India en Sat Oct 28 09:41:35 IST 2023 news-y-s-sharmila-assumes-charge-as-andhra-pradesh-congress-committee-president <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>YS Sharmila on Sunday took over as the president of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) on Sunday in the presence of senior leaders of the party and hundreds of cadres.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The newly sworn-in APCC president thanked senior Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge for reposing their faith and entrusting her with the responsibility.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Y S Rajasekhara Reddy took up the PCC (president) post two times and went on to be the chief minister two times. Again, believing in Rajasekhara Reddy's child Y S Sharmila, Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, (Mallikarjun) Kharge and the elders of the Congress party have given that responsibility,&quot; said Sharmila.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mincing no words, Sharmila immediately launched a scathing attack on the ruling YSRCP led by her brother and Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, and the TDP.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She claimed that there had been no development in Andhra Pradesh in the last five years under the YSRCP government, and five years prior to that under the TDP's rule.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sharmila alleged that the YSRCP and TDP governments had pushed Andhra Pradesh into deep debt of about Rs 10 lakh crore.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a broadside against Jagan Mohan Reddy, she said that the incumbent government does not have funds to lay roads or even pay salaries to employees.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sharmila questioned if Andhra Pradesh has a capital city or funds to build one and added that not a single city in the state has a Metro train facility.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to Sharmila, Andhra Pradesh has witnessed a 100 per cent rise in atrocities against Dalits and illegal sand mining led by a mafia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Noting that the state did not receive special status even 10 years post bifurcation, she compared Andhra Pradesh to Himachal Pradesh and pointed out that the latter managed to attract several industries after receiving special status.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sharmila said that Jagan Mohan Reddy fought for special status for the state as long as he was in the opposition, but had not done so after becoming the chief minister.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Holding the YSRCP and the TDP equally responsible for Andhra Pradesh not getting special status, she said both parties have become stooges of the BJP and surrendered to it and that both were 'two sides of the same coin'.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Attacking the BJP, she said that though the party has been in power for 10 years at the Centre and had promised to create two crore jobs in the country every year, it was a question if even one lakh jobs had been created in Andhra Pradesh during the period.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sharmila asserted that any vote to either the YSRCP or the TDP would be a vote for the BJP as the two parties have 'supported' the saffron party in all its endeavours.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She called on the two parties to support the BJP only if it accords special status to Andhra Pradesh and recognises the Polavaram Project as a national project by funding 90 per cent of its cost.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sharmila claimed that Jagan Mohan Reddy was a Christian and alleged that he was tight-lipped when many atrocities were happening against Christians in Manipur.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She claimed that her father Rajasekhara Reddy was a vociferous opponent of the BJP because it was a communal party which &quot;only knows how to inflame religious passions and derive benefits out of those skirmishes&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sharmila gave an open call to all fans and admirers of Rajasekhara Reddy to join hands with the Congress.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Later, Mangalagiri MLA A Ramakrishna Reddy, who recently quit the YSRCP, joined the Congress in Sharmila's presence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, Vijayawada police Commissioner Kanthi Ratan Tata issued a statement clarifying that Sharmila's convoy was not blocked by the police when she was on her way to the swearing-in function venue on Bandar Road.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Tata said any temporary stoppages experienced by Sharmila's convoy were only due to routine traffic management and that there wasn't any intentional interference.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Incidentally, a few Congress leaders staged a brief sit-in protest on the road at Yenikapadu centre after the convoy was asked to take a diversion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun Jan 21 22:50:46 IST 2024 nation-news-foetus-also-has-the-right-to-life-rajasthan-high-court-declines-11-year-old-rape-survivor-s-abortion-plea <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Rajasthan High Court has declined a plea of a 11-year-old rape survivor to terminate her 31-week pregnancy. The High Court reportedly observed that the fully developed foetus has the right to life.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to reports, the child was allegedly raped by her father. The accused is an alcoholic while mother is mentally challenged. The girl's father had earlier this month left the daughter at the house of her maternal uncle who lodged the FIR on the survivor's behalf. The plea stated that the 11-year-old didn't want to give birth to a child which would be a constant reminder of the atrocities committed on her, reported PTI.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However,&nbsp; Justice Anoop Kumar Dhand said that any attempt to terminate the pregnancy at this advanced stage is likely to lead to a premature delivery. The order further said the delay by the child in approaching the court further aggravated the said aspect of termination of pregnancy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The medical board is in the opinion that abortion at such an advanced stage would endanger her life. The court observed that any attempt of termination of pregnancy at this advanced stage is likely to lead to a premature delivery and the same may affect the neurotic development of the unborn child. The fully developed foetus also has the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India to enter in this world and live a healthy life without any abnormalities,&quot; PTI quoted the court order said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The victim's lawyer Fatehchand Saini said the FIR was lodged by her maternal uncle against the child's father under sections of Indian Penal Code Section 376 (rape) and sections of POCSO Act.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A case has been registered in the matter at the Shahpura police station in Jaipur Rural.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The medical board stated that considering the girl's age and weight (34.2 kg) and her deranged liver function tests, she is at high risk with regard to her pregnancy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The court also cited a 2023 Supreme Court case involving a 28-week pregnant woman, as well as two matters before the Punjab and Haryana High Court where it turned down pleas to terminate pregnancy of minor rape survivors, stating that this court has no valid reason to take a different view.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Considering the case, the court said the girl can stay at a home for girls till she attains adulthood and also issued direction to the state government, police and health staff to look after the girl's well being.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The court directed the superintendent of Mahila Chikitsalya to ensure a safe delivery, to retain and preserve the tissues, cord and blood sample of foetus for the purpose of DNA test by forensic lab and hand over them to the investigating officer of the case when required.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Upon birth, the child may be handed over to the Child Welfare Committee which may put him or her up for adoption in accordance with law.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The court also directed the Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority (RSLSA) and the District Legal services Authority (DLSA), Jaipur, to provide compensation to the survivor under the provision of the Rajasthan Victim Compensation Scheme, 2011.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>- With PTI inputs</b></p> Sun Jan 21 21:09:51 IST 2024 news-up-community-toilet-wall-collapses-crushes-grandkids-of-village-head-who-built-it <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Two minor siblings lost their life when the wall of a community toilet collapsed in Uttar Pradesh's Ballia district on Saturday. The toilet was built in 2012 when the the grandfather of the two victims served as the village head.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The incident happened in the Udai Chhapra village under the Bairia police station area of Ballia district. According to the police Anshu (13) and Tanu (11) were playing near the collapsed wall of the toilet. When it came crashing down on Saturday afternoon, the girls got trapped under the debris .</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The family took both of them to the local government hospital where the doctor declared them dead, PTI quotes SHO as saying.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said the deceased sister's grandfather Rajnath Yadav was the head of the village in 2012 when the community toilet was built.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Police are investigating the matter.</p> Sun Jan 21 20:14:12 IST 2024 ayodhya-21-year-old-dawood-aide-arrested-for-threatening-to-blow-up-ram-temple <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A day before the ‘Pran Pratishta’ in Ayodhya Ram temple, Bihar police has arrested a 21-year-old man over threatening to blow up the temple during the ceremony. The accused pretended to be a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim.</p> <p>According to a senior police official, Intekhab Alam, the accused, called up the police station and threatened. Alam was arrested from his home at Balua Kaliyaganj in Palasi police station area late on Saturday, Superintendent of Police of Araria, Ashok Kumar Singh, said.</p> <p>&quot;The man had on January 19 dialled 112, the number on which citizens can seek emergency help. He claimed his name was Chhota Shakeel and that he was a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim,” Singh told PTI.</p> <p>Though Alam has no criminal record, he seems to be mentally unstable, said an official.</p> <p>His phone was seized by the police and a case has been registered at Palasi police station.</p> <p>Swift action was taken as soon as the call was received at the police station. The details were immediately shared to the cyber cell and they tracked the mobile number, said the official.</p> <p>Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (UPATS) had arrested three men in Ayodhya for alleged links to Gurpatwant Singh Pannun's Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) outfit.</p> <p>According to the police, the three arrested were visiting various sensitive locations and look suspicious. They were taken into custody and during interrogation they claimed that they were members of SFJ. Authorities has launched an investigation into the matter.</p> <p>The UPATS has heightened its surveillance and security control in the region.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun Jan 21 19:39:30 IST 2024 additional-forces-on-roads-as-kolkata-braces-for-over-35-rallies-on-monday <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Kolkata Police has taken a number of measures to prevent any untoward incidents in and around the city during West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee's 'Sampriti Rally' and 35 smaller processions here on Monday, coinciding with the consecration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, according to a senior officer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The officer said 4,000 policemen will be deployed on city roads and several traffic diversions have been planned to ensure that commuters do not face problems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The proposed rallies will pass through Bhowanipore, Camac Street, Sealdah, Garfa, Patuli, Sakuntala Park, and the port areas, the officer added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Normally, we witness a heavy rush of office-goers on Mondays because it's the first day of the week. Tomorrow, since we have a large number of rallies, a decision has been made to deploy 4,000 policemen on the roads to ensure smooth traffic flow,&quot; the officer said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Additional forces have been put on standby in each division under Kolkata Police jurisdiction, the officer added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;All police stations have been instructed to remain alert throughout the day. Police stations where pujas and rallies are scheduled have been asked to be extra cautious,&quot; the officer told PTI.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All rallies will be videographed, and policemen will accompany them to ensure there is no disruption of law and order, the officer added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For TMC's 'Sampriti Rally', which will start around 3 pm from Hazra crossing and pass through Hazra Road and Syed Amir Ali Avenue to reach Park Circus Maidan, there will be two layers of security due to the presence of the Bengal CM.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Most of the private schools located along the rally routes in the city have either suspended classes or arranged for virtual classes to ensure that neither students nor teachers face any difficulties.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Other schools along the route of the 'Sampriti Rally' have announced that they will be closed for the day, school sources confirmed.&nbsp;</p> Sun Jan 21 21:18:43 IST 2024 ram-temple-inauguration-start-of-new-cycle-in-indias-resurgence-prez-murmu <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The nationwide celebratory atmosphere around the inauguration of the grand Ram temple in Ayodhya is an uninhibited expression of India's eternal soul and start of a new cycle in the country's resurgence, President Droupadi Murmu said on Sunday as she complimented Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the 'Pran Pratistha'.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a two-page letter to Prime Minister Modi, the president said that &quot;as you prepare yourself to go for 'Pran Pratishtha' of Prabhu Shri Ram's 'murti' (idol) at the new temple built at his birthplace in Ayodhya, I can only contemplate the unique civilisational journey that will be accomplished with each step taken by you in the hallowed precincts&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Referring to the 11-day rigorous 'anushthan' that the prime minister has undertaken, Murmu said it is not only a sacred ritual but also a supreme spiritual act of sacrifice and submission to Lord Ram.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sending heartfelt wishes, the president said that the nationwide celebratory atmosphere around the inauguration of the grand temple of Prabhu Shri Ram in Ayodhya Dham is an uninhibited expression of the eternal soul of India. &quot;We all are fortunate to witness the commencement of a new cycle in the resurgence of our nation,&quot; she said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Murmu said the universal values of Lord Ram such as courage, compassion and constant focus on duty, will be taken closer to the people through this magnificent temple.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Prabhu Shri Ram signifies the best aspects of our cultural and spiritual heritage. Above all, he represents the good which is in constant battle with evil. His life and principles have influenced many episodes of our history and inspired nation builders,&quot; she said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The president said Mahatma Gandhi derived strength from Ramanama till his last breath and quoted him as saying: &quot;Though my reason and heart long ago realised the highest attribute and name of God as truth, I recognise truth by the name of Rama. ln the darkest hour of my trial, that one name has saved me and is still saving me.