No Hajj without vaccine: Saudi Arabia makes covid shot mandatory for pilgrims

News Network
March 4, 2021

The Saudi Arabia government has decided to make it mandatory for Hajj pilgrims to take anti-coronavirus vaccine.

According to Saudi health ministry officials, taking COVID-19 vaccine has been made compulsory for those arriving in the country to perform the Hajj this year. People who don't comply to the rule will not be allowed to perform Hajj.

"The Covid-19 vaccine is mandatory for those willing to come to the Hajj and will be one of the main conditions (for receiving a permit to come)," stated the Saudi newspaper Okaz report.

The decision is believed to be taken to ensure Hajj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective.

Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca is the fifth and final pillar of Islam. Saudi had in 2020 annulled the annual pilgrimage due to the pandemic. Later it allowed a limited number of pilgrims to perform the Hajj.

Lakhs of Muslims from several countries visit Mecca to perform Hajj every year. Mecca is considered the holiest city for Muslims. As per the Islam, Hajj is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime. The pilgrimage takes place annually in the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah. 

Meanwhile, the India’s Ministry of Minority Affairs on its website said that the process for Haj 2021 will be announced after receiving instructions from Saudi Ministry of Haj & Umrah.

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News Network
February 3,2023

Bengaluru, Feb 3: The government of Karnataka has granted a 50 per cent concession on the payment of pending traffic challan cases, known as e-challan cases.

This one-time measure will be in force till the next state-wide Lok Adalat, scheduled for February 11, 2023. 

The government has issued an order in this regard, pursuant to the decision taken at the January 27, 2023 meeting, presided by Justice B Veerappa, Executive Chairman, Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA). 

The order stated that the meeting had resolved to request the transport department to take steps at the earliest and report compliance in order to ensure access to justice for all. 

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News Network
January 28,2023

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Hassan, Jan 28: There seems to be a conundrum within the JD(S) and its 'first family' led by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda over selection of the party candidate to Hassan assembly segment for the upcoming Karnataka polls.

The seat is turning out to be a major bone of contention, as Gowda's daughter-in-law Bhavani Revanna, who had thrown her hat in the ring, has not relented, despite JD(S) legislature party leader and her brother-in-law H D Kumaraswamy making it clear that she will not be fielded.

Bhavani Revanna, a former Hassan zilla panchayat member, is the wife of Kumaraswamy's elder brother and former minister H D Revanna. Two days after Bhavani Revanna publicly claimed that her name had been finalised by the party for the Hassan seat and a formal announcement will be made soon, Kumaraswamy on January 25 said her contest was not necessary there (in the constituency) as the party has a capable candidate.

JD(S), which has already announced a list of 93 candidates for the assembly polls due by May, is yet to finalise one for Hassan constituency. Hassan is the home district of Deve Gowda and the party in 2018 assembly polls had won in six out of seven segments other than the Hassan seat, which BJP's Preetham Gowda secured, making it the first ever win for the saffron party in the Vokkaliga-dominated district.

Despite Kumaraswamy's statement, according to party sources, Bhavani Revanna has not backed down and continued her tour in the constituency as she took part in a temple event on Friday. Some sources even said the Hassan candidate issue has now reached JD(S) patriarch Deve Gowda, who will now have the final say on the matter.

Bhavani's husband H D Revanna's conspicuous silence on the developments has led to some amount of speculation about the predicament within the Gowda family on the issue. Though Revanna's elder son and Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna had, soon after his mother's claim to be the candidate, maintained that Deve Gowda will decide and everyone will abide by it, he hasn't reacted after Kumaraswamy's statement that she will not be the candidate.

When reporters tried to speak to her after the temple event, Bhavani Revanna said she did not wish to give any reaction for now. "Let whoever say anything, I will not react... I will not speak politics, I have come here for worship... I don't know much about the developments as of now. Let's see in the days to come," she said.

When a question was put to her that people had a desire that she should contest from the seat, Bhavani said: "Let's see in the future how the god's and everyone's grace will be... Let's see, I will speak in the future." As she served food to people who attended the temple event, announcements were made on the loudspeaker calling her "Next MLA Bhavani Amma".

Kumaraswamy on Thursday and Friday too reiterated his stand making it clear that when there is a "capable" candidate in a constituency, there is no question of imposing someone from the Gowda family. "Why are you (media) in a confusion on this, I have already said...our family members will contest where we don't have a capable candidate, to protect the interest of our workers. Where there are suitable candidates, such a need won't be there. If such a situation comes, I will tell you," he told reporters on Friday.

