Security was tightened in parts of Haryana and Punjab due to the sentencing of the convict Ram Rahim Singh and his three close aides, former sect manager Krishan Lal along with carpenters Kuldeep and Nirmal, by a special CBI court on Thursday. The Central Bureau of Investigation court in Panchkula, Haryana, will announce the quantum of punishment to them who were convicted on January 11 for conspiring to murder journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati. Judge Jagdeep Singh will announce the sentencing. Strict monitoring is done near the court complex in Sector 1 of Panchkula, adjoining Chandigarh. Security has also been tightened in Haryana's Sirsa town, around 260 km from Chandigarh, where the sect's headquarter is located. The Punjab Police has also taken preventive security measures in the neighbouring state as the sect has lakhs of followers in Bathinda, Mansa and Sangrur. Dera Sacha sauda chiefs conviction on August 25, 2017, had led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa, leaving 41 people dead and over 260 injured. The authorities were allowed in Haryana to produce the discredited Chief and three others before it through video-conferencing for their sentencing by the court on Wednesday Ram Chander Chhatrapati, who edited a newspaper in Sirsa, was shot five times on October 24, 2002. He died later that year on November 21 in a hospital in New Delhi.
Around 3.30 am, passengers on a train that had stopped in Delhi were stunned by robbers who looted them at knifepoint. The group barged into two AC coaches of the Jammu-Delhi Duranto Express at Badli on the outskirts of the capital, when the train was waiting for the signal to proceed to the main station in Delhi. The robbers allegedly looted cash, bags, mobile phones and gold chains from the passengers. The railways were alerted by a passenger's complaint on its portal. "Suddenly some 7 to 10 unidentified miscreants entered coaches B3 and B7 of the train. They were carrying sharp edged knives with them. They put the knife near to the neck of passengers and asked them to handover whatever expensive items they are carrying with them," the person wrote. The passenger said the horror lasted for 10 to 15 minutes before the robbers jumped off the train. "The irony is that neither staff nor security personnel were available there at the time of the mishap," he claimed in his complaint.
Sharjah has showcased the unique features of Arab and Emirati culture in the Indian capital, as the guest of honour at the 27th edition of New Delhi World Book Fair, NDWBF 2019. The nine-day book fair, which began on 5th January and concludes today, saw the participation of a host of international authors, intellectuals, as well as leading literary and cultural entities. Sharjah’s cultural delegation was led by Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of Sharjah’s Department of Government Relations, and included prominent officials of cultural and academic entities in Sharjah. The NDWBF organisers, the National Book Trust launched the Hindi and English translations of the novel Bibi Fatima and the King’s Sons by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah at the fair’s opening on 5th January. The Sharjah pavilion at the book fair was set up by the Sharjah Book Authority, SBA, and featured the emirate’s prominent children’s publishers, and other cultural and academic entities, including the Emirates Writers Union (EWU), Emirates Publishers Association, Sharjah Department of Culture, Sharjah Institute for Heritage, Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi Centre for Gulf Studies, Sharjah Media Corporation, UAE Board on Books for Young People, Knowledge without Borders, "1001 Titles" initiative, Al Qasimi Publications, and Kalimat Group. Visitors to the fair lined up to have copies of 57 Hindi translations of works by Emirati authors at a book signing ceremony. In partnership with the EWU, the SBA translated these literary works contributed by Emirati poets, novelists, researchers and playwrights. The Sharjah pavilion hosted hundreds of Indian visitors at their special calligraphy booth, where Emirati calligrapher, Khalid Al Jallaf presented them with artworks depicting their names and other messages, written in several forms of Arabic calligraphy including Thuluth, Diwani and Naskh Islamic scripts. This event was organised by the Sharjah Department of Culture in continuation of Sharjah’s efforts to promote Arab and Islamic culture around the world.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that there is no better place in the world to celebrate the Festival of Peace than India. Addressing the Festival of Peace programme organized by the Rashtriya Isai Mahasangh here today, Rajnath Singh said that India is the land of peace where all the religious communities have been living together in harmony for centuries. India being the harbinger of peace and tolerance, one can find all the six sects of Christianity, 72 sects of Islam, Parsis and Jews living together peacefully, the Home Minister added. Speaking on the issue of conversion, Rajnath Singh called for a national level debate with an open mind by all the sections of the society. He said that in other countries where majority rules, the minorities demand implementation of Anti conversion Law whereas in India the demand for anti-conversion law comes from the majority community. Appreciating the efforts made by the Rashtriya Isai Mahasangh in organizing Festival of Peace, Shri Rajnath said that history of Christianity in India is older than Europe as St. Thomas came to India in the 1st century itself. On the occasion, the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh also gave away the peace awards to the organizations and persons who worked towards it. The Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Ramdas Athawale who was the guest of honor on the occasion also spoke of peace and harmony in the country. He said that it is only through peace that India can become a strong country. Member of Parliament, Mr Richard Hay was also present on the occasion.
