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Varanasi ‘shivling’ gets anti-pollution mask

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Idols wearing masks shivling

Varanasi, Nov 7 : With pollution levels touching an all-time high in Varanasi, the ‘Shivling’ at the famous Tarkeshwar Mahadev temple has been covered with a protective mask on the top.

Pandit Sandeep Mishra, the priest of the temple, said, “The air is very polluted in the city and we need to protect Lord Shiva from this poisonous air. We believe if he is safe, we will also remain safe and so we have put a mask on the Shivling.”

Idols wearing masks in Kashi
Idols wearing masks in Kashi

He said that during winters, idols are draped in shawls and woollens and air-conditioners are installed in summers. “Similarly, we have put this anti-pollution mask to protect the deity from bad air,” he explained.

Idols wearing masks parvati

The Air Quality Index in Varanasi was 226 on Thursday, which falls under the poor category.

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Police officer injured as students clash in Varanasi

The ABVP and Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha supporters were taking out processions after the nominations. As soon as they came near, they started shouting slogans and then started throwing stones.

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Clash Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth

Varanasi, Nov 20 : A clash broke out between members of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha at Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, on Wednesday, during the nominations for students union elections.

The two groups pelted each other with stones and set some vehicles on fire.

Station officer of Sigra was injured in the clashes. Some other constables were also injured.

The clashes took place near the Bharat Mata temple on the Cantt railway station road.

The ABVP and Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha supporters were taking out processions after the nominations. As soon as they came near, they started shouting slogans and then started throwing stones.

Additional forces have been deployed in the area and the injured students have been hospitalized.

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Won’t allow NRC in Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

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Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata, Nov 20 : On a day when union home minister Amit Shah asserted that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise would be undertaken across India, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee assured people on Wednesday that her government will never allow preparation of any such list.

Addressing a public meeting at Sagardighi of Murshidabad district, Banerjee said nobody can take away the citizenship of any person and make him/her a refugee.

She also challenged the Bharatiya Janata Party to clarify why the names of 14 lakh Hindus and Bengalis were left out of the final NRC brought out in Assam.

Obviously targeting the BJP without naming it, Banerjee said “a few people” were trying to foment trouble in the state in the name of NRC.

“A few people are trying to foment trouble in the state by saying that NRC exercise will be carried out in Bengal. I would like to make it very clear, that we will never allow the NRC exercise in Bengal,” she said.

“We won’t allow anybody to divide people on the basis of religion,” she added.

Shah told Rajya Sabha during the day that NRC will be implemented nationwide, and asserted that no person from any religion need to be afraid of it.

“The NRC exercise is monitored by the Supreme Court. No religion has been targeted or isolated during the NRC exercise,” said Shah responding to a query of Congress leader Syed Nasir Hussain.

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BHU students continue protest, Muslim prof feels ‘insulted’

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Sanskrit Scholar Firoze Khan

Varanasi, Nov 20 : The students’ protest against the appointment of a Muslim professor in the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan in the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) entered its 14th day on Wednesday with the students refusing to give up on their demand.

The BHU administration continues to maintain that the appointment of professor Feroz Khan is in accordance with the prescribed norms and there is no question of his removal.

The BHU administration has issued a statement, saying, “The idea behind the establishment of the university was to contribute in nation-building by providing equal opportunity of study and teaching to all deserving people without any discrimination on the basis of caste, religion, gender and sect.”

The statement also said that Khan’s appointment was a unanimous decision made by a selection committee under a transparent process.

The Muslim professor Feroz Kahn, meanwhile, said that he felt ‘insulted’ by the incident and added that he would have never applied for the job if the university had mentioned in the advertisement that they did not want a Muslim.

Students sitting on dharna, on the other hand, have started reciting Hanuman Chalisa to underline their opposition to a Muslim faculty member.

Chakrapani Ojha, a student leader leading the protest since November 7, said: “The appointment of a Muslim faculty member has hurt the sentiments of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya who established the BHU. This appointment has been made as part of a conspiracy. The entire process, including the interview, was rigged in favour of Feroz Khan. The stone inscription installed in BHU clearly states that no non-Hindu can either study or teach in our department. Then why was a Muslim professor appointed in the faculty?”

The university spokesman Rajesh Singh said that there is no stone inscription on the premises that says non-Hindus cannot study or teach in BHU.

Shubham Tiwari, another student leader, said, “In this department, there are no teachers, all are our gurus. Everyone keeps a ‘choti’ on their head, we touch their feet and participate in ‘havan’ which is a regular ritual. If a Muslim professor is accorded a place in the department, then he will not be able to perform rituals and teach us our dharma.”

Umakant Chaturvedi, the head of the department, said that the deadlock continued and no classes were being held in the Sanskrit department.

Sources said that some faculty members in the department were instigating protest and provoking students.

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