Archive for ‘Uttar Pradesh’

11/04/2019

India election 2019: Voting begins in world’s largest election

Indians have begun voting in the first phase of a general election that is being seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Tens of millions of Indians across 20 states and union territories are voting in 91 constituencies.

The seven-phase vote to elect a new lower house of parliament will continue until 19 May. Counting day is 23 May.

With 900 million eligible voters across the country, this is the largest election ever seen.

Some observers have billed this as the most important election in decades and the tone of the campaign has been acrimonious.

Mr Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a historic landslide in the last elections in 2014. He stakes his claim to lead India on a tough image and remains the governing BJP’s main vote-getter.

But critics say his promises of economic growth and job creation haven’t met expectations and India has become more religiously polarised under his leadership.

The BJP faces challenges from strong regional parties and a resurgent Congress party, led by Rahul Gandhi. Mr Gandhi’s father, grandmother and great-grandfather are all former Indian prime ministers. His sister, Priyanka Gandhi, formally joined politics in January.

Modi at a rally in Meerut
Image captionMr Modi has made national security a key election issue

How has voting gone so far?

The Lok Sabha, or lower house of parliament has 543 elected seats and any party or coalition needs a minimum of 272 MPs to form a government.

Hundreds of voters began to queue up outside polling centres early Thursday morning. In the north-eastern state of Assam, lines of voters began forming almost an hour before voting officially began.

Voters at one polling booth in Baraut – in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh – got a royal welcome with people greeted by drums and a shower of flower petals.

A little boy clutches his father outside a polling booth in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh stateImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image caption A little boy clutches his father outside a polling booth in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh state

In central Chhattisgarh state, suspected Maoists detonated an IED device near a polling booth at around 04:00 local time (23:30 BST) – no injuries were reported.

The mineral-rich state has witnessed an armed conflict for more than three decades and attacks by Maoist rebels on security forces are common. On Tuesday a state lawmaker was killed in a suspected rebel attack.

How big is this election?

It is mind-bogglingly vast – about 900 million people above the age of 18 will be eligible to cast their ballots at one million polling stations. At the last election, vote turn-out was around 66%.

More than 100 million people are eligible to vote in the first phase of the election on Thursday.

An official checks the names of Indian lambadi tribeswomen at a polling station during India's general election at Pedda Shapur village on the outskirts of Hyderabad on April 11, 2019.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image caption Indian lambadi tribeswomen at a polling station in southern India

No voter is meant to have to travel more than 2km to reach a polling station. Because of the enormous number of election officials and security personnel involved, voting will take place in seven stages between 11 April and 19 May.

India’s historic first election in 1951-52 took three months to complete. Between 1962 and 1989, elections were completed in four to 10 days. The four-day elections in 1980 were the country’s shortest ever.

Source: The BBC

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18/03/2019

Mayawati snubs Congress over its 7-seat offer, says don’t create confusion

The BSP leader’s statement came a day after the Congress said it was leaving seven of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh for the SP-BSP combine

LOK SABHA ELECTIONS Updated: Mar 18, 2019 14:38 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Mayawati,Bahujan Samaj Party,Samajwadi Party
Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati has said that the SP-BSP combine was strong enough to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh and that they did not need the support of the Congress.(PTI file photo)
Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati, in a strong snub for the Congress, said on Monday that the SP-BSP combine was strong enough to defeat the BJP in politically important Uttar Pradesh in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The BSP leader’s statement came a day after the Congress said it was leaving seven of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh for the SP-BSP combine, which recently formed an alliance and had left two seats – Rae Bareli and Amethi – for the Congress.
“The Congress is free to put up candidates in all Uttar Pradesh seats, our alliance is strong enough to defeat the BJP. The Congress should not create confusion about any alliance with us,” Mayawati tweeted.

She made it clear that the SP-BSP combine had no poll understanding with the Congress anywhere in the country. “Our supporters should not fall for doubts being created by the Congress,” the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh said.

Watch: Congress leaves 7 seats for SP, BSP and RLD in UP for Lok Sabha polls

LS polls: Congress leaves 7 seats for SP, BSP and RLD in UP
Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar announced that Congress will not be contesting on 7 seats in UP. Congress will leave those seats for the SP-BSP-RLD alliance in the state.

Minutes later, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a similar message saying the SP-BSP- RLD alliance in Uttar Pradesh was capable of defeating BJP. “Congress should not create any confusion,” he added.