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She said Lord Ram's message of treating everyone with love and dignity, irrespective of their social background, also appealed to the intellect of pathbreaking thinkers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>His focus on justice and welfare of the people, too, is reflected in the governance outlook of the country, the president said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In fact, as an illustration of this, &quot;you (the prime minister) recently released the first installment of various benefits to the people of vulnerable tribal communities under the PM-JANMAN initiative&quot;, she said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It was heartening to see you invoke Mata Shabari in your address on that occasion as well. Indeed, she would be doubly happy to see Prabhu Shri Ram's temple as well as the welfare of the people,&quot; the president wrote in her letter to Modi.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She said Lord Ram is an embodiment of all that is good about this land, and indeed, about humanity at large. &quot;May He guide the world on the right path; may He bring peace and bliss to one and all!&quot; Murmu wrote.</p> Sun Jan 21 22:53:50 IST 2024 ayodhya-under-thick-security-blanket-ram-mandir-consecration-to-begin-at-1230-pm <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Around 10,000 CCTV cameras and drones equipped with artificial intelligence have been deployed in Ayodhya as the temple city is all set for the Ram Mandir consecration ceremony on Monday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hundreds of police personnel with multi-lingual skills both in uniform and in plain clothes have been patrolling the streets round the clock.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Ayodhya is now under the watchful eye of drones equipped with artificial intelligence, alongside the utilisation of anti-mine drones, as part of the concerted efforts to enhance security in the temple town,&quot; a senior police official told <i>PTI</i>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The AI-supported drones are conducting aerial surveillance across Ayodhya while anti-mine drones are simultaneously inspecting the ground for mines or explosives, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Operating at a height of one metre above the ground, the anti-mine drones are equipped with advanced technology like spectrometer wavelength detection for detecting underground explosives.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Technology is being used on a large scale to ensure better security arrangements at the programme venue in Ayodhya, Director General (DG), Law and Order, Prashant Kumar said. The security along the Saryu river has also been increased with the help of NDRF and SDRF teams, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony will begin at 12.30 pm and is expected to end by 1 pm. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will then address a gathering of more than 7,000 people, including seers and prominent personalities, at the venue.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The shrine will be opened to the public a day later.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A team of priests led by Lakshmikant Dixit will lead the main rituals. Several celebrities and noted personalities have been invited to the ceremony.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The new 51-inch idol of Ram Lalla, sculpted by Mysuru-based Arun Yogiraj, was placed in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple last Thursday. Fourteen couples will be the &quot;yajmaans&quot; for the &quot;Pran Pratishtha</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Lakhs of people are expected to watch the live streaming of the event as the Centre and many other state governments have declared a half-day holiday for their employees on January 22.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Sunday, the idol of Lord Rama was bathed with sacred water from 114 Kalash (vases), containing medicated water and holy water from various pilgrimage sites from across the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;All preparations have been made. We are waiting for PM Modi and the grand temple of Lord Ram is ready. Everyone is happy,&quot; Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun Jan 21 22:48:21 IST 2024 india-news-2023-rajouri-civilian-killings-nia-apprehends-juvenile <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday apprehended a juvenile in connection with the sheltering of terrorists responsible for the tragic killing of five civilians in Dhangri village of Rajouri in January the previous year.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a statement released to the news agency Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the juvenile was incidentally confined at the Observation Home in Jammu in another case registered at Police Station Gursai. &quot;NIA took him into custody yesterday and presented him before the Juvenile Justice Board, Rajouri, for remand,&quot; the statement explained.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The incident in question occurred on January 1, 2023, resulting in the death of five individuals from the Hindu community and severe injuries to several others. Initially registered as FIR no. 01/2023 at PS Rajouri under sections 302/307/120-B/452/323 of IPC, sections 13/16/18 of UA (P) Act 1967, and sections 7/27 of the Arms Act, the case was later taken over and re-registered by the NIA on January 13.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The NIA's investigation revealed the involvement of the juvenile, along with two previously arrested individuals named Nisar Ahmed alias Haji Nisar and Mushtaq Hussain alias Chacha, in harboring the terrorists responsible for the heinous attack. Nisar Ahmed and Mushtaq Hussain were arrested on August 31, 2023, and are detained at Central Jail, Kot Bhalwal, Jammu.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The duo had allegedly provided logistical support to the terrorists for over two months, sheltering them in a hideout constructed on the instructions of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) handlers, namely Saifullah alias Sajid Jutt, Abu Qatal alias Qatal Sindhi, and Mohd. Qasim.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A dedicated team of NIA officials had extensively operated in the hilly terrain of Rajouri, Poonch, and Reasi districts of Jammi &amp; Kashmir during the investigation, scrutinizing numerous suspicious entities. The focus eventually narrowed down to the mentioned accused individuals who had offered logistical support to the terrorists. The investigation into the case is still ongoing.</p> Sun Jan 21 17:07:44 IST 2024 nithyananda-says-he-will-attend-ram-temple-consecration-ceremony <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Fugitive self-styled godman Nithyananda said he had been invited to the consecration ceremony of Ram temple in Ayodhya and that he would attend the event on January 22.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Don't miss this historic and extraordinary event! Lord Rama will be formally invoked in the temple's main deity during the traditional Prana Pratishtha and will be landing to grace the entire world!,” Nithyananda wrote on X.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Having been formally invited, the Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism, Bhagavan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam will be attending this grand event,&quot; the post added.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nithyananda is wanted in India on several charges of rape and sexual assault allegations. The godman reportedly fled the country in 2019 and claimed to have set up an island country named as ‘Kailasa’.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ‘virtual’ island is said to be located off the coast of Ecuador.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2022, a Karnataka court issued a non-bailable warrant against him. Indian officials suspect that he could be shuffling between Ecuador and Trinidad and Tobago, while some news suggested that he may have gone to Ecuador because the country does not have an extradition treaty with India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ecuadorian government has denied his presence in the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The much-awaited Ram temple consecration ceremony will be held on January 22 with the temple set to be open to the public on the following day.</p> Sun Jan 21 16:58:23 IST 2024 assam-govt-threatening-people-not-to-join-congress-yatra-says-rahul-gandhi <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Launching a scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Sunday that his party is not scared of Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>His remarks came after the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, led by him, was allegedly attacked by BJP workers in Assam.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Addressing a public rally in Nagaon, Rahul alleged that around 20-25 BJP workers carrying sticks came in front of his bus, but they ran away when he came out of the bus.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;They think that Congress is scared of the BJP and RSS. They are dreaming. They can tear as many posters and placards as they want. We don't care. We are not scared of anyone. We are neither scared of PM Narendra Modi nor Assam CM,” he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Addressing another rally in Biswanath Chariali, the headquarters of Biswanath district, Rahul accused the Assam government of threatening people against joining the Congress yatra.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;They (government) think they can threaten the people and suppress them. But, they are not realising this is not Rahul Gandhi's yatra. It is a yatra for the voice of the people. Neither Rahul Gandhi nor people of the state are afraid of them,&quot; the former Congress chief said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stepping up his attack on Sarma, Rahul termed him the most corrupt chief minister in the state.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Everyone knows that the CM and his entire family are the most corrupt. The Assam government is run for the benefit of one family…,” he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra is scheduled to travel through Assam till January 25, covering a total of 833 km across 17 districts.</p> Sun Jan 21 20:17:12 IST 2024 nyay-yatra-vehicle-attacked-undoubtedly-assam-cm-himanta-biswas-doing-charges-jairam-ramesh <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Congress MP and General Secretary (Communications) Jairam Ramesh said that his vehicle has been attacked, in Assam, during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra and charged it was “undoubtedly” Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s doing.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Congress party and Assam CM are engaged in a war of words with Congress accusing the Assam CM of causing hurdles to the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Tweeting about the incident, Ramesh tweeted, “My vehicle was attacked a few minutes ago at Jumugurihat, Sunitpur by an unruly BJP crowd who also tore off the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra stickers from the windshield. They threw water and shouted anti-BJNY slogans. But we kept our composure, waved to the hooligans and sped away. This is undoubtedly the Assam CM @himantabiswa’s doing. We are not intimidated and will soldier on.” Congress leaders alleged that media persons accompanying the party were also attacked during the yatra.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;On Saturday, Ramesh tweeted, “The Assam CM continues to deny permission to the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra to enter Guwahati on January 23rd. He is also refusing permission to @RahulGandhi to interact with the media at the Guwahati Press Club at the Club's invitation. Clearly, the Assam CM is very nervous and shaken by the tremendous response to the Yatra in Assam so far.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rahul Gandhi on Sunday attacked Sarma and charged, “The entire country and Assam know that your chief minister (CM Himanta Biswa Sarma) and his entire family are the most corrupt people,&quot; ANI reported. Gandhi also said, “BJP is afraid, the Assam CM is afraid, and he is a corrupt person. He added that the entire country and Assam knows that Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his entire family are the most corrupt people.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Responding to Rahul Gandhi’s charges in a press conference, Sarma said, “Earlier, Rahul Gandhi was just afraid of me but now he is also afraid of my son.”&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun Jan 21 16:18:29 IST 2024 ayodhya-temple-old-ram-lalla-idol-to-be-placed-in-front-of-new-idol <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> The old idol of Ram Lalla, kept in a makeshift shrine, will be placed in front of the new idol which will be consecrated at the temple here on January 22, said Govind Dev Giri, the treasurer of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust.<br> <br> He also said that more than Rs 1,100 crore has so far been spent in constructing the Ram Temple and another Rs 300 crore might be needed to complete the work.<br> <br> A 51-inch Ram Lalla idol was placed in the sanctum sanctorum of the Ram temple last week. Three idols of Lord Ram were built from which the one sculpted by Mysuru-based sculptor Arun Yogiraj has been selected for &quot;Pran Prathistha&quot;.<br> <br> When asked what would happen to the other two idols, the treasurer of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust said, &quot;We shall place them in the temple with all honour and respect. One of the idols will be kept with us since we will need it to measure the clothes and ornaments of Prabhu Shri Ram.&quot;<br> <br> About the original Ram Lalla idol, Giri said, &quot;It will be placed in front of Ram Lalla. The original idol is very important. It is five to six inches in height and cannot be seen from a distance of 25 to 30 feet. That is why we needed a bigger idol.&quot;<br> <br> When asked about the cost incurred in constructing the Ram temple he said, &quot;More than Rs 1,100 crore have been spent and it is likely that Rs 300 crore more will be needed since the construction is not complete yet. One storey is completed and we are going to build one more storey.&quot;<br> <br> On the selection of the Ram Lalla idol sculpted by Arun Yogiraj, Giri said, &quot;It was very difficult for us to choose one idol out of three. All of them are very beautiful all followed the criteria provided by us.&quot;<br> <br> &quot;The first criterion was that the face should be child-like with a divine glow. Lord Ram was &quot;ajaanbaahu&quot; (a person whose arms reach near the knees). So the arms should be of that length.&quot;<br> <br> The one chosen for the consecration ceremony was &quot;stout and had a good personality&quot;. The limbs were in the correct proportion, the treasurer of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust said.<br> <br> &quot;The delicate nature of the child was also visible to us while the ornaments were also very nicely and delicately engraved. It increased the beauty of the idol,&quot; he said.<br> <br> Asked how much time the trust members took to select the best among the three idols, Giri said, &quot;I went to Ayodhya every month and visited the places where the idols were being carved. Those sites were barred from the public. The sculptors took around four to five months to build the idols. After those were finished, we took a look at the idols for a day and took a decision.&quot;<br> <br> After 500 years, a special event is being organised in India, and &quot;we see it as Deepavali&quot;, he said. &quot;We celebrate Diwali each year, but this is a historic one. After so much struggle, Lord Ram will be seated in his original place with love and respect. This is the feeling which is prevailing in the country.&quot;<br> <br> Giri said that the youths of the country are tilting towards spiritualism. &quot;They are intellectuals. They think logically and need scientific proof. Yet they are engrossed in spiritual and nationalistic emotions.&quot;<br> <br> Taking a jibe at those making snide comments on Sanatan Dharma, he said people must understand what Dharma means.<br> <br> &quot;It is neither religion nor is it the way of worship. Dharma is the underlying laws that govern nature and faith. You may or may not believe in science but scientific principles exist. In the same way, the principles of Dharma are eternal. People who understand and follow them benefit while those who ignore them don't gain any benefit,&quot; Giri added. Sun Jan 21 15:35:27 IST 2024 ram-temple-consecration-telecast-banned-in-tamil-nadu-nirmala-sitharaman-hits-out-at-dmk-govt <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In a stinging allegation, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday claimed that the DMK-led government in Tamil Nadu has banned the live streaming of the consecration ceremony of Ayodhya Ram temple on January 22.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The BJP leader also alleged that no <i>puja</i> or <i>bhajan</i> is being allowed in the name of Shri Ram in temples managed by state's Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“In TN, there are over 200 temples for Shri Ram. In HR&amp;CE managed temples no puja/bhajan/prasadam/annadanam in the name of Shri Ram is allowed. Police are stopping privately held temples also from organising events. They are threatening organisers that they will rip off pandals. Strongly condemn this anti-Hindu, hateful action,” Sitharaman wrote on X, tagging a local newspaper report.