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JP Nadda to launch Lokkho Sonar Bangla manifesto crowdsourcing campaign tomorrow in Kolkata

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New Delhi [India], February 24 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party President JP Nadda will launch Lokkho Sonar Bangla manifesto crowdsourcing campaign in Kolkata, West Bengal months ahead of the Assembly polls on Thursday.
Nadda will be on a visit to West Bengal tomorrow. According to the schedule, the BJP chief will reach Kolkata tonight. On Thursday he is scheduled to launch the Lokkho Sonar Bangla manifesto crowdsourcing campaign at Hastings BJP office, Kolkata.
Through the move, the BJP aims to reach all constituencies in West Bengal to prepare its manifesto for the state election. Suggestions from across the state will be collected before preparing the party’s West Bengal poll manifesto.
Lokkho Sonar Bangla manifesto crowdsourcing campaign will have more than 200 meetings with the common people, opinion makers, intellectuals and other important persons in the state. These suggestions will be taken into account when the BJP prepares its manifesto for West Bengal.
Seeking suggestions from common people for manifestoes has been a practice followed by the BJP. The party had followed a similar practice ahead of Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and also before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
BJP chief JP Nadda is also scheduled to flag off raths tomorrow for various constituencies which will seek suggestions from common people and also spread awareness regarding various measures and public welfare policies initiated by the Narendra Modi government.
The BJP chief is also scheduled to begin Lokkho Sonar Bangla intellectuals meeting in Science City, Kolkata on Thursday.
The BJP chief is also scheduled to visit Rishi Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s residence and museum in Naihati. He will have lunch at jute mill worker’s household in Gouripur and visit Anandpuri Kalibari Temple, Barrackpore.
He is also scheduled to address Poriborton Yatra – Nabadwip zone culmination rally in, Anandapuri Khelar Math.
Later he will also visit Bibhutibhusan Bhandhopadhyay’s house and then the Mangal Pandey Memorial, before the conclusion of the visit. (ANI)

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SCBA moves Supreme Court challenging SOP of hybrid hearing

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) on Monday approached the apex court to challenge the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by it for starting a hybrid hearing on March 15.
The plea of the SCBA sought the quashing of the SOPs for a hybrid physical hearing before the Court issued by the Registry on March 5, claiming it was issued without consulting the Bar.
It requested the court to direct the Registry not to issue any circular without consulting the Bar.
The plea said SOP was issued without consulting the Bar even though Bar is an equal stakeholder in the dispensation of the justice delivery system and the suggestions given by the Bar ought to have been taken into consideration.
“There is a general feeling in the Bar that for the last few years, the Registry has been issuing circulars without taking the Bar into confidence, even though the circulars issued directly affects the lawyers practicing before this Court. In the meeting of the Executive Committee of the SCBA with the chief justice of India on March 1, 2021, regarding the physical/hybrid hearing it was assured that the needful would be done by the Registry expeditiously taking into consideration the suggestions given by the Executive Committee. However, the SOP dated March 5, 2021, has been issued unilaterally by the Registry,” the plea said.
The SCBA has decided not to accept the Supreme Court’s SOP for a hybrid mode of hearing commencing from March 15.
The Supreme Court has decided to begin a hybrid mode of hearing (physical and virtual) on an experimental basis from March 15. Supreme Court said a pilot basis final hearing/regular matters listed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays will be heard through hybrid mode.
The Secretary-General of the Supreme Court in a circular issued on March 5 has said that the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde has issued some directions on commencing of the hybrid mode of hearing in the apex court.
“On an experimental basis, and as a pilot scheme, the final hearing/regular matters listed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays may be heard in the hybrid model, as may be decided by the Bench, considering the number of parties in a matter as well as the limited capacity of the Courtrooms; all other matters, including those listed on Mondays and Fridays shall continue to be heard through video/teleconferencing mode,” the circular said.
Unless otherwise directed by the Bench, final hearing/regular matters where the number of advocates for the parties is more than the average working capacity of the courtrooms, as per Covid-19 norms, i.e. 20 per courtroom at any given time, shall invariably be listed for hearing through video/teleconferencing mode, it further added.
The circular said, “If in a matter listed for hybrid hearing, the number of parties is more, then Advocate on Record (AOR) and one arguing counsel per party will be allowed entry; one registered clerk per party, as may be chosen by the AOR, shall be allowed entry to carry paper-books/journals, etc. of the counsels up to the Court-rooms.”
It said that in hybrid hearing, all the counsels appearing for one party can appear either through physical presence or through video/teleconferencing.
The circular further said that wearing masks, frequent use of hand sanitiser and maintaining physical distancing norms is mandatory for all entrants into the Supreme Court premises, including into the Court-rooms.
The Supreme Court has been hearing cases through video-conference mode for almost a year following the COVID-19 pandemic. (ANI)

