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Punjab lifts weekend, night curfew, allows small gatherings from Monday

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With the state’s Covid positivity rate sliding to 0.4%, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered the lifting of weekend and night curfew, and allowed gatherings of 100 persons indoors and 200 outdoors from Monday, while directing the DGP to challan all political leaders violating the Covid rules while holding rallies and protest meetings.

Even as he hoped that better sense will prevail on the political parties and leaders brazenly violating Covid-19 curbs by holding massive protests, he asked DGP Dinkar Gupta to issue challans against those indulging in anti-Covid behaviour.

The Chief Minister also ordered the opening of bars, cinema halls, restaurants, spas, swimming pools, gyms, malls, sports complexes, museums, zoos etc., subject to all eligible staff members and visitors having taken at least one dose each of the vaccine.

Though schools will continue to remain closed, colleges, coaching centres and all other institutions of higher learning shall be allowed to open by the Deputy Commissioner concerned, subject to a certificate having been submitted, that all teaching, non-teaching staff and students have been given at least one dose of vaccination, at least 2 weeks ago. 

The Chief Minister, while reviewing the Covid situation virtually, said the situation will again be reviewed on July 20.  Strict use of masks must be ensured at all times, the Chief Minister directed, while announcing the easing of restrictions.

Heath Secretary Hussan Lal said four districts had shown positivity of 1 or less than 1%, but the districts that still needed vigilance were Ludhiana, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Firozpur and Roop Nagar.

Referring to the cases of Mucormycosis, which has been reported in 623 patients as of July 8, the Chief Minister asked the Health Department to work out a proposal for supporting and helping in the treatment of such patients. Of the 623 cases, 67 are from outside the state, the Health Secretary informed the meeting, adding that 337 cases were under treatment and 154 had been discharged while 51 patients had died. The maximum cases reported in day was 34 on May 27, while the average of daily cases in the first week of July stood at 5.

VACCINE SHORTAGE

With the state running out of Covishield and left with only one day’s stock of Covaxin, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday again stressed the need for an increase in vaccine supplies from the Centre.

An increase in supplies was critical given the gradual opening of sectors conditional to stakeholders having taken at least one dose, said the Chief Minister, directing the officials to continue pursuing aggressively the Centre for enhancement of the state’s quota.

Pointing out that Punjab had already vaccinated nearly 83 lakh eligible persons (approximately 27% of the population), the Chief Minister said that the stock was being utilised in the state without any wastage. Punjab was able to utilise more than 6 lakh doses in a single day when adequate supply was received, he said at the Covid review meeting. While the 1st dose has been administered to 70 lakh people, 13 lakh people have received the second dose, he added.

Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan said during the meeting that the administration was following up with the Government of India for more doses.

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FIVE PUNJAB MLAS TAKE OATH AS CABINET MINISTERS

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Five new ministers joined the Punjab Cabinet at 5 pm on Monday. Governor Banwari Lal Purohit administered the oath to all. Aman Arora from Sunam is a second-time MLA, MLA Dr Inderbir Singh Nijjar from Amritsar South is elected for the first time, MLA Chetan Singh Jaudamajra is from Samana, MLA Anmol Gagan Mann is from Kharar; and MLA Fauja Singh Sarri from Guruharsahai took oath as Ministers. 

Dr Nijjar is a doctor and an MLA of the Amritsar South Assembly Constituency. He is also the president of Chief Khalsa Diwan, the oldest religious and educational institution of the Sikhs. He has also been the Pro-tem Speaker of the Punjab Legislative Assembly.

Arora, a flamboyant speaker, has become MLA for the second time from Sunam. He won with a big lead. His father Babu Bhagwan Das Arora was one of the veteran Congress leaders and had been a minister in the Congress government.

Kharar’s MLA Mann is a famous singer and has also been the state VP of AAP’s youth wing.

Jaudamajra, 54, is an MLA from Jodamajra Samana and belongs to a non-political family. He has been the President of the Rural Unit of Patiala District of the AAP. In the 2022 assembly elections, he defeated former Akali minister Surjit Singh Rakhda with a big margin. 

Sarri is the MLA of Gurharsahai and is a former police employee. After retirement, he joined the AAP and won by a big victory.

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Delhi Police arrest youngest hitman Ankit in Moosewala murder

The 19-year-old boy from Sirsa is known for firing arms from both hands and was involved in shooting that killed the Punjabi pop singer.

