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LS polls: BJP candidate from Amritsar lays vision to revamp India-Pak border areas

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Amritsar, April 13 (IANS) Starting his day before dawn by offering prayers in Sikh’s holiest shrine, the Golden Temple, here on Saturday, BJP candidate from Punjab’s Amritsar Parliamentary constituency, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, the diplomat-turned-politician who is making his electoral debut, said he has vision to redress hurdles of farmers settled along the India-Pakistan border.

During his visit close to the Zero Line at Zirpur village in Amritsar district, Sandhu interacted with local farmers and heard about their issues, as well as shared his vision to revamp border areas in three major aspects.

The first is to address hurdles by boosting farmers’ incomes; second, infrastructure development for better market connectivity; and third, enhancing education access and skill development opportunities for their children.

Before visiting border areas, Sandhu, a 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer who shared a video of his interaction with US President Joe Biden during his stint as the US Ambassador, offered prayers at the Golden Temple.

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“Blessed to start Vaisakhi with ‘darshan’ at Sri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar. Wishing everyone a joyful and prosperous Vaisakhi. May the divine blessings of the Almighty bring happiness, peace, and prosperity to all on this auspicious harvest festival,” he wrote in a post on X. Responding to his video with Biden, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar sent him a congratulatory message by saying: “He certainly represented India very well.”

“He looks so distinguished every time I see him. This is how an ambassador should look like,” Biden told Sandhu during his interaction amid the presence of S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

A close aide of Sandhu told IANS that on an average, he holds three-four public meetings a day in which he interacts with locals from all walks of life to understand their issues.

“He prefers to interact with civil society members, local community, students, farmers, traders, besides members of trade organisations. In every interaction, his focus is first to listen to their problems and then lay out his roadmap,” the aide added.

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On Friday, he had an interactive discussion with the Amritsar Textile Processors Association.

“Will create a vibrant and flourishing ecosystem for the textile sector’s prosperity through better connectivity, infrastructure and policy support,” Sandhu, who belongs to Amritsar, was quoted as saying.

During his campaigning trail amid the soaring heat, he could be seen enjoying a refreshing glass of fresh suagrcane juice from a roadside vendor.

Almost every day, Sandhu, known for his wide network in the US political and administrative set-up, prefers to seek divine blessings by visiting a Hindu or a Sikh shrine during his campaigning almost every day.

Sandhu is the grandson of former Congress leader and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) founder member Teja Singh Samundri.

Sandhu on March 19 joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), almost two months after he wrapped up his term in office in Washington DC.

Sandhu has a rich family heritage.

His father, Bishan Singh Samundri, was the founding Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar.

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His mother, Jagjit Kaur, was the principal of Government College for Women in Amritsar.

His grandfather quit the British army to join the Independence and gurdwara reforms movement.

He died in his 40s in Lahore Jail in 1926 under colonial custody.

Now, Samundri Hall in Sri Harmandir Sahib is named in his memory.

Punjab’s 13 Lok Sabha seats are slated to go to the polls in a single phase on June 1.

During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress-led UPA won the maximum — eight seats — in the state, while the BJP-led NDA managed to secure victory in four seats — two each for the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

The AAP was restricted to just one seat.

(Vishal Gulati can be reached at gulatiians@gmail.com) –IANS

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LS polls: MK Stalin says communal forces trembling with fear anticipating defeat

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Chennai, May 26 (IANS) Asserting that communal forces were trembling with fear in anticipation of defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin called upon the DMK cadres to “dedicate the victory of the INDIA bloc to the memory of his father and (late) former chief minister, M. Karunanidhi”.

In a statement on Sunday, Stalin said that M. Karunanidhi’s birth centenary falls on June 3. “The results will be out on June 4. Let us hoist the flag of victory and dedicate the victory of the INDIA bloc to our leader Kalaignar Karunanidhi.”

Stalin said that the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for elections had come in the way of celebrating the centenary of M. Karunanidhi. Still, the election-related work carried out by the party cadres was a tribute to his memory.

The Chief Minister said: “No one could deny his contribution. He upheld federalism and state autonomy.”

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Stalin, also the president of the DMK, said that the party was synonymous with social justice, communal harmony, rights of the ordinary people, and saving Tamils from the onslaught of the “oppressors’ language” and pioneering schemes.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, further targetting the Opposition, said: “We can hear them lamenting on the prospect of the INDIA bloc forming a ‘new India’.”

–IANS

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Delhi fire tragedy: Hospital had been in row earlier over nurse's abusive behaviour

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) The Delhi hospital, where seven children were killed after a massive fire broke out late on Saturday, had faced allegations of abuse to a newborn child in the past.

Care New Born and Child Hospital owner, Dr Naveen Kichi, was arrested on Sunday, had moved the Delhi High Court seeking the quashing of an FIR registered against him in 2021 over the allegation that a hospital nurse had beaten a newborn infant.

In that case, he had contended that the allegations in the FIR as well as the CCTV footage only showed allegations against the nurse and he had nothing to do with the allegations in the FIR.

Later, he chose to withdraw his plea since the police charge sheet did not name him as an accused or as a witness.

Dr Kichi, a resident of Bhairon Enclave, Paschim Vihar, was granted anticipatory bail by the high court in the case in December 2021.

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Meanwhile, a police probe into the incident has revealed that the licence issued to the hospital by the state government had expired on March 31 and doctors holding BAMS degrees were handling Neonatal Intensive care.

According to police, the fire at the hospital was reported to the Vivek Vihar police station around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, following which a police team rushed to the spot. As per Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Surendra Chaudhary, all the 12 newborn babies were rescued from the hospital with the help of other people and shifted to East Delhi Advance NICU Hospital.

