Hajj 2022: One million pilgrims allowed; 85 percent from abroad

News Network
April 12, 2022

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Riyadh, Apr 12: Foreign pilgrims will get a major chunk of 85 percent of the total number of one million pilgrims who will be allowed to perform Hajj this year. Domestic pilgrims constitute only 15 percent of the total pilgrims, Al-Arabiya channel reported quoting well-informed sources.

According to the sources, the number allocated for domestic pilgrims will not exceed 150,000, while the number of pilgrims from outside the Kingdom will reach 850,000.

The decision aimed at providing an opportunity for a maximum number of the faithful from all around the world to perform Hajj after taking into account the fact that foreign pilgrims were not allowed to perform Hajj during the last two years of 2020 and 2021 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Only a limited number of domestic pilgrims was allowed to perform Hajj during the last two years.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had announced recently that a total number of one million domestic and foreign pilgrims would be allowed to perform Hajj this year. This will be in accordance with the quotas allocated to each country and after taking into account the recommendations of the health authorities.

The ministry has clarified that this year’s Hajj is open to those who are under the age of 65 years and have received COVID-19 vaccinations approved by the Saudi Ministry of Health.

Pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom are also required to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result performed within 72 hours of the time of departure to the Kingdom.

The ministry has instructed that all pilgrims must follow the health instructions and comply with the necessary precautionary measures to preserve their health and safety while performing the Hajj rituals.

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News Network
January 31,2023

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Gandhinagar, Jan 31: A court in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar today sentenced self-styled Hindu godman Asaram Bapu to life imprisonment in a 2013 rape case. The 81-year-old was convicted in a rape case filed by a former woman disciple in 2013.

Sessions court judge D K Soni pronounced the ruling after hearing the arguments on the quantum of sentence.

A district and sessions court in Gandhinagar on Monday held Ashupal Harpalani, alias Asaram Bapu, guilty of rape and criminal intimidation and acquitted five other co-accused in the case.

Asaram Bapu was accused by a Surat-based woman of repeatedly raping her on multiple occasions while she was at his ashram in Ahmedabad's Motera between 2001 and 2006.

The case

The case against Asaram Bapu was registered in 2013 based on a complaint filed by the woman.

At the time, the 77-year-old godman was convicted under sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 354A (sexual harassment), 370(4) (trafficking), 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 120(B) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

Asaram's son Narayan Sai was an accused in the case as well. Asaram's wife Lakshmi, daughter Bharati, and four female followers -- Dhruvben, Nirmala, Jassi and Meera -- were also accused in the case. All of them were acquitted by the Gandhinagar court.

During the hearing on Tuesday, the prosecution claimed that Asaram Bapu, who is currently in Jodhpur jail in another rape case, was a "habitual offender" and sought a life sentence.

Gandhinagar Sessions Court Judge DK Soni delivered a verdict sentencing Asaram Bapu to life in jail.

District and Sessions Court judge D K Soni held Asaram guilty under IPC Sections 376 (2)(c) (being on the management or staff of a place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force or of a woman’s or children’s insti¬tution takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on any inmate of such place), 377 (unnatural sex), 342 (wrongful confinement), 506(2) (criminal intimidation), 354 (assault with intent to outrage modesty of woman), and 357 (assault to wrongfully confine a pertain).

Asaram is currently lodged in a Jodhpur jail, where he is serving life sentence in another case of raping a minor girl at his ashram in Rajasthan in 2013.

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News Network
January 25,2023

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Bengaluru, Jan 25: Supporters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Karnataka protested against the release of Shah Rukh Khan’s newly-released movie Pathaan. Several supporters came out on streets with banners and posters demanding a boycott of the film. This comes hours after the VHP spokesperson earlier in the day said they will not oppose the film “for the time being”. 

“Keeping our earlier objections in mind, changes made in the film are correct. After watching the film, if we find anything objectionable, then we'll reconsider opposing the film,” VHP spokesperson Shriraj Nair said. 

On Tuesday, the VHP’s Gujarat unit had also withdrawn its protest against the film expressing satisfaction over removal of “objectionable” contents from the film. 

The film came under fire by the right wing groups for featuring actor Deepika Padukone in a saffron bikini in the song ‘Besharam Rang’. Several leaders, including from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, had sought a ban on the film, which is scheduled to release on Wednesday.

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has revised the "obscene song" and "lewd words" in the film and hence the right-wing groups will no longer protest against its release, the Gujarat VHP's secretary Ashok Raval said in a statement.

Talking to news agency PTI, Raval claimed that in its recent circular, the censor board has made 40 to 45 corrections regarding songs, colour and clothes, which resolve the issues and hence, they no longer need to protest.

The right-wing groups had earlier threatened to stop the release of the film in Gujarat, while the state government had assured police protection to theatres following a representation made by multiplex owners.

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News Network
February 3,2023

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Bengaluru, Feb 3: The ruling BJP in Karnataka is preparing to handover the alleged sex CD scandal case of former minister and BJP MLA Ramesh Jarakiholi to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Minister of Home for Karnataka, Araga Jnanendra, meanwhile, said on Thursday that a decision will be taken regarding handing over the CD case of Jarakiholi to the CBI, after a discussion with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

"Ramesh Jarkiholi met me in this regard. He had given sufficient information and requested to handover the case to CBI. Whether or not to handover the case to CBI will be decided after discussing the matter with the CM Bommai," he said.

"It is wrong to defame someone through a CD. No one should indulge in this. If it is done, police will take action," Jnanendra said.

The former Minister had been urging the state government to handover the sex CD scandal matter to the CBI.

Jarkiholi further demanded the arrest of some persons in connection with the matter.

He challenged that he would send Karnataka Congress President D.K. Shivakumar to jail, adding that hundreds of politicians from state, officers and top officers in Bengaluru are trapped in CD conspiracy. "I have 120 pieces of evidence. I am not releasing them here. The matter has to be investigated by the CBI."

Jarkiholi alleged that Shivakumar had hit him by hatching a conspiracy and got that video made to finish him off politically.

The alleged sex CD released in March 2021 created a huge controversy in the state.

Following the embarrassment, the ruling BJP in Karnataka dropped Jarkiholi from the cabinet.

Jarkiholi had played a prominent role in 'Operation Lotus' carried out by the BJP to come to power in the state. He was at the forefront of the collapse of the coalition government headed by the JD-S and the Congress.

Earlier, the Special Investigation Team probing allegations of rape against Jarkiholi had filed a 'B report' in the case, stating that no evidence to prove the charge or the other allegations made against him.

Currently, Jarkiholi is seeking a cabinet position in the state. 

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