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For first time in history, no camel contingent at Republic Day parade

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First time in the history of the Republic Day celebrations that the iconic BSF camel contingent will not be ambling down the Rajpath on the coming January 26.

Officials said the 90-member Border Security Force (BSF) camel-mounted troops and band contingent has not been practising during the dress rehearsals of the event being held in the Capital, in the absence of official directions.bsf camel-wefornews“While the contingent is in Delhi since the last few months, it has not been included in the rehearsals as there are no official orders issued in this regard,” they said.

The majestic and elegantly dressed four-legged ‘ship of the desert’ belonging to the border guarding force first became a part of the national festival celebration in 1976 after it replaced a similar squad of the army which had been participating in the Republic Day parade since the first such event in 1950.

“The BSF camel contingent has since been the intrinsic part of the parade at Rajpath on every January 26. There are two teams which take part in the event, the 54-member mounted contingent and the 36-member band,” a senior official involved with the camel squad said.

While the first contingent showcases smartly dressed BSF border guards with weapons riding camels, the second follows with bandsmen in beautiful multi-colour dresses on the back of camels playing martial music.

Officials said the January 26 parade this time is undergoing a number of changes such as non-inclusion of paramilitary forces like Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) whereas some new features have been added to it including the dogs squad contingent of the army and a team of French soldiers.

“The camel contingent may also not be a part of the Beating the Retreat Ceremony to be held on January 29 where they stand along the ramparts of the North and South blocks on Raisina Hill,” they said.

French President Francois Hollande is the chief guest of this year’s event with dignitaries like President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi among others and general public.

The BSF camel contingent is the inheritor of the heritage of the Bikaner Royal Camel Force, known as ‘Ganga Risala’, and is based in the border town of Jaisalmer in north Indian state of Rajasthan.

Every year it travels to Delhi in November to participate in the Raising Day event of the BSF on December 1 and the Republic Day parade after which it retreats to its base.

The contingent has been called in to greet and honour foreign dignitaries many times in the past and recently was present for welcoming US President Barack Obama last year and for entertaining the guests during the Afro-India summit held last year.

The BSF is country’s largest border guarding force of the country raised in 1965 and it is mainly tasked with securing Indian frontiers with Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Wefornews Bureau

India

Sabarimala issue: ‘Will you take sanitary napkins to friend’s home,’ asks Smriti Irani

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Mumbai, Oct 23: Union Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday waded into the Sabarimala issue by asking if it was proper for anybody to desecrate a place of worship to justify the right to pray.

“It is plain common sense… Will you take sanitary napkins soaked in menstrual blood to a friend’s home? You will not. Do you think it is respectful to do the same when you enter the house of God?” Irani asked, speaking at an event..

Seeking to point out the difference, Irani said: “Everyone has the right to pray, but not to desecrate,” referring to a statement she had made recently after some woman threatened to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala with blood-soaked sanitary napkins.

Irani’s remarks came at a Young Thinkers’ Conference organized by the British Deputy High Commission and think-tank, Observer Research Foundation (ORF).

She made it clear that these were her personal views and as a cabinet minister, she would not comment on the Supreme Court’s recent verdict opening the Sabarimala Temple precincts to women of all ages.

After the Supreme Court ruling, the temple opened its doors on October 17, but shut down on Monday (Oct 22) following widespread protests and not permitting a single woman to enter the premises in the “banned” age group.

Prior to the apex court verdict, women in the menstruating age were only permitted till the base camp near the Pamba river, while men were allowed to continue the five-km long trek to the temple.

Drawing parallels, the Hindu-born Irani referred to her own marriage with a Parsi community man, (Zubin).

“I am a Hindu married to a Parsi, but I have ensured both my children practise Zorastrianism. Both have performed their Navjot ceremony. When I took by infant son to a fire temple (Agiary) in Andheri, I had to hand him to my husband. I was asked to go away from there,” she recounted.

Since then, Irani said as she is not allowed to accompany her husband and kids to any fire temple, she waits for them outside or in the car.

On the prospects of the Bharatiya Janata Party pushing the religious agenda in the 2019 elections, the minister said she “does not support populist rhetoric”.

“However, if there are schemes by implementation of which a majority of the population can benefit, it should not be targeted or sidelined or even demonized in any manner because it helps those who cannot help themselves,” Irani said.

She also discussed the achievements of the BJP government on various issues like the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, implementing difficult measures including the GST and Insolvency Code.

IANS

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Women approach Kerala High Court seeking police protection to visit Sabarimala Temple

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Sabarimala Temple

Sabarimala, Oct 23: Four women including two lawyers on Tuesday approached the Kerala High Court seeking police protection to visit Sabarimala Temple.

They claimed that the Supreme Court had given women permission to enter the Lord Ayyappa temple.

The brief pilgrimage season in Sabarimala failed to make history as women aged between 10-50 age were kept away by protests against their entry despite the top court order of allowing women of all ages to pray at the Lord Ayyaappa temple.

The doors of the famous temple closed at 10 p.m. on Monday, a day that witnessed five women making an unsuccessful effort to pray at the hill temple.

Since the beginning, Kerala was on the edge, after the temple opened for its customary monthly pujas for the first time after the September 28 the Supreme Court verdict which overturned a centuries-old practice that prohibited women of menstrual age from entering the famous temple.

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SC wants response from Centre, Assam on Hajela not favouring allowing five left-out documents for inclusion in NRC

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, Oct 23: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought response from the Centre and Assam government on the report by the State NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela not favouring permitting 40 lakh-odd left out to rely on five documents including ration card to assert their claim for inclusion in National Register of Citizens.

Seeking response from Centre, Assam and other stakeholders, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman declined, for now, the Centre’s plea for extending time for filing claims for inclusion in NRC as since September 25 when the process started, only one lakh people filed the claims.

The top court on September 19 had ordered the commencement of submission of claims and objections on inclusion of names in Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft from September 25.

The court had ordered that the start of filing of claims and objections backed by 10 identity documents would last for 60 days from the date of commencement.

However, it kept out five identity documents that included extract of NRC of 1951; extract/certified copy of electoral rolls up to midnight of March 24, 1971; refugee registration certificate issued up to March 24, 1971; and ration cards issued by competent authority with official seal and signature up to March 24, 1971 (midnight).

The court had sought the views of Hajela on permitting their use as favoured by the Centre by in its September 17 affidavit and Assam.

Seeking response from the stakeholders on Hajela objecting to allowing the use of five identity documents for claiming inclusion in NRC, the court said, “He may be right or wrong.”

He has told the court that relying on five documents would create problems.

Hajela submitted two reports– one confidential in a sealed cover and the other in which he expressed his misgivings on permitting five identity document to rely upon for claiming inclusion in NRC.

IANS

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