The first bathing festival of Kumbh was held on Makar Sankranti at Prayag Raj, Uttar Pradesh. The First Shahi Snan or royal bathing of Akharas was also held on the occasion. Prayagraj Kumbh has attracted people from all walks of life in huge numbers. Large number of saints and Seers, common pilgrims and tourists from across the globe have reached Prayagraj to take Holy dip on the pious occasion of Makar Sankranti at Sangam- the confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati. The First Royal Bathing or Shahi Snan of Akharas was held today. Beginning at 6.15AM, it was one of the biggest attractions to the pilgrims and tourists. Heavy security arrangements were in place for smooth conduct of royal bathing of Akharas. Central Paramilitary forces were deployed for the security of the processions for royal bathing. Bathing Ghat for the same was well identified. At Prayagraj, Kumbh Mela is held every 6 years and Maha Kumbh every 12 years. Earlier they were known as Ardh Kumbh and Kumbh. But this year, the Uttar Pradesh government has announced that ArdhKumbh will be known as Kumbh and Kumbh as Maha Kumbh. The Mela administration has set up 87 public accommodations in the Mela area at economic rates. Other agencies have also developed high-quality tents with all modern amenities to the tourists in different locations. Special tent colony has also been set up in Arail area of the Mela Pilgrims and tourists can book tents as per their needs and budget online through Kumbh Mela website. Mela administration has said that all arrangements are in place and nearly one crore 20 lakh pilgrims are expected on the occasion.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kollam in Kerala and dedicated the 13 km, 2-lane Kollam bypass on NH-66 to the nation. The Governor of Kerala Justice P. Sathasivam, Chief Minister PinarayiVijayan, Union Minister of Tourism K J Alphons along with other dignitaries were present on this occasion. Addressing a gathering at the Asramam ground in Kollam, Prime Minister Modi said that infrastructure development has been the priority of his Government and the Kollam bypass is an example. He underlined the fact that the project got final sanction in January 2015 and now it has seen the light of the day. The Prime Minister told that his Government believes in sabkasaath, sabkavikas for ease of living to the common man and appreciated the contribution and co-operation of Kerala government in completion of the project. Kollam Bypass will reduce ravel time between Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram and decongest the traffic in Kollam town. Talking about the projects in Kerala, the PM said that about 500 km of national highway has been added in Kerala since May 2014. He added that under Bharatmala, a detailed project report for the Mumbai-Kanyakumari corridor is under preparation. . The Prime Minister said that the government is committed to ensure timely completion of all the projects. He said that through PRAGATI, more than 250 projects worth Rs.12 lakh crores have been reviewed at his end. Highlighting the progress in road connectivity, the PM Modi said that compared to the previous Government, the pace of construction in national highways, rural roads has almost doubled. More than 90% of rural habitations have been connected today compared to only 56% in the previous government. He expressed hope that the government will reach the target of 100% rural road connectivity soon. Regional air connectivity and expansion of railway lines have shown marked improvement resulting in creation of job opportunities.The Prime Minister said, “When we construct roads and bridges, we do not only connect towns and villages. We also connect aspirations with achievements, optimism with opportunities and hope with happiness.” About Ayushman Bharat, he said that 8 lakh patients have been benefitted under this scheme while the government has sanctioned more than 1100 crores rupees till date for the scheme. He urged the Government of Kerala to expedite the implementation of Ayushman Bharat scheme, so that the people of Kerala can be benefitted. The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said that tourism is the hallmark of Kerala’s economic development and a principal contributor to the State’s economy. He added that recognizing the tourism potential of Kerala, the government has sanctioned 7 projects in the State under the SwadeshDarshan and PRASAD schemes with funds worth Rs. 550 crore. Speaking on the importance of Tourism Sector, PM highlighted the remarkable growth in this sector. India posted a growth of 14% over 2016 in the tourism sector while the world grew at an average of 7%. He added that India now stands at 3rd place in Power Ranking in the 2018 report of the World Travel & Tourism Council. Foreign tourist arrivals in India increased by 42% from around 70 lakh in 2013 to about 1 crore in 2017. While the Foreign exchange earned by India due to tourism witnessed a jump of 50%, up from $ 18 billionin 2013 to $ 27 billion in 2017. He described the introduction of the e-Visa as a game changer for Indian Tourism which is now available to nationals of 166 countries.