something happened to her.</p> <p>In a video released on YouTube on former prime minister Indira Gandhi's 37th death anniversary, Gandhi described the day of his grandmother's funeral as the "second most difficult day of my life".</p> <p>Former prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984 by two of her security guards linked to Khalistani extremists.</p> <p>"(In) the morning before she died she told me that don't cry if something happens to me. I did not understand what she meant and two-three hours later she was dead," Rahul Gandhi said, recounting the setback he and his family suffered that day.</p> <p>"She (Indira Gandhi) sort of sensed that she would be killed and I think everyone in the house also knew it. She once said to us on the dining table that the biggest curse would be to die of a disease," the former Congress chief said in the video titled 'With love, in memory of my beloved Grandmother, Indira ji', which has been released on his YouTube account.</p> <p>From her perspective it was probably the best way to die for her country, defending the idea that she loved, Gandhi said.</p> <p>He said he essentially had two mothers, "a super mother who was my grandmother, who basically would defend me when my father got angry, and my mother".</p> <p>For me it was like losing my mother, Gandhi added.</p> <p>Images from Indira Gandhi's funeral and last rites were also part of the video which showed a young Rahul mourning his grandmother's demise.</p> <p>Earlier on Sunday, Rahul Gandhi paid floral tributes to Indira Gandhi at her memorial "Shakti Sthal" in New Delhi.</p> <p>"My grandmother served the country fearlessly till the last moment, her life is a source of inspiration for us," Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.</p> <p>"A great example of women power, humble tributes to Mrs. Indira Gandhi on her martyrdom day," he said.</p> Sun Oct 31 19:11:34 IST 2021 sameer-wankhede-a-hindu-dalit-nawab-malik-must-stop-defaming-him-and-kin-athawale <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Union minister and RPI (A) president Ramdas Athawale on Sunday extended his support to Narcotics Control Bureau's (NCB) Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede, who he said is a Hindu dalit and a follower of B R Ambedkar.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Athawale also asked NCP leader and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik to refrain from "conspiring" to defame the NCB officer and his family members.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Wankhede is facing the vigilance probe by NCB after an independent witness in the drugs-on-cruise case, in which Aryan Khan is one of the accused, claimed of overhearing a discussion of a Rs 25 crore pay-off, including Rs 8 crore for Sameer Wankhede.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Malik, who has launched a sustained diatribe against Wankhede, had accused the latter of forging his caste certificate and other documents to secure a job from the SC quota after clearing the UPSC examination as an IRS officer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Malik has been claiming that Wankhede is a Muslim by birth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Athawale's remarks came after Wankhede's wife Kranti Redkar and her father-in-law Dnyandev Wankhede called on him on Sunday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"I have gone through the documents. Sameer Wankhede is a Hindu dalit. He is a follower of Babasaheb Ambedkar. He is not Muslim," the Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment told reporters.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said Nawab Malik should stop "conspiring" to defame the NCB officer and his family members.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"If he (Malik) says that Sameer is a Muslim, then why he, who is also a Muslim, is levelling these allegations? My party stands with Sameer's family. Sameer won't be harmed," Athawale said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After meeting Athawale, Kranti Redkar iterated that Malik's allegations against her family are "baseless" and asked what the NCP leader has got to do with someone's husband being a Hindu, Muslim or Christian.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When reporters asked questions about her husband's caste, Redkar lost her cool and said her family was fed up with the "harassment".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"What has Nawab Malik got to do if someone's husband is a Hindu, Muslim or Christian?" asked Redkar.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Malik had claimed that Wankhede got married to his first wife Dr Shabana Qureshi in 2006 as per Muslim rituals.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Redkar, who married Wankhede in 2017 after he had divorced Qureshi, claimed that Malik was "fooling" media persons.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"My family is fed up with all these things. What you all people have got to do with the private life of Sameer Wankhede?" asked Redkar, an actress.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Why is such a big politician harassing an officer, just because that officer is not corrupt? We have shown all documents of Sameer Wankhede to Athawale which proves that he was born as a Hindu. He had married a Muslim woman (Qureshi) by following rituals of that community for the sake of his mother's happiness," she said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Redkar also said whatever allegations Malik was making against Wankhede's family members, including their alleged visit to the Maldives and Dubai, are "fake and baseless".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Why you people are not asking how much drugs were recovered from Sameer Khan (the son-in-law of Malik)? The case is in court and I have nothing nothing to say on it or Aryan Khan," Redkar said to queries from reporters.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Malik's son-in-law was arrested by the NCB in January this year in an alleged drugs case. He was granted bail last month.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the occasion, Dnyandev Wankhede reiterated that his son was born as a Hindu and he never converted his religion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"We have shown all his educational certificates as well as birth-related documents to Athawale, and we are here to take help from him, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sameer Wankhede had already denied the allegations raised by Malik.