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a following post, the minister said people are being threatened for organising <i>bhajans</i> while cable TV operators have been told that there is a likely power outage during the live telecast.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Heart-breaking scenes in several parts of TN. People are threatened for organising bhajans, feeding the poor, celebrating with sweets even as we wish to watch Hon. PM Narendra Modi participate in Ayodhya. Cable TV operators are told that there is a likely power-shut down during the live telecast. This is I.N.D.I Alliance partner DMK’s anti-Hindu efforts,” she said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sitharaman further alleged that the state government was creating a false and fake narrative by citing law and order issues to justify the live telecast ban.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“False and fake narrative! There was no L&amp;O issues on the day of Ayodhya verdict. Not even the day when PM Narendra Modi laid the foundation, in any part of the country. The groundswell and the voluntary participation of people to celebrate Shri Ram in TN has rattled the anti-Hindu DMK,” she said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The state government, however, denied the media report and said it would take legal action against the newspaper.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The Hindu religious and Charitable Endowments department hasn't imposed any limitations of devotees' freedom to offer food, conduct poojas in the name of Shri Ram or provide prasad in Tamil Nadu temples,&quot; state minister P.K. Sekar Babu said in a post on X.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It is unfortunate that people in office, like Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and others, are purposefully propagating this erraneous information,” he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun Jan 21 18:19:37 IST 2024 ayodhya-pran-pratishtha-hc-dismisses-pil-against-public-holiday-on-jan-22-in-maharashtra <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Bombay High Court on Sunday dismissed a PIL filed by four students against the Maharashtra government's decision declaring a public holiday on January 22, on the occasion of the Ram temple consecration ceremony in Ayodhya.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A bench of Justices Girish Kulkarni and Neela Gokhale, which held a special hearing on Sunday for the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by four law students from Maharashtra and Gujarat, noted the petition was &quot;politically motivated, frivolous and vexatious&quot;. The HC advised the students to &quot;utilise their time in doing better things&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The bench said normally the court while dismissing such a petition would impose an exemplary cost on the petitioner, but it was refraining from doing so as the petitioners here are young students and hence a word of caution would suffice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Maharashtra government argued that declaring a holiday falls within the executive policy decision of the government and should not fall for judicial scrutiny.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The students in their plea claimed the decision to declare a public holiday keeping an eye over the upcoming parliamentary elections was a &quot;gross abuse of power for political purposes&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The petition, filed by Shivangi Agarwal, Satyajeet Salve, Vedant Agarwal and Khushi Bangia, sought that the HC quash the government order declaring a holiday on January 22. &quot;The petition has political overtones and it appears to be a petition that is politically motivated and a publicity interest litigation. A glare for publicity seems to be apparent from the tenor of the petition and the arguments made in the open court,&quot; the bench said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The court said the petitioners have also questioned the wisdom of the Supreme Court in an order passed in another matter and this has shaken &quot;our judicial conscience&quot;. &quot;We have no doubt that this PIL has been filed for extraneous reasons. It appears to be absolutely frivolous and vexatious and does not deserve the attention of the court,&quot; the bench said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There was no doubt that such petitions were a &quot;blatant abuse of law&quot; and cannot be kept pending, it added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The court also questioned the political remarks made in the plea and asked at whose instance or motivation the statements were included in the petition. &quot;As pointed out by the respondent (Maharashtra government), there are some statements about political agenda in the plea that are political in nature, some are very reckless statements. On whose motivation or at whose instance have those statements been included in the plea?&quot; the bench asked. The HC also questioned the petitioners as to how the media came to know of the petition even before it was placed before the court.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The petition said the consecration of a temple is an essential religious practice associated with the Hindu religion and therefore cannot be in any manner a concern of the government. Any step taken by the government including the declaration of public holiday for celebrating the consecration of a Hindu temple is nothing but an act of identifying with a particular religion, the plea claimed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;An act of the government in celebrating and openly participating in the consecration of a Hindu temple thereby associating with a particular religion is nothing but a direct attack on the principles of secularism,&quot; the PIL further claimed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Such a public holiday could be declared perhaps to commemorate a patriotic personality or historic figure but not to celebrate the consecration of a temple to appease a particular section of the society or religious community,” it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The plea said there are several temples across India and if the government starts celebrating consecrations of various Gods and Goddesses in old or newly constructed temples, it would be necessary to declare a public holiday on each of such days. &quot;There are only 365 days in the year and they may not be enough to celebrate such consecrations,&quot; it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Public holidays would lead to loss of education if the educational institutions are closed, financial loss if banking institutions are closed, and loss of governance and public works if government and public offices are closed, it added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Advocate General Birendra Saraf, appearing for the Maharashtra government, on Sunday argued that to declare a holiday falls within the executive policy decision of the government and should not fall for judicial scrutiny.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The petition proceeds on a wrong footing that the decision was arbitrary. Most of the public holidays are for religious events. This allows citizens to carry out their religious practices. Such holidays are not declared for only one community. It is done for all religious communities,&quot; Saraf said.</p> Sun Jan 21 14:22:57 IST 2024 goa-hotel-manager-kills-wife-over-extramarital-affair-tries-to-cover-it-up-as-drowning <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A 29-year-old manager of a luxury hotel in South Goa was arrested on Saturday for allegedly drowning his wife at Cabo de Rama beach in Goa a day before, police said.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gaurav Katiyar allegedly murdered his wife Diksha Gangwar (27) at Cabo de Rama beach and tried to project the death caused due to drowning. However, a video shot by a man exposed his claim.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Forensic officials involved in the case said drowning in the shallow sand waters are cases of homicide and not suicide or accident. The state forensic department official, attached to the South Goa District Hospital, told PTI that the initial investigation has revealed the woman died in the &quot;shallow sand waters&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Most of the times, deaths due to drowning in the shallow sand waters are cases of murder as no one can die in such low depth waters due to drowning, unless forced to,” the official said. The postmortem on the woman's body would be conducted on Monday, the official said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said the medical examination of the accused conducted on Saturday showed injury marks due to scratching on his chest. “There are marks on the chest, usually when there is a scuffle. There is a possibility that the deceased tried to save her and in the process scratched the chest of the accused,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prima facie, Katiyar killed Gangwar, whom he married a year ago, over his extramarital affair, an official earlier said adding that injury marks were found on the body.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, a Judicial Magistrate First Class at Margao remanded the accused to police custody for five days. Katiyar was working as the manager of a restaurant in a five-star hotel in South Goa. He and his wife hailed from Lucknow.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Cuncolim police have registered a case on charges of murder and destruction of evidence against Katiyar, a senior police official said. &quot;We want to gather more evidence against the accused,&quot; he said. The police said the initial investigation revealed the accused killed his wife over his own extramarital affair. &quot;But we need to get all the information together so that a strong chargesheet can be filed against the accused,&quot; the official said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to police, the incident took place at around 3.45pm on Friday after the accused took his wife for a stroll on the beach, located not far from his workplace. “He took her to a rocky area of the beach and allegedly drowned her in the sea,” police said on Saturday. After committing the crime, Katiyar created commotion and tried to pass it off as an accident, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“However, a video clip shot by a local showed Katiyar coming out of the beach and returning again apparently to ensure whether his wife had really died, before raising alarm to create the entire drama,” he added.</p> Sun Jan 21 13:22:50 IST 2024 ram-mandir-pran-pratishtha-what-happens-to-original-tent-idol-of-ram-lalla-chief-priest-explains <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>As the stage is set for the pran pratishtha of Lord Ram Lalla at the newly constructed temple in Ayodhya on Monday, rituals to move the original idol of Ram Lalla Virajman will be done today.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 51-inch tall Ram Lalla idol sculpted by Arun Yogiraj has been placed inside the sanctum sanctorum of the grand new Ram Mandir and pran pratishtha ceremony will be conducted at 12.30pm on Monday. Chief priest of Ram Janmbhoomi temple Acharya Satyendra Das said the original idol of Ram Lalla, which was being worshipped at the demolished Babri Masjid site will be placed inside the new temple today.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Acharya Das told ANI, “Today, at 8 pm, the tent idol of Ram Lalla will be placed at the grand temple. Today is 'Ekadashi', which makes it an auspicious day for placing the idol at the temple. The tent idol was carried to the makeshift temple by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanth. Now, the idol will be carried to the new temple by dignitaries. I, along with four other priests, will be there as well.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After the Babri Masjid was demolished, Kar Sevaks ceremonially installed an idol of Shri Ram Lalla at the site and pitched a tent there. The idol has come to be worshipped at the demolition site ever since, ANI reported.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the consecration ceremony, Acharya Das said, “The pran pratishtha ceremony will begin tomorrow at 12.30pm. A puja will be performed, following which Shri Ram Lalla will be given a bath in the Saryu River. The Lord will then be adorned with clothes and trinkets. After this, Ram Lalla will be fed the 'Prasada' and a 'Shringar Aarti' will be performed. The deity will then be established at the temple and the devotees will be allowed 'Darshan'.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun Jan 21 12:22:06 IST 2024 in-india-you-can-be-pro-christian-pro-muslim-but-you-cant-be-anti-hindu-himanta-biswa-sarma <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Taking a swipe at the Congress’s decision to skip Ayodhya Ram temple consecration ceremony on January 22, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the opposition party had made a historical blunder by adopting the image of being anti-Hindu.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In an exclusive interview with THE WEEK’s Chief Associate Editor Riyad Mathew and Delhi Deputy Chief of Bureau Namrata Biji Ahuja, Sarma alleged that the Congress party was trying to please certain Muslim fundamentalists of Kerala and other states.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The political connotation would have changed the minute Sonia Gandhi went to the Ram temple on January 23rd morning. Indian politics would have changed not just for them, but for the entire country. They made a historical blunder to adopt the image of being anti-Hindu. In India you can be pro-Christian, pro-Muslim, but you cannot be anti-Hindu,” said the BJP leader.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Responding to a question on the allegations that the Ram temple event is being politicised, Sarma said only the absence of certain leaders would make it politicised.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“When the Pakistan government restored a Hindu temple, senior BJP leader L.K. Advani was invited. Can it be more communal than Pakistan? But Sonia Gandhi was asked not to go, [because of the threat that] there will be problems in Rahul winning Wayanad. Rahul went to Babur’s tomb in 2005, but he did not go to the Ram Temple. Doesn’t the Hindu feel hurt? You cannot become secular by being anti-Hindu. It does not work,” Sarma said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><b>&gt;&gt;Read the full interview in the current issue of THE WEEK</b></li> </ul> Sat Jan 20 23:03:51 IST 2024 direct-attack-on-secular-principles-students-move-bombay-hc-against-holiday-on-jan-22 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Four law students have moved the Bombay High Court challenging the Maharashtra government’s order declaring January 22, the day when the consecration ceremony will be held at Ayodhya Ram temple, a public holiday.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A bench of Justices G.S. Kulkarni and Neela Gokhale will hear the matter on Sunday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Shivangi Agarwal, Satyajeet Siddharth Salve, Vedant Gaurav Agrawal and Khushi Sandeep Bangia—the students from MNLU, Mumbai, GLC and NIRMA law school.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A state government notification on Friday said exercising powers given by the Ministry of Home Affairs, it has decided to announce a public holiday on January 22.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The petitioners, however, claimed that declaring holiday to celebrate a religious event violates the principles of secularism enshrined in the Constitution.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;An act of the Government in celebrating and openly participating in the consecration of a Hindu temple thereby associating with a particular religion is nothing but a direct attack on the principles of secularism,&quot; the PIL said, reported the Live Law.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The students alleged that the government’s notification was politically motivated, with an eye on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The PIL further challenged the Maharashtra government’s jurisdiction in issuing the notification under Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, saying only the central government has the power to declare public holidays under this provision.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Several states have declared half-day holiday on January 22 while Maharashtra is one of the few states which declared a full holiday. Central government offices will also have a half working day on January 22.