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Monks take to streets in Kolkata to protest against Mamata's remarks on spiritual bodies

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Kolkata, May 24 (IANS) Hundreds of monks on Friday joined the ‘Sant Swaviman Yatra’ organised by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) to protest against the recent remarks by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee targeting certain prominent spiritual institutions.

At a public meeting earlier this month, Mamata Banerjee accused a section of the monks attached to the Ramakrishna Mission, Bharat Sevashram Sangha, and ISKCON of working on BJP’s behalf to influence the electorate to vote in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Kartik Maharaj, a monk associated with the Bharat Sevashram Sangha who was specifically targeted by the Chief Minister, was at the forefront of the protest march on Friday.

Speaking to mediapersons, Kartik Maharaj challenged the Chief Minister to prove her allegation that he did not allow Trinamool Congress polling agents to be present at the polling booths in Baharampur.

“You are the Chief Minister. You get reports from the police. So prove that I went to polling booths and asked the Trinamool agents to leave the premises,” Kartik Maharaj said.

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Besides sending a legal notice to the Chief Minister for her comments, Kartik Maharaj has also approached the Calcutta High Court seeking protection against a possible attack on his Ashram in Baharampur.

Kartik Maharaj also said that the monks have been forced to take to the streets since the ‘religion is at stake’ in West Bengal.

–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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NHAI taking AI route for better road signs to improve safety

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New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) In order to enhance road safety, NHAI has signed an MoU with Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Delhi, a technical university established by the Delhi government, to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) based solutions for improvement in the availability of road signs on national highways.

As a part of the agreement, IIIT Delhi will conduct surveys to collect imagery and other related data related to availability and condition of road signages on selected national highway stretches.

The tentative length to be covered under this project shall be around 25,000 km.

The data collected through surveys will be processed by IIIT Delhi through deployment of Artificial Intelligence for accurate identification and classification of road signs.

The survey report based on the results will include geo-stamped inventory of existing road signs with the categorisation, broad structural condition of the road signs and other ancillary data.

The institute will also conduct a gap study that will be carried out by assessing the difference between the survey findings and the requirement for road signs as per the approved road signages plan of the respective contract agreement.

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The gap study will additionally cover the requirements as per latest Codal Provisions relevant to high-speed corridors to cater to the enhanced safety requirements.

–IANS

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