No Hindu should convert; those who have already converted should reconvert to Hinduism: RSS chief

News Network
December 15, 2021

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Lucknow, Dec 15: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday asked the Hindus to take a pledge to ensure so called 'ghar wapsi' of their brethren who had "converted", and made a renewed clamor for the Shreekrishna Janmabhoomi at Mathura. Bhagwat was speaking at 'Hindu Mahakumbh', which began at Chitrakoot on Tuesday.

The seers at the Mahakumbh also expressed serious concern over the so called ''Love Jihad, conversion'' and alleged ''attempts to effect demographic changes through increasing population'', and demanded measures to "protect" the Hindu culture and traditions.

Bhagwat, who addressed saints and seers, who had assembled at Chitrakoot to take part in the religious congregation, also stressed the need for 'unity' among the Hindus and asked the majority community members to shun casteism and other social evils.

"Take a pledge that I will persuade those who have converted, to embrace Hinduism and also make sure that the Hindus don't convert... I also take a pledge to protect the dignity of our Hindu sisters," Bhagwat said.

The RSS chief appealed to the seers to work towards bringing Hindus together, shunning their differences.

The other seers, who spoke at the meeting, said that there was an attempt to erase the Hindu culture and national identity through demographic changes and sought measures to protect it. "Only those who have two children should be given voting rights," demanded a prominent seer.

''Hindu girls are being lured in the name of Love Jihad... they are being exploited... it must stop,'', demanded another seer.

The seers said that some forces were out to weaken Hinduism by encouraging conversion. "Strong measures are needed to stop conversion," demanded Jagadguru Rambbhadracharaya Maharaj, a prominent seer. He also sought a law for cow protection.

Rambhadracharya also referred to the Shreekrishna Janmabhoomi at Mathura and said that it should be given back to the Hindus. "We already have A (Ayodhya) and K (Kashi)... now we want M (Mathura)," he remarked.

The assertions at the Hindu Mahakumbh came amid similar remarks on the Mathura by several BJP leaders, including UP deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.

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News Network
January 31,2023

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The PM CARES Fund is not a government fund as donations to it do not go to the Consolidated Fund of India and no third party information can be parted with irrespective of its status under the Constitution and the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Delhi High Court was informed on Tuesday.

An affidavit filed by an under secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), who is discharging his functions in the PM Cares Trust on honorary basis, has said the trust functions with transparency and its funds are audited by an auditor -- a chartered accountant drawn from the panel prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

It contended that irrespective of the status of Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) under the Constitution and the RTI Act, it is not permissible to disclose third party information.

The affidavit was filed in response to a petition seeking a direction to declare the PM CARES Fund a 'State' under the Constitution to ensure transparency in its functioning.

The same petitioner has also filed another petition to declare PM CARES as a "public authority" under the RTI Act, which is being heard together with this plea.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad heard the arguments advanced on behalf of petitioner Samyak Gangwal and asked the office of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to inform the court about his availability to argue the case.

The affidavit filed by Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, Under Secretary at the PMO, said the prayers made in the present petition are not maintainable as PM CARES does not constitute a "public authority" under the provisions of RTI Act.

“I reiterate and submit that the PM CARES Fund has been set up as a Public Charitable Trust. This Trust is not created by or under the Constitution of India or by any law made by the Parliament or by any State Legislature.

“This Trust is neither intended to be or is in fact owned, controlled or substantially financed by any government nor any instrumentality of the government. There is no control of either the Central government or any state government/s, either direct or indirect, in functioning of the Trust in any manner whatsoever,” the official said.

The affidavit added that the composition of the Board of Trustees consisting of holders of 'Public Office ex-Officio' is merely for administrative convenience and for smooth succession to the Trusteeship.

It said PM CARES is not a “public authority” within the meaning of Section 2(h)(d) of the RTI Act and as such provisions of the Act cannot be made applicable on the trust and added that on this preliminary issue the petition deserves to be dismissed.

“The PM CARES accepts only voluntary donations by individuals and institutions. Contributions flowing out of budgetary sources of government or from the balance sheets of the public sector undertakings are not accepted. Conditional contributions, where the donor specifically mentions that the amount is meant for a particular purpose, are not accepted in the Fund,” it said.

