‘Already exhausted with religious places’: Kerala HC denies permission for new masjid

News Network
August 26, 2022

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Kochi, Aug 26: The Kerala High Court on Friday denied permission to construct a mosque in a locality that has many mosques, observing that the state already has a large number of religious structures and their ratio to the population is very high.

Justice PV Kunhikrishnan opined that Kerala, that is termed as 'God's own country', is crammed full of religious places.

"Because of the peculiar geographical situation of Kerala, it is known as 'God's own country'. But we are exhausted with religious places and prayer halls and we are not in a position to allow any new religious places and prayer halls except in the rarest of rare cases," he said.

The court observed that even though mosques are important to the Muslim community, it is not necessary, as per the Holy Quran, that there be a mosque in every nook and cranny.

"The verses of the Holy Quran clearly highlight the importance of he mosque to the Muslim community. But it is not stated in the above verses of the Holy Quran that a mosque is necessary in every nook and corner.... It is not stated in the 'Hadis' or in the Holy Quran that mosque is to be situated adjacent to the house of every Muslim community member. Distance is not the criteria, but reaching the mosque is important," it said.

The court also referred to a study on religious structures, based on the 2011 Census, which it termed as "alarming" as it said that Kerala has 10 times the number of religious structures as villages and 3.5 times the number of hospitals.

"Kerala is exhausted with religious institutions and prayer halls... If every devotee ... Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Parsi, etc. starts to construct religious places and prayer halls near their residence, the state will face serious consequence including communal disharmony. In this case, the intelligence report and the police report says that if the present conversion of the commercial building to a religious prayer hall is allowed, there is chance for communal disharmony. It is a sensitive issue," it noted.

In the instant case, since 36 mosques were existing within the vicinity in question, the court held that there was no need of another mosque in that vicinity because the adherents of Islam can go to other nearby mosques, especially considering the fact that most citizens have access to some kind of vehicle or public transportation.

"It is true that Article 26(a) of the Constitution of India states that subject to the public order, morality and health, every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes. That does not mean that they can construct religious places in every nook and corner of the country. Kerala is a very small state," it said.

Justice Kunhikrishnan also referred to a movie song by acclaimed poet, late Vayalar Ramavarma which speaks of how man created religions, religion created God, and together they divided the world and humanity.

The verdict was given on a petition seeking to change a commercial building to a Muslim place of worship so as to enable Muslims in the vicinity to access a mosque to offer prayers.

The District Collector considered the request and denied it, based on reports of the district police chief who noted that there are about 36 mosques situated within 5 kilometre radius from the existing commercial building of the petitioner.

This prompted the petitioner to approach the High Court.

The court went through the 'The Manual of guidelines to prevent and control communal disturbance and to promote communal harmony' issued by the state, via a Government Order, and found that even for a change of occupancy, the permission from district authorities is necessary.

In the present case, the court found no reason to interfere with the decision of the state authorities and dismissed the petition.

It then asked to issue the following directions to the state government and police authorities, including, that the Kerala Chief Secretary and the state police chief shall issue necessary orders/circulars directing all the officers concerned to see that there is no illegal functioning of any religious places and prayer halls without obtaining permission from the competent authorities as per the Manual of Guidelines.

If any such religious place or prayer hall is functioning without necessary permission, they should take necessary steps to close down the same forthwith, it said.

Besides, the court said that it should be clearly mentioned that the distance to the nearest similar religious place/prayer hall is one of the criteria while considering the application for religious places and prayer halls and also directed the Chief Secretary to issue a separate circular/order prohibiting change of category of a building to a religious place/prayer hall, except in the rarest of rare case, and that also only after getting report from the police and intelligence, ascertaining the ground realities of that particular place.

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Agencies
January 26,2023

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New Delhi, Jan 26: India's military prowess infused with a spirit of "aatmanirbharta" and diverse and vibrant cultural heritage were showcased on the Kartavya Path as the nation celebrated its 74th Republic Day on Thursday.

"Nari Shakti" was predominantly the theme of the celebrations with President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of other dignitaries joining people and members of the armed forces in marking the august occasion.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was the chief guest at the ceremonial event.

A combined band and marching contingent of the Egyptian Armed Forces also took part in the parade that started around 10:30 am and ended close to noon after a fly-past.

The Egyptian contingent included 144 soldiers representing the main branches of the Egyptian Armed Forces and it was led by Col Mahmoud Mohamed Abdelfattah Elkharasawy.

The ceremony commenced with Prime Minister Modi visiting the National War Memorial and paying tributes to the fallen heroes by laying a wreath.

According to tradition, the national flag was unfurled followed by the national anthem with a booming 21-gun salute. However, the ceremonial salute this year was given with 105-mm Indian field guns, which replaced the vintage 25-pounder guns, reflecting upon the growing "aatmanirbharta" in defence.

Shallow fog lowered visibility at the Kartavya Path on Thursday as spectators strained their eyes to watch aerial manoeuvres by a battery of 50 aircraft that flew in different formations.

The military assets which were displayed during the parade included made-in-India equipment, showing the spirit of "aatmanirbhar bharat", officials said.

The main battle tank Arjun, the Nag Missile System (NAMIS) and the K-9 Vajra were also showcased.

All equipment from the Army which were part of the Republic Day celebrations are made-in-India, Chief of Staff Delhi Area Maj Gen Bhavnish Kumar had earlier said.

