Sun, 29 May 2022
JNU student booked for molesting fellow student
22:21 Two Indians among 21 new cardinals named by Pope Francis
Two Indian churchmen were among 21 who will be elevated by Pope Francis to the rank of cardinal in a ceremony at the Vatican in August, it was announced on Sunday.
The two Cardinals from India are Archbishop Filipe Neri Antnio Sebastio di Rosrio Ferro -- Archbishop of Goa and Damo (India) and Archbishop Anthony Poola -- Archbishop di Hyderabad (India), the official Vatican News reported.
At the conclusion of the Regina Coeli on Sunday, Pope Francis said that on August 27, he will hold a consistory for the creation of new cardinals, the report said.
He also said that he will meet from August 29 and 30 with all the cardinals to reflect on the new apostolic constitution praedicate evangelium.
Eight of the newly named cardinals are from Europe, six from Asia, two from Africa, one from North America, and four from Central and Latin America. -- PTI
21:34 JNU student booked for molesting fellow student
The Delhi police registered a case against a Jawaharlal Nehru University student for allegedly molesting a fellow student, an official said on Sunday.
The case was lodged on the complaint by a third-year student of JNU, the Delhi police said in a tweet on Sunday.
"A case has been registered U/S 354A/509 IPC at PS Vasantkunj North following a complaint of molestation from a JNU 3rd yr student. Accused, who is her known college mate has joined the investigation. Further probe is on," it tweeted.
The All India Students Association said on Sunday that the accused is not affiliated to them.
This comes a day after an AISA activist was accused of sexually harassing a woman on the JNU campus.
On Saturday, the AISA had said the complaint had been forwarded to its gender sensitisation committee against sexual harassment for inquiry and the activist in question had been told not to participate in organisational activities.
"The survivor faced sexual harassment by the accused touching her inappropriately without consent and grabbing her forcefully from behind and continued this disgusting act," a group of women claiming to be JNU students said in a statement.
"The survivor is also being conveyed through classmates about conspiracies to defame and slut-shame her and her credibility from the grapevine," their statement further read. -- PTI
21:08 Parts of Delhi receive light rain bring relief from scorching heat
Parts of the national capital received light rain on Sunday evening bringing much-needed relief from the scorching heat, the Met office said.
The maximum temperature settled at 40.7 degree Celsius, normal for this time of the season while the minimum temperature was recorded at 28.7 degree Celsius, two notches above the season's average, it said.
According to the India meteorological department, the weather is likely to remain pleasant on Monday.
The sky will be partly cloudy and there is a possibility of thunderstorms and lightning in the city on Monday, the IMD official said.
The maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to settle around 41 and 28 degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, the humidity levels oscillated between 61 per cent and 49 per cent.
The 24-hour air quality of the city was recorded in the ''poor'' category on Sunday with the AQI clocking 273 at 4 pm, Central Pollution Control Board data showed.
An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ''good'', 51 and 100 ''satisfactory'', 101 and 200 ''moderate'', 201 and 300 ''poor'', 301 and 400 ''very poor'', and 401 and 500 ''severe''. -- PTI
20:29 Nitish drops RCP Singh from RS list, names Mahto
Jharkhand Janata Dal-United chief and former MLA Khiru Mahto will be the party's candidate from Bihar for Rajya Sabha elections, said the party's national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh.
With this, the Janata Dal-United has dropped Union minister RCP Singh, whose RS term ends on July 5, over his suspected closeness to the BJP top brass. -- ANI
20:03 Ladakh accident: Mortal remains of Kerala soldier laid to rest with full military honours
The mortal remains of Lance Havildar Mohammed Shaijil, who lost his life in a road accident in Ladakh, were laid to rest at the Muhiyadeen Juma mosque in Malappuram on Sunday with full military and state honours.
Shaijil was among the seven Army soldiers who were killed on Friday in Ladakh's Turtuk sector when the vehicle they were travelling on skidded off the road and fell into the Shyok river.
