RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, speaking at a rally in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district on the 127th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, called on the public to embody the qualities and teachings of the iconic freedom fighter. Bhagwat stressed the importance of collective responsibility in realizing Bose's vision of a robust and united nation.
While commemorating Netaji's contributions to the freedom struggle, Bhagwat urged people not only to remember him with gratitude but also to internalize his ideals and principles. Speaking at Barasat, Bhagwat emphasized that the responsibility to fulfill Netaji's dreams lies with the present generation. He urged active participation in working towards the aspirations Netaji had for the country.
Recognizing that fulfilling these dreams is a multi-generational task, Bhagwat highlighted the need for continuous effort. He encouraged the present generation to actively contribute to the realization of Netaji's vision for India, emphasizing that it is through ongoing dedication and hard work that his dreams will be achieved.
Bhagwat underscored the enduring impact of the selfless lives, struggles, and sacrifices of freedom fighters, noting their role as a perennial source of inspiration for the entire populace. This marks the RSS chief's second consecutive year in Bengal, actively participating in celebrations honoring the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
On Monday morning, invitees flocked to the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, creating a fervent atmosphere despite the biting cold. Locals and devotees, waving saffron flags, lined the roads, dancing to songs dedicated to Lord Ram. The historic event, set to welcome Lord Ram, will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with prominent figures such as RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Anupam Kher, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan, and others.
Religious celebrations intensified with the early arrival of invitees like Hema Malini, Kangana Ranaut, and Rajnikant. The 'Ram dhun' echoed through the streets as security remained vigilant. The consecration ceremony, starting at 12:20 pm, is expected to conclude by 1 pm, followed by the prime minister's address.
The magnificent Ram Janmbhoomi Mandir, constructed in the traditional Nagara style, stands 380 feet long, 250 feet wide, and 161 feet high. The consecration rituals began on January 16, and Modi is set to interact with those involved in the temple's construction. The ceremony holds significance after the Supreme Court's 2019 judgment on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, allowing the construction of the temple. Despite political controversies, the event marks a momentous occasion in Hindu history, drawing attention globally with special festivities and events planned worldwide.
In response to widespread criticism and concerns over patient care, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi has reversed its decision to close non-critical services during the grand consecration event at the Ayodhya Ram Temple. The premier healthcare facility initially declared a half-day break for staff in non-critical services, raising apprehensions about the availability of outpatient department (OPD) services.
The administrative officer, Rajesh Kumar, had issued a memorandum stating the institute's closure until 2:30 pm on January 22, 2024, in alignment with the government's announcement of a half-day break for employees. The notice, while specifying the closure of non-critical services, did not explicitly mention the status of OPD services, causing concern among patients who rely on the facility for specialized healthcare.
In the wake of the public outcry and recognition of potential inconvenience to patients, AIIMS-Delhi issued a revised notification today. The updated notice ensures that the OPD "shall remain open to attend to patients with appointments" during the specified time, emphasizing the commitment to prevent any disruption in patient care. The reversal aims to address the concerns raised by individuals who depend on AIIMS for critical medical consultations and may have faced significant inconvenience had the original decision been upheld.
In the midst of intensifying clashes between rebel forces and the military junta in Myanmar, a significant development has unfolded as hundreds of Myanmar Army personnel have sought refuge in India. The Mizoram government has raised the alarm, urging the central government to promptly address the situation and ensure the repatriation of these soldiers to their home country.
Approximately 600 Myanmar Army soldiers crossed into India amid fierce battles, finding shelter in Mizoram's Lawngtlai district after their camps were reportedly captured by the Arakan Army (AA), an ethnic armed group operating in the western Myanmar state of Rakhine. According to government sources, the soldiers have been accommodated in an Assam Rifles camp.
The escalating crisis prompted urgent discussions between Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma and Union Home Minister Amit Shah during the plenary session of the Northeastern Council meeting in Shillong. The Mizoram government stressed the importance of swiftly repatriating the Myanmar Army personnel to prevent any potential destabilization in the region.
Addressing the media after the plenary session, Chief Minister Lalduhoma shed light on the ongoing situation. He emphasized that people fleeing Myanmar seeking shelter were being assisted on humanitarian grounds. The Chief Minister revealed that Myanmar soldiers had been consistently seeking refuge, and in the past, they were sent back by air, with around 450 army personnel having been repatriated earlier.