The Congress had on Sunday announced that it would not be contesting Mainpuri, Kannauj and the seats from where BSP chief Mayawati and RLD leaders Ajit Singh and Jayant Chaudhary will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

At the press conference UPCC chief Raj Babbar said, “We are leaving 7 seats vacant for SP, BSP and RLD. These include Mainpuri, Kannauj, Firozabad and whatever seats Mayawati ji & RLD’s Jayant ji and Ajit Singh contest from. We will also give two seats to Apna Dal – Gonda & Pilibhit.”

Mayawati has time and again made it clear that her alliance has nothing to do with the Congress. A week back she had said: “It is being made clear again that the Bahujan Samaj Party will not have any electoral alliance with the Congress in any state.”

This drew a sharp retort from the Congress with its Uttar Pradesh unit spokesperson saying, “We don’t need her.”

Uttar Pradesh will go to polls in all seven phases starting April 11 and ending on May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.

Source: Hindustan Times

12/03/2019

Two dead after Chinese navy plane crashes

  • No other injuries reported following accident on southern island of Hainan
  • Military is currently intensifying training for pilots as it looks to strengthen capabilities

Mobile phone footage believed to be taken from the crash site. Photo: Handout
Mobile phone footage believed to be taken from the crash site. Photo: Handout
A Chinese navy plane crashed in Hainan province on Tuesday killing two crew members, the military said.
A short statement said the crash happened during a training exercise over rural Ledong county in the southern island province.
No one else was reported to have been injured after the plane hit the ground and the cause of the incident is being investigated.
Footage that purported to be taken from the crash site started circulating on social media after the accident.
Footage apparently taken at the crash site. Photo: Handout
Footage apparently taken at the crash site. Photo: Handout

The PLA’s official statement did not specify the type plane that crashed, although unverified witness account online said it was a twin-seat Xian JH-7 “Flying Leopard”.

The JH-7, which entered service with the navy and air force in the 1990s, has been involved in a number of fatal accidents over the years.

The country’s worst military air accident in recent years happened in January 2018. At least 12 crew members died when a PLA Air Force plane, believed to be an electronic reconnaissance aircraft, crashed in Guizhou in the southwest of the country.

Between 2016 and 2017, there were at least four accidents involving the navy’s J-15 “Flying Sharks”, one of them resulting in the death of the pilot.

Military commentators have previously said that China’s drive to improve its combat readiness, which includes the building of new aircraft carriers and warplanes, has resulted in a serious shortage of qualified pilots.

To fill the vacancies the Chinese military has started a major recruitment drive and intensive training programme for pilot pilots.

One unverified report said the plane that crashed was a JH-7 “Flying Leopard”. Photo. Xinhua
One unverified report said the plane that crashed was a JH-7 “Flying Leopard”. Photo. Xinhua

Currently China has one aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, in service, which can carry a maximum of 24 J-15s as well as other aircraft.

Meanwhile, the new home-grown carrier Type 001A will soon be commissioned, which is designed to accommodate to carry eight more fighters.

In addition, construction is believed to have started on another carrier that will be able to carry heavier and more advanced warplanes.

Chinese navy veteran warns training, not hardware is key to military preparedness
According to figures from the end of 2016, there were only 25 pilots qualified to fly the J-15 while 12 others were in training.
Most of the Chinese navy’s pilots have been redeployed from the air force, which is itself in need of more trained pilots.
This year the navy for the first time began a nation-wide programme to scout out potential pilots.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing legislative meeting in Beijing Feng Wei, a PLA pilot from the Western Theatre, said the military was currently intensifying its pilots’ training as increasing amounts of new equipment entered service.
“Personnel quality is the key to everything,” he added.
Source: SCMP
10/03/2019

We cannot keep suffering till eternity: PM Modi at 50th Raising Day CISF

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday praised the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) for playing a major role in ensuring the security of the country’s national assets.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday praised the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) for playing a major role in ensuring the security of the country’s national assets.

At the 50th Raising Day ceremony of the central armed police force, the PM pointed at the threat from Pakistan.

“Enough is enough,” he said, while referring to the terror attacks in Pulwama and Uri, adding, “We cannot keep suffering till eternity.”

The PM said that protecting nation is a challenging thing because of the hostile neighbour.

“Your achievement is important because when neighbour is hostile, incapable to fight war, conspiracies to hit the nation internally find a safe haven there, and terrorism shows its face in different forms then protecting the nation becomes challenging,” said the PM.

