CHANDIGARH: After the persuasion of the Punjab government, the kisan unions have to get off all the railway platforms to allow the frequent movement of freight trains across the state. In this connection, all 21 locations, where farmers are protesting, have been cleared for the plying of goods trains. An official spokesperson of the Home Department said the rail track network all across the state is presently clear for the uninterrupted movement of goods trains. Apart from this, only one railway platform at Jandiala in Amritsar district has the presence of some kisan activists thereby IG Border Range and SSP Amritsar are presently engaged with the office bearers of Kisan Sangharsh Committee to persuade them to get off the railway platform.
He further informed that after stabilising the goods train movement across Punjab for a few days, it would be possible to start the passenger train operations also as the Committee of Ministers continues to be engaged with the various kisan unions to permit passenger movement in the larger public interest.
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I-T raids underway at properties of Anurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl, Taapsee Pannu in Mumbai
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 3 (ANI): Income Tax Department is conducting raids at the properties of film director Anurag Kashyap, film producer Vikas Bahl and actor Taapsee Pannu in Mumbai, sources said.
Offices and residences of Kashyap, Bahl and Pannu are being searched in the raids, sources in the Income Tax Department added.
More details are awaited. (ANI)
Andhra BJP accuses ‘conversion mafias’ of illegally capturing holy site at Edlapadu
Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) [India], March 3 (ANI): Andhra Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vishnu Vardhan Reddy has accused “conversion mafias” of illegally capturing a holy site at Edlapadu — that is said to have borne the footprint of goddess Sita and a carving of Lord Narasimha — to erect a Christian Cross at the site.
The BJP leader claimed that the conversion mafia is creating havoc ever since Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy came to power in the state.
“In Edlapadu(Andhra Pradesh) a place where Sita Mata’s footprint existed and carving of Lord Narasimhama was there is illegally captured by conversion mafias and an illegal cross built at that place. No place for Hindus in Andhra Pradesh under government, attacks on Hindu temples continues (sic),” Vishnu Vardhan Reddy had tweeted.
BJP Andhra Pradesh co in-charge Sunil Deodhar, in a video message, claimed that the hillock has encroached.
“There was an ancient hill, and on that hill, there were the footprints of Goddess Sita. Hindus believe that they are the lotus feet of Goddess Sita, and they used to conduct weddings at that place. Slowly Christian people started going there and started saying that this land belongs to Mother Mary. And then they put one idol of Mother Mary,” said Deodhar.
“In last few months, slowly and steadily as there was a District Magistrate (DM) who was a Christian person who supported the conversion mafia and land mafia, they destroyed the lotus feet of Sita and they started constructing the cross. Last week they have installed a huge cross on that land.”
He further said that the BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) workers went to the local administration to protest and stop the construction of the cross.
“They could stop it only for some time. The administration accepted that it is illegal. But they don’t have the guts to destroy it. However, BJP is not going to leave. We will go ahead with the agitation unless and until the cross is removed from that place. And lotus feet of Goddess Sita and a temple of Goddess Sita should be constructed over there. BJP and our alliance partner JSP and all Hindu organisations will go ahead with the agitation,” he said.
BJP Andhra Pradesh in-charge and Union Minister V Muraleedharan has made a series of tweets over the incident.
“A grave mistake and an insult to the Hindu devotees. This place is revered for the presence of the sacred footprints of #SitaMaa and Lord Narasimha. This is a brazen attack on the religious beliefs of all Hindus. Government has to answer how such encroachments and incidents of desecration of idols and temples continue to happen in Andhra Pradesh. The opposition by locals and the protests by @BJP4Andhra & @friendsofrss have been deliberately ignored.”
However, a Yedlapadu Police official said that the Narasimha temple and the cross recently constructed are two different hills and there is a distance of 500 meters between them.
“During that time, the footprints of Goddess Sita were destroyed due to mining activity. Even the Narasimha temple was also on the verge of collapse, so the mining process was stopped in that area. There is no connection between the cross and the temple,” Yedlapadu Sub Inspector Srihari told ANI over the phone. (ANI)
Delhi HC notice to Centre over contempt plea
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Central government on contempt petition alleging that the Centre has failed to decide on extending the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 up to Class XII by an amendment to protect Economically Weaker Sections (EWS)/Disadvantaged Group (DG) students despite High Court directions.
A single-judge bench of Justice Najmi Waziri questioned Central Government’s counsel why the decision has not been taken to extend RTE Act up to class 12 despite the court’s directions a year ago.
The Court asked Secretary, Ministry of Education to file a short affidavit in reply to the Contempt Petition filed by Social Jurist through Advocates Ashok Agarwal and Kumar Utkarsh complaining that due to inaction on part of the Central Government, private schools countrywide are throwing thousands of EWS students out of school every year after they pass class 8.
“The very objective and purpose of fundamental Right to Education is defeated if an EWS student is not allowed to continue his studies in Private school beyond class 8 and upto class 12”, submitted Advocate Ashok Agarwal.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on March 17.
