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BOMBAY HC REFUSES TO QUASH FIR AGAINST THE RANAS

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Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court on Monday dismissed a petition moved by Lok Sabha MP Navneet Rana and her husband, MLA Ravi Rana for quashing the FIR registered against them for allegedly assaulting the police officer who came to arrest the couple. The police took the action against the couple after they threatened to recite Hanuman Chalisa outside Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s private residence in Mumbai. While reprimanding the petitioners, the court said, “Those persons who are in public life must behave as responsible as it is said to power comes with responsibility.”

“The state government is justified in the apprehension that it could create a law and order problem,” stated the court. “Those who are active in public life are expected to act responsibly is not an extra thing but basically an expectation which must be followed,” as per the court. Earlier on Sunday, the MP-MLA couple was arrested in Mumbai. Currently, MLA Ravi Rana is lodged in Taloja Jail and MP Naveneet Rana is lodged in Byculla Jail. “A case is registered at Khar Police against MLA Shri Ravi Rana and MP Smt Navneet Kaur Rana under sections 153(A), 34, IPC r/w 37(1) 135 Bombay police act,” stated an official release by the police.

On Sunday they were sent to judicial custody for 14-days by a Metropolitan Magistrate court in Bandra.

On Saturday, a row started when MP Navneet Rana and her husband stated that the couple planned to chant Hanuman Chalisa outside “Matoshree” (Maharashtra CM’s Mumbai residence), after which a huge crowd gathered outside the residence of the political couple waving flags with an aim to prevent them from reaching the Chief Minister’s residence. The Ranas withdrew their plan to chant Hanuman Chalisa amid the protests from Shiv Sainiks that culminated in their arrest on the charge of creating enmity between different groups.

Navneet Rana on Monday wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla issuing a clarification of her action. “I, with the sincere hope to rekindle the flame of Hindutva in Shiv Sena had declared that I shall go to the residence of the Chief Minister and chant the Hanuman Chalisa outside his residence. This was not meant to incite any religious tensions,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, 16 Shiv Sena workers, who were arrested by Khar Police on Sunday for allegedly creating a ruckus outside the residence of the Ranas, were granted bail by a Mumbai Court on Monday. The workers have been released.

In a related development, Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece “Saamana” on Monday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in its desperation to oust the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is orchestrating the “Hanuman Chalisa” row. “The recent ruckus stirred up by the BJP in the name of Hindutva cannot be supported…the BJP is behind this (controversy). They had planned to disturb the peace of Mumbai using (MP-MLA) Rana couple and everything happened on their instructions that outraged the Shiv Sena workers and the couple was not allowed to step outside their house,” the “Saamana” editorial argued.

A report from Pune said that amid the row over loudspeakers, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Monday took a jibe at the Opposition BJP in Maharashtra saying that some people were getting anxious after losing power. State BJP leaders have been claiming that the people of Maharashtra feel there should be President’s rule in the state. “The threat of the imposition of the President’s rule is always made, but it has no outcome. If a poll situation arises, then the recent Kolhapur by-election result has shown what kind of result would be there,” Pawar told media persons while referring to the result of a byelection in the Kolhapur North Assembly constituency. Congress had won the recently concluded Kolhapur byelection by retaining its power and defeating BJP. He further said, “Power comes and goes and there is no need to be anxious. Some people are getting anxious and I don’t blame them, because before the state election (in 2019) claims were made of coming again to power but it did not happen and hence they are anxious.”

Meanwhile, a BJP delegation consisting of five party MLAs on Monday met Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and submitted a detailed report on the attack on former Lok Sabha MP Kirit Somaiya allegedly by Shiv Sena workers in Maharashtra. Somaiya was also part of the BJP delegation. Somaiya said, “We had a detailed discussion with the Union Home Secretary on the situation in Maharashtra. He assured us that he is looking into the incident and if necessary a special team from Delhi will be sent to Maharashtra.” The memorandum submitted by the delegation stated that Somaiya on 23 April was assaulted by 70-80 activists of Shiv Sena at the gate of Khar police station premises in the presence of police personnel. He was attacked with stones, bottles and chappals while returning from the police station, alleged the BJP delegation, while also stating that during the assault the glass window of his car was broken and he was injured. Somaiya alleged that the police supported the goons during the assault and the Central Industrial Security Force commandos were also beaten. Somaiya requested for a probe by a special investigation team (SIT) of the Home Ministry while also asking that the CISF be asked to register another FIR with the Mumbai police.

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‘Felt ignored’, says Hardik Patel on quitting Congress

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Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Thursday took a dig at Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra saying that he resigned from the grand old party after he felt that he was being “ignored”.

“When Rahul comes to Gujarat, he did not talk about the problem faced by the people of Gujarat. Party leaders are busy arranging chicken sandwiches and Diet Coke for Rahul Gandhi. There are talks in the party that people will vote for Congress when they get bored with the other party. I have spoken to Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi and mentioned the problems of Gujarat. He asked me what the problems were and I told him. That’s when I was ignored. I decided to leave the party not with sadness but with courage,” said Hardik Patel in a press briefing here. The Patidar leader, who joined the Congress in 2019 was elevated as one of the Gujarat Congress working presidents in 2020. “Thankful to Congress for making me the working president for Gujarat. But what was the use when you are not given any work?,” he said.

