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Nation in dark on Naga settlement: Sonia



New Delhi/Kohima, Feb 19 : Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday accused the government of keeping the nation in the dark on the contents, nature and status of the peace dialogue with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim-Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM) faction.

“We are not privy to the contents of the Naga peace accord and we cannot give a blank cheque of support as of now,” Gandhi told the Parliamentary Working Committee of the Joint Legislators’ Forum (JLF) from Nagaland in New Delhi.

The delegation was led by Nagaland assembly Speaker Chotisuh Sazo. He was accompanied by Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang, Lok Sabha member Neiphiu Rio and a host of Nagaland legislators.

At the meeting, Gandhi promised the Naga parliamentarians of her party’s support for the Naga peace accord “if the contents of the agreement were in the interest of the Nagas, the Northeast and the nation”.

“We are not privy to the contents of the Naga peace accord and we cannot give a blank cheque of support,” an official statement issued by the Nagaland Chief Minister’s Office quoted her as saying.

“But when the government reveals the contents for discussion in parliament, and if it is in the interest of the Nagas, the Northeast and the nation, my party will surely support it,” Gandhi said.

However, she expressed solidarity with the Naga people for the need to find an amicable, honourable and permanent peace in the state.

The delegation explained to the Congress chief about the formation of the JLF comprising leaders of all political parties in the state, mainly to project a common voice of the representatives of the people of Nagaland on the urgency to solve the protracted Naga problem.

“The merger of the Congress legislators with the NPF was solely for the purpose of finding an early solution to the Naga political problem and not because of any other exigency,” the delegation said.

The delegation members later left for Kolkata to meet leaders of West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress.


Hindu group attacks Christmas carol singers in MP




Satna (Madhya Pradesh), Dec 15 : Alleging religious conversion, a mob linked to a right-wing Hindu group attacked Catholic carol singers in Madhya Pradesh’s Satna district and also set a priest’s car ablaze.

The incident occurred on Thursday evening. Instead of taking action against the attackers, the police detained the Christian singers, a priest said.

Father Rene Verghese told IANS on Friday: “A group of students training to become priests was moving around Satna town, visiting Christian institutions and singing carols.

“Some 15 km from here in Dara Kalan village church they were getting ready for the Christmas celebrations, when a group of people attacked them, accusing them of carrying out religious conversion.”

Verghese said the Hindu group raised slogans and called the Civil Lines police station.

All 32 carollers, accompanied by two priests, who were singing carols were picked up and taken to the police station. Eight priests who later went to the police station to enquire into the matter were also taken into custody, he said.

The agitating mob attacked the Christian students inside the police station, and set fire to the priest’s car parked outside.

Verghese denied any attempt at religious conversion. He said singing carols is a common practice around the time of Christmas. “We were just doing that and preparing for the Christmas celebrations.”

However, City Superintendent of Police D.D. Pande told IANS: “One Dharmendra Dohad has registered a complaint with us that he was paid Rs 5,000 and converted to a Christian.

“He was given a holy dip in a pond and his name was changed to Dharmendra Thomas, the complainant said. They also asked him to pray to Lord Christ,” he said.

A case has been registered against one identified person and five unknown persons in the conversion case, Pande said.

They are also investigating the vandalism carried out by the mob.


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One-way traffic restored on Jammu-Srinagar highway




Jammu, Dec 15: Authorities allowed only one way-traffic movements on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar national highway on Friday due of bad road conditions, officials said.

“One-way traffic will be allowed on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. Vehicles will be allowed to move from Srinagar to Jammu and no vehicle will be allowed to move from the opposite direction,” news agency IANS quoted an official of the traffic department was saying.

“This precaution has been taken keeping the safety of the commuters in mind,” he added.

Since all essentials of life are connected to the landlocked Kashmir Valley through this highway, temporary closures because of snowfall and landslides often result in profiteers and black marketeers hoarding goods to hike prices.


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Delhi Govt reserves 50% beds for Delhiites at GB Pant Hospital



New Delhi, Dec 15: Half of beds at the Delhi government’s flagship super-specialty G B Pant Hospital will be reserved for the city’s residents in a bid to provide timely and best available treatment to the patients. 

The order was issued by the Delhi government ‘s Health and Family Welfare Department on December 12.

“To provide timely and best available treatment for patients who are resident of Delhi, in GB Pant Hopsital (GIPMER), which is the flagship Super-speciality hospital of GNCTD, it has been decided that 50% of the total beds shall be reserved for the patients, particularly residents of Delhi”, the order said.

To avail this facility, patient should have been referred by another Delhi government hospital and admission should be required for only special treatment or for planned surgeries.


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