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Preeti Sompura



MUMBAI: For the first time, Christmas night services and New Year’s eve mass will be celebrated before 10 pm by all churches of the Christian community in Mumbai. This change of timings has been introduced by churches in adherence to the night curfew imposed from 22 December till 5 January 2021 from 11 pm to 6 am by the Maharashtra government to contain the spread of the Covid-19 infection.

Till now, Christmas services on 24 December were celebrated with a midnight mass starting post 10 pm or at midnight every year in all churches. The same drill was followed on 31 December every year where people of the Christian community would go to churches for New Year’s eve mass post 8 pm or 10 pm. But this year, churches of the city said that they would wrap up all Christmas mass services before 10 pm.

Father Frazer Mascarenhas, parish priest of St Peter’s Church, Bandra West, said, “We have scheduled two Christmas masses at 7 pm and 9 pm on 24 December. The New Year mass will be earlier at 8 pm so that we can complete the services latest by 10 pm following the night curfew restrictions imposed by the state.” In addition, this year, People of the Christian community will be allowed to attend Christmas mass only by invitation and registration.

Ornelius Saldanha, a youth leader of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception (IC) Church, Borivali West said, “People who wish to attend mass need to register and collect a coupon to attend Christmas and New Year mass. People can register with zonal leaders in their respective sectors based on the area where they reside and collect their coupons.”

All standard operating procedures (SOPs) and social distancing measures related to Covid-19 will be followed by churches of Mumbai, said Father Nigel Barrett, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Bombay. Father Barrett said, “All Christmas and New Year mass services will be ending before 10 pm in all churches of Mumbai. All Covid-19 related SOPs and distancing measures will be followed by churches.”

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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sambit Patra said that Teesta Setalvad along with Sonia Gandhi and Congress party were the driving force behind defaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Gujarat riots. “You all saw how the Prime Minister Narendra Modi swallowed poison for 20 years. Saw how false allegation was levelled against him on 2002 Gujarat riots?” Patra said while addressing the media.“You will be surprised to know that Teesta Setalvad was not alone. These people have cheated the judicial system of India. The Supreme Court has strongly criticised them. The driving force behind this was Sonia Gandhi and the Congress party,” he added.“Supreme Court has said very clearly that those people, who conspired and played with the law also will have to come before the court and face the law,” he added.“Some people like Teesta Setalvad who have been detained today, have deliberately created a false story. The Supreme Court has made a strong stand. It has named Teesta Setalvad in its judgment,” he added.The action came after Union Minister Amit Shah in an interview with ANI said that Teesta Setalvad-run NGO gave baseless information about the 2002 Gujarat riots to the police.“I will give a few examples of how Teesta Setalvad and Company worked to mislead the country regarding the Gujarat riots– Teesta Setalvad’s NGO was giving instructions to Zakia Jafri and many witnesses along with her,” he said.Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the troika of BJP’s political rivals, politically motivated journalists and NGOs, together made false allegations against the BJP and its leaders.

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Kartikeya Sharma receives “Indian Sports Fan Award 2022”



Kartikeya Sharma, founder of Pro Sportify and Member of Parliament-elect (Rajya Sabha) from Haryana was on Sunday conferred with “Indian Sports Fan Award 2022” for his unmatched contribution to Indian Sports in a glittering ceremony here on Sunday evening.

Kartikeya Sharma was bestowed with the award in recognition of his immense contribution to sports and for exemplary devotion in promoting Olympic sports through the medium of leagues. 

Christened as “Mahara Chorra”, he has been supporting Indian sports and is the brain behind the Pro Wrestling League, Big Bout Indian Boxing League, The Indian Arena Polo League and two other upcoming leagues.

Mr. Sharma who has been supporting sports since a decade was handed over the glittering trophy by Shri Sandeep Singh, Minister of Sports, Haryana, Indian superfans Sudhir Kumar Gautam, Sugumar Kumar, India’s first female Olympian Karnam Malleshwari and London Olympics bronze medalist Yogeshwar Dutt in presence off bevy of Indian sporting luminaries including Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardees, Arjuna awardees and Dronacharya awardees.

Kartikeya Sharma was chosen for this award by Indian Sports Fans – India’s

largest sports fan community and a non-commercial venture which is the oldest and largest fans community on the social media platform. It has over 1 million fans and followers throughout the globe including 21 countries.

“It is a truly unique concept for nominating Kartikeya Sharma who brought smiles and gave joy to sporting fans. This will set a new precedent for sports in India and I wish them all the best for their future endeavours,” said Sandeep Singh, former Indian Hockey captain and Minister of Sports, Haryana.

