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Collective consciousness for new way ahead

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The word ‘Samvaad’ can be roughly translated as a ‘Conversation’. Typically, a conversation requires two or more parties – unless one is referring to a soliloquy or an intense reflection within oneself. I am keeping my fingers crossed as I plan to embark on one such inner journey.But, for now, if we wish to facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas, wisdom and worldviews that run the risk of being lost, we need to create spaces for such a healthy exchange, among dialogue, discussion and dissent. Spaces that put people at ease to express their perceptions and experiences, and concerns. Such spaces would facilitate intense listening, caring and sharing. Just as infrastructure development entails brick and mortar, nation-building requires the building blocks of dialogue, discussion and dissent leading to collective resolutions, breakthroughs and progress. This is important in a diverse country like ours. This collective consciousness can also help remove prejudices, build new bridges and instil hope and optimism.Last week, I got to taste the flavour of one such grand conversation or Samvaad, which was focused on tribal people across the globe. This saw the coming together of over 1,500 tribal men and women of about 100 tribal groups from 22 states of India and some from Australia, Canada, Zimbabwe, Laos and Kenya. Organised by Tata Steel in Jamshedpur, Samvaad has been a regular annual event, held from November 15, the birthday of the tribal hero, revered as Bhagwan Birsa Munda.‘Aspiration of Tribal Youth and Leadership for Future’ has been this year’s theme. Showcasing a variety of tribal handicrafts, medicine, cuisines, sports, art and culture, Samvaad has come to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for exchange across dimensions of tribal life and culture. Workshops on topics ranging from social entrepreneurship, malnutrition, environment, introspective theatre and livelihoods were also held with many practical insights on how to address these challenges in tribal communities and spawn new success stories.In keeping with the spirit of Samvaad, top musicians like Pt Nayan Ghosh, (Sitar), Pt Pushparaj Koshti (Surbahar), Pt Nityanand Haldipur (Flute) and Pt Ulhas Bapat (Santoor) ferried the participants in their inner journey and Samvaad, too, through meditative and contemplative music.While every aspect of this event had something refreshing, I particularly loved the simple yet powerful personal narrative of the legend, Tulasi Munda, affectionately called Tulasi Aappa from Keonjhar, Odisha. As she pranced up and down the stage, with her cloth bag slung across, the 70-year-old Padma awardee was as fiery as she was authentic, confident and compassionate. Inspired deeply by Vinoba, even though she was herself uneducated, she decided to educate tribal children with whatever she knew and learnt. She has educated thousands of underprivileged since 1964. ‘Give, give and give’ was her message. Whatever is given with good intention will empower the giver to give even more, she said with great faith. Following the message of Tulasi Aappa’s life, if each one of us made an inventory of what we can give, we ourselves would be amazed. We can increase the spirit and quotient of giving by liberally offering knowledge, skills, education, insights, information, art, craft or resources to those who need these. There is, perhaps, no one who cannot offer anything.Can we create spaces all around us for such conversations or ‘Samvaads’ to happen? Can we embark on this journey of giving to make a better world and spread the Joy of Giving and Living?