The mortal remains were brought from New Delhi to the Karipur International Airport in Kozhikode and was received by Member of Parliament ET Muhammed Basheer, MLA P Abdul Hameed, district collector VR Prem Kumar and others.
The body was kept at the Thirurangadi Yatheem Khana and the higher secondary school in Malappuram for public viewing.
Thousands gathered to pay their last respects to the soldier.
On behalf of the state government, minister V Abdurahiman paid the respects to the deceased soldier.
The 122TA Madras Battalion paid a gun salute as part of the military honour.
On Saturday, ministers K Rajan and Ahamed Devarkovil visited the family of Shaijil.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had expressed "deepest condolences" to the family of Shaijil. -- PTI
19:48 CISF jawan injured after colleague opens fire in J-K's Ramban
A Central Industrial Security Force jawan was injured after he was shot at by his colleague in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Sunday.
Constable Danesh Malha opened fire during a general briefing of personnel at the Baglihar power project on Saturday, injuring head constable Surinder Kumar, they said.
The officials said Malha was overpowered and disarmed by other personnel, while Kumar was shifted to the district hospital in Ramban for treatment.
What prompted Malha to open fire is not yet known, they said, adding that a case has been registered and an investigation is underway. -- PTI
19:28 19 held for stone-pelting, sloganeering in J-K ahead of Malik's sentencing
As many as 19 people have been arrested so far for their alleged involvement in stone pelting and raising anti-national slogans outside the house of JKLF chief Yasin Malik at the Maisuma area inSrinagar ahead of the sentencing of the separatist leader on May 25, the police said on Sunday.
A Delhi court on May 25 awarded life imprisonment to Malik, one of the foremost separatist leaders, in a terror funding case, saying the crimes committed by him struck at the "heart of the idea of India" and were intended to forcefully secede Jammu & Kashmir from Union of India.
As many as 19 accused arrested so far (after proper identification), in relation to arson, stone pelting, sloganeering etc. outside house of Yasin Malik on 25th, the Srinagar police tweeted.
On May 26, police had arrested 10 people in connection with the case.
The police said the youths are advised to stay away from such subversive activities.
Such activities will never be tolerated at all, now or in future, the police said. -- PTI
19:08 Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala shot dead
Congress leader and Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala was shot dead by unidentified people in Mansa district of the state. Two people accompanying Sidhu in a vehicle also injured in the firing.
"Congress leader and Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala was brought dead," said Dr Ranjeet Rai, civil surgeon, Mansa Hospital.
Dr Rai said that three people were brought to the hospital, out of which Sidhu was dead.
"After giving primary treatment, the two injured have been referred to a higher institute for further treatment,' he said.
"The murder of Sidhu Mooseala, Congress candidate from Punjab & a talented musician, has come as a terrible shock to Congress party & the entire nation. Our deepest condolences to his family, fans & friends," said Congress in a tweet. -- ANI
18:49 Man dies of West Nile fever in Kerala, health officials sound alert
A 47-year-old man died on Sunday due to West Nile fever in Kerala's Thrissur district, the first fatality in the state caused by the vector-borne infection in the last three years, prompting the health department to issue directions for people to eliminate mosquito breeding sites to prevent the disease.
The health department said it took proactive measures as soon as a case of West Nile fever was detected in Thrissur district.
"A special team from the medical office visited the locality of the victim and the district vector control board took samples from various parts of the district for testing. Steps were taken to destroy the mosquito breeding sites in the locality," the release said.
Sources said the man developed fever and other symptoms on May 17 and after getting treatment from various hospitals, he was admitted to the government medical college in Thrissur, where he was diagnosed with West Nile fever.
The health department has issued directions to district authorities to remain vigilant and take precautionary measures including declaring a dry day if necessary.
