Stonework for Ram temple reaches final stage ahead of Bhoomi pujan

Agencies
August 2, 2020

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Ayodhya, Aug 2: With the foundation laying ceremony of the grand Ram temple around the corner, the work at the stone-carving workshop of Ram Janambhoomi in Ayodhya has reached its final stage.

Speaking to news agency, caretaker of Ram temple stone workshop Hanuman Yadav said, "Stonework is ready for the construction work till the first floor of the temple. Cleaning work is almost done but some work is still left which will be done soon after the trust's meeting."

Talking about the characteristics of the sandstone chosen work the construction, he said, "It was chosen for the construction as it can withstand rigours for thousands of years. These designated stones are minutely carved according to the need of the temple."

The stone-carving workshop for the Ram temple construction was established in Ayodhya by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in 1990.

On August 5 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Ayodhya for rituals that will mark the beginning of Ram temple construction, Hanumangarhi is the first stop he would be visiting.

The construction of Ram temple will begin in Ayodhya after the ceremony to lay the foundation stone in which various dignitaries from the political and religious fields are likely to participate apart from RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. 

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September 13,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 13: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday said it was unfortunate that the BJP is backing Kangana Ranaut despite the actress likening Mumbai to Pak-occupied Kashmir, and added this was done with an eye on Bihar polls.

In his weekly column Rokhthok in Sena mouthpiece ''Saamana'', Sanjay Raut also claimed there is a systematic effort to reduce the importance of Mumbai, and constantly defaming the city is part of that conspiracy.

"This is a difficult period when all Marathi people in Maharashtra should unite," Sanjay Raut said.

By supporting Kangana Ranaut and through its stand in the Sushant Singh Rajput case, the BJP wants to win Bihar polls with the upper caste Rajput and Kshatriya votes, he said.

"While doing this, it doesn't matter if Maharashtra is insulted. Not one Maharashtra (BJP) leader was sad over the manner in which the state has been humiliated," Sanjay Raut said.

"An actress humiliates the chief minister and people of the state shouldn't react, what kind of one-sided freedom is this?" asked Sanjay Raut, who is the executive editor of Saamana.

"When her illegal construction in the city, which she calls as Pakistan, is demolished, she calls the demolished structure Ram mandir. You are crying hoarse when there is a surgical strike on the illegal construction. What kind of a game is this?" he asked.

Responding to the demolition, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis had said the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government should focus on fighting coronavirus instead of Kangana Ranaut.

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News Network
September 17,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 17: Opposition leaders met President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday and raised questions about the role of the police during the February riots, besides expressing their lack of confidence in the probe of the incident.

In a joint memorandum, the leaders raised their concerns over the probe into the riots being conducted by the Delhi Police.

The Delhi Police has set up Special Investigation Teams (SIT) and its Special Cell is also probing the aspect of conspiracy behind the Delhi riots in which 53 people lost their lives.

"There are, however, serious questions about the role played by the Delhi Police during the violence and also the manner in which the police is harassing and attempting to falsely implicate activists and young people who took part in the anti CAA/NRC/NPR movements as the perpetrators of violence.

"Such a manufactured conspiracy theory has now begun to falsely implicate political leaders," it said.

The memorandum also criticised the police for the reference made to CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury citing disclosure statements by the accused.

"This is a disturbing trend that raises serious questions over the manner of such investigations," the leaders said.

They also alleged that there are several publicly documented accounts and videos of police being "complicit in the violence, directing mobs pelting stones or looking the other way when mobs were indulging in violence".

"During the violence, a disturbing video emerged showing uniformed policemen assaulting young men lying injured on the road and forcing them to sing the national anthem while repeatedly beating them with lathis.

"One of the men, Faizan, succumbed to his injuries a few days later," the memorandum said highlighting other such instances, including one in which they alleged the "DCP stood quietly next to a BJP leader who was instigating violence against the protestors, warning that if they did not vacate the road, he would do it himself".

"Despite several complaints being filed alleging involvement of senior police officials in the violence, including a DCP, additional commissioner and SHO, it appears no urgency has been accorded to identifying the policemen involved in the violence and ensuring that they are brought to book," it said.

It also pointed out that while the police was "silent" on the alleged hate speech of BJP leaders, and turned a blind eye towards the role of its own personnel during the violence, the probe appeared to be pursuing a line of inquiry "criminalising the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)" and portraying them as a conspiracy which resulted in the riots in Delhi.

