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Naxals, tribals in Maharashtra turn to education for better future

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Gadchiroli  |  Surrendered Naxals and many tribals who dropped out of schools here in Maharashtra are now realising the importance of education in life and resuming their studies to build a better future.

Lack of proper education facilities in this tribal-dominated district in Vidarbha region led many youths to join the Naxal movement. But, some of them realised its futility and surrendered to police to join the national mainstream.

A study centre of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) at Kurkheda taluka here has given these people an opportunity to pursue higher education through its distance learning programme.

Around 468 students, including Naxals who surrendered, girls, boys, married women and even mothers, are pursuing various diploma and degree courses from IGNOU’s study centres in Gadchiroli, a senior official of the university said. IGNOU has been running some study centres in the district since 2013 and the one at Kurkheda was set up about a year ago, he said.

A 35-year-old man, who dropped out of Class 12 in the nearby Korshi taluka and joined the Naxal movement at the age of 19, is now pursuing the Bachelor Preparatory Programme after enrolling at the study centre in Kurkheda. The man, who did not wish to be identified, said he surrendered before police in 2014 and now wants to take up social work.

“I had joined the Naxal movement because of the poor financial condition of my family. This is a cause of distress among many tribals. There should be equal opportunities of education and employment for all,” he said.

Jayshree Madavi, 43, a resident of Kurkheda, had also discontinued her studies after Class 11. But, her daughter motivated her to study. Madavi resumed her studies a couple of years back and cleared the Class 12 exam along with her daughter. Both Madavi and her daughter are now pursuing the Bachelor Of Arts (BA) degree course after enrolling at the IGNOU’s study centre.

Another local resident Priyanka Zade is also pursuing the BA course along with her sister, while their mother has taken up the Bachelor Preparatory Programme. IGNOU’s local coordinator Gauri Uikey said she has travelled to over 150 villages in Kurkheda, Korshi and Dhanora talukas to motivate young boys and girls as well as adults to pursue higher education. She is also a member of a self-help group which tries to reach out to women in villages and make them aware about educational opportunities for them.

Once women enroll for the courses, IGNOU provides them quality study material, Uikey said. “There are several school dropouts in these villages who could not pursue higher education due to lack of adequate education facilities and other domestic reasons. IGNOU has given them an opportunity to pursue their dream of higher education,” she said. She claimed that around 85 students who pursued courses from the IGNOU’s study centres in Gadchiroli were working in different fields across Maharashtra. Besides, 68 students took up the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree course to work in their villages and serve the society, Uikey said.

P Sivaswaroop, director of the IGNOU’s Nagpur regional centre, which monitors the functioning of its study centres in Gadchiroli, said he was happy that tribal women were showing a keen interest in pursuing higher education. Kurkheda was adopted by the IGNOU’s regional centre in Nagpur under the government’s ‘Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan’, he said, adding that they also hold special admission camps for tribals and organise talks on nutrition-related issues.

‘Unnat Bharat Abhiyan’ is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to involve higher education institutions in the indigenous development of self-sufficient and sustainable village clusters.

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India invited as ‘Guest of Honour’ to OIC meet, Sushma Swaraj to attend

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Official sources said it was for the first time, India has been invited to an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting as a guest of honour.

 

New Delhi| In a significant move, India has been invited to the inaugural plenary of the foreign ministers’ conclave of the OIC, a powerful grouping of Muslim majority nations, and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will attend it in Abu Dhabi next month as the ‘guest of honour’.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) called the invitation a “welcome recognition” of the presence of 185 million Muslims in India and of their contribution to its pluralistic ethos, and of India’s contribution to the Islamic world.

Official sources said it was for the first time, India has been invited to an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting as a guest of honour. The 46th Session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers will be held in Abu Dhabi from March 1 to 2.

The invitation to India by the OIC comes at a time when India has been mounting a diplomatic offensive against Pakistan to isolate it internationally following the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

The OIC has usually been supportive of Pakistan and, often sided with Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.

The MEA said Foreign Minister of United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan invited Swaraj as the ‘guest of honour’ to address the inaugural plenary and that India was happy to accept the invitation.

“We see this invitation as the desire of the enlightened leadership of the UAE to go beyond our rapidly growing close bilateral ties and forge a true multifaceted partnership at the multilateral and international level,” the MEA said in a release.

“We see this invitation as a milestone in our comprehensive strategic partnership with the UAE. We also see this invitation as a welcome recognition of the presence of 185 million Muslims in India and of their contribution to its pluralistic ethos, and of India’s contribution to the Islamic world,” it said.

India is, therefore, happy to accept the invitation and thanked the leadership of the UAE for it, the ministry said.

Last year, Bangladesh proposed a restructuring of the charter of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to pave way for the inclusion of non-Muslim countries like India as an “observer state” of the 50-year old grouping.

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Assam hooch tragedy death toll mounts to 59, 200 taken ill

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Jorhat| At least 59 people have died and over 200 taken ill after consuming spurious liquor in tea gardens in Assam‘s Golaghat and Jorhat since Thursday night, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday.

The death toll is rising every minute, the minister said after visiting Jorhat Medical College Hospital (JMCH) here.

“This morning the death toll in Golaghat and Jorhat districts was 59 and 200 people have been admitted to hospitals. The death toll and the number of people admitted are changing minute by minute,” Sarma told reporters after meeting some patients at the hospital.

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100 cars gutted in fire at Aero India 2019 show in Bengaluru

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Bengaluru | More than 100 cars have been gutted in to fire at the parking lot near the Aero India Show held at the Yelahankha air base in Bengaluru.

According to a local eye witness, a grass fire spread to parking area number 5 and some vehicles which were parked there have also caught fire. The fire department has stated that around 80-100 cars gutted in fire near the venue of the Aero India Show in Bengaluru.

 

Officials stated that around 10 fire engines have rushed to the spot. Responding on the incident Senior police official MNReddi tweeted, “Fire in the open field parking lot of aero show. Nearly 20 cars burnt. Fire fighting operations by Chief Fire Officer and 10 water tenders staff underway.”

Earlier on Tuesday, one fighter pilot was killed after two Surya Kiran Aircraft crashed during the rehearsal of the Aero India Show.

 

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