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Owaisi slams Cong, TMC for terming AIMIM as ‘B team of BJP’

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Kalaburagi (Karnataka) [India], January 31 (ANI): Reacting to the allegations being made against All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) for reportedly acting as the B team of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), party chief Asaduddin Owaisi has said that he belongs to ‘nobody but public’.
During a rally at Kalaburagi on Saturday, Owaisi said, “Various allegations have been levelled against AIMIM. After we announced to contest West Bengal assembly polls, the band-baaja party, which was once known as Congress, started saying that we’re B team (of BJP). Mamata Banerjee also began saying these things. Am I the only one they can talk about? I belong to nobody but the public.”
“What you did? In Karnataka, Congress MLAs changed sides and joined BJP. Did they ask me before doing this? All of them joined BJP. You did not see anyone. They have become Ministers now, but you are not able to see them. Neither Mamata nor Congress speaks on this and when it comes to AIMIM, they say it is B team of BJP and when it comes to your party they say that their MLAs are misguided,” he added.
Hyderabad-based Owaisi, whose party put up a good show during 2020 Bihar Assembly polls last year, bagging five seats, had announced that AIMIM will contest Assembly polls in West Bengal.
Political parties including Congress and Trinamool Congress has termed AIMIM as ‘B team’ of BJP.
Meanwhile, Owaisi in his rally on January 30 called Nathuram Godse, who killed Mahatma Gandhi as the “first terrorist of Independent India”.
‘Mahatma Gandhi was killed on 30 January 1948. The first terrorist of Independent India is Nathuram Godse. They do not believe in Gandhi, they do not believe in Ambedkar or Subhash Chandra Bose. They are followers of Godse. On one hand, they pay tribute to Gandhi and on the other hand, they worship Savarkar, the conspirator of Gandhi’s assassination,” he said.
“I am also taking the name of Savarkar here because Justice Kapoor Commission report said that Savarkar was a conspirator for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Had the Congress government (which was in power at that time) properly investigated Gandhi’s assassination, the leader of the RSS would have been arrested. But the Congress did not investigate well,” he added. (ANI)

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Strict action will be taken against Sharjeel Usmani, says Maha Deputy CM

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 5 (ANI): Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday said that strict action will be taken against former Aligarh Muslim University student leader Sharjeel Usmani, who is accused of hurting religious sentiments with his comments at the Elgar Parishad in Pune in January.
“Strict action will be taken against Sharjeel Usmani and those who have committed the crime. Nobody will be spared. We have filed a case against him (in Elgar Parishad matter) and police are investigating the matter. What we know is that he is absconding and is in Uttar Pradesh,” said Pawar in the state Assembly session.
on February 2, Pune City Police registered an FIR against former AMU student Sharjeel Usmani for a speech he delivered at an Elgar Parishad event here.
The complaint was filed by Pradip Gawade, Pune regional secretary of Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha, for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and using objectionable words against a particular community.
Usmani had attended the Elgar Parishad event organised at Pune’s Ganesh Kala Krida Manch on January 30. Soon after, a video of him allegedly using objectionable words against the Hindu community went viral and demand for stern action against him was raised. (ANI)

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Goa Crime Branch seizes 10 kg Ganja in two raids over three days

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Panaji (Goa) [India], March 5 (ANI): A team of Goa Crime Branch has arrested two persons in raids conducted at different locations for allegedly possessing drugs and recovered over 10 kilograms of Ganja.
According to a statement on Thursday, “Crime branch conducted a raid on March 1 and arrested Rajesh, 38, with over five kg Ganja in Margao.”
In another raid, on March 4, the team arrested Pandurang Pakhare, 47 with over four kg Ganja at Mapusa Bus Stand.
During the investigation, accused Rajesh admitted that he was going to supply the drugs in South Goa, while the other confessed that the drugs were to be supplied in North Goa.
Two separate FIRs have been registered. Further investigation in both cases is underway, the police said in the statement. (ANI)

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Transgender delegation meets Maha Governor, seeks fulfilment of their fundamental rights

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 5 (ANI): A delegation of the transgender community on Thursday met Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, apprising him about the denial of their fundamental rights and the exploitation faced by the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have met the governor for our basic demands of food, clothes and housing, our fundamental rights and the exploitation faced by the community during the lockdown,” Salma Khan, a member of the organisation Kinner Maa Ek Samajik Sanstha, told ANI.
Khan said a board has already formed in the state in 2020, regarding the issues, but has not been activated. “The governor assured us for of a solution to our issues,” she added.
Salma also said that her organisation has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on March 1 over non-implementation of the 2014 Supreme Court’s order.
“Supreme Court’s judgment in 2014 has not been implemented in State. Governor assured us that he will hold talks with concerned officers and resolve issues,” she said. (ANI)

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TMC enumerates work done for tea workers’ welfare

