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Ram Temple dispute to be decided by court alone: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday said that the dispute related to Ram Temple in Ayodhya would be decided by the court alone, and exuded confidence that the construction work would commence next year.The Rajya Sabha member said Art of Living Foundation head Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s effort to find an amicable solution to the dispute was welcome and good for harmony but the matter would be settled and decided by the court.Speaking at the Jaipur Dialogue Forum, he said that people should be ready to go to Ayodhya by next Diwali.He said that the hearing on the matter in the Supreme Court is expected to begin in early December and end by April.The matter is expected to be decided by the court by August, he added.He expressed confidence that Hindus would win the court battle, after which the construction of Ram temple would begin.Targeting the Congress, Swamy said the opposition party was “leaderless” and would soon disappear.”Congress’s end is sure. If it lives, it can live only in Tihar jail. The corruption the Congress party (leaders) committed is now resulting in punishment by courts,” he said.He also extended support to the Vishva Hindu Parishad’s campaign against ‘love jihad’.He said that there was a need to remain alert to ‘love jihad’.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar being used as a pawn by BJP to polarise Hindu votebank: SP leader Ramashankar Vidyarthi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, working to find an amicable solution to the Ram Temple dispute, was being used as a “pawn” by the BJP to polarise the Hindu vote bank, a senior SP leader said today.With the Supreme Court set to begin hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute in Ayodhya from December 5, Ravi Shankar has offered to mediate in the issue.”Ravi Shankar is a pawn of the BJP, which has realised that people have come to know the reality of its jugglery on development. They have tried to rake up the Ram Temple issue by pushing the spiritual guru in the front to polarise the Hindu vote bank,” Samajwadi Party national general secretary Ramashankar Vidyarthi said.If the Ram Temple had to be constructed through a court’s decision or through mutual consensus, why did the BJP take out the ‘Rath Yatra’ and why was it made an election issue, Vidyarthi asked.”The BJP has its government today both in the state and at the Centre. Who can stop them for getting the Ram Temple constructed in Ayodhya?”The spiritual leader’s offer for mediating in the dispute has received a tepid and sceptical response from key protagonists on both sides, with the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) voicing reservations about his role.A day before visiting Ayodhya, Ravi Shankar met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath earlier this week but said he had no proposal yet to discuss with the stakeholders.In 2010, the Allahabad High Court had ruled a three-way division of the disputed 2.77-acre area at Ayodhya among Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Lord Ram Lalla.The Supreme Court will hear the case on December 5, a day before the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition.

In Ayodhya, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says ‘let me talk to everyone on Ram temple’ – 10 updates

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after meeting Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar reached Ayodhya on Thursday to meet all stakeholders in Ram Mandir issue.The meeting comes days ahead of the final hearing of the Babri Masjid dispute,which is slated to begin next month.Here are 10 major updates from this story:1: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar reached the temple town in morning amid tight security. He is in Ayodhya to mediate the talks for an out-of-court settlement in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.2: Ahead of the series of meetings that include discussion with Nirmohi Akhada and other claimants in the case, Sri Sri sounded positive.3: Talking to media, he said that ‘the environment is positive. People want to come out of this conflict.’4: However, as a hint of reality check he also added that ‘I know it is not easy. Let me talk to everyone. It is too early to reach a conclusion’5: Though many have welcomed the initiative by the spiritual leader, there are some who don’t exactly seem him as answer to the two decade old dispute.6: One of the most vociferous voices against Sri Sri’s mediation include that of former BJP lawmaker Ram Vilas Vedanti.7: He alleged that the Art of Living founder ‘jumped into Ayodhya issue to avoid into his personal wealth.’ Slamming the spritual leader’s visit, Vedanti asked, ‘Who is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to mediate? He should continue running his NGO and hoarding foreign funds.’8: The Yogi Adityanath government, however, has remained tight-lipped on the entire issue.9: Even after the meeting with Sri Sri, CM Yogi had said that ‘it was a courtesy call.’10: The 16th century Mughal-era Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992 sparking major riots that killed over 2,000 people.

Ayodhya row: Welcome your efforts but won’t give up claim on Babri Masjid land, Muslim bodies to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid reports of meeting between Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over the Babri Masjid issue, the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and the All-India Babri Masjid Action Committee (AIBMAC) have made that Muslims will not shelve their claims on the land belonging to the Babri mosque.“We have not received any proposal for talks or any formula from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. We have already made it clear to the spiritual leader that Muslims will not surrender their legal right and rightful claim over the land belonging to Babri Mosque in Ayodhya,” said Jafrayab Jilani, AIBMAC Convenor and AIMPLB Secretary.Jilani said that talks failed in the past also due to same rhetoric and rigid stand of other parties to surrender the entire disputed land. “There is no question of Muslim giving up their claim on 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya as per the 2010 Allahabad High Court,” said Jilani.In its verdict on September 30, 2010, the Lucknw Bench of the Allabahad High court had distributed he 2.77 acres of land equally between Ram Lala Virajmaan, Nirmohi Akhara and Central Sunni Wakf Board. Later, Sunni Board had filed a case in Supreme Court which will hear the land dispute case on day to day basis from December 5.“We welcome efforts of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. But talks for an out of court settlement will not succeed till Muslim Personal Law Board is involved in talks,” said Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali, a member of AIMPLB.The spiritual leader on Wednesday arrived in Lucknow and met the CM for about 40 minutes. “It was a courtesy call. “We held discussion on various issue including welfare of poor and farmers,” said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.On the question of AIMPLB and AIBMAC rejecting his formula, Sri Sri Ravishanker clarified that “when no formula or proposal was sent to them then where is the question of rejection by them,” he pointed.The Spiritual leader also held a meeting with VHP- RSS leaders, sadhus and saints involved in the land dispute in Ayodhya.“We have told Sri Sri Ravishanker that temple of Lord Ram should be constructed at the 2.77 acres of land. We are ready to build a mosque nearby or any other place of their choice,” said Amar Nath Mishra, a senior VHP leader.Significantly, the All-India Shia Personal Law Board has too sided with the stand taken by the AIMPLB.“They want us to surrender our claim on the land in Ayodhya but Muslims in the country is with the stand taken by the All-India Muslim Personal Board and will follow the Supreme Court verdict,” said Maulana Mirza Yesoob Abbas, Spokesperson for the Shia Board.Meanwhile, Art of Living Foundation Darshan Hathi said that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was not carrying any formula for resolving the Ayodhya dispute.“He is only providing a platform to representatives from both communities to hold talks and resolve the Ayodhya imbroglio out court,” clarified the Spokesperson.Sri Sri Ravishanker will go to Ayodhya on Thursday to hold with Muslim and Hindu litigants, including Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Mahant Dharam Das, Dr Ram Vilas Vedanti, Iqbal Ansari and Haji Mehboob etc. The Art of Living Foundation founder had made a similar effort in 2003 to resolve the dispute but it had failed.