The current scenario underscores the significant challenges faced by Myanmar's military junta, which seized power in a coup in 2021. The situation has intensified as three ethnic minority forces launched a coordinated offensive in late October, capturing towns and military posts, and compelling Myanmar Army personnel to flee.
As Mizoram grapples with the influx of Myanmar Army personnel, the urgency for repatriation remains a priority, with concerns escalating about the potential impact on regional stability. The unfolding events in Mizoram reflect the complex dynamics and humanitarian challenges arising from the conflict in Myanmar.
On Friday, the Congress vehemently opposed the notion of conducting simultaneous elections in India, deeming it "undemocratic" and asserting that it contradicts the principles of federalism and the fundamental structure of the Constitution. Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress chief, expressed his strong dissent, urging the abandonment of the idea and dissolution of the high-powered committee assigned to study it.
In a letter addressed to Niten Chandra, the secretary of the committee on "One Nation, One Election," Kharge emphasized the party's firm stand against the concept. He specifically called upon former president Ram Nath Kovind, who heads the committee, to prevent the misuse of his persona and the esteemed office of the former president to undermine the constitution and parliamentary democracy in the country.
"The Indian National Congress is strongly opposed to the very idea of 'One Nation, One Election.' For the sake of maintaining a thriving and robust democracy, it is imperative that the entire idea must be abandoned, and the high-powered committee dissolved," stated Mr. Kharge in his letter.
This opposition by the Congress reflects concerns about the potential impact on the democratic fabric of the nation, asserting the necessity of preserving the principles of federalism and the foundational tenets of the Constitution in the face of proposed electoral reforms.
The new idol of Lord Ram was ceremoniously placed inside the Ram Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya, setting the stage for the upcoming grand consecration ceremony scheduled for January 22. Crafted from black stone by Mysuru-based artist Arun Yogiraj, the 51-inch idol portrays Lord Ram as a five-year-old child in a standing posture, with the face veiled during the placement ceremony earlier in the day.
Accompanied by prayers, the Ram Lalla idol found its place in the sanctum sanctorum. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to attend the 'pran pratishtha' or consecration ceremony, a vital ritual imbuing the idol with divine consciousness. The consecration is mandatory for every idol worshipped in a temple. The much-anticipated Ram temple is expected to open to the public on January 23.
In a thoughtful gesture, Prime Minister Modi has urged the public to refrain from visiting Ayodhya on January 22, expressing a desire not to cause any disruptions to the sacred occasion. Starting January 23, everyone is welcome to visit.
The temple trust has extended invitations to over 11,000 guests. The ceremony will witness the presence of all the trustees of the temple trust, seers from approximately 150 sects, and more than 500 individuals associated with the temple's construction, collectively known as the "Engineer Group."
Rituals leading up to the consecration ceremony have already commenced at the temple, situated at the believed birthplace of Lord Ram. The ceremony marks a significant milestone in the culmination of a long-standing cultural and religious aspiration, with the consecration expected to be a momentous event drawing devotees and dignitaries alike.
On the inaugural day of the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' in Assam, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched scathing criticisms against the state government, asserting that it may harbor the "most corrupt government" with the "most corrupt Chief Minister" in the entire nation. Speaking at Haloating in Sivasagar district, where the yatra commenced from Nagaland, Gandhi accused the ruling BJP and RSS of propagating hatred and embezzling public funds.
Gandhi pledged to spotlight the issues plaguing Assam during the Yatra, emphasizing alleged corruption as a primary concern. During a subsequent street meeting at Deberapar in Nakachari, Jorhat district, he contended that the BJP-led government was committing numerous injustices against tribals, tea workers, and other indigenous communities in Assam.
In a more direct attack during his third public address in Jorhat town, Gandhi accused Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his entire family of involvement in corruption. He asserted that Sarma believed money could manipulate the people of Assam, but the resilience of the Assamese people could not be bought.
In a swift response, Chief Minister Sarma retaliated, labeling the Gandhi family as "the most corrupt" in the country. After a BJP function at its state headquarters, Sarma told reporters that, in his opinion, the Gandhi family epitomized corruption and even questioned the authenticity of their surname, alleging that they carried "duplicate names."
The political feud between Rahul Gandhi and Himanta Biswa Sarma escalated beyond ideological differences, delving into accusations of corruption against each other's families. As the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' progresses through Assam, the verbal sparring between the Congress leader and the Chief Minister sets the stage for heightened political tensions in the region.