"Importance should be given to destroying the mosquito breeding sites everywhere. Individuals should take responsibility and clean their residential areas. Clogged drains, stagnant water should be cleared," state Health Minister Veena George said in a release. -- PTI
18:40 Govt withdraws Aadhaar advisory
The government has withdrawn an Unique Identification Authority of India advisory that cautioned the general public against sharing photocopy of their Aadhaar with any organisation.
The ministry of electronics and IT said it is withdrawing the press release as it can lead to misinterpretation.
"The release advised the people to not to share photocopy of their Aadhaar with any organisation because it can be misused. Alternatively, a masked Aadhaar which displays only the last 4 digits of Aadhaar number, can be used," it said.
"However, in view of the possibility of the misinterpretation of the press release, the same stands withdrawn with immediate effect," the statement said.
A press release issued by the Bengaluru regional office of the UIDAI asked the general public not to share photocopy of one's Aadhaar with any organisation because it can be misused.
Alternatively, a masked Aadhaar which displays only the last 4 digits of the biometric ID can be used for the purpose, it had added.
The ministry, in the withdrawal statement, said the UIDAI issued Aadhaar card holders are only advised to exercise normal prudence in using and sharing their Aadhaar numbers.
"Aadhaar Identity Authentication ecosystem has provided adequate features for protecting and safeguarding the identity and privacy of the Aadhaar holder," the statement added. -- PTI
18:18 Encounter breaks out between security forces and terrorists in Pulwama
An encounter broke out between security forces and terrorists in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, the police said.
Based on a specific input about the presence of terrorists in the Gundipora area of Pulwama in south Kashmir, security forces launched a cordon and search operation there, a police official said.
He said the search operation turned into an encounter after the terrorists fired upon the security forces personnel drawing retaliation.
The exchange of fire was going on, the official said, adding there were no reports of any casualty on either side so far. -- PTI
17:46 Maha BJP chief apologises for remark against Supriya Sule after women's panel notice
Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil has apologised for his "go home and cook" remark against NCP MP Supriya Sule, said the chairperson of the state women's commission on Sunday.
The apology came in response to a notice sent to Patil by the commission in the wake of his remark. Reacting to it, Sule said through his apology, Patil has shown his "large-heartedness", and appealed to everyone to put the matter to rest.
Talking to reporters, Rupali Chakankar, chairperson of the Maharashtra State Commission For Women, said, "The commission had sent a notice to Patil over his comments against Sule and he had responded by apologising for the remarks, which he said were made out of disappointment over the Other Backward Classes not getting political reservation."
On Wednesday, Patil, during the BJP's protest over the OBC reservation, hit out at Sule, saying, "Why are you (Sule) even in politics, just go home and cook. Go to Delhi or to a cemetery, but get us the OBC quota. Despite being a Lok Sabha member, how come you don't know how to get an appointment with chief minister."
After his apology, Sule, said, "I had refrained from commenting on his remark from day one. But by apologising, he has shown his large-heartedness. I request everyone now to put the matter to rest." -- PTI
17:40 Nepal army chopper at possible plane crash site
Amidst inclement weather, a Nepal Army helicopter has located the site where the small plane of a local airline with 22 people on board, including four Indians, has possibly crashed, media reports quoted the country's civil aviation authority as saying on Sunday.
The Twin Otter 9N-AET plane belonging to Nepal's Tara Air took off at 10:15 am from Pokhara, and lost contact with the control tower 15 minutes later, according to an airline spokesperson.
A Nepal Army helicopter carrying 10 soldiers and two employees of the civil aviation authority landed on the bank of a river near the Narshang Monastery, the possible site of the crash, according to My Republica newspaper.
A Nepal Army helicopter has landed on the river bank near Narshang Gumba," Prem Nath Thakur, general manager of the Tribhuvan International Airport was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Interestingly, the airplane was located after Nepal Telecom tracked down the cellphone of the airplane's pilot Captain Prabhakar Ghimire through the Global Positioning System network.