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Jan 20 21:31:09 IST 2024 before-and-after-satellite-images-of-ayodhya-ram-temple-shows-different-phases-of-contruction-see-pics <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>With less than a day remaining for the Pran Pratishtha ceremony at Ayodhya Ram temple, ISRO's National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) has shared stunning visuals of the temple, River Sarayu as well as other landmarks in the city.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>This image was captured by the country's indigenous satellites.</p> <p>The photo showing the 2.7 acre Ram temple site, the Dashrath Mahal and the renovated Ayodhya Dham Railway Station were captured by the remote sensing satellites on December 16, 2023. In the image, River Sarayu can be seen flowing on one side of the city.</p> <p>New images are not available and this is partially due to dense fog in the region.</p> <p>In 2021, two Google Earth images showing the Ayodhya Ram temple site were released. The first one showed the temple site before the foundation was laid and the second one showed the site after the foundation work was done.</p> <p>The latest December 2023 photo released by ISRO shows the under-construction temple.</p> Sun Jan 21 13:11:15 IST 2024 govt-issues-advisory-to-media-ahead-of-ram-temple-consecration-c <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Ahead of the Ram temple consecration ceremony on January 22, the government on Saturday issued an advisory against the spread of unverified, provocative and fake messages.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting urged newspapers, television channels, digital news publishers and social media platforms to refrain from publishing or telecasting any content that may be false or manipulated or has the potential to disturb communal harmony or public order.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Further, as part of their due diligence obligations, the social media platforms have been advised to make reasonable efforts to not host, display or publish information of the nature mentioned above,” said an official statement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ministry further underlined the provisions of the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act and norms of journalistic conduct laid down by the Press Council of India under the Press Council Act.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The consecration ceremony of the Ram Lalla idol in Ayodhya will be held on January 22 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other dignitaries in attendance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The new 51-inch idol of Ram Lalla, carved by Mysuru-based sculptor Arun Yogiraj, was placed in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple on Thursday afternoon.</p> Sat Jan 20 18:53:37 IST 2024 karnataka-cong-mlc-hariprasad-refuses-probe-over-godhra-like-comment-wonders-who-is-in-power <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Congress MLA B.K. Hariprasad has courted controversy once again by refusing to answer queries by the CCB police over his &quot;Godhra-like&quot; incident remark made last week. Upset over police landing at the government guest house to question him, the MLC wondered if Karnataka was being ruled by the Congress government or some outsider.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A former Rajya Sabha member, Hariprasad on Friday expressed displeasure over police approaching him to record his statement following his comments on the possibility of a “Godhra-like” incident in Karnataka ahead of the Ayodhya Ram temple consecration ceremony on January 22. While Hariprasad refused to answer the CCB queries, he asked them to bring a warrant or issue summons before interrogating him.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“A police officer came over to Kumarakrupa guest house at 11am (on Friday) on the directions of the police commissioner and DIG. I refused to say anything because if at all I have committed any crime or mistake, a proper procedure has to be followed. If they bring a warrant, I am ready to go to the police station and give my statement on the issue of Ayodhya. I had made a statement that people who are travelling to Ayodhya from Karnataka should get all the security from the state to avoid any untoward incident. Taking cognisance of my statement, they wanted to do the inquiry. I told them I don't want any VVIP treatment during the inquiry. If at all they want to probe me, they should summon me to the police station, and conduct a narco test in the presence of the BJP state president and also livestream it for the benefit of the public (people). I refused to answer any of their questions,” Hariprasad told reporters.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Further, targeting the state government,&nbsp; Hariprasad alleged that some opposition leaders facing hate speech charges were being given the “VVIP” treatment by the state police.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The police rolled out a red carpet for (RSS leader) Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat and (BJP MP) Anantkumar Hegde and gave them VVIP treatment. I want none of it. I am ready to face any inquiry. I was under the impression that we have a Congress government in the state. Despite being a Congress leader, if this is my plight, now imagine the plight of an ordinary party worker. I have done nothing wrong. The high command is there to take note of all this,” lamented Hariprasad.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hariprasad had cautioned the Congress government in Karnataka against the possibility of a “Godhra-like” incident if no safety measures were put in place to facilitate people from the state travelling to Ayodhya during the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple to be held on January 22.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The state government should take all precautions because, in the past, the Kar Sevaks were burnt to death in Godhra, Gujarat. Some people will try to create a similar situation in Karnataka. The government should give no room for such untoward incidents to take place. The state government needs to provide proper bandobast for those wanting to visit Ayodhya. Else, we might have to witness another Godhra incident in Karnataka,” Hariprasad had said referring to the 2002 Godhra train burning case that had led to communal riots in Gujarat. “I can tell you some leaders of some organisations are instigating BJP leaders in some states,” Hariprasad had claimed.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Senior BJP leader and former chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda had not only objected to Hariprasad’s remarks calling it “dangerous” and an attempt to create “fear psychosis” among the people intending to travel to Ayodhya for the event. He also demanded Hariprasad’s immediate arrest and probe by the National Investigation Agency.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hariprasad’s frequent outbursts against Siddaramaiah is a strategy to diminish the stature of Siddaramaiah as the undisputed leader of the OBC community, feel Siddaramaiah supporters. While Hariprasad is an OBC (Ediga) leader like Siddaramaiah (Kuruba), the former has identified himself in the KPCC chief D.K. Shivakumar’s camp after Siddaramaiah denied him a cabinet berth. Hariprasad has openly criticised the chief minister and mocked his “lavish” lifestyle despite claiming to be a “socialist”.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This time, Hariprasad indirectly hit back at Siddaramaiah saying, “The party men have to ask questions to the chief minister about today’s development. I have travelled across the country and I am not the one to be cowed by the police. If anybody thinks they can intimidate me using the police, they are in an illusion,” charged Hariprasad.&nbsp;</p> Sat Jan 20 15:56:35 IST 2024 from-ndrf-teams-to-illuminations-how-ayodhya-preps-for-ram-temple-pran-pratishtha <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The temple town of Ayodhya is all set for the much-awaited Ram temple consecration ceremony, which will be held in a grand way on Monday. The mammoth event will see VVIPS, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and eminent people from all walks converging at this town in Uttar Pradesh.</p> <p>With the world's focus now on the temple town, Ayodhya has been decked up for the event. Besides sporting a religious aura, Ayodhya is witnessing fool-proof security with a multi-layered security plan in place.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>Besides police personnel deployed across the city, the security arrangements will involve personnel of central security agencies. They include the Special Protection Group (SPG), National Security Guards (NSG), para commandos of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), UP Special Task Force (STF), and specially-trained personnel of UP security headquarters, Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), UP Special Security Force (UPSSF) as well as Intelligence Bureau sleuths.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>UPSSF commandos, trained by NSG, have already been deployed in vantage positions in and around the temple complex. They have been provided training in highly specialised anti-terror tactics and intervention drills to ward off all possible security threats.<br> </p> <p>An anti-drone system has been installed to counter aerial threats during the programme. Movable barriers with barbed wires attached to them have been put up at every prominent crossroad in the temple city to regulate traffic, especially during VVIP movements.<br> </p> <p>Multiple NDRF teams trained to tackle chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks, drowning incidents and disasters like earthquakes have also been deployed.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Set for emergency&nbsp;</b><br> </p> <p>The state government has made all arrangements to deal with any health emergency, considering the cold wave gripping the town. All city-based hospitals and the medical college have set aside beds for the thousands who pour into the city for the next two days. Specialists from AIIMS have provided focused emergency response training to doctors at healthcare institutions.</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Illuminations and artworks</b><br> </p> <p>The grand Ram temple has been decorated with &quot;rich stocks&quot; of flowers and special lights and the entire city is drenched in religious fervour or as is the common refrain among the locals, &quot;Ayodhya Rammay ho raha hai&quot;.<br> </p> <p>Streetlights on flyovers have been decorated with artworks depicting Lord Ram, including cutouts of bow and arrow, and ornamental lamp posts carry designs themed on the traditional &quot;Ramanandi tilak&quot;.<br> </p> <p>&quot;Shubh Ghadi Aayi&quot;, &quot;Taiyar hai Ayodhya dham, virajenge Shree Ram&quot; and &quot;Ram fir lautenge&quot;, &quot;Ayodhya me Ram rajya&quot; are among the slogans on posters and hoardings splashed across the city.<br> </p> <p>Various verses from the Ramayana are also printed on posters at prominent places like the Ram Marg, the Saryu River bank and Lata Mangeshkar Chowk. Ramlilas, Bhagwat Kathas, Bhajan sandhyas and cultural programmes are going on at different places here. The banks of the Saryu River are also decked up where thousands flock every evening for the &quot;aarti&quot;.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(With PTI inputs)&nbsp;</p> Sun Jan 21 13:03:29 IST 2024 one-nation-one-election-rs-10000-crore-needed-every-15-years-ec-tells-centre <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Election Commission would require an estimated Rs 10,000 crore every 15 years to procure new Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) if simultaneous polls are held for Lok Sabha and assemblies, according to the poll body.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a communication sent to the government, the Commission noted that the shelf life of EVMs was 15 years and one set of machines could be used to conduct three cycles of elections in their life span if simultaneous polls were held.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to estimates, a total of 11.80 lakh polling stations would be required to be set up across India for Lok Sabha polls this year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During simultaneous polls, two sets of EVMs would be needed per polling station -- one for the Lok Sabha seat and another for assembly constituency.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Based on past experiences, the EC said in the communication sent to the government, certain percentage of Control Units (CUs), Ballot Units (BUs) and Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines are required as reserves to replace defective units at different stages, including on election day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At least one BU, one CU and one VVPAT machine make up for one EVM.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Keeping in mind various aspects, the minimum EVMs and VVPATs required for simultaneous polls would be: 46,75,100 BUs, 33,63,300 CUs and 36,62,600 VVPATs, the Commission said in its letter to the Law Ministry in February last year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In early 2023, the tentative cost of EVM stood at Rs 7,900 per BU, Rs 9,800 per CU and Rs 16,000 per unit of VVPAT.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The EC was responding to a questionnaire on simultaneous polls sent by the Law Ministry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The poll panel also underlined the need for additional polling and security personnel, enhanced storage facilities for EVMs and more vehicles.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The commission said keeping in mind the production of new machines, increasing warehousing facilities and other logistical issues, the first simultaneous elections can only be held in 2029.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It also observed that five articles of the Constitution will need amendments to hold simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The provisions which would need amendment are Article 83 which related to the duration of Houses of Parliament, Article 85 relating to the dissolution of the Lok Sabha by the President, Article 172 relating to the duration of the state legislatures, Article 174 relating to the dissolution of the state legislatures, and Article 356 relating to the imposition of President's Rule in the states.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It also noted that the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution relating to disqualification on the grounds of defection will also require necessary changes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The government has constituted a panel, headed by former president Ram Nath Kovind, to examine the issue of holding simultaneous elections in the country has been renamed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The High Level Committee on One Nation, One Election has been tasked with examining and making recommendation for holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha, state assemblies, municipalities and panchayats, keeping in view the existing framework under the Constitution of India and other statutory provisions.&nbsp;</p> Sat Jan 20 23:05:09 IST 2024 watch-pm-modi-at-arichal-munai-in-dhanushkodi-to-wind-up-3-day-tn-tour-today <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will wind up his three-day Tamil Nadu visit on Sunday after prayers in Sri Kothandarama Swamy Temple at Dhanushkodi. The Prime Minister visited Arichalmunai, which is said to be the place from where the Ram Setu was built, on Sunday morning.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>After offering floral tributes at the seashore, the PM also did 'pranayama' (breathing exercise). He also offered prayers using the sea water. Modi, who stayed at Rameswaram overnight, drove to Arichalmunai, which is said to be the place from where the Ram Setu was built. He also laid flowers on the beach and paid floral tributes at a pillar erected there with the national emblem.<br> </p> <p>According to officials, the Prime Minister will perform pooja and darshan at Sri Kothandarama Swamy temple, officials said. Heoffered prayers at the Sri Ranganathaswamy and Arulmigu Ramanathaswamy temples in Srirangam and Rameswaram on Saturday.<br> </p> <p>Before that, Modi visited temples Andhra Pradesh's historic Veerabhadra temple, which has immense significance with its Jatayu episode and Thriprayar Sree Ramaswamy Temple in Kerala's Thrissur - part of a pilgrimage to the abodes of Lord Ram and his brothers.<br> </p> <p>His visit to the Tamil Nadu temples with a Ramayana connection comes just ahead of the consecration of the grand Shri Ram temple at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh on Monday.<br> </p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">PM's full iterinary for Monday</b><br> </p> <p>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive at Ayodhya to preside over the ‘pran pratishtha’ ceremony on Monday.<br> </p> <p>He will arrive at the Ayodhya Airport by 10:25 am. From the airport, he will take a chopper to the Ram Janambhoomi premises. The Prime Minister will explore the Ram Janambhoomi premises till 12 am.