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singer Moosewala

Acting on a tip off of from their Punjab counterpart, the Special Cell of Delhi Police on Sunday evening arrested arrested sharp shooter Ankti Sirsa and his accomplice Sachin Chaudhary alias Bhiwani from Kashmiri Gate Inter-state Bus Terminal in Delhi in connection with Punjabi pop singer Siddu Moosewala murder. According to the Delhi Police Special Cell officials, Ankti was also involved in Moosewala’s murder. He had shot at him from close range.

Ankit Sirsa

Nineteen-year-old Ankit is said to shoot using both hands and has been involved in two attempts to murder cases in Rajasthan. But Moosewala’s was the first murder committed by him. Officials of both Delhi Police and Punjab are baffled at the audacity of the Lawrence Bishnoi–Goldy Brar gang hit man, who is barely out of his teens. Ankit is alleged to have pumped in bullets into Moosewala’s chest using firearms on both hands.

Police have seized one 9 mm bore pistol, 10 live cartridges, another 2.30 mm bore pistol and 9 live cartridges from the accused. Apart from this, three Punjab Police uniforms, one dongle and two mobile handsets with SIMs have also been recovered. The Punjab Police uniforms were to be used by the accused to make good their escape from Punjab after killing Moosewala, said the police officials.

Earlier Delhi Police had on 19 June arrested Priyavrat Fauji of Sonipat, Haryana, along with another shooter Kuldeep alias Kashish, from Kutch, and had recovered a cache of sophisticated arms, grenades and bullets from them. Investigations revealed that Fauji drove Ankit and other accused to Kutch after the murder, where they were all hid. Ankit is a resident of Sirsa a village in Sonipat in Haryana. His associate Sachin Bhiwani, who is a point man of the Lawrence Bishnoi gang in Rajasthan, is also wanted by Rajasthan Police for a heinous crime he is alleged to have committed in Churu. Sachin is alleged to have provided logistic support and safe haven not only to Ankit but also other sharp shooters arrested in connection with the case.

According to Delhi Police, Special Cell teams are working on the case in six states and the accused had changed 35 locations after committing the crime. The accused were provided funds and other logistics to carry out the murder. The Special Cell is investigating the source of funds. Preliminary investigations had revealed that initial funds were provided by Goldy Brar, who operates out of Canada.

Delhi Police on Monday produced Fauji and his accomplices, Kashish, Keshav and Deepak, before a Patiala House Court where Punjab Police sought their remand.

Earlier, Punjab Police had sought remand of Lawrence Bishnoi, whose interrogation revealed that the AK-47 used in the murder was bought from Kurban–Imran gang in Bulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh. According to Punjab Police, there were four main accused involved in the murder, including Ankit, Sachin, Kashish and Fauji. They stayed in a hotel in Fatehabad before they executed their plan.

Moosewala was brutally shot dead on 29 May in Mansa, Punjab, sending shockwave throughout the state and the country. Brar had taken the responsibility for the murder.

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Co-joined twin Veena and Vani pass intermediate exams with flying colours

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In a sheer display of determination and will power, a co-joined twin named Veena and Vani have passed the Telangana Intermediate exams with flying colours. The twins scored first class marks, sending out a strong message of where there is a will, there is a way. While Veena secured 712 marks out of 1000, Vani scored 707 marks out of 1000 marks with CEC  (Commerce, Economics, Civics) stream.

Satyavathi Rathod, Minister for Tribal, Women and Child Welfare, congratulated Veena and Vani on achieving the feat. The minister further said, «All the necessary facilities will be provided for their higher education. Veena and Vani will always have the support of the state government.» She also praised the staff personnel, who assisted the two girls. 

Elated with their scores, Veena and Vani expressed the desire to become Chartered Accountants (CA). In the tenth standard, Veena and Vani had scored 9.3 GPA and 9.2 GPA respectively. 

It is noteworthy that Veena and Vani were eligible to opt for special priveleges, which could have ensured additional time to write their exam, but they refused and submitted their answer sheet to the invigilator five minutes ahead of schedule. 

The results for the 1st and 2nd year were announced by Telangana State Board Of Intermediate Education (TSBIE). Telangana Education Minister Sabitha Reddy announced the results. Among the 9 lakh students who appeared for the exam, the story of Veena and Vani stood out and is garnering praises across the country. 

