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Home Ministry assures states of assistance in case of trouble over Padmavati screening

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Deepika-Padukone-Padmavati

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Narendra Modi government on Thursday came in support of screening of the movie Padmavati which has been facing protests and threats of violence if it is released from some Rajput groups.

Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday assured all the states that it would give “full consideration” to any request for assistance to handle any ongoing and potential public order issues because of the controversy surrounding the upcoming Bollywood movie ‘Padmavati’.

The MHA assurance came on the heels of Supreme Court upholding right to freedom of speech and expression while rejecting a plea to ban the movie ‘An Insignificant Man’ based on Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal. The film will be screened in cinema halls on Friday as scheduled.

Rejecting the plea by Nachiketa Walhakar seeking to restrain the release of the film, the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud said, courts should be extremely slow in passing restrain order as there can’t be curbs on the freedom of speech and expression.

The court said that filmmakers and writers should be allowed to enjoy freedom of speech and expression, and that all creative people have the right to enjoy their works in production of films and dramas.

The release of the film Padmavati, scheduled for December 1, was in doldrums as fringe groups like Karni Sena issued threats of violence, claiming it portrayed queen Padmini in a way they found inappropriate. The film is based on a based on the legend of Rani Padmini, a Hindu Rajput queen, mentioned in Padmavat, an Avadhi poem written by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540. It has little factual, historical basis.

This, however, did not prevent sentiments of extra-sensitive sections from getting hurt.

As the problem persisted, the MHA on Thursday assured state governments of all necessary assistance if required on account of law and order problem over the issue. “The first responder in relation to ongoing and potential public order issues are the district administration and state police under the overall guidance of the state government,” an MHA spokesperson told news agency ANI. “Any request for assistance, as and when received, will receive the fullest consideration of the ministry,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Sri Rajput Karni Sena said that they would gather in lakhs and call for a nation-wide shutdown on December 1, the release date of the movie. In Jaipur, Shri Rajput Karni Sena founder and patron Lokendra Singh Kalvi said: “Ahinsa bahut zaruri hai, hinsa toh majboori hai. Jauhar ki jwala hai, bahut kucch jalega. Rok sako toh is Padmavati ko rok lo (Non-violence is important but violence is the last resort. This is the fire of Jauhar, a lot will burn. Stop this Padmavati if you can).”

Giving the call for a nationwide strike on December 1, Kalvi said the Karni Sena will take the support of like-minded individuals and organisations. “We are not talking of a Rajasthan bandh, but a Bharat bandh on December 1,” he said.

One of Karni Sena members had, openly on TV, reportedly announced a reward of Rs 5 crore to anyone who beheads Bhansali. Police have tightened security for the filmmaker.

A Sena leader Mahipal Singh Makrana said if need be, action will be taken against Deepika Padukone, the female lead in the movie, threatening to chop off her nose and ears.

Typically wishy-washy in taking a firm stand, the Congress had said that if there are any scenes in Padmavati that hurt sentiments, they need to be reviewed.

The MHA statement becomes particularly significant in view of the fact that, in its threats of violence and free rein in multiple states, the Rajput group has been backed by many BJP leaders in senior, responsible positions.

Rajasthan Higher and Technical Education Minister Kiran Maheshwari also joined the chorus of protests , asserting that she strongly opposes the film “made purely for making money and entertainment”.

The Rajasthan Women’s Commission has also written to the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) to ensure that the honour of women “is not adversely affected” in the movie.

On Wednesday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and hardline BJP leader Yogi Adityanath said the release of Padmavati on December 1 will pose a “law and order problem” for his state. The UP government has sent a letter to the information and broadcasting ministry urging it to inform the censor board about the public sentiment against the film and defer its release.

Senior home department officials are of the view that the release would come as an additional burden on the police which will be hard-pressed to ensure free and fair civic polls and the counting of votes on December 1.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film ‘Padmavati’, starring Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmavati, Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Sultan Alauddin Khilji, is slated for release on December 1.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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PM Modi inaugurates 3 major space infrastructure projects, announces names of astronauts for Gaganyaan mission

The four pilots have been training at the astronaut training facility in Bengaluru.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today revealed the names of four pilots preparing for the country’s historic Gaganyaan human space travel program. Group Captain P Balakrishnan Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap, and Wing Commander S Shukla, are the four pilots who are selected for this mission.

The PM also bestowed astronaut wings to the four astronaut-designates.

PM Modi addressed the people there and said, he is happy that today he got the opportunity to meet these astronauts and present them in front of the country. He also congratulated the astronauts on behalf of the entire country. PM Modi also hailed the astronaut as the pride of the country.

