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Cancer due to past sins? Assam minister blames media

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After his comment linking cancer to sins of past life triggered outrage, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday said his views on divine justice were quoted out of context and hit out at the media.

While the minister justified his statements by quoting the teachings of Bhagvad Gita on Karmic action, he apologized to those who he said may have been hurt owing to the “blatant distortions” of his statement by the media.

“In their bid to trivialize and sensationalize, no one is looking at the content of my whole speech and intent,” Sarma said in a statement.

“A philosophical discourse designed purely to help poor students is being misused and which in turn is causing avoidable anxiety among surviving cancer patients and their near ones.

“I still believe divine justice will catch up with each and every one for trying to cash in on someone else’s pain to gain political mileage and cheap publicity.

“I reiterate that at no point my statement was intended to cause any pain to cancer patients. However, if owing to the blatant distortions, it has caused any anxiety and problems to anyone, I hereby offer my unconditional apology,” he said.

“But the way a section of the national media, local media and few in Congress are playing the story, I am pained (it) will cause agony to cancer patients and their relatives.

“I lost my father, best friends and relatives to cancer. And everyone in Assam and outside know my passion to work on containing cancer through best possible cancer treatment facilities including free chemotherapy, financial scheme to help up to Rs 2 lakh to cancer patients, one state-of-art cancer hospital in Guwahati, banning chewing tobacco and now starting hospitals across Assam.”

The Minister had drawn public ire by saying that young people who suffer from cancer or die in accidents must have committed sins in past life.

“I feel bad when I come to know about young people suffering from disease like cancer or young ones dying (in) accidents. However, those are results of sins committed in past life. God’s justice always prevails and no one can escape it,” he had stated.

“Detachment from life, Karmic action and rebirth are some of the core principles of Hindu philosophy… Western thought process can never dominate or dilute the spirit and eternal meaning of our philosophy,” Sarma said in his statement on Thursday.

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Will back ordinance on Ram temple: Muslim litigant in Ayodhya dispute

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Lucknow, Nov 20 Amid growing chorus to build Ram temple at Ayodhya by bypassing the Supreme Court and bringing in an ordinance, a Muslim litigant in the matter, Iqbal Ansari, on Tuesday said he had no problem if this was done.

Talking to local media in Ayodhya, Ansari said if the Union government brought an ordinance for a Ram temple, he would not oppose it.

“If the country would be happy in doing so, I am for it,” he said. “Agar isse mulk mein aman our khushhaali aayegi to main iske liye tayyar noon” (if this brings peace and prosperity in the country, so be it, am ready), he said.

He also pointed out that he was doing so as he was a law-abiding citizen of the country. “We want good of this country and if ordinance route is the way, I support the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),” Ansari said.

He, however, voiced his concern over the gathering of activists belonging to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Shiv Sena and other organisations in the temple town ahead of the November 25 ‘dharma Sabha.’ He said he had apprised the district administration of his viewpoint.

Sometime back, Ansari had aired his apprehensions at the congregation and said the build-up was like what it was prior to the demolition of Babri mosque in 1992. He had also threatened to migrate from Ayodhya due to “fear and feeling of insecurity”.

Uttar Pradesh DGP, OP Singh had however allayed his fears and said police would protect all citizens of the state. Security cover has since been given to the litigant.

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Odisha: 12 killed as bus falls from Mahanadi bridge in Cuttack

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Odisha, Nov 20 : At least twelve people were dead after a bus carrying around 30 passengers fell from the Mahanadi bridge near Jagatpur in Odisha’s Cuttack on Tuesday.

Several passengers have also been seriously injured in the accident, reports said. Rescue teams were present at the spot. District administration officials and local police have also reached the accident site. Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) teams, as well as fire brigade personnel and local residents, were carrying out the rescue operations at the accident site.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has expressed deep grief at the death of some passengers in the accident and announced ex-gratia of Rs2 lakh each to next of the kin of the deceased, and free treatment for those injured.

The cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained. The bus driver lost control of the vehicle after the bus hit a buffalo, veered off and fell 30 feet below the bridge. The accident took place when the bus collided with a buffalo. Buffalo also died and its body was recovered.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has reportedly expressed his grief over the tragic incident while minister Chandrasarathu Behera is set to visit the accident spot immediately.

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Nagrota terror attack: NIA chargesheet names JeM chief’s brother, 13 others

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New Delhi, Nov 20 : The NIA on Tuesday named Pakistan-based UN-designated terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad’s (JeM) deputy chief Maulana Abdul Rouf Asgar, the brother of outlawed organisation’s founder Maulana Masood Azhar, and 13 others in its chargesheet in 2016 Nagrota terror attack case.

The NIA chargesheet was filed in Jammu.

The National Investigation Agency revealed that four Kashmiri JeM members –Mohd Ashiq Baba, Syed Munir-Ul-Hassan Qadri, Tariq Ahmad Dar and Ashraf Hamid Khandey — had facilitated a group of three heavily armed Pakistani terrorists and transported them from International Border in Samba-Kathua sector to Hotel Jagdamba in Jammu.

The three were taken to Nagrota by the accused in their vehicles for the attack on the November 28, 2016 on Officers’ Mess complex, 166 Medium Regiment of Indian Army in Nagrota Cantonment (near Jammu).

All the four Kashmiris were arrested by the NIA later.

The anti-terror agency said the three JeM terroists — identified as Khalid, Numan and Aadil — were highly trained and equipped with AK-47 rifles and explosives. Seven Army personnel were killed and three suffered injuries in the attack carried out by the terrorists.

The terrorists were killed in retaliatory action by the security forces.

Investigation conducted by the NIA revealed that Maulana Abdul Rouf Asgar was the mastermind of the attack.

“Asgar worked out the plan of Fidyeen attack and provided training to the three slain JeM terrorists. He also directed Mufti Asgar, launch commander of JeM in Kashmir region, to provide training, funds, equipment and mobile and other logistics to local JeM member Mohd. Ashiq Baba,” said the NIA in its chargesheet.

The NIA said that Ashiq Baba had visited Pakistan many times and met JeM terrorists Waseem (operational commander), Abu Talha (a commander in Jammu region) and Qari Zarar (launch commander for Jammu region).

He was taken for a meeting with Mufti Asgar at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, said the NIA.

“On reaching there, he was received by Abdullah and Tariq Mir, both JeM terrorists who are close associates of Mufti Asgar,” the chargesheet said.

“During the meeting with top leadership of JeM commanders Mufti Asgar chalked out a detailed plan including the modus operandi to be adopted for infiltration of JeM terrorists and he asked Ashiq to activate local JeM network in Jammu and Kashmir for Jehadi cause.”

Ashiq Baba was trained by JeM at Manshera in Pakistan and given money for arranging logistics along with a GPS-enabled Huawei mobile phone for communication with JeM leaders in Pakistan, the NIA said.

According to the NIA, it has collected evidence on the basis of disclosure of the accused, detailed social media analysis, digital evidence through requests under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and analysis of data extracted from the seized digital devices.

The agency said that further investigation is continuing.

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