He acknowledged that providing security to establishments where lakhs of people come daily is a task that is incomparable to any.

“The task of providing security to an establishment where over 30 lakh people come daily and every face is different is far more than security to a VIP,” he said at the golden jubilee ceremony in Indirapuram in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad.

The PM added that there was a need to spread awareness among the public regarding the security aspect.

“There is a need to educate the citizens because if they do not cooperate then the task of CISF becomes even more difficult,” he said.

Recalling the services of the CISF in the rescue efforts following the Kerala floods, the PM said that the force has given an invaluable contribution in tackling natural calamities and humanitarian crises in India and abroad.

“Your contribution in natural calamities is praiseworthy. You saved the lives of thousands in the recent Kerala floods,” he said, adding, “CISF has also played its role whenever humanity has come under threat in the world.”

Before addressing the CISF personnel, the PM laid a wreath at the Martyr’s Memorial.

He also reviewed the parade of the CISF and presented the Police and Fire Service Medals for distinguished and meritorious services.

The event was attended by Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh, Ministers of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Hansraj Gangaram Ahir.

Raised in 1969, the CISF has currently over 1.5 lakh personnel who provide security to vital installations of the country, including 61 airports, seaports, Delhi Metro and various state-owned industries.

Source: The Statesman
08/03/2019

PM Modi condemns attack on Kashmiri vendors in Lucknow, says UP govt took prompt action

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday condemned in strong words the attack on a group of Kashmiri merchants in Lucknow by a group of right-wing men, assuring that those behind the attack will be dealt with sternly by the Uttar Pradesh government.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday condemned in strong words the attack on a group of Kashmiri merchants in Lucknow by a group of right-wing men, assuring that those behind the attack will be dealt with sternly by the Uttar Pradesh government.

Addressing a rally in Kanpur, located 80 kilometres from Lucknow, the PM said, “Desh mein ekta ka vatavaran banaye rakhna bahut ahem hai. Lucknow mein kuch sirphire logo ne hamare Kashmiri bhaiyon ke sath jo harkatein ki thi uss par UP sarkar ne turanth karwayi ki (There is an environment of unity across the country. (But) Some crazy people in Lucknow attacked our Kashmiri brothers. The UP government has taken prompt action on them),” he said.

“I will also urge other state governments to take strict action whenever wherever they try to do such an act,” PM Modi added.

On 6 March, two Kashmiri street vendors were attacked by a group of men from a fringe right-wing group on a busy road in the Uttar Pradesh capital.

In a video shot by one of the accused, the men clad in saffron shirts were seen with sticks in their hands and thrashing the vendors. The men were heard saying that they were assaulting the vendors because they were from Kashmir. The vendors were rescued after several locals intervened.

As the video of the incident went viral on social media, the BJP and the state government came in for severe criticism from across the political spectrum.

The police arrested a man identified as Bajrang Sonkar. An FIR has been registered against unidentified men.

Read More: 2 Kashmiri vendors beaten up by fringe right-wing members in Lucknow; 1 arrested

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, too, condemned the incident and requested chief ministers of all the states to protect and love Kashmiri students.

“I want to convey a message to the entire country. I heard of a few incidents against Kashmiri children. Kashmiris are, were and will remain our people,” Rajnath Singh said.

Earlier on February 20, two Kashmiri shawl vendors claimed they were beaten up and called “stone pelters” by unidentified men on a train, forcing them to cut short their business trip to Rohtak.

The incidents come amid reports of some Kashmiri people claiming they were being targeted in many parts of the country in the aftermath of the February 14 terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama that left over 44 personnel dead.

Source: The Statesman
11/02/2019

“It’s like Indira’s come back”: India’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty rolls on

LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) – Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the latest entrant into politics from India’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, made her debut on Monday with a roadshow drawing thousands to see her in the most populous state, months before a general election due to be held by May.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi pulled a surprise last month by appointing his younger sister a party general secretary. She will also be its face in Uttar Pradesh, the state that sends the highest number of lawmakers to the lower house of parliament and is currently dominated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

But a string of BJP defeats in state elections late last year and rising discontent over a weak farm economy and lacklustre jobs growth have weakened Modi’s position, which an increasingly aggressive Congress is looking to capitalize on.

Congress hopes that the eyeballs she’s able to generate will turn into votes.

