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Punjab CM Amarinder Singh arrives in Israel for a 5-day visit

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Amarinder Singh

Tel Aviv | Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has arrived in Israel on a five-day visit to strengthen cooperation with the Jewish nation in sectors such as agriculture, horticulture and dairy. Singh, accompanied by a delegation of officials, reached Israel on Sunday evening.

He will be visiting several facilities and institutions working in sectors such as agriculture, horticulture, dairy and wastewater management to tap opportunities that can address Punjab’s requirements, and boost the state’s internal security apparatus. Ahead of his visit, the Punjab chief minister had said his government was keen to tap technological advancements on offer by the country.

On Tuesday, a seminar, “Investment Opportunities in Punjab” has been organised to attract investments in the state from Israel. The Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) will be signing MoUs with the Tel Aviv University and the Galilee Institute for cooperation in the field of agriculture.  Another MoU will be signed in the field of water conservation by the visiting delegation.

Singh has emphasised that farmers in Punjab should diversify their crop pattern and get out of the paddy-wheat cycle, replicating the latest practices of drip irrigation and hydroponics in view of the depleting water table in the state.

During a meeting with an Israeli delegation ahead of his visit, he had evinced interest in adopting Israeli know-how to boost the dairy sector. He had also expressed interest in visiting Israeli orchards and nurseries to secure first-hand knowledge of the technological advancements in hybrid production of plants.

Punjab is also seeking Israeli assistance in improving the quality of citrus fruits as the state is a leading producer of Kinnow and wants to go for mass plantation of sweet oranges, which finds a remunerative market.

The Singh-led delegation will be also given a presentation on Israeli expertise in the homeland security sector and will visit the academy of a leading Israeli security company during the trip.

Security officials from the state are said to have also made trips earlier to Israel to tap state-of-the-art technology and gain expertise in intelligence and homeland security to boost Punjab’s security apparatus.

Singh is scheduled to call upon Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and Minister of Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz during his trip. He will be also visiting the cemetery of Indian soldiers who laid their lives during the War of Liberation of Haifa in 1918.

Haifa celebrated the centenary year of its liberation by Indian cavalry units in September paying warm tributes to the courage shown by them in what is considered by most of the War Historians as the “last great cavalry campaign in history”.

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Tremendous efforts made to catch absconding former minister: Bihar DGP

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Manju Verma

Patna | Under fire from the Supreme Court over its inability to arrest absconding former minister Manju Verma, the Bihar Police on Friday asserted that it was making tremendous efforts to nab the suspended Janata Dal (United) leader.

The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the state police for failing to arrest Verma in connection with an Arms Act case, which cropped up in course of the CBI probe into the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal. It directed Director General of Police K S Dwivedi to appear before it in person on November 27 if she was not nabbed by then.

In reply to a query, the DGP said Friday attempts were being made to secure her arrest. “We are making tremendous efforts.” Dwivedi said no time-frame could be given for the arrest of any person wanted in a criminal case. “Though we appreciate the concern expressed by the Supreme Court, we hope to trace her very soon.”

The officer said some objection was raised from Verma’s side before a court in Begusarai district when they tried to initiate proceedings for attaching her property. “We are working to get that resolved,” he added. The former minister had last week moved an application before the Begusarai court, through her lawyer, pleading that she not be treated as an absconder as she was not evading arrest, but trying to seek relief as per law.

Verma had stepped down as the minister for social welfare in August, following reports that her husband, Chandrashekhar Verma, had close links with Brajesh Thakur , the prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal.

During a raid by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at her in-laws’ residence in Begusarai, a huge quantity of ammunition was recovered, following which the agency lodged an FIR against the couple. The former ministers’ pleas for anticipatory bail have been rejected by the lower court as well as the Patna High Court. Her husband surrendered before a Begusarai court last month after several weeks of dodging the police.

An embarrassed JD(U), headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, said Thursday it had suspended her from the primary membership of the party. Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Hindustani Awam Morcha have accused the ruling party of shielding the absconding two-time MLA.

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Sabarimala row : Police have asked me to return to Pune: Trupti Desai

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Kochi | Amid over a 12-hour stand-off with devotees and others, including BJP workers, at the airport here vowing not to let her proceed to the Sabarimala shrine, activist Trupti Desai said police have asked her to return to Pune. The development comes even as the doors to the Lord Ayyappa temple opened for the “Mandala Makkaravillakku” puja.

The activist, who reached here around 4.40 am along with six young women en route to the hill temple, has been unable to come out of the airport, with the protesters saying her group would not be allowed to proceed to the Sabarimala temple. Desai said police officers held a meeting with her. “Police have requested me to return to Pune,” she told reporters. Desai said she will announce her decision by 6.30 pm.

Protesting local BJP leaders at the airport said the devotees, including women, would not let Desai and her colleagues to come out of the airport and proceed to Sabarimala temple. They alleged that Desai and her team came here to violate the centuries-old custom of the temple that prevented entry of women and girls in the age group of 10 and 50. Talking to the media over the phone, Desai earlier said she would not go back without darshan at the Lord Ayyappa temple.

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#Watch: “Swamiye Ayyappa” chants echo outside Cochin airport as Trupti Desai waits inside

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The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Trupti Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”. 

 

Cochin| The crowd of protesters outside the Cochin airport is swelling since the morning to oppose the activist Trupti Desai from entering Sabarimala. The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”.

On the other hand, Trupti Desai vowed to not go back without the Darshan of Lord Ayyappa at the Sabarimala Temple. However, several Hindu organizations have indicated at statewide protests if she tries to enter the hill shrine.

Currently, Desai along with a group of women activists accompanying her is waiting at the Cochin airport. The stalment has continued since morning. The Kerala police tried to take her out safely through cargo area but it failed as the protesters caught a wind of the move.

Watch: Devotees chant “Swamiye Ayyappa” outside Cochin airport during the protest.

 

Watch: Activist Trupti Desai waits at the Cochin airport

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