The affidavit further said that the cause for which PM CARES Fund was created and exists is purely charitable and neither the funds of this trust are used for the government projects nor is the trust governed by any of the government policies, so it cannot be labelled as "public authority".

It said PM CARES does not get any budgetary support from the Consolidated Fund of India and the assumptions of the petitioner regarding arbitrariness or non-transparency are devoid of merit.

“The benefit of the objects of the Trust have been made available to the general public irrespective of caste, creed, sex, region, language and religion. Moreover, Trust Deed of the PM CARES Fund along with grants sanctioned from the fund are available in public domain on the website pmcares.gov.in. Audit reports of the PM CARES Fund are already available on the website…,” it said.

The affidavit also raised objection over locus standi of the petitioner to file the petition and said he has taken upon himself to espouse a cause which is intended to be created in a manner which ex-facie is guided by an ulterior motive to find his place in the public eye.

“The present case is a classic case of a busy body attempting to gain publicity under the garb of public interest litigation,” it said, adding that the plea was preferred with oblique motives and it be dismissed with exemplary costs.

It also said that the petition has attracted a lot of traction in the media houses via online reporting and through other means, which seems to be the end goal of the petition, that is, to agitate a publicity interest litigation in the garb of public interest litigation.

“It will not be out of place to state that the petitioner being proxy is a means for unscrupulous hands to further their personal causes,” the affidavit said.

It further said that the petition has been preferred in vacuum, by way of clever drafting, attempts to espouse and agitate a cause of “certain groups with vested interest for extraneous reasons”.

“I state that when the petitioner is claiming to be a public-spirited person and seeking to pray for various reliefs only for transparency, it does not matter whether PM CARES is a ‘State’ within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India,” the officer said in the affidavit.

It said that all donations received by the trust are received via online payments, cheques or demand drafts and the amount received is audited with the audited report and the expenditure of the trust fund displayed on the website.

“The Trust functions on the principles of transparency and public good in larger public interest like any other charitable trust and, therefore, cannot have any objection in uploading all its resolutions on its website to ensure transparency,” it said, while reiterating that “the trust’s fund is not a fund of Government of India and the amount does not go in the Consolidated Fund of India.”

The officer said he is discharging his functions in the PM CARES Trust on an honorary basis which is a charitable trust not created by or under the Constitution or by any law made by the Parliament or by any state legislature.

In his plea, petitioner Gangwal has said that the PM CARES Fund is a 'State' as it was formed by the prime minister on March 27, 2020 to extend assistance to the citizens of India in the wake of the public health emergency -- the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

His counsel told the court that if it is found that the PM CARES Fund is not 'State' under the Constitution, usage of the domain name 'gov', the prime minister's photograph, state emblem, etc has to be stopped.

The petition said that the trustees of the fund are the prime minister, defence minister, home minister and finance minister and immediately after the formation of the fund, the Centre through its high government functionaries represented that the fund was set up and operated by the Government of India.

To ensure transparency and accountability, the plea has sought a direction for periodic auditing of PM CARES website and disclosure of the details of donations received by it.

In his alterative prayers, Gangwal has sought to direct the Centre to publicise that the PM CARES Fund is not a fund of the Government of India and to restrain PM CARES from using 'Prime Minister of India' or 'Prime Minister', including its abbreviations and name, on its website, Trust Deed and other official or unofficial communications and advertisements.

The petition challenges a June 2, 2020 order of the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), PMO, refusing to provide documents sought by him on the ground that PM CARES Fund is not a public authority under the RTI Act.

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News Network
February 7,2023

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Mangaluru, Feb 7: The authorities and parents heaved a sigh of relief on Tuesday as most of the nursing and paramedical college students, among 231, who fell sick from food poisoning have recovered.

The hospital authorities have confirmed that most of the students admitted were discharged and many have been sent back after treatment. No student is critical and about 13 students are still under treatment, they stated.

Meanwhile, an FIR has been registered at Kadri police station against the management board, in connection with the food poisoning case based on the complaint lodged by District Surveillance Officer (DSO) Dr Jagadeesh.

