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Visiting Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan a lifetime wish!

The shrine was closed to people coming from across India’s border after the partition in 1947.

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Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan Muslim to holy Mecca.

Dera Baba Nanak (Punjab), Nov 10 : For a Sikh visiting Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan is like fulfilling the one lifetime wish of a Muslim to pay obeisance in holy Mecca.

This was the hope of almost every Sikh settled across the globe to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, situated just a few kilometres from the Indian border in Narowal district.

The shrine, originally known as Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, is among the holiest of holy shrines and is believed to be the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh religion, whose 550th birth anniversary falls on November 12.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Kartarpur Corridor on Saturday when the first lot of 550 Indian pilgrims, led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, visited the holy shrine across the border.

“The Kartarpur Corridor is an auspicious link between two nations,” Chandigarh-based Indo-Pak peace activist and journalist Chanchal Manohar Singh told IANS over phone from Lahore.

He said opening of the border by Pakistan from the Indian side for visiting devotees from across the globe has been a big achievement since both nations separated in 1947.

“Since the propaganda of hate by vested people on both sides, we are fortunate to see direct link between two historically important Sikh shrines — Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara,” Singh added.

The sacred shrine of Kartarpur Sahib is built on the historic site where Guru Nanak Dev settled after his ‘Udasian’ (missionary travels) and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.

The original structure of the Kartarpur Sahib was once destroyed by floods. It was reconstructed by Bhupinder Singh, the then scion of Patiala and grandfather of current Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

The shrine was closed to people coming from across India’s border after the partition in 1947.

The gurdwara was opened to pilgrims after repairs and restoration in 1999, and Sikh ejathas’ have been visiting the shrine regularly ever since.

A 500-year-old well, believed to have been built during the lifetime of Guru Nanak Dev, was discovered near the Kartarpur gurdwara in April.

The well was discovered while digging the enclosure of the shrine.

Sikh ejathas’ from India travel to Pakistan on four occasions every year — Baisakhi, the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev, the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev.

Before the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, Pakistani authorities normally clear the tall grass from time to time, enabling the devotees from India to view the shrine with the help of a telescope.

The Indian devotees, especially the Sikhs, have been demanding a visa-free “khule darshan” (free obeisance facility) at the gurdwara for all faiths, from India and overseas, all seven days a week by crossing the international border from Dera Baba Nanak town in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.

Keeping mind the huge sentiment of people of Punjab, India first proposed the Kartarpur Sahib corridor in 1999 when the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took a bus ride to Lahore.

However, it did not make much progress before last year when the proposal was renewed and given a push by India.

Pakistan agreed to the proposal and foundation stones were laid for the corridor on both sides of the border in November last year.

India and Pakistan last month signed an agreement to operationalise the 4.2 km Kartarpur Corridor to allow Indian pilgrims a visa free day-long visit on foot to the holy Darbar Sahib.

However, the ticklish issue of a $20 service fee imposed by Islamabad remained unresolved.

(Vishal Gulati can be reached at [email protected])

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Rahul Gandhi returning to lead Congress again?

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scindia rahul gandhi priyanka gandhi

New Delhi/Wayanad (Kerala), Dec 6 : Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi is all set to return to lead the party and is likely to take over after the Delhi assembly polls early next year. A hint to this effect was dropped by Congress General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal who said that country wants his leadership more now.

Venugopal, who is accompanying Gandhi to his Kerala constituency Wayanad, told reporters: “The nation is going through a critical phase… The party needs his leadership and there is loud chorus from the workers to bring him again and we hope he will listen to them.”

A Congress session is scheduled in the next few months to ratify the appointment of interim President Sonia Gandhi. A source said that in the same meet, a chorus will grow to bring again Rahul Gandhi as planned by young leaders in the party.

Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to the party organisation was first demanded at the AICC’s Hyderabad session in 2006 where workers from UP raised slogans in his favour and he was made party General Secretary in 2007. After that, the demand to make him Vice President was raised at the brainstorming session in Jaipur in 2013.

He was elected President unopposed in 2017 after demand from different quarters of the party, but during the 2019 General Elections, the party was routed under his leadership and he resigned in May taking the responsibility of poll debacle and did not budge to the party’s repeated requests to reconsider. In August, Sonia Gandhi was appointed interim party chief.