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>The&nbsp;<b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">‘</b>Pran Pratishtha<b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">’&nbsp;</b>rituals will begin at 12:05 pm. PM Modi to leave the consecration ceremony venue at 1 pm for a public ceremony. After the public event, he will visit the Kuber Teela at 2:10 pm.<br> </p> Sun Jan 21 11:18:09 IST 2024 ram-mandir-pran-pratishtha-aiims-delhi-reverses-circular-to-close-op-services-after-public-outrage <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;Following severe public outrage, the AIIMS Delhi has reversed its decision to shut down non-essential services for half day on Monday to celebrate the Ayodhya Ram Mandir pran prathishtha event.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Several central hospitals in Delhi, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences had announced closure of services till 2.30pm for the Ram Mandir pran prathishtha event on January 22.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All four central government-run hospitals, including AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi on Saturday announced closure till 2.30pm on Monday, barring critical and emergency services which will be functional. “It is notified for information of all the employees that the institute will remain half day closed till 2.30pm on January 22. All Chiefs of Centres, Heads of the Departments, Units and Branch Officers are requested to bring this to the notice of all staff working under them. All critical clinical services shall remain functional,&quot; a circular read.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Besides, Delhi, AIIMS Bhubaneswar has also announced half-day leave, till 2.30pm tomorrow in view of the consecration ceremony. However, following severe criticism, AIIMS Delhi has decided not to shut down outpatient services. “The outpatient department shall remain open to attend patients with appointment in order to prevent any inconvenience to them and to facilitate patient care. All critical clinical care services shall remain operational,” a circular from AIIMS Delhi on Sunday read.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Earlier, criticising the decision, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted, “Hello humans, Please don’t go into a medical emergency on 22nd, and if you do schedule it for post 2pm since AIIMS Delhi is taking time off to welcome Maryada Purushottam Ram. PS: However, wonder if Lord Ram would agree that health services are disrupted to welcome him. Hey Ram, Hey Ram!”&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Former Congress leader Kapil Sibal tweeted, “AIIMS: Shuts down OPD on January 22nd until 2.30 pm. In Ram Rajya this would never have happened !”</p> Sun Jan 21 11:55:16 IST 2024 ram-mandir-ayodhya-abuzz-with-religious-fervour-on-the-penultimate-day-of-pran-pratishtha <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Ayodhya is bustling with religious fervour as thousands, including foreign devotees, have congregated in the temple town to attend the consecration ceremony, which will mark the culmination of rituals to inaugurate the temple.</p> <p>On Sunday, the bathing of the Ram Lalla idol with water from 114 Kalash (vases) will take place. &quot;On Sunday, the daily puja of the deities with Havan will be done. After that, the bathing of the idol with various medicated water from 114 Kalash (vases) will take place. There will be 'Vyahati Hom', night vigil, with regular evening puja and aarti,&quot;&nbsp; Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth posted on X.<br> </p> <p>The streets of Ayodhya too have been adorned with flowers and posters depicting the child-version of Lord Ram have come up at the entry gate to the temple.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>Hundreds are pouring into the temple premises, and to take a holy dip in river Sarayu. Makeshift tents housing devotees have sprung up all over the town and Raj Sadan, the grand residence of the erstwhile Raja of Ayodhya, various temples and other buildings here have been lit up.<br> </p> <p>The ancient 'Ayodhya Nagari' has been tastefully decorated, especially the Ram Path and Dharm Path, the two street showpieces of what the government terms the 'Navya, Divya and Bhavya Ayodhya'. The streets are filled with strains of songs such as 'Ram Aayenge' and 'Awadh Mein Ram Aayen Hain' as saffron flags dot buildings.<br> </p> <p>A lot of foreign devotees too have arrived in Ayodhya. A devotee from New York shared his excitement at the ceremony, calling Ayodhya a beautiful place. &quot;I have come from New York, USA. I have come here as the temple of Lord Ram is being built. Ayodhya is a beautiful place...&quot; the devotee, Chaitanya Swami told ANI.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>Another devotee, Prabhupad Jeevan Das, who arrived from Europe said he is very enthusiastic for the Pran Pratishtha as it is a glorious occasion which will change people's lives.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>The ornate gateway -- 'Laxmidwar' -- has been illuminated with an image of Lord Ram holding his bow and arrow and chanting 'Jai Shri Ram'. Thousands are pouring into the spot to click pictures till late at night on Saturday.<br> </p> <p>A chandelier has been mounted beneath the arches of the gateway and lights added on the two arched wings, making its embellished frontage glow with elegance. The illumination is drawing people passing by on Ram Path nearby, and even many security personnel stopped over to get clicked.<br> </p> Sun Jan 21 08:38:49 IST 2024 integrating-indias-northeast-with-bhutan-bangladesh-can-bolster-economic-security-ties <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>With 60 countries going for elections this year, 2024 happens to be a unique year that will replicate itself only once in more than two decades. The list includes both India, the biggest, and the US, the oldest democracies. Incidentally, the same list also includes our neighbours Bhutan and Bangladesh.</p> <p>The election results in both these countries are nothing short of music to our ears as India gears up for its crucial journey to become the third largest economy in the world.<br> </p> <p>To have pro-India governments in the immediate vicinity is of paramount importance for our economy. More so, after the Maldives turn-around. The slippery, and hopefully temporary, loss in the waters of Indian Ocean needs to be compensated with a more rigid and permanent gain between the Himalayas and the plains on either side of the crucial chicken’s neck called the Siliguri Corridor. The Siliguri Corridor continues to be our vulnerability, with the strategic depth on its either side being provided by Bhutan and Bangladesh. Therefore, to have friends on both ends of the corridor is of unparalleled significance to India.<br> </p> <p>The B-2 (Bhutan and Bangladesh) neighbours not only cater to the conventional and hybrid warfare requirement against our hostile northern neighbour, but are also significant for the economic development of our northeast. The tackling of the Doklam crisis and the curtailment of insurgency in the northeast would not have been possible but for the India-friendly governments in Bhutan and Bangladesh.<br> </p> <p>While Sheikh Hasina is a better known personality, her newly elected counterpart in Bhutan, Tshering Tobgay also needs no introduction. In fact, he was the Prime Minister during the Doklam crisis in 2017 but he had lost the elections in 2018. He is the son of an ex-Royal Bhutan Army soldier and a mother who physically contributed in the construction of the first road in Bhutan. The return of the Harvard graduate to power in the recently concluded election is indeed a positive development.<br> </p> <p>Readers may remember that Bhutan’s trial with the new democratic norms in 2008 were certainly not without creating some ripples of discomfort for India, with the first government showing a tilt towards China. It was only during Tobgay’s first stint as Prime Minister that the bilateral ties returned to normal and got bolstered further.<br> </p> <p>Both these leaders have to fulfil their promised agenda of economic revival of their countries. With the Indian economy already on the right track, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of a ‘Vikasit Bharat @2047’ can become a reality only through a ‘Vikasit Northeast’. Both these neighbours would have a significant role in helping us achieve this goal. In fact, a BIB (Bhutan-India-Bangladesh) alliance wherein India basically implies the northeastern states, can really become a game-changing economic alliance. There exists direct physical road connectivity between the three countries extending up to ports, a geo-economic rarity in the region.<br> </p> <p>Efforts earlier were made through the BIBN (Bhutan-India-Bangladesh-Nepal) Motor Vehicle Agreement, 2015, to allow free movement of motor vehicles carrying goods without change of transport at the borders. However, it met with some scepticism due to major differences in the size of the economies. Hence the solution lies in restricting the alliance primarily to northeastern states of India so as to give a semblance of parity.<br> </p> <p>Now that Bhutan has already started developing Gelephu as a major city where an airport was recently inaugurated, the direct and shortest BIB air corridor has become a reality. The existing Trongsa-Gelephu hydel power axis of Bhutan can be extended up to Bangladesh's ports through Assam. Our northeastern states by themselves are of significant size and potential to have a viable economic alliance. Of course, necessary support from the rest of India can be made available, whenever required.<br> </p> <p>The time has come to look at our northeast region as one common economic BIB entity and develop it as an integrated region. A Vikasit BIB will definitely ensure a Vikasit Bharat @2047.</p> <p>The author headed Border Roads Organisation’s Project Dantak in Bhutan from 2015 to 2018 when the Doklam crisis took place</p> Sun Jan 21 09:46:15 IST 2024 two-days-after-resigning-from-aap-haryana-leader-ashok-tanwar-joins-bjp <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Former Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar, who recently quit the Aam Aadmi Party, joined the BJP on Saturday as the ruling party looks to broaden its support base in the state with the induction of the Dalit leader.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Tanwar joined the BJP in the presence of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Tanwar quit the Congress in 2019 and joined AAP in 2022. In between, the former Lok Sabha MP had floated his party and even joined the Trinamool Congress for a brief period. He resigned from AAP on Thursday, protesting its likely alliance with the Congress for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The BJP is hopeful that Tanwar's joining will boost its efforts to consolidate its votes in the state where Jats are the most populous caste and are seen to be leaning towards the Congress in most parts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Assembly polls are also due in Haryana later this year. The BJP has been in power in the state since 2014 with Khattar at the helm throughout the period.</p> Sat Jan 20 14:49:40 IST 2024 money-laundering-ed-continues-to-quiz-hemant-soren-section-144-clamped-near-cms-house <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Enforcement Directorate sleuths continued to question Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren at his official residence here on Saturday in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The entire area has turned into a virtual fortress with heavy deployment of security forces, an official said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Soren, 48, who is also the executive president of the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), had earlier skipped seven summonses by the ED. He finally gave his consent after the probe agency summoned him for the eighth time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ED personnel reached Soren's residence around 1 pm, the official said, adding, the questioning has been underway for more than six hours now.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Security personnel, deployed in large numbers at the spot, are using high-resolution body cameras to keep track of activities around the house, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The measure comes in the wake of the recent attack on ED officials in West Bengal during a raid pertaining to an alleged multi-crore ration distribution scam.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Ranchi district administration has also imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC near Soren's house, disallowing any demonstration, carrying weapons and public meetings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The restrictions will be in place till 11 pm on Saturday, Ranchi SDO Utkarsh Kumar told PTI.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Security has also been bolstered outside the residences of key BJP leaders in the state and the party headquarters as a precautionary measure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, the JMM convened a meeting of its legislators at the chief minister's residence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The ED is questioning the CM... We are also holding our meeting... Any strategy about the future course of action will be made based on the outcome of the questioning,&quot; JMM general secretary and spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya told PTI.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jamtara MLA Irfan Ansari, who met Soren before being quizzed by the ED officials, said the chief minister asked party workers to be patient.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The CM, after seeing me, turned emotional and asked us to have patience, Ansari said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Opposing the ED action, JMM workers and tribal outfits staged protests across the state. Asked about the demonstrations, Bhattacharya said those were spontaneous, and his party had not taken any call on that.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>JMM workers armed with bows and arrows were also spotted at some distance from Soren's house.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Congress' Jharkhand president Rajesh Thakur said that party MLAs were present to express solidarity with the CM.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those present inside Soren's residence include Social Welfare Minister Joba Manjhi, Congress legislator Deepika Pandey Singh and Rajya Sabha MP Mahua Maji, besides several JMM legislators.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jharkhand Advocate General Rajiv Ranjan, DGP Ajay Kumar Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Ranchi, Rahul Kumar Sinha and SSP Chandan Kumar Sinha are also at the spot, officials said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The investigation pertains to a &quot;huge racket of illegal change of ownership of land by the mafia&quot; in Jharkhand, according to the central probe agency.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It has so far arrested 14 people in the case, including 2011-batch IAS officer Chhavi Ranjan, who served as the director of the state's Social Welfare Department and deputy commissioner of Ranchi.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>JMM MLA Ramdas Soren claimed that this was an attempt to destabilise the Jharkhand government.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The BJP, however, alleged that the chief minister was playing the &quot;victim card&quot; by sponsoring protests across the state.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The CM should not have been given the privilege of interrogation at his official residence. Soren is scared of being arrested and that is why he did not visit the ED office for questioning, senior BJP leader Amar Bauri told PTI.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jharkhand BJP president Babulal Marandi said the ED agreed to Soren's request for questioning at the chief minister's house out of respect for him.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Now, we hope that the CM will also show generosity and issue an order to the Jharkhand Police today itself that instead of calling any accused to the police station and interrogating him, officers should go to the house of the accused and question, Marandi wrote on X.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He also claimed that tribals in the state are not with Soren anymore, and they want his exit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Soren had filed a petition before the Supreme Court and the Jharkhand High Court, seeking protection from the ED action, terming the summonses &quot;unwarranted&quot;. Both the courts subsequently dismissed his petitions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jharkhand Governor C P Radhakrishnan had earlier this week said that the ED was doing its duty and Soren should provide the right answers to the probe agency.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly, the ruling coalition holds 47 seats, including 29 MLAs from the JMM, 17 from the Congress, and one each from the RJD and the Communist Party of India (Marxists-Leninist).