&nbsp;</p> Sun Oct 31 19:00:07 IST 2021 priyanka-gandhi-takes-on-adityanath-says-his-rule-goes-against-guru-gorakhnaths-views <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, on Sunday, targeted Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in his home turf of Gorakhpur and made a flurry of poll promises, including farm loan waiver and purchasing wheat and paddy at Rs 2,500 per quintal.</p> <p>"Things have happened against the 'vaani' (views) of Guru Gorakhnath. Bulldozers were used, threats were made to put people in jail," she alleged at a rally, taking a swipe at Adityanath who is also the head of the prominent Mutt in Gorakhpur named after saint Gorakhnath.</p> <p>The Congress general secretary also reached out to farmers and members of the fishing community.</p> <p>"If the Congress is voted to power, then fisheries will be given the status of agriculture, and it will get all the facilities like agriculture. The rights of people of the Nishad community will be restored in sand mining and fisheries. Apart from this, a university named after Guru Machendranath will also be set up," she said.</p> <p>"The entire loans of the farmers will be waived. Wheat and paddy will be purchased at Rs 2,500 per quintal, while sugarcane will be purchased at Rs 400 per quintal. The problem of stray cattle will be resolved on the lines of Chhattisgarh, and a complete solution will be evolved," she said.</p> <p>The Congress general secretary added that government jobs will be given to 20 lakh youths, while contractual workers will be regularised.</p> <p>The Anganwadi workers will get an honorarium of Rs 10,000, and women will get three free cylinders in a year, she promised.</p> <p>"Apart from this, if voted to power, our government will bear the cost of treatment of any illness up to Rs 10 lakh."</p> <p>She further said Rs 25,000 will be given to families who have lost their livelihood due to COVID-19.</p> <p>Hitting out at Chief Minister Adityanath, who has been a five-time MP from Gorakhpur, the Congress general secretary said the health scenario in the district is dismal."As elections are approaching, we are hearing that AIIMS will be made functional. But nothing happened for five years. So how do you expect that it will be done now?"</p> <p>The Congress is facing a Herculean task to improve the party's tally in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, where it had won only seven seats out of 403 in the last assembly election.</p> <p>Earlier this month, the Congress general secretary held a rally in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency.</p> Sun Oct 31 18:45:45 IST 2021 up-cm-offers-waters-of-ganga-and-kabul-river-at-ayodhya-temple-s <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday offered waters from the Ganga and Afghanistan's Kabul river at the site where a temple of lord Ram is being constructed in Ayodhya.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"A girl from Afghanistan capital Kabul had sent water of the Kabul river to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for offering it at the spot where the massive temple of lord Ram is being built," the chief minister said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Adityanath said it had been decided that waters of pious rivers from across the world will be offered at the temple construction site, and this girl from Kabul has displayed an exemplary gesture of devotion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Honouring the sentiments of the girl, who sent the water despite the situation in Afghanistan following the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban, "I have come to Ayodhya to offer the water of the Kabul river and the Ganga at the 'nirman sthal' (construction site) of the Ram temple", he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The chief minister said that she sent the water as part of her rich religious feeling attached with the temple in Ayodhya.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Earlier, talking to reporters in Lucknow, Adityanath hailed the gesture of the girl.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Following the interaction, he flew to Ayodhya in a helicopter to offer the water of the Kabul river along with that of the Ganga at the Ram Janambhoomi temple site.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The gesture becomes all the more important because with the ascendency of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan, freedom of women has been curtailed and "in such a situation the gesture of the girl of sending the water for offering at the Ram temple deserves praise", the chief minister said.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Ayodhya temple has an international appeal and people from different faiths have expressed their sentiments in different countries in its favour, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Adityanath has already said that 12 lakh "diyas" (earthern lamps) collected from all 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh would be lit in Ayodhya as part of Diwali.</p> Sun Oct 31 17:26:14 IST 2021 schools-in-kerala-to-reopen-from-nov-1-in-staggered-manner-with-bio-bubble <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>After a hiatus of more than one-and-a-half year due to coronavirus outbreak, schools in Kerala are set to reopen in a staggered manner from November 1 starting with classes 1 to 7, 10 and 12 and with COVID protocols, like bio-bubbles in place, the state government said on Sunday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With 95 per cent of the population who are over 18 years of age being vaccinated with at least the first dose and a reduction in the number of new cases and people undergoing COVID-19 treatment, the state has been able to relax social restrictions, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In this backdrop, the state government has decided to open schools with utmost vigilance and in a staggered manner, the CM said in a Facebook post.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To keep schools functioning in a safe manner, guidelines prepared by the Health and Education departments need to be strictly followed by the schools, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He further said the schools need to implement the measures to control congestion, maintain social distancing and ensure cleanliness in classrooms and the surroundings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Earlier this month, the state government had given details of the preparations made by it to safeguard children from getting infected, once schools reopen.