Ayodhya settlement draft to be ready by December 6: UP Shia Central Waqf Board

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board on Tuesday said it would prepare a draft proposal for a peaceful settlement of the Ayodhya dispute by December 6, the day the Babri Mosque was demolished in 1992.Board Chairman Wasim Rizvi, who has made public his opinion that a Ram temple should be built at the site, said he would visit Ayodhya this month to meet seers and mahants.”I have already discussed terms and conditions with many of them and some petitioners for the draft proposal for an agreement to settle the dispute mutually,” Rizvi told PTI.”By December 6, I hope we will be able to prepare our draft proposal for a mutual agreement,” he said.Rizvi last month met Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Bangalore and apprised him of the Board’s stand on a Ram temple at the site.The Board does not want a mosque constructed at the site.Instead, it should be constructed elsewhere in a Muslim- populated area, he has said.In 2010, the Allahabad High Court ruled a three-way division of the disputed 2.77-acre area between the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Lord Ram Lalla.Rizvi, however, was of the view that partition of the disputed land in Ayodhya would not be a “practical idea” and would not be “peaceful and long lasting”.He did not divulge the contents of the draft he was preparing but said he would convene a meeting of the Waqf Board to get consent of the members before moving ahead on it and making it public.The Shia Central Waqf Board has impleaded itself as a party in the Ayodhya case by submitting a 30-page affidavit to the Supreme Court on August 8 this year. It has staked claim to the Babri mosque, maintaining that it was a Shia mosque.Rizvi, who claims to be authorised by the Board to move ahead on the issue, said the number of mosques in Ayodhya was sufficient for the Muslims residing there and there was no need for a new mosque.He said that those demanding construction of a mosque at Lord Ram’s birthplace, or near it, only wanted to prolong the dispute.”The demolished mosque belonged to the Shia Waqf and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has no right to decide on it. Only the Shia board has the right to decide,” Rizvi has said earlier.About his meeting with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, he said he had conveyed his intentions to him, adding that the initiative for the out-of-court settlement would strengthen Hindu-Muslim brotherhood.In a bid to resolve Ayodhya issue, Ravi Shankar reportedly met Nirmohi Akhara leaders and Muslim law board members recently.Though the AIMPLB is not a party in the case, it wields considerable influence as the apex Islamic body on religious and personal matters.AIMPLB member and Convenor of Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) Zafaryab Jilani has denied that any of its authorised representatives met the Art of Living founder for an out-of-court settlement.”The Ayodhya dispute cannot be settled through arbitration. We will never withdraw our claim to the land in Ayodhya where once the Babri mosque stood and was demolished on December 6, 1992,” Jilani has said.

Ram temple issue: Shia Waqf Board chief meets Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, says talks with those who want agreement

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board chief Wasim Rizvi on Tuesday met Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Bengaluru over the Ram Temple issue. “I have requested Sri Sri Ravi Shankar that talks should be held only with those who want an agreement,” he was quoted as saying by ANI. According to media reports, he said that he doesn’t give importance to those religious leaders who talk about violence. He further said that they don’t have any legal status in the dispute. He said that the whole country respects Ravi Shankar and he will help resolve the issue. Wasim Rizvi met Ravi Shankar to explore the option of an out-of-court settlement of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute in Ayodhya.The meeting comes days after the Art of Living Foundation confirmed that its founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was in touch with several imams and swamis, including Acharya Ram Das of Nirmohi Akhara, to help find an out-of-court settlement to the disputed Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site at Ayodhya.Earlier, the Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh had in August told the Supreme Court that a mosque could be built in a Muslim- dominated area at a reasonable distance from the disputed site in Ayodhya.The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has denied holding any meeting with the Art of Living founder.A three-judge bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer has been constituted by former chief justice JS Khehar to hear a batch of petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute case from August 11.The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had in 2010 ruled a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acres area at the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri masjid site in Ayodhya.(With inputs from Zee News)

Fashion designer Rohit Bal detained by Delhi police after late night scuffle with neighbour

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fashion designer Rohit Bal, along with 3 of his employees, was detained by Delhi Police on Friday after he was embroiled in a scuffle with his neighbour.The incident happened at 1 AM Thursday night at his defence colony residence in South Delhi. FIR is registered under sections IPC 427, 451and 506.The reports also said that the designer was allegedly drunk at the time.Bal recently designed the outfits of the musicians for a special concert curated by Shubha Mudgal called ‘Living Traditions.’More details awaited.

