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Country going through troubled times… but it’s a temporary phase: Pranab

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New Delhi: Former President Pranab Mukherjee said the country is going through troubled times but it was a temporary phase as Indians will “tenaciously fight it in order to re-establish the country’s unique national identity — etched in our Constitution”. Mukherjee was speaking at the Christmas celebrations organised by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) in New Delhi.

“Divisive tendencies, intolerance and prejudiced ‘fear of the other’ seem to be defining us in place of the composite and yet diverse nation that we emerged in over 5000 years of co-existence, acceptance, adaptation and assimilation. However, it is my considered belief that this, like in the past, is a temporary phase,” Mukherjee said in his Christmas message.

On the growing intolerance, Mukherjee said the Constitution should be the only guiding ideology in the country as it was crucial for the growth of the country. “Our freedom to practice and propagate our religion, the freedom to set up educational institutions, to choose any occupation, all are important and they must be safeguarded. This is the bedrock of our democracy and the foundation for our strong growth… Constitutionalism, in its letter and spirit, should be our only guiding ideology.”

 

Mukherjee also highlighted the work carried out by the Church in India. “The most enduring image of the Catholic Church in India is the crores of Indians, who get educated in schools and colleges set up by the Church and millions of patients who get treated in the Holy Family Hospitals.”

Also at the celebrations were Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam, Justice (retired) Kurien Joseph, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and CBCI president Cardinal Oswald Gracias among others.


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National

Centre, Assam move SC seeking extension of deadline for final NRC

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New Delhi: The Centre and the Assam government on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking extension of the July 31 deadline for finalisation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The Centre told a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that India could not be the refugee capital of the world.

The Union and state governments also sought sample verification of the citizens included in the NRC, saying lakhs of people had been wrongly included in areas bordering Bangladesh due to involvement of local officers.

 

The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published on the intervening night of December 31, 2017 and January 1, 2018 in accordance with the top court’s direction. Names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated then.

Assam, which had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC which was first prepared in 1951.

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Maya targets BJP, asks it to make public its source of funds during polls

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New Delh: BSP chief Mayawati on Friday targeted the BJP asking it to make public the source of funds received by it during elections and alleged that it could not tolerate when people of deprived sections progressed in business.

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s remarks came a day after the Income Tax Department attached a ‘benami’ commercial plot worth Rs 400 crore in Noida belonging to her brother and his wife.

She asked the BJP to make public the source of Rs 2,000 crore it allegedly collected during elections.

 

“Everybody knows that during elections the BJP got Rs 2,000 crore in its accounts. It is not clear who gave it the money and everyone wants to know its source. Is it benami?” she asked.

She alleged that votes of the poor and deprived were bought in the polls through these funds.

The BJP could not tolerate when people of the deprived sections progressed, especially in business, and used power and government machinery against them, she claimed.Their attempt to crush the voice of the deprived people would not succeed, Mayawati said, adding that her supporters should not think that when she was not spared, what would happen to them.

She said that before pointing a finger at others, the party should introspect.

“If they think they are Harishchander (honest) they should hold a probe about the wealth of their people before and after coming into politics,” she said.

The provisional order for the attachment of the seven-acre plot, beneficially owned by Anand Kumar and his wife Vichiter Lata, was issued on July 16 by the department’s Delhi-based Benami Prohibition Unit (BPU).

Mayawati recently appointed her brother Kumar as national vice president of the BSP.

Benami properties are those in which the real beneficiary is not the one in whose name the property has been purchased.

The plot, where a five-star hotel and other luxury facilities were planned to be created, is registered at no 2A, Sector 94, Noida, in UP’s Gautam Budh Nagar district, part of the National Capital Region.

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3 men beaten to death over suspicion of cattle theft in Bihar

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Saran: Two men were beaten to death by locals after suspecting the duo to be cattle thieves in Baniyapur in Saran district on Friday morning, police said.

Villagers claimed that three persons came to steal cows. However, when they tried to catch them, one of the men managed to flee.

“The duo was beaten up by the villagers in a fit of rage. Investigation in the case is underway,” the police said.

 

The bodies of the deceased have been sent for postmortem.

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