Shyam Rangeela alleges he was barred from filing nomination papers from Varanasi against PM Modi

News Network
May 14, 2024

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Comedian Shyam Rangeela on Tuesday that he was barred from filing his nomination papers for the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections. He intended to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Varanasi seat by contesting as an Independent candidate.

Despite attempts to file his papers since May 10, Rangeela alleged he was denied entry to the district magistrate's office on the day Prime Minister Modi filed his nomination. He also said that he is not taking any team from Sriganganagar to contest the Lok Sabha elections in Varanasi. 

Shyam Rangeela further claimed that he has received several phone calls from Varanasi and people are willing to join him. "Winning or losing is a different matter, but I will contest the elections against the Prime Minister at any cost. I am not contesting elections to become famous, I am already very famous among the public."

The Congress party also waded into the controversy. Congress leader Surendra Rajput told news agency PTI that everyone is free to file a nomination including Prime Minister Modi. Rajput claimed that Rangeela was not getting nomination papers from the administration. 

"Everyone is free to file a nomination including PM Modi. However, other people are not allowed to file their nominations from the constituency. A YouTuber named (Shyam) Rangeela, who wished to file a nomination from Varanasi, isn’t getting nomination papers from the administration. Why PM Modi is afraid of people? Let them contest against you," he said. 

PM Modi, contesting for a third term, previously won the Varanasi seat by 4.8 lakh votes in 2019 and by 3.72 lakh votes in 2014. So far, 14 individuals, including mainstream political party candidates and independents, have filed their nominations for the Varanasi constituency.

Congress candidate Ajai Rai and Bahujan Samajwadi Party's Athar Ali Lari are among them. Rangeela, a YouTuber and mimic from Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh, rose to fame in 2017 with his act impersonating PM Modi. He has been critical of the Prime Minister and his policies, as evident in his videos.
 

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News Network
May 20,2024

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Mangaluru, May 20: In a heart-wrenching tragedy, a Class 3 girl student tragically lost her life due to the collapse of the compound wall of Harekala Hajabba Government Senior Primary School in Newpadpu, situated on the outskirts of the city, during the evening hours of Monday, May 20, following heavy rains.

The young victim, identified as Shazia Banu (7), was the cherished daughter of Siddique and Jamila, residing in Newpadpu. She met her untimely demise in the unfortunate accident.

Over the past two days, students from the National Service Scheme (NSS) at Mudipu Undergraduate College had been engaged in activities at the Harekala Hajabba School. 

Shazia, who lived in close proximity to the school, eagerly participated in these endeavours. Tragically, while playing near the school compound gate before returning home in the evening, the wall collapsed suddenly, fatally injuring her. Despite the prompt efforts of local residents to rescue her, Shazia succumbed to her injuries.

The incessant rainfall in Ullal taluk since the morning had significantly weakened the structural integrity of the compound wall, ultimately resulting in its collapse. Officials from the Harekala gram panchayat and the Konaje police promptly responded to the scene and have initiated an investigation into the matter.

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News Network
May 20,2024

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State media in Iran have confirmed the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and companions after the helicopter he was travelling in crashed in poor weather in an eastern province.

With Raisi were Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, East Azarbaijan Gov. Malek Rahmati, East Azarbaijan Imam of Friday Prayer Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, and a few other leaders and bodyguards. 

The reports came after rescuers from the Iranian Red Crescent said they had found the wreckage of the helicopter, which was also carrying the country’s foreign minister and other officials, and that there was “no sign of life”.

Rescue teams fought through dense fog, blizzards and mountainous terrain to reach the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province early on Monday, but state television gave no immediate cause for the crash. 

“President Raisi’s helicopter was completely burned in the crash … unfortunately, all passengers are feared dead,” the Reuters news agency reported, citing an unnamed Iranian official.

Raisi, 63, was elected president on his second attempt in 2021, and since taking office, has overseen a tightening of morality laws, a bloody crackdown on antigovernment protests triggered by the death in custody of 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini, and taken a tougher approach to nuclear talks with world powers.

Last month, he ordered an unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel, following an alleged Israeli strike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus which killed 13 people including a top commander and his deputy.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate power in Iran, had earlier sought to reassure Iranians, some of whom turned out to pray for Raisi’s wellbeing, saying there would be no disruption to state affairs.