Amit Shah visits Adichunchanagiri Mutt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the second day of his three- day visit to Karnataka ahead of the 2018 assembly polls, BJP President Amit Shah today visited Adichunchanagiri Mutt, which is highly regarded by the dominant Vokkaliga community in the state. His visit to the mutt at Nagamangala taluk in neighbouring Mandya district, with a significant influence over Vokkaligas, is seen as an attempt to woo the community. Vokkaligas are the second largest community in Karnataka after Lingayats; they are significantly present in the old Mysuru or southern Karnataka region. Shah met the present pontiff of the mutt Nirmalanandanatha Swami and offered prayers at the temple. He later released a biography on Balaganagadharanatha Swamiji, the previous pontiff, titled ‘Story of a Guru’. Lauding the works by the mutt and its pontiffs for the welfare of society, Shah made a special reference about Nadaprabhu Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bengaluru, who is highly regarded by Vokkaligas as he belonged to the community. “Having come here, I will fail in my duty if I don’t remember Nadaprabhu Kempe Gowda, who was the follower of Adichunchanagiri Mutt,” he said. Shah also appreciated the efforts put in by mutts and religious institutions in India towards ensuring a welfare society. “In many countries in the world it is entirely the government’s duty to ensure the welfare of society. There are welfare states in many countries, but it is only in India where attempts are being made to create a welfare society because of the efforts being put in by mutts and religious institutions along with the government… sometimes they are even ahead of the government,” he added. Sounding the poll bugle in Karnataka, Shah had yesterday kicked off his visit to the state, declaring that the party stands united and said, ‘Ab Ki Baar, BJP Sarkar’ (This time, a BJP government). Earlier today, he chaired a meeting of the political affairs committee of the Karnataka BJP at the party headquarters here, which was attended by state BJP President B S Yeddyurappa, Union ministers Ananth Kumar, Sadananda Gowda and other state leaders. Sources said that during the meeting, Shah asked party leaders to work together unitedly towards ensuring victory in the coming assembly polls. Shah’s comment to the faction-riven state unit comes after Yeddyurappa came under criticism from a section of party workers over his alleged “arbitrary style” of functioning with another senior leader K S Eshwarappa openly flagging the issue until both were told to shun open display of differences. Later in the day, Shah will visit the Art of Living Ashram to call on spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar. He is also scheduled to address conveners of various projects and departments of the party, and Vistaraks involved in the party’s ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyay Vistar Yojna.'(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Shah begins 3-day trip to Karnataka to re-energise BJP cadre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP president Amit Shah arrived here today on a three-day visit to Karnataka to re-energise the rank and file, and asserted that the party stood united and would return to power in next year’s assembly polls under the leadership of state unit chief B S Yeddyurappa. “Friends, our party stands united, and is geared up to take to the electoral battlefield under the leadership of Yeddyurappaji in coming days, and see to it that we form a BJP government in the state,” Shah told party workers near the Kempe Gowda International Airport here. Shah was accorded a rousing reception by BJP workers. He claimed the people had decided to vote the BJP to power as the party had been exposing the “corrupt, polarising and oppressive” rule of the Congress in the last five years. “I am hopeful that the way the party, for the last five years, has been fighting against the corrupt, oppressive and polarising rule of the Congress, the people of this great state of Karnataka have decided to vote the BJP to power,” he said. Shah said he had come here to realise the resolution of forming the next BJP government in Karnataka. “I have come here amidst BJP workers to realise ‘Ab Ki Baar, BJP Sarkar’ (This time, a BJP government) resolution,” he added. He said when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Vijay Rath’ (victory chariot) would reach Karnataka in next February- March, party workers should be ready with their quest to make inroads into the southern India by winning the Karnataka assembly polls. Shah has a packed schedule and would try to bring the factional fights in the party to an end. BJP state president and former chief minister Yeddyurappa has been facing criticism over his “arbitrary” style of functioning with some party leaders expressing their unhappiness with him. Shah’s programmes during his three-day stay include interaction with intellectuals, meeting religious leaders, state functionaries, legislators, MPs, and leaders of Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Tomorrow, he will take part in the Political Affairs Committee meeting of the party and visit Adi Chunchanagiri Math in Nagamangala in Mandya district and meet the seer, who is the religious leader of Vokkaligas, the second most powerful community in Karnataka. He will also meet Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. On the third day, Shah will address party “vistaraks” (volunteers) who had fanned out across the state to get feedback from the people.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DDA report on Yamuna floodplain restoration biased: Petitioner

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi Development Authority (DDA)-led three-member panel’s report on restoring Yamuna floodplains, that were damaged due to the Art of Living Foundation’s mega-event in March 2016, was not unbiased and contrary to the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), petitioner Manoj Misra said in his objections on Friday.The petitioner has sought the constitution of an independent expert agency to prepare an action plan to restore the floodplains.A two-member bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar was hearing the matter on Friday. The bench agreed to hear the matter next on August 10.Last week, on the orders of the NGT’s principal bench, a DDA-led panel had submitted an action plan to restore the Yamuna floodplains. The NGT had directed DDA to prepare the action plan in consonance with the recommendations of an expert committee it had appointed earlier to assess the damage made to the floodplains.The petitioner claimed in his objections that the committee failed to comply with the directions of the NGT. It added that the observations of its report were contrary to the findings of the expert committee appointed by the NGT and not in accordance with the mandate of the NGT.During a brief hearing on Friday, the DDA informed the bench on Friday that it had complied with the orders of the tribunal and submitted an action plan. The bench said that the action plan was supposed to be on the basis of the expert committee.The petitioner’s objections pointed out that in the Tribunal’s March 9, 2016, order had also imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on DDA for its defaults and non-performance of statutory functions. Further, the order also said that the cost of floodplain restoration would be in proportion, as would be directed finally by the Tribunal.The DDA-led panel’s report, submitted last week, was in direct contradiction to the NGT-appointed expert committee’s report. While the NGT appointed committee said that wetlands were filled during the preparation of the event, the DDA report said there were no wetlands.The NGT had said that preparations for the Art of Living Foundation’s event to celebrate its 35th anniversary had damaged Yamuna floodplains. The expert committee it appointed has said that Rs 42 crore would be required to restore the floodplains.THE CASEPetitioner Manoj Misra claimed that the expert committee appointed by NGT failed to comply with its directions on probes on the damage caused to Yamuna floodplains by Art of Living’s programme.
He sought the constitution of an independent expert agency to prepare a plan to restore the floodplains

