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Al-Qaeda men nabbed from Kochi, rented homes during lockdown

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday busted an inter-state module of Al Qaeda operatives as it conducted raids in West Bengal and Kerala on Saturday morning. Three of the nine Qaeda men were arrested from Ernakulam district.

Kerala Police chief Lokanath Behera confirmed the arrests from Ernakulam that has the highest migrant labourers population in the state. The three were picked from two places in Kochi. Those arrested are Murshid Hassan, Yakoob Bishwas and Morshraf Hussien.

Kerala Police has found out that Hussien was in Kerala for the past one decade and was working in a textile shop at Perumbavoor, near Aluva.

Speaking to the media, a person who was staying with Murshid Hassan said the police came around 2 a.m. and arrested Hassan and also recovered incriminating materials including digital devices, documents, jihadi literature.

“It was during the national lockdown, he started to stay with us. Generally he used to work only for two days a week and rest of the time, he was in the room. We do not know details of him or his family,” said the person who was his roommate.

Police has now taken away the mobile of all those staying with Hassan and have asked them to report at the NIA office.

According to the anti-terror probe agency officials in Delhi, the arrests were made after raids in West Bengal’s Murshidabad, from where six people have been arrested.

The NIA spokesperson said that the agency carried out simultaneous raids at several locations in Ernakulam and Murshidabad after learning about the inter-state terror module operational from various locations in India.

“The group was planning to undertake terrorist attacks at vital installations in India with an aim to kill innocent people and strike terror in their minds,” the spokesperson said, adding that it has registered a case on September 11.

Sharp weapons, country-made firearms, a locally fabricated body armour, articles and literature used for making home-made explosive devices have been seized from their possession.

Those arrested in Kerala are presently under the custody of NIA officials and later in the day they would be produced before a special NIA court in Thiruvananthapuram and after that they would be moved to Delhi.


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Thinnest crowd, sans guest: Covid hurts RSS’ biggest event

Like other years, there were no ceremonial band playing or marches. Bhagwat simply offered his floral tribute to Hedgewar, RSS founder and did ‘Shastra puja’.

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Mohan Bhagwat RSS Chief

New Delhi: The foundation day of BJP’s ideological mentor, thee RSS on this Vijaya Dashami has been unique.

The Sangh’s single largest annual event that usually witnesses hundreds and thousands of cadres systematically assembling at the ground to listen to the Sarsanghchalak was missing.

In fact, to Bhagwta’s own admission, this year it was the thinnest crowd ever — apart from the day of its inception.

This time the RSS annual event that takes place on a sprawling ground in Nagpur, took place inside an auditorium where a handful of cadres were seated with adequate physical distancing, given the pandemic situation.

“This is probably the first time in Sangh’s history since its foundation day that a RSS Vijaya Dashami program has been organised with such a restricted low number. We have done this keeping in view the COVID protocol,” Bhagwat said at the outset.

While he paid tributes to the front line workers who lost their lives fighting the virus and urged all to be mindful of the persistent threat, one couldn’t help but notice that there was no Chief Guest this year. It was also done amid the pandemic in a stark departure from tradition.

Each year, some one of prominence is invited to lecture on this biggest annual RSS event. Former President Pranab Mukherjee created a row when he agreed to be the chief guest of this event in 2018. Last year, it was HCL’s Shiv Nadar. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, and Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Gen V.K. Singh were also among the other guests present at the address. However, 2020 was an odd one out when no one special was invited.

Meanwhile, given it was a small inside arrangement, the stage too was very small in comparison to the mammoth stage that is erected each year on the ground. Only 4 individuals, including Bhagwat were present on stage this time — all wearing a mask.

Only 50 volunteers were allowed inside the Maharshi Vyas auditorium this year. “We are all aware that this Vijayadashami the celebrations are restrained in terms of numbers. We are also aware of the cause. To prevent community spread of Coronavirus social gatherings are restricted,” Bhagwat said.

Like other years, there were no ceremonial band playing or marches. Bhagwat simply offered his floral tribute to Hedgewar, RSS founder and did ‘Shastra puja’.

Though, the event is being beamed live each year, it was the main source of dissemination of the Sangha’s message this year, given no media access was allowed.

The event was beamed live on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. Above 42,000 viewed it through Youtube while nearly 23,000 saw it on the Twitter account of RSS. In fact, while beginning to address, Bhagwat also mentioned those who were joining online.

This is the Sangh’s biggest annual event where the Sarsanghchalak chalks out the broader agenda for the year to come. This time, Bhagwat spoke extensively on the pandemic, Chinese aggression and how India must counter it as well as push for ‘swadeshi’. He also spoke against pro-CAA protestors.

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Covid cases cross 8-lakh mark in Karnataka, 10k recover

Out of 1,00,511 tests conducted in a day, 17,729 were through rapid antigen detection and 82,782 through RT-PCR.

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Coronavirus in India

Bengaluru, Oct 25 : With 4,439 new cases in a day, Covid tally in Karnataka crossed 8-lakh (8,02,817), including 81,050 active cases, while 10,106 were discharged, taking recoveries to 7,10,843 till date.

“The death toll rose to 10,905, with 32 succumbing to the infection during the last 24 hours across the state, including 20 in Bengaluru, which increased its toll to 3,734 till Saturday,” said the state health bulletin on Sunday.

As epicentre of the virus, accounting for 50 per cent of the state’s cases, Bengaluru Urban district registered 2,468 fresh cases in the last 24 hours, taking its Covid tally to 3,25,773, including 51,672 active cases, while 2,70,366 recovered so far, with 6,759 discharged on Saturday.

Among the districts, Bengaluru Rural recorded 234 positive cases, Tumakuru 141, Mysuru 140 and Dakshina Kannada 139.

After Bengaluru, 415 were discharged from Hassan, followed by Mysuru 366, Chikkaballapur 233 and Dakshina Kannada 211.

Of the 939 patients in the intensive care units (ICUs), 432 are in Bengaluru hospitals, 61 in Ballari, 44 in Hassan and 38 in Chamarajangara district.

Out of 1,00,511 tests conducted in a day, 17,729 were through rapid antigen detection and 82,782 through RT-PCR.

“Positivity rate of the state has further declined to 4.41 per cent and case fatality rate to 0.72 per cent,” added the bulletin.

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India

Centre to seek Parliament’s nod for additional Rs 37k cr infra push

The second batch of supplementary demands for grants is generally presented during the winter session of Parliament.

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infrastructure sector

New Delhi, Oct 25 : Centre will seek the Parliament’s approval for additional spending of Rs 37,000 crore on infrastructure development in the second batch of supplementary demands for grant.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had earlier in the month announced that Centre’s capital expenditure budget for current fiscal has been increased by an additional Rs 25,000 crore from a level of Rs 4,13,000 crore provided for FY21.

Further, the Union government has also approved issuance of a special interest-free 50-year loan to states of Rs 12,000 crore for infrastructure development.

According to people in the know, the approval for these additional expenditure for infrastructure push will be sought from the Parliament through the second batch of supplementary demands for grants.

The second batch of supplementary demands for grants is generally presented during the winter session of Parliament.

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