The cell phone of Captain Ghimire of the missing aircraft has been ringing and Nepal Army's helicopter has landed in the possible accident area after tracking the captain's phone from Nepal Telecom, Thakur said. -- PTI
16:43 J-K LG meets family of TV artiste killed by terrorists
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Sunday met the family members of TV artiste Amreen Bhat who was killed by militants last week and assured them of all possible assistance.
Bhat, who was also an emerging social media starlet, was shot dead and her 10-year-old nephew injured by three Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists at her home in Budgam district's Chadoora on May 25.
"Met the family members of Amreen Bhat at their residence at Budgam. She was a strong-willed woman and a pillar of support to her family," Sinha tweeted.
He said the administration will provide every possible assistance and support to the family.
"We shall forever remember Amreen's indomitable spirit," he added.
Two of the militants behind Bhat's killing were gunned down in an encounter with security forces that broke out in the Aganhanzipora locality in Pulwama district's Awantipora area on May 26. -- PTI
16:22 NSA slapped against jailed SP leader Rizwan Zaheer
The stringent National Security Act was been invoked against former Balrampur MP and Samajwadi Party leader Rizwan Zaheer, who is in jail in a murder case, by Uttar Pradesh authorities, the police said on Saturday.
According to superintendent of police Rajesh Kumar Saxena, action has been taken against 'mafia' leader Rizwan Zaheer under the NSA to maintain public peace and order.
The order was issued on Saturday night and a copy was served to Zaheer in jail, he said.
The NSA allows the detention of a person up to a year without any charge. Zaheer is in jail for the last five months in connection with the murder of Firoz Pappu, former chairman of Tulsipur Nagar Panchayat. -- PTI
16:04 Student attacked for wearing scull cap in K'taka
A case has been registered against seven people, including a sub-inspector of police and principal of a government degree college at Teradal in Bagalkote district for allegedly thrashing a student for wearing a scull cap on the premises of the institution.
The police registered a case on May 24 against the sub-inspector and five other police personnel following a direction from a judicial magistrate based on a private complaint from 19-year-old student of Teradal First Grade Government Degree College, Naveed Hasanasab Tharathari.
According to the FIR, the incident occurred on February 18 this year.
In his petition, Tharathari stated that he had gone to the college wearing scull cap but the principal of the college denied him entry "though there is no government order restricting the use of scull cap inside the college."
The student of the Teradal First Grade Government Degree College alleged that the policemen beat him up and insulted him over his faith.
Meanwhile, the police have commenced investigation into the matter. -- PTI
15:21 Azam Khan admitted to Delhi hospital for routine check-up: Sources
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan was admitted to the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi on Sunday for a routine medical check-up, sources said.
He was admitted in the medicine department, they said.
"He is doing fine. He has been admitted for a routine check-up," a source said.
Khan was released from the Sitapur Jail in Uttar Pradesh on May 20, a day after the Supreme Court had granted him interim bail in a cheating case. -- PTI
15:09 India heading towards another power crisis: Report
A lower pre-monsoon coal stock at thermal power plants in India is suggestive of another power crisis in July-August, independent research organisation CREA has said.
The current coal stock stands at 13.5 million tonnes at pithead power stations and 20.7 MT cumulatively at all power plants across the country.
"The data compiled from official sources suggest that the coal power plants are in no position to address even a minor spike in the power demand and there is a need to plan for coal transportation well in advance," Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air's latest report Failure to load: India's power crisis is a coal management crisis.
The Central Electricity Authority of India has predicted a peak power demand of 214 GW in August.
In addition, the average energy demand could also increase to more than what it is in the month of May to 1,33,426 million units.
"The onset of the southwest monsoon will further hamper mining and transportation of coal from mines to power stations... If coal stocks are not replenished to adequate levels before monsoon, the country might be heading towards yet another power crisis in July-August 2022," CREA said.
It also said the recent power crisis in the country was not due to coal production but "distribution and official apathy". -- PTI
14:55 Judge's wife found hanging at flat in Delhi, 3 suicide notes recovered: Police
The wife of a local court judge was found hanging from a ceiling fan at her brother's residence in South Delhi, police said on Sunday.