Delhi panel contradicts NGT, says AoL event wasn’t held on Yamuna wetlands

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There was no evidence of compaction of soil neither were any wetlands seen prior to and after the Art of Living Foundation’s event in March 2016 on the Yamuna floodplains, a Delhi Development Authority (DDA)-led three-member panel submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday. Last week, the NGT’s principal bench had directed the DDA to form a three-member committee and submit an action plan to restore the Yamuna floodplains. The Tribunal had also said that the action plan should refer to the recommendations of an expert committee it had appointed to assess the damage at the Yamuna floodplains.The three-member panel’s observations though, were directly in contradiction to the observations of the expert committee. “The land where the function of AoL was held is fully covered with grass along with some saplings and seedlings of various tree species here and there. This kind of grass and natural regeneration of seedlings is not possible on compacted soil. No significant size of wetland or water body was noticed by the committee in the area used by AoL,” the panel report said. It added that from Google Earth images, it was evident that no wetland or water body was seen prior to the event.The report of the three-member panel was prepared by Principal Commissioner, Horticulture, DDA, Chief Engineer, Irrigation Department, Delhi government, and Chief Engineer, Yamuna Irrigation Department, Uttar Pradesh.The NGT-appointed expert committee, though, had said in its report that wetlands were filled up during preparations for the event. “About 75 hectares were impacted due to levelling and consolidation and compacting…wetlands have to be de-silted and the compacted area has to be de-compacted,” the expert committee had said in April. They had said that Rs 42 crore was required for physical and biological rehabilitation of the floodplains.

AOL slams NGT report on destroying Yamuna floodplain area

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Art of Living (AOL) on Monday objected the report filed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the damage to the biodiversity of the Yamuna River. The AOL challenged the report filed by the expert committee, saying that it was filed without any evidence adding that it suffers from facts. AOL said that the committee report is bad and has exceeded the brief of the NGT. ?If at all, the jurisdiction has to be limited to restoration not rehabilitation,? AOL said. The matter has been adjourned till July 12 and the AOL has been asked to conclude their arguments on July 13. Earlier, the NGT pulled up the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and said that it will hold the local body responsible if any damage happened to the biodiversity of the Yamuna River as it was the former which allowed the Art of Living to hold an event around the bank of the water body. The NGT had also asked the DDA that how much time it will take to restore the environment around the Yamuna bank. Earlier, the DDA had twice refused the application of Art of Living seeking permission to hold the programme on Yamuna Bank but on the third request they gave a nod to the organization. The NGT also questioned the DDA why its officers did not act upon when Art of Living was violating the set rules and conditions in the wake of organizing their program.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Essel’s values are nation’s values: PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A colourful pageantry accompanying an evening of glitz and glamour marked the 90th anniversary of the Essel Group here at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.The function was graced by President Pranabh Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several cabinet ministers and the crème de la crème of the national capital.While Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani recounted her association with Zee Media, a subsidiary of Essel Group, President Mukherjee asked the group to continue looking at new dimensions. “You should be young at 90 and you should continue with youth energy in looking at new dimensions of the job in which you are engaged in,” he said. The event was moderated by Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary.Referring to WION, an English news channel which the Essel Group launched on Sunday to back India’s image as a soft global power, Mukherjee said that objectivity was essential in news. He said that being anti-establishment was not always healthy. “There are positives in society that media must take note of. If there is any individual or any institution that has a tremendous impact on society, it is the media,” he added.Earlier, PM Modi described the Essel Group as an epitome of Indian culture, where family values run supreme, referring to the four generations of the group, who were on stage.Recalling his association with the family when he used to have meals at their house, the PM said that their journey was an association with economic development. “Their is a flexibility in the family and they accept new ideas,” he said, referring to the group’s expansion from traders of pulses and rice to modern fields. “They have expanded themselves from soil to satellite. They have been able to present themselves in the form of a social entrepreneur. Only the baniya will understand that this is also a business,” he said to the laughter of the audience.He hoped the group will address in a scientific way the shortage of natural resources. Modi said that his initiative of Swachh Bharat has also brought ideas of investment and resoruces. “Waste to wealth is a belief that is gaining momentum,” he added.He lauded Essel Group’s new schemes announced on Sunday. An amount of Rs 5,000 crore was set apart for social work by the family. The PM particularly lauded Dr. Subhash Chandra for Ekal vidyalayas (one teacher, one school). He said that there are 42,000 such schools already in the country. “This family plays a huge role in running those schools. I want to request everyone to do something for the country so that we have something to boast about by 2020,” he added.A stunning performance by artists from the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champ show was another attraction. Children who performed at the Dance India Dance (DID) show also regaled the audience, featuring a variety of cultural and international dance styles.Starting from a grain market in Mandi Adampur, set up by Jagan Nath Goenka with his brothers in 1926, the Essel Group has become a multi-billion dollar business conglomerate with diverse interests – in media, entertainment, packaging, infrastructure, education, precious metals, finance and technology.The Essel Group’s media business offers a strong portfolio of numerous entertainment and news channels, reaching millions of viewers in India and internationally. Zee is considered one of the strongest Indian media brands across the world and the Living Entertainment Network through its ‘Living’ brand is devoted to showcasing healthy lifestyle and wellness programming and related content across multiple media platforms globally.Essel’s print venture, DNA, is a classic example of responsible journalism. Essel’s distribution arms – Dish TV and SITI Network Limited – with their vast reach across the country provides quality viewership experience to millions of subscribers and is well poised to take advantage of the mandatory digitisation of distribution platforms in the country.Rs 5,000-cr fund for India: Dr ChandraThis initiative will benefit. It will create capacity-building in society to take on their problems and tackle them. We four brothers are giving a share of our profits to the PM – pledging Rs 5,000 crore and officially inaugurating this DSC foundation.
I am happy to tell you all that in a place like Muzaffarpur, Bihar, we have managed to provide electricity 24 hours and cut down losses from 70 to 30 per cent.
We know that water is going to be a huge problem. In Maharashtra, we will be able to give 24X7 water without burdening consumers.
Solid waste is a big reason to worry. In the last 101-12 years, many companies tried to solve the problem. We have developed a waste-to-energy plant in Jabalpur.
Another initiative, Army behind Army, was announced to honour the wives of soldiers. THREE INITIATIVESDr Chandra announced a Rs 5,000 crore fund for capacity-building aimed at encouraging start-ups.
Sarathi, a media initiative, will provide a platform to people to call and air their problems and get advice.
We’ve started a project for people who have not been able to go to school under Right to Education, he said.

