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“Turbulent Political Atmosphere”, Let’s pray ahead of 2019 Polls: Delhi Archbishop

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Archbishop, Anil-Couto

New Delhi, May 22: The Archbishop of Delhi, Anil Couto, has come out with a circular that refers to a “turbulent political atmosphere”, urging Christians to offer prayers and observe a day of fast for the country ahead of the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The letter, dated May 8 and addressed to all churches in the national capital, doesn’t really advocate any candidate or party.

The circular, as published in an AsiaNews article, calls upon all Catholics for prayer campaign ahead of the 2019 elections.

Read here full text of the letter: 

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation.

It is our hallowed practice to pray for our country and its political leaders all the time but all the more so when we approach the General Elections.

As we look forward towards 2019 when we will have [a] new Government, let us begin a Prayer Campaign for our country from May 13, 2018 which marks the Anniversary of the Apparition of the Blessed Mother at Fatima, consecrating ourselves and our nation to the Immaculate Heart.

I request that we observe a Day of Fast every Friday of the week by foregoing at least one meal and offering our penance and all our sacrifices for our spiritual renewal and that of our nation.

Moreover, I earnestly request that we organize an hour of Eucharistic Adoration every Friday at a convenient time in all our parishes, religious houses and institutions, specifically praying for our nation.

During this Adoration the enclosed Prayer may be recited.

With kind regards.

*Archbishop of Delhi

However, the Archbishop’s office has denied any political motive in the prayer, describing the letter as a standard practice before elections.

Reacting to this, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told reporters on Tuesday  “I have not seen the Archbishop’s letter, but I want to say India is one of those countries where minorities are safe and no one is allowed to discriminate on the basis of caste and religion”.

In the meantime,  BJP leader Giriraj Singh told media “Every action has a reaction. I won’t take a step that disrupts communal harmony. But if church asks people to pray so that Modi govt isn’t formed, the country will have to think that people from other religions will do kirtan pooja”.

After inviting flak, later in a day, Couto clarified saying every government should protect the country’s people and the constitution.

“We pray for our own renewal and that of the country. Keeping in mind all that is happening in our country we said that we look forward to next election and next government. Every government should protect people and the constitution,” the Archbishop told ANI.

“What else will I talk? Elections and government concern us. We have to have such government that cares for the freedom of people, their rights and welfare. I cannot say that we should be completely apart from the government”, he added.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said “We respect all communities, castes & Archbishops across the country, including that of Kolkata. I think whatever they said, they correctly said. It’s a fact”.

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To avoid overcrowding Railways to run 6 more local trains, 2 ladies special

At present 500 special suburban services are being operated by Western Railway for essential services staff

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Mumbai Local Train

In order to maintain social distancing and to avoid overcrowding, Western Railway has taken the decision to increase the number of daily special suburban services by adding 6 more services including two Ladies Special trains from Monday.

500 special suburban services were being operated by Western Railway for Essential Services Staff as notified by the Government of Maharashtra. To this, 6 more trains are being added in order to bring flexibility in transportation.

According to an official press release, the increased 6 services have been added between Virar- Churchgate sector. Out of the 6 services, 3 services will be in UP direction from Virar on Slow line and 3 services will be in the DOWN direction towards Virar on Slow line. The 2 Ladies Special services will be run during the morning and evening peak hours between Virar and Churchgate stations in both UP and DOWN directions.

It’s worth mentioning that after complete closure due to the COVID-19 lockdown since March 23, 2020, Western Railway on the request of Govt of Maharashtra had commenced the selected services of special suburban trains from June 15 on the Mumbai Suburban section. The services were gradually increased for the convenience of passengers.

The latest increase was implemented from 21st September 2020, when the total services were increased from 350 to 500 by adding 150 more services over Western Railway’s suburban section. Considering the present scenario of the pandemic, the special suburban trains are regularly sanitized & cleaned to upkeep proper hygiene.

All commuters as permitted by the Maharashtra government, are requested by Western Railway to follow social distancing norms and wear a mask while travelling in special trains.

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India

Mann ki Baat: PM says new agri Bills to help farmers sell produce

Modi also paid tributes to great leaders of the country and specially mentioned Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh. “Shaheed Bhagat Singh epitomised courage and teamwork,” he said.

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modi-mann-ki-baat

Hailing the contribution of Indian farmers in Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that they would benefit too from the new agriculture-related Bills once these become laws.

He pointed out-growers had benefited after fruits and vegetables were taken off the ambit of the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Act in 2014 and now other farmers would benefit too.

They would be able to send their produce wherever they want and also get a good price, the Prime Minister added while addressing the nation in the 69th edition of his monthly radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

Earlier, farmers could not sell their produce because of strict laws wherein they were challenged for selling their farm produce outside APMCs.

The new Bills passed by Parliament this month are opposed by different farmer unions and opposition parties.

He also referred to farmers in Haryana, Gujarat and other states for doing well or themselves.

The Prime Minister said: “Had we followed the essence of Bapu’s (Mahatma Gandhi) economic philosophy, we would not need to work for building an Atmanirbhar Bharat now. It would have happened much earlier.”

Modi also paid tributes to great leaders of the country and specially mentioned Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh. “Shaheed Bhagat Singh epitomised courage and teamwork,” he said.

The Prime Minister also emphasised the special bonding within a family and how storytelling can be a catalyst. He also interacted with a group of storytellers from Bengaluru.

“As a family, set aside some time for storytelling. This will be a wonderful experience. Highlight stories relating to great women and men who have made India proud.”

He appealed the Indians to wear face masks and follow two-feet distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Karnataka’s Congress MLA Gundu Rao tests corona positive

As about 60 legislators and scores of legislature Secretariat staff tested positive, the 8-day session was curtailed to 6 days and adjourned sine die on Saturday night.

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Gundu Rao

Bengaluru, Sep 27 : Karnataka’s Congress legislator Dinesh Gundu Rao tested coronavirus positive and was sent in home isolation, an official said on Sunday.

“Rao’s swab sample result, which came earlier in the day, was positive. He is presently in isolation at his home in the city,” party spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS.

Rao, 50, is a fifth-time legislator from Gandhinagar segment in Bengaluru central suburb.

“I have tested crona positive today. Therefore, will be quarantining myself for 10 days. I request all my primary contacts to get checked and take precautions,” Rao tweeted.

Rao attended the truncated 6-day Monsoon Session of the Assembly at Vidhana Soudha in the city centre till Saturday night.

“Rao attended the Assembly session from September 21, after he tested negative in mandatory corona test he took along with other lawmakers on September 18 and was well till yesterday (Saturday),” Gowda recalled.

Rao was the party’s state unit President till March and is the party’s Tamil Nadu unit incharge. He was a Minister in the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in 2015-16.

“Rao visited Chennai on September 25 and met the party’s Tami Nadu unit members and DMK President MK Stalin before returning to the city on Saturday morning,” Gowda added.

As about 60 legislators and scores of legislature Secretariat staff tested positive, the 8-day session was curtailed to 6 days and adjourned sine die on Saturday night.

Those infected include Deputy Chief Ministers Govind Karjol and CN Ashwath Narayan, Home Minister Basavarj Bommai, Food and Civil Supplies Minister K Gopalaiah, Urban Development Minister Byrathi Basavaraj, and Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chauhan.

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