Sixth phase of Vande Bharat Mission begins today - The Daily Guardian
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Sixth phase of Vande Bharat Mission begins today

Arun Dhanta

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The 6th phase of Indian government’s largest repatriation exercise Vande Bharat Mission will begin from today. The phase which would run till 24 Octoberwould see operations of additional flights connecting several unserved destinations. Based on an assessment of demand by missions abroad, flight schedules of Air India group and private carriers have been prepared.

 During the 6th phase, Air India would operate over 145 flights between India and the US. During this, it will cover Delhi-New York, MumbaiNewark, Delhi-Washington DC, Delhi-Chicago and Delhi-San Francisco routes. Some of the other crucial destinations which would be covered in this phase include Vancouver, Toronto, London, Shanghai and Chicago. Meanwhile, aviation regulator Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has extended the ban on international commercial flight operations till 30th September. Only special charter flights, Vande Bharat flights and travel bubbles will be allowed to continue. India has so far established air bubbles arrangements with the US, UK, France, Germany, UAE, Qatar, and the Maldives and negotiations are underway with Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

 The government data show that during the 5th phase of this mission which ended on 31 August, 900 international flights operated around 22 countries reaching 23 airports across India. More than 10 lakh stranded Indians have been repatriated so far. Earlier, the government had launched the Vande Bharat Mission from 7 May 2020 to bring back Indian nationals stuck in various countries due to the Covid restrictions.

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They were always running after Ankita: Eyewitness

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They were always running after Ankita: Eyewitness

The Daily Guardian reporter Mahima Kataria spoke to an eyewitness on camera who gave a blow by blow account that led to the unfortunate incident of Anikta’s murder. Excerpts:
Mahima (TDG reporter): What did you see as to what was happening with Ankita, what all can you tell?
Eyewitness: I used to repair the lights and all, I was in charge of the maintenance of the resort and the factory. Ankita’s room was near to the reception area inside the resort. Since I suffered a seizure attack, I was there in my room, but when I felt a little better, then I went outsideothe factory. me and the manager of the factory Manveer went outside.
TDG reporter: Around what time this all happened?
Eyewitness: 6-6:30
TDG reporter: Then what happened?
Eyewitness: Then my fellow colleague Karan helped me, and Saurabh was accompanying him, both of them were also outside the resort they called me immediately, Karan said that madam (Ankita) is crying. I said I will go and see, and I went there. I ran up to her and opened the door, then Ankit stopped me.
TDG reporter: Who’s this Ankit?
Eyewitness: He is known to everyone in the resort, otherwise he is known to Pulkit. 
TDG reporter: What did he do in the resort?
Eyewitness: I did not see him doing anything ever.
TDG reporter: Did he come there just like that?
Eyewitness: He is Pulkit’s personal assistant
TDG reporter: Okay, then what happened when you reached there?
Eyewitness: When I opened the door, then Ankit was coming out of Ankita’s room. He stopped me. He said you cannot go ahead. We both argued a bit. Meanwhile, Saurabh called me
TDG reporter: Where was Saurabh then?
Eyewitness: Saurabh was smoking, he called me there. I said okay. We did not expect they could do anything like this
TDG reporter: What did you see then?
Eyewitness: Ankita was standing at the door
TDG reporter: And where was Pulkit?
Eyewitness: Pulkit was inside.
TDG reporter: Did Ankita signal anything to you?
Eyewitness: She was a bit scared.
TDG reporter: Did you see anything untoward happening?
Eyewitness: I joined ten days back and did not see any prostitution kind of thing, but could see that they were always running after Ankita.
TDG reporter: do you think all this was pre-planned?
Eyewitness: yes i think this all was pre-planned.
TDG reporter: do you think they were forcing her?
Eyewitness: yes, I know that customers that day were demanding extra service
TDG reporter: who are these customers?
Eyewitness: pulkit manages these extra services for customers.‘saurabh sir just took out his bike, i don’t know much, we tried contacting him, everyone was afraid‘we were awake the whole night, when saurabh sir went to ankit, ankit sir said place my dinner, the plate and the food was left untouched, maam did not touch the food, ankit sir went into the room and the rest I don’t know.