“It’s like Indira Gandhi has come back,” said Fuzail Ahmed Khan, 45, a Congress supporter. “The state’s farmers want Rahul Gandhi to be prime minister, Priyanka to be chief minister.”

Indira Gandhi, India’s only woman prime minister and known as the “Iron Lady”, was criticised for suspending civil liberties for nearly two years starting in 1975. The Hindu nationalist BJP calls Priyanka’s appointment an extension of Congress’s “dynastic politics”.

Posters of Priyanka lined the streets of the state capital, Lucknow, and hundreds of Congress supporters, accompanied by drummers, chanted her name as she emerged from the airport with her brother.

The siblings continuously waved at supporters from atop a bus and then later from an SUV during the drive from the airport to their state office.

At a stopover, Rahul Gandhi grabbed a microphone and said the appointments of Priyanka and lawmaker Jyotiraditya Scindia as state party leaders were aimed at beyond the general election and bringing Congress into power in Uttar Pradesh.

“If there is a heart of the country, it is Uttar Pradesh,” he said to loud cheers, Priyanka standing by his side. “They’re definitely focused on the parliamentary election but the aim also is to form a government in the state. We’ll bring a government of youth, poor and peasants.”

But it won’t be easy for the brother-sister combination in Uttar Pradesh, a poor state of 220 million people where two regional caste-based parties now compete for power with the BJP and Congress is only a marginal player.

The BJP won 73 of the 80 seats in the state in the last general election. BJP President Amit Shah said last week the party would win 74 seats there this year.

Although Priyanka has helped manage elections for her brother and her mother, former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, she has never held an official party post until now.

“I hope that we can together start a new kind of politics,” she said in an audio message shared by Congress, but she did not make a speech in Lucknow amid fears, political analysts say, she could overshadow her brother.

Since the announcement of Priyanka’s entry into politics, India’s financial crime-fighting agency Enforcement Directorate has questioned her husband, Robert Vadra, in a case relating to alleged ownership of 1.9 million pounds of undisclosed assets abroad. His lawyer and Congress have dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

Priyanka, who drew more 78,000 followers soon after joining Twitter on Monday and even before sending a single tweet, will spend three days in Lucknow meeting workers from more than 40 constituencies.

From 21 seats in the 2009 general election in Uttar Pradesh, Congress’ tally fell to just two in 2014.

Source: Reuters

11/02/2019

Priyanka Gandhi on stage, Rahul says time to win Uttar Pradesh back

Rahul Gandhi,Congress president,Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, party general secretary (incharge of east UP) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra during a roadshow from the Chaudhary Charan Singh airport to the UPCC headquarters in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday underlined his party’s ambitions in Uttar Pradesh saying the party cannot afford to be weak in the state.

‘Congress started in UP and it cannot stay weak here. Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiarditya Scindia will make Congress strong in UP again,’ Rahul said at headquarters in UP unit of the Congress in Lucknow at the end of a mammoth road show that his sister Priyanka launchedin her first visit to .the state sicne her appointment as c general secretary in charge of eastern U.P.

While the roadshow marked Priyanka’s formal entry into active politics, Rahul set his sight beyond the upcoming general elections to regain power in U.P.

‘Congress party has to form government in Uttar Pradesh.’

‘I respect Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, but Congress will fight with all its might in Uttar Pradesh,’ Rahul said.

The Congress won two Lok Sabha seats in U.P. in 2014.

“In every defence deal there is a clause against corruption.Narendra Modi scrapped the corruption clause to benefit Anil Ambani,” he said.

He also accused the Prime Minister of ignoring farmers and favouring industrialists.

The Congress has consistently attacked the Modi government for not addressing farm distress in the country and the issue was one of the main election planks for the grand old party in the recent assembly elections in five states.

Source: Hindustan Times

11/02/2019

Congress will fight to transform Uttar Pradesh, nation: Rahul Gandhi

Urging Congress workers to “transform UP”, Rahul Gandhi said that PM Modi’s “hollow promises of have come to light”.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

With an appeal to the people of Uttar Pradesh to bring the Congress to power at the Centre in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, party president Rahul Gandhi presented his party as the one that can bring a progressive government for farmers, Dalits, youth and the poor.

Addressing Congress supporters in Lucknow on Monday at the conclusion of a massive roadshow with Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, the 48-year-old Gandhi said that there is need to empower grassroot leaders to help bring the party to power and fulfil the aspirations of the people.