Social Jurist, a Civil Rights Group has knocked doors of the Delhi High Court seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against a senior official of the Department of School Education and Literacy, Union Ministry of Education.
The plea alleged that the respondent official deliberately and intentionally disobeyed the order of this Court passed earlier. The petitioner submitted that a Division Bench of Delhi High Court by order dated December 9, 2019, stated that “We expect from Union of India that the policy decision of extension of free education under the of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 to children of disadvantaged group/ economically weaker section even after attaining the age of 14 years or beyond Class VIII upto Class XII in the same school, would be taken at the earliest”.
The plea alleged that a period of more than a year has since elapsed and the respondent has not taken any decision in this matter till date. It submitted that the parents of DG/EWS category students are not in a financial position to pay hefty school fee to Unaided Private Schools in classes IX and onwards.
“If a student has studied from Nursery to class VIII in an English Medium Unaided Private School and is asked to go to Government School in class IX and onwards, great prejudice would be caused to such student for more than one reason,” read the petition. (ANI)
President Kovind receives first dose Of COVID-19 vaccine at Army Hospital in Delhi
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday administered the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at the Army hospital (Research and Referral) in New Delhi.
The President received his first shot as the country’s vaccination campaign has been widened to include people above 60, and those who are 45 or more and suffering from certain medical conditions.
He had earlier said it was a matter of immense pride that India is conducting the world’s largest vaccination programme. “Both the vaccines rolled out under this programme are produced indigenously,” he had said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday kicked off the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country by getting the vaccine shot.
Several prominent political leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, have already taken the vaccines.
As per the Health Ministry, a total of 1,56,20,749 people in the country have been vaccinated against COVID-19 till now.
Meanwhile, as many as 14,989 new COVID-19 cases and 98 deaths were reported from India in the last 24 hours, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed on Wednesday. (ANI)
Odisha acid-attack survivor Pramodini Roul marries long-time friend
Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], March 3 (ANI): An acid attack survivor Pramodini Roul entered into wedlock with her long-time friend Saroj Sahoo in Bhubaneswar on Monday.
Roul described it as the “best day” of her life.
She hails from the state’s Jagatsinghpur district and decided to brush aside the traumatic memories of the acid attack. She shared her story from being a bedridden girl to the woman who chased the culprit and put him behind the bars. Roul had survived a deadly acid attack in 2009 when she was only 16 years old.
Sahoo and Roul met each other in 2014 in a hospital where the latter was admitted for her treatment and since then Sahoo had been taking care of her.
Expressing her joy of beginning a new life and receiving support from all, Roul said, “Nothing better could have happened to me than marrying Saroj. He is not only my husband today rather is my constant strength in all my ups and downs. I would like to give a message to every acid attack survivor that they should not feel hopeless, rise up and dream big because you are no less.”
“I feel grateful to everyone who has come forward to be a part of my happiness. I thank the entire Odisha and the country for standing by my side during my bad days” she added.
The wedding took place at her village Kanakpur in Jagatsinghpur district on Monday evening.
Sahoo said that he did not realize when his friendship had turned into love.
Roul has acid thrown on her face by an army official Santosh Kumar Bedanta on May 4, 2009. She spent seven months in a hospital in Cuttack after the attack.
She was bedridden for 5 years in her house. When her condition deteriorated she was admitted to a private hospital in Cuttack thereafter she met Sahoo.
He proposed to Roul in 2016 and the engagement was conducted in Lucknow in 2018. Many survivors of acid attack also participated in the marriage. (ANI)
Kerala CM takes first shot of COVID-19 vaccine, appeals people to come forward for inoculation
Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], March 3 (ANI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday took the first jab of COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 Vaccination Center, District Medical Office in Thiruvananthapuram.
“COVID-19 vaccination was a good experience. I experienced no pain of even the needle going inside the body. One can barely know when the vaccination is over,” he said.
“Unlike other vaccinations, there is no pain of the medicine going into the body,” he added.
The Chief Minister appealed to all eligible people to come forward and get themselves vaccinated.
“I took half an hour rest, no physical discomfort has been noticed. Other ministers who took the vaccine jab also shared similar experiences,” he said.
Citing examples of vaccination drive against polio and smallpox, Vijayan said: “Vaccination has defended humanity from many viruses. I am saying this as there is a campaign by a few against the vaccination.”
“Any hesitancy from your part can be a threat to the society and hence an injustice,” he said.
India on March 1 commenced its second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi.
Several Union Ministers, including Amit Shah, S Jaishankar, Jitendra Singh, Dr Harsh Vardhan have also received their first COVID-19 vaccine jabs.
More than 1.56 crore (1,56,20,749) vaccine doses have been administered through 3,12,188 sessions in the country, as per the provisional report till 7 am today, the Union Health Ministry informed. (ANI)
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