&nbsp;</p> Sat Jan 20 20:30:46 IST 2024 video-vistex-inc-ceo-dies-in-freak-accident-at-ramoji-film-city <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The silver jubilee celebrations of a private firm turned tragic at the Ramoji Film City, when the CEO was killed and the president critically injured in a freak incident on the stage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Vistex, Inc CEO Sanjay Shah, 56, and his colleague Raju Datla were being lowered in an iron cage from a height, when one of the cables broke and the two fell on the stage. They were rushed to the hospital but Shah died while undergoing treatment. Datla is in critical condition, police said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A case has been registered against the Ramoji Film City event management authorities based on a complaint made by another official of the company.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Vistex had arranged accommodation for its staff at Ramoji Film City and had planned a two-day celebration for its 25<sup>th</sup> anniversary.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mumbai-born Shah founded Vistex Inc in 1999. The company specialises in revenue management solutions and has a turnover of around $300 million, <i>timesnownews</i> reported.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Shah went to Chicago in 1993 and joined SAP. He then founded Hoffman Estates-based Vistex, Inc.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>TRIGGER WARNING:</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Jan 20 13:02:09 IST 2024 india-to-stop-free-movement-of-people-at-myanmar-border <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The government will stop free movement of people at the Myanmar border, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday. His remarks come amid reports of high number of Myanmar soldiers and citizens fleeing into India to escape ethnic clashes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The India-Myanmar border will be protected like the Bangladesh border... The Government of India will stop the free movement with Myanmar,&quot; Shah said addressing the passing out parade of the first batch of the five newly-constituted Assam Police Commando battalions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Reports had earlier claimed that the government was planning to end the Free Movement Regime (FMR), which allows people residing close to the India-Myanmar border to venture 16 km into each other's territory without visa.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India and Myanmar share a 1,643-km-long border which passes through Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. Once the FMR is scrapped, people living on border regions will require a visa to enter the other country.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the last three months, nearly 600 Myanmar soldiers have crossed into India and taken refuge in Mizoram's Lawngtlai district after their camps were captured by the Arakan Army militants, <i>NDTV </i>reported.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mizoram which shares a 510-km-long porous border with Myanmar has seen an influx of anti-Junta rebels in thousands since the military coup in Myanmar on February 1, 2021. According to government estimates, several thousand refugees are living in different parts of Mizoram since the coup.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Manipur government has been maintaining that insurgents from Myanmar use the free movement regime to further their activities. Manipur shares a 398-km border with Myanmar.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Arunachal Pradesh shares a 520-km border with Myanmar while Nagaland shares a 215-km border with the country.&nbsp;</p> Sat Jan 20 17:46:15 IST 2024 moti-mahal-vs-daryaganj-legal-tussle-over-who-invented-dal-makhni-butter-chicken <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Delhi High Court is hearing a case to settle a dispute over who actually invented dal makhani and butter chicken. The owners of Delhi's Daryaganj-based Moti Mahal restaurant have filed a lawsuit against the proprietors of Daryaganj restaurant over the latter's tagline: Inventors of Butter Chicken and Dal Makhani.</p> <p>Moti Mahal claimed that Daryaganj restaurant is &quot;misleading people&quot; into believing that it is linked to Moti Mahal, whose first outlet was opened in Daryaganj area.</p> <p>During a hearing on January 16, Justice Sanjeev Narula issued summons, seeking a written response from the owners of Daryaganj restaurant within a month. The court has also issued a notice on Moti Mahal's application for an interim injunction and scheduled the hearing for May 29.</p> <p>Moti Mahal owners claimed that the recipes of the iconic dishes were concocted by their predecessor Kundan Lal Gujral while proprietors of Daryaganj alleged that it was invented by their predecessor Kundal Lal Jaggi.&nbsp;</p> <p>Moti Mahal owners, in the suit, claim that their predecssor Gujral invented the first tandoori chicken in Peshawar at a time when the India was undivided. Later he came up with the ideas for dal makhani and butter chicken and brought them to Delhi after partition.</p> <p>Explaining how Gujral came up with the recipes, Moti Mahal stated that he was worried about the unsold leftovers of chicken getting dry and hence he concocted the makhani (butter) sauce to rehydrate it. They added that he used the same gravy made of tomatoes, butter, cream and spices to create dal makhani.</p> <p>“The invention of Dal Makhani is closely linked with the invention of Butter Chicken. He [Gujaral] applied the same recipe with Black lentils and gave birth to Dal Makhani around the same time,” the lawsuit claimed.</p> <p>However, the lawyers appearing for Daryaganj slammed the allegations on January 16, saying the entire lawsuit is &quot;misconceived, baseless and lacking a cause of action.&quot; They pointed out that the first Moti Mahal restaurant was set up jointly by the predecessors of both parties -- Gujral and Jaggi -- when they were settled in Peshawar.&nbsp;</p> Sat Jan 20 13:01:29 IST 2024 pm-modi-in-tamil-nadu-offers-prayers-at-srirangam-temple <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday worshipped in the Sri Ranganathaswamy temple at Sri Rangam here, while clad in traditional Tamil attire.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During his visit to this ancient shrine of Tamil Nadu, Modi wore a spotless 'veshti' (dhothi) and an angawastram (a shawl) and prayed with folded hands in the Lord Vishnu temple. He took blessings from the temple elephant after feeding it. Modi prayed to Sri Ranganathaswamy and he was blessed with 'Sadari' (Crown, symbolising Lord Vishnu's blessings) by temple priests.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The PM prayed at several 'Sannadhis' (separate enclosures for deities) including those dedicated to Vaishnavite saint-guru Sri Ramanjuacharya and Sri Chakkarathazhwar. The presiding deity is popularly known in Tamil as Ranganathar.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Srirangam temple is an ancient Vaishnavaite temple of Tamil Nadu and it dates back to the Sangam age with various dynasties pitching in, through the ages, to build and expand it. The early and later Cholas, Pandyas, the Hoysalas and the Vijayanagara empire have all contributed in the construction of the grand temple. The Srirangam temple is situated in an island, at the confluence of the Cauvery and Kollidam rivers. The temple is also known as 'Boologa Vaikuntam'or 'Vaikuntam on Earth'. Vaikuntam is the eternal abode of Lord Vishnu.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Prime Minister arrived here on Saturday from Chennai and on his way to the temple, stood on the running board of his car and waved at the people and BJP workers who gathered at vantage points to greet him. He will later pray at the Arulmigu Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameswaram.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Jan 20 12:38:02 IST 2024 two-bogies-of-kannur-alappuzha-executive-express-derail-train-delayed <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Two bogies of the Kannur-Alappuzha Executive Express derailed near Kannur railway station during the shunting process on Saturday morning, causing a one-hour delay in the train's departure, railway sources said here.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The incident took place at 4.40am as the train was being brought to the platform, with no passengers on board.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The derailment occurred in the rearmost two bogies, damaging the signal box in the process. Fortunately, since the incident happened on a track parallel to the main track, other train services were unaffected, they said. The train journey proceeded after the derailed bogies were separated.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Railway officials are currently conducting an inquiry to determine the cause of the derailment.</p> Sat Jan 20 12:09:40 IST 2024 gujarat-tragedy-3-partners-of-firm-operating-boat-service-among-6-arrested <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Gujarat police have arrested six persons in connection with the boat tragedy near Vadodara that killed 12 students and two teachers, an official said on Friday.</p> <p>Eighteen students and two teachers were rescued from the boat capsize in Harni lake on the outskirts of Vadodara city on Thursday. The students were on a picnic at the time.</p> <p>Those arrested include three partners of Kotia Projects, a firm that had been given the contract to operate Harni Lake Zone by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, a police official said.</p> <p>The others who have been arrested comprise a manager of Kotia Projects and two boat operators, and all have been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, Vadodara police commissioner Anupam Singh Gehlot said.</p> <p>On Thursday, the police had registered an FIR under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the Indian Penal Code against 18 persons.</p> <p>The arrested persons have been identified as Kotia Projects partners Bhimsingh Yadav, Vedprakash Yadav and Rashmikant Prajapati, the firm's manager Shantilal Solanki and boat operators Nayan Gohil and Ankit Vasava, as per police.</p> <p>&quot;We have formed a special investigation team (SIT) in connection with the incident and to nab other culprits. Those guilty will not be spared,&quot; Gehlot said.</p> <p>The seven-member SIT will be led by Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime and Traffic), Manoj Ninama, while other members include Deputy Commissioner of Police Panna Momaya, DCP Yuvrajsinh Jadeja and ACP HA Rathod, the official said.</p> <p>Following the incident, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation sealed the lake area and prohibited the entry of unauthorised persons as well as those associated with the contracting firm.</p> <p>As per the FIR, Kotia Projects was given the contract by VMC to operate the Harni Lake Zone in 2017.</p> <p>In his complaint, VMC engineer Rajesh Chauhan said the firm, its owners, managers and boat operators indulged in criminal negligence on several counts, be it non-maintenance of boats or not keeping adequate number of life-saving equipment and life jackets.</p> <p>It was also revealed that only a few students were given life jackets and no instructions were given to them, as per the complaint.</p> <p>Due to overload, the FIR said, the boat first started swaying and then capsized following water ingress from the front side.</p> <p>Incidentally, on Thursday, Gujarat Minister of State for Home Sanghavi had told reporters only 10 students on board were wearing life jackets, which proved the organisers were at fault.</p> <p>Gujarat Education Minister Kuber Dindor too had said the boat was carrying more persons than the stipulated number.</p> <p>I have also learnt students were not wearing life jackets at the time of the accident. We will take action against those found guilty (of these lapses), Dindor had said on Thursday night.</p> <p>A preliminary probe by authorities also revealed the boat, which was pulled out from the muddy waters, had only 14 seats, while more than 30 persons were on board.</p> <p>On Thursday, a notification issued by the state home department directed the Vadodara collector to conduct a detailed inquiry on reasons and circumstances which led to the tragedy, whether there was any negligence on the part of the contractor or any official and how such incidents can be avoided in the future.</p> <p>Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel had visited the site late on Thursday evening and toured Janvi Hospital and state-run SSG Hospital to meet survivors and kin of the deceased.</p> <p>The CM had also announced compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of those who have died and Rs 50,000 to the injured.</p> <p>In a message on social media platform X some time after the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, Distressed by the loss of lives to a boat capsizing at the Harni lake in Vadodara. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. May the injured recover soon.</p> <p>The local administration is providing all possible assistance to those affected. An ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of each deceased. The injured would be given Rs 50,000, the PM had further said.</p> Fri Jan 19 22:54:03 IST 2024 bjp-accuses-bengal-govt-of-obstructing-ram-temple-celebrations-tmc-hits-back <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The BJP on Friday accused the TMC government of impeding programmes to celebrate the inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22, triggering a strong denial from the TMC.</p> <p>The Calcutta High Court's approval of TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee's harmony rally on Monday, coinciding with the Ram Temple consecration in Ayodhya, has fueled a heated exchange of verbal jabs between the ruling party and the opposition in the state.</p> <p>Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP alleged on Friday that the police have been denying permission for Ram Puja organisers in various parts of the state on what he deemed &quot;flimsy grounds.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Why is conducting Shree Ram Puja such a hassle in this state only? In no other state have devotees faced such a situation. Why are the police denying permission to the organisers on flimsy grounds? They are being harassed as if they are committing a crime by organising Ram Puja,&quot; Adhikari said.</p> <p>He said that while the police promptly permitted the &quot;All-faith rally&quot; announced by Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, they remained sceptical about providing permission for pujas and programmes organised in various parts of the state.</p> <p>In response to the allegations, the TMC accused the BJP of spreading canards and attempting to vitiate the state's atmosphere.</p> <p>Senior TMC leader and Industry Minister Shashi Panja said, &quot;I want to ask him how low can he stoop. We strongly condemn the BJP's continuous efforts to spark communal unrest through fake and misleading updates. We also urge state authorities to take action against such people who attempt to stoke communal tensions.&quot;</p> <p>TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh stated, &quot;First, by using an old circular from the state electricity board of last year, BJP leaders are spreading canards that the state government has ordered power cuts in areas where Ram Pujas will be held.</p> <p>&quot;Now, he is making false allegations that permission has not been granted to hold the programmes. This is a crime. We would request the police to take action against Adhikari and other BJP leaders.&quot;</p> <p>The Ram Temple is scheduled to be inaugurated on January 22, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and over 6,000 attendees expected to participate in the program.</p> <p>The Bengal BJP has planned several events and programmes across the state to celebrate the day, including setting up LED screens in areas where the Ram Temple inauguration will be telecast live.</p> <p>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced on Tuesday that she would lead a 'rally for harmony' in Kolkata on January 22, commencing from the Hazra crossing in south Kolkata after paying homage to Goddess Kali at the Kalighat temple.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Jan 19 21:08:27 IST 2024 probe-how-ram-idol-with-eyes-revealed-became-viral-says-ayodhya-ram-mandir-chief-priest <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Ram Janmbhoomi temple chief priest reacted strongly on Saturday regarding the viral Ram Lalla picture with eyes revealed and urged a probe must be conducted into the matter. Acharya Satyendra Das claimed the idol with eyes revealed was not the real idol.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Acharya Satyendra Das told ANI, “The eyes of Lord Ram's idol cannot be revealed before pran pratishtha is completed. The idol where the eyes of Lord Ram can be seen is not the real idol. If the eyes can be seen, an investigation should be done on who revealed the eyes and how the pictures of the idol are going viral.