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Vandalism of Ambedkar’s Mumbai home sparks political furore

Rajgruha is among the top sites related to Dr Ambedkar in Maharashtra and attracts tourists from all over.

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Mumbai, July 8 : The shocking incident of at least two persons vandalising ‘Rajgruha’ – the Mumbai home of the late Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar – sparked off a political uproar in Maharashtra on Wednesday with various political parties demanding for stringent action.

Describing Rajgruha as a “place of reverence”, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the government will not tolerate what has happened and strict action will be taken against the culprits.

“Goons entering Rajgruha and indulging in vandalism is shocking. The place is not only important for Ambedkarites, but the entire society who consider it as a place of pilgrimage. I have directed the police to act strongly against the vandals,” he said.

The incident occurred around 6 p.m. on Tuesday when some unidentified persons hurled stones at the windows, smashed CCTVs and damaged the flower pots at the residence in a quiet corner of the Dadar Hindu Colony.

However, the implications became apparent only around midnight when some Dalits attempted to visit the venue, and the Ambedkar family appealed for restraint early on Wednesday.

Following statements from Ambedkar family, the Matunga police lodged a formal complaint and started a probe.

The current residents include Dr Ambedkar’s daughter-in-law and grandsons, Prakash Ambedkar, Anandraj Ambedkar and Bhimrao Ambedkar along with their families.

The three-storied bungalow has a huge collection of Dr Ambedkar’s books, photographs, some personal effects and artefacts, his ashes, all of which are now housed in a small memorial museum which is a centre for Ambedkarite scholars from all over the world.

Condemning the incident, Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar termed it as “the handiwork of anti-social elements with a wicked mindset and done with ulterior motives”.

Home Minister Anil Deshmukh called up the Ambedkar family and the police, who have collected CCTV footage and assured that the accused would be nabbed soon.

Flaying the ‘dastardly attack’, Revenue Minister and state Congress chief Balasahab Thorat said the place is an inspiration for all who follow De Ambedkar and urged the government to nab those responsible immediately.

The Ambedkar kin also appealed to the people and their supporters to maintain peace and said the police have taken cognizance and are doing a good job.

Taking strong umbrage, Union Minister for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale wrote to Deshmukh and demanded a CID probe into the incident since the attack was on a place of national and historic significance concerning the chief architect of the Indian Constitution.

Leader of Opposition and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis called up the Ambedkars and discussed the issue with the family members.

“We strongly condemn the attack on the residence of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. I have spoken with the Additional Police Commissioner and demanded that those responsible should be arrested immediately,” said Fadnavis.

Building Rajgruha in 1933, Dr Ambedkar lived in it for nearly two decades, and had a collection of around 50,000 books, one of the largest private libraries of its kind in the world at that time.

Rajgruha is among the top sites related to Dr Ambedkar in Maharashtra and attracts tourists from all over.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened outside Rajgruha in view of the attack and police are scanning CCTV footage of the entire neigbourhood to identify and nab the culprits.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at [email protected])

India

Congress blames ‘toxic’ TV debate for Rajiv Tyagi’s untimely demise

“Till when will toxic debates and venomous spokespersons continue to kill sober and simple people? Till when TV channels will continue to run the TRP business through such debates? Surjewala tweeted

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New Delhi, Aug 13 : The Congress has blamed ‘toxic’ TV debate for the untimely demise of its spokesperson Rajiv Tyagi, who passed away on Wednesday after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The Congress leader had attended a television debate at 5 p.m. and complained of chest pain soon after the programme ended. He then fell unconscious and was rushed to the Yashoda Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted, “Till when will toxic debates and venomous spokespersons continue to kill sober and simple people? Till when TV channels will continue to run the TRP business through such debates? Till when will divisive communal agenda continue to poison the soul of the country? Till when? #rajiv_tyagi.”

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, former party chief Rahul Gandhi and senior leader Priyanka Gandhi spoke to Tyagi’s wife and extended their condolences.

Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet, “Congress has lost a lion. We will always remember his love for the party. My condolences are with the family.”

“Shocked to hear about the tragic demise of Shri Rajiv Tyagi. He was too young and had a long life ahead of him. It is a big loss for the party. My heart goes out to his family & wellwishers. May God give them the strength in this hour of grief,” tweeted senior leader Ahmed Patel.

A resident of Ghaziabad, Tyagi was a member of the Uttar Pradesh Congress before becoming the party’s national spokesperson.

The Congress in a statement said, “We are deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Rajiv Tyagi, a staunch Congressman and a true patriot. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this hour of grief.”

Congress leader Jitin Prasada said, “I am shocked and deeply saddened by his untimely demise.”

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “I can’t believe that my friend Rajiv Tyagi is not with us any more. He was in a debate with me at 5 p.m. Life is uncertain.”

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Refrain from inappropriate social media posts: Telangana Police

With a provocative social media post triggering violence in Bengaluru, Telangana Director General of Police M. Mahender Reddy and Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar on Wednesday cautioned people against posting inappropriate content online.

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Gajwel: The police chief, in a statement, requested people to be cautious while posting any content on social media.

“A malicious social media post has led to mindless violence in Bangalore (Bengaluru) city resulting in loss of life and properties. Public are requested not to post/circulate any inappropriate content in social media which is likely to adversely affect public order and peace in the society,” the DGP said.

He said Telangana Police were closely watching round the clock for anti-social elements circulating such malicious content in social media.

“All the SHOs and other senior Officers have been instructed to register specific cases in every such instance and initiate strong and strict action against such offenders without fail. I request the public to partner with police to maintain the highest standards of safety and security in Telangana,” he added.

Anjani Kumar has also urged people to be very cautious before posting anything on social media. “Last night there was violence in Bangalore because of such a social media post. We will take very firm legal action for any irresponsible post. We cannot allow under any circumstances our city to get a bad name,” he tweeted.

A Facebook message posted allegedly by a relative of a Congress MLA triggered violent protest in Bengaluru on Tuesday night.

Three people were killed in the police firing and 60 police personnel were injured in the violent incident of stone pelting and attacks by rioters.

Earlier, Telangana Industries Minister K. T. Rama Rao said that social media cannot turn into an instrument for anti-social behaviour.

The minister took to Twitter to share his thoughts after violence in Bengaluru.

“Goes to show you how dangerous spreading fake news in social media can be…,” tweeted Rama Rao, who is son of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao.

Rama Rao, who is also the President of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), requested all social media users to be responsible. He urged them not to indulge in propaganda and stop spreading fake news.

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Bengal govt withdraws state-wide lockdown on Aug 28

Hence, the statewide lockdown will only be observed on August 20, 21, 27 and 31.

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Kolkata, Aug 12 : The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government on Wednesday withdrew the complete lockdown on August 28 and imposed a curfew on August 20 instead.

The state government passed an order to this effect, saying the step was taken in response to various requests it had received.

As a result, the lockdown dates were once again revised to six days this month. This is the fourth time that the state government has revised the coronavirus lockdown dates for the month of August.

Hence, the statewide lockdown will only be observed on August 20, 21, 27 and 31.

According to the statement, the revision comes in view of difficulties cited by businesses and banking operators due to the consecutive two-day lockdown in the last week of August.

“Several communications have been received citing difficulty to conduct of businesses and banking operations because of the two-day lockdown on Thursday and Friday in the last week of August, followed by one-day lockdown on the following Monday. The state government has considered the requests for relaxation of lockdown,” the notification read.

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