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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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Delhi HC pulls up Centre for not framing rules on e-cigarette

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New Delhi, Aug 21: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday pulled up the Central government for its failure to frame any policy on e-cigarette.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V. Kameswar Rao pulled up the Central government for its failure to take any decision on regulatory measures for e-cigarettes till date. It noted that some states have already taken steps to prohibit it.

The bench said that this is an important issue particularly for educational institutions.

The court was hearing a plea seeking a ban on or regulation of the sale and use of e-cigarettes. It listed the matter for further hearing on September 7.

The public interest litigation petition filed by anti-tobacco activist Seema Sehgal, through advocate Bhuvanesh Sehgal, said that though there are no specific guidelines to deal with emerging threats such as e-cigarettes several state governments and Union Territories have taken steps to prohibit it.

Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have declared e-cigarettes as an unapproved drug under the Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1954 and have begun prosecuting the vendors.

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Tejashwi Yadav attacks Nitish, says Bihar turned into ‘monster raj’

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New Delhi, Aug 21: Reports of a woman being paraded naked in a Bihar town prompted Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav on Tuesday to allege the state has been transformed into a ‘jungle and monster raj’.

A mob attacked, stripped and paraded a woman naked in a locality in Bhojpur district on Monday suspecting her for murdering a man. A video of the incident went viral on social media. The mob also torched a few shops.

Read More: Woman stripped, beaten by mob on murder suspicion in Bihar

The clip also showed people making video clips of the incident instead of helping the victim.

Yadav tweeted: “What is happening in my Bihar? Today a woman has been beaten up and paraded naked on the road. You (referring to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Modi) have transformed Bihar into jungle and monster raj.”

Yadav said he was numb to see the “heart-wrenching video clip” of the women.

Presently, the woman is under police custody and undergoing medical examinations.

However, she denied her involvement in the murder.

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Mandsaur Rape Case: Two accused gets death sentence

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Bhopal, Aug 22: The Madhya Pradesh special court on Tuesday pronounced death sentence to the two accused Irfan and Asif for raping a seven-year-old girl in Mandsaur.

Second Additional District and Sessions judge Nisha Gupta sentenced death to the accused.

The minor was kidnapped and raped before being abandoned at a secluded place while she was waiting for her father after school on June 26.

The victim was found by a neighbour walking dazed on the next morning.

The brutal rape triggered a countrywide outrage and protest.

Thousands of people took out a march and also submitted a memorandum to the Mandsaur administration, demanding death sentence for the accused.

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