Sandeep Singh who is fondly known as ‘Flicker Singh’ by his fans globally, captained India for many years including 2012 London Olympics. Sandeep Singh was renowned for his fast and guile drag flicks and scored 110 goals in 147 international matches.

“This award is a reflection of the love and appreciation of sports fans from across the world. On this occasion, I respectfully share my joy and love with all the sports fans across the world,” Kartikeya Sharma, an Oxford Graduate said.

“Kartikeya Ji, the founder & promoter of Pro Wrestling & Big Bout Indian Boxing League has enabled us to create world beaters and this award in an apt recognition to the sport visionary and promoter in the country. The experience of playing in the Pro Wrestling League has been etched in my memory and I thank him for creating the biggest wrestling spectacle in the world which has allowed the country to witness the biggest stars from wrestling” Babita Phogat, CWG Gold Medalist said.

Famous Indian superfans Sugumar and Sudhir were the first recipients of Indian Sports Awards which was conceptualised in 2019 as Global Sports Fan Awards in Manchester.

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Looking for fruitful discussions with G-7: PM Modi



Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he was looking forward to “fruitful discussions” with world leaders on topical issues like climate, energy, food security, counter-terrorism, environment, gender equality and democracy as he arrived here to attend the G7 Summit.

“Landed in Munich to participate in the G-7 Summit. I look forward to fruitful discussions with world leaders during the Summit,” Modi tweeted. He was welcomed by a Bavarian band on his arrival in Munich.

Earlier, in a statement Modi said, “During the sessions of the Summit, I will be exchanging views with the G7 counties, G7 partner countries and guest International Organisations on topical issues such as environment, energy, climate, food security, health, counter-terrorism, gender equality and democracy,”.

On the sidelines of the Summit, PM Modi will hold bilateral meetings with leaders of some of the participating countries. “Besides participating in @G7 discussions on climate, energy, food security, health, gender equality and more, PM will also hold several bilateral meetings on the sidelines,” the MEA said.

Later, while addressing Indian community, Modi said that 21st century India is at the forefront of Industry 4.0 and asserted that the country is shining at every front whether it is in the field of information technology or digital technology.PM Modi, who arrived in Germany for a three-day visit, said India has the third-largest startup ecosystem and it is the second-largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world. “Today, the New India is at the forefront of Industry 4.0. Be it IT or digital technology, India is shining at every front,” the Prime Minister said while addressing the Indian community here.

Elaborating on the country’s development in various front before the Indian diaspora, “There was a time when India was nowhere in the race of startups. Today, we are the third-largest startup ecosystem. Similarly, we used to import even the simplest phones, today, we are the second-largest mobile

phone manufacturer in the world,” he said.

PM Modi said India was a “slave” during the industrial revolution but now it will not be left behind in the 4th industrial revolution.

“In the last century, Germany and other countries took benefit from the industrial revolution. India was a slave back then that’s why it couldn’t leverage benefits. But now India will not be left behind in the 4th industrial revolution, it’s now leading the world,” he said.“Today, India is working on building a new legacy and this is being led by the youth of the country. We have brought 21st-century policies to the youth of New India. Today, our youth will be able to complete their education in their own mother tongues,” he said.

The Prime Minister also said that India has a unicorn every 10 days, 5000 patents are being filed every month. “We are progressing and we are growing,” he said.Speaking about the Covid-19, PM Modi said that there was a time when people used to say that India will take 10-15 years to vaccinate its population against the coronavirus, but at present most of the population in the country has been vaccinated.“Today, 90 per cent of adults have taken both doses and 95 per cent of adults have taken at least one dose,” he noted.

After attending the G7 Summit, the Prime Minister will be travelling to United Arab Emirates (UAE) while coming back to India on June 28, 2022, to pay his personal condolences on the passing away of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the former UAE President and Abu Dhabi Ruler. He will also congratulate Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on his election as the new President of UAE. This will be PM Modi’s first meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan since his election as the new President of the UAE and the Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

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Just months after sweeping to power in Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party faced an embarrassing defeat as Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) leader Simranjit Singh Mann claimed victory in the Sangrur by-polls.

Sangrur, which is the parliamentary constituency of CM Bhagwant Mann, voted in favour of Sikh hardliner SAD (Amritsar)’s Simranjit Singh Mann, who got 2,52,898 votes, out of a total of 7,10,825 votes. On the other hand, AAP candidate Gurmail Singh fell short with 2,46,828 votes, followed by Congress’s Dalveer Goldie, BJP’s Kewal Dhillon and Akali Dal’s Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana.

Several factors can be attributed to Simranjit Singh Mann’s victory in Sangrur, including his connection with slain Punjab singer Sidhu Moosewala and the late Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu. Reports are rife that Moosewala was slated to campaign for Mann and this is the reason voters voted fiercely for him.