"The entire investigation appears to be aimed at arriving at a pre-meditated theory about a conspiracy propounded by the Home Minister in Lok Sabha in March 2020, before any investigation had even begun into the riots," it said.

The memorandum also said that the ongoing investigation by the Delhi police did not inspire confidence as there were serious questions about the "impartiality" of the probe.

"A credible and unbiased probe is crucial to restore public trust in the law and order machinery of the state.

The investigation cannot be allowed to become a fishing and roving expedition aimed at causing a chilling effect on dissent and protest in the country.

"We, therefore, urge you to call upon Government of India to institute an inquiry into this investigation under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, headed by sitting/retired judge(s)," the memorandum said.

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News Network
September 19,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 19: Google on Friday restored the Paytm app on its Play store after removing it for a few hours for violating its policy on sports betting activities.

The app was back on the Google Play store on Friday evening after the Softbank-backed Paytm removed the ‘cashback’ feature from a recently-launched game on the application.

‘Update: And we’re back!,’ Paytm said in a tweet.

On Friday morning, Google removed the Paytm app — which facilitates use of wallet and payments bank services — from the Play store.

However, users who had already downloaded the app could continue using the services.

‘The app was blocked for violation of Play policies – a clarification of our policy was released earlier today ahead of the IPL tournament,’ Google said in an e-mailed response, adding that only the app availability on Play store was impacted.

Google, in a blog post earlier on Friday, had said it does not allow apps facilitating sports betting and will remove such apps from the Play store.

These policies are in place to protect users from potential harm, it added.

‘We don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting. This includes if an app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes, it is a violation of our policies,’ the blog post said.

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma said the company has already removed the scratch cards which offered the cashbacks, complying with Google’s concerns.

Stating that Google was not allowing it to acquire new customers by blocking Paytm’s promotion, Sharma said India needs support for further growing the startup ecosystem.

‘(Platforms like Google) are dominating platforms and with power comes responsibility. I believe that they should be responsible for this country’s growth and startup ecosystem…India’s ecosystem needs support, not stifling of innovation,’ he told news channel CNBC-TV18.

A Paytm spokesperson said the company had recently launched the ‘Paytm Cricket League’ on its consumer app for users to engage in their passion of cricket and get cashbacks.

‘The game allows users to get player stickers after each transaction, collect them and get Paytm Cashback. Cashback is legal in India and we strictly follow all rules and laws of the land.

‘Unfortunately, Google believes this to be a violation of its policies and has unlisted the Paytm Android app from the Play Store,’ the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that the cashback feature has been removed and confirmed that the app has been restored on the Play store.

Google, in its blog post, had said that when an app violates its policies, it notifies the developer of the violation and removes the application from Google Play until the developer brings it into compliance.

‘And in the case where there are repeated policy violations, we may take more serious action which may include terminating Google Play Developer accounts.

‘Our policies are applied and enforced on all developers consistently,’ the blog post by Android Security and Privacy Vice President Product Suzanne Frey said.

There is often a surge in launches of such apps before major sporting tournaments like the IPL.

The latest season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is scheduled to start from September 19 in the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, Sonam Chandwani, Managing Partner at KS Legal & Associates, said, ‘Enforcement of compliance with Google’s policies one day before IPL is scheduled to kickstart, is a preemptive attempt by Google to reinstate and remind developers of its stringent gambling policies.’ She said in India, legislation puts a blanket ban on sports betting but fantasy sports is not illegal in most states.

‘However, Google’s policies will have an over-arching implication on apps in its Play Store.

‘An undetermined implication would be the compliance of its policies by sports fantasy apps like Dream 11 and MPL that are not directly available on the Google Play Store platform but feature in advertisements and inducing similar effect on its user, eventually leading to a violation of its gambling policies,’ she noted. In a statement, the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) said it had sought clarity from Google to ensure a level-playing field for all fantasy sports apps. FIFS also said it has never asked for any company, such as MPL or Paytm, to have any negative repercussions whatsoever.

‘We are here to protect all our members no matter their business size and treat all members/non-members the same…

‘In the past, FanCode and SportsTiger, sister brands of Dream11 and MyTeam11 respectively, were removed from the Google Play Store for violation of Google Play Store’s policy as they were promoting their Fantasy Sports Apps,’ it added.

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