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NIA to probe case of explosive-laden vehicle found near Mukesh Ambani’s residence

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 8 (ANI): The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday received orders from the Ministry of Home Affairs to probe the case of the explosive-laden car found near Reliance group chairman Mukesh Ambani’s residence.
“NIA has received orders from MHA, GOI for investigation of case FIR 35/2020 registered at PS Gamdevi on February 25. This case relates to the recovery of explosives from a Mahindra Scorpio parked at Carmichael Road, Mumbai. NIA is in the process of re-registering the case,” NIA informed ANI.
Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has clarified that investigation of Mansukh Hiren death case will remain with the ATS and the case related to the recovery of explosives in a car will be probed by the NIA.
On Friday, BJP leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis demanded a probe by the NIA in the case.
Addressing media persons here, Fadnavis said, “I had demanded the security for Hiren (the owner of the explosives-laden vehicle) in the Legislative Assembly today along with the NIA probe in the matter. Now after the suicide of Hiren, the suspicion intensifies. I demand an NIA probe in the matter.”
The Maharashtra Police on Friday said that an unknown male corpse was found in Retibunder Creek on Retibunder road in Mumbra West. Later the corpse was identified as Hiren, a resident of Thane whose vehicle with gelatin sticks was found parked on Carmichael Road near Ambani’s residence Antilia. The police said prima facie it appears that Hiren died by suicide.
According to Mumbai Police sources, a handwritten “threat letter” in “broken English” addressed to Ambani and his wife Neeta was also found in the vehicle with explosives on February 25.
The suspect who parked the car (near Ambani’s house) was seen in the CCTV footage but has not been identified as he was wearing a face mask and his head was covered with a hoodie, said the Mumbai Police.
The city police has deployed its personnel outside Ambani’s house after explosive materials were found. (ANI)

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Women playing leading role in India’s quest to become Aatmanirbhar: PM Modi

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said women are playing a leading role in India’s quest to become self-reliant.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, he took to Twitter and shared a list of products he bought from women entrepreneurs of the country and lauded their efforts for preserving and popularising local crafts and products.
“Women are playing a leading role in India’s quest to become Aatmanirbhar. On International Women’s Day, let us commit to encouraging entrepreneurship among women. Today, I bought a few products that celebrate women enterprise, creativity and India’s culture. #NariShakti,” he tweeted.
The prime minister further said that he had bought a ‘Gamusa’ made by various self-help groups of Kakatipapung Development Block, a handmade jute file folder from tribal communities of West Bengal and a traditional shawl from Nagaland.
He also bought a Khadi Cotton Madhubani Painted Stole, a handcrafted Gond Paper Painting made by tribal communities and a hand-embroidered Shawl made by artisans of the Toda Tribe of Tamil Nadu.
“I am eagerly waiting for a Classic Palm Craft Nilavilakku made by women based in Kerala,” PM Modi tweeted.
Earlier in the day, the prime minister said that the country takes pride in the many accomplishments of women, adding that it is his government’s honour to be getting the opportunity to work towards furthering women empowerment across a wide range of sectors.
“Saluting our indomitable #NariShakti on International Women’s Day! India takes pride in the many accomplishments of the women of our nation. It is our government’s honour to be getting the opportunity to work towards furthering women empowerment across a wide range of sectors,” he tweeted. (ANI)

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Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021 passed in Assembly