Stating that he has said what he had to regarding the Hassan ticket issue and that the rest will sit in the family and decide within the party framework, Kumaraswamy said, "Ultimately Deve Gowda is the one who issues the B-form for the candidate. There is a parliamentary board and there are leaders," he said, rejecting any misunderstanding or conflict within the family.

"Everything will be resolved smoothly," he added. H P Swaroop, a former Hassan zilla panchayat vice-president and son of former MLA late H S Prakash, is said to be the "capable candidate", whom Kumaraswamy is keen to field.

Swaroop too has been visiting villages along with his supporters. Stating that he is trying to get a ticket from JD(S), Swaroop earlier this week said "there seems to be confusion among people and workers following this announcement by Bhavani Revanna, but I'm saying let the ticket be officially declared..." He said that he has high regards for Deve Gowda and Revanna, and there is no question of him looking at an option of going to another party.

Meanwhile, taking a dig at the JD(S) on the whole issue, BJP national general secretary C T Ravi mockingly said he has a desire to invite Bhavani Revanna to contest from Holenarasipur (her husband Revanna's seat) on the party's ticket. "I have seen Bhavani Revanna's statement, also Kumaraswamy's. I don't want to create a rift within the family, or else I had a desire to tell Bhavani akka (elder sister) that there is no better candidate than her for Holenarasipur and become a candidate for the seat from our party. But I don't want to create a fight between Revanna and Bhavani akka, so I won't say anything," he said.

Asked about C T Ravi's statement, Bhavani Revanna said, "You (media) should ask him, I don't know about it..." Kumaraswamy, in response to Ravi's statement, said the BJP is "used to dividing the house". "They are someone who divide the country. Won't they look for dividing a house? But they won't be able to divide Deve Gowda's house, they might be thinking they can, but it is not possible. They cannot divide us," the former chief minister said.

Some political observers are of the opinion that the perception about JD(S) being too family centric is one of its major drawbacks. According to JD(S) sources, Kumaraswamy wants to beat this perception. It is with this intention that he had tried to justify his earlier decisions to give ticket to his wife Anitha Kumaraswamy to contest polls in 2008, 2013 and 2018 by citing lack of suitable candidate, party pride and demand by workers as the reason for her contesting the seat, while denying the same for Bhavani.

However, he has already announced his son Nikhil Kumaraswamy as the candidate from Ramanagara for the assembly polls. Eight members of Gowda's immediate family are in active politics. Gowda, who is the JD(S) supremo, is also Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, while his son Kumaraswamy is a former chief minister and sitting MLA from Channapatna. Kumaraswamy's wife Anitha is MLA from Ramanagara segment, and his son Nikhil, who is the JD(S) youth wing president, had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Mandya.

The party supremo's elder son H D Revanna is a former minister and current MLA from Holenarsipura, his wife Bhavani Revanna was a member of the Hassan Zilla Panchayat, and their sons Prajwal and Suraj are MP from Hassan and an MLC, respectively. The Gowda family has its representation in all the four major houses of public representatives - Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha, Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.

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News Network
February 7,2023

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New Delhi, Feb 7: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday linked the massive rise in the business fortunes and personal wealth of businessman Gautam Adani to the Modi government coming to power in 2014, as he launched a sharp attack on the BJP dispensation over the Adani issue.

His charges in Lok Sabha drew a sharp response from the treasury benches, with Law Minister Kiren Rijiju asking him to not level "wild allegations" and furnish proof of his claims.

Speaker Om Birla also asked him to focus on the President's address and disapproved of the Congress leader displaying a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Adani in the business tycoon's plane to highlight their alleged proximity.

Participating in the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address in Lok Sabha as the first opposition speaker, Gandhi also questioned the Agniveer scheme for recruiting defence personnel claiming that youths aspiring to be in the army were not on the same page as the government on the scheme.

Senior officers have said the scheme will weaken the army, he claimed.

Gandhi said he learnt a lot during his recently concluded Bharat Jodo Yatra and got the opportunity to listen to the inner voice of India.

He said the highlights of what people told him during the Kanyakumari-to-Kashmir march were the issues of unemployment, price rise and farmers' problems. Adani's name was also frequently heard from people across states as they wondered how he is successful in every business he enters, Gandhi claimed.

The Adani Group is in the eye of a storm following the allegations of fraud and stock manipulation by a US-based short-selling firm. The company's stocks have been hammered even though the group has rejected the charges.

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