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All arrangements in place for voting in J&K's Anantnag-Rajouri constituency: CEO

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Srinagar, May 24 (IANS) J&K’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) P.K. Pole said on Friday that all arrangements are in place for smooth, fearless, and secure voting in the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency on Saturday in the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha polls.

All polling staff and security personnel have been deputed at their places of duty, he said.

“All necessary arrangements, including comprehensive security protocols, have been made for the elections. We have made all the arrangements for the elections. Security has been put in place in all the districts of the constituency. We are expecting a good voter turnout in the region,” the CEO said.

Polling staff and security personnel drawn from CAPFs and J&K Police have been deputed in all the five districts of Poonch, Rajouri, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian where the 18 voting segments of this constituency are situated.

A total of 2,338 polling stations for 18,36,576 voters – 9,33,647 males, 9,02,902 females, and 27 third-gender voters – have been set up. The voter list also includes 17,967 persons with disabilities and 540 individuals over the age of 100.

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There are 25,000 migrant voters in the constituency for whom special polling stations have been set up in Jammu, Udhampur, and Delhi.

For uninterrupted communication with polling staff at remote booths, satellite phones and wireless sets have been provided.

As many as 19 polling stations are located along the Line of Control, (LoC) where additional security deployment has been made.

There are 20 candidates in the fray in this constituency. However, the main contest is between National Conference candidate and senior Gujjar/Bakarwal leader Mian Altaf Ahmad, Peoples Democratic Party President and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, and J&K Apni Party’s Zafar Iqbal Manhas. The BJP has unofficially supported the Apni Party candidate and has not fielded any candidate in this constituency.

Pahari community living in Poonch and Rajouri districts form a significant number of voters in the constituency. This community was given ST status by the Centre recently. In addition to the Pahari community, Gujjar/Bakarwal community also forms a significant part of the constituency’s electorate.

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Mian Altaf Ahmad has a predominant influence among the Gujjar/Bakarwal community which cuts across party lines since he is considered to be the religious leader of this community.

Voting starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday and will end at 6 p.m.

Polling for the constituency was due to take place in the third phase on May 7 but subsequently deferred to the sixth phase due to weather conditions. With this, LS elections will end in J&K.

–IANS

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National

Delhi's Nigambodh Ghat sees sudden spike in bodies being brought for cremation

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New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) Amid the heatwave across north India, Delhi’s largest crematorium Nigambodh Ghat has witnessed a sudden surge in the number of bodies being brought for last rites, officials said.

On average, 50 to 60 bodies used to reach Nigambodh Ghat daily, but the number has more than doubled in the last two days.

According to the Nigambodh Ghat administration, as many as 90 bodies were brought to the crematorium on June 18 while on June 19, the number increased to 142 — the second highest since the Covid period.

Nigambodh Ghat in-charge Suman Gupta told IANS that as many as 1,500 bodies were brought to the crematorium in the month of June during the Covid period, however this time, almost 1,100 bodies have already been cremated at the Ghat between June 1-19.

A maximum of 253 bodies were brought on one day to the Nigambodh Ghat during the Covid period.

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According to Gupta, the number of bodies being brought also increases during severe winters.

–IANS

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Akali Dal opposes extension of NSA against Amritpal Singh

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Chandigarh, June 20 (IANS) Opposing the extension of the National Security Act (NSA) imposed against newly-elected Amritpal Singh, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President, Sukhbir Badal, on Thursday lashed out at Punjab Chief Minister, Bhagwant Mann, and accused him of “dancing to Delhi’s tunes on Sikh and Punjab issues.”

“The Punjab government’s records clearly show the decision to extend NSA in this case is Bhagwant Mann’s. His anti-Punjab and anti-Sikh face stands fully expose now,” Badal said in a statement here.

He emphasised that the party “is fully committed to the atmosphere of peace and communal harmony in the state and will continue to lead efforts to preserve it. There can be no progress and prosperity without peace and communal harmony and our party will not flinch from its responsibility.

“At the same time, we are equally firmly opposed to repressive black laws like the NSA and the UAPA that are unacceptable.”