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Ankita’s family refuses to perform last rite, locals’ spontaneous protest

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They were always running after Ankita: Eyewitness

Anger over the Ankita Bhandari death case poured onto the streets as the locals on Sunday blocked the Badrinath Rishikesh highway area in front of the base hospital where Ankita’s remains are kept.
The administration tried clearing the jam caused due to the barricading. The masses demanded the post-mortem report of the deceased and capital punishment for the culprits. The local market was shut on Sunday as people showed solidarity ahead of Ankita Bhandari’s funeral. Traders of Srinagar kept their business establishments wholly closed.
The development came ahead of Ankita’s funeral in Garhwal, Srinagar.
Earlier, the family of the deceased refused to perform the last rites as they demanded the handing over of the post-mortem report.
The administration on the other hand tried convincing Ankita’s family.
“We won’t conduct her last rites until her post-mortem report is given. We saw in her provisional report that she was beaten up and thrown in a river. But we’re awaiting the final report,” said Ajay Singh Bhandari, brother of Ankita Bhandari.
The SIT on Sunday said that her WhatsApp chats were also being probed.

Earlier on Saturday, the Vanatara resort in Rishikesh owned by expelled BJP leader Vinod Arya’s son Pulkit Arya, who is an accused in the Ankita Bhandari murder case, was set on fire by angry locals.
Anger over the horrific crime poured onto streets in other parts of Uttarakhand as well as locals jammed the bus station in Pauri. Protestors also gheraoed the District Magistrate’s office in Pauri.
The body of 19-year-old Ankita Bhandari who was reported missing a few days ago was recovered on Saturday from the Chilla canal in Rishikesh. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami ordered a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to be formed to probe the case.
The father of the 19-year-old Ankita Bhandari, whose body was recovered from the Chilla canal in Uttarakhand’s Rishikesh on Saturday, said that he will cremate his daughter only after receiving the final postmortem reports.
“I will cremate my daughter only after I get the final postmortem report. The CM has told me that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been constituted and the case will be tried in a fast-track court,” said Ankita Bhandari’s father said.
Earlier, the deceased’s brother also said that they won’t conduct her last rites until the post-mortem report is received. “We saw in her provisional report that she was beaten up and was thrown in a river.
But we’re awaiting the final report,” said Ajay Singh Bhandari, brother of Ankita Bhandari.

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Russia backs India for permanent member in UNSC

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Russia backs India for permanent member in UNSC

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov backed India for becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
While addressing the 77th United Nations General Assembly, Lavrov said, “We see prospective of making Security Council more democratic via representation of countries from Africa, Asia & Latin America. India and Brazil, in particular, are key international actors and should be counted for permanent membership in the council.” While addressing the Assembly, Lavrov accused Western countries of “throwing a fit” over the referendum that is being conducted in Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine on becoming a part of their federation.
The Russian Foreign Minister said the crises surrounding the war were growing, and the international situation was rapidly deteriorating, but instead of having an honest dialogue and searching for a compromise, the West was “undermining confidence in international institutions” and encouraging negative tendencies within the United Nations as well, according to UN News.
He said the United States was trying to turn the whole world into its “backyard”, and together with its partners, punishing dissenters from its world view, through what he called “illegal unilateral sanctions” which violate the UN Charter, and hurt poor citizens in poorer countries, targeting their medicines, vaccines and food imports.
Earlier, India with 31 other countries in a joint statement on reforms stated that an expansion of the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories, as well as reform in its working methods, is indispensable to making this body more representative, legitimate and effective, delegations reiterated.
The signatories of the joint statement stated that they reaffirm that adapting the United Nations to contemporary world realities necessarily requires urgent and comprehensive reform of the Security Council, the principal organ for international peace and security.
According to the statement, the heads of delegations were convinced of the need to restore faith in effective multilateralism, “we stand united, as a group of pro-reform like-minded States, determined to work towards a more inclusive, responsive and participatory international governance architecture,” the statement reads.
“We further recognize that lack of progress in Security Council reform has serious implications, not only for the continued relevance of global governance institutions but also for global peace and security and delivering on the purposes, principles and promises of the United Nations Charter,” it added.
The head of delegations recognised that a reformed Security Council must better reflect the contemporary United Nations membership, including through enhanced representation of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which comprise approximately 20 per cent of the United Nations’ membership.

