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If I can’t stop namaz on roads then I have no right to stop Janmashthami in thanas: Yogi

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CM Yogi

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister also bats for unruly kanwars and asserts that there can be no kanwar yatra without the beating of drums, song and dance, use of microphones

Stoking off yet another controversy, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said while addressing a public event in Lucknow, on Wednesday, that if he cannot stop the offering of namaz on roads during Eid, he has no right to stop celebration of Janmashtami at police stations.

The chief minister’s comments that have evoked a sharp retort from Opposition parties and various Islamic organizations come at a time when his government is already busy fending off attacks over the deaths of nearly 71 children at Baba Raghav Das (BRD) hospital in Gorakhpur due to lack of oxygen. Gorakhpur has been Adityanath’s constituency ever since he entered politics and he has represented the seat in Lok Sabha for five terms since 1998.

A known Hindutva hardliner, Adityanath said at the event jointly organised by the Prerna Jansanchar Evam Sidh Sansthan, Noida and Lucknow Jansanchar Evam Patrakarita Sansthan: “Agar mai sadak par Eid ke din namaz padhne pe rok nahi laga sakta to mujhe koi adhikar nahi ki mai thano mein janmashtami ke parv ko rokun.”

The chief minister said that when his officials recently red-flagged the use of microphones, DJs and music systems during the kanwar yatra – the annual pilgrimage of Shiv devotees  which in recent years has been in news for the law and order issues it causes – he told them to ensure that microphones are banned everywhere and no sound emanates from any place of worship.

However, Adityanath added that he also told the officers that if this ban cannot be uniformly implemented on all religious events and structures then it should not be applied to the kanwar yatra too.

“Maine prashasan se kaha… mere saamne ek aadesh paarit kariye… mike har jagah ke liye partibandhit hona chahiye… har jagah ban karo… aur yeh tay kariye ki kisi bhi dharmsthal mein… uski premises ke bahar, uski awaaz aani hi nahi chahiye… kya isko laagu kar payenge? Agar laagu nahin kar sakte hain to phir isko bhi hum laagu nahi hone denge… yatra chalegi,” the Yogi is learnt to have said.

Likening a kanwar yatra which has no music, dance and use of microphones with a funeral procession, Adityanath said: “Maine kaha ki ye kanwar yatra hai ya shav yatra?… Arrey woh kanwar yatra mein baaje nahin bajenge, damru nahin bajega, dhol nahin bajega, chimte nahin bajenge, log nachenge-gayenge nahin, mike nahi bajega to woh yatra kanwar yatra kaise hogi.”

(I asked if this was a kanwar yatra or a funeral procession. If they don’t play music and drums, don’t dance and sing, don’t use the mike, how will it be a kanwar yatra).

Stressing that he isn’t against the celebration of festivals of other faiths or the offering of namaz by Muslims, Adityanath said: “we are for everything…you can celebrate Christmas and no one will stop you. You can offer namaz too but within the premise of the law… if the law is broken then it leads to confrontation.”

Often at the receiving end of an attack from Opposition parties, social activists and liberal intellectuals for his ostensibly provocative speeches and comments, Adityanath said that “If I say that I take pride in saying I am a Hindu, I will be called communal” while adding that in Nepal, Mauritius or any other country where Hindus of Indian origin live, they feel proud to be called Hindus.

Targeting the previous Samajwadi Party government under former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav which the BJP comprehensively defeated in the assembly polls earlier this year, Adityanath said those who called themselves Yaduvanshis had banned the celebration of Janmashtami at police stations and police lines. He said he was of the belief that “prayers and kirtan may bring improvement in the police system”.

Zafaryab Jilani of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board criticised the chief minister’s comments, saying : “he (Adityanath) occupies a very important office and should now that the occupant of that office is not the representative of one religion… his comments are meant to create divisions within the society and not unite people…they are very unfortunate.”

The Congress party too has hit out at Adityanath not just for his comments but also for having recently ordered “grand celebrations” of Janmashtami across all police station of UP. “There has been a tragedy in the CM’s backyard …several children have died and are still dying at the BRD hospital but Adityanath is more concerned about Janmashtami celebrations and kanwar yatras,” said senior Congress leader and former MLA Akhilesh Pratap Singh.

Adityanath had courted controversy last week too when he ordered “grand but dignified celebrations” of Janmashtami across UP – including at police stations. The previous SP government had stopped celebrations of the festivals at police stations and other establishments that are meant to ensure law and order.

2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Voter turnout of 56.68% recorded till 5pm in 5th phase of Lok Sabha elections

Elections are being held in 49 constituencies across eight states and Union Territories in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024.

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A voter turnout of 56.68 % was recorded in phase 5 till 5 pm as per the Election Commission’s Voter Turnout App, with the highest voting percentage in West Bengal (73 %) and the lowest in Maharashtra (48.66 %). Lok Sabha elections are taking place in 49 constituencies across 8 states and Union Territories in the 5th phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024.