Mann has also been an IPS

represented the Samajwadi Party from 2016 to 2022.

After winning the crucial by-poll seat, Lodhi said that he wants to dedicate his victory to the workers of the party as they have been working continuously day and night. Thanking the people of Rampur, he further added that BJP has always been working for the development of the public.

Dinesh Lal Yadav, on the other hand, is a popular Bhojpuri actor and singer turned politician. He joined the BJP in 2019 and lost against former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in 2019 by-polls by a margin of 259,874 votes.

Calling his victory ‘a victory of people’, Dinesh Lal Yadav tweeted, “You have done wonders, people of Azamgarh. This is your victory. With the announcement of the bypoll dates, the way all of you have showered love, support and blessings to the BJP, this is its victory. This victory is dedicated to your trust and hard work of party workers.”

Crediting BJP’s massive win to ‘double engine government’, UP CM Yogi Adityanath said, “The historic victory in the by-election in the Azamgarh Sadar Lok Sabha seat is the result of the welfare policies of the ‘double engine BJP government’ under the leadership of the respected Prime Minister. This victory is dedicated to all the hardworking workers of the BJP. Thanks people of Azamgarh!,” adding that the double engine victory of the BJP government in Azamgarh and Rampur is giving a far-reaching message for the 2024 elections in the politics of the state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to Twitter and said, “The by-poll wins in Azamgarh and Rampur are historic. It indicates wide-scale acceptance and support for the double engine Governments at the Centre and in UP. Grateful to the people for their support. I appreciate the efforts of our Party Karyakartas.”

On being asked his reaction to the results, an agitated Azam Khan said, “It can neither be called an election, nor an election result. Polling station of 900 votes, and only 6 votes were cast? The area is of Muslims, and just one vote was casted? What reason should I cite?”

Akhilesh Yadav also shared a cryptic post after the declaration of results, sharing “chronology of the killing of democracy under BJP rule’, wherein he alleged “discrepancies at the time of enrollment, conspiracy to cancel enrollment, suppression of candidates, abuse of party force to prevent voting, pressure on public representatives and dismantling elected government’. He termed it as “the bitter truth of the elixir of freedom.”

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Gujarat Police arrest Teesta, say ‘not cooperating’



The Gujarat Police Crime Branch on Sunday arrested activist Teesta Setalvad in connection with a case on her NGO which gave baseless information about the 2002 Gujarat riots to the police. “Former IPS officer RB Sreekumar was arrested yesterday and Teesta Setalvad was arrested on Sunday. Forging of evidence and hindering with evidence will be looked into,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Chaitanya Mandlik, adding that the accused are not supporting the police in the investigation.

Teesta is remanded to police custody till 2 July.

On Saturday, Gujarat Anti-terrorism Squad (ATS) team detained Setalvad from Mumbai.

Teesta, who was produced before the court on Sunday, on the other hand, alleged that her arrest was illegal and she was driven from Mumbai to Ahmedabad in a car to intimidate a “human rights lawyer”.

The Supreme Court had on Friday, dismissed as “devoid of merit” an appeal by Zakia Jafri in a plea challenging SIT’s clean chit to the then chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi and others in cases related to the riots. Zakia Jafri is the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the riots.A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar, upholding the Special Investigation Team or SIT’s 2012 clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the then chief minister of Gujarat, in the Gujarat riots case, said that Setalvad, co-petitioner in the case, exploited the emotions of Zakia Jafri.“All those involved in such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with the law,” the judges said, adding that the appeal was filed under “dictation of someone.”“Antecedents of Teesta Setalvad need to be reckoned with and also because she has been vindictively persecuting this lis [dispute] for her ulterior design by exploiting the emotions and sentiments of Zakia Jafri, the real victim of the circumstances,” the top court said in its order.The case pertains to what came to be known as Gulbarg Society incident, in which 68 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed in the riots triggered by the burning of a train coach in which 59 people perished in February 2002.

Talking to media DCP Mandlik said that as of now the investigation is at a primary level and later strict actions will be taken once the investigation is done.“We have done the medical check-up, and the due process was followed by the Crime Branch. The investigation is at a primary level, strict actions will be taken once the investigation is done. We have the primary affidavits and documents submitted by accused,” he added.Earlier in the day, Setalvad was taken for a medical checkup at Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad.“They have done my medical. I have a big bruise on my hand, this is what the ATS did to me. They are taking me to the magistrate’s court,” said Teesta Setalvad had said after the medical checkup.

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Both Shiv Sena factions hit streets in various parts of the state even as another minister joins the rebels. Crying foul Eknath Shinde challenges disqualification move in Supreme Court.