Slamming the BJP-RSS, Gandhi said, “This is an ideological battle. On one hand there is the Congress ideology of love, harmony and brotherhood. On the other, there is BJP-RSS ideology of dividing and weakening the nation.”

Urging Congress workers to “transform UP”, Gandhi said that PM Modi’s “hollow promises of have come to light”.

“Congress workers must fight this battle with issues that concern the youth, farmers. There is no dearth of issues. Congress party will fight to transform UP and the nation,” he added, while assuring the supporters that the party will “play on the front foot”.

Criticising Narendra Modi over the promises he made, Gandhi said that the youth of the country believe that the Prime Minister has failed to fulfil them.

“Uttar Pradesh has witnessed what Narendra Modi did for the last 5 years in the country. Youth are saying that Modi failed his promise to provide employment and benefited only people like Anil Ambani,” he said.

Attacking the NDA government and PM Modi over the Rafale deal, in which the Congress smells a scam, Gandhi cited a series of media reports stating that the Defence Ministry expressed its strong reservations to the “parallel negotiations” conducted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with France on the multi-billion dollar fighter jet deal and that the government removed the anti-corruption clause from the Rafale fighter jet defence deal.

“Modi had said that he has a 56-inch chest. He wants to be a ‘Chowkidar’. The truth has now surfaced that he conducted parallel negotiations in the Rafale deal. The clause that enabled investigation in case of corruption, was waived off by Mr. Modi,” he said.

Also Read | Defence Ministry objected to PMO role in Rafale deal, says report; Rahul Gandhi slams PM Modi 

Earlier today, Gandhi had accused PM Modi of “facilitating loot” in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France.

“Every defence deal has an anti-corruption clause. The Hindu has reported that the PM removed the anti-corruption clause. It is clear that the PM facilitated loot,” Gandhi told reporters outside the Andhra Bhawan in New Delhi where he came to support Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s protest against the Centre.

Read More: PM Modi facilitated loot in Rafale deal: Rahul Gandhi

“NoMo anti corruption clause. The Chowkidar himself opened the door to allow Anil Ambani to steal 30,000 crore from the IAF,” Gandhi tweeted from his official handle using his “chowkidaar chor hai” jibe at the PM while attaching a report.

The report, published by The Hindu, stated that just days before it signed the Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale fighter jets, the Centre had waived off critical provisions for anti-corruption penalties as well as overruled financial advisers’ recommendations for making payments through an escrow account.

Mega roadshow

Monday’s roadshow, which was witnessed by thousands in the city, marked the official entry of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into active politics.

Appointed Congress general secretary of Uttar Pradesh East last month by her brother, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is being seen by Congress loyalists as a fortune changer for the grand old party in electorally powerful Uttar Pradesh.

From onboard an open top bus, Priyanka Gandhi, her brother Rahul, Scindia and Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar were seen waving to a sea of supporters who had gathered to catch a glimpse of the leaders.

Read More: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra kicks off mega Lucknow roadshow with Rahul

The approximately 20-km long roadshow started from Amausi airport to the Nehru Bhawan office of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee located a Mall Avenue near Hazratganj.

Ahead of her visit to the state, a group of party workers geared up to work as her “army”, complete with a pink uniform that has her photo and a message. They call themselves the ‘Priyanka Sena’.

Earlier on Sunday, in a message to party supporters and voters, Priyanka Gandhi said she hopes to start a “new kind of politics” in which “everyone will be a stakeholder”.

“… I have hope in my heart that together we will start a new kind of politics, a politics in which all of you will be stakeholders — my young friends, my sisters and even the weakest person, all their voices will be heard,” said Gandhi through the Congress’s Shakti App.

While Priyanka will concentrate on 42 seats of eastern UP, Scindia will focus on 38 seats of western UP.

Priyanka’s first meeting is scheduled with the workers of the Mohanlalganj (reserved) constituency while the last interaction slated for Thursday will be with the workers of the Misrikh (reserved) Lok Sabha seat.

UP East also has Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Modi, and Gorakhpur, a stronghold of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Source: The Statesman
04/02/2019

Kumbh Mela: Millions of Indians bathe on most auspicious day

 

An aerial shot of pilgrims at Kumbh waiting to take a dipImage copyrightUTTAR PRADESH GOVERNMENT

The main day of bathing has been held at India’s Kumbh Mela, with tens of millions of pilgrims taking a dip at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers.

This is the most auspicious of six bathing days at the event, billed as the world’s biggest human gathering.

