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We don’t discriminate: Ola to VHP man who cancelled cab as driver was Muslim

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New Delhi, April 23: Taxi aggregator Ola Cabs on Sunday gave a thoughtful reply to a man, claiming to be associated with a right-wing outfit, who had cancelled his ride after finding the driver assigned to him was a Muslim.

Abhishek Mishra, a man who claims to be linked to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), had posted on Twitter that he cancelled his Ola booking on Friday after finding that the cab driver was a Muslim.

His Twitter account says Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Ideology First, Hindutva Thinker, Digital & Social Media Advisor (Views Personal), said, “Cancelled @Olacabs Booking because Driver was Muslim. I don’t want to give my money to Jihadi People.”

After cancelling the cab, Mishra took a screenshot of the cancellation and tweeted his Ola booking which named the cab driver.

Mishra’s Twitter post soon went viral and triggered a huge debate on Twitter with some siding with him and while others trolling him for inciting hatred and communal sentiments.

Interestingly, Mishra is followed on Twitter by bigwigs like Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma and many others; reported Zee News.

With his tweet creating a lot of buzz on the micro-blogging site, Ola also chipped in and tweeted a thoughtful reply to Mishra.

The cab operator put out a statement, saying that the company is a secular platform and doesn’t discriminate between its customers and driver partners and urged everyone not to discriminate on religious lines.

Mishra’s Facebook profile says he is from Ayodhya and works as an IT professional in Lucknow.

He claims he is an active member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal — both affiliates of the BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh — and “holds responsibility” of the IT cell of the VHP.

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Kerala floods: PM Modi to visit state, Death toll reaches 174

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Kochi, Aug 17 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi  will visit flood-hit Kerala on Friday as the state battles with extremely worst ever crisis of floods in the Indian history. The  deadly monsoon in India has triggered floods in Kerala of such a magnitude that the country has never witnessed in a century.

Modi will  discuss the prevailing situation with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with the death toll in the devastating floods increased to  174 in Kerala while 80 dams reach danger levels and more than one lakh people living in relief camps across the state, the Centre on Thursday deployed all three wings of the armed forces in a massive rescue operation.

Four Capital Ships of Indian Coast Guard have reached Kochi and joined the Disaster and Relief Team. 24 teams are already working in flood affected villages. Indian Coast Guard so far has rescued 1764 people and guided 4688 people to safer locations.

“Had a telephone conversation with Kerala Chief Minister just now. We discussed the flood situation across the state and reviewed rescue operations.

“Later this evening, I will be heading to Kerala to take stock of the unfortunate situation due to flooding,” he tweeted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will undertake an aerial survey of the flood-ravaged areas on Saturday. The Indian Meteorological Department (MeT) on Thursday indicated a slight reduction in rain intensity over Kerala in the next 48 hours.

Many rescue team members reported that they were unable to rescue people even after they had reached near houses due to huge compound walls and heavy inflow of water.Red alert has been issued in all 13 districts except Kasaragod today. Red alert has been issued for tomorrow also in Ernakulam and Idukki districts. 94 people have lost their lives in the floods.

The Railway Recruitment Board postponed exams scheduled for today in the state taking note of the flood situation.

Five units of NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) have reached Thiruvananthapuram this morning and deployed for rescue operations. 35 teams are expected to reach there on Friday.

Around 50 people from Pathanamthitta were airlifted on Thursday and brought to the state capital.

Meanwhile, fishing boats from Kollam reached the flooded areas as the rescue operation with the aid of defence personnel continued.

“We have requested more fishing boats and fishermen who have experience in operating the boats. They have all started arriving in the Pathanamthitta and Chengannur areas,” the Chief Minister said.

Reports said hundreds of people are perched on the roofs of their houses in Pathanamthitta, where attempts to airlift some marooned families have failed.

Traffic on the national highway between Ernakulam and Thrissur is being regulated since last night.

Rahul R. Nair, Ernakulam Rural Superintendent of Police, said hundreds of people need help. “Shortage of boats is the biggest problem,” said Nair.

“We have been stuck on the road for hours now and we are going to Chennai for the marriage of our cousin sister. The prospective bride is in the vehicle. We do not know how we will reach there,” said an anxious relative of the bride.

Train operations between Ernakulam and Angamaly have also been stopped, but operations resumed through the Alappuzha sector to the state capital, while the Kottayam sector remains closed. Likewise, the train services resumed operations through the Nagercoil sector.

The current crisis took a turn for the worse when, in a first, the sluices of 33 dams across Kerala were opened on Tuesday following incessant rains in the higher reaches of the ghats.

The famed tourist destination of Munnar continued to be in a bad shape, an official said. The Sabarimala temple also remained cut off by the river Pamba.

The hilly district of Wayanad, connected to Kannur and Kozhikode through a hill highway, has also been badly hit with the overflowing Banasura Sagar dam waters creating havoc. Several landslides were reported in the area.

In Wayanad alone, more than 20,000 people have been put up in relief camps, authorities said.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Miniter Pinarayi Vijayan and asked the defence forces to speed up rescue and relief operations.

“Have asked Defence Ministry to further step up the rescue and relief operations across the state. Praying for the safety and well-being of the people of Kerala,” the Prime Minister said, according to a statement.

Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha chaired a meeting on the Prime Minister’s instructions and asked the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the NDRF to mobilise additional manpower, boats and helicopters to scale up the relief measures in Kerala.

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Ashes of Atal Bihari Vajpayee to be spread in ‘all holy rivers of Uttar Pradesh’

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee

New Delhi, Aug 17: The ashes of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be spread in all the holy rivers of Uttar Pradesh including Ganga, Yamuna, and Tapti, to respect his grand stature. 

“Ashes of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be spread in every river in Uttar Pradesh including Ganga, Yamuna, and Tapti, to respect his grand stature”, UP government announced.

The Bharat Ratna awardee was cremated with full state honours on Friday evening.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and other senior political leaders including Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and thousands of people attended the last journey of Vajpayee.

The BJP stalwart took his last breath at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in Delhi on Thursday evening following a prolonged illness.

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee was strong advocate of South Asian cooperation: Saarc

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee

New Delhi, Aug 17: The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc)  on Friday expressed condolence over the death of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and described him as a strong advocate of cooperation within the South Asian region.

“We have lost a great statesman, politician, writer, poet, and above all a humane person committed to peace”, in a message to Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, Saarc Secretary General Amjad Hussain B. Sial said.

Sial, who hails from Pakistan and assumed office as Saarc Secretary-General in March 2017, remembering Vajpayee’s statements at the 10th Saarc Summit in Colombo in 1998, in Kathmandu in 2002 and in Islamabad in 2004, stated that the vision of former Prime Minister for a self-reliant and fully integrated South Asia continues to guide the Saarc process even in the contemporary scenario.

He also recalled Vajpayee’s “grand diplomatic gesture” of taking bus rides to Lahore and Dhaka during his Prime Ministership.

“Besides, as the three-time Prime Minister of India, Late Shri Vajpayee’s leadership greatly contributed to the prosperity and stability of India, and the country attained steady economic growth and became a leader in information technology,” the Saarc Secretary General asserted.
“On behalf of officials at the Saarc Secretariat and on my own behalf, I wish to convey our sincere condolences to the bereaved family, the government and the people of India on the sad demise of Shri Vajpayee.”

The former Prime Minister and a BJP Starwalt passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in Delhi on Thursday evening following a prolonged illness.

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