Security beefed up across Kashmir ahead of Amit Shah’s visit, tension mounts in the Valley

News Network
October 23, 2021

Jammu, Oct 23: Security has been beefed up across Kashmir ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s maiden visit to the Valley after the abrogation of Article 370 on Saturday, officials said.

They said a thick security cover has been thrown around the BJP office at Jawahar Nagar in the city where Shah is likely to pay a visit.

Similarly, roads leading to Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) have been made off-limits for three days from Saturday as the Union home minister is expected to attend an event there, they added.

It will be Shah’s first visit to Kashmir after the Centre revoked J-K's special status and bifurcated the erstwhile state into union territories in August 2019.

The officials said additional deployment of security forces has been made across the valley, especially in Srinagar.

Official sources said 50 companies of additional paramilitary forces are being inducted into the valley in the wake of the recent spate of civilian killings.

Bunkers manned by paramilitary CRPF have come up in several areas of the city as well in other parts of the valley, the officials said.

They said the aim of constructing new bunkers and putting more personnel on the ground was to cut the free movement of militants.

The officials said barricades have been put up on the roads across the valley, especially in the city, while frisking and checking of people has been intensified.

The mobile internet services on a dozen towers -- mostly in the areas where non-local labourers were killed in the past week -- were snapped three days ago as part of the security measures, they said.

The officials said police have started stringent checking of documents of two-wheelers plying on the roads and many have been seized by police.

However, IGP, Kashmir zone, Vijay Kumar had said these steps were purely related to terror violence.

"Seizing some bikes and shutting down of internet of some towers is purely related to #terror #violence. It has nothing to do with visit of the Hon'ble HM," he tweeted on Thursday. 

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News Network
November 18,2021

sahib.jpg

Lahore, Nov 18: Over 100 Sikh pilgrims from India, including Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, are expected to arrive at the revered Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan on Thursday using the visa-free Kartarpur corridor, some 20 months after the pilgrimage was suspended following the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Wednesday, the first batch of 28 Indian Sikhs, including women, arrived in Pakistan to take part in the annual commemoration of the birth of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev on Friday. Similarly, over 2,500 Indian Sikhs also arrived via the Wagah border crossing.

“The Indian Punjab chief minister (Channi) along with his delegation is also scheduled to visit Darbar Sahib on Thur¬s¬day,” Karta¬rpur Pro¬ject Management Unit chief executive officer Muhammad Latif said.

Latif also told the Dawn newspaper that over 100 Indian pilgrims were expected to visit the gurdwara on Thursday.

The Kartarpur Corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district.

Gurpurab, which marks the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, will be celebrated on November 19.

Till Wednesday, over 2,500 Sikh pilgrims have arrived via the Wagah border.

The pilgrims left for Nankana Sahib soon after their arrival to participate in the main event at Gurdwara Janam Asthan on Friday, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) spokesperson Amir Hashmi told the Dawn newspaper.

“All the visiting Sikhs from India and elsewhere will be facilitated for travelling to Kartarpur sahib,” he added.

Pilgrimage to the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara was suspended in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Indian government reopened the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from its side on Wednesday.

India signed the Kartarpur corridor agreement with Pakistan on October 24, 2019.

Under the pact, Indian pilgrims of all faiths are allowed to undertake round the year visa-free travel through the 4.5-km-long passage.

In November 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan had formally inaugurated the Kartarpur Corridor as part of the commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak at a colourful ceremony, paving the way for Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit one of their religion's holiest sites in Pakistan without needing a visa. 

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News Network
November 30,2021

Mangaluru, Nov 30: Kaun Banega Crorepati 13, hosted by Amitabh Bachchan, has dropped a portion of a recent episode which showcased the unscientific practice of “mid-brain activation”.

It was taken down from YouTube and other platforms after being called out by Mangaluru-based rationalist Narendra Nayak. The portion of the video, which was taken down by Sony Entertainment Television India, reportedly showed a young girl claiming to read a book while being blindfolded, by 'smelling it'.

President of Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, Narendra Nayak, said that in the past a number of organisations have fooled parents by claiming to “increase children's brain power” by “activating their mid-brain.” Nayak filed a complaint to Sony, stating that showcasing such practices will ruin India's reputation.

"By giving publicity to such claims, you are bringing down the reputation of our nation and the world will laugh at us who are saying that children can see without light from the object falling on their retinas", Nayak had stated in the letter.

Nayak said he received a response to his open letter from the private channel on Monday.  The mail said, “Thank you for your viewership. We would like to inform you that that the said episode has been pulled off from all platforms, we have suitably edited the scenes. Further, we have sensitised the team to be more vigilant and avoid such interactions for all future episodes.”

Further, the mail added, “At Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), our endeavour at all times has been to ensure that the content is within the framework of the laws of India. SPNI is sensitive to the sentiments of our viewers. We place great emphasis on providing wholesome quality entertainment and we take care to ensure the sensibilities of our viewers are not affected.” 

It has asked Nayak to approach the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council within 15 days if he is not satisfied with the response. 

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News Network
November 19,2021

New Delhi, Nov 19: After withdrawing the contentious land ordinances in 2015, this is the second time that the Prime Minister Narendra Mod led union government has had to blink on the farmers' issue ahead of the state polls. In 2015, it was months before the Bihar polls and this time, it was just a few months before polls in half a dozen states.

The move comes just a couple of months before the elections in states including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, which were the epicentres of farmers' agitation. The BJP has been getting feedback from the ground that the ongoing farmers agitation could harm BJP's election prospects, particularly in Western Uttar Pradesh where the agitation had united the jats against the government and in Punjab where BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal broke its ties with the saffron party in protest against the farm laws.

What remains to be seen is whether the BJP tries to get its oldest ally back to the NDA fold besides forging a closer tie with Captain Amarinder Singh's new party.

In UP, the Samajwadi Party, the BJP's main rival, had allied with Jayant Chautala-led Rashtriya Lok Dal in Western UP, which appeared to pose a big challenge to the BJP after the farmers agitation. In his speech before announcing the decision to withdraw the farm billls, PM Modi reached out to the marginal farmers, who he said account for 80 per cent of the community. 

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