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Special Status Row: Statewide bandh in Andhra Pradesh

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Visakhapatnam, April 16: Andhra Pradesh is observing a day-long statewide bandh over the demand of Special Status for the state.

The shutdown has been called by Andhra Pradesh Pratyeka Hoda Saadhana Samiti, Opposition parties such as the Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP), Jana Sena, Congress and the Left parties have also extended their support to the Bandh.

Motorcycle set ablaze near RTC bus stand

The Left parties are protesting on National Highway 16 which connects Kolkata and Chennai.

In the meantime, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses will operate only till Andhra Pradesh state border because of the statewide bandh.

However, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which has been protesting for the Special Category Status and implementation of the provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act, has opposed it and not taking part in the agitation.

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Shariat believers should go to Pakistan, says Sakshi Maharaj

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Lucknow, July 23: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Sakshi Maharaj has managed to be in news again by advising “Shariat believers” ” to go to Pakistan if they want to impose  Shariat in the country”.

Sakshi Maharaj, BJP MP from Unnao constituency in Uttar Pradesh made this controversial remarks on the issue that  some organisations were seeking ‘Shariat courts’ to resolve the personal disputes of Muslims.

“India is the world’s largest democracy. Indian Constitution is very strong. Those who need ‘Shariat’ should go to Pakistan. India will be governed only according to its Constitution and not as per any Shariat,” Maharaj said.

The BJP MP said those who do not have faith in the Constitution of India, “have no right” to stay in the country.

“We would be happy bidding them farewell,” he added.

Maharaj has often stoked controversies.

He has made several statements since the BJP-led NDA government came into power at the center.

Earlier, Sakshi Mahraj urged Hindu women to produce at least 4 children to protect the Hindu religion. He even took a dig at the Muslim community saying “The concept of four wives and forty children just won’t work in India,”.

Last year, he had defended self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was convicted of rape, describing him as a “simple person”.

In another remark that led to an outrage, Maharaj had said couples displaying affection in public should be put behind bars “before anything wrong occurs”.

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PM Narendra Modi begins Africa tour

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PM Narendra modi

New Delhi, July 23: To strengthen India’s relations with the African continent,Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his five-day trip to three African countries, namely Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa.

T.S. Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry, said that Modi will be in Rwanda on July 23-24, in Uganda on July 24-25 and in South Africa from July 25 to 27.

The Prime Minister will first arrive at Rwanda, marking the first ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister, a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

“The visit to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa will further strengthen our relations with the African continent,” the External Affairs Ministry said.

In Rwanda, the Prime Minister will visit the Genocide Memorial and participate in an event on “Girinka” (one cow per family), a national social protection scheme of Rwanda, which is personally initiated by Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Over the last few years, there has been significant engagement in various fields with African countries. There have been 23 outgoing visits to Africa by the President, Vice President and Prime Minister in the last four years.

“Africa has been the top priority of India’s foreign policy,” the statement said.

Thereafter, Prime Minister Modi will proceed to Uganda, where he will undertake engagements from July 24 to 25. The visit will mark the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the country in over 20 years.
In Uganda, Prime Minister Modi will deliver a keynote address at the Parliament of Uganda, a first for any Indian Prime Minister.
In South Africa, Prime Minister Modi will have a bilateral meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and will attend the BRICS summit and other BRICS-related meetings.

Finally, Prime Minister Modi will pay a visit to South Africa from July 25 to 27 to attend the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit.

Also, bilateral meetings with participating countries on the sidelines of BRICS meetings are planned, the statement continued.
Various issues such as – inclusive growth, health and vaccines, peacekeeping, and sustainable development will be the core agenda during the BRICS summit.
The MEA statement said, “India shares close, warm and friendly relations with Africa which are cemented by robust development partnership and a large presence of the Indian diaspora. A number of agreements and MoUs in the areas of defence, trade, culture, agriculture and dairy cooperation are scheduled to be signed during the visit.”
“Africa has been the top priority of India’s Foreign Policy. The visit of the Prime Minister to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa will further strengthen our relations with the African continent,” it added.

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1,208 pilgrims leave for Amarnath Yatra

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Shiva Linga at Amarnath

Jammu, July 23: A new batch of 1,208 pilgrims left Jammu on Monday for the Kashmir Valley to perform the Amarnath Yatra, an official said.

They left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in an escorted convoy of 45 vehicles, as 435 pilgrims headed to Baltal base camp while 773 towards Pahalgam, he said.

This is the smallest batch of pilgrims to leave for the holy cave shrine since the Yatra started on June 28. To date, more than 2,40,000 pilgrims have performed the pilgrimage.

The 60-day-long yatra will end on August 26.

The Met has forecast rain along both the Baltal and Pahalgam treks on Monday.

IANS

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