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Opposition rally in Haryana, Nitish-Lalu meet Sonia for poll unity

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Opposition rally in Haryana, Nitish-Lalu meet Sonia for poll unity

Putting up a brave face, Opposition parties on Sunday gave a clarion call of unity to defeat the BJP in 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Attending a rally organised by former Haryana Chief Miniser and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) chief Om Prakash Chautala here, the Opposition parties tried to strike a common chord. The aim is common: To put up a united fight and defeat the formidable force BJP.
The rally was attended by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury. The rally markes the 109th birth anniversary of former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal.
Addressing the rally Nitish Kumar said, “If all these parties get together, they (BJP) won’t be able to win at all in 2024 Lok Sabha polls.” He also said that he has “spoken at length with Sharad Pawar and also requested the Congress to join the Opposition group.
Sharad Pawar said, “We need to remove the present circumstances… In 2024 when we shall get an opportunity, we all shall get together change this regime.”
Earlier during the day, in a bid to unify opposition parties before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav slammed the BJP government at the Centre for rising poverty and unemployment in the country.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the RJD supremo met Congress President Sonia Gandhi at her residence in a bid to unify opposition parties before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
He further added, “We need to remove the BJP and have to save the country. For that, we all have to come together in a way we removed BJP in Bihar. We have had talks with Sonia Gandhi. She asked us to meet again after 10-12 days once the Congress party gets a new president”.
When asked about the 2024 polls, Nitish Kumar said, “If all the parties form a coalition overpowering, defeating the Modi government in the elections won’t be a difficult job and we are in continuous talks for the coalition by 2024 polls.”
Lalu and JDU chief Nitish Kumar will further ask Gandhi for the right to approach the Opposition camp by meeting the leaders of regional parties who are politically distant from Congress to join the alliance.
As per the sources, JDU and RJD chiefs are likely to approach Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in Telangana, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu (YSR) Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana, Left in Kerala, Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP), Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD), and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
Interestingly, Congress will have to adopt compromising nature if Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar succeed in uniting these Opposition parties.

Earlier during the day, in a bid to unify opposition parties before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav slammed the BJP government at the Centre for rising poverty and unemployment in the country.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the RJD supremo met Congress President Sonia Gandhi at her residence in a bid to unify opposition parties before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
He further added, “We need to remove the BJP and have to save the country. For that, we all have to come together in a way we removed BJP in Bihar. We have had talks with Sonia Gandhi. She asked us to meet again after 10-12 days once the Congress party gets a new president”.
When asked about the 2024 polls, Nitish Kumar said, “If all the parties form a coalition overpowering, defeating the Modi government in the elections won’t be a difficult job and we are in continuous talks for the coalition by 2024 polls.”
Lalu and JDU chief Nitish Kumar will further ask Gandhi for the right to approach the Opposition camp by meeting the leaders of regional parties who are politically distant from Congress to join the alliance.
As per the sources, JDU and RJD chiefs are likely to approach Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in Telangana, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu (YSR) Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana, Left in Kerala, Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP), Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD), and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
Interestingly, Congress will have to adopt compromising nature if Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar succeed in uniting these Opposition parties.

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Big crisis in Congress, 93 pro-Gehlot MLAs resign to stall Sachin Pilot’s elevation

Sources say the number of MLAs may go up to 100.