Though he may not be the party chief, but Rahul Gandhi’s decisions are evident within the party’s decisions as evinced by appointment of Nitin Raut as minister in the Shiv Sena-Congress-Nationalist Congress Party coalition government in Maharashtra and of Nana Patole as the Assembly Speaker.

The party is finalising a venue for the AICC session, which could be held in the Congress-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan in January and February, a source said.

By: BY SAIYED MOZIZ IMAM

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RBI holding repo rate bodes well for savings: Economists

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Reserve Bank of India RBI

New Delhi, Dec 6 : Even as many see the RBI’s pause on repo rate as a setback for the growth, some economists argue that any further cut could have affected households savings which have already seen a decline in recent times.

“Reduction in interest rate will work negatively. The interest rate is like a double-edged sword. It will have an impact on savings and it will have an impact on investments. We know very clearly that it does not have much impact on investments. Now, what is it doing? It is basically hampering the savings,” said N.R. Bhanumurthy of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP).

He also said that monetary policy is not just about interest rates.

“There are many things which monetary policy does. It can ensure that credit flow is better and the banking sector is in good shape. They can create money supply. So, it can do many things. They have to now see how savings could be improved,” the NIPFP professor said.

M. Govinda Rao, Chief Economic Advisor, Brickwork Ratings, said that transmission of the reduction in the policy (repo rate) requires the lending rates to fall. Further, that would also require the deposit rates to fall, which could result in reduced saving by households.

“When the inflation rate is perking up, if the banks also reduce the deposit rates, the rate of return on savings will decline which could not only reduce the incentive to save but also can hurt the elderly who maintain themselves from the interest income,” he said.

As per Economic Survey of FY19, gross savings fell nearly 60 basis points as a share of GDP in two years to 30.5 per cent in 2017-18. Household savings led the decline as its share contracted from as high as 23.6 per cent of GDP in 2011-12 to 17.2 per cent of GDP in 2017-18.

“The household sector savings declined from 23.6 per cent of GDP in 2011-12 to 17.2 per cent in 2017-18 and its net financial savings and a ratio of GDP declined from 7.2 per cent to 6.5 per cent during the same period. Thus, besides inflationary expectations, ensuring adequate real rate of return on the savings could be an objective of keeping the repo rate constant,” Govinda Rao said.

As against market expectations of a rate cut, the RBI on Thursday maintained the policy repo rate at 5.15 per cent. With this, the reverse repo rate also stands unchanged at 4.9 per cent. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was unanimous in its decision to maintain status quo on both rates and ‘accommodative’ stance.

(Nirbhay Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

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Immediately probe the encounter: Legal experts

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Hyderabad Murder Encounter

New Delhi, Dec 6 : Legal experts say as per the law a probe should be immediately set up into the mysterious encounter of the four accused in the rape and murder of a Hyderabad-based veterinarian.

“The rule of law should prevail in the country, there should be an immediate inquiry into the encounter of the accused,” said senior advocate Vikas Singh, former President of Supreme Court Bar Association.

A week after the brutal gang rape and murder of the young veterinarian in Hyderabad, police shot dead all the four accused in an alleged ‘encounter’ near Shadnagar town.

The accused were killed in the early hours of Friday when they allegedly snatched weapons from the police and tried to escape from Chatanpally near Shadnagar, about 50 kms from Hyderabad.

Singh emphasised that there should be balance between justice delivery system and human rights of the citizens. “The authorities should immediately begin an inquiry into this encounter, and this probe should be completed as soon as possible. The authorities should ascertain whether it was a genuine encounter or it was stage managed by the police,” added Singh.

The four accused killed in the encounter were identified as lorry drivers Mohammed Arif (26) and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu (20), and lorry cleaners Jollu Shiva (20) and Jollu Naveen (20). All hailed from the Narayanpet district of Telangana.

Senior advocate Puneet Mittal said that there should immediately be a judicial probe into the matter to unearth the real picture behind this mysterious encounter. “The probe should be on the factors that were behind this encounter. The families of the accused could also move the court seeking inquiry into the matter,” added Mittal.

Senior advocate Sanjay Parekh said according to the law the encounter should be looked into as killings. “As per law, a case should be registered against the police officials involved in the alleged encounter followed by a probe,” said Parekh.

He also insisted that usually the action of the police officials claiming self defence comes into the picture at the stage of the trial, but at this stage of the case there should be a probe immediately to verify the encounter.

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