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Ram Lalla idol, sculpted by Arun Yogiraj from Karnataka, was placed inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir on Thursday. The 51-inch tall idol weighs around 200 kilos and was placed inside the temple using a crane. Pictures with the revealed eyes of the Ram Lalla idol went viral on social media. The idol’s eyes were covered earlier.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The pran pratishtha ceremony will be conducted on January 22. The consecration ceremony will begin at 12.20pm and is expected to end at 1pm. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will then address a gathering of over 7,000 people at the venue, Hindustan Times reported.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to reports, Ram Janmabhoomi Trust officials are concerned about the image leak and are mulling taking stern action against miscreants. Hindustan Times reported that Trust suspects officials involved in the construction of the temple might have leaked the image.&nbsp;</p> Sat Jan 20 13:22:27 IST 2024 abandon-one-nation-one-election-dissolve-high-powered-committee-demands-kharge <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Congress on Friday strongly opposed the idea of holding simultaneous elections in the country and said it goes against the guarantees of federalism and the basic structure of the Constitution.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge party also demanded that the idea be abandoned and the high-powered committee formed in this regard be dissolved.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a letter to the secretary of the committee on ‘One nation, one election’, he requested former President Ram Nath Kovind, who heads the panel, not to allow his persona and the office of the former president to be &quot;abused&quot; by the central government to &quot;subvert&quot; the Constitution and Parliamentary democracy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The Indian National Congress is strongly opposed to the very idea of 'One Nation, One Election'. For the sake of maintaining a thriving and a robust democracy, it is imperative that the entire idea must be abandoned and the high-powered committee dissolved,&quot; Kharge said in his letter to Niten Chandra, the secretary of the committee.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;On behalf of the Congress party and the people of the country, I humbly request the Chairman of the high-level committee not to allow his persona and the office of the former President of India to be abused by the Union government to subvert the constitution and parliamentary democracy in this country,&quot; Kharge said in his letter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>His letter came in response to Chandra's letter of October 18 where he had invited suggestions for consideration of the high-level committee constituted by the government for the purpose of one nation, one election.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The government, parliament and ECI should work together to ensure people's mandate is respected rather than divert people's attention by talking about undemocratic ideas like simultaneous elections,&quot; Kharge said.</p> Fri Jan 19 22:55:16 IST 2024 crime-news-two-madhya-pradesh-policemen-killed-in-line-of-duty-in-separate-incidents <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In a span of 12 hours, two policemen were murdered in neighbouring districts of Madhya Pradesh's Mahakoshal region on Thursday, sending shockwaves across the state. While an assistant sub-inspector of police (ASI) in Chhindwara district got crushed under a speeding vehicle, a head constable was shot in Seoni.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The first incident occurred on Thursday morning in front of Mahuljhir police station in Chhindwara's Tamia. The accused was identified as Lokjit Singh, who was fleeing a petrol station without paying.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When the man sped away in his SUV from the gas station in Parasia, the cops were alerted. On getting the information, ASI Naresh Sharma got a barrier put up in front of the police station to stop the escaping accused. When the ASI tried to flag down the vehicle, Lokjit Singh mowed him down and sped away. The critically injured Sharma later succumbed at the district hospital.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Singh was later arrested about 60 kms from the spot after his speeding SUV overturned, police sources said. It was found that the accused was out on bail after being charged for a tractor theft in Amarwada police station. He also had cases of cannabis smuggling and road accidents registered against him, police added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the second incident, head constable Rakesh Thakur of Dunda Seoni police station was fatally shot while a team of cops was trying to apprehend four criminals allegedly involved in cases of theft. After the police team detained three accused, namely Janak Singh, Pravin Vaishnav and Gulshan, the fourth man opened fire at the police team in a bid to save his associates. One of the shots fired by the man identified as Saddam allegedly hit Thakur in the abdomen. Though he was referred to Nagpur for advanced treatement, Rakesh Thakur succumbed at 5.00 AM on Friday morning, Seoni police said. Saddam managed to escape from the spot.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chief Minister Mohan Yadav paid tributes to both the slain cops and announced that their families will receive Rs 1 crore each in compensation. An eligible member from both families will be given jobs by the government, the CM added.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Promising that the absconding accused in the case of head constable Thakur will be arrested soon, Yadav said on social media platform X, “There is no place for crime and criminals on the land of Madhya Pradesh. No criminal will be spared.”&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The opposition Congress has attacked the BJP government, especially the chief minister Yadav, who also holds the home portfolio over the incidents of killing of cops. Asking where Yadav was as incidents of crimes were increasing, leader of opposition Umang Singhar said on X “In the initial days of the new government, crime has increased in the state and the criminals are fearless. The administrative staff itself is being made victims of criminal incidents; the incidents of crime are increasing day by day, there is no fear among the criminals of the new government.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Jan 19 20:28:39 IST 2024 bharat-jodo-nyay-yatra-congress-cm-himanta-biswa-sarma-at-loggerheads-in-assam <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The second day of Congress's 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' in Assam saw a bitter war of words between the party and Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Congress claimed that the first 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', held from Kanyakumari to Kashmir in 2022-23, did not encounter as many problems in BJP-ruled states as the Nyay Yatra, which started from Manipur on January 14, was facing in Assam alone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Earlier, <a title="FIR lodged against Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra for route deviation in Assam" href="">an FIR was registered</a> against the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' and its chief organiser K.B. Byju for allegedly deviating from its permitted route inside Jorhat town in Assam.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b><a title="'Congress will disappear after 2024 Lok Sabha polls', says Himanta Biswa Sarma" href="">ALSO READ:&nbsp;'Congress will disappear after 2024 Lok Sabha polls', says Himanta Biswa Sarma</a></b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>MP Rahul Gandhi, who is leading the yatra, continued to level corruption charges against Sarma. &quot;The CM of Assam is so corrupt that he can give lessons to his counterparts of other BJP-led ruled states on how to commit corruption. The government works only for 2-3 millionaires. In Delhi, it works for Adani ji and in Assam, even that is not needed. The CM's family is here for all the corruption,&quot; he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said at a press conference in Majuli, &quot;We highlight the most important issue of the people when the Yatra passes through a state. In Manipur, from where we started, it was the ongoing violence. In Nagaland, it was non-fulfilment of promises made for a final peace accord.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;In Assam, people told us that they are not getting jobs, prices are high but instead of solving these, the CM is indulging in corruption. That's why the focus is on corruption,&quot; the MP, who represents Assam's Kaliabor in the Lok Sabha, said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b><a title="‘This is their last election’: Himanta Biswa Sarma on Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Vadra" href="">ALSO READ:&nbsp;‘This is their last election’: Himanta Biswa Sarma on Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Vadra</a></b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Congress national general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, &quot;It is for the first time that within 24 hours, the CM has been rattled. We are being threatened with FIR and imprisonment. People are being prevented from joining the yatra.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sarma, on Thursday, had called the Gandhi family the most corrupt one in the country. &quot;The Gandhi family is the most corrupt family in the country. This is not 'Nyay Yatra, it's 'Miya Yatra'. Wherever there are Muslims, they visit those places,&quot; the CM said in a press conference. 'Miya' is a pejorative term used for Bengali-speaking Muslims in Assam.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Throwing an open challenge to the BJP government in the state, Ramesh said that 'no power' can prevent the yatra from completing its next six days of scheduled programmes in Assam. The yatra, after a night halt at Gogamukh, will enter Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday and resume in Assam the next day with a public rally at Kaliabor on Sunday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(With PTI inputs)</p> Sat Jan 20 09:50:23 IST 2024 czech-court-grants-extradition-of-indian-accused-of-involvement-in-pannun-assassination <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A Czech Court has ruled in favour of extraditing an Indian accused of involvement in the failed assassination plot against Khalistan leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in the US. Czech justice minister will make the final call on the extradition, reports said.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Prague High Court on Friday ruled that Nikhil Gupta (52), accused of orchestrating the unsuccessful plot to kill Pannun on American soil can be extradited. Justice Minister Pavel Blazek will take the final decision on the extradition once the ruling is delivered to all parties in the case, Reuters reported quoting a justice spokesperson. Czech authorities arrested Gupta in June.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a statement by the Assistant Attorney General of the US Justice Department's National Security Division, Matthew G. Olsen, Nikhil Gupta faces murder-for-hire charges, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. According to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, Gupta worked with an Indian government employee, whose responsibilities included security and intelligence.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Reuters reported that Gupta had argued his identity was mistaken and that he was not the man the United States was looking for. Gupta said the case was political. A spokesperson of the Czech justice ministry said a time frame for the minister’s decision cannot be assumed now and the minister has three months to approach the&nbsp; Supreme Court in case of doubts about the lower court's decisions.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India constituted a high-level enquiry committee on November 18 last year to look into the allegations by the US. According to the United States, an Indian official recruited Gupta in May 2023 to orchestrate the assassination. The US charged that Gupta agreed to pay an assassin $100,000 to kill the Sikh separatist leader living in New York City. &quot;On or about June 9, 2023, CC-1 and GUPTA arranged for an associate to deliver USD 15,000 in cash to the UC in Manhattan, New York, as an advance payment for the murder,&quot; according to the charges.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India has declared Pannun, the founder of the banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a designated terrorist.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Jan 20 11:41:22 IST 2024 republic-day-delhi-police-bans-flying-of-drones-other-aerial-platforms-till-feb-15 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Operation of sub-conventional aerial platforms including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), paragliders, microlight aircraft, quadcopters and hot air balloons has been prohibited over the national capital in view of Republic Day, the Delhi Police said on Friday.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The order came into effect on January 18 and will remain in force till February 15, it said.</p> <p>The order stated that certain criminal or anti-social elements or terrorists inimical to India may pose a threat to the safety of the general public, dignitaries and vital installations by using these platforms.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Besides platforms such as paragliders, para-motors, hang gliders, UAVs, unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), micro-light aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft, hot air balloons, quadcopters, the order also mentioned para-jumping from aircraft.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Therefore, the Delhi Police has prohibited flying of sub-conventional aerial platforms over the national capital on the occasion of Republic Day and doing so shall be punishable under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code,&quot; the order, issued by Delhi Police Commissioner Sanjay Arora stated.</p> Fri Jan 19 15:56:01 IST 2024 ayodhya-ndrf-medical-teams-deployed-as-pran-prathishta-preparations-in-full-swing <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Ahead of the 'Pran Pratishtha' ceremony on January 22, preparations are going on in full swing in Ayodhya. The Lord Ram idol's face was revealed on Friday days before the consecration ceremony on Monday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The idol depicts Lord Ram as a five-year-old child in a standing posture holding a golden bow and arrow.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 51-inch Ram Lalla idol's first look was finally unveiled on Friday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Multiple NDRF teams trained to tackle several attacks including chemical, radiological and nuclear attacks were deployed in Ayodhya. Teams prepared to deal with drowning incidents and natural disasters were also deployed as a precaution.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Multiple NDRF teams, few HAZMAT (hazardous material) vehicles that were procured by the force during the recently concluded G20 summit in Delhi have been stationed in Ayodhya to effectively deal with any kind of disaster or trouble,&quot; NDRF Director General Atul Karwal told PTI.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;A commanding officer of our battalion that is permanently based in Varanasi has been sent to Ayodhya and is camping there,&quot; he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The HAZMAT apparatus has been installed on Bharat Benz trucks by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), an aerospace and defence PSU under the Ministry of Defence. Each of these indigenously made vehicles costs about Rs 15 crore.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They are used to detect the root of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) attacks, monitor and track them. It can also decontaminate or plug the source of such an outbreak.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Trading on NSE to remain closed</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the wake of the consecration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, trading on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) will remain closed on Monday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Maharashtra government has declared January 22 as a public holiday as well. Earlier, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan has declared a half-day holiday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Medics trained by expert AIIMS doctors</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ahead of the 'Pran Pratishtha' ceremony, hospital beds have been reserved at city-based, district hospitals and the medical college in Ayodhya for guests. Specialists from the AIIMS have been providing training to the medical team for emergency response.