As many as 231 nursing and paramedical students from a private hostel in Shaktinagar here hadfallen sick, some seriously, due to food poisoning. Among them 137 students had been admitted to at least five hospitals in the city. 

City police commissioner N Shashi Kumar said, the students had developed stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhoea, since 2am on Monday, and the college authorities had not shared any details to the family members. It is suspected water contamination could be the reason for food poisoning.

Though they complained of severe distress at 2am, they were brought to the hospital after 9pm. Sources said that the condition of some of the students was serious. While 52 students were admitted at AJ Hospital, 42 at Fr Muller Hospital, 18 at KMC, 14 at Unity Hospital, eight at City Hospital and three at Mangala Hospital. Most of them have already been discharged. 

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News Network
February 1,2023

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The Aam Aadmi Party on Wednesday questioned Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s claim about doubling of per capita income since 2014, saying it is ‘Amrit Kaal’ for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, not for the common people of the country.

Highlighting the achievements of the Modi dispensation so far, the finance minister in her budget speech said the government’s efforts since 2014 have ensured for all citizens a better quality of living and a life of dignity.

The per capita income has more than doubled to Rs 1.97 lakh, she added.

“Neither did the MSP of crops increase nor did the youth get employment. But this is Amrit Kaal for Modi ji. Nirmala ji is saying per capita income has doubled,” AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, who is also the party’s national spokesperson, said in a series of tweets in Hindi, wondering “whose income” doubled.

The AAP leaders said the Union Budget for 2023-24, presented by the finance minister in Parliament, does not have any provision for the country’s farmers, soldiers and youth.

“No provision for anyone in the budget. Common people are longing for Amrit (nectar) in the Amrit Kaal,” Singh said.

Latching on to the finance minister’s proposal that 50 additional airports will be revived, the AAP MP took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Modi ji will build 50 new airports. Who will get them?” Singh said in a tweet.

Eyeing 2024 Lok Sabha elections 

Calling the Union Budget 2023-24 “anti-people” and “totally opportunistic”, West Bengal Chief Minister Wednesday slammed saying the Budget was prepared eyeing the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Slamming the Budget, Banerjee said the changes in the income tax slabs will not help anyone. “This Budget does not address India’s unemployment issue,” news agency PTI quoted her as saying.

Political leaders across party lines welcomed the recent tax rebates announced in the Union Budget 2023-24, but some Opposition leaders criticised the Centre for failing to adequately address the issues of unemployment and inflation in the country.

Congress MP Karti Chidambaram said that the tax cuts were a “welcome” move. “I am a believer in a low tax regime. So, any tax cuts are welcome because giving more money into the hands of the people is the best way to boost the economy,” the Congress leader told news agency ANI.

Meanwhile, noting that there were “some good things” in the Union Budget 2023-24, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor flagged that there was no mention of the rural poor, employment and inflation. He said that some “fundamental questions remained to be answered”.

“There are some good things in Union Budget 2023 but there was no mention of MNREGA, poor rural labour, employment and inflation,” Tharoor told news agency ANI. “Some fundamental questions remained to be answered.”

Congress leader K Suresh called it a “pro-corporate” budget that was only in the interest of  “Adani, Ambani and Gujarat”. “This is a pro-corporate budget. All interests of Adani are fulfilled in this budget, but the common man has been ignored,” he told ANI.

Union Minister Smriti Irani called it a “middle class bonanza budget”, but added that there was something in it for everyone. “This is a middle-class bonanza budget but PM has spoken about inclusive growth. This has been an inclusive budget. There was something for SC, ST, OBC, women and elderly,” she said.

There has been little change in the Union Budget over the last 8-9 years, according to former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. “Taxes increased, money is not being spent on welfare schemes and subsidies,” she pointed out. ” Taxes are being collected for some crony capitalists and big businessmen.”

Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati said it would be better if the budget is for the country rather than for the party. In a tweet, she said, whenever the Centre talks about the figures of beneficiaries of schemes, it must remember that India is a vast country of about 130 crore poor, labourers, deprived, farmers who are yearning for their Amrit Kaal. 

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