Encroachments in Ennore Creek threaten Chennai floods, again

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the North East Monsoon arriving in Tamil Nadu, a campaign seeking removal of encroachments from Chennai’s largest estuary Ennore Creek to avoid the repeat of December 2015 floods in the northern parts of the city has gained momentum.The creek drains Kosthalaiyar River into the Bay of Bengal and any obstruction could lead to a repeat of the 2015 floods when an overflowing Adyar river flooded southern Chennai while the Kosasthalaiyar inundated the northern parts.Activists claim that over a million people living in north Chennai are at risk, with industries including Kamarajar Port and Vallur Thermal Power Plant allegedly encroaching upon over 1,090 acres of wetland.”The Kosasthalaiyar River is far larger than the Adyar and Cooum rivers. The existing encroachments have drastically reduced the backwater area of Kosasthalaiyar in addition to blocking east flowing waters. Any further encroachment will result in floods that are far worse than the 2015 floods,” warned environmental activist Nityanand Jayaraman, who has been supporting fisherfolk in their campaign to save the Creek.He noted that by permitting further encroachments in Ennore Creek, the Centre and Tamil Nadu are making a bad situation worse.Ahead of the human chain organised to protect the creek from encroachment on Saturday, actor Kamal Haasan has tweeted in support of the campaign against the encroachment.Activist Pooja Kumar of the Coastal Resource Centre said despite complaining to the state government about the ongoing encroachment, Kamarajar Port is dumping dredged sea sand in Puzhuthivakkam and Athipattu villages to raise the level of the land to about 1.5 metres above flood level.She also alleged that Bharat Petroleum is constructing an oil terminal for which land-levelling has been completed.Kamarajar Port officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Bihar minister lashes out at mediapersons for not chanting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar BJP minister Vinod Kumar Singh has sparked a controversy after he taunted mediapersons, who did not chant ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ after him at an event, asking if they belonged to Pakistan. Later he expressed regret over the outburst when the state BJP president, Nityanand Rai, expressed displeasure over his remarks at the programme itself. Vinod Kumar Singh is the minister for mines and geology from BJP quota in the new Bihar government led by Nitish Kumar. While addressing a ‘Sankalp Sammelan’ of the party yesterday, Singh urged the gathering to chant ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’. But, when the minister found that mediapersons did not join the chorus, he stopped and asked if they were “sons and daughters of Pakistan”. “We all are sons and daughters of Bharat first and then a mediaperson,” he said. The minister, who is a BJP MLA from Pranpur in Katihar district, was speaking at the BJP function attended by Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, state party president Nityanand Rai and other ministers of the state. Rai, however, expressed displeasure over the minister’s remarks following which Singh, minutes before conclusion of the ceremony, expressed regret to mediapersons. The minister told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

More lynching cases on UPA watch: Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP President Amit Shah said on Sunday that more cases of mob lynching took place between 2011 and 2013 when the Congress-led UPA was in power than the three-year rule of the NDA at the Centre.Within hours, the Congress said Shah’s claims were false, and listed cases of mob lynching in the past 3 years since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office. The Congress claimed the number during 2011-2013 was “much less.””I do not want to compare and undermine the current incidents of lynching. I am also serious about them. But there have been more lynching incidents in 2011, 2012 and 2013,” Shah told a gathering of professionals in Goa.Shah’s remarks come after PM Modi on Thursday broke his silence over a wave of attacks on people accused of eating beef or slaughtering cows, saying killing in the name of “gau bhakti” was not acceptable.To a question on “growing apprehensions” across the country over the government’s apparent lack of effective action against the perpetrators, Shah said, “Do you know of any such incident where arrests have not been made? I do not have any answer to apprehensions… There is no apprehension anywhere in the country.”Indicating that incidents of lynching, being law and order issues, are a state subject, Shah, who is on a two-day visit to Goa, said that since the NDA came to power, questions are being raised differently.He said Mohammad Akhlaq was killed in UP when an SP government was in power and was responsible, but protests took place in Delhi against the Modi government. “Kya fashion hai,” he said.When a local remarked that “yeh beef ban Goa mein nahin chalega (this beef ban won’t work in Goa)”, Shah smiled and said, “Good you brought this up…. Media ko isme ras hai. The ban was imposed in 1976 by a previous government. The BJP never imposed beef ban in Goa. But no one put this question on beef ban to the Congress.”Meanwhile, Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said the government was rattled after President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday showed the mirror of truth, expressing concern at the growing incidents of “mob frenzy”.Releasing a list of 52 such incidents, claiming they took place over the past three years, he said that most accused were from the BJP and its affiliated organisations. “Yesterday, Nityanand Mahto, the media in-charge of BJP’s Ramgarh unit in Jharkhand, was arrested over last week’s mob lynching of a man. He instigated a mob; a video of the incident shows that he dragged the victim out of the van,” he said.In May, a similar incident took place in which Gautam Verma, his brother Vikas Verma, and their friend Gangesh Gupta were killed by a mob in the state, the Congress leader said.Even their 80-year-old grandmother was not spared and badly beaten by the mob, while the police looked on as mute spectators, he said.Statistics available from open sources suggest that 2 cases of mob lynching took place in 2014, 9 in 2015 and 20 in 2016. There have been 20 cases in 2017. The same sources suggest that 7 cases took place in 2011, 8 in 2012 and 14 in 2013.