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Thiruvananthapuram. He unveiled a plaque to mark the inauguration of Swadesh Darshan Scheme. He offered prayers at Sree PadmanabhaSwamy Temple. The Prime Minister’s visit to Thiruvananthapuram followed the inauguration of Kollam Bypass earlier.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the project “Development of Spiritual Circuit: Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple-Aranmula-Sabarimala” being implemented under the Swadesh Drashan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism in the presence of Justice P. Sathasivam Governor of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan Chief Minister of Kerala, K.J. Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, in Kerala. The project ‘Development of Spiritual Circuit: Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple-Aranmula-Sabarimala’ was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in 2016-17 for Rs. 92.22 Crores. Majority of work under this project has been carried out at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The Sree Padmanabaswamy Temple is one of the 108 divyadesams of Lord Vishnu. The temple witnesses huge footfall throughout the year. However, the temple precinct did not establish a sense of arrival to the revered destination nor were the amenities sufficient to cater to the tourists. Under this project, the Ministry has developed and rejuvenated the temple and its surroundings keeping in mind the factors of heritage and socio-cultural aspects. Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship schemes of Ministry of tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner. Under this scheme the Government is focussing on development of quality infrastructure in the country with objective of providing better experience and facilities to the visitors on one hand and on other hand fostering the economic growth. The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 77 projects worth projects for Rs. 6131.88 Crore to 30 States and UTs. 30 projects / major components of projects are expected to be completed during the current financial year, of which 10 projects worth Rs.834.22 crore, covering the states of Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have already been inaugurated. The Ministry of Tourism recognizing the tourism potential of the State has sanctioned 7 projects in Kerala under the Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD schemes for an approximate amount of Rs. 550 crores.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrived at Port Blair and was received by Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, AVSM, ADC, Commander-in-Chief, Andaman & Nicobar Command at INS Utkrosh. The Defence Minister is on a two day visit to Andaman Nicobar Command (ANC). On her second visit to the Command, she will be reviewing its operational preparedness and infrastructural developments of the outlying units of ANC. During her visit, the Defence Minister will witness an operational exercise involving all the forces of the Command, off Campbell Bay in the Great Nicobar Island on 14 Jan 19. Nirmala Sitaraman will be interacting with troops and also inaugurating the second phase of Married Accommodation Project (MAP) consisting of 868 dwelling units for troops of ANC at Brichgunj Military Station.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the first-ever Philip Kotler Presidential award, at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg, in New Delhi. The Award focuses on the triple bottom-line of People, Profit and Planet. It will be offered annually to the leader of a Nation. The Award Citation says: “Narendra Modi is selected for his outstanding leadership for the nation. His selfless service towards India, combined with his tireless energy has resulted in extraordinary economic, social and technological advances in the country.” The Citation adds: “Under his leadership, India is now identified as the Centre for Innovation and Value Added Manufacturing (Make in India), as well as a global hub for professional services such as Information Technology, Accounting and Finance.” The Citation also mentions: “His visionary leadership has also resulted in the Digital Revolution (Digital India), including the Unique Identification Number, Aadhaar, for social benefits and financial inclusion. It is enabling entrepreneurship, ease of doing business, and creating a 21st century infrastructure for India.” The Citation mentions initiatives such as Make in India, Startup India, Digital India, and Swachh Bharat, “which have positioned India as one of the most lucrative manufacturing and business destinations in the world.” Prof. Philip Kotler is a world renowned Professor of Marketing at Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. Owing to his ill-health, he deputed Dr. Jagdish Sheth of EMORY University, Georgia, USA, to confer the award.