Born in 2003 in Mahabubnagar district of Telangana, Veena and Vani were cojoined from birth. Due to this, their parents stepped back from taking their responsibility and refused to take them, citing lack of resources for their treatment. Thereafter, the twins stayed in Nilopher hospital till they turned 12 and later shifted to State Home.

Despite several attempts by doctors, medical and surgical experts from not just India but also the United Kingdom and Singapore, no way has been found to separate them.

While it was earlier estimated that the  procedure to separate them would cost around Rs 10 crore, it is very complex and risky  as their veins are tangled up. This is the reason an operation has not be done yet.

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A STEP TOWARDS SELFLESS PURSUIT OF HINDUTVA IDEALS

Shweta Shalini

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The party’s philosophy of “nation first, party second and self last” was drilled into every cadre not just through words but through actions.

In 1895, Swami Vivekananda was to give a public lecture in London. When it was time to stand up and speak, Swami Vivekananda suddenly announced that it was Swami Saradananda who would deliver the speech instead of him. Though taken by surprise, the learned Swami displayed his scholarly mastery over the scriptures as Vivekananda sat overjoyed intently listening to the teachings. In the following years, Swami Vivekananda would delight himself by hearing about or pouring through the newspaper cuttings sent to him of Swami Saradananda’s lectures from Boston, Brooklyn and New York. Whether it is the success of Swami Saradananda in America or pushing Swami Abhedananda to deliver the teachings of Vedanta at a club in Bloomsbury Square, Swami Vivekananda created leaders who would work on the mission while also surprising his audience. Good leaders merely create followers. Great leaders create leaders and influence generations of leaders through their selflessness. Even after his Samadhi, a whole new generation of freedom fighters right from Lokmanya Tilak to Subhash Chandra Bose drew inspiration from Vivekananda.

Devendra Fadnavis pulled a shocker by announcing the name of Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde as Chief Minister. As media personnel took a moment to absorb the gist of the announcement, the CM-Designate let out his profound understanding of politics saying, “Nowadays, not even a Nagarsevak (Municipal Councillor) or Gram Panchayat member lets go of his position. I am thankful to you.”

It was not just a sacrifice or selflessness of BJP Leader Devendra Fadnavis but also a victory of the ideological cause, which every BJP karyakarta works towards. A Shiv Sena leader, who stepped down from government for the cause of Hindutva, was rewarded by fellow brethren, working towards the same Hindutva mission. A political leader moving away from the position of power is a rare instance as 50 rebel MLAs from Shiv Sena proved. However, a BJP leader himself taking a backseat for an ideological cause isn’t rare and Devendra Fadnavis was walking in the footsteps of great BJP leaders. When the founding fathers of Jan Sangh instilled selflessness as a philosophy in its cadre, it was Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was a leader (Member of Parliament), with Advani working as his secretary and later as editor of a Hindutva publication. Over the next few decades, Vajpayee and Advani alternated between roles selflessly working under each other’s leadership building the party brick-by-brick. The ideological mission was supreme and not individuals. This selflessness of the party was again on display in 1977 when the Janata Party government came into power and Jan Sangh took a backseat despite a higher number of seats – the mission was more important than the individual goals. The party’s philosophy of “nation first, party second and self last” was drilled into every cadre not just through words but through actions. The Modi era brought in a fresh wave of ideological strength with the BJP selflessly taking non-RSS Hindutva leaders like Yogi Adityanath into its fold.

Over the past few days, the Maharashtra government under Uddhav Thackeray had resorted to attacking the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs for insisting on sticking to the Hindutva stand. The Shiv Sena leaders, who were once foot soldiers of Hindutva under Balasaheb and made their way up from humble backgrounds, were portrayed negatively. Their insistence on sticking to the Hindutva cause was painted as a power-hungry move of Shiv Sena rebels with the backroom connivance of the BJP. “Will you get the Chief Minister’s chair by rebelling against me” taunted CM Uddhav Thackeray in a LIVE address to the state.

“Yes”, replied the BJP and Sangh Parivar in unison when Devendra Fadnavis made that unexpected announcement at the press conference. In one stroke, BJP under Devendra Fadnavis destroyed Uddhav Thackeray’s anti-Hindutva propaganda and honoured the rebels for taking an ideological stand. In a message to every Hindutva ideologue, he made it amply clear that the stability of Maharashtra, development of the state and ideological cause is more important to him than the Chief Minister’s chair itself. The real Shiv Sena of Balasaheb under Eknath Shinde finally leads the state with the support of BJP MLAs.