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The preparations included cleaning and disinfecting places where children throng and strictly implementing the bio-bubble system.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>School authorities have been directed to prepare mid-day meal for children and distribute them adhering to COVID protocol besides ensuring them the service of a doctor, the Education department had said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Along with soap and sanitiser, thermal scanner to examine the body temperature of children, teachers and non-teaching staff would also be arranged in each school.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In view of the COVID spread, the state government has been imparting online education to the children in the government and aided schools for the last two academic years including the ongoing one.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The CM, on Sunday, said although studies were progressing well via the online method, children were missing out on studying and playing with their friends and therefore, the situation would be changing from November 1.&nbsp;</p> Sun Oct 31 20:11:17 IST 2021 after-dabur-mp-home-minister-targets-sabyasachi-over-mangalsutra-ad <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra has issued an ultimatum to fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee over an advertisement for a <i>mangalsutra</i> (chain worn by married women in India) by his brand. Sabyasachi has been warned he would face a police case and statutory action if the “objectionable and obscene” advertisement is not pulled down within 24 hours.</p> <p>The mangalsutra advertisement by Sabyasachi, featuring a woman in a low-neckline dress, has caused controversy after a section of social media users called it obscene and against Hindu culture.</p> <p>On Sunday, Mishra said that he too had seen the advertisement and found it objectionable. “Mangalsutra is the important ornament worn by women. We believe that the yellow part (of the mangalsutra) represents Ma Parvati and black part symbolises Lord Shiva and they protect the woman and her husband. Ma Parvati blesses couples with good marital life,” the home minister said.</p> <p>“I had warned earlier too and now I am warning designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee personally and giving an ultimatum of 24 hours to pull down the ad, failing which a police case will be registered and legal action will be initiated. Force will be sent out especially,” Mishra said in a video statement.</p> <p>This is not the first time that the Madhya Pradesh government has taken suo motu cognisance of social media uproar over ‘anti-Hindu’ depictions in advertisements, web series, movies and television serials.</p> <p>Last week, Mishra had informed that he had asked the state's director-general of police to probe a recent advertisement by <a title="'Aashram' aftermath? MP minister says Dabur's 'lesbian ad' to be probed" href="">cosmetics maker Dabur,</a> saying it was a “serious issue” and asked why such material was circulated only for Hindu religious festivals.</p> <p>At the time, Mishra had also referred to the vandalism on a set of the OTT series <i>Aashram</i> by the Bajrang Dal in Bhopal on October 24. He said, "There are attempts to intentionally target Hindu religion in the name of web series for a long time. Considering the sentiments of the majority community, [director] Prakash Jha should consider changing the name of <i>Aashram</i> web series."</p> <p>He also said that guidelines will be issued for the film/series makers to submit the story script to the government and begin filming only after receiving permission.</p> <p>Last year, similar warnings had been issued for the web series <i>A Suitable Boy</i> that had a kissing scene between a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl shot in a temple of Madhya Pradesh.</p> <p>In recent weeks, separate cases were registered against two women for shooting videos of dances on temple premises in the state.</p> Sun Oct 31 14:44:29 IST 2021 sardar-patel-contributions-were-never-given-due-respect-amit-shah <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel gave a message to the world that nobody can destroy the unity and integrity of India, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday, on the occasion of Patel's birth anniversary.</p> <p>“Kevadia (where a 182m-tall statue of Sardar Patel is located) is not just any place today; it has become a shrine of national unity and patriotism,” Shah said at the site in Gujarat. Patel's birth anniversary is celebrated as National Unity Day.</p> <p>Taking a jibe at the previous Congress-led governments, Shah alleged attempts had been made to forget Sardar Patel. "After Independence, his contributions were never given due respect. He was neither given Bharat Ratna nor proper respect. Situation changed. He was given Bharat Ratna and this world's tallest statue is before us to see," Shah was quoted by <i>ANI </i>as saying.</p> <p>Shah declared that Patel had thwarted British attempts to divide the country. "After Independence, while leaving, Britishers had conspired to divide the country into several pieces. Sardar Patel foiled that conspiracy and resolved to make Akhand Bharat," Shah said.</p> <p>In a video message on National Unity Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it is due to Sardar Patel's inspiration that India is today becoming self-reliant in defending itself.</p> <p>Sardar Patel was the proponent of a country where everybody should get same opportunity and where everybody has the freedom to pursue his or her dreams, he said.</p> Sun Oct 31 11:34:31 IST 2021 socialist-party-india-calls-for-a-united-opposition-to-take-on-bjp-in-up-polls <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Socialist Party (India) called for an indefinite strike by farmers and workers, and a single candidate by a united opposition against the BJP in the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh.</p> <p>Thampan Thomas, national president of the party and a former MP from Kerala, said in Lucknow on Sunday that it was the duty of the Socialist Party to unite the opposition. “We will try to form an alliance of parties which are going to oppose the current regime, which is against the Constitution of India.”</p> <p>The beginning, he said, would have to be from UP, the state with the largest number of Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha seats. Hence, while the party will be directly in the electoral fray from five constituencies in the state, it will strive to back a strong candidate with a socialist ideology against the state’s ruling BJP on the other seats.