Three suicide notes were recovered from the flat in Rajpur Khurd Extension, they said.
Around 10.30 pm on Saturday, the Saket court judge informed the police that his wife had been to the Malviya Nagar market at around 11.30 am but did not return.
He filed a missing complaint at the Saket police station and investigation was carried out, a senior police officer said.
Police checked the CCTV footage and found the 42-year-old woman boarding an auto-rickshaw.
During an inquiry, the auto-rickshaw driver informed the police that he had dropped the judge's wife at Rajpur Khurd.
The officer said this information was shared with the judge, who confirmed that his brother-in-law lived in that area, deputy commissioner of police (South) Benita Mary Jaiker said.
The judge, accompanied by the police, reached the building and found the flat to be latched from outside.
The police gained entry into the flat after breaking the iron grills only to find the woman hanging from the ceiling fan with a dupatta, the DCP said.
"It was a vacant flat on the first floor. Her brother's family lives on the second floor. Three suicide notes were also found. The body has been shifted to AIIMS mortuary," the officer said, adding that investigation was underway. -- PTI
14:14 Modi to release PM Cares schemes for kids tomorrow
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release benefits under the 'PM CARES for Children' on Monday via video-conferencing, the ministry of women and child development said on Sunday.
The government had launched the initiative on May 29 last year to support children who lost parents, legal guardian, adoptive parents or surviving parent to COVID-19 from March 11, 2020, to February 28, 2022.
In a statement, the ministry said the prime minister will transfer scholarships to school-going children.
A PM CARES for Children passbook and health card under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana will also be handed over to them, it added.
The children, along with their guardians and the district magistrate concerned, will join the event through virtual mode.
The event will be attended by ministers, MPs and MLAs of the respective states and union territories, it said.
The objective of the scheme is to ensure comprehensive care and protection of children in a sustained manner by providing them boarding and lodging, empowering them through education and scholarships, equipping them for self-sufficient existence with financial support of Rs 10 lakh on attaining 23 years of age and ensuring their well-being through health insurance. -- PTI
13:56 BSP not to contest Rampur LS bypoll, won't support any party
The Bahujan Samaj Party will not contest the bypoll for the Rampur parliamentary seat and also not support any party on this seat.
By-elections for the Rampur and Azamgarh seats will be held on June 23. \
The polls have been necessitated after resignations of Azam Khan and SP president Akhilesh Yadav, who won the assembly polls.
In a statement issued after a two-day party review meeting here, the BSP said, "The party will not contest the Lok Sabha by-elections scheduled on June 23 from the Rampur seat as we have to work on this seat to make it strong. The party will also not support anyone on this seat. Party has already decided to contest from Azamgarh seat".
The party asserted that it was "capable" of shaking the roots of the "anti-poor" and "pro-capitalists" BJP in the state.
At the meeting, Mayawati said the BSP is a party with limited resources and it is fighting parties which are run with the support of capitalists so "we have to make the party strong by holding small cadre-based meetings." -- PTI
13:26 ''Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2' crosses Rs 100 cr at box office
Horror comedy Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, starring Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani, has minted more than Rs 100 crore at the domestic box office, the makers said on Sunday.
A sequel to Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan-starrer 2007 psychological horror comedy of the same name, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 released on May 20 to positive word of mouth and had an impressive weekend collection of more than Rs 55 crore.
The Anees Bazmee directorial minted Rs 11.35 crore on its second Saturday, taking the film's total to Rs 109.92 crore, the makers said in a press note.
Produced by Bhushan Kumar and Murad Khetani, Bhool Bhulaiya 2 also features Tabu.
The film has become the third Hindi movie of the year to have crossed the 100 crore mark after Alia Bhatt-starrer Gangubai Kathiawadi (Rs 129 crore) and The Kashmir Files (Rs 252 crore). -- PTI
13:08 South-west monsoon sets in over Kerala
The south-west monsoon has set in over Kerala on Sunday, three days ahead of its normal onset date of June 1, the weather office said.