AOL row: Don’t make sweeping comments on experts, NGT raps DDA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal today rapped the Delhi Development Authority for casting aspersions on the findings of its expert committee on damage caused to the Yamuna flood plains because of the three-day cultural event organised by Art Of Living (AOL).A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar took exception to the submission of the counsel for DDA, who questioned the conclusions of the seven-member expert panel.”It is not fair. You cannot make sweeping comments on people who have devoted their life to environment. We are warning you people that if anybody passes strictures, we will not hesitate to take action against them,” the bench said.
ALSO READ Yamuna damage: NGT issues contempt notice to Art of Living’s Sri Sri Ravi ShankarThe DDA counsel said he did not intend to cast aspersions and was just questioning the basis of the findings and technology used by the experts panel.Earlier, an expert committee had told the NGT that a whopping Rs 42.02 crore would be required to restore Yamuna floodplains which was ravaged due to a cultural extravaganza organised by AOL last year.

Fadnavis hails Art of Living’s work in water conservation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis today hailed spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar-led Art of Living’s contribution in making villages drought-free in the state through its water conservation projects. “Until good thoughts translate into action, they do not mean much. Guruji through the Art of Living, has taught people the way in which spiritual wealth can be gained,” Fadnavis said. The chief minister was speaking at an event organised by the foundation in neighbouring Navi Mumbai. “The biggest problem today farmers are facing is of water scarcity and irrigation facilities. The state government, through its ‘Jalyukya Shivar’ programme has made 5,000 villages drought-free, and aims to make 1,000 villages drought-free by next year and 20,000 by year 2019,” he said. Fadnavis said in the whole exercise, the largest share of work done has been by AOL volunteers, who used scientific, water shed approach to desilt nullahs, thereby making water available for farmers. “The AOL has done unprecedented work in water conservation in Maharashtra. The confidence with which its volunteers are doing work, I am sure by 2020, Maharashtra will become drought free,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

AOL spokesperson denies reports of receiving contempt of court notice

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Maintaining the same stand of not receiving a contempt notice from the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Art of Living (AOL) spokesperson Jaideep Nath said it is a factually incorrect statement, adding, the case should be discussed on its merits. Nath said one should get down to the core facts of the case and debate in the court for the truth to prevail. ?This is a factually incorrect statement. There is no contempt that has been issued right now. In fact, we would be happy if the case is discussed on its merit and technical grounds, rather than moving such frivolous applications,? Nath told ANI. The AOL spokesperson further said that all the necessary permissions from the relevant departments had been sought well in time and then the preparations were started. ?The petition that has been filed, was first regarding the potential then subsequently the alleged damage that this event may have caused to the Yamuna floodplain and that is what is the core issue which is currently been taken up at the NGT,? he said. Earlier yesterday, the AOL denied receiving a contempt notice from the NGT. “No notice whatsoever has been issued by the NGT to AOL or Sri Sri. Media reports to the contrary are absolutely false and baseless,” the AOL said in a statement. Earlier, it was reported that the green tribunal had issued a contempt of court notice to Sri Sri for his April 18 statement that says, “If, at all, any fine has to be levied, it should be levied on the Central and state governments and the NGT itself, for giving the permission. If the Yamuna was so fragile and pure, they should have stopped the World Culture Festival”. A contempt plea against Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was moved in the NGT on Wednesday by Manoj Mishra. The statement further read, “This is the second time we have been misrepresented. Last time as well the court never even once mentioned the name of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as reported by some media. In fact, the court turned down every request put up by petitioner Manoj Mishra.” The AOL called upon the media houses that have wrongly reported that “a contempt notice has been issued to produce the Order (of the Hon’ble NGT) on the basis of which they have published such a statement”. It is alleged that the AOL event on March 11-13, 2016, had badly damaged the environment. The NGT had imposed an interim environment compensation of Rs 5 crore on the AOL till the exact cost of the damage was ascertained.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

NGT issues contempt notice to AOL’s Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal today issued contempt notice to the Art of Living foundation’s Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on a plea against him for blaming the Centre and the panel for damaging Yamuna floodplains by allowing his NGO to hold a cultural extravaganza. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notice to Ravi Shankar while seeking his reply before May 9, the next date of hearing. The plea filed by activist Manoj Misra has sought action against Ravi Shankar and said his remarks interfered with with free and fair dispensation of justice. In a statement published on the AOL’s website, Ravi Shankar had blamed the government and the NGT for permitting AOL to hold the function and said his foundation had obtained all necessary permissions, including from the green panel, and the event could have been stopped in the beginning itself if the river was so “fragile and pure”. In the plea filed through advocates Ritwick Dutta and Rahul Choudhary, Misra said the AOL head was “in the habit” of making statements to “denigrate the dignity and status of this tribunal, which was an interference in the fair dispensation of justice”, that is the bedrock of the rule of law.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Music, Yoga to de-stress Srinagar prison inmates