Ramgarh lynching: Local BJP leader among 7 arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A local BJP leader was among the seven people arrested while one person surrendered in court for their alleged roles in the June 29 lynching of a meat trader in Ramgarh district.Ramgarh Superintendent of Police Kishore Kaushal said today that Nityanand Mahato, a BJP leader in Ramgarh, was arrested yesterday while another accused was nabbed the day before.One of the prime accused Chhotu Rana surrendered in the Ramgarh court yesterday.Five more persons were arrested today in connection with the incident in which the 40-year-old meat trader, a resident of village Manua in Hazaribagh district, was beaten to death by a mob on Thursday on suspicion that he was carrying beef in his vehicle, which too had been set on fire.In a joint press conference with Ramgarh Deputy Commissioner Rajeshwari B, the SP said that five of the seven arrests were made based on videos and photos.The police officer said the police would seek remand of Chhotu Rana, who surrendered in the Ramgarh court, adding that the police would also seek ‘kurki jabti’ (property attachment) for two named accused Deepak Mishra and Chhotu Verma, who are still absconding.The SP said apart from an SIT probe, a special team has been constituted to review the videos and photos which were circulated in the social media.The deputy commissioner said that prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC has been removed on a report from Sub-Divisional Officer Anant Kumar, who said the situation in Ramgarh district was normal.She said the SDO today visited the house of the deceased Md Alimuddin and handed over a cheque of Rs two lakh to the widow Mariam Khatoon at Manua village under Giddi police station of neighbouring Hazaribagh district.

