Gyanvapi Mosque Case: Close off area where suspected ‘shivling’ found, says UP court

News Network
May 16, 2022

Varanasi, May 16: Shortly after a stunning claim that a suspected "shivling" had been found in a pond within the Gyanvapi Masjid complex in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi, a court today ordered it closed off to the public.

According to the Hindutva lawyer, the "Shivling" or relic of the idol of Shiva was found on the last day of the court-mandated filming of the mosque complex following a petition seeking access to pray at a shrine behind the mosque.

This morning, water was drained from the pond and a "Shivling" was found, claimed Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi, the lawyer representing a group of Hindu women who have sought year-long access to pray at the shrine.

The pond, which is used for the Islamic "Wuzu" or purification rituals, must be sealed after the find, the petitioners requested the court. The court accepted the plea and ordered the Varanasi District Magistrate to ensure that the pond is not used, for now.

The court also said the District Magistrate, the police chief and a top Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer would make sure no one entered the sealed area.

Reports of a "shivling" being found within the mosque complex were not confirmed by the Varanasi District Magistrate, Kaushal Raj Sharma, when he spoke to the media earlier.

"No details of the survey of Gyanvapi mosque were disclosed by any member of the commission. The court is the custodian of the information about the survey. One member was debarred from the commission for about a few minutes yesterday, later admitted to the commission," Mr Sharma had told reporters.

The Gyanvapi mosque is located close to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple. The five women petitioners have asked the court to allow daily prayers before idols on its outer walls as well as other "visible and invisible deities within the old temple complex".

The site is currently open for prayers once a year.

The Varanasi Civil Court then ordered a video assessment of the mosque complex, including three domes, underground basements and the pond, and appointed a court commissioner for the task.

A part of this survey took place on May 6 but was halted after a dispute broke out over filming inside the mosque. The mosque committee said the court had not ordered videography inside the mosque.

The court-ordered filming was challenged before Allahabad High Court, which dismissed the case in April. The High Court order was challenged in the Supreme Court.

A lawyer representing the Gyanvapi Mosque trust that approached the Supreme Court against the filming order said it is at odds with the Places of Worship Act, 1991. The Supreme Court refused to stop the filming but agreed to consider listing the plea against the survey of the mosque complex.

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News Network
June 23,2022

Hassan, June 23: An earthquake measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale shook parts of Hassan district and neighbouring regions in south Indian state of Karnataka in the wee hours of Thursday, a disaster management official said.

The earthquake was also felt in many villages near Somwarpet in Kodagu district. People ran out of their houses following the tremor.

According to Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority Commissioner, Manoj Rajan, the epicentre was Maluganahalli village under Nagaranahalli village panchayat in Holenarasipura Taluk of Hassan district.

He said as per the seismic intensity map of the said earthquake from the epicentre, the intensity observed is moderate and the tremor may be felt up to a maximum radial distance of 40-50 kms from the epicentre.

“This type of earthquake does not create any harm to the local community, although there might be slight shaking observed locally. As the epicentre falls in Seismic Zone-II, the chances of occurrence of earthquakes is very less and the possibility of damage is low.

"As the region is void of any structural discontinuities as per the tectonic map, the community need not panic as the intensity observed is moderate and not destructive,” the commissioner explained.

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News Network
June 17,2022

agneepath.jpg

New Delhi, June 17: Mob set trains on fire in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar this morning as the protests over the new military recruitment policy, Agnipath, entered the third consecutive day today. The government has defended the scheme, calling it "transformative".

The house of Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi was attacked in Bettiah in Bihar's West Champaran district amid protests against the new recruitment scheme that has set off a firestorm. Ms Devi is currently in Patna.

Trains were set afire, public and police vehicles attacked in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for the third consecutive day today amid protests against the new recruitment scheme that has set off a firestorm.

In Uttar Pradesh, a mob entered a railway station in Ballia this morning and set a train coach on fire, and also damaged railway station property before the police used force to disperse them. 

Another group of protesters carrying sticks argued with the police on the streets outside the railway station in the eastern UP district. Videos of the protest show young men with lathis breaking shops and benches at the railway station. "The police managed to stop the mob from large-scale damage. We will act against the men," Ballia District Magistrate Saumya Agarwal told reporters.

Two coaches of the Jammu Tawi Express train were set on fire at Mohiuddinagar station in Bihar, officials told NDTV, adding no one was hurt in the incident.

Several parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have witnessed protests over the new military recruitment policy. The protest had spread to BJP-ruled Haryana and Madhya Pradesh too. Phone internet and SMS have been snapped for 24 hours in Haryana's Palwal district following stone-throwing and violence by protesters.

Bihar bore the brunt of the violence with trains set ablaze, window panes of buses smashed and passersby, including a ruling BJP MLA, attacked with stones on Thursday, the second day of the protest against the scheme which proposes a short four-year term for soldiers in the three armed forces entailing no gratuity or pension upon retirement. The new plan aims to cut down the government's massive salary and pension bills and free up funds to buy arms.

The government unveiled Agnipath on Tuesday -- calling it a "transformative" scheme-- for the recruitment of soldiers in the Army, Navy and the Air Force, largely on a four-year short-term contractual basis.

Protesters are unhappy with the changes, particularly the length of service, no pension provisions for those released early, and the 17.5 to 21-year age restriction that now makes many of them ineligible.

The Opposition has also stepped up its attack on the government over the new recruitment scheme with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi not take 'agnipareeksha (trial by fire)' of their patience by making them walk on Agnipath. Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, meanwhile, called the move "negligent" and potentially "fatal" for the country's future.

The age limit for Agnipath recruitment has now been raised to 23 from 21 as a "one-time waiver" following the protests. The government has also put out a 10-point defence of the scheme and assured recruits they will not find themselves in the lurch after completing their four years in the military.

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News Network
June 29,2022

Jaipur, June 29: Preliminary investigation into the gruesome killing of a tailor in Udaipur revealed that one of the two prime accused had links with the Pakistan-based Dawat-e-Islami organisation and had visited Karachi in 2014, the Rajasthan Police chief said on Wednesday.

The police have detained three more people in connection with the killing so far, Director General of Police (DGP) M L Lather said at a press conference.

Two men, identified as Riaz Akhtari and Ghouse Mohammad, hacked Kanhaiya Lal to death with a cleaver at his shop in Udaipur on Tuesday and posted videos online saying they are avenging an insult to Islam.

The duo were taken into custody on Tuesday and booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the IPC, the police chief said.

"One of the accused, Ghouse Mohammad, has links with the Karachi-based hardline organisation Dawat-e-Islami. He had visited Karachi in 2014. So far, we have detained five people, including the two prime accused," Lather said. 

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