After Ayodhya, Kashi, Mathura, ‘saffronizatio’ of Taj Mahal and Qutab Minar next

News Network
May 22, 2022

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It began with Ayodhya, went on to Kashi and now Mathura.

Chauvinists who call themselves as Hindu activists are clamouring for the 'liberation' of Kashi and Mathura and the battle is now being played out in courts.

The Gyanvapi mosque dispute has already reached the Supreme Court and after a court in Mathura allowed a petition seeking the removal of Shahi Idgah from the Krishna Janmabhoomi, the issue is all set blow up into another major controversy.

The list, however, does not stop here.

Over the years, several BJP leaders have repeated and amplified unhistorical claims that the Taj Mahal is in fact a Hindu temple that was built much before the reign of Shah Jahan.

In 2017, Vinay Katiyar, who was then a BJP Rajya Sabha member, claimed that the monument was in fact a Shiva temple named 'Tejo Mahalaya', which was 'originally' built by a Hindu ruler.

The 'Tejo Mahalaya' claim was first made by a propagandist and self-proclaimed historian named P N Oak in a book written in 1989. He made dogged efforts to establish his idea, and even petitioned the Supreme Court, which is said to have commented in 2000 that he had a "bee in his bonnet".

Oak argued that Shah Jahan's Taj was in fact a Hindu temple of Shiva that was "perhaps built in the 4th century to serve as a palace" by Raja Paramardi Dev.

Oak, who's also the founder of the Institute for Rewriting Indian History, believed that monuments attributed to Muslim rulers were actually Hindu in origin.

In 1976, he wrote a book called 'Lucknow's Imambaras are Hindu Palaces', and another titled 'Delhi's Red Fort is Hindu Lalkot'. In 1996, he published 'Islamic Havoc in Indian History'.

Oak claimed that 'Tejo Mahalaya' was destroyed and raided during Muhammad Ghori's invasion of India in the late 12th century, and that after the defeat of Humayun (mid-16th century), it passed into the hands of the Jaipur royal family and was managed by Jai Singh I, who was a senior Mughal mansabdar and the Raja of Amber.

According to Oak, the temple was then taken over by Shah Jahan, who turned it into a tomb and renamed it Taj Mahal.

Earlier this month, another petition filed in the Allahabad High Court demanding that the 22 locked room in the basement of the monument be unlocked to verify Hindu symbols, was tersely dismissed by the court which questioned the credentials of the petitioner – a BJP leader from Ayodhya.

Another monument in the list is the Qutub Minar in Delhi that has already been 'named' 'Vishnu Stambh'.

A group of saffron activists recently chanted Hanuman Chalisa in front of the Qutub Minar to emphasise their claim to the pillar.

Since Oak's books have turned into a Bible of sorts for Hindu activists, the Imambaras in Lucknow, the Red Fort in Delhi and other remnants of the Mughal rule will soon be on the list for 'liberation' (desecration).

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News Network
June 30,2022

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Mumbai: Shiv Sena rebel Eknath Shinde took oath as Maharashtra Chief Minister and Devendra Fadnavis his deputy on Thursday, as the BJP capped the coup that unseated Uddhav Thackeray a day ago with back-to-back curveballs.

Here are latest developments:

>> "I will stay out of the government and ensure it runs smoothly," Mr Fadnavis said at a news briefing around 4:30 pm, announcing that only Mr Shinde will be sworn in later in the evening.

>> However, barely three hours later, he was seen taking oath as Mr Shinde's deputy after BJP chief JP Nadda said, "He must be Deputy Chief Minister... I will personally request him."

>> Eknath Shinde thanked PM Modi, Mr Fadnavis and other BJP leaders. "It's their magnanimity. They had a bigger mandate, yet they made me the Chief Minister. Who does that?" he said.

>> Devendra Fadnavis and Eknath Shinde met with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and staked claim to power earlier in the afternoon.

>> Uddhav Thackeray quit as Maharashtra Chief Minister yesterday, shortly after the Supreme Court ruled that he must prove his majority.

>> The Shiv Sena chief was left with only 13 MLAs after the revolt that played out in three BJP-ruled states. Eknath Shinde and a group of rebels first moved to Gujarat's Surat in luxury buses. They were flown to Assam's Guwahati in chartered flights. They landed in Goa last evening to prepare for a possible test of strength.

>> Deepak Kesarkar, the spokesperson for the Sena rebels, stressed that it was ideology, and not greed for better posts, that drove them to switch sides and go with the BJP.

>> He also said the rebels did not betray Uddhav Thackeray and still have love and respect for him. "Nobody in Shiv Sena is against the Thackeray family," he said.