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When 30-year-old rape convict Mudasir Ahmad Ganai got himself dressed as a woman to perform Bacha-e-Nagma (Kashmiri dance) inside the high-security Srinagar Central Jail, the inmates were initially bemused. Soon they too joined in chorus, shaking a leg with Ganai, leaving behind the tension and stress of prison life.Ganai has been lodged in Srinagar prison for past four years after convicted on charges of rape and kidnap, under section 376 and 364 of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC). A father of two, Ganai’s has been a life full of tension and tribulations.Thanks to Art of Living Prison Smart Programme, Ganai is feeling now freed of stress, and is admired among fellow inmates for his dancing skills. “I was unable to concentrate… was feeling sleepless. Thoughts of my children crossed my mind every now and then, making me restive. But after this programme, I have started looking at life from a different perspective. Now I am feeling better and having a sound sleep,” he said.Nearly 80 prisoners participate in the Prison Smart Programme where the inmates were taught Yoga and Sudarshan Kriya to de-stress themselves and start loving the life again.”They have to come out of it… Once de-stressed they will be able to focus, reflect on own life,” said Aurnima Sinha, head, Art of Living Prison Smart Programme here.From under-trials to history-sheeters to murder convicts to rape convicts, the prisoners line up in sprawling grounds of the jail to perform Yoga as soothing musical notes play in the background. The highlight of the programme was the musical show by the inmates. Inmates danced on the popular Kashmiri numbers. “I learnt this skill in the jail itself,” said one of the inmates who was the vocalist of the troupe.Superintendent of Central Jail Srinagar Hilal Ahmad said there 400 prisoners lodged there currently and around 80 inmates participated in the programme, “which was a huge success”.”Inmates are stressed out. They were suffering from insomnia. So we wanted to reform, de-stress them. We are also imparting vocational training for them so that they can eke out a livelihood once out of jail,” he said.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s statement on Yamuna riverbed damage ‘shocking’ NGT

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday said that charges of a bias report on damage to the Yamuna riverbed leveled by spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on them is ?shocking?. Speaking on the issue, the green panel slammed the Art of Living (AOL) and said that the organisation has no sense of responsibility. ?You have no sense of responsibility. Do you think you have the liberty to say whatever you want?? said the NGT to AOL. The NGT bench asked the petitioner Manoj Mishra to file an application with details of statement so that the court can take the issue on record. The next date of hearing has been scheduled for May 9. Earlier in the month, after the NGT stated that spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AOL) was responsible for destroying the Yamuna floodplain during the ‘World Culture Festival’, the foundation cried foul while terming it to be a ‘conspiracy.’ The foundation also asserted that its legal team will study the NGT report and decide on the future course of action. “The report has been leaked to the media once again even as we were getting hold of our copy. This was expected from them as their malfide intentions to malign us, has been evident since the beginning,” said Kedar Desai, the spokesperson of The Art of Living. In a statement, Desai also said that the NGT’s expert committee, which was supposed to be non-interested parties to the case and were to act as the eyes and ears of the judges, have given biased interviews in public while the case is sub-judice. “How come Shri CR Babu who is one of the senior-most member of the Committee gave a media interview maligning The Art of Living by concluding that WCF had caused damage even before any assessment was done. This shows bias beyond doubt,” he added. The NGT appointed Committee of Experts earlier found the AOL foundation responsible for destroying the entire Yamuna floodplain area used by the foundation for its event during the ‘World Culture Festival’ earlier in March 2016. The expert panel told the NGT that the rehabilitation of Yamuna floodplains destroyed by AOL’s ‘World Culture Festival’ will cost Rs. 13.29 crores and take almost 10 years. The green panel had last year allowed the AOL to hold the three-day ‘ World Culture Festival’ on the Yamuna flood plains but following the event the former slapped a fine of Rs. 5 crore as interim environment compensation on the foundation for damaging biodiversity of the ecologically sensitive floodplains.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

NGT to continue hearing on plea on damage to Yamuna floodplains today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday will continue to hear plea alleging environmental degradation on Yamuna floodplains due the World Culture Festival, which was organised last year. Earlier in the month, after the NGT stated that spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AOL) was responsible for destroying the Yamuna floodplain during the ‘World Culture Festival’, the foundation today cried foul while terming it to be a ‘conspiracy.’ The foundation also asserted that its legal team will study the NGT report and decide on the future course of action. “The report has been leaked to the media once again even as we were getting hold of our copy. This was expected from them as their malfide intentions to malign us, has been evident since the beginning,” said Kedar Desai, the spokesperson of The Art of Living. In a statement, Desai also said that the NGT’s expert committee, which was supposed to be non-interested parties to the case and were to act as the eyes and ears of the judges, have given biased interviews in public while the case is sub-judice. “How come Shri CR Babu who is one of the senior-most member of the Committee gave a media interview maligning The Art of Living by concluding that WCF had caused damage even before any assessment was done. This shows bias beyond doubt,” he added. The NGT appointed Committee of Experts earlier found the AOL foundation responsible for destroying the entire Yamuna floodplain area used by the foundation for its event during the ‘World Culture Festival’ earlier in March 2016. The expert panel told the NGT that the rehabilitation of Yamuna floodplains destroyed by AOL’s ‘World Culture Festival’ will cost Rs. 13.29 crores and take almost 10 years. The green panel had last year allowed the AOL to hold the three-day ‘World Culture Festival’ on the Yamuna flood plains but following the event the former slapped a fine of Rs. 5 crore as interim environment compensation on the foundation for damaging biodiversity of the ecologically sensitive floodplains.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Yamuna: Delhi water minister mocks findings of expert panel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra today mocked the findings of an expert panel that the world culture festival ravaged the Yamuna floodplains, asserting that the event should be held again and “only on its banks”. He invited Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who had organised the cultural extravaganza last year, for holding the event again. Unfazed by the alarming contents of the report, including that the restoration of the floodplains may take up to 10 years, Mishra said the festival should be organised on the banks of the Yamuna “again and again”. “It is almost as if Dolphins used to swim in the Yamuna before the world culture festival. Tourists from all over the world used to come marvel at it. At that point Sri Sri came and poured gutters into the pristine river. He damaged it so much that it will take 10 years to restore it,” Mishra wrote. Yamuna’s dissolved oxygen (DO) level, that supports aquatic life, has plummeted to zero at different points in the river’s journey through the national capital, a Delhi Pollution Control Committee study found last year. Based on his “12 years of Yamuna activism”, he hit out at people “who believe” that the river can be revived by “keeping it untouchable”. “History says whenever people and societies are linked to rivers, festivals are organized, rivers remain clean and pristine. “My take is that world culture festival should be held only the banks of the Yamuna. Again and again. I reinvite Shri Shri for holding the event again,” he said. A whopping Rs 42.02 crore would be required to restore Yamuna floodplains which was ravaged due to the festival, an expert committee has told the National Green Tribunal. The expert panel has suggested that there would be two components of rehabilitation plan — physical and biological, and they would cost Rs 28.73 crore and Rs l3.29 crore respectively, besides additional ancillary expenses.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