The south-west monsoon is considered the lifeline of India's agri-based economy.
South-west monsoon has set in over Kerala on Sunday, May 29, against the normal date of onset of June 1, India meteorological department director general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said.
Earlier, the IMD had forecast onset over Kerala on May 27 with help from remnants of Cyclone Asani that struck the Bay of Bengal a fortnight ago.
The forecast had a model error of four days.
However, the influence of the remnant weather systems that lingered over the southern peninsula petered out. -- PTI
12:32 Jharkhand to receive WHO award for tobacco control
Recognising its efforts in controlling tobacco consumption, the World Health Organisation has selected Jharkhand for the World No Tobacco Day Award-2022, an official said on Sunday.
State tobacco control cell of the health department will receive the award on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day in New Delhi on May 31, Jharkhand's nodal officer of National Tobacco Control Programme Lalit Ranjan Pathak said.
"It's a great achievement for Jharkhand, which could be possible only due to political and administrative supports that tobacco control cell has got in implementing the programme," Pathak said.
NTCP was launched in Jharkhand in 2012 when the tobacco prevalence rate in the state was 51.1 per cent, of which 48 per cent were smokeless users, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey-1 report.
The GATS-2 report, which was published in 2018, said tobacco users came down to 38.9 per cent in the state, of which 35.4 per cent were smokeless users.
"To bring it further down, Jharkhand initiated a slew of measures between 2018 and 2022," Pathak said. -- PTI
12:27 Plane with 22 missing in Nepal, 4 Indians onboard
A Nepalese passenger plane with 22 people on board, including four Indians, has reportedly gone missing in the Himalayan nation's mountains on Sunday morning, officials said.
A Tara Air airplane, which was on a 15-minute scheduled flight to the mountain town of Jomsom, lost contact with the airport tower shortly after take-off at 9.55 am, a Tara Air official was quoted as saying by the Kathmandu Post newspaper.
According to an air traffic controller at Jomsom Airport, they was an unconfirmed report about a loud noise reported in the Ghasa region of Jomsom, according to the Post report.
A helicopter has been dispatched to the area where the last contact with the airplane was made, an air traffic controller of the Jomsom Airport said.
The last contact was made in Lete Pass region.
The plane was also carrying 13 Nepalis, two Germans and three crew members, according to media reports.
Heavy rains have been reported in the region over the past couple of days, but flights have been operating normally. -- PTI
12:12 Pakistani drone with payload shot down in J-K's Kathua: Police
A Pakistani drone with a payload was shot down in the Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday shortly after it crossed into the Indian side from across the International Border, the police said.
A search party of police picked up the movement of a drone from the border in Talli Hariya Chak area under the Rajbagh police station's jurisdiction in the morning and fired at it, a police spokesperson said.
He said the drone was brought down after being hit by the ground fire.
"It has a payload attached with it and it is being screened by the bomb disposal squad," the spokesperson said.
He added the search party was sent to the area to check frequent drone activity from across the border. -- PTI
11:14 Pastor held in Goa for conversion had several cases against him: CM
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said the pastor, arrested recently in the state for allegedly luring people to convert to Christianity, had several cases registered against him, including that of a person's death.
Talking to reporters on Saturday, Sawant said the state government fully respects the freedom of religion, enshrined in the Indian Constitution, but will not tolerate forced conversions by luring people with money or other incentives.
Pastor Domnic D'Souza and his wife Joan, who used to operate from Saligao village in North Goa, around 20 km from the state capital Panaji, were arrested on Thursday night after separate complaints were lodged against them by two persons, who accused them of indulging in religious conversions, a police official earlier said.
They would allegedly lure people to convert to Christianity by offering cash or promising to cure them of their ailments, the official had said.
Sawant said several instances of forceful religious conversion allegedly by D'Souza in the past were brought to the police's notice.