Voter turnout of 56.68% was recorded till 5pm. The breakup is as follows: J&K: 54.21%, Bihar: 52.35%, Ladakh: 67.15%, Jharkhand: 61.90%, Maharashtra: 48.66%, UP: 55.80%, Odisha: 60.55% and West Bengal: 73%. The fate of 4 Union ministers, including Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani, as well as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will be decided in the ongoing Lok Sabha election. Former UP CM Mayawati, BJP’s Rae Bareli candidate Dinesh Pratep Singh, Smriti Irani were among the early voters today who cast their vote in the morning.

 The Lucknow East Lok Sabha seat will also hold a bypoll on the same day. The Lok Sabha seats which are participating in this phase include Rae Bareli, Mohanlalganj, Jalaun (SC), Amethi, Hamirpur, Jhansi, Banda, Kaushambi (SC), Fatehpur, Faizabad, Barabanki (SC), Gonda  and Kaisarganj. The candidates also include and minister of state of consumer affairs Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (Fatehpur) and minister of state for housing and urban affairs Kaushal Kishor (Mohanlalganj). Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat which was previously held by his mother and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

 The total number of voters expected to cast their vote in this phase is over 2.68 crore voters, with 144 candidates looking for their support. 11 BJP incumbent Lok Sabha MPs are contesting in this phase, while nominating new candidates in Kaisarganj and Barabanki (SC) Lok Sabha seats.

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Minor crashes Porsche killing two in Pune, granted bail in 15 hours, asked to write essay

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Tragedy struck in Kalyani Nagar, Pune during the early hours of Sunday when a speeding Porsche collided with a two-wheeler, resulting in the immediate deaths of two motorcyclists. Police officials have confirmed that the luxury car involved in the horrific accident was being driven by a juvenile. 

The juvenile court has granted bail to the 17-year-old after 15 hours with specific conditions. The bail terms included working with Yerawada traffic police for 15 days, writing an essay on the accident, seeking treatment from a doctor for alcohol cessation, and undergoing psychiatric counselling with a report submission.

The victims, a man and a woman, died on the spot after the speeding Porsche Taycan crashed into them from behind. Soon after the accident, the police arrived at the spot and booked the minor for rash and negligent driving, endangering life, and causing harm under IPC Sections 304A, 279, 337, 338, 427, and relevant sections of the Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Act at Pune City’s Yerwada Police Station.

The victims have been identified as Anis Avlia (24), and Ashwini Kosta (24). Both the victims hailed from Madhya Pradesh and were employed in Pune as engineers. Anis Avlia, a graduate in computer science, was employed at a multinational company situated in Kalyani Nagar, while Ashwini had been working alongside him at the same company until recently, before opting for a break.

Meanwhile, concerned authorities said that they have dispatched the minor’s blood samples for analysis to determine potential alcohol influence, with the results pending at the time of press. Reportedly, the accused is the son of renowned builder and Brahma Realty and Infrastructure owner, Vishal Agarwal. The Porsche involved in the accident was an unregistered vehicle.

It is reported that when the Pune police produced the minor in front of the magistrate, they requested the court to treat him as an adult. Nonetheless, the request was rejected and the court granted bail under the Juvenile Justice Act, imposing a few conditions along with the bail.

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Messages threatening Arvind Kejriwal appear on walls of Delhi metro station, inside trains, AAP blames BJP

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs has a letter sent to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday and demanded prompt and severe action in response to graffiti that had appeared on the Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar stations of the Delhi Metro.

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Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal recieved threating messages today, May 20, which were witten on a poster. These posters were found at two metro stations of Delhi and inside the metro coaches.

Images of the statements appeared on social media, with at least two of them appearing on signboards carrying the names of the Patel Nagar and Rajiv Chowk metro stations, and several of them sticked on the walls of metro stations. However, it is yet to confirm that who did this.

According to a senior police officer, the incident has been brought to their attention and an inquiry has been started.

Following the appearance of threatening graffiti within the metro stations of Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar in the nation’s capital, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP were preparing an attack on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh claimed claimed that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was the hub of the purported plot to target Arvind Kejriwal.

The BJP has been in a panic since Arvind Kejriwal’s release from jail. Right now, the BJP is preparing to strike Arvind Kejriwal with deadly intent. The prime minister’s office is the direct source of this plot. At the Metro stations in Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar, an attack threat against Kejriwal ji has been inscribed, according to Sanjay Singh’s statement today.

There have also reportedly been threatening messages scrawled inside metro trains.

AAP leader Atishi said the BJP is afraid of losing the next Lok Sabha elections in Delhi.  She claimed Arvind Kejriwal was targeted by the BJP through Swati Maliwal.

Meanwhile, the MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has a letter sent to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday and demanded prompt and severe action in response to graffiti that had appeared on the Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar stations of the Delhi Metro.

Social media users have also posted pictures of the graffiti. Security guards are stationed 24/7 and these stations are covered by CCTV. Why don’t the cops take any action? The Cyber Cell is where? This indicates that the BJP is behind this, she claimed.

In light of the Lok Sabha elections, Kejriwal was granted interim relief by the Supreme Court earlier this month. On March 21, Kejriwal was taken into custody in relation to his purported involvement in the Delhi excise policy case.

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