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Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) [India], March 8 (ANI): The Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021 was passed in Assembly on Monday.
The Bill had been approved earlier in December last year, by the state Cabinet in a special meeting chaired by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
“We won’t allow forced conversions in Madhya Pradesh. Under the new bill, anyone who does it will face jail term up to 10 yrs and minimum Rs 50,000 fine. Many incidents came to light where minor girls were converted, married & made to contest Panchayat polls,” Shivraj Singh Chouhan had said.
“Under the new Bill, forcing religious conversion on someone will attract one to five years of imprisonment and a minimum Rs 25,000 fine,” said Narottam Mishra, State Minister.
“Under the new MP Freedom of Religion Bill 2020, forced conversion of a minor, woman or person from Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, would draw a minimum jail term of 2-10 years with a minimum penalty of Rs 50,000,” he added.
Uttar Pradesh State Legislative Assembly too passed a similar law called the Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Bill, 2021 by voice vote on February 24.
Earlier, the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet cleared the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, proposing a maximum punishment of 10 years for ‘love jihad’-related offences. (ANI)

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WB Assembly Polls: Suvendu Adhikari to file his nomination on March 12

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Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 8 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suvendu Adhikari will file his nomination on March 12 for contesting West Bengal Assembly elections from Nandigram constituency, informed the party’s media cell on Monday.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who has been representing Bhawanipur, had earlier announced that she will file her nomination from the same constituency on March 10.
BJP on Saturday released its first list of 57 candidates for the polls and fielded Adhikari from Nandigram against Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee, setting the stage for a high-profile contest from the seat in the state Assembly elections.
Adhikari, once a close aide of Banerjee has switched to BJP in December, last year.
West Bengal is likely to witness a triangular contest this time with TMC, Congress-Left alliance and the BJP in the fray.
The TMC had on Friday released its list of candidates with Mamata Banerjee announcing that she will contest from Nandigram.
West Bengal Assembly elections will be held in eight phases starting from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)

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Maharashtra, Delhi among eight States/UTs displaying upward trajectory in COVID-19 new cases

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New Delhi [India] March 8 (ANI): Eight States and Union Territories in India including Maharashtra and Delhi are displaying an upward trajectory in COVID-19 daily new cases, the Union Health Ministry informed on Monday.
Among other states include Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana and Gujarat.
Eight states and UTs have a weekly positivity rate more than the national average (2.29 per cent) whereas Maharashtra has the highest weekly positivity rate with 11.13 per cent.
According to the health ministry, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu continue to report a surge in fresh Covid-19 cases and they account for 86.25 per cent of the cases reported in a span of 24 hours.
As many as 18,599 new cases were registered in the last 24 hours out of which Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 11,141. It is followed by Kerala with 2,100 while Punjab reported 1,043 new cases.
India’s total active caseload has reached 1,88,747 today and the present active caseload now stands at 1.68 per cent of total positive cases.
The cumulative tests conducted in the country have surpassed 22 crores (22,19,68,271) and the national cumulative positivity rate currently stands at 5.06 per cent.
More than 2.09 crore (2,09,89,010) vaccine doses have been administered through 3,76,633 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am today.
“These include 69,85,911HCWs (1st dose), 35,47,548 HCWs (2nd dose), 66,09,537 FLWs (1st dose) and 2,13,559 FLWs (2nd Dose), 4,80,661 beneficiaries aged more than 45 years with specific co-morbidities (1st Dose) and 31,51,794 beneficiaries aged more than 60 years,” the ministry said.
97 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.
Seven States account for 87.63 per cent of the new deaths. Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties (38). Punjab follows with 17 daily deaths and Kerala reported13 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Eighteen states and UTs have not reported any COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours. These are Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh (UT), Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura.
The Central Government has also deputed high-level teams to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Jammu and Kashmir to support them in their fight against the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
These teams interact with the state and UT authorities and get a firsthand understanding of the challenges and issues being faced by them so as to strengthen their ongoing activities and remove bottlenecks if any.
Recently, the Centre rushed High-Level Public Health teams to Maharashtra and Punjab to assist in COVID-19 control and containment measures in view of the recent spike in cases in these states. (ANI)

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