There was also a case against him pertaining to the death of a person, whom the pastor had administered a "miracle oil", the chief minister said.
The action against the pastor was taken as per the law and the investigation against him will continue, Sawant said. -- PTI
11:05 'Lord wants it': BJD MP on controversial Puri heritage corridor project
Hitting out at the opposition, Puri's Biju Janata Dal MP Pinaki Mishra said no one can stop the work of the heritage corridor in the pilgrim town as Lord Jagannath wants it.
Stating that nothing illegal was happening in the project, Mishra said that if anyone has any problem with it, they can approach the courts.
"The construction work is going on round the clock. It is also the wish of Lord Jagannath that the project work is finish at the earliest," he said on Saturday.
"No agency can stop the ongoing construction work as the Lord wants it," he added.
Mishra said that the BJP and Congress can go to the court if they have any objection to the ongoing works.
Hours after he made the comment amid the controversy over the project, activists of the Congress threw inks targeting his cavalcade and showed him black flags.
The incident happened near Jhadeswari temple, police said, adding that eight people were detained in connection with it.
The opposition parties and several socio-religious organisations are protesting the construction works near the 12th-century shrine, which they claim have damaged the ancient structure.
The government is building several modern amenities as a part of the project for the benefit of pilgrims, aimed to make Puri an international destination.
Govardhan Peeth's Shannkaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati came down heavily on the government, alleging that it was "destroying" the mutts of Puri in the name of development.
"The government should not consider that the people's mandate will remain with it forever. The BJP and BJD work hand in hand, while the Congress has become weak," he claimed. -- PTI
11:01 Wear masks where Covid cases are going up: Maha min
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has said residents of districts in the state which are reporting an increase in daily coronavirus infections should start taking more caution and wear masks.
Maharashtra on Saturday reported 529 new COVID-19 cases, but no virus-related death. The state had recorded 536 new cases and zero deaths on Friday, as per official figures.
The mask mandate was lifted in the state last month.
For the first time in Maharashtra, four patients of B.A.4 sub-lineage and three cases of B.A.5 sub-lineage of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant of coronavirus have also been found, the state health department said on Saturday.
Tope told reporters here on Saturday that though the COVID-19 cases are increasing, very few deaths on account of the virus are being reported.
"The (people living in) districts which are reporting an increase in the daily COVID-19 cases should start taking extra care, including wearing of masks. The daily cases number is on the rise, but it is still under control," he said.
Instructions have been given to health officials to undertake necessary steps to contain the spread of the virus, the minister added.
On Saturday, Mumbai reported 330 new COVID-19 cases, followed by neighbouring Thane city with 38 cases, Pune- 32 and Navi Mumbai-31.
Mumbai circle -- which includes neighbouring satellite towns and municipal corporations -- reported 448 cases of COVID-19, while the Pune circle recorded 64 infections, according to official data.
10:49 SpiceJet plane returns to Mumbai after windshield crack observed
A SpiceJet plane, which was heading to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, returned to Mumbai on Saturday after a crack was observed on the windshield, according to an official statement.
"On May 28, SpiceJet Boeing 737 aircraft was scheduled to operate SG-385 (Mumbai-Gorakhpur). During cruise, windshield outer pane was observed to be cracked," the airline's spokesperson said.
The pilot-in-command decided to return to Mumbai, the spokesperson said.
The air traffic controller was apprised and the aircraft landed safely at the Mumbai airport, the spokesperson added. -- PTI
10:33 India's active COVID-19 tally rises to 17,087
With 2,828 new coronavirus infections being recorded in a day, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 4,31,53,043, while the active cases rose to 17,087, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Sunday.
The death toll climbed to 5,24,586 with 14 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am stated.
The active cases comprise 0.04 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.74 per cent, the ministry said.
An increase of 779 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. -- PTI
10:28 Maneka Gandhi lends support to shunted IAS couple
Coming to the defence of the IAS couple shunted out over alleged misuse of a sports stadium in the national capital, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Maneka Gandhi on Saturday said the transfer of the officials is a "loss to Delhi".
