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Centre asks Kerala government to ensure peace in view of Sabarimala protests

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Sabarimala

New Delhi | The Centre has asked the Kerala government to ensure peace across the state following protests against the Supreme Court order allowing women of all age groups to enter Sabarimala temple, officials said.

In an advisory, the Home Ministry said the maintenance of law and order, including providing security to women wishing to visit the temple, was the responsibility of the state government.

The Kerala government must ensure law and order and full compliance of the Supreme Court order allowing women of the menstrual age group to visit Sabarimala Temple of Lord Ayyappa, a Home Ministry official said.

The state government has been impressed upon the fact that it would be in direct contempt of the Supreme Court order if female devotees of any age are stopped from entering the temple, he said, quoting the advisory sent on October 15.

Another official said the Kerala government, in its communication, has assured the Centre that the apex court order would be implemented and the law and order situation at the pilgrimage site was under control.

Yesterday, the iron gates of Sabarimala temple were opened for the first time since the Supreme Court allowed women of menstrual age to enter the shrine but none from the “banned” age group could make it to its hallowed precincts amid a welter of protests and violent clashes.

Women journalists were heckled, their vehicles smashed and young female Ayyappa devotees turned back as hordes of Hindu right activists besieged the road leading to the hill-top temple, abode to Lord Ayyappa, its eternally celibate deity.

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For million problems in India, there are billion solutions: PM Modi

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Narendra Modi

Mumbai | Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said films and society are reflection of each other and like cinema, India too is changing with times.

The prime minister was speaking at the inauguration of the National Museum of Indian Cinema here. “The country is changing and finding its own solutions. If there are a million problems, there are also a billion solutions,” the PM said.

“Films have an important role in India’s soft power,” Modi said, while narrating how he was struck by popularity of Indian films overseas when he met and interacted with the leaders of foreign countries. He assured the film industry that effective steps are being taken to curb piracy and “camcording”.

“A single-window system for obtaining permissions for film shoots and related matters are on the anvil,” he said. Like the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, there could be a global film summit in India, the prime minister suggested.

“Films also play a big role in the growth of the tourism sector, which gives employment to even the poorest people, even ‘chaiwala’ makes money when tourism grows,” he said.

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Delhi court extends interim protection from arrest to Vadra’s aide till Feb 6

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Robert Vadra

New Delhi | A Delhi court on Saturday extended till February 6 the interim protection from arrest granted to Manoj Arora, a close aide of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, in a money-laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) told Special Judge Arvind Kumar that Arora was cooperating in the probe. “He joined the probe yesterday. So far he is cooperating,” Special Public Prosecutor D P Singh, appearing for the ED, said.

ED’s Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana sought two more weeks for arguments on the application which was allowed by the court. The case relates to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property — located at 12, Bryanston Square — worth 1.9 million pounds, which is allegedly owned by Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

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Zakir Naik case: ED attaches assets worth Rs 16.40 cr under PMLA

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New Delhi | The ED has attached fresh assets worth Rs 16.40 crore in connection with its money-laundering probe against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, it said on Saturday.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in a statement, said it had issued a provisional order for attachment of Naik’s assets, located in Mumbai and Pune, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The estimated value of the immovable assets was Rs 16.40 crore, the central probe agency said.

This is the third such attachment in the case by the ED. The agency is probing the case after taking cognisance of an FIR filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against Naik, who is said to be based in Malaysia at present.

With the latest order, the total value of assets attached in the case by the ED stands at Rs 50.49 crore.

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