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“Going beyond and above his party’s political and ideological differences with Amritpal Singh,” Badal said the decision to extend NSA in this case was a “clear violation of the Constitution and of basic human rights and civil liberties.”

The Akali chief further said, “I have already clarified that our party is guided by the sacred principles taught to us by the great Guru Sahiban and accordingly we oppose repression and injustice even against our opponents.

“SAD goes beyond considerations of political gain or loss while pursuing these principles. “We said it in our manifesto and also in our resolutions that for the party, principles are above politics.”

Badal said differences of ideology with Amritpal Singh apart, “we will oppose repression and injustice against him or against anyone else and we don’t care what political cost we have to pay for this.”

–IANS

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Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal granted bail

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New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) In a major relief for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, a city court on Thursday granted him bail in the excise policy scam case.

The bail was granted by the Rouse Avenue Court.

However, the Delhi CM is unlikely to walk out of the jail for now, sources said.

He is likely to be set free on Friday after the court orders reach Tihar Jail.

Earlier in the day, the court reserved its order on the bail plea of Delhi CM in the money laundering case, in connection with the liquor policy scam.

Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 21. He was granted temporary relief by the Supreme Court and allowed to campaign in the 2024 General elections. He surrendered again on June 2, as per court directions. Notably, Kejriwal’s judicial custody was extended till July 3 by the court, a day ago.

–IANS

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NEET-UG row: Rahul Gandhi slams govt, says Oppn to raise issue in Parliament

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New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) With the NEET-UG paper leak case snowballing into a major controversy, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at the BJP-led Central government on Thursday, saying that the Opposition will raise this issue in the upcoming session of the Parliament.

Addressing a press conference here, the Congress MP mentioned that during his ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ from Manipur to Maharashtra, hundreds of youth brought up the issue of paper leaks.

He also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, suggesting that while it was claimed that the PM stopped the Russia-Ukraine war, he seems unable or unwilling to prevent paper leaks in India.

“The reason for paper leaks is that the BJP’s parent organisation has taken control of the education system. Unless this is reversed, paper leaks will continue,” he said, attributing the “capture of the education system” to Prime Minister Modi.

He also labelled this as an “anti-national activity”.

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Rahul Gandhi further pointed out that institutions in the country are “no longer impartial and have become associated with a single ideology”, as he criticized the Centre for exonerating the National Testing Agency (NTA), responsible for conducting NEET-UG.

On the cancellation of the UGC NET on Wednesday, a day after the test was held, Rahul Gandhi emphasised the need for a thorough reassessment and redesign of the pre-existing system. He also advocated for a comprehensive probe into the NEET-UG paper leak and urged for accountability against those responsible.

About 24 lakh aspirants appeared for NEET on May 5 for admission to medical colleges. The results were announced before time on June 5 but were marred by allegations of paper leak and awarding of grace marks to over 1,500 candidates.

–IANS

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Fake call centre luring people with overseas jobs busted in Gurugram; 8 held

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Gurugram, June 20 (IANS) Gurugram Police have arrested eight persons, including four women, for allegedly running a fake call centre and duping people on the pretext of providing overseas jobs.

The suspects created a fake job website — internationaljobsolutions.com — and collected data of the job aspirants from an online portal (shine.com) whom they duped over the past six months, the police said on Thursday.

The accused have been identified as Nagender Kumar, Vikrant Singh, Ravi Kumar, Kajal, Garima, Ranjan Kumar, Sahil Punia, and Agnes Franesh.

The police received a tip-off on Thursday about an illegal call centre operating from the Palam Vihar area in Gurugram. A raid was conducted which led to the arrest of the eight accused persons, said Varun Dahiya, ACP (Crime).

The accused tele-callers lured unemployed youth promising overseas jobs and even sent them forged appointment letters on WhatsApp against a sum of Rs 2-3 lakh.

The tele-callers were given a salary of Rs 18,000 per month, the ACP said.

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Ten mobile phones, four laptops, and other incriminating items were seized during the raid, the officer added.

–IANS

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