1,200-year-old Hindu temple in Pakistan opened to public after reclaiming from Christian occupants

News Network
August 4, 2022

Lahore, Aug 4: A 1,200-year-old Hindu temple here in the capital of Pakistan's Punjab province has been formally opened to the public after it was reclaimed from a Christian family following a lengthy court battle, according to a federal body.

The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), the federal body overseeing minority worship places in Pakistan, last month reclaimed possession of the Valmiki Temple situated near the famous Anarkali Bazaar in Lahore from a Christian family, which had grabbed the place of worship more than two decades ago.

Besides the Krishna Temple, the Valmiki Temple is the prominent Hindu temple in Lahore.

The Christian family, which claims to have converted to Hinduism, had been facilitating only the Valmiki caste Hindus for worship at the temple for the last two decades.

ETPB spokesperson Amir Hashmi said Valmiki Temple was formally inaugurated on Wednesday with over 100 Hindus, some Sikh, Christian and Muslim leaders gathered there to celebrate the occasion.

Talking to PTI on Thursday, Hashmi said the Hindu devotees performed their religious rituals and had langar (food) for the first time it was retrieved from the grabbers.

"Valmiki Temple will be fully restored in accordance with a master plan in the coming days," the spokesperson said.

The ETPB said the temple’s land was transferred to it in the revenue record, but the family 2010-2011, claiming to be the owner of the property, filed a case in a civil court.

Besides going into litigation, the family also made the temple only for the Valmiki Hindus, it said.

This left the ETPB with no option but to fight the case in court.

“This time, the court also reprimanded the petitioner for false claims,” the ETPB added.

Pakistan Hindu Mandir Management Committee (PHMMC) President Krishan Sharma said the ETPB'S move was a goodwill gesture and also a step towards mainstreaming the community and should be applauded, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The Valmiki sect of Hindus are a poor segment of the society who have no say or access, Sharma explained, adding they had regained access to this temple now.

“The role of Valmikis is very significant in Hindu mythology; had they not written the Ramayan, no one would know Ram. Earlier, this temple was not being used for worship, those possessing it didn’t allow anyone to enter. But now, every Hindu can come in and pray,” he added.

“We’re making efforts to promote religious tourism and rehabilitate many other temples and religious sites across the country. There are issues everywhere in the world, which are exploited by inimical forces in the region. So, such steps could silence them and counter their narrative,” Sharma added.

In 1992, in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition in India, an angry mob wielding weapons stormed into the Valmiki Temple. It smashed the idols of Krishna and Valmiki, broke utensils and crockery in the kitchen and seized the gold with which the statues were embellished.

The temple was demolished to rubble and the building was set on fire. The shops in the neighbourhood also caught fire and it took days for the authorities to extinguish the flames.

The ETPB spokesman told the Dawn newspaper that a one-person commission constituted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan presented its recommendations to the government, stating that the temple must be renovated to provide better workshop facilities to the Hindu community.

But the ETPB, in the wake of the litigation, was unable to start restoration work at the temple constructed on 0.025 hectares worth millions in the heart of the city, the spokesperson said.

The ETPB looks after the temples and land left over by Sikhs and Hindus who migrated to India after the Partition. It oversees 200 Gurdwaras and 150 temples across Pakistan. 

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News Network
February 23,2024

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New Delhi: Google's AI tool Gemini's response to a question around Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in direct violation of IT rules as well as several provisions of the criminal code, minister of state for electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Friday.

The minister took cognizance of the issue raised by verified account of a journalist alleging bias in Google Gemini in response to a question on Modi while it gave no clear answer when a similar question was tossed for Trump and Zelenskyy.

"These are direct violations of Rule 3(1)(b) of Intermediary Rules (IT rules) of the IT act and violations of several provisions of the Criminal code," Chandrasekhar said on social media platform X.

The minister marked the post to Google and the Ministry of Electronics and IT indicating further action in the matter.

According to a screenshot shared by a user on social media platform X, Gemini was asked whether PM Modi is a ‘fascist’, to which the platform responded that he has been “accused of implementing policies some experts have characterised as fascist,” which based on factors like the “BJP’s Hindu nationalist ideology, its crackdown on dissent, and its use of violence against religious minorities”.

However, as per the screenshot, when it was asked a similar question about former US President Donal Trump, Gemini responded with: “Elections are a complex topic with fast-changing information. To make sure you have the most accurate information, try Google Search.”

