Smriti Irani promises a new Hajj policy 'which reflects PM Modi's resolutions'

News Network
January 12, 2023

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The Union government is likely to announce a new Hajj policy after scrapping the discretionary Hajj quota that was available with people in top constitutional posts and the minority affairs ministry. 

Earlier, union minister Smriti Irani announced govt’s decision to do away with VIP Hajj asserting that the step has been taken as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's resolve to end 'VIP culture'.

Around 500 people could go to Hajj through seats allocated to the President, Vice President, prime minister, minority affairs minister and Haj committee under the VIP Haj quota. The quota has now been scrapped.

Now all Haj pilgrims will go through the Hajj committee and private tour operators only. The move, as a letter states, is to stop the VIP culture.

There were 100 seats in the President's quota, 75 in the Vice President's quota, 75 in the PM quota and 50 in the minority affairs minister quota. Even the 200 seats with the Hajj Committee of India have been done away with.

“Prime Minister Modi had put forward his resolve to end VIP culture on the very first day of his term. VIP culture was put in place with respect to Hajj during the UPA rule under which there was a special quota allocated to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Haj Committee and all those in top constitutional posts," Irani said.

She said that when it was started in 2012, there were around 5,000 seats under this special quota and if one knew someone in the government, one would be given a special category seat. 

"The government has ended that... The PM believed that if we have to do away with VIP culture completely then if there is any such special categorisation in any department, it should be ended," Irani said. She also said an exhaustive Hajj policy reflecting the PM's resolves and one that will take care of the poor's needs would be announced in the future.

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News Network
April 11,2024

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Six children were killed on Thursday morning after a private school bus carrying around 40 children lost control and overturned in Haryana's Mahendragarh district. The bus was on its way to school, which was functioning despite Eid-ul-Fitr holiday. 

Several students were left injured due to this accident. The incident took place near Unhani village in the Mahendranagar district.

Parents and locals are also asking why the school remained open on Eid, a public holiday.

Six children died and over 20 were injured when the school bus rammed a tree and overturned this morning. The driver was reportedly drunk, the police said.

The bus, whose fitness certificate had expired in 2018, belonged to GL Public School. A state road transport official has been suspended for failing to control vehicles running without proper valid documents.

State Education Minister Seema Trikha said an inquiry is being conducted to find out why the school was functioning on a holiday. She reiterated that the school should have been shut today and that a show-cause notice has been served.

"The school should not have been open today. A show-cause notice has been issued and apart from that, we have taken self-affidavits from the private schools. The schools will have to provide an affidavit of the transport vehicles stating that they function according to the transport rules," she said.

Asked who bears the responsibility for such a tragedy, the minister said the schools and the bus owners will be held accountable along with the driver.

"If (school bus) drivers are found to be drunk, schools will be held responsible. In such cases, FIRs will be filed against the driver, the school's principal, and the bus owner."

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News Network
April 17,2024

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Russian President Vladimir Putin says Iran’s “tactful and wise” response to Israeli aggression on its consulate in Syria was the best way to punish the aggressor.

Putin made the remarks in a phone conversation with President Ebrahim Raeisi on Tuesday.

“What the Islamic Republic of Iran did in response to what happened criminally and in the light of the inaction of the [UN] Security Council, was the best way to punish the aggressor and represented the tactfulness and rationality of Iran's politicians,” Putin said.

The Russian president said the Israeli regime’s “terrorist act” against the Iranian consulate in Damascus was against all international standards and rules.

He also strongly criticized the United States and certain Western countries for creating tension in the region. “We believe that the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the main pillars of stability and security in the region.”

“We firmly declare that we will respond to any action against Iran's interests with greater force and broader and more painful than the previous [response],” President Raeisi said in the phone call.

The Iranian president also said Tehran's response to the Israeli regime was within the framework of international law, saying Israel’s terrorist act was a clear violation of international law and a serious threat to global peace.

“The destructive role of the US and some western countries and the inaction and inefficiency of international institutions, including the United Nations and the Security Council, in dealing with the aggressive action of the Zionist regime in attacking the Iranian consulate in Syria caused the Islamic Republic of Iran to exercise its right to self-defense.”

Raeisi further thanked Moscow for its “principled and constructive” stance against the Israeli aggression in Damascus. 

He appreciated the diplomatic efforts of the Russian government to thwart the conspiracies of the United States and certain Western countries in the UN Security Council.

“To those countries that have adopted double standards in the face of the crimes of the Zionist regime and express concerns about escalating tensions in the region, we advise them to rather stop supporting the Zionists genocide and crimes against the oppressed Palestinian people to preserve peace and stability in the region,” Raeisi said.

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) launched extensive missile and drone strikes against the occupied territories late on April 13 in response to Israel’s missile attack on the consular section of the Iranian embassy in Damascus.

Operation True Promise has inflicted damage on Israeli military bases across the occupied territories. The extent of damage is yet to be specified. 

Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a commander of the IRGC Quds Force, his deputy, General Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, and five of their accompanying officers were assassinated in the Israeli attack on Iran’s diplomatic mission.

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News Network
April 11,2024

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Udupi: A middle aged couple lost their lives while their teenage son survived with critical wounds after a speeding car, which was travelling from Maharashtra to Kerala, fell off a flyover in Kundapur taluk of Udupi district. 

The deceased have been identified as Munnavar (49), who was driving the car, and his wife Sameera (41), a native of Kannur in Kerala. Their son Suhail (18), who was in the car, suffered severe injured and is recovering at Manipal Hospital. He is said to be out of danger.

The family was traveling from Kollapur to Kannur as Sameera was a native of Kannur. Their plan was to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr in Sameera’s parental home.  

However, on Tuesday (April 9) morning, when the car reached near Bobbaryanakatte, it reportedly went out of control of the driver and fell off the flyover on to the service road.

All three were immediately rushed to the hospital in Kundapur. Sameera died immediately upon admission to the hospital, while Munnavar succumbed to injuries at Manipal Hospital on April 10. The mortal remains of both were handed over to relatives after the post-mortem.

Kundapur DySp Belliyappa, Circle Inspector Nada Kunar, Traffic SIs Naveen Naik, and Savitri Nayak visited the accident spot for the inspection.

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