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Gujarat Police busts mass marriage racket, arrests organiser

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Ahmedabad, May 27 (IANS) Gujarat Police has busted a mass marriage racket in Ahmedabad and also arrested the organiser of the event who has cheated 113 couples for Rs 24 lakh.

Police said that they have arrested the organiser near the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in Vastral. He has been identified as Prakash Parmar.

Police said that the Hindu Jan Vikas Seva Sangh Trust used to organise caste mass marriage programs and had promised to marry 113 couples and provide them with business facilities.

“Each couple was charged Rs 22,000 for registration. However, after the event, the promised business facilities were not provided to the couples, leading to widespread frustration and anger among the victims,” police said.

Police said that the family members of the affected couples realising they had been duped, filed a complaint at the Amraiwadi police station against Prakash Parmar.

Parmar had also set up an office in front of Bhartinagar Amraiwadi Post Office to lend credibility to the event.

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Police said that further investigation into the case is underway.

–IANS

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Agartala Mayor Dipak Majumder sworn in as Tripura Assembly member

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Agartala, June 19 (IANS) The Mayor of the Agartala Municipal Corporation, Dipak Majumder, who recently won the Assembly by-poll from Ramnagar on a BJP ticket, was sworn in as a member of the Tripura Assembly on Wednesday.

Assembly Speaker Biswa Bandhu Sen administered the oath of secrecy to Majumder as a legislator in the 60-member House at a brief function.

Chief Minister Manik Saha, his Cabinet colleagues, and other dignitaries were present at the function held in the lobby of the Assembly.

Official sources said that Majumder, who became an MLA for the first time, may keep his Mayoral post.

In the bypoll held on April 19, Majumder defeated CPI-M nominee Ratan Das by 18,014 votes.

The by-election was necessitated by the demise of sitting BJP MLA and former minister Surajit Datta on December 28 last year.

–IANS

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We also want to live but people are scared to talk about presence of bombs: Kannur resident

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Thiruvananthapuram, June 19 (IANS) A day after a 85-year-old man in Kannur died after opening an abandoned tiffin box with a bomb in it, a resident of the area on Wednesday alleged that people were scared to say anything but it is quite a common occurrence in their locality.

The issue of Velayudhan’s death in Eranjoli near Thalassery while looking for coconuts in the compound of a locked house surfaced in Kerala Assembly on Wednesday when the Congress-led Opposition brought it up.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan assured the members that the police were doing their job well and the culprits would be brought to book.

A few hours after CM Vijayan said this, Seena, a resident of Eranjoli after speaking to the newly-elected Vadakara Lok Sabha MP, Shafi Parambil, told the media that Tuesday’s blast was nothing new.

“Most of the homes which are locked are under the control of the party people. Everyone here knows what’s happening and how bombs are being made. None will ever speak out as they fear for their lives as their homes will be attacked with bombs if they do,” she alleged.

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“My plea to you (media) is please help us, we also want to live. Our children are afraid to play as there are bombs everywhere,” said Seena.

Even as Seena was speaking to the media, her mother was seen asking her to stop giving such statements.

Parambil, who visited the area, said the prime accused in the frequent bomb blasts taking place in and around Kannur were the police.

“They are unable to do their job for obvious reasons and those who make these bombs have now become professionals and not a single one of these professionals have been caught. This is a big failure on the part of those who handle the Home portfolio (CM Vijayan). These professionals know that nothing will happen to them,” said Parambil.

Incidentally at the peak of the Lok Sabha poll campaign, in Thalassery a person died and two others were injured while making bombs.

Another resident, Poornachandran, who lost his left palm and right eye at Thalassery in 1998 in a similar bomb explosion involving a tiffin box, said that he shudders to think what happened to him when he was a boy.

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“I was picking old things and found a tiffin box. I took it to a shop and as I was trying to open it with a hammer, an explosion took place. I was in a hospital for more than two months and I lost my left hand and right eye.

“I feel extremely sad how my childhood was lost. So many years after it happened to me, the same thing is happening at Thalassery again and again,” said Poornachandran, who now works as a clerk in the state capital.

Kerala BJP President, K Surendran said, “The CPI(M) leaders who hail from Kannur are well aware of how this is happening and none should forget this is happening in Vijayan’s hometown.

“The CPI(M) wants to move forward by keeping Kannur tense, so people will remain silent. A comprehensive probe into the two recent bomb explosions has to take place.”

–IANS

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Lokesh aims to bring radical changes in education, reaching out to all stake holders

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Amaravati, June 19 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh’s new Human Resources Development Minister Nara Lokesh plans to bring radical changes in the education sector, and had started working on his action plan even before taking charge of his portfolio.

Lokesh, who is the son of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and also holds the portfolios of Information Technology, Electronics & Communication and Real Time Governance, is holding review meetings with senior officers of the Education Department and will soon hold meetings with the leaders of various student unions and parent organisations to know the issues plaguing the education sector for a long time and also find solutions to these problems.