>> He asserted that the rebel faction is the Shiv Sena now, since Uddhav Thackeray is in a minority in the party. "It's not a question of who is the real Shiv Sena. We have the legal majority and thus ours is the legislature party," he said.

>> Despite evidence of its protection and facilitation of the rebels, the BJP denied any role in the Shiv Sena coup. Devendra Fadnavis held two meetings with the leadership during the crisis. A third meeting saw Eknath Shinde being flown from Guwahati to Vadodara for discussions with Mr Fadnavis and Home Minister Amit Shah, the BJP's chief strategist.

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News Network
June 29,2022

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Abu Dhabi, June 29: Weeks after the United Arab Emirates (UAE), counted among India’s closest partners, joined criticism from the Islamic world against remarks on the Prophet by the now suspended and expelled BJP leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, popularly known as MBZ, and conveyed condolences on the death of the former president of the Gulf nation, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The two leaders also reviewed bilateral ties.

In a special gesture, Mohamed bin Zayed, accompanied by senior members of the Royal family, received Modi at the Abu Dhabi presidential airport. “I am touched by the special gesture of my brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, of coming to welcome me at Abu Dhabi airport. My gratitude to him,” Modi tweeted in Arabic and English languages.

This is their first interaction after Mohamed bin Zayed’s election as the new President last month. During their meeting, Modi conveyed his condolences on the death of Sheikh Khalifa, who died on May 13, at the age of 73, after a long illness. He also congratulated Mohamed bin Zayed on his election as President.

“Both leaders reviewed various aspects of India-UAE Comprehensive Strategic Partnership which they have carefully nurtured over the past few years,” said a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

“During their virtual summit on February 18, both countries signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which has since entered into force on May 1. CEPA is expected to further boost trade and investment between both countries,” said the statement.

Bilateral trade in FY 2021-22 was about US$ 72 billion. UAE is India’s third largest trade partner and second largest export destination. UAE’s FDI in India has increased over the past few years and currently stands at over $12 billion.

During the virtual summit, the MEA said, both countries had also released a vision statement which laid the roadmap for bilateral cooperation in diverse areas including trade, investment, energy, food security, health, defence, skills, education, culture and people-to-people ties.

“Both leaders expressed satisfaction that India and UAE continue to forge closer partnership in these areas, building on their close and friendly relations and historical people-to-people connect. India-UAE have a strong energy partnership which is now acquiring new focus on renewable energy,” it said.

Modi thanked Mohamed bin Zayed for “taking great care of the 3.5 million Indian community in UAE, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic,” the MEA said. He also invited him to visit India at an early date, it said.

Earlier this month, UAE had joined criticism from the Islamic world against remarks on the Prophet by the now suspended and expelled BJP leaders Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal.

Expressing its “denunciation and rejection of insults of the Prophet”, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC), had “affirmed the UAE’s firm rejection of all practices and behaviors that contradict moral and human values and principles” and “underscored the need to respect religious symbols and not violate them, as well as confront hate speech and violence.”

Modi’s last visit to the UAE was in August 2019, when he received the UAE’s highest award, ‘Order of Zayed’.

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News Network
June 17,2022

Bengaluru, June 17: With 72 more students receiving 625 out of 625 marks after re-evaluation and re-totalling, the number of students securing full marks in the SSLC examinations has increased to 217.

Last month, when the SSLC results were announced, 145 students sprang a surprise by scoring 625 out of 625. This number has increased by 72 after the Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board (KSEEB) released the revaluation results.

The Board has decided to initiate disciplinary action against teachers who evaluated the answer scripts.

KSEEB director Gopalakrishna H N said: “We are gathering information on the teachers who evaluated these answer scripts and the same will be forwarded to the deputy directors of respective districts for further action.”

According to the Board’s norms, such teachers will be penalised and also blacklisted from the list of eligible evaluators. “The action will depend on the reply they give to the notice they will be issued,” said another official of the Board.

Meanwhile, the Board is initiating measures to refund the revaluation fee to students. “If the difference in marks is six and above we will refund the revaluation fees. But in case the marks difference is below six, then the revised marks will be added to the marks card, but no refund will be initiated,” the KSEEB director explained.

The huge number of students notching up perfect top scores became a subject of discussion on various platforms. This is the first time since the inception of KSEEB that 217 students have scored full marks in all the subjects to emerge as toppers. 

The number of students achieving the perfect score was never more than 10 all these years. In 2020, six students scored a cent per cent. Also, the number of students securing second place has been jumped from 11 in 2020 to 309 this year with a total score of 624. A total of 472 students share the third place with 623 marks.

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