 Responding to the post, Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “These are direct violations of Rule 3(1)(b) of Intermediary Rules (IT rules) of the IT Act and violations of several provisions of the Criminal code”. These rules pertain to basic due diligence that is required of intermediaries like Google to enjoy immunity from third-party content.

A senior IT Ministry official said that this was the second time that Google’s AI system presented “answers replete with biases”. “We are issuing a show cause notice to them, seeking information on why Gemini is generating such problematic views on certain individuals. If we do not find their answers satisfactory, they will stand to be prosecuted,” the official added, requesting anonymity.

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News Network
February 16,2024

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Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday presented his record 15th Budget as Finance Minister, and the second under the present Congress regime. In his address to the Karnataka Assembly, he emphasised that his government was striving to establish a new standard of development, known as the 'Karnataka Model of Development,' based on the principles of justice, equality, and fraternity enshrined in the Constitution.

Agriculture:

1) Siddaramaiah announced the implementation of ‘Karnataka Raitha Samruddhi Yojane’ to encourage integrated farming by consolidating various pro-farmer schemes.

2) He also announced the formation of Agriculture Development Authority to facilitate effective implementation of policies related to agriculture and allied activities coming under various departments.

3) Establishment of food parks at airports in Sogane of Shivamogga, Ittangihala of Vijayapura and Pujenahalli of Bengaluru Rural district.

Horticulture:

1) Setting up of Kissan Malls in select districts to provide farmers with horticulture-related technical guidance, market connectivity, farming implements and agro-products under one roof.

2) State-of-the-art international floriculture market to be established in Bengaluru city under Public-Private Partnership.

Animal Husbandry:

1) Construction of new building to 200 veterinary institutions which are in dilapidated condition at a cost of Rs 100 crore.

Fisheries:

1) Rs 7 crore for purchase of sea ambulance for protection of fishermen.
2) Financial assistance to 10,000 houseless fishermen for construction of houses under various housing schemes.

Co-operation:

1) Target of providing record crop loan of Rs 27,000 crore to more than 36 lakh famers in the state.

2) The Karnataka government will also urge the Centre to announce MSP for important crops such as arecanut, onion, grapes, mango, banana and other horticultural crops and to fix MSP based on the formula of cost of cultivation plus 50 per cent profit as per the report by Swaminathan panel.

Water resource:

1) Rs 365 crore project of flowing water from Bhima and Kagina Rivers to Bennetora reservoir to provide drinking water to Kalaburagi city.

School Education and Literacy:

1) 2000 Government Primary Schools to be converted as bi-lingual medium schools to enhance quality of education.

2) NEET/ JEE/ CET coaching to be imparted to 20,000 science students of Government PU Colleges.

Higher Education Department:

1) Rs 100 crore to develop University Visveswaraya College of Engineering on the lines of IIT.

2) Rs 30 crore to upgrade 30 women’s colleges and government women’s polytechnics.

Health:

1) Rs 187 crore to construct critical care block buildings in seven districts.

2) 50 new blood storage units to be established in North Karnataka in next two years.

Medical Education:

1) Rs 20 crore for robotic surgery facility in Institute of Nephro-Urology in Bengaluru.

2) Health repository to be created under Digital Health Society to make treatment details available from single source.

Woman and Child Development:

1) Rs 28,608 crore allocated for Gruhalakshmi gurarantee scheme.

2) Rs 90 crore to be spent on providing 75,938 smartphones to Anganwadi workers and supervisors.

3) Rs 200 crore to construct 1,000 Anganwadis.

4) Enhancement of Pension under Maithri scheme to the linguistic minorities from Rs 800 to Rs 1,200.

Social Welfare:

1) Monthly food allowance to be enhanced by Rs 100 per student for students studying in residential schools and hostels under the social welfare, tribal welfare, backward classes and minority welfare departments.

2) A corpus fund of Rs 35 crore to be set up to bear the cost for treatment of rare diseases and expensive treatments for SC and ST communities.

Scheduled Tribe Welfare:

1) The Ashram schools working under Scheduled Tribe Welfare Department to be re-named as Maharshi Valmiki Adivasi Budakattu Vasathi Shale, and Class 6 & 8 will be started in schools with Class 5 and 7 respectively. The student strength to be enhanced from 25 to 40 in each class.

2) Rs 15,000 stipend to be paid to 200 engineering graduates who got admission in IISc, IIT and NIT for short term professional training courses.