He is very keen that the teachers should not be assigned any other task except supplying quality food during the mid-day meal for all the eligible while they extend quality education to their students.

After being sworn in as the minister, he started holding a Praja Darbar in his constituency Mangalagiri to have first-hand information on the problems that the people are facing. He is interacting with people on a daily basis.

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According to TDP leaders close to Lokesh, the young minister inherited the philosophy of perseverance until the task was completed from his grandfather and the TDP founder, late N.T. Rama Rao, and his father Chandrababu Naidu. They said Lokesh’s target is to provide all the basic amenities in all schools, resolve all issues pending for the past several years in the higher education sector, recruit faculty by finding solutions to the issues pending before the courts for many years, and supply quality school-kits to the students.

Lokesh has also formulated a 100-day action plan to bring the past glory to the IT and Electronics sectors which lost their very existence during the previous five-year YSRCP rule in the state, they said.

When he was the Minister for Rural Development, IT and Electronics only for a couple of years, from 2017 to 2019, he undertook various developmental projects in all the wings. He created a record of sorts by taking steps to construct 25,000 km long CC roads in the rural areas of the state. Lokesh won the prestigious SKOCH Person of the Year Award in 2018 for the revolutionary changes that he brought in rural development and the Digital Leader of the Year award for introducing the latest technology in administration.

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For the successful implementation of various schemes in panchayat raj and rural development, the state has been presented with the Innovation Award by the Centre and the department has also won another prestigious award of the Kalam Innovation in Governance.

On behalf of India, Lokesh got a special invitation in 2018 for the Annual Summit of the Entrepreneurship of the World Economic Forum held in China to represent the country. This apart, Lokesh is the lone Indian leader who has been nominated for the Network of Global Future Councils of the World Economic Forum.

With progressive ideas, he has invited globally renowned IT and electronics companies like HCL, TCS, Celkon and many others to set up their units in the state.

–IANS

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Major breakthrough in Reasi terror attack, says J&K Police

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Jammu, June 19 (IANS) J&K Police on Wednesday said “a major breakthrough” has been made in the June 9 Reasi terror attack, in which 9 pilgrims were killed and 44 others injured, with the arrest of a terror associate.

“A major breakthrough has been achieved in the case pertaining to the terrorist attack on the pilgrim bus which was coming from Shiv Khori on June 9. In this connection, one terror associate, namely Hakam, 45, has been arrested at Reasi. This person was involved in harbouring the terrorists multiple times,” SSP, Reasi, Mohita Sharma said.

“Along with providing food and shelter, the said person also acted as a guide and helped them reach the spot of the incident. The arrested person is a prime militant associate who helped the terrorists in the execution of the attack. Further interrogation and investigation of the case is going on,” she added.

–IANS

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Ratna Bhandar of Jagannath Temple to be opened on July 8

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Bhubaneswar, June 19 (IANS) A senior Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) official said on Wednesday that the Ratna Bhandar (treasury trove) of Shree Jagannath Temple at Puri will be opened on July 8 when the holy triads will be out of the shrine on the annual nine-day sojourn.

The holy triad will embark on the nine-day sojourn (Rath Yatra Festival) leaving the sanctum sanctorum of the temple on July 7.

The missing keys of Ratna Bhandar was one of the major poll planks of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had assured to initiate a probe into the mystery behind the missing keys and carry out an inventory of the ornaments stored in the treasure trove if the party wins the elections.

“The Ratna Bhandar will be opened on July 8 in the presence of the technical core conservation committee of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the 12-member Ratna Bhandar committee formed by the state government. Following the inspection and assessment of the condition of the treasury trove of the 12th century shrine, decisions will be taken regarding the immediate steps needed for conservation and preservation of Ratna Bhandar,” said D.B. Garnayak, the Superintending Archaeologist of ASI.

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Garnayk further added that several cracks and broken stone pieces and missing iron beams were spotted during the inspection of the outer chamber of the Ratna Bhandar in 2018.

Similarly, a 15-member ASI team comprising architects, expert engineers and scientific photographers through laser scanning carried out in November 2023 had also detected cracks at several places on the outer walls and joints of Ratna Bhandar.

He also stated that rain water may be seeping inside the Ratna Bhandar through the cracks.

Meanwhile, noted sand artist and Padma Shri Sudarshan Pattanik urged Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi to take immediate steps towards the repair of Ratna Bhandar.

Notably, the Ratna Bhandar of the Jagannath temple has two chambers.

The inner chamber contains precious ornaments used on rare occasions, while those ornaments needed during daily rituals and particular festivals are kept in the outer chamber of the Temple’s treasury.

The inner chamber was last opened around 39 years ago, on July 14, 1985.

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The inventory of precious ornaments kept in the treasury of Jagannath Temple was conducted in 1978 for the last time.

–IANS

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