Delhi Fire Service chief Atul Garg said that seven children were declared dead at the hospital while five other babies are undergoing treatment.

–IANS

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Rajkot game zone fire: Search for missing individuals continues; relatives anxious

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Rajkot, May 26 (IANS) The search for the missing persons in the TRP Game Zone here continued on Sunday a day after a massive fire claimed the lives of at least 35 people including children.

Relatives of those yet to be found or identified among the missing and dead waited anxiously at the site of tragedy as rescue workers continued a relentless search operation.

Meanwhile, several bodies were also awaiting identification at Rajkot Civil Hospital.

“Rescue workers were continuously bringing out charred bodies but no information about my relatives was available. The five missing relatives are Khushali Dusara, Vivekbhai Dusara, Isha Modasia, Smiley, and Himanshu Parmar,” a Rajkot resident, Dilipbhai Modasia, said.

Another city resident, Devikaba Jadeja, said that her father Virendrasinh Jadeja remains missing.

Virendrasinh Jadeja disappeared after he rushed to the upper floor of the game zone to save his son and three other relatives when the fire erupted.

“Authorities are currently listing him as ‘missing’ and we are anxiously waiting for the DNA test results to confirm their identities,” she said.

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Officials have recovered five drums of ethyl acetate, a highly flammable compound, from a repair site at the gaming zone.

Besides, liquor was also seized from the amusement park administrators’ office.

An NDRF team remains on standby at the site of the incident.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel earlier on Sunday conducted an on-site assessment.

The Chief Minister also visited the Rajkot AIIMS and other hospitals to check on the injured and interacted with the injured and their families.

He also met the families of those who lost their lives, offered condolences, and assured them full support.

Meanwhile, the Rajkot Merchants’ Association has announced that all markets in the city will remain closed until 1 p.m. on May 27.

–IANS

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Gurugram: Man kills girlfriend over 'blackmail', surrenders to police

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Gurugram, May 26 (IANS) A man allegedly stabbed his girlfriend to death in Gurugram late on Saturday and then, surrendered to the police, police said on Sunday.

Both the accused and the deceased hailed from Maharashtra’s Akola district.

According to the police, they received information about the murder of a 22-year-old woman in a PG located in Tikri village, under the Sadar police station area, on Saturday night, and a police team, along with forensic science and fingerprint teams reached the spot.

“At the spot, the woman’s body was found lying in a pool of blood. Stabbing marks were found on her head and neck. The post-mortem examination was also conducted,” a senior police officer said.

The man came to the Sadar police station and told the policemen on duty that he had killed his girlfriend.

Police suspect that the matter relates to a love affair.

The woman had reportedly come to the city two to three days ago to meet the man.

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The accused told the police that she had filed a rape case against him in Maharashtra and was blackmailing him. She came to Gurugram in this connection, a quarrel broke out between them, and he killed her in a fit of rage, he said.

“All the facts are being investigated. A case of murder has been registered against the man and he has been arrested,” the SHO, Sadar Police Station, said.

–IANS

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Cyclone Remal: NE states on high alert, local officials asked to be prepared

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Guwahati/Agartala, May 26 (IANS) Ahead of the approaching severe cyclonic storm “Remal”, disaster management authorities and security forces in various northeastern states have been placed on high alert and district administrations asked to take advance precautionary steps.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast, Cyclone Remal, predicted to cross the coast on Sunday midnight, is forecast to make landfall between Sagar Island along West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh and intensify into a severe cyclone.

Currently, a maximum sustained wind speed of 110-120 kmph, gusting to 135 kmph, prevails around the cyclone centre.

The outer cloud band lies over coastal areas of Bangladesh and West Bengal leading to heavy rainfall activity. The cyclone is under the continuous surveillance of the Kolkata Doppler Weather Radar, an IMD statement said late on Sunday.

The Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Manipur, and Mizoram governments have issued separate advisories and asked the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Forces, district administrations and other departments concerned to remain maximum vigilant and ready to meet any eventualities.

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The Assam government has taken measures to ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens in light of the impending increase in rainfall and wind speeds due to cyclone Remal.

The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said that the IMD has warned of extremely heavy rainfall over Assam along with other northeastern states on May 27 and 28.

Orange alert has been issued for Dhubri, South Salmara, Bongaigaon, Bajali, Tamulpur, Barpeta, Nalbari, Morigaon, Nagaon, Hojai, and West Karbi Anglong districts and Red Alert for extremely heavy rainfall in Chirang, Goalpara, Baksa, Dima Hasao, Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts, an ASDMA statement said.

It said that squally winds of 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph are likely over south Assam and Meghalaya on Monday.

A Meghalaya government notification said that the state government urged residents to remain vigilant, ensure that emergency kits are prepared, avoid unnecessary travel during this period and stay updated with the latest weather reports.

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In light of the imminent weather threat, authorities emphasised the importance of preparedness. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for cyclones provide essential guidelines for emergency responses, the notification said.

The Tripura government, in view of the cyclonic storm “Remal”, has closed all educational institutions including universities on May 27 and 28.

Tripura Revenue Secretary Brijesh Pandey said that in view of cyclone Remal’s impact on the coastal region of West Bengal, including Kolkata, all kinds of flight operations in the Kolkata-Agartala route were suspended till 9 a.m. on Monday.

However, the flight services on other routes — Agartala-Guwahati, Agartala-Delhi, and Agartala-Bengaluru — are operating normally.

The first cyclone in the Bay of Bengal in this pre-monsoon season, it has been named “Remal” (or sand in Arabic), according to a system of naming cyclones in the Indian Ocean region.

–IANS

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