Hindus believe bathing at the rivers will cleanse them of their sins and help them attain “moksha”, setting them free from the cycle of birth and death.

The mela (meaning “fair” in Hindi) has been held in Allahabad city (recently renamed Prayagraj) in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh for centuries now. But it has grown into a mega event in the past two decades.

A Hindu pilgrim taking a dip at the Kumbh MelaImage copyrightANKIT SRINIVAS

The BBC’s Vikas Pandey, who is at the festival, said people had arrived from all parts of the country and had walked miles to take a dip. “Every street in the city leading to the mela grounds is flooded with people,” he said.

The bathing began at midnight with people chanting “hail mother Ganges”.

At dawn, visitors jostled to get a glimpse of the Akharas – different congregations of Hindu saints – who had started their procession.

A procession by a Hindu akhara congregationImage copyrightANKIT SRINIVAS

These processions are highly coveted as people line up to see holy men and women perched on top of heavily decorated floats.

“It is so crowded but everyone seemed excited, despite having walked long distances in the cold,” our reporter said.

Officials say more than 10 million people have already taken a dip and the number is likely to rise during the day.

Presentational grey line

Read more about the Kumbh Mela:

Presentational grey line

Avnish Tripathi, who had arrived from Madhya Pradesh state, walked for five hours from the outskirts of Allahabad city to reach the festival. “Once I got there, I had to wait for two hours to take a dip because of the crowds. But it was a magical experience and I didn’t feel tired at all,” he told the BBC.

Many other devoted pilgrims had walked more than 50km (31 miles) in the hope of taking a dip.

An aerial shot of pilgrims at Kumbh waiting to take a dipImage copyrightUTTAR PRADESH GOVERNMENT

“It has been nearly 12 hours since bathing began but the crowds haven’t thinned,” our reporter added.

The Naga sadhus are the biggest draw of the festival. Thousands of the Sadhus, naked and wearing garlands around their necks, charged into the river with swords and tridents in their hands.

They were escorted by the police as people watched from behind barricades.

Pilgrims walking to take a dipImage copyrightANKIT SRINIVAS

This year’s festival is an “ardh Kumbh” – a “half-size” version that falls mid-way between two Kumbhs – but there’s nothing diminutive about it. In fact, it’s much bigger than the last.

Source: The BBC

08/12/2018

Bulandshahr violence: Top police officer removed over UP cop killing after 6 days

Six days after an inspector and a civilian were killed in mob violence after cattle carcasses were found in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr, top police officer Krishna Bahadur Singh has been transferred to DGP Headquarters, Lucknow.

Sitapur Superintendent of Police, Prabhakar Chaudhary has replaced Singh and has been appointed as the Senior Superintendent of Police of Bulandshahr.

Two other police officials were also transferred in connection with the mob violence earlier this week.

Acting on a report submitted by the Additional Director General of Police SB Shiradkar, Circle Officer (CO) Satya Prakash Sharma and Suresh Kumar, the in-charge of Chingravathi police chowki, have been transferred “for their failure in responding in time to the situation arising on Monday in that area”.

A senior home department official said they have been taken to task for not being fast enough in reacting to the situation that arose after some Hindu right-wing activists found some animal carcasses in the field and took them on tractor trolleys to block a road.

Police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and the civilian from Chingravathi village, Sumit Singh, were killed in the mob violence thereafter.

The action was taken after a high-level meeting was presided over by the Director General of Police (DGP) OP Singh, who had handed over the report to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on his arrival from New Delhi.

Meanwhile, Yogi Adityanath has termed the Bulandshahr incident an “accident”. He had earlier said the incident was result of a “big conspiracy” but at a media event in Delhi on Friday, he said that the incident was actually an accident.

The police have so far arrested nine accused but the main conspirator Yogesh Raj, the district convener of the Bajrang Dal, remains at large.

Meanwhile, a soldier allegedly involved in the Bulandshahr firing was detained by his unit in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, Army sources said.

Jitendra Malik alias Jeetu Fauji was detained by the 22 Rashtriya Rifles in Sopore town.

A special investigation team (SIT) of the Uttar Pradesh Police is expected to reach Srinagar later to take him into custody. Earlier, a UP police team was sent to Jammu to arrest him.

Sedition is one of the 17 charges in the FIR in which 27 people have been named besides 50-60 unidentified people. They were allegedly involved in the violence that led to the killing of Inspector Subodh Singh and Sumit Kumar.

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