The Centre had on Thursday posted IAS couple Sanjeev Khirwar and Anu Dugga to Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, respectively, following media reports about the misuse of facilities at Thyagraj Stadium by them. Khirwar was then posted as Principal Secretary (Revenue) in Delhi.
"I know (Sanjeev) Khirwar very well. The allegations against him are false. His transfer is a loss to Delhi," Gandhi said.
"When Khirwar was secretary of environment department, Delhi benefited from his work. The action against him is completely wrong," she argued.
Commenting further on the matter, the BJP MP from Sultanpur said Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh are not places for "punishment posting".
"These places also need good officials. People go there happily," she said.
09:33 BJP leader booked over remark on Prophet Muhammad
A case has been filed against Bharatiya Janata Party national spokesperson Nupur Sharma in Mumbai over her alleged remarks on Prophet Muhammad during a television show.
A case has been filed at the Pydhonie Police Station area in Mumbai under sections 295A, 153A and 505B of the Indian Penal Code after a complaint by Raza Academy, a Sunni Barelvi organization of Indian Sunni Muslims, for her alleged "remarks on the Holy Prophet on a National channel".
Earlier on Friday, Sharma had alleged that she has been receiving death and rape threats on social media after a "so-called fact-checker" circulated a heavily edited video from one of her recent debate on a TV channel on the Gyanvapi mosque case.
"There is a so-called fact-checker who has started to vitiate the atmosphere by putting out a heavily edited and selected video from one of my debates last night. Ever since I've been receiving death and rape threats, including beheading threats against me and family members," Nupur Sharma told ANI on Friday.
Sharma alleged that an Alt News proprietor posted an edited video to encourage trolls against her and said that he should be held "responsible" if any harm befalls her family.
"I've tagged the Police Commissioner and Delhi Police. I suspect there'll be harm done to me and my immediate family members. In case there's any harm done to me or my family members Mohammed Zubair, who I think is a proprietor of Alt News, is completely responsible," she stated.
"If I was wrong, then the fact-checkers should rectify the facts, rather than sending death threats to me. Please come forward and correct the facts. It's not right, it's completely illegal. He (Zubair) is not a fact-checker, he is a fake-spreader," she added.
Further, Sharma said that she is collating all the threats against her and will file a complaint in the matter. -- ANI
09:17 Pak delegation to visit India next week for dialogue on water issues
A five-member Pakistani delegation will visit India next week for talks on the water dispute between the two countries, according to a media report on Saturday.
The talks will be held in New Delhi from May 30-31, the Dawn newspaper quoted Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Muhammad Mehr Ali Shah as saying.
The delegation would make the trip through the Wagah Border.
"There will be talks on the sharing of flood forecast data while the PCIW (Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Water) annual report will also be discussed during the negotiations," Shah said.
He said the Pakistani delegation will not visit the under construction Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai dams but those and other projects will come under discussion.
In March, India and Pakistan had reiterated their commitment to implement the Indus Waters Treaty in its true spirit and expressed the hope that the next meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission would be held at an early date in India.
Under the relevant provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty, the meeting takes place alternatively in Pakistan and India annually. -- PTI
08:49 'Innerwear is saffron': PFI leader on HC judges
In the wake of recent provocative sloganeering, Kerala Popular Front leader Yahiya Tangal on Saturday made a controversial remark against the High Court judges saying their "innerwear is saffron".
At a rally in Alappuzha, Tangal said, "Courts are getting shocked easily now. High court judges are getting shocked after hearing the slogans of our Alappuzha rally. Do you know the reason? The reason is that their innerwear is saffron. Since it's saffron, they will get heated very fast. You will feel the burn and it will disturb you."
In the viral video, a boy in a PFI rally in Kerala's Alappuzha was seen raising raising provocative slogans.
The father of the minor boy was taken into custody from his house in Palluruthy in Kochi on Saturday.