On Wednesday Patel resigned from the party and stated that Gujarat Congress leaders were least bothered to address real issues of Gujarat but were more focussed on ensuring that the leaders who come from Delhi in Gujarat get “chicken sandwich” on time.

According to him, in Congress, the people who speak the truth are strategically defamed by big leaders.

“In Gujarat, whether it’s the Patidar community or any other community, they have had to suffer in Congress. Speak the truth in Congress and big leaders will defame you and that is their strategy,” added Patel.

“In Gujarat, it’s not only Hardik who is angry with Congress. There are many leaders and legislators in Gujarat who just use Congress. Sitting in power and praising the party does not mean that the party will make them Chief Minister”, said the Patidar leader.

He alleged that Gujarat Congress leaders tried to disrupt his political effort “sitting in the AC chambers”.

The Gujarat Assembly elections are slated to be held this year.

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SCARED AFTER CONGRESS CHINTAN SHIVIR: CM GEHLOT ON BJP’S RAJASTHAN MEETING

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Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has hit out at the central government and BJP for price rise, unemployment and communal tensions across the country. Hours before BJP’s meeting of national office-bearers, Gehlot on Thursday said the saffron party is holding the brainstorming session in the state as it is scared after the Congress organised its ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Udaipur recently.

He said as soon as the Congress’ ‘Chintan Shivir’ was announced, the BJP also decided to hold its meeting in Jaipur. “They are scared and therefore they are coming here,” he said, while exuding confidence that the people of the state will vote for Congress in the next assembly elections. Gehlot was talking to reporters on various issues here today.

Targeting the BJP for ‘its agenda of Hindutva’, Gehlot said the BJP is doing politics in the name of Hindus and have become arrogant under the impression that they have their support. “They are just misleading the people in the name of Hindutva. This will backfire. This is not in the interest of the public,” Gehlot said.

He also alleged that the communal tension in state’s Karauli in April was “pre-planned”. Be it Karauli or Jodhpur, where communal tension broke out in the recent past, the police controlled the situation and riots were not allowed to happen, Gehlot said. He said it was BJP’s agenda to defame the Congress government in Rajasthan.

He reiterated that an atmosphere of tension is there in the country so that the public attention can be diverted from the real issues of inflation and unemployment.

Gehlot also said that increase in crime, incidents of paper leaks etc. were the result of unemployment and it is the responsibility of both the Centre and state governments to provide jobs to youths.

The CM further said it seems that the economic policies of the central government have failed and they have no plan to control inflation. “Instead of diverting the country’s attention to the temple-mosque issues, the prime minister and the NDA government should focus on solving the unemployment problem and controlling inflation,” Gehlot added.

On the resignation of Congress MLA Ganesh Ghoghra, Gehlot said the FIR was registered against the legislator as the rule of law should be upheld. “Ganesh Ghoghra is our young colleague. He is an emotional person and keeps fighting for the people. We should appreciate him.

“He had gone for a public hearing but some other incident happened there. There is a rule of law, which should remain, and therefore the FIR was registered,” Gehlot said.

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CBI grills TMC leader Anubrata Mondal in cattle smuggling case

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Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal on Thursday appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation in its office at Nizam Palace in connection with the West Bengal cattle smuggling case.

Earlier, the Birbhum Trinamool district president had avoided six summons by the CBI in the case. Mondal left his house in Chinar Park with a convoy of two vehicles at 9:10 am on Thursday and reached Nizam Palace at 9.50 am. He was seen climbing the stairs of Nizam Palace holding the hands of his helpers. Mondal sent an email to his lawyer on Wednesday and expressed his desire to appear before the CBI.

According to CBI sources, Mohammad Enamul Haque, the alleged kingpin of the racket who was arrested from New Delhi in November 2020, has repeatedly named Mondal. After being questioned for nearly four hours on Thursday, the CBI officers had to cut short its investigation after Mondal complained of chest pain and was rushed to SSKM Hospital.

The Trinamool leader is under double pressure with post-poll violence on one hand and cattle smuggling on the other. In both the cases, the CBI summoned him repeated times. But Mondal avoided appearance every time due to physical reasons. He had sought time from CBI till May 21.

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INDIA OFFERS NEW HOPE FOR WORLD AMID UNREST: PM

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Highlighting India’s rising stature at the international forums, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the country offers for the world a new hope amid global conflicts and unrest.

Addressing the ‘Yuva Shivir’ organised at Karelibaug, Vadodara, via video conferencing, Prime Minister Modi said: “From delivering vaccines and medicines to the world amid the COVID crisis and scattered supply chain to the role of a capable nation for peace in the midst of global unrest and conflicts, India is the new hope of the world today.”

“We are showing the path of Yoga to the entire humanity and the power of Ayurveda. We are emerging as a nation looking forward to a new future, from software to space. Today, the way of working of the government has changed in the country, the thinking of the society has changed and public participation has increased. The goals which were considered impossible for India once, today the world is also seeing how India is doing better in such areas,” PM said.