More lynching incidents over beef eating, cow slaughter under

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under attack over lynch mobs killing those suspected of cow slaughter or eating beef, BJP chief Amit Shah has termed such incidents as “serious”, but claimed more of these were reported under the previous governments than during three years of NDA rule. He also insisted there was “no apprehension or fear” anywhere in the country in the aftermath of such incidents. “I do not want to compare and undermine the current incidents of lynching. I am also serious about it. But there have been more lynching incidents in 2011, 2012 and 2013,” Shah told a gathering of professionals in Goa last evening. “There have been more lynchings each year in the past, compared to the total lynching incidents that have happened during our three-year-long tenure,” the BJP leader said, without elaborating. The BJP-led government under Narendra Modi came to power at the Centre in May 2014. “Do you know of any such incident where arrests have not been made? I do not have any answer to apprehensions. There is no apprehension anywhere in the country,” he said, responding to a question about whether an environment of fear prevailed after mobs beat up people over alleged cow slaughter or beef consumption, often leading to their death. Noting that law and order was a state subject, Shah said when Mohammad Akhlaq was beaten to death at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh in September 2015 over suspicion of storing and consuming beef, the state had a Samajwadi Party government and it was its responsibility to prevent the incident. “But protests were held in Delhi in front of the Narendra Modi government. What is this fashion?” he asked. A string of such incidents have been reported from several states including BJP-rule Jharkhand, Haryana and UP, shocking the nation and prompting protests. Recently, a 15-year-old boy Junaid Khan was stabbed to death by a group of men on a train when he was returning home to Haryana’s Ballabh district after shopping for Eid. Junaid bled to death after a heated argument over seats turned violent. His assailants allegedly accused Junaid, his brother and friends of being beef eaters. In Jharkhand’s Ramgarh, a Muslim meat trader was beaten to death on Thursday by cow vigilantes who alleged he was carrying beef in his vehicle. Nityanand Mahto, a local BJP leader is among those arrested in connection with the incident.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP demands resignation of Bihar CM on topper scam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar BJP today demanded resignation of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on moral grounds on the re-run of topper scam for the second year in plus two examination in the state. Along with the chief minister, the state Education Minister Ashok Choudhary should also resign, state BJP chief Nityanand Rai told reporters here. Asked if the party would initiate action against Samastipur district BJP leader Jawahar Prasad Singh who is the founding secretary of the school from where the dubious Arts topper Ganesh Kumar appeared in the plus two examination, Rai said “I am not aware if he (Singh) is still associated with the party.” He, however, said the party favoured action against culprits irrespective of any consideration. Jawahar Prasad Singh unsuccessfully contested Bihar Assembly election on BJP ticket from Kalyanpur seat in Samastipur in 1985 and 1990. He held different position in the district unit of the party from 2000 to 2010.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Nitish govt has failed to utilise central funds: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar BJP President Nityanand Rai today criticised the Nitish Kumar government for its failure to spend funds, especially the central funds. “Development is hampered in Bihar due to the negligence of the state government which has been unable to spend funds properly especially the Central funds,” Rai told reporters here. “On the one hand the central government has been releasing funds for various development activities, while on the other the state government has not been able to spend it … We will not allow the neglect of central funds,” said Rai, who is a Lok Sabha member from Ujiarpur. Referring to the CAG report of 2015-16, he said that the report, which was tabled in the state legislature in March this year, is an eye opener as it says that the state government could not spend a single penny of the 182 developmental schemes and the government had to surrender the funds. It could spend Rs 32000 crore out of Rs 67,000 crore for various schemes, he said adding that the state government surrendered Rs 35,000 crore of the budget. “It is completely unjust and cheating the people if the government, that talks about development cannot spend funds. Such a government has no right to remain in power,” BJP president said. Stating that Centre had released Rs 94,906 crore for Bihar in the three years since 2015-16 apart from the state government’s share in central taxes, BJP leader said. “From today, BJP leaders and workers will visit every village of the state (Bihar) to tell the people about the achievements of Narendra Modi government in the past three years. We will also tell people about the failures of the state government. This exercise will continue till June 15,” he said. The Narendra Modi government will complete its third year in office tomorrow. Rai, who spoke about the schemes and measures launched by the Modi government in the past three years, claimed that Bihar had been hugely benefiited by the Mudra Yojana but refused to provide the numbers of people from Bihar who availed loans under it. Demonetisation, a major achievement of the government, hit black money and benami properties, he said adding that it also provided a slew of social security schemes under Atal Pension Yojana, PM Jivan Jyoti Bima Yojana, PM Suraksha Bima Yojana. Apart from providing LPG connection to poor families under Ujjwala Yojana, the Centre has set the target of electrifying all villages by 2018. “In Bihar only 319 villages are yet to be electrified. And this has happened because of Prime Minister Modi’s resolve in this regard,” he added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Lalu-Mafia tape: BJP demands Nitish’s resignation, asks him to take action against Lalu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP asked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to break his “eloquent silence” and take action against his ally Lalu Prasad over the purported telephonic conversation the latter had with jailed gangster Mohammad Shahabuddin.Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the RJD chief of breaking law by “shamelessly” hobnobbing with a man convicted of murder and accused in over 30 serious cases, saying the development was text book case of constitutional impropriety.”Nitish Kumarji, a crime has been committed. Are you going to launch criminal proceedings against your ally Lalu Prasad?” he asked at a press conference.
ALSO READ Lalu-Mafia tape: BJP demands explanation from Nitish Kumar, RJD blames Tihar jail authorities Bihar BJP President Nityanand Rai demanded Kumar’s resignation, saying the report has exposed the criminal- government nexus in Bihar.Prasad used the occasion to take a swipe at the opposition parties over their attempts to forge unity against the ruling BJP.”I want to ask the secular brigade which is working overtime to form an alternative. I will ask Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Yadav and Sitaram Yechury if they will compromise with such heinous crimes to expand their secular umbrella,” he said.A news channel today played purported telephonic conversation between Lalu and Shahabuddin, a four-time Lok Sabha MP and senior office bearer of the RJD, in which the Siwan leader is heard complaining against the local SP and asking him to take action. The RJD chief is then heard asking an aide to connect him to the SP, Prasad alleged.Lalu Prasad wields big influence in the Bihar government and Shahabuddin continues to “run” administration in Siwan and neighbouring areas, he said.Prasad said Shahabuddin was then in Siwan jail. The Supreme Court later ordered his transfer to Delhi jail following a petition from a Bihar-based parents whose three sons were killed, allegedly at Shahabuddin’s behest.The BJP leader noted that the jailed gangster is accused of murdering some Left leaders as well as he targeted its leadership over their attempts to ally with the RJD.Rai said the local administration officials in Bihar should be dismissed and Kumar should resign.”It has now become clear that Nitish is in alliance with people who are used to breaking the law. Action must be taken against Lalu Prasad,” he said.The incident has showed that Kumar can ally with any body to be in power and it was time for him to go.Prasad claimed that country’s polity was moving away from corruption and crime but the development showed leaders like Lalu Prasad continue to practice the same old politics

Hundreds of devotees to attend celebration of Nityanand

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Several hundreds of devotees of ISKCON Mayapur are expected to participate in the celebration of Nityanand Trayodasi scheduled at the temple compound tomorrow morning. The day is considered as the appearance day of Lord Nityananda and several devotees from corners of the globe are expected to participate in the fervent spiritual fervour. As per Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy it is believed that Lord Nityananda is first expansion of Lord Sri Krishna and an eternal associate of Lord Sri Chaitanya MahaPrabhu. The entire temple compound has been decorated with colourful flowers by hundreds of enthusiastic devotees. On Monday as a part of the celebrations, a bunch of 250 devotees from Sridham Mayapur have left for Ekachakra Dham, Birbhum district, which is the birth place of Lord Nityanand.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)