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By Tarak Sarkar
Siliguri (West Bengal) [India], March 5 (ANI): Ahead of the assembly polls, the Trinamool Congress enumerated the measures it had taken for the welfare of tea workers, but other political parties contradicted these claims.
Aloke Chakraborty, Corninator, North Bengal, INTTUC, labour wing of the TMC said: “The daily wages of the tea workers have been increased from Rs 67 to Rs 202. The government has introduced Cha Sundari Project under which workers got Pucca houses. It has also provided free ration up to June 2021. The pension of Rs 1,000 under the Joy Johar Scheme for the tribal has been implemented.
However, the opposition parties in the state claimed that the state government has done nothing for tea workers.
“The hike in wages of teas workers would not benefit them. The state government yet to implement the long-pending minimum wages for them,” said Saman Phatak, former Member of Parliament and CITU Darjeeling secretary.
Praveen Agarwal, president, Siliguri district committee said that the state government did not allow the Centre to work for tea workers. But if they form government in West Bengal, they would address the problems of the tea garden workers.
On the other hand, the tea garden workers expressed their disappointment, saying that political parties promise a lot before elections, but after that, they become invisible.
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.
The tea garden is the backbone of North Bengal’s industry. It also brings natural beauty to the region.
The lush green tea fields along the slopes and the foothills of the Himalayas are a centre of attraction to people around the world. It is the largest private-sector employer with mostly woman and tribal people depends on their livelihood directly or indirectly in the industry.
North Bengal has more than 400 tea gardens in Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars region. At least five lakh people are directly or indirectly connected with the industry. But, during the past decade the tea industry has been facing a crisis. (ANI)

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Fire breaks out at Karnataka’s Bellandur Lake

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Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], March 5 (ANI): A fire broke out at Bellandur Lake in the Bengaluru district of Karnataka on Thursday evening.
Lake Marshals and Sarjapur fire personnel reached the spot to douse the blaze. Officials brought the fire under control with the help of three fire engines.
Chemical effluents and sewage are discharged into the lake which can catch fire.
Further details are awaited. (ANI)

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A panel discussion on maintaining mental well-being in Covid times

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Psychonnect recently presented a thought-provoking panel discussion on ‘Mental well-being in the new normal’ on NewsX. The discussion revolved around mental health, building resilience in the new normal, overcoming insomnia, and how an organisation like Psychonnect is leading the way towards maintaining one’s mental well-being in the new normal.

The discussion was joined by Divya Ganguly Mallick, senior academic and psychotherapist based in the UK, co-founder of Psychonnect; Professor Michael Gradisar, director of Wink which is a website dedicated to sleep education; and Professor Amanda Kirby, CEO of ‘Do-it solutions’ and is also an academic who holds expertise in neurodiversity.

In her introductory remarks, Divya talked about the challenges that one has to deal with after the pandemic, “The world might be a different place when we get out of this pandemic because this new normal that we are talking about has undergone a lot of changes and we have seen all types of changes emerging out of these times which might turn out to be both shocking and unpleasant. Once we go back to our respective colleges, schools, and workplaces, we will notice that a lot of social gatherings or even social interactions will have to be limited, daily activities like boarding a train or a bus might feel strange and scary. Initially, these changes will seem hard to accept and it will take some time to sink in.”

She also spoke about how radical acceptance and letting go of the bitterness shall help individuals in embracing the change. “I encourage everyone to be emotionally aware, understand their emotions while also respecting the range of other perspectives that you might come across. Reflect on whatever you have learned during this lockdown. Please seek help early because every individual’s response is going to be different towards unexpected changes. Feelings of anxiety, irritability, lack of appetite, and even sleep, are all signs that you might need some extra support to cope up with certain challenges,” added Divya.

Taking the conversation ahead, Professor Michael talked about how every individual reacts differently to certain changes and how seeking help in the early stages can help one tackle anxiety and severe depression. He said, “I think a lot of people have realised that when it comes to sleep, especially when you sacrifice some of your sleep, you start to notice that you don’t feel the same way and probably one of the first things you notice when you go through a bad sleep considering the situation has been the same for a few nights in the row, you start to have less of an appetite. Studies have shown that when people are sleep-restricted, they are always in a bad mood and are unnecessarily intolerant towards having personal interactions.”

Talking about how early diagnosis of insomnia and the early treatment is important and might save one from depression, Professor Michael asserted, “Insomnia is a very serious issue and one should never be negligent about it. To put it simply, it can be difficult in waking up or getting back to sleep. Another symptom of insomnia includes the feeling when you get up and don’t feel energised, now if something like this goes on for months, and perhaps a year, then you are at serious risk of developing depression. One of the very first symptoms of depression is insomnia and unlike depression which is very difficult to treat insomnia is comparatively easy in terms of treatment. While depression takes around 10-12 sessions of mental counselling, insomnia can be treated within half the time. So, if you are facing issues or differences in your sleeping pattern, take note of it and seek help as soon as you can.”

Addressing the reopening of schools for children and how they are going to deal with it, Professor Amanda spoke about how the lockdown has been difficult for many families and especially for parents with children suffering from ADHD, Dyslexia, and Autism for whom learning is a patient process and is challenging. “The key lesson is that most parents are not teachers, balancing work life and children is not easy, and for some people who don’t have the required capital or the resources and lack the computer skills because of poor literacy were not able to cope up well with the pandemic. So, the primary thing is we were not ready for this and whether we will be ready or not is a question that persists. For some families, it has been particularly challenging, the way their children attend, communicate, and deal with learning is a very different process and is possibly difficult. These children require constant care and patience and children of different age groups have different demands,” she said. Professor Amanda further shared how routine and structure should be encouraged in children so that they know what to expect and how to regulate their curriculum, develop healthy habits, and balanced sleeping patterns.

Speaking about the smartphone obsession that is relevant among teenagers and the significant impact it has on their well-being, the panellists discussed how the content needs to be regulated and the screen-time needs to be reduced so that it doesn’t take a toll on a child’s mental health. They addressed certain queries from the audience and gave solutions on how to reach out to organisations in India to seek help, helpline numbers for professional help, and how Psychonnect is paving the way and working towards addressing mental health issues.

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