</p> <p>Thomas told THE WEEK that he had written to the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samajwadi party, the Trinamool Congress and the Congress, asking them to have a dialogue on the matter.</p> <p>The idea, he said, was born from the farmers’ struggle against the farm laws. “The unity built by the kisan struggle has given us enthusiasm. In West Bengal, Mamata (Banerjee) did not expect to win these many seats. It was the movement, the struggle which brought results beyond her expectations.”</p> <p>He likened the farmers' struggle to the JP Movement which had brought the first decisive defeat of the Congress government. However, while the farmers had united, he said it was the turn of the workers to also unite. “Everyone is unhappy…The same thing (like JP Movement) is happening without the involvement of the political parties. I have faith in the poor people and in their struggles.”</p> <p>While the BJP would try to divert attention from pertinent issues such as unemployment, the inept handling of the pandemic, police atrocities, communal fighting, the other challenge would be to stand up to the party’s money power, he said.</p> <p>“In Kerala, crores (of rupees) were recovered from BJP candidates when their number of votes were just in hundreds and thousands”, he said, citing the example of the money power of the party.</p> <p>Thomas said while those in power imagine that they would always be in power, it is up to the people to show them the way out, and to prevent democracy from becoming mobocracy. “Every person affected by this government will react. Money power will not overwhelm people’s power. Expectations will be belied.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun Oct 31 17:49:50 IST 2021 cooperative-sector-can-play-big-role-in-making-india-atmanirbhar-amit-shah <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Union Cooperative Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said that a charter for the newly formed Cooperation Ministry was being prepared and the core idea of it would be sahakaar se samruddhi (cooperation to wealth).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He was speaking at the 75th year celebration of AMUL, the largest dairy cooperative sector of the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Addressing a large gathering, Shah said that he is confident that the cooperative sector will play a major role in India becoming a 5 trillion dollar economy. He said that the cooperative sector can also play a major role in making India “Atmanirbhar”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The minister said a lot of changes were required in the cooperative sector and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had seen the need of doing that at the right time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Appreciating the way AMUL has grown over the years, Shah said that the dream of 'white revolution' as envisaged by Lal Bahadur Shastri was in the sight of realisation. He, however, added that it is time for AMUL to look ahead.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Shah spoke about the efforts of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Tribhovandas Patel in setting up AMUL against the alleged exploitation by a private dairy. Shah also made a mention of how Dr. Varghese Kurien expanded AMUL further.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Citing an example of AMUL’s reach, he said that during his recent visit to Poonch, near Pakistan border, he was happy when a young girl gave him masala buttermilk of AMUL.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Movements, he said, are for bringing about a solution of the problem and not for creating problems. What began as a collection of only 200 litre of milk everyday has now become a sector in which 36 lakh farmers are associated, he observed. Shah also said that AMUL played a pivotal role in women’s empowerment after independence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The minister emphasized that it was the need of the hour to make cooperative movement a strong pillar of the 5 trillion dollar economy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He also urged the cooperative sector to come forward and strengthen the agriculture sector. Shah also pointed out that the cooperative sector can play a major role in doubling the income of farmers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The minister also asked if someone could take the responsibility of testing organic crops and exporting them to international markets so as to enable the farmers to get more returns.</p> Sun Oct 31 18:34:23 IST 2021 amid-diwali-shopping-socialising-covid-protocol-compliance-hits-new-lows-in-india-survey <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>As the country gets ready to celebrate Diwali, only two per cent of Indians think that masking compliance around them is effective, while only three per cent feel that people in their localities and districts are following social distancing norms, according to a survey.</p> <p>The survey conducted by LocalCircles, a digital community-based platform, received more than 39,000 responses from over 20,000 citizens in 366 districts of India on how people are complying with masking and social distancing protocols during the festive season and travel.</p> <p>Forty-seven per cent of respondents were from Tier 1 districts, 30 per cent from Tier 2 districts and 23 per cent from Tier 3, 4 and rural districts. While 65 per cent of respondents were men, 35 per cent were women.</p> <p>On the masking front, the survey found that only two per cent of respondents said "more than 90 per cent" people in their area, district or city are compliant and only 16 per cent respondents said that masking compliance is effective at airports, stations and bus stands, etc. during travel.</p> <p>According to a survey conducted by LocalCircles in September, 13 per cent of citizens felt that masking compliance in their area, district or city was high, while 30 per cent of respondents felt that masking compliance during travel was effective.</p> <p>In the latest survey, just three per cent of respondents said that social distancing compliance is effective in their area, district or city and nine per cent of respondents said that social distancing compliance during travel is non-existent now.