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US State Department official snubs Pakistani journalist’s question on BBC tax surveys

The Income Tax department on Tuesday conducted a survey at the BBC offices located in New Delhi and Mumbai.

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Pakistani journalist Jahanzaib Ali

The United States State Department shot down a Pakistani journalist’s query about the US response to the tax surveys conducted at BBC offices in Mumbai and Delhi by India’s Income Tax Department.

A Pakistani journalist Jahanzaib Ali working for the ARY news channel in Washington asked US State Department spokesperson Ned Price if the US had “any thoughts and concern” over tax surveys to which the official responded that the US was aware of the search of BBC offices in Delhi by Indian tax authorities.

The scribe then asked for the State Department’s response to the survey but Ned Price refused to wade into the controversy or comment on the matter. Ali, while citing the controversial two-part BBC documentary on PM Modi, said he “regretted” that no US official had criticized it.

However, in response, the US State Department official pointed out shared values and close ties between India and the US over.

He said that broadly speaking, a number of elements undergird the global strategic partnership that the US has with India including close political ties, there are economic ties, and “exceptionally deep people-to-people ties.”

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Ned Price added that an additional element shared by both countries are values common to both the American and Indian democracies.

Speaking at a regular press briefing of the US State Department, Price said he is very familiar with the shared values that connect the United States and India as “two thriving, vibrant democracies.” Price observed that the US has always spoken out if there are concerns about actions taken in India, adding… “we have had an occasion to do that. But we want first and foremost to reinforce those values that are at the heart of our relationship.”

He further stated that India is a vibrant democracy and the US looks at everything that ties the two nations together and works to reinforce those elements.

The US official, however, stressed the importance of a free press across the world and asked the Pakistani journo to ask Indian authorities for the details of this search.

He said that the US supports press freedom across the globe and will continue to highlight the importance of freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief as human rights that contribute to strengthening democracies around the world.

Price further stated that these values have strengthened democracy in India and the US as these universal rights are the bedrock of democracies around the world.

The Income Tax department on Tuesday conducted a survey at the BBC offices located in New Delhi and Mumbai.

The IT survey comes in the backdrop of BBC’s controversial two-part documentary titled India: The Modi Question, which raises questions over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role and alleged inaction during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The controversial documentary, which questions PM Modi’s role during the infamous 2002 Godhra riots and his effect on the rise of militant Hindu nationalism in the country, has been banned by the Centre on YouTube and other social media platforms and posts containing any links to the series on social media are actively being taken down.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi slams Rahul Gandhi, Lalu Yadav for eating mutton during holy month of Sawan, compares them to Mughals

PM Modi even compared them with the Mughals and accused them of trying to tease the people of the country.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday made a scathing attack on senior Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and RJD leader Lalu Yadav for allegedly eating mutton during the holy month of Sawan last year. He claimed that they do not care about the sentiments of the majority of people of the country. PM Modi even compared them with the Mughals and accused them of trying to tease the people of the country.

PM Modi was referring to a viral video which was released in September last year in which senior Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and RJD leader Lalu Yadav were seen cooking mutton together. PM Modi was speaking at an election rally in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur.

He said the opposition and INDI alliance do not care about the sentiments of the majority of the people of the India. He added Congress party enjoys playing with the sentiments of the people.

Talking about RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, PM Modi said a person who has been sentenced by the court and who is on bail – Rahul Gandhi visited the house of such a criminal and enjoys cooking mutton in the month of Sawan and a video was also made to tease the people of the country.  The Prime Minister claimed the intention of INDI alliance is to tease the people of the country and he even compared them with the Mughals.

PM Modi said the law does not stop anyone from eating anything but the intentions of these people are something else. He cited the example of the Mughals and said that when they attacked here, they were not satisfied until they demolished the temples. So just like Mughals, the Congress wants to tease the people of the country by showing the video in the month of Sawan.

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Akhilesh Yadav condemns deployment of cops in priests attire at Kashi temple

While the female policemen were wearing a ‘salwar kurta’, the male policemen were in a ‘dhoti-kurta’.

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Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has condemned the deployment of police officers dressed as priests at the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. The Samajwadi Party (SP) chief demanded the suspension of the officers and wondered who ordered to deployment of cops in such attire.   

On the orders of Varanasi Police Commissioner Mohit Agarwal, the male and female policemen have been deployed in the temple in the priests’ attire. While the female policemen were wearing a ‘salwar kurta’, the male policemen were in a ‘dhoti-kurta’.

Yadav questioned the system in UP and asked according to which police manual is it correct for policemen to be dressed as priests. Those who give such orders should be suspended, he added. If tomorrow any ‘thag’ (fraudster) takes advantage of this and loots the innocent public, then what will the UP government and administration answer, he further asked. He called it Condemnable in a post on X.

Police Commissioner Agarwal had earlier told reporters that people who come from far away places to have obeisance have regard for the priests and they often get hurt if they are pushed forward by the policemen.

The duty in the temple is different from other places as police have to manage different types of crowds here. The crowd here is not for creating law and order problems. The police are here to ensure easy darshan to people and help and guide them, the police officer said.

He added the devotees get hurt if being pushed by policemen, if the same thing is done by priests they take it in a positive way. Following the no-touch policy, policemen are being deployed in priests’ attire.

The Samajwadi Party had earlier announced its candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Party chief Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav will be contesting from her existing seat in Mainpuri.

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Omar Abdullah to contest from Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency

Firebrand Shia leader Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi would contest from central Kashmir’s Srinagar constituency, which has been an NC bastion.

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Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah will contest election from the Baramulla constituency in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the party announced on Friday.

National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah, while speaking to reporters, said that Omar Abdullah is the party’s candidate from north Kashmir’s Baramulla Lok Sabha seat.

The National Conference president also informed that the firebrand Shia leader Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi would contest from central Kashmir’s Srinagar constituency, which has been an NC bastion.

On contesting the General election from Baramulla, Omar said that it’s a challenge, every election is a challenge but it’s a challenge that he is looking forward to. As he said earlier, his fight is not against an individual, it is against the skullduggery, treachery, the political machinations of the BJP, he asserted.

The former Chief Minister said the way in which BJP is trying to create alternatives to parties like the National Conference, the way in which they are conspiring to try and bring their associate parties together on one stage and therefore he sees this as an opportunity to take the fight directly to the BJP and to the Centre, he added.

Speaking to a reporter, he said that this time, his fight is not against any individual. In North Kashmir, his fight is not against any candidate instead his fight is with those powers which are behind that candidate. It has been decided that he will be contesting from North Kashmir because BJP is focusing a lot on North Kashmir, Omar added. He said he wants that these powers should be defeated in North Kashmir.

Regarding the BJP, the NC leader wondered if what PM Modi is saying is correct then why are his candidates not in the field? Why is the BJP not contesting South, Central and North Kashmir, he asked.

On being asked if he would leave politics if the BJP wins a single seat, he said to let the BJP announce their candidates. He will also see if they are able to get a single seat in J&K or not, he said while speaking to a reporter.

According to the Election Commission of India, polling in Baramulla will be held on May 20.

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