Minorities Welfare:

1) Rs 50 crore for Jain pilgrimage centres and Rs 200 crore for the development of Christian community.

2) Rs 2 crore for the welfare of Sikligar Sikh community, Rs 1 crore to gurudwara in Bidar.

3) Rs 10 crore to encourage minority women SHGs to take up self- employment activities

Housing:

1) Target of construction of three lakh houses this year.

Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs:

1) Rs 4,595 transferred to 4.02 crore beneficiaries under Annabhagya till January, 2024.

2) Anna-Suvidha programme to be launched to facilitate senior citizens above the age of 80 by door delivery of food grains.

Skill Development:

1) Café Sanjeevini, rural canteens and 2,500 coffee kiosks to be established for women.

2) 50,000 Women SHG owned micro-enterprises to be developed in next two years.

Rural Development and Panchayath Raj:

1) Solar street lights to be installed in 50 panchayaths and systematic metering to be done in 200 panchayaths to reduce electricity charges.

2) Circular economy to be encouraged for sustainable solid waste management in rural areas.

3) The monthly incentive to freed persons from bonded labour system to be increased to Rs 2,000.

Urban Development:

1) Brand Bengaluru launched to develop Bengaluru as a world class city.

2) Efforts to ease traffic congestion will be made by completing white topping works, tunnel to be constructed in Hebbal Junction on pilot basis and installing Area Traffic Signal Control System in 28 importance junctions of the city.

3) Peripheral ring road to be developed under new concept as Bengaluru Business Corridor.

4) 250 meter tall sky-deck to be built in Bengaluru city.

5) 44-km length to be added for the Bengaluru Metro Rail network by March 2025.

6) Feasibility report to extend Metro to Tumkur from BIEC and to Devanahalli from KIAL.

7) 1,334 new electric buses and 820 BS VI diesel buses to be added to the fleet of buses in BMTC.

8) The Cauvery Stage 5 project at a cost of Rs 5,550 crore providing drinking water to 12 lakh people will be commissioned by May 2024.

9) The curbs on businesses during night time to be extended till 1 am in Bengaluru and 10 city corporations in the state.

10) The towns on the outskirts of Bengaluru such as Devanahalli, Nelamangala, Hosakote, Doddaballapura, Magadi and Bidadi will be developed as satellite towns with road and train connectivity.

Energy:

1) 1.65 crore consumers registered under Gruha Jyoti Scheme.

2) Under Phase II of solarisation of IP set feeder, 4.30 lakh IP sets to be solarised by implementing solar projects of 1,192 MW.

PWD:

1) 875-km state highway development at a cost of Rs 5,736 crore with the assistance of external financial institutes under KSHIP-4 in the current year.

2) Construction of six railway overbridges at a cost of Rs 350 crore.

3) Action to construct dedicated economic corridors from Mangaluru port to Bengaluru and Bidar to Bengaluru.

Commerce and Industries:

1) A grant of Rs 50 crore for supplemental infrastructure to the mega textile park project establishing in Kalburgi district in collaboration with state and central government.

Kannada and Culture:

1) A grant of Rs one crore to undertake literature survey, collection, publication and propagation programmes including Tatvapada, Keerthana Sahitya and Bhakti movement through Saintpoet Kanakadasa Study Centre.

2) Steps will be taken to ensure that 60 per cent of signage is in Kannada in the nameplates of all offices, shops and various commercial enterprises under Kannada Language Comprehensive Development Act.

Forest, Ecology and Environment:

1) To address man-animal conflict, measures to form one new task force in Bandipur this year. Allocation of Rs 10 crore to strengthen these task forces.

Excise:

1) IML and beer slab to be revised by rationalising the declared slabs of liquor.
 

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News Network
February 23,2024

Mangaluru: Coastal security police and Navy intelligence have launched a joint investigation into alleged video purportedly showing a Chinese vessel in the vicinity of the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone, raising concerns over a possible breach.

Early inquiries suggest the video was captured by the captain of a fishing boat departing from Honnavar, which lies on the coast of the Arabian Sea.

The alleged sighting occurred in international waters about 200 nautical miles off the coast of Honnavar.

According to reports, the authorities have identified the vessel as registered in China’s Fuzhou Port. Inspector Victor Naiman of the Coastal Police Force stationed at Kumta is spearheading the investigation. 

With the suspicion of potential espionage, the Indian navy has remained vigilant while the coast guard maintained heightened readiness. 

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