</p> <p>According to the September survey, six per cent of respondents had said social distancing compliance in their area, district or city was high. The survey had not measured effective social distancing compliance during travel.</p> <p>A LocalCircles survey from June, which was shared by the Union health ministry in its July 6 briefing, had found that 29 per cent of people felt that masking compliance around them was effective, while 11 per cent felt that social distancing compliance around them was effective.</p> <p>"The drop in masking compliance ratings from 29 per cent to two per cent and in social distancing compliance ratings from 11 per cent to three per cent indicates that the vast majority of Indians believe that masking and social distancing compliance are practically non-existent in most of the country," said Sachin Taparia, founder of LocalCircles.</p> <p>Similarly, on the travel front, social distancing compliance is extremely poor with many citizens raising complaints on LocalCircles about the poor enforcement of social distancing norms at security check, boarding and in buses at airports like Delhi and Mumbai, he said.</p> <p>According to the LocalCircles' report, with Diwali markets, fairs and private parties being held in cities, stepping out and socialising are back with fervour.</p> <p>The report also stated that authorities should not bring large numbers of people together for Diwali fairs, as has been reported in a few states. Authorities like Airport Authority of India, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Railways must ensure compliance of social distancing norms at airports and stations.</p> <p>Special focus must also be on creating awareness and ensuring compliance of masking and social distancing protocols in Tier 3 and 4 towns and rural districts where it is at near-zero levels, it said.</p> <p>The last thing India wants at this stage is a third wave of COVID-19 sparked by the irresponsible behaviour of the public at large and encouraged by the lax approach of authorities, the report said.</p> Sun Oct 31 16:55:35 IST 2021 modi-to-meet-dms-of-districts-with-low-vaccination-coverage-on-nov-3 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a review meeting on November 3 (Wednesday) with district magistrates of over 40 districts having low COVID-19 vaccination coverage, the PMO said on Sunday.</p> <p>The meeting, which will be held via videoconferencing, will include districts with less than 50 per cent coverage of the first dose and low coverage of the second dose of the vaccine, it said.</p> <p>These districts are spread across states such as Jharkhand, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Meghalaya, and chief ministers of these states will also attend the meeting.</p> <p>Modi will be holding the meeting immediately on his return from abroad after attending the G20 and COP26 meetings, the PMO noted.</p> <p>Highlighting the need to accelerate the pace and coverage of vaccination, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had recently stated that there are more than 10.34 crore people in the country who have not taken the second dose of the vaccine after the expiry of the prescribed interval.</p> Sun Oct 31 15:55:37 IST 2021 rajib-banerjee-returns-to-trinamool-after-9-months-in-bjp <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Nine months after he joined the BJP, former West Bengal minister Rajib Banerjee returned to the Trinamool Congress on Sunday. Rajib Banerjee is the latest in a string of TMC turncoats to return from the BJP.</p> <p>Rajib Banerjee was re-inducted into the TMC at a rally addressed by Abhishek Banerjee, the party's general secretary, in Agartala, Tripura.</p> <p>The rally was attended by Sushmita Dev, another recent entrant to the TMC and the party's in-charge for the northeast. There is speculation Rajib was welcomed back to the TMC in Tripura as he has had links in the state, where the regional party is aggressively building its network to challenge the ruling BJP.</p> <p>Rajib had joined the BJP in Delhi in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah on January 30. Rajib had served as forest minister in the Mamata Banerjee government prior to that. After joining the BJP, Rajib had alleged that he had been insulted in the TMC.</p> <p>Rajib had contested the 2021 Assembly polls from Domjur, but lost to TMC's Kalyan Ghosh by over 30,000 votes. Rajib had won from the same constituency in the 2011 and 2016 elections as a TMC member.</p> <p>After the Assembly elections, Rajib had voiced criticism of the BJP and softened his tone on TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee. This gave rise to rumours Rajib was attempting to return to the TMC.</p> <p>However, at that time, his return to the TMC was <a title="Unhappy with BJP, unwelcome in Trinamool: The Rajib Banerjee saga" href="">opposed by leaders</a> such as Kalyan Banerjee and Arup Roy. Critics of Rajib Banerjee claimed he used personnel from the Central security forces assigned to protect him to torture TMC workers in the Howrah area.</p> Sun Oct 31 15:33:59 IST 2021 sameer-wankhede-wont-be-harmed-union-minister-ramdas-athawale <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede, who has been facing allegations of extortion following the arrest of Aryan Khan, found support from a minister in the Narendra Modi government. Aryan Khan, son of movie star Shah Rukh Khan, was released from jail on Saturday, two days after the Bombay High Court granted him bail in a drugs case.</p> <p>The father and wife of Sameer Wankhede met Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale in Mumbai on Sunday.</p> <p>Athawale is the leader of the Republican Party of India (Athawale), a constituent of the NDA.</p> <p>Over the past week, Nawab Malik, a minister in the Maharashtra government, had claimed repeatedly Sameer Wankhede had fraudulently obtained a caste certificate to qualify for the civil services. Malik had alleged Sameer Wankhede was born a Muslim. The BJP has alleged Nawab Malik was targeting Sameer Wankhede as the NCB officer had arrested the former's son-in-law.</p> <p>Athawale was quoted by<i> ANI</i> as saying "On behalf of RPI, I'd like to tell Nawab Malik to stop conspiring to defame Sameer and his family. If he says that Sameer is a Muslim then why is he, a Muslim too, levelling allegations? Republican Party stands with them. Sameer won't be harmed."</p> <p>Athawale said the allegations against Sameer Wankhede were baseless.</p> <p>Dyandev Wankhede, Sameer’s father, told mediapersons, "Nawab Malik says that we took away a dalit's rights. We ourselves are dalit. If you have to say anything, go to court. Just because my son arrested his son-in-law, he's levelling allegations. My son or I never converted, allegations are false."