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Over 7,000 guests have been invited to attend the consecration ceremony.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak had recently told reporters here that all arrangements being made for the devotees, who will come for 'darshan' of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya, whether it is for staying, drinking water, protection from cold and medicines.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Ayodhya is ready to host the devotees of Ram Lalla. All security parameters decided, there is fullproof security arrangements. On the healthcare front, all arrangements been made. Extra doctors have been deployed at the hospitals, extra ambulances arranged, we have made an arrangement for a CATH lab. We have also taken assistance of private doctors,” said Pathak.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Also, the five Supreme Court judges behind the 2019 Ayodhya verdict received the invite. Then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, ex-Chief Justice S.A. Bobde (who succeeded Gogoi), current Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, and Justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer got the invite.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(With PTI inputs)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Jan 19 22:38:30 IST 2024 wish-i-too-had-a-chance-to-pm-modi-gets-emotional-at-solapur-housing-scheme-launch <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while dedicating 15,000 houses of Raynagar Housing Society in Maharastra's Solapur on Friday, got emotional, stating that he wished he had had the opportunity to stay in such houses when he was young.&nbsp;</p> <p>Addressing a gathering in Maharashtra's Solapur, Modi said happiness comes when people's dreams come true. &quot;Their blessings are my biggest investment,&quot; he said. The beneficiaries comprise thousands of handloom workers, vendors, power loom workers, rag pickers, beedi workers and drivers.<br> </p> <p>The Prime Minister added that his government is inspired by Lord Ram's principles of governance with honesty and urged people to light Ram Jyoti on January 22, stressing that it will be an inspiration to remove poverty from their lives.<br> </p> <p>&quot;Modi's guarantee means guarantee puri hone ki guarantee'. Lord Ram taught us to honour commitments made and we are fulfilling all goals we set for the welfare of the poor and their empowerment,&quot; he said.<br> </p> <p>The PM also laid the foundation stone of 8 AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) projects worth around Rs 2,000 crore in the state. He also dedicated more than 90,000 houses completed under PMAY-Urban in Maharashtra. He also kickstarted the distribution of 1st and 2nd instalments to 10,000 beneficiaries of PM-SVANIDHI in Maharashtra during the programme.<br> </p> <p>Modi also urged people, who got the houses, to light Ram Jyoti on January 22, when the consecration of the Ayodhya Ram temple will be held. &quot;Lord Ram did the work that made his people happy. My government is dedicated to the welfare and empowerment of the poor. We launched schemes to mitigate their hardships,&quot; he said, adding that the role of middlemen has been completely eradicated in his government's welfare schemes.<br> </p> <p>Modi said homes and toilets have been constructed in ten years as the lack of these amenities was insulting to the poor, especially women. &quot; We have constructed more than 10 crore toilets which is Modi's izzat ki guarantee' for women and provided more than four crore pucca houses so far,&quot; he said.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Jan 19 14:18:11 IST 2024 ahead-of-ram-mandir-consecration-pm-modi-to-visit-multiple-temples-in-tamil-nadu <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit multiple temples in Tamil Nadu, including Sri Ranganathaswamy temple in Tiruchirappalli and Sri Arulmigu Ramanathaswamy temple in Rameswaram on January 20-21.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At Sri Ranganathaswamy temple, Modi will listen to scholars reciting verses from the Kamba Ramayanam on January 20 morning. He will reach Rameswaram in the afternoon and perform <i>darshan</i> and <i>pooja</i> at Sri Arulmigu Ramanathaswamy temple, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On January 21, Modi will visit Kothandaramaswamy temple in Dhanushkodi. The prime minister will also visit Arichal Munai which is believed to be the place from where the Ram Setu was built.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Modi has been visiting temples across the country ahead of the consecration ceremony at the Ram temple in Ayodhya on January 22.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Wednesday, he visited the famous Guruvayoor Sri Krishna temple and Triprayar&nbsp;Sree Ramaswamy temple in Kerala’s Thrissur.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Modi will be the main &quot;yajman&quot; at the consecration ceremony. Typically, the yajman is the main host of a puja -- the person on whose behalf the prayers are offered.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Jan 18 22:56:16 IST 2024 india-france-bromance-macron-as-r-day-guest-underlines-long-friendship <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Forty eight years ago, Prime Minister Jacques Chirac came as chief guest at a Republic Day event. A Sanskrit scholar who believed in deeper ties with India—Chirac was the first French leader to watch India’s parade. In 2024, as French President Macron comes to India next week and he will be the sixth French leader to be the guest of honour. This makes France the country that has been invited and accepted the most number of times for this honour to stand at a grand total of six.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Forget the bromance—that President Joe Biden may have met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially at a time when it was widely known that he was to watch the parade at the Kartavya Path—it is about diplomatic armour. If Macron accepted the invitation without hesitation, as sources say, Modi attended as the guest of honour at Bastille Day on 14 July 2023.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“France is amongst the closest strategic partners,’’ said sources. “If you look at the multilateral forums like the UN, France has supported what India has done.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A 200 member Indian tri-service contingent marched to the tune of 'saare jahan se achcha' down towards the Arc de Triomphe. India is planning to return the favour with two Rafale fighter jets and one transport aircraft to participate in the fly-past. There will also be a marching contingent of the French Foreign Legion that will take part in the programme.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the past six months, Macron has met Modi four times. From Paris to Delhi to Dubai and once virtually. Unlike the other relationships that often steal the limelight, the flirtation between the two countries has blossomed into a steady long term relationship. The two countries have signed pacts in Defence—the military relationship is bedrock—but then there are the other ingredients that keep the relationship exciting—from space, to the newly signed pact on the Indo-Pacific and the Horizon 2047. This pact stands on three pillars—progress, planet and people.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Macron is expected to come with CEOs—especially at a time when the trade between the two countries is at an all time high with 13.5 billion dollars last year. India is hoping that the new areas of digital, post France inking a deal for the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which was launched from the Eiffel Tower last September. On the cards will be India pushing green energy, and a blue economy. “There has been a positive movement on the Rafale deal,’’ said sources.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There is expected to be movement in all the three pillars, but it is the people's connection that is likely to explode. And there is likely to be an announcement on education. And nothing fires up the relationship as young blood.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Jan 19 20:40:59 IST 2024 sc-refuses-to-interfere-with-aiadmk-general-council-resolution-expelling-ops-his-aides <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Supreme Court on Friday refused to interfere with a Madras High Court order rejecting the pleas of O. Panneerselvam and his supporters against the AIADMK general council resolution expelling them from the party.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta told senior advocate K.K. Venugopal and other senior counsel appearing for Panneerselvam and his supporters that it is not inclined to interfere with the high court order. The bench said interfering with the resolution would amount to allowing the suit pending before the civil court.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;If we interfere at this juncture, it will create huge chaos. To us it appears, there is a split, it will work itself out. Sometimes, it's better to let things work themselves out. Sorry, we are not inclined to interfere with the high court order,&quot; the bench said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The top court, however, directed for expeditious hearing of the pending suits and gave liberty to Panneerselvam (OPS) and his aides to move application for consolidation of all the suits.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>OPS and his supporters have moved the top court challenging the August 25, 2023 order of the Madras High Court by which it had dismissed all the appeals filed by them against the March 28, 2023 verdict of the single judge.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>OPS and his supporters in the high court have challenged the abolition of the post of coordinator and joint coordinator posts, revival of the general secretary posts and their expulsion from the party on July 11, 2022, general council resolutions.</p> Fri Jan 19 12:37:47 IST 2024 lacks-merit-sc-denies-all-11-convicts-of-bilkis-bano-case-further-time-for-surrender <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed pleas filed by all 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case seeking further time for surrender. The Court observed that the reasons cited by applicants lacked merit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Hearing the case, Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan said, “We have heard senior counsel and counsel for the applicants and the counsel for the non-applicants also. The reasons cited by applicants to seek postponement of surrender and report back to jail have no merit inasmuch as those reasons in no way prevent them from complying with our directions. Hence the miscellaneous applications are dismissed.”&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Supreme Court had recently cancelled the premature release granted to all 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case and ordered the convicts to surrender within two weeks, by January 21.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Supreme Court on January 8 quashed the Gujarat government order granting remission to 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case. Observing the Gujarat government lacked the competence to grant remission to the convicts, the bench observed said the government of the state where the convicts are sentenced was the appropriate government to grant remission and not the government where the offence took place. The bench observed that the convict made misleading statements, suppressed facts while filing petition for remission.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the horror of the communal riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed in the riots.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Jan 19 17:36:03 IST 2024 congress-will-be-divided-into-several-regional-parties-says-himanta-biswa-sarma <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has predicted that the Congress party will disappear at the national level after the Lok Sabha elections and several regional parties with the name ‘Congress’ will emerge.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In an exclusive interview with THE WEEK’s Chief Associate Editor Riyad Mathew and Delhi Deputy Chief of Bureau Namrata Biji Ahuja, Sarma claimed that there will be no national party other than the Bharatiya Janata Party.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“After this election, at the national level, the Congress will disappear. There will be various regional Congress parties in various names. They say the NCP is a Congress party, but Ajit Pawar is aligning with the BJP. So you will see the emergence of a lot of regional parties with the name ‘Congress’,” he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The chief minister opined that the grand old party will be divided into several regional parties and some of them may even ally with the BJP.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“I see the Congress completely divided into regional parties like Kerala’s Congress, Karnataka Congress, Maharashtra Congress. Sometimes there may even be alliances with the BJP. And they might retain power in some states like this. So, there will be some scope for Congress politicians. But they will become autonomous, more liberated and will handle their own affairs,” he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sarma further predicted that there will be no national party other than the BJP, but admitted that there will be strong regional parties.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“So my prediction is that from next October-November, the disintegration of the Congress will start. Congress workers will abandon Rahul Gandhi. They will wait for parliamentary polls and immediately after that the Maharashtra and Jharkhand elections. Once those are over, you will see a completely new realignment,” he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>&gt;&gt; Read the full interview in the current issue of THE WEEK</b></p> Fri Jan 19 17:48:50 IST 2024 indore-orphanage-torture-girls-branded-with-hot-tongs-hanged-upside-down <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Madhya Pradesh police is investigating allegations of abuse and torture against children at a private orphanage facility in Vijayanagar, Indore. The investigation was launched based on an FIR registered against the women, in the facility, on the complaint by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). The horrifying tales of abuse, physical and mental torture came forward, reportedly, when the minor kids opened up to CWC officials during a surprise inspection at the facility.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The minor girls said that they underwent horrifying ways of punishment, including branding with hot tongs, hanging them upside down and forced to inhale smoke from burning red chillies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The local administration had sealed the facility, &quot;Vatsalyapuram&quot;, on January 12 for illegal operation after the complaints were raised. The girls in the facility were shifted to the state-run Child Protection Home and another institution, the official said. There were around 21 children in the facility.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>FIR was registered against five women of the facility based on the stories narrated by the inmates, aged between four and 14 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to an official, the girl inmates told the CWC that they were tortured in the name of punishment in the premises.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the FIR lodged on the night of January 17, it was mentioned a four-year-old girl was beaten up for wearing dirty clothes, locked in the bathroom for several hours and not given food for two days, reported PTI.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It was also mentioned in the FIR that the children were hung upside down and forced to inhale smoke from red chillies kept on a hot pan.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, the NGO, running the facility, Jain Welfare Society, has filed a habeas corpus petition in the Indore bench of the High Court. Vibhor Khandelwal, a counsel for the private institution, told PTI, &quot;Vatsalayapuram is not an orphanage but a standalone hostel where children from economically weaker families are taken care of for an annual fee of just Rs 5.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The allegations mentioned in the FIR was termed false by Khandelwal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cases under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act was registered against the accused.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Accordng to the CWC chairperson, Indore, Pallavi Porwal, the children rescued from the orphange were natives of Rajasthan and Gujarat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We have written to the Child Welfare Committees of these states asking them to ascertain the socio-economic background of these children and submit a report to us so that they can be rehabilitated,&quot; said Porwal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Jan 19 17:33:11 IST 2024