Meanwhile, the PM inaugurated three major infrastructure projects of ISRO valued at 1800 crore during his visit to Vikram Sarabhai Space Center in Kerala on Tuesday. PM Narendra Modi is on a two-day visit to the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu starting Tuesday, February 27.

The projects include the PSLV Integration Facility at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, the new Semi-cryogenics Integrated Engine and stage Test facility at ISRO Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri, and Trisonic Wind Tunnel at VSSC, Thiruvananthapuram.

Before the inauguration ceremonyISRO chairman S Somanath extended his respects to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a felicitation ceremony held at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram.

The ISRO chairman said, with the support of the honorable Prime Minister, the space sector is undergoing rapid transformation for expansion. He added that the long-term space vision for Amrit Kal had already been announced by the Prime minister. He further added that the vision had been created for Amrit Kal with the space sector as the torch bearer.

After the inauguration ceremony, the Prime Minister is scheduled to address public gatherings in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu. Additionally, he will participate in the program called Creating the Future – Digital Mobility for Automotive MSME Entrepreneurs in Madurai.

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Rahul Gandhi reacts to Hijab controversy, says what a person wears is their responsibility and nobody should decide what they wear

Rahul Gandhi said what a woman wears is her responsibility and it is her decision. He thought nobody should decide what they wear. His comments came after the Congress government in Karnataka allowed students to wear Hijab during competitive exams in October last year.

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Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said that women’s choice of clothing including a hijab should be respected and one should not dictate what a person has to wear. Rahul Gandhi was interacting with female students at the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh during his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.

During the interaction a girl mentioned the hijab controversy in Karnataka and asked the Congress leader about his views on the same. He said what a woman wears is her responsibility and it is her decision. He thought nobody should decide what they wear. His comments came after the Congress government in Karnataka allowed students to wear Hijab during competitive exams in October last year.

The issue erupted in Januray 2022 when Muslim students at a government pre-university college in Karnataka’s Udupi were denied entry for wearing hijabs, citing a violation of the college’s uniform policy. The incident has sparked widespread protests and counter-protests across the state.

The then BJP government issued an order that made mandatory for students to wear uniforms in educational institutes. The order banned the wearing of hijabs in these settings. This decision was challenged in court, and on March 15, 2022 the decision was upheld by the Haryana High Court.

The court said wearing a hiujab is not an essential religious practice in Islam and as result it does not fall under the protection of Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the fundamental right to freely practice one’s religion.

In October 2022, The Supreme Court pronounced a split verdict on the petitions challenging The Karnataka High Court order which refused to overturn a ban on hijabs in educational institutions in the state. The Top court’s split verdict means the issue will be revisited by a larger bench for final decision.In December last year, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced that his government will withdraw the order banning hijab in schools and colleges in the state .   

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Rajya Sabha election: Samajwadi Party leader Manoj Kumar Pandey steps down as Chief Whip, voting underway

Samajwadi Party MLA Manoj Kumar Pandey on Tuesday resigned from the post of party chief whip amid the voting for 10 Rajya Sabha seats.

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In the midst of voting for the Rajya Sabha elections, Samajwadi Party leader and MLA Manoj Kumar Pandey resigned from his position as the party’s chief whip in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday.

His resignation from the position was announced barely one day after eight Samajwadi Party MLAs failed to show up for a meeting that the party Chief Akhilesh Yadav had called.

Eight BJP candidates and three Samajwadi Party candidates have applied for the 10 Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh as the voting has begun.

The main opposition SP and the ruling BJP both have enough members to send seven and three members to the Rajya Sabha, respectively, without opposition. However, since the BJP is fielding an eighth candidate, a competitive race is expected in one of the seats.

The results will be announced by the end of the day.

The BJP has put up seven other candidates which includes, former Union minister RPN Singh, former MP Chaudhary Tejveer Singh, general secretary of the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit Amarpal Maurya, former state minister Sangeeta Balwant (Bind); former MLA Sadhna Singh, and former Agra mayor Naveen Jain.

Actor-turned-MP Jaya Bachchan, former IAS officer Alok Ranjan, and Dalit activist Ramji Lal Suman are the candidates officially nominated by the Samajwadi Party.

In Uttar Pradesh, a candidate needs around 37 first-preference votes to be elected to the Rajya Sabha.

Voting will end at 4 p.m., and counting will start at 5 p.m.

With 252 and 108 members, respectively, the BJP and the SP have the majority of seats in the 403-member state assembly. The SP’s alliance partner, the Congress, holds two seats.

Thirteen seats are held by the BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal), six by the NISHAD Party, nine by the RLD, six by the SBSP, two by Jansatta Dal Loktantrik, and one by the BSP. There are presently four open seats.

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