</p> <p>Kranti Redkar, Sameer’s wife, said, "… He's (Athawale) standing with us as he cares for every dalit. So far, Nawab Malik's allegations have proven to be a lie."</p> <p>Interestingly, Malik told a press conference on Sunday that attempts were made to "silence him" following the Aryan Khan case. "When I started (raising allegations against Sameer Wankhede), people I know told me to stop. They said that Shah Rukh Khan is being told that his son is trapped as he (Khan) speaks. My lawyer son was being brainwashed by other lawyers. He used to tell me to stop," Malik was quoted as saying by <i>ANI.</i></p> <p>Malik added, "Some people said that matters relating to drugs involve money, goons and I could lose my life. Attempts were made to silence me. But I had said that we will take this to a logical end. If someone says they will kill Nawab Malik, then I'll die the day I have to."</p> <p>On Saturday, Maharashtra Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde said his department could probe allegations of Sameer Wankhede obtaining a caste certificate illegally if a complaint was received.</p> Sun Oct 31 13:18:53 IST 2021 dont-mislead-farmers-with-false-promises-amarinder-tells-channi <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Captain Amarinder Singh, who resigned as chief minister of Punjab over a month ago, targeted his successor, Charanjit Singh Channi, over the farmers' protest issue on Saturday.</p> <p>Channi had tweeted that he had spoken to Balbir Singh Rajewal, a leader of a group involved in the farmers' protests. Channi shared a video of his phone call to Rajewal, in which he said the Punjab government had called a special Assembly session to &quot;reject&quot; the contentious farm laws.</p> <p>Responding to Channi, Amarinder declared that during his tenure, the government had passed amended laws on the issue. Raveen Thukral, Amarinder's media adviser, tweeted that Amarinder had said, &quot;… We spoke to farmer leaders on #FarmLaws &amp; passed our own amendment laws in Assembly too. But Governor is sitting over them &amp; he'll sit over any new laws. Pls don't mislead the farmers with false promises.&quot;</p> <p>Earlier in the day, Amarinder had rejected reports there had been back-channel talks with the Congress for a rapprochement. &quot;Reports of backend talks with @INCIndia are incorrect. The time for rapprochement is over. The decision to part ways with the party was taken after much thought and is final. I'm grateful to (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi ji for her support but will not stay in Congress now,&quot; Thukral tweeted, quoting the former chief minister.</p> <p>&quot;I will soon launch my own party and will hold talks for seat sharing with @BJP4India (BJP), breakaway Akali factions and others for the Punjab (Assembly) elections in 2022 once farmers' issue is resolved. I want to build strong collective force in interest of Punjab and its farmers,&quot; Amarinder said.</p> Sun Oct 31 11:10:21 IST 2021 bjp-leader-rajib-banerjee-set-to-rejoin-tmc-reports <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>BJP leader Rajib Banerjee, who defected to the saffron party from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) ahead of the West Bengal assembly polls, will rejoin TMC during Abhishek Banerjee's public meeting in Tripura today, news agency ANI reported.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rajib is the latest in a long line of BJP leaders to do a <i>ghar wapsi</i>&nbsp;to the TMC. In June,&nbsp;Mukul Roy, along with his son Subhranshu Roy, had rejoined the TMC, who had won the West Bengal polls with a landslide margin.&nbsp;Roy, an erstwhile strongman in the TMC and aide of Mamata Banerjee, had left the regional party and joined the BJP in November 2017. He was the first major TMC leader to switch over to the BJP. He played a key role in the furious growth of the BJP in the intervening period.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rajib's homecoming might not be that straightforward. There were reports of opposition within the TMC to Rajib's re-induction. He had switched over to the BJP in January and unsuccessfully contested the assembly elections from Domjur seat in Howrah district.&nbsp;Not only did Rajib lose as a BJP candidate in his home base, the saffron party drew a blank in the assembly elections in Howrah, as it could not win any of the 16 seats in the district. The main hurdles for his re-entry have been the vehement opposition from senior TMC leaders Kalyan Banerjee and Arup Roy, who also hail from Howrah. Their argument was that Rajib used personnel from the Central security forces assigned to protect him to torture local TMC workers.&nbsp; &quot;Also he tried to do irreparable damage to the party by creating a communal flare-up in the sensitive Howrah district, which has a large Muslim population,&quot; TMC leaders complained to Mamata, according to multiple reports.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While staying within the party, Rajib has been criticising the BJP a lot recently. He had urged leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikari to stop criticising the state government and instead &quot;see that the prices of petrol and diesel are brought down&quot;.&nbsp;&quot;Why can't they accept the people's mandate?&quot; he had asked several times.<br> </p> Sun Oct 31 11:44:13 IST 2021 two-soldiers-killed-in-mine-blast-in-jks-rajouri <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Two soldiers were killed and one was injured in a mine blast at Naushera in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to defence spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand, the mine blast occurred during an area domination patrol in Naushera. While two soldiers succumbed to their injuries, another injured soldier was evacuated and is under treatment.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Lt Rishi Kumar and Sepoy Manjit were brave and extremely committed to the profession of soldiering and have made the supreme sacrifice for the nation in the line of active duty,” the spokesperson said. Lt Rishi Kumar is a resident of Begusarai, Bihar.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to reports, the blast occurred at Kalal forward area where a militant was killed in an encounter on July 8 during&nbsp; an infiltration bid.