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Big crisis in Congress, 93 pro-Gehlot MLAs resign to stall Sachin Pilot’s elevation

As Congress gears up for the election of the party President, the development in Rajasthan state unit has put the high command in great trouble and embarrassment. On Sunday, as many as 93 pro-Ashok Gehlot MLAs resigned and sent their letters to the Assembly speaker. Sources said that the number of the MLAs may even go up to 100.
The development on Sunday came in the backdrop of a chain of events before the party’s much-talked-about Presidential election. The Gandhi family’s choice Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is all set to file its nomination this week for the election of Congress President. Although he wanted to don both the hats of Congress President and Rajasthan CM, Rahul Gandhi snubbed it with his ‘one person, one post’ comment recently, forcing Gehlot to make a U-turn.
This prompted a possibility of another leader from Rajasthan Sachin Pilot’s elevation as the chief minister. Pre-empting this, 93 pro-Gehlot MLAs met the speaker C.P. Joshi and submitted their resignations.
Senior minister Pratap Singh Khachariawas said, “MLAs have no complaints against the high command. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are our leaders. But what the MLAs want should be heard. Sachin Pilot is not acceptable as CM. Make someone else CM. The majority is completely with Ashok Gehlot. This is what the high command should understand.” The legislators demanded C.P. Joshi to be made the CM, he added.
Political observers say, in a way, the high command is completely responsible for this crisis. Rebels say when Gehlot’s name came up for the National President, the name of Sachin Pilot, who tried to topple the rebel government, was given importance as the probable for the post of CM. Rebels say Sachin had damaged party’s cause earlier, so he cannot be the CM. Party must choose one leader who has credentials and stood by the party at the time of crisis. “Sachin does not fall into that category. How can a person who betrayed the party are being given importance,” one rebel told The Daily Guardian.
The pro-Gehlot legislators were seen gathered at state minister Shanti Dhariwal’s residence which became the focal point for the day. Sources said it was the 102 MLAs who played an important role in saving the government by being united for 34 days few years ago, one of them should be made the chief minister. If any of the rebel MLAs is made the chief minister, then the government will fall. Out of the 102 MLAs who rejected those offers of crores of rupees, someone should be made the Chief Minister, rebels said.
However, on the behest of Sonia Gandhi, organisation general secretary K.C. Venugopal spoke to Chief Minister Gehlot and asked them to persuade the MLAs. Till late night there were indications that the matter would now drag on. Observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken are also in Jaipur on a fire-fighting mission.  
While Chief Minister Gehlot, who went on Jaisalmer tour, had made it clear that he does not want to continue as the Chief Minister. His only effort will be to win Rajasthan in any case. Therefore, he should not be judged. Gehlot›s statement had no effect on the MLAs. Filing of nominations for the post of Congress president began on Saturday with a contest between Ashok Gehlot and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor on the cards.
The nominations will be filed till September 30 and results declaring the new Congress chief will be announced on October 19.
This will be the first time in 25 years that Congress will see a non-Gandhi chief after Sonia Gandhi replaced Sitaraman Kesri as party chief in 1998.
The last time the party had a non-Gandhi chief was in 1997 when Sitaram Kesri defeated Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot.

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Young generation should take over, says Ashok Gehlot

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Young generation should take over, says Ashok Gehlot

As Ashok Gehlot is likely to resign as Rajasthan Chief Minister to file nomination to contest Congress president polls, he said on Sunday that he would continue to work for the youth and a peaceful atmosphere in the country.
“I’ve previously specified…If things were under my control, I would be on various posts, but even without any post I will continue to work for a peaceful atmosphere and youth, “ said Gehlot when asked whether he would retain the CM post. Gehlot said, “As far as post of Congress president is concerned, I’ve been in politics for 50 yrs and held various posts for 40 yrs. What more can a person expect, now the new generation should get a chance so that we together can provide leadership in the country.”

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