In anticipation of the consecration ceremony, the idol of Lord Ram Lalla is scheduled to be transported to the Ram Temple in Ayodhya today. This marks a significant step in the week-long Pran Pratishtha ceremony taking place at the grand temple. Crafted from black stone by Mysuru sculptor Arun Yogiraj, the idol of infant Ram will make its way to the temple in a procession, known as "parisar pravesh" or "entry," on the second day of the ceremony.
The idol, weighing approximately "150-200 kgs," was carefully placed on a flower-decorated truck late at night, aided by a crane for the procession. Devotees, carrying pots or "kalash" filled with water from the holy Saryu River, will accompany the idol on its journey to the temple.
The Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has outlined a series of rituals to be performed before the idol enters the temple premises around 1:20 pm. The schedule includes Jal Yatra, Teerth Pujan, Brahmin-Batuk-Kumari-Suvasini Pujan, Vardhini Pujan, and Kalashyatra. These ceremonies will unfold in the Prasad complex, adding spiritual significance to the event.
After the rituals, the idol will be taken on a perambulation around the temple in a grand procession. Subsequently, the idol is slated to be officially installed within the sanctum sanctorum tomorrow.
The entire process is part of the six-day-long rituals culminating in the grand Pran Pratishtha ceremony on January 22. This momentous occasion is expected to be attended by dignitaries, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The consecration marks a historic milestone in the construction and establishment of the Ram Temple, a symbol of cultural and religious significance for millions of devotees. The meticulous execution of these rituals underscores the devotion and meticulous planning involved in bringing the sacred idol to its rightful place within the revered temple premises.
Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu has issued a deadline for India to withdraw its troops from the island nation, setting March 15 as the date for their departure. This ultimatum follows Muizzu's recent state visit to China, where he met with President Xi Jinping, signaling a shift in diplomatic ties. The strained relationship between India and Maldives escalated when Maldivian ministers made derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his visit to the Lakshadweep islands, leading to the sacking of the ministers.
The Maldivian Opposition condemned the comments, but President Muizzu emphasized that despite their small size, the nation would not tolerate bullying. Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, the public policy secretary at the President's Office, stated that the presence of Indian military personnel in the Maldives is not acceptable under President Muizzu's policy.
Reports indicate that approximately 88 Indian troops are currently stationed in the Maldives. The situation adds another layer of complexity to the evolving geopolitical dynamics in the region, with the Maldives strengthening its ties with China amid the ongoing tensions with India.
India's External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, addressed the ongoing border standoff with China, stating that normalizing relations cannot be expected until a resolution is reached. Speaking on 'Bharat's Rise in Geopolitics,' Jaishankar highlighted the lack of mutually agreed borders between India and China and accused China of violating an agreement by deploying troops to the Line of Actual Control in 2020, leading to the Galwan incident. He conveyed to his Chinese counterpart that normalizing relations is contingent on resolving the border issue.
Jaishankar also addressed the rift with the Maldives, emphasizing India's efforts to build a strong connection over the past decade. Despite political fluctuations, he noted the positive sentiments of the Maldivian people towards India and highlighted India's contributions to infrastructure development, trade access, investments, and tourism.
Regarding the United Nations (UN), Jaishankar remarked on its diminishing relevance and the need for reforms. He acknowledged India's aspiration for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, citing the changing global dynamics in the past 30-40 years. He expressed optimism about India's inclusion, stating that the world recognizes India's significance but cautioned that such recognition is not easily granted.
Addressing the emigration of Indians, Jaishankar acknowledged it as a personal choice in a democracy. He urged a focus on creating better employment opportunities within India rather than viewing emigration negatively. He emphasized the positive contribution of Indians working abroad in sectors like hospitality, aviation, and shipping.
Discussing foreign relations, Jaishankar highlighted the transformation in India's ties with the United States, citing a shift from negative to positive under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He noted increased recognition of India's importance, especially in technology. Additionally, he mentioned significant changes in India's relationships with Australia and Gulf nations, emphasizing evolving trade, political, and security dynamics.
In conclusion, Jaishankar emphasized India's evolving role in global geopolitics, its pursuit of a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, and the positive shifts in various international relationships.
Former Union Minister Milind Deora resigned from the Congress party and is expected to join the Shiv Sena led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde later today. "I have tendered my resignation from the primary membership of Congress, ending my family's 55-year relationship with the party," he said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
"I am grateful to all leaders, colleagues & karyakartas for their unwavering support over the years," he added.