NGT panel recommends Art of Living pay Rs 42 crore for damaging Yamuna floodplains

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Yamuna floodplains, damaged during the Art of Living (AoL) foundation’s 2016 World Culture Festival, will require “physical and biological” rehabilitation at an estimated cost of Rs 42 crore and may take ten years to complete, a National Green Tribunal (NGT) appointed expert panel said in its report. The panel has recommended to the Tribunal that this ecological restoration cost can be divided between AoL and other agencies.As per the report, reviewed by DNA, approximately 170 hectares of floodplains, on either side of the Yamuna, have been adversely impacted ecologically at varying magnitude. This has happened due to compaction of floodplain, filling up of water bodies, construction of temporary stage, ramps, access roads and blocking of Yamuna’s side channel.To fix this, the committee has recommended physical restoration worth Rs 28.73 crore, by way of desilting and clearing wetlands, which they said were filled up during the preparations for the World Culture Festival and were partially destroyed as a result. The report stated that “about 75 hectares were impacted due to levelling and consolidation and compacting…wetlands have to be desilted and compacted area has to be decompacted.” Along with it, the biological component of rehabilitation will involve introduction of macrophytes, submerged and floating aquatic plants and creation of sustainable biological communities.”The suggested action plan…needs to be implemented at the earliest, so that the benefit of the next rain is obtained in the area. The physical component should be completed in two years’ time…biological component should be accomplished over a period of 10 years,” the report said.The seven-member committee, that prepared the report, was headed by senior bureaucrat Shashi Shekhar, who was the then Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. Nitin Labhsetwar, Prof AK Gosain, Prof Brij Gopal, Prof AA Kazmi, Prof CR Babu and Rajinder Mohan Liberhan were the other members of the panel. In October 2016, NGT had directed the panel to study the environment damage and degradation caused due to the event and environmental compensation payable for restoration of floodplains.AoL, though, had already objected the composition of the committee and called it biased. It had also sought constitution of a fresh committee, which is still pending. Reacting to the expert panel’s report, the NGO said in a statement, “The expert committee members have given biased interviews in public while the case is sub-judice. Our legal team will have to study the basis of this new figure. The closeness of the petitioner with the expert Committee members was not disclosed to us when the Expert Committee was appointed by NGT and went into the preparation of the report. Our legal team will study the report and decide on the appropriate future course of action.” The NGT is set to hear the matter on April 20.

Jharkhand govt to give land to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s AOL: CM Raghubar Das

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Raghubar Das on Friday announced that the state government would give land free of cost to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living to open a spiritual centre.Let the spiritual guru inspire the people to remove Jharkhand’s poverty, Das said while speaking at Ravi Shankar s programme, according to an official release here. “One’s development would happen only when one is physically, mentally and ideally strong and then the state would develop,” he said, adding it would be realised only with the inspiration of Ravi Shankar. Thw Spiritual leader called upon Naxals to join mainstream of society for the sake of Jharkhand s development and development of poor people. “If you are fighting for social justice and development of poor people shun bullet and adopt ballot, your mission would be fulfilled”, he said while addressing a gathering at Golf ground here this evening.”In Jharkhand naxal incidents have come down sharply. Hardly 10% have been left in state. I request naxals whosoever are left come to mainstream of society and contribute in proper utilization of Jharkhand s mineral resources for the development of state as well as for the uplift of poor people”, he said.