The Shiv Sena rebel faction led by Eknath Shinde moved two special leave petitions in the Supreme Court of India on Sunday challenging the notices issued to them. Maharashtra state Assembly Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal had on Saturday began the process of disqualification of 16 rebel MLAs and issued notices to them including their leader Shinde. A day before the Udhav Thackeray-led faction had moved a petition with the office of the Deputy Speaker Zirwal to disqualify 16 rebel MLAs as the rebel faction, hardening their stance, failed to attend a Shiv Sena Legislature Party meeting held in Mumbai. The apex court is likely to hear the petitions on Monday

In their petition, the rebel faction has also challenged Ajay Choudhary’s appointment as Legislative Party Leader in the House, which was promptly approved by Zirwal. Shinde was the Legislative Party Leader before he staged the rebellion, plunging the MVA government headed by Udhav Thackeray into an existential crisis. The rebel MLA and former minister had sought reaffirmation of his appointment as the

Legislative Party Leader by moving a resolution signed by 37 MLAs to the Deputy Speaker.

Citing the provisions of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly [Disqualification on Ground of Defection] Rules, 1986, the summons issued to the rebel MLAs had sought a written reply by June 27 till 5:30 p.m.

The pleas have been filed separately by Shinde and MLA Bharat Gogawale, which have sought to challenge the disqualification notices but also the powers of the Deputy Speaker to appoint Choudhary as Legislative Party Leader and Sunil Prabhu as Chief Whip in the legislature. The Shinde camps alleges that despite knowing the fact that more than two-thirds of the Shiv Sena Legislative Party were on their side the Deputy Speaker arbitrarily appointed Choudhary as Legislative Party Leader in the House.

Amid the deepening political crisis, and escalating power tussle, leaders and workers both factions on Sunday hit streets across the state, even as Maharashtra Cabinet Minister for Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant joined the Shinde faction in Guwahati.

Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena leader and two-time member of Parliament Arvind Sawant told the media that the fight was no longer a political but a legal one. “What is happening in Maharashtra is no longer a political fight. The fight is legal now. As you all know, disqualification notices have been issued to 16 rebel MLAs.”

Sawant was accompanied by Shiv Sena senior counsel Devdutta Kamat. Briefing the legal recourse that the party has now taken, the Supreme Court lawyer said, ““I’m here to brief on our legal position, what is happening and what is the status of those proceedings (we are going for). First of all, we have started proceedings against 16 rebel MLAs. There are many judgments which say that legislators who work against a party outside the House can be disqualified.”

Giving the example of former Rajya Sabha MP Sharad Yadav, Kamat told the reporters how veteran JDU leader was disqualified from the Upper House of Parliament in December 2017 for attending a rally held by opposition parties in Patna. “In that case, Sharad Yadav had attended only a meeting. But in the present case, the way they have rallied against the government after going outside Maharashtra, you can understand that it is a clear case of violation. Many in the media are saying that they (the rebels) have two-thirds numbers on their side. But the law says that you either merge your rebel MLAs with some other party or you will be disqualified,” Kamat further said. “They have so far not done any merger. They should know that till their merger happens they cannot avoid disqualification. Further it is being said that the Deputy Speaker of the House does not have any power. It is patently wrong. In the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker has same rights as those of the Speaker,” he added.

It was evident from day’s developments that Shiv Sena as a party is witnessing a division in its rank and file in the state, according to the allegiance of the local units. One faction is supporting Thackeray, while the other faction is rooting for the rebel faction. Supporters of both factions are taking to the streets across all districts in the state.

As the day progressed supporters of Shinde burnt effigies of Shiv Sena senior leader and spokesperson Sanjay Raut in Thane, which is Shinde’s stronghold. They shouted slogans against Raut even calling him names. Supporters of the rebel faction, as in Thane, took out a huge rally in Patan constituency of Satara on Sunday in response to the rallies and public meetings the faction led by Thackeray is holding to muster support, while denouncing Shinde for betraying Balasaheb Thackeray.

Shiv Sainiks supporting the beleaguered Maharashtra Chief Minister on Monday took out a huge rally in Nashik against rebel leader Shinde. Hundreds of Shiv Sainiks shouted anti-Shinde slogans while holding the saffron flag in their hands. Similar protests against Shindhe were staged in Vidharbh, Marathwada and Aurangabad.

Youth wing of the Shiv Sena hit the streets in Beed in support of the rebel leader Tanaji Sawant vandalizing and damaging several vehicles. Thackeray supporters had vandalized Sawant’s office in Balaji area in Katraj on Saturday after which Sawant had tweeted that once the political issue was settled they would be given a reply in the same language.

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