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rajouri and Poonch witnessed repeated infiltration attempts in the last three months though most of such attempts were foiled by the security forces. Nine soldiers, including two Junior Commissioned Officers(JC0s), were killed in an encounter with militants in Poonch’s Bhata Dhurian on October 11 .</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Army launched an operation in the area to track the militants. However, no militant has been killed so far.</p> Sat Oct 30 22:40:48 IST 2021 lakhimpur-violence-skm-forms-7-member-advocate-panel-to-fight-court-cases <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Samkyukta Kisan Morcha on Saturday said a seven-member panel of lawyers has been formed to fight cases in courts in connection with Lakhimpur violence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Samkyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of 40 farm unions spearheading the farmers' agitation against the Centre's three agri laws, said the panel comprises advocates Suresh Kumar Munna, Harjeet Singh, Anupam Verma, Mohammad Khawaja, Yadvinder Verma, Surinder Singh and Israr Ahmed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The seven-member team will pursue the legal fight against main accused Ashish Mishra and others in the Lakhimpur Kheri case," it said in a statement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The farmers' body said it will also fight for the dismissal and arrest of Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It further said the panel of advocates will work continuously under the guidance of senior advocates of Samyukta Kisan Morcha to bring justice to the deceased and injured farmers, including the family of the young journalist who was killed in the incident.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Eight people were killed in the October 3 incident. Four farmers and a journalist were run over when a car allegedly driven by Ashish Mishra ploughed through a walking column of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri district's Tikunia village.</p> Sat Oct 30 21:05:11 IST 2021 mp-woman-purified-by-family-for-marrying-dalit-man <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A young woman from Betul in Madhya Pradesh has got an FIR registered against her father, uncle and two others for allegedly intimidating her and forcing her to undergo a ‘purification’ ritual for marrying a dalit youth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 24-year-old woman (name withheld on request) has alleged that her father and uncle, along with two neighbours from her native village Sataldehi, took her to river Narmada in Hoshangabad on August 19 and forced her to undergo the ‘purification rituals’. They beat her up and threatened to kill her and her husband. They also threatened to get her rusticated from the nursing college where she is studying if she did not get separated from her husband, the woman told THE WEEK over phone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“They performed the <i>puja</i>, made me bathe in few clothes in full public glare at Sethani ghat in Narmada, cut two inches of my hair and made me eat <i>puris </i>(fried chapattis) first eaten by them as a way of purifying me. They also forced me to discard the clothes I was wearing on the banks of the river. When I protested, they beat me up and said I had to do this because I married a dalit man,” she said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Kotwali police in Betul has registered a case against the woman’s father Dheeraj Yadav, her uncle Radhelal Yadav and two villagers of Sataldehi, Mahesh Yadav and Madhu alias Madan Yadav, based on her complaint late on Friday night.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The FIR has been registered under sections 506 (criminal intimidation), 504 (intention insult at public place) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The woman told THE WEEK that it took her and her husband Amit Ahirwar a lot of effort even to get the FIR registered and alleged that the earlier complaints filed by them regarding the threat to their life had elicited no response from the police. It was only after she managed to talk to Betul Superintendent of Police Simala Prasad outside her office on Friday that the FIR was registered around midnight.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She said that she married Amit Ahirwar, who she met in 2014, on March 11, 2020, at Arya Samaj temple in Betul. As she knew her family would not give consent to the alliance, she kept it a secret from them during the lockdown months. On January 4, 2020, she moved to her husband’s home in Tikari in Betul town and called her father to inform him of the marriage. On the same day, she also gave an application to the Betul police demanding protection as she expected trouble.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“My family members who arrived (at her house) were enraged and they threatened me. Later, on January 10, my father lodged a missing complaint at Chopna police station. Chopna police arrived at my husband’s place on January 12 with my family members and took me away on the pretext of registering my statement. However, they handed me over to my family who took me back to Sataldehi. Here too, I was intimidated and asked to break off the marriage failing which I would be killed. They also threatened Amit’s family and did not allow me to talk to them for a month,” she said. Amit filed a police complaint in this regard on February 1, but got no response, she added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She was allowed to go to college in Rajgarh in February as her exams were coming up, but the threat of getting her rusticated from college if she did not behave according to her family's wishes remained.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On August 18, her father and uncle took her to Indore from Rajgarh on the pretext of Rakshabandhan, and then took her to Hoshangabad&nbsp;for the ‘purification’ rituals the next day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“We are still feeling threatened and want action against my family members and others who forced me to undergo the rituals and are threatening us. I am an adult with full rights to marry and spend my life according to my wishes. I want my family to understand this,” the woman said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The in-charge of Kotwali police station in Betul, Ratnakar Hindwe told THE WEEK that a charge-sheet will be filed in the court and the case will continue there. He said that there is no need to arrest the accused as per the sections under which the case was registered.