With 'Nari Shakti' being the theme, the Akash weapon system display had Lt Chetana Sharma at the forefront.

The marching contingents from the Army included one each from the mechanised infantry, the Dogra Regiment, the Punjab Regiment, the Maratha Light Infantry, the Bihar Regiment and the Gorkha Brigade. A camel band from the Border Security Force also took part in the parade.

The Republic Day celebrations were held on the revamped Central Vista avenue and was the first at the ceremonial boulevard after Rajpath was renamed to Kartavya Path last year.

Lt Commander Disha Amrith, a woman naval air operations official posted at a strategic base, led the Indian Navy's contingent of 144 young sailors.

The naval tableau, designed on the theme 'Indian Navy - Combat Ready, Credible, Cohesive and Future Proof', showcased the multi-dimensional capabilities of the force, "Nari Shakti" and key indigenously designed and built assets under "aatmanirbhar bharat", officials said.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) showcased one tableau and equipment. The theme of the tableau was "Securing Nation with Effective Surveillance, Communication and Neutralising Threats".

Indigenously-developed Wheeled Armoured Platform (WhAP), a modular 8X8 wheeled combat platform, carried on a 70-ton trailer was displayed by the DRDO.

Three Param Vir Chakra awardees and three Ashok Chkara awardees also took part in the parade, and a "veterans' tableau" with the theme -- "Towards India's Amrit Kaal with a Resolve of Veterans' Commitment" was also part of it.

The Indian Air Force contingent comprising 144 air warriors and four officers, was led by Sqn Ldr Sindhu Reddy. The air force tableau, designed on the theme "Indian Air Force Power Beyond Boundaries", displayed a rotating globe highlighting IAF's expanded reach, whereby it has been able to provide humanitarian assistance across borders, as also exercises conducted with friendly countries.

A group of "Shramyogis" involved in the construction of the Central Vista, the Kartavya Path, the new Parliament Building along with milk, vegetable and street vendors were specially invited for the parade.

A total of 23 tableaux - 17 from states and union territories and six from various ministries and departments -- depicting India's vibrant cultural heritage, economic and social progress took part in the ceremonial parade with 'Nari Shakti' as the theme for majority of the floats. 

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News Network
January 30,2023

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Hampi, Jan 30: Noted singer Kailash Kher was attacked by audience members during his recent stage performance at Hampi Utsav last night.  

The singer met with an unexpected reaction from the audience as the two attendees demanded the singer to sing Kannada songs. 

A huge crowd had appeared for Kailash Kher's concert. 

According to the details, a bottle was thrown at the singer during the concert.

The police immediately swung into action and arrested the man who threw the bottle at Kher.

According to media reports, the singer escaped unhurt and continued with the concert.

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News Network
February 2,2023

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New Delhi, Feb 2: India's Adani group shares plunged on Thursday after the Gautam Adani-led conglomerate shelved a $2.5 billion share sale amid a turbulent market, bringing its cumulative market capitalisation losses to $100 billion since last week's short-seller attack.

The withdrawal of Adani Enterprises' share sale marks a dramatic setback for Adani, the school dropout-turned-billionaire whose fortunes rose rapidly in recent years in line with the stock values of his businesses.

Adani on Wednesday called off the share sale as a stocks rout sparked by US short-seller Hindenburg's criticisms deepened, despite the offer being fully subscribed on Tuesday. In the fallout of the short-seller's attack, Adani has also lost his title as Asia's richest man.

The group's flagship firm - Adani Enterprises - plunged 10 per cent after opening higher on Thursday. Other group companies - Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, Adani Total Gas, Adani Green Energy and Adani Transmission - fell 10 per cent each, while Adani Power and Adani Wilmar dropped 5% each.

The stocks tumble and shelving of the share sale mark an embarrassing turn of events for the billionaire who has forged partnerships with foreign players in his global expansion of businesses that stretch from ports to mining to cement.

Adani is now the world's 16th richest, as per Forbes' list, down from third rank last week.

India's central bank has asked local banks for details of their exposure to the Adani group of companies, government and banking sources told Reuters on Thursday. CLSA estimates that Indian banks were exposed to about 40 per cent of the 2 trillion rupees ($24.53 billion) of Adani group's debt in the fiscal year to March 2022.

Earlier this week, the Adani group said it had the complete support of investors, but investor confidence has tapered in recent days.

Citigroup's wealth unit has stopped extending margin loans to its clients against securities of Adani group, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Thursday. Citi declined to comment.

Hindenburg's report last week alleged an improper use of offshore tax havens and stock manipulation by the Adani group. It also raised concerns about high debt and the valuations of seven listed Adani companies.

The Adani group has denied the accusations, saying the short-seller's allegation of stock manipulation has "no basis" and stems from an ignorance of Indian law. The group has always made the necessary regulatory disclosures, it added.

As shares plunged after the Hindenburg report, Adani managed to secure the share sale subscriptions on Tuesday even though the stock's market price was below the issue's offer price. But on Wednesday, stocks plunged again.

In a late night announcement on Wednesday, Adani said he was withdrawing the share sale as the company's "stock price has fluctuated over the course of the day. Given these extraordinary circumstances, the company’s board felt that going ahead with the issue will not be morally correct." 

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