Hundreds of acres of land secretly given to RSS, affiliates by BJP govt to be reviewed: Dinesh Gundu Rao

News Network
June 9, 2023

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Bengaluru, June 9: The Karnataka government will review the largesse of the previous BJP government in allotting "hundreds of acres of land" to RSS and its affiliated organisations, Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao said on Friday. He also said a few tenders issued by the BJP government have been cancelled while others will be looked into.

The functioning of the health and family welfare department, its officers and doctors and the measures taken to ensure sound public health will be discussed in a meeting next week, Rao added. "Hundreds of acres of government land in the state have been transferred in the name of RSS and Sangh Parivar affiliated organisations," the minister said in a press conference. 

According to him, the purpose behind such allotment was to help these organisations grow and with that its ideologies should also grow. "This (allotment of land) should not happen. One should inform everything to the people. Nothing should be kept secret. People should know. Taking everything in one way is not proper. So we have to take steps," the minister added.

When asked whether the government has taken any steps yet, Rao said he cannot say anything about the steps taken at this juncture but he pointed out that the Congress government has to do it. "It should happen at the government level where the revenue department and the chief minister have to see what has happened and how it has happened. They have to decide after seeing whether it has been done lawfully and for what price it has been allotted because these are all legal matters," he explained.

To a question about the BJP claiming that there is a witch hunt against its cadres, Rao alleged that the objective of that party was to meddle with history, create a rift among people, and spread hatred, which they were doing at every level, be it in textbooks, or appointing such people in various organisations and allotting government land to RSS and its affiliated organisations.

The minister also said that he has convened a meeting where many decisions will be taken. He added that the Congress government cancelled a few tenders such as the 108 ambulance tender and the dialysis contract.

"There are other issues as well, such as the functioning of our department, officers and doctors and taking care of public health. Preventive measures will also be looked into," Rao said. He also explained that some policy matters related to his department will be discussed with the experts to improve the existing system to provide quality treatment to people.

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News Network
July 8,2024

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A leading general medical journal has estimated that the death toll from Israel’s genocidal war on the Gaza Strip could be 186,000 or even more, translating to 7.9 percent of the population in the Palestinian territory.

In a report published on Friday, The Lancet said the figure includes both direct and indirect deaths from the Israeli onslaught and those still buried under the rubble in the besieged Gaza.

The journal added that it had applied a conservative estimate of four indirect deaths per one direct death reported by the Gaza Health Ministry.

“It is not implausible to estimate that up to 186,000 or even more deaths could be attributable to the current conflict in Gaza,” it said.

Israel unleashed its brutal Gaza offensive on October 7 after the Palestinian Hamas resistance group carried out its historic operation against the occupying entity in retaliation for the regime’s intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the Tel Aviv regime has so far killed at least 38,514 Palestinians, mostly women and children, in Gaza. The ministry announces the death toll only after receiving the dead bodies. 

The figure provided by the ministry is “likely an underestimate,” The Lancet said. “The total death toll is expected to be large given the intensity of this conflict; destroyed health-care infrastructure; severe shortages of food, water, and shelter; the population’s inability to flee to safe places; and the loss of funding to UNRWA, one of the very few humanitarian organizations still active in the Gaza Strip.”

It also called for an immediate and urgent ceasefire in Gaza accompanied by measures to enable the distribution of medical supplies, food, clean water, and other resources for basic human needs.

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Agencies
June 29,2024

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Bengaluru: Amid raging debate over the possibility of change in Chief Minister and demand for three more deputy chief ministers in Karnataka, state Congress president D K Shivakumar on Saturday asked partymen and leaders to refrain from issuing public statements on the issue and warned of disciplinary action.

Shivakumar, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister urged partymen to "shut their mouth" in the interest of the party, as he also requested seers not to interfere in political matters.

There is growing demand within the state cabinet to have three more deputy chief ministers from Veerashaiva-Lingayat, SC/ST and minority communities. Currently, Shivakumar from the dominant Vokkaliga community is the only Deputy Chief Minister in the Siddaramaiah cabinet.

A Vokkaliga seer Kumara Chandrashekaranatha Swamiji of Vishwa Vokkaliga Mahasamastana Math on Thursday had publicly urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to step down and make way for his deputy Shivakumar.

Following this a Veearashaiva-Lingayat seer -- Srisaila Jagadguru Channa Siddharama Panditaradhya Swamiji on Friday said ministers from his community should be considered for the CM's post in case there is a leadership change, while also pitching for them to be given priority in the event of creation of additional Deputy CM posts.

"There is no discussion on any Deputy Chief Minister nor there is any question about the Chief Minister. Swamiji (Vokkaliga seer) out of affection towards me might have spoken about me. That's all. I request -- I don't need anyone's recommendation. For the work we have done, our party high command will decide," Shivakumar said in response to a question whether he had discussed with the high command the demand for more DCMs during the Delhi visit.

Addressing reporters here, he said, "Kharge (AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge), Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and I, in the interest of the party, have decided how to function. So there is no need for any MLA or minister or Swamiji to speak. If they (seers) bless us it's enough."

There is no need for any minister to comment on the CM or Deputy CM issue in public or before the media, Shivakumar said and warned that "if any MLA or anyone from the party raises it, the AICC or I will be forced to issue notice and take disciplinary action. Discipline is important in the party. There is nothing without discipline."

"I know the struggle that has gone to bring the party to this level, there is no need for any of them to speak now."

Responding to a query, the Deputy CM said, "In the interest of the party I'm telling everyone -- if you shut your mouth it will be good for the party."

Asked about seers interfering in politics, he said, "No swamiji had spoken other than now...I request all of them with folded hands, don't interfere in political matters."

A section within the Congress is of the opinion that the statement by the ministers seeking three more Deputy CMs was part of a plan by Siddaramaiah's camp to keep Shivakumar in check, amid talks that he might seek the CM post after two-and-half years of this government's tenure, and to counter his influence both in the government and party.

There is also a feeling that the Vokkaliga seer publicly urging Siddaramaiah to step down and make way for Shivakumar is a counter to the CM from the KPCC president's camp.

There was stiff competition between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar for the chief minister's post after the declaration of Assembly election results in May last year, and the Congress had managed to convince the latter and made him the Deputy Chief Minister.

There were some reports back then of a compromise having been reached based on a "rotational chief minister formula", according to which Shivakumar will become CM after two-and-half years, but those have not been officially confirmed by the party.

Shivakumar has made no secret of his ambition to become the CM, while Siddaramaiah had sought public support during the Lok Sabha polls so that the Congress wins the maximum number of seats in the state, which would strengthen his position.

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News Network
July 7,2024

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At least five journalists have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on different places across the Gaza Strip over the last 24 hours. 

The Gaza media office said Saturday that the regime's forces killed three journalists in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the center of the territory.

Two of those who were killed in the camp were from the Palestine Media Agency. The other journalist was from the Islamic University Radio in Gaza.

Two more journalists were also killed in separate attacks in Gaza City, said the media office.

The latest deaths take the number of journalists killed in the besieged Palestinian territory since October to 158.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Israel’s military campaign on the Gaza Strip has become "the bloodiest for journalists" since the committee began documenting journalist killings worldwide in 1992.

The New York-based NGO said that media workers are being killed in the regime’s bombardment of the Palestinian territory at a rate with no parallel in modern history.

The committee put the number of media workers killed as of July 5 at 108 since the war began, also making it the deadliest period since the group began gathering data in 1992.

UN experts have previously warned about “the extraordinarily high numbers of journalists and media workers who have been killed, attacked, injured and detained in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” 

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