The press conference by Devendra Fadnavis will be written in golden words in the history of the Bharatiya Janata Party as a step towards the selfless pursuit of Hindutva ideals. A karyakarta like me, who has tirelessly worked for the party under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis. saw first-hand what selflessness towards the cause is all about. I have witnessed how faith in leadership trumps every personal consideration and makes BJP truly a party with difference. Detractors often resort to attacking the Sangh and its ideals while taking a gibe at BJP. The BJP under Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra has once again demonstrated how these Sangh ideals are the strength of the party.

In the words of Swayamsevaks, BJP Leader Devendra Fadnavis acted true to the lines in the Sangh Prarthana – (TvadiyayayKaryayaBaddhaKatiyam) – We are committed to the cause- The cause of Hindutva, the cause of Maharashtra.

The author is BJP spokesperson, advisor to former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, and executive director of Maharashtra Village Social Transformation Foundation.

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SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE: ACTOR-PRODUCER VIJAY BABU APPEARS BEFORE PROBE OFFICIALS

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Actor-producer Vijay Babu appeared before probe officials for the seventh consecutive day in Ernakulam Town South Police Station for interrogation in connection with a sexual assault case registered against him.

He is appearing before probe officials as per the directions of the Kerala High Court. Meanwhile, a Kerala actor who was allegedly raped by Malayalam actor-producer Vijay Babu has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Kerala High Court’s decision granting conditional anticipatory bail to the actor.

In her petition moved through Advocate Raghenth Basant, she has submitted that the case raises an important issue of whether an absconding accused can be granted anticipatory bail on the ground that it will prompt him to come out of hiding and join the investigation.

A lookout notice was issued against the actor as he went into hiding since the accusations surfaced. Babu then filed an application seeking anticipatory bail before the Kerala High Court, which was allowed on June 22, subject to conditions. The High Court had also confirmed the maintainability of the application for pre-arrest bail filed while the applicant is residing outside the country.

Meanwhile, the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) earlier in June said that any action against actor-producer Vijay Babu will be taken “as per the judgment of the court”.

Following the accusations, Vijay stepped down from the executive committee of the AMMA in May.

AMMA president Mohanlal, its general secretary Edavela Babu, and its treasurer Siddique were among those who addressed a press conference.

“This is a matter for the court to consider. Action will be taken if necessary as per the judgment of the court. We are waiting for the verdict of the court to come. Everyone is waiting for the verdict. He is a member of eight or nine clubs in Kochi. He has not yet been expelled from those clubs. AMMA is actually a club. AMMA will act in accordance with the court order,” said Edavela Babu, General Secretary of AMMA at the press conference.

Siddique said that the executive committee of AMMA has decided not to take any action against Vijay until the court decides. ANI

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IS ‘HEY’ UNPROFESSIONAL? NETIZENS REACT TO VIRAL CHAT

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Covid-19 has prompted the majority of the workforce to work from home. With daily communication between work teams is no longer restricted to set timings and official emails, the lines between professional and personal have been blurred, leading to a dilemma on what is formal and what is informal.

A WhatsApp chat between a boss and an employee is going viral on the Internet for this reason. Recently, an employee got an earful for greeting his boss with a ‘hey’. Responding to this, the boss said, “Please don’t use the word ‘hey’. It’s offensive to me. If you can’t remember my name, simply use ‘Hi’, adding how the employee should refrain from using words like ‘Dude’ and ‘Man’ with his boss.

Had it been any other person, they would have gone ahead to apologise, but this employee responded, “Well, considering that we are having a conversation over WhatsApp and not over LinkedIn or a mail chain. I’m just being casual as you are texting me on my personal number. And coming to being professional I’m not the one being offended.”

However, the conversation did not end there as the boss emphasised that Whatsapp is not a personal space anymore. “WhatsApp is not personal space any more, it has been used for business. I am not insisting my ideology on you. If you understand it, fine; or you will understand it sooner or later,” he said.

After the post surfaced online, a social media user said, “Agreed. You don’t use a social media app like WhatsApp to have a professional relationship over the Internet. They should write a properly-formatted email. And that’s “Mr NutWrench” to them, too.” Another user added, “My old boss told me “what’s up?” is disrespectful. Dude, you’re calling me, you clearly need something. What’s up?.”

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