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Bengal celebrates Durga puja

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Durga Puja

Kolkata, Oct 15: Durga Puja rituals began in West Bengal on Monday as enthusiastic devotees plunged into merriment marking the first day of the biggest festival in this part of the world.

‘Sasthi’ or ‘Bodhan’ — the welcoming of the Durga idols — signalled the commencement of the five-day puja as the eastern metropolis welcomed its patron goddess to beats of dhaak (drums) and aroma of incense.

Armed with mobile apps, special arrangement by West Bengal Transport Development Corporation for puja parikrama (pandal hopping), printed guide maps, denizens and tourists — cutting across age and class barriers — hit the streets here and in towns across districts, making rounds of different marquees under tight security arrangements.

Cyclone Titli timed its departure perfectly with the beginning of the ‘Sharod Utsav’ (autumnal festivities). There is no forecast of rain.

The carnival-like atmosphere began early with many prominent pujas throwing their marquees open to the public in advance from Mahalaya, the beginning of Devi Paksha.

Along with the greetings of “Shubho Sharadiya” via social media and messengers as also the traditional “namaskara, the chants of “Jai Durga” and “Bolo Durga Mai Ki Jai” reverberated across the state with every city, small town and village joining in the fervour.

The puja is usually a five-day event with Sasthi, and the subsequent four days — Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami — translating into frenzied pandal-hopping (visiting marquees) in new clothes, meeting friends and family and stuffing oneself with traditional delicacies.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wished people on Sasthi via a social media message.

Sasthi — the sixth day of the lunar calendar — began in some community pujas on Sunday evening according to ‘tithi’.

Kalparamvo (the beginning of the Puja), Bodhan (the consecration of Ma Durga’s idol), Amantran (inviting the Goddess) and Adhivas (sanctifying the stay of the Goddess in the exact spot where the puja is being held) — were performed in community puja marquees and households where the deity is being worshipped with zeal.

According to the epic Ramayana, before attacking Ravana in Lanka to free his wife Sita, Lord Rama had performed Durga Puja in autumn — a time when the gods sleep, according to the Hindu religious texts.

Rama had to first awaken the goddess prematurely, and as such, the awakening in the autumnal festival is called “Akal (untimely) Bodhan”.

However, mythology also states that the puja celebrates the annual descent of Goddess Durga, the slayer of the demon Mahishashur, accompanied by her four children — Ganesh, Kartik, Lakshmi and Saraswati — on Earth to visit her parents.

The goddess, astride a lion and wielding an array of weapons in her ten hands, stays for four days to eradicate all evil from Earth before returning to her husband Lord Shiva in Kailash on Dashami.

IANS

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Uttar Pradesh: 8-yr-old raped in Azamgarh village

The girl was rushed to a hospital where her condition was stated to be serious, the police said.

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gang rape

Azamgarh (UP), Sep 30 : An eight-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a 20-year-old man in a village in Jiyanpur area of the Azamgarh district, police said on Wednesday.

The accused took the girl with himself from her home telling her mother that she would have her bath in his house, the police said, quoting from the complaint lodged by the girl’s mother.

The accused had also taken from the girl’s mother her clothes, the police aid.

But when the child returned from the neighbour’s house, she was writhing in pain and bleeding, the police said.

The girl was rushed to a hospital where her condition was stated to be serious, the police said.

Azamgarh Superintendent of Police Sudhir Kumar Singh said the accused, identified as Danish, has been arrested.

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Uttar Pradesh: 14-year-old raped in Bulandshahr

A report has been lodged against the accused and efforts are on to nab him. The accused will be taken into custody soon, police said.

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gang rape

Bulandshahr (UP), Sep 30 : A minor girl was allegedly raped by her neighbour in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr, police said on Wednesday.

Senior Superintendent of Police Santosh Kumar Singh said on Wednesday night, the girl’s father submitted a complaint in this regard, alleging that his 14-year-old daughter was raped by their neighbour Rizwan (20) on Tuesday night.

The victim is undergoing medical treatment. A report has been lodged against the accused and efforts are on to nab him. The accused will be taken into custody soon, police said.

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India

‘No moral right to continue’: Priyanka Gandhi’s scathing attack on Yogi Adityanath after death of Hathras gang-rape victim

The 19-year-old died in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday. The woman was admitted there in a critical condition after being brutally raped by four men in her village in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district.

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Priyanka Gandhi

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi took on Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath for the death of Hathras rape victim, saying he doesn’t have any moral right to continue as chief minister.

“I was on the phone with the Hathras victim’s father when he was informed that his daughter had passed away. I heard him cry out in despair. He had just been telling me that all he wanted was justice for his child. Last night he was robbed of the chance to take his daughter home for the last time and perform her last rites,” Gandhi said in her first two tweets on the issue on Wednesday.

She also asked Adityanath to resign. “@myogiadityanath RESIGN. Instead of protecting the victim and her family, your government became complicit in depriving her of every single human right, even in death. You have no moral right to continue as Chief Minister,” Gandhi tweeted.

The 19-year-old died in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday. The woman was admitted there in a critical condition after being brutally raped by four men in her village in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district.

The incident took place on September 14. She was first admitted to JN Medical College and Hospital in Aligarh, but was shifted to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital after her condition deteriorated where she breathed her last.

The UP government has been facing flak from Opposition parties over the issue. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had said that “no hope” is left from the “insensitive government”.

Reacting to the incident, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati tweeted in Hindi, “The news of the death of the Dalit girl after gangrape in Hathras, UP, is very sad. The government should provide all possible help to the victim’s family and ensure quick punishment to the culprits by prosecuting them in a fast-track court.”

The Congress has questioned the “silence” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and women leaders of his party and alleged that Uttar Pradesh under the Yogi Adityanath government has become the country’s “crime capital”.

At a press conference, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate alleged that for eight days no gangrape charges were pressed in the matter and that the UP chief minister’s information advisor and Agra Police kept calling the incident “fake news”.

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