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SC declines plea to declare Hindus as minority in J&K, seven other states

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The public interest litigation (PIL) sought minority status to Hindus in eight states- Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a petition seeking its direction to Centre to grant minority status to Hindus in eight states, including Jammu and Kashmir.
A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that issue needed to be decided by National Commission for Minorities and asked the petitioner to approach the commission.
The public interest litigation (PIL) sought minority status to Hindus in eight states- Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
The PIL, filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, has said that Hindus are a minority in these states but their legitimate benefits are being siphoned of arbitrarily to the majority, because of non-identification and non-notification of minorities at the State level.
“The Union Government offered 20,000 scholarships in the field of technical education for minority students. In J&K, Muslims are 68.30% and government allotted 717 out of 753 scholarships to Muslim students, but none to Hindu students,” the petition said.
As per a 1993 notification by the Centre, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis were granted minority status in India and Jains were added to the list in 2014.
Citing the 2011 Census, the petition says that Hindus are minority in eight States i.e. Lakshadweep (2.5%), Mizoram (2.75%), Nagaland (8.75%), Meghalaya (11.53%), J&K (28.44%), Arunachal Pradesh (29%), Manipur (31.39%) and Punjab (38.40%).
It further says that Muslims are majority in Lakshadweep(96.20%) and Jammu & Kashmir (68.30%), and there is significant Muslim population in Assam (34.20%), West Bengal (27.5%), Kerala (26.60%), Uttar Pradesh(19.30%) and Bihar (18%).

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Jagdish Thakkar, PRO in Prime Minister’s Office dies, PM condoles death

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Jagadish Thakkar

“Extremely saddened by the demise of Shri Jagdish Thakkar, the PRO in the PMO,” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

 

New Delhi| Public Relations Officer (PRO) in the prime minister’s office and senior journalist Jagdish Thakkar passed away here Monday.

Thakkar, 72, who was unwell for some time, passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled his demise, saying he was a wonderful person who loved his work.

“Extremely saddened by the demise of Shri Jagdish Thakkar, the PRO in the PMO. Jagdishbhai was a veteran journalist and I had the pleasure of working with him for years, both in Gujarat and in Delhi. He was known for his simplicity and warm-hearted nature,” the PM tweeted.

He said several journalists would have regularly interacted with Jagdishbhai over the years. He had previously served with many chief ministers of Gujarat.

“We have lost a wonderful person, who loved his work and did it with utmost diligence. Condolences to his family and well-wishers,” Modi said.

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Bulandshahr violence: Court sent acccused armymen on 14 day judicial custody

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Bulandshahr

Lucknow | A local court on Sunday sent the accused army men in Bulandshar violence Jitendra Malik alias Jitu Fauji to a 14-day judicial custody.

Jitendra Malik allegedly involved in the killing of a police inspector during mob violence in Bulandshahr was arrested on Saturday night. “The Army handed over Jitendra Malik to UP STF team in Meerut yesterday late night,” IG STF Amitabh Yash told PTI here today.

On Monday, a mob of some 400 people rampaged through a village in Bulandshahr district apparently after cow carcasses were found in a jungle nearby. During the violence, Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a 20-year-old man died of gunshot wounds. Nine people have been arrested in connection with the violence. Earlier Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat said Saturday that full cooperation will be extended in the investigation of the incident

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Pakistan issues visas to 139 Indian pilgrims to visit Katas Raj dham

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Katas Raj dham

New Delhi | The Pakistan High Commission on Sunday said it has issued visas to 139 Indian pilgrims to visit Katas Raj Dham, the famous Shiva temple, in the country’s Punjab province.

Under the framework of a bilateral protocol on visits to religious shrines, Sikh and Hindu pilgrims from India visit Pakistan every year. Pakistani pilgrims also visit India every year under the protocol. “Another group of Indian pilgrims, comprising 139 people, have been issued visas by the Pakistan High Commission to visit Shree Katas Raj Dham in Chakwal district from December 9-15,” the Pakistan High Commission said.

Last month, Pakistan had granted visas to more than 3,800 Sikh pilgrims to visit the country. Some of the pilgrims had attended the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor on November 28 in Narowal. The corridor will link the Darbar Sahib shrine in Kartarpur in Pakistan’s Punjab province to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district in India.

Earlier this month, over 220 Indian pilgrims were granted visas to visit the famous Hindu temple, Shadani Darbar, in Sukkur.  Katas Raj is one of the holiest places for the Hindu community in Pakistan. The temples form a complex surrounding a pond named Katas — which is regarded as sacred by the devotees.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood stated that the issuance of visas for yet another group of pilgrims from India was consistent with Government’s of Pakistan’s policy of promoting visits to religious shrines and was a reflection of its commitment to faithfully implement the 1974 Protocol, the High Commission said in a release. He said that Pakistan remained committed to providing all possible facilitation for the visiting pilgrims and strengthening people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

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