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Oct 30 18:16:29 IST 2021 aimim-will-contest-all-maharashtra-polls--says-owaisi <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The All India Majlis-e-Itthehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) will contest all elections in Maharashtra and the option of entering into alliances is also open, party president Asaduddin Owaisi said here on Saturday.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On a two-day tour of Aurangabad, Owaisi also criticised the Narendra Modi government on what he claimed was the inept handling of the China and Kashmir issues.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"China is on your ground but the government refuses (to acknowledge it). If nobody is holding onto your land, then why have these rounds of talks (between the two nations). The BJP should take a team of MP's to Ladakh and show the ground reality then. But the BJP and RSS are quiet on this issue," he alleged.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He also said moves like doing away with the provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir had done nothing to change the ground situation in the restive region, as jawans and civilians were being killed in terror attacks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Queried on the possibility of a national alliance against the BJP, Owaisi said he was not an astrologer to say anything now about the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"I don't have any idea who will be the face of it (such an alliance). I cannot say anything about the Uttar Pradesh polls either. Let the model code come in, then I will talk," he added.&nbsp;</p> Sat Oct 30 20:08:35 IST 2021 unlike-tmc-we-wont-label-mamata-outsider-when-she-visits-other-states-bjp-leader <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The West Bengal BJP said on Saturday that it had no qualms if Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee toured different states across the country, and unlike the TMC boss, who labelled leaders from Delhi as "outsiders", the saffron camp won't create a ruckus over her visits.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Addressing a press meet, BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said if the TMC boss, on her return from Goa, went ahead with her proposed trip to Varanasi in UP, it will make his party happy as Banerjee will get to see "how the riverfront has been developed in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"We remember what Mamata Banerjee had said when leaders from Delhi and other states came to Bengal. Her party had described them as outsiders. But the BJP is not narrow-minded. We believe that the TMC supremo and her party members can go anywhere in the country for their endeavours," Bhattacharya told reporters. He further quipped that the CM must be currently admiring Goa's landscapes.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The feisty TMC supremo is campaigning for her party in the poll-bound western state.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"We hope that she sticks to her plan of visiting Varanasi. She will certainly enjoy her trip to the holy city, where a spree of development initiatives has been taken under the leadership of Narendra Modi. Banerjee should visit the Ganga ghats and see how these have been renovated. Perhaps the trip will inspire her to refurbish the river ghats in Kolkata and its neighbourhood," Bhattacharya said.</p> Sun Oct 31 09:04:28 IST 2021 hp-bypoll-cong-alleges-mcc-violation-seeks-repoll <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The opposition Congress on Saturday sent a complaint to the election commission against a BJP MLA accusing him of violating the model code of conduct (MCC) and sought repolling at a Mandi polling station.</p> <p>Voting for Mandi Lok Sabha and three Vidhan Sabha seats of Fatehpur, Arki, and Jubbal-Kotkhai is underway in Himachal Pradesh.</p> <p>The BJP has fielded Kargil war hero Brigadier Khushal Singh Thakur from Mandi against Congress candidate Pratibha Singh, the wife of late chief minister Virbhadra Singh.</p> <p>Pratibha Singh's son and Shimla (rural) MLA Vikramaditya Singh told media that the complaint was e-mailed to the commission against Bharmour MLA by the state Congress legal cell general secretary Pranay P Singh.</p> <p>In his complaint, Pranay Singh alleged that the BJP MLA stood inside the polling station while votes were being cast in a bid to influence the voters, which is a violation of the MCC guidelines.</p> <p>Urging the commission to take immediate action, he sought repolling at the polling station.</p> <p>The Congress leader has also sent a video to the commission in this regard and urged it to debar the MLA from taking part in the election process.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Oct 30 15:19:15 IST 2021 pope-francis-accepts-modis-invitation-to-visit-india <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Pope Francis has accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation to visit India, the PMO said on Saturday. Modi met Francis earlier in the day and discussed a wide range of issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges posed by climate change.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Modi is the first Indian prime minister to meet Francis since he became Pope in 2013.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Had a very warm meeting with Pope Francis. I had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues with him and also invited him to visit India,” he tweeted.</p> <p>According to a press statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, Pope Francis received Modi in a private audience at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. “During the meeting, the two leaders discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences for people across the world. They also discussed the challenge posed by climate change,” the release said.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>His Holiness appreciated India's assistance to countries in need during the pandemic, the MEA said.&nbsp;Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla later said the Pope looked forward to visiting India, ANI reported.</p> <p><br> <br> </p> <p>India and The Holy See have friendly relations dating back to the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1948. India is home to nearly 18 million Catholics, the second largest Catholic population in Asia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>With PTI inputs</b></i></p> Sat Oct 30 23:47:23 IST 2021