PM Modi while referring to Indian culture said ‘Sanskar’ means service, education, sensitivity, determination, strength and dedication.

Prime Minister added, “Our saints and scriptures have taught us that any society is formed by continuous character building through generations. Today we are taking a collective resolve, making efforts to build a new India. A new India with a forward-looking approach and ancient tradition! Such a new India, which moves ahead by taking both new thinking and age-old culture together, will give direction to the entire mankind.”

The ‘Yuva Shivir’ is being organised by ‘Shree Swaminarayan Temple Karelibaug, Shree Swaminarayan Temple, and Kundaldham, Vadodara.

As per the Prime Minister’s Office, reported by ANI, the Shivir aims to involve more youth in nation-building and social service.

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REAPPEARANCE OF BODIES IN GANGA CONTRADICTS UNACCOUNTED COVID DEATH CLAIMS

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The Phaphamau Ghat in the northern part of Prayagraj has become a graveyard of sorts and with yellow and saffron-coloured clothes on temporarily-erected poles indicating that bodies have been buried. This is not part of the traditional Hindu religious practice but people are resorting to it as they find it “convenient” while some even call it a custom.

Last year, during a severe phase of Delta variant of Covid-19, this place had got a bad name amid reports of bodies floating in Ganga. It was shown in sections of media, especially foreign media, that people who had died of Covid-19 had been buried or their bodies had been “dumped” in Ganga. Several restrictions were also imposed. But today when the Covid-19 situation is under control the practice of burying bodies continues showing the falsity of these reports. People continue to come to Ganga for “salvation” of their near and dear ones and are burying the bodies. Some are calling it a custom and others are citing “financial constraints”. But despite a ban, the burial continues for the bodies as people say Ganga will take these bodies when it expands its course.

International media did not apparently investigate the reason behind the open burial of bodies near the banks of Ganga and chose to link it with the Covid-19 deaths. It is pertinent to note that this year the international media has chosen not to report the open burial of bodies near the banks of the river. India has witnessed a sharp decline in Covid-19 cases this year with high vaccination coverage being a major contributing factor to the country’s success in battling the pandemic.

The banks of Ganga have bodies of people from several districts of Uttar Pradesh. “In Hinduism, the funeral is done by burning the pyre in which a lot of wood is used. Here, the body gets absorbed in the Ganga. There is nothing wrong with all this,” said Teerthraj Patel, a local resident, who was at the ghat attending a funeral of his relative. “The ghat is used by people from various districts. They are aware of the contraction of the river Ganga during the summer season. They know that when the river will expand in the rainy season, the bodies will be submerged in the river and their loved ones will get salvation. This is why there is temporary burial in sand,” he added.

Another local resident present on the ghat said that the bodies will ultimately go into the Ganga river. “In summers, the width of the Ganga gets reduced. When the water level will rise, the bodies will get absorbed in the Ganga’s flow and as per beliefs this helps to attain moksha. Burying the bodies in sand is simple and economical. Therefore, people from several districts come here to bury the bodies keeping aside the traditional rituals,” he said.

The restrictions imposed concerning burying of the dead bodies on the ghat has seemingly made little impact and the people continue to throng the ghats. Prayagraj Municipal Commissioner Ravi Ranjan said that an electric crematorium will be built at the ghat soon.

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Assam floods hit 7 lakh people across 29 districts

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Assam floods have affected more than seven lakh people across 29 districts leaving nine people dead. “Till now, 7,17,046 people across 29 districts have been affected due to the flood situation in the state. 9 people have died in floods and landslides so far,” Assam State Disaster Management Authority said on Thursday. Assam State Disaster Management Authority said that at present 1413 villages are underwater and Nagaon is the most affected district where 2.88 lakh people are reeling under the calamity. In Cachar nearly 1.2 lakh people and in Hojai more than 1.07 lakh people were affected, it said.

Heart-wrenching videos emerged from the flood-hit state. A portion of the Kampur-Kathiatali connecting road in the Nagaon district got washed away today morning in floods. Several parts of the state are reeling under flood. In another incident, a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Lumding Assembly, Sibu Misra was seen taking a piggyback ride to a boat, on the back of a flood rescue worker on Wednesday. He was in Hojai to review the flood situation in the area. Assam Rifles, National Disaster Response Force and the Indian Army are carrying out rescue and relief operations in flood-hit areas of the state. Further, Assam Cabinet decided to introduce an emergency flight service between Silchar and Guwahati at the rate of Rs 3000, to mitigate the communication crisis due to floods and landslides in Dima Hasao and Barak Valley.

In view of the flood situation, the Cachar district administration has closed all educational institutions (government and private) and non-essential private establishments for 48 hours (May 19th and 20th) in the district. On 18 May, Assam forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya said, “Every year Kaziranga National Park faces floods. We are completely prepared including food materials for the officials who are on duty in the park. Our boats are ready, too. Work on 40 islands done for animals to take shelter.”In view of the damages to railway tracks in multiple locations, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has already suspended all trains through Lumding-Badarpur Hill Section to Barak Valley, Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur, and restoration work is on in the damaged areas.

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