‘We found it’

Raisi was travelling home to Tehran when state television said his helicopter made a “hard landing” near Jolfa, a city on the border with Azerbaijan, some 600km (375 miles) northwest of the Iranian capital. Later, state media put the crash location farther east near the village of Uzi, but details remained contradictory.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was also on the flight, as well as the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province and other officials and bodyguards, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Earlier on Monday, Turkish authorities released what they described as drone footage showing what appeared to be a fire in the wilderness that they “suspected to be [the] wreckage of [a] helicopter”. The coordinates listed in the footage put the fire some 20km (12 miles) south of the Azerbaijan-Iranian border on the side of a steep mountain.

Footage released by the IRNA showed what the agency described as the crash site, across a steep valley in a green mountain range. Soldiers speaking in the local Azeri language said: “There it is, we found it.”

Shortly after, state TV in an on-screen scrolling text, said: “There is no sign of life from people on board.” It did not elaborate, but the semiofficial Tasnim news agency showed rescuers using a small drone to fly over the site, with them speaking among themselves saying the same thing. The footage showed the tail of the helicopter and burnt debris all around it.

Under the Iranian Constitution, if a president is confirmed dead, Iran’s vice first president takes over and a new presidential election would be called within 50 days.

First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber already had begun receiving calls from officials and foreign governments in Raisi’s absence, state media reported.

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News Network
May 20,2024

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Hopes are fading that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister have survived a helicopter crash in mountainous terrain and icy weather, an Iranian official said on Monday after search teams located the wreckage.

"President Raisi's helicopter was completely burned in the crash ... unfortunately, all passengers are feared dead," the official told Reuters.

Rescue teams fought blizzards and difficult terrain through the night to reach the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province in the early hours of Monday.

“We can see the wreckage and the situation does not look good,” the head of Iran’s Red Crescent, Pirhossein Kolivand, told state TV.

Raisi, 63, was elected president in 2021, and since taking office has ordered a tightening of morality laws, overseen a crackdown US-Israel backed anti-government protests and pushed hard in nuclear talks with world powers.

A Turkish drone identified a source of heat suspected to be the helicopter's wreckage and had shared the coordinates of the possible crash site with Iranian authorities, Anadolu news agency said earlier on X.

State news agency IRNA said Raisi was flying in a US-made Bell 212 helicopter.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate power with a final say on foreign policy and Iran's nuclear programme, sought to reassure Iranians, saying there would be no disruption to state affairs.

The chief of staff of Iran's army ordered all resources of the army and the elite Revolutionary Guards to be put to use in search and rescue operations.

Earlier, the national broadcaster had stopped all regular programming to show prayers being held for Raisi across the country.

In the early hours of Monday, it showed a rescue team, wearing bright jackets and head torches, huddled around a GPS device as they searched a pitch-black mountainside on foot in a blizzard.

“We are thoroughly searching every inch of the general area of the crash," state media quoted a regional army commander as saying. "The area has very cold, rainy, and foggy weather conditions. The rain is gradually turning into snow."

Several countries expressed concern and offered assistance in any rescue.

The White House said U.S. President Joe Biden had been briefed on reports about the crash. China said it was deeply concerned. The European Union offered emergency satellite mapping technology.

Possible successor to Khamenei

The crash comes at a time of growing dissent within Iran over an array of political, social and economic crises. Iran's clerical rulers face international pressure over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme and its deepening military ties with Russia during the war in Ukraine.

Since Iran’s open support to Hamas’ resistance against Israeli aggression, US and Israel have harshly criticised the President Raisi. 

In Iran's dual political system, split between the clerical establishment and the government, it is Raisi's 85-year-old mentor Khamenei, supreme leader since 1989, who holds decision-making power on all major policies.

For years many have seen Raisi as a strong contender to succeed Khamenei, who has endorsed Raisi's main policies. Raisi's victory in 2021 elections brought all branches of power under the control of revolutionaries, after eight years when the presidency had been held by pragmatist Hassan Rouhani and a nuclear deal negotiated with powers including Washington.

Raisi had been at the Azerbaijani border on Sunday to inaugurate the Qiz-Qalasi Dam, a joint project. Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, who said he had bid a "friendly farewell" to Raisi earlier in the day, offered assistance in the rescue.

The chopper that was transporting President Raeisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and their companions encountered some difficulties and was forced to make a "hard landing".

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