Happiness Department good initiative by MP government: Sri Sri

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Spiritual leader and founder of ‘The Art of Living’ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has lauded the constitution of Anand Department (Happiness Department) by the Madhya Pradesh government. “By constituting the Happiness Department, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has taken initiative to ensure a happy state of mind instead of finding joy through indulgence in worldly objects,” Ravi Shankar told a gathering at village Bakaner in Dhar district today. Sri Sri was participating in Jan-Samvad (Public Dialogue) organised during ongoing ‘Namami Devi Narmade – Sewa Yatra.’ During his address, Chouhan said this Yatra was being organised to highlight the importance of river Narmada’s conservation as it would save Malwa region from being converted into a desert. “This awareness campaign is also being run to prevent the Malwa region from being converted into a desert. We will take Narmada water to the entire region,” Chouhan added. Earlier, Chouhan performed Ma Narmada’s aarti at Semalda in Dhar district. Sri Sri was also present. ‘Namami Devi Narmade – Sewa Yatra’ started on December 11 last year from Amarkantak, the source of river Narmada. It will cover 1,831 km on southern bank comprising 548 villages/towns and 1,513 km on northern bank comprising of 556 village/towns, thus covering 3,344 km in 144 days. State government has been terming this ‘Yatra’ as world’s biggest river conservation campaign.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sri Sri holds spl meditation session for NDRF personnel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 600 personnel of the country’s premier disaster mitigation force, NDRF, today underwent a special meditation session at the Vigyan Bhawan here under the tutelage of Art of Living (AOL) founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The spiritual guru, as part of the special session on ‘Inner Strength and Disaster Resilience’, also delivered a ‘pep talk’ to the men and women of the force even as he fielded questions from them that ranged from stress to having an irritating boss. After holding a 15-minute meditation session, where the personnel were made to shake their hands and heads and take deep breaths, he asked the officials in uniform to practise “mental hygiene” in order to remain stress-free and happy. Regarding the irritating bosses, Ravi Shankar advised the NDRF men and women to see it as an opportunity to hone their communication and other skills, adding people in top positions should remember that stress travels from top to bottom and hence they should exhibit a cool behaviour. “I would prefer a difficult boss as by working under him ones’ personality shines and communication skills are enhanced….tougher the boss, the tougher will be your communication skills. You should consider this crisis as an advantage,” he said. The AOL founder added that the “biggest deficiency” of our education system is that it does not work for personality development and better communication skills. During the event, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the jawans and officers of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) like the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) work under strict timelines and hence get less time to rest. Indicating towards the recent incidents where jawans took to social media to air their grievances, Rijiju said “errors happen due to stress” but it is essential to have good mental fitness. He lauded the NDRF, which held the event as part of the celebrations to mark its 12th Raising Day few days back, as the “world’s most professional emergency force.” NDRF Director General R K Pachnanda said the session was planned exclusively for the troops of the force who continuously keep moving, from providing succour from one disaster hit area to the other as part of their charter and duties. The 12,000 personnel strong NDRF was raised in 2006 and works under the command of the Union Home Ministry.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Plea challenges NGT’s jurisdiction in AOL case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal, on Tuesday, sought responses from the Centre and Delhi government on a plea, that interestingly challenged the Tribunal’s own jurisdiction over religious and cultural events such as the Art of Living’s World Culture Festival, that was held on Yamuna floodplains last March. The principal bench, headed by chairperson Swatanter Kumar, also sought a response from original petitioner Manoj Mishra, who alleged that the Art of Living’s culture festival damaged the floodplains and wetlands.Prajanya Chowdhry, Anil Kapoor and Anand Mathur, followers of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living, have filed the plea before NGT. The plea states citizens right to practice religious and cultural practices are enshrined in the constitution, and the World Culture Festival, celebrated Indian culture and was blessed by religious leaders.”The Tribunal should decide its jurisdiction. The World Culture Festival was a religious and cultural festival and these events are covered under the country’s constitution. We have a tradition of celebrating festivals such as Chhath Puja and Kumbh Mela on river banks. If we are talking of Yamuna floodplains, the Delhi-Noida direct flyway was also built on it,” said Piyush Singh, the petitioner’s lawyer.The plea also sought to point out the superiority of other courts. “It is most respectfully submitted that power and authority to interpret provisions of the constitution only rests with the Supreme Court or various High Courts. It is submitted that National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, does not empower this Tribunal with the writ jurisdiction power of the High Courts and thus NGT is not competent to interpret the Constitution read along with any other law in operation,” it said.The matter will now be heard on February 22.

Bridge information deficit between Kashmir and rest of country, say RSS leaders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a two-day brainstorming session held at Bengaluru that concluded on Saturday Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders admitted existence of an information deficit between rest of country and Jammu and Kashmir. The session attended by top RSS brass including union minister Prakash Javdekar and deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Nirmal Singh called for bridging this gap and also to attend to the misinformation about rest of country inside Kashmir. Some 300 activists and scholars deliberated on the issues related to J&K.Union minister Prakash Javadekar announced that government will promote research and disseminate works of 11th century Kashmiri Pandit scholar Acharya Abhinavagupta. The minister declared him as the “greatest philosopher on earth”, whose contributions have been so far ignored by rest of country.”We have been the knowledge destination of the world, even thousands of years ago. Had there been a system of international ranking those days, Indian thinkers would have certainly bagged all the positions from 1st to 10th,” he said.The All India General Secretary of the RSS Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi, sniffed a conspiracy to present a distorted image of Kashmir to the world.Dr Singh said, “Jammu Kashmir is the land of Shakti, of Ma Vaishnodevi temple, Kheer Bhawani temple… It has been the land from where teachings on cultural values have emanated. We have to work towards making Kashmir the same land of knowledge, peace and awakening that it was,” Bhaiyyaji told the gathering.Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravishankar said ‘Om Namah Shivay’ chant connects India from Kashmir till Rameshwaram.The RSS Pracharak and member of the All India Executive Council Arun Kumar firmly believed that root cause of discourse on Kashmir was misinformation in Jammu and Kashmir and lack of information in rest of country.”So when there is lack of information, then perception is wrong and that leads to wrong decisions. And when decisions are wrong, their implementations cannot be right,” he said, stressing there was need to change the basic perspective about J&K.Significantly, he said country should free itself from all kinds of “isms” and should also free itself from the Left or Right Wing camps and set up a discourse based on facts, correct information and evidence. “This discourse will be in national interest, integrates the society and will be in our country’s interest,” Arun Kumar said.”There is a concerted effort by anti-India forces to polarize the people of Kashmir, especially the youth. Religious factors have nothing to do with this polarization. The recent turmoil is a case in point. The last three generations of Jammu Kashmir’s leadership have also continually misled the people of Kashmir. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of scope for creating a positive atmosphere in Kashmir.”

Gujarat: NGO organises marriage consultation for HIV+ people in Surat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Surat held a marriage consultation fair for HIV-positive people on Sunday.Gujarat State Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GSNP+), one of the few NGO’s offering consultation services for HIV-positive brides and grooms, has been reportedly organising the fair for the past nine years in Surat.Hundreds of people, who are otherwise socially ostracised, attended the programme in search of a suitable life partner.”Like every year, we organised the ‘Jeevansathi Pasandgi Mela’ or marriage consultation fair for HIV-positive youths and more than 300 persons have registered for it. HIV-positive people across Gujarat, who are looking for a marriage partner, are present here,” said Project Director of GSNP+, Daxa Patel.Owing to the higher proportion of infected men, prospective brides usually get a greater freedom in choosing their partners.The men walked up on-stage and formally introduced themselves, talking about their profession and income, in front of an audience comprising mostly of prospective brides and their family members.”We can choose the groom on our own and can talk to them. It is very good. I have also come here for my marriage so that I can get a good life partner and lead my life well,” said a female participant.India has the third-highest number of people living with HIV in the world, with 2.1 million. Indians accounting for four of every 10 people infected in Asia, according to a 2014 report by the United Nations.The country’s AIDS programme has been largely successful — estimates showed HIV prevalence during 2007-15 declining to 0.26 percent from 0.34 percent among adults, while annual HIV-related deaths declined by more than half to 67,000.

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