Saturday December 16, 2017
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Modi signs historic peace accord with NSCN (IM)

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Photo Credit: dnaindia.com

New Delhi: The central government and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah on Monday signed a historic accord that promises to bring peace in the northeastern state ravaged by violence for over six decades. Various stakeholders welcomed the move, saying it will bring a new dawn of peace and development.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the accord was an inspiration in “our troubled world”, and not only marked the “end of a problem, but the beginning of a new future”.

“Today’s agreement is a shining example of what we can achieve when we deal with each other in a spirit of equality and respect, trust and confidence; when we seek to understand concerns and try to address aspirations; when we leave the path of dispute and take the high road of dialogue. It is a lesson and an inspiration in our troubled world,” he said.

He said the Naga political issue had lingered for six decades, “taking a huge toll on generations of our people”.

“It is a legacy of the British rule. The colonial rulers had, by design, kept the Nagas isolated and insulated. They propagated terrible myths about Nagas in the rest of the country,” he said.

Photo Credit: Indian Express

“The respect for the infirm and the elders, the status of women in society, sensitivity to Mother Nature, and the emphasis on social equality is a natural way of Naga life. These are values that should constitute the foundation of the society that we all seek.”

NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, who signed the accord at the ceremony held at the Modi’s 7 Race Course Road residence, hailed it as a “momentous occasion”.

“Under Narendra Modi, we have come close to understanding each other and have worked out a new relation with the government,” he said, adding that the Naga people have great respect for Mahatma Gandhi.

Muivah, 81, is a key leader of the NSCN-IM which has been in talks with the government since 1997 after a ceasefire agreement was signed.

NSCN-IM chairman Isak Chishi Swu could not make it to the ceremony as he is unwell and undergoing treatment at Fortis hospital in Delhi. His son Pasheto was, however, present.

Meanwhile, various stakeholders in the peace process cautiously welcomed the accord.

While congratulating Modi, Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang told IANS: “This positive development will pave the way for a permanent solution acceptable to the Nagas.”

“Our people have been struggling for more than six decades for a settlement to the Naga issue, and the signing of the peace accord is a welcome step towards such a settlement,” he said.

The Naga Hoho, the apex body of all Naga tribes of Nagaland, welcomed the accord but said it needed to see the contents of the deal before further commenting on it.

“We are happy and welcome the accord but we need to see its contents before making further comments,” Naga Hoho president P. Chuba Ozukum told IANS.

Asked how effective the deal would be given that it was signed with the NSCN-IM, while the NSCN-Khaplang faction abrogated its ceasefire with the government in March this year, Ozukum said S.S. Khaplang was being asked to renew the ceasefire.

“We are still requesting Khaplang to renew the ceasefire. We are trying to make him understand,” he said.

Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPHMR) chairman N. Krome told IANS they were all “caught by surprise by the sudden announcement”.

Thangso Baite, the Congress Lok Sabha member from Outer Manipur, welcomed the peace accord, but said it should not affect the neighboring states.

“We were anxiously awaiting the peace accord provided it does not affect the neighboring states,” the MP from a constituency that has a large Naga population and is home to Muivah’s Tangkhul Naga tribe told IANS.

Former Mizoram chief Minister Zoramthanga, who was successful in brokering peace between the center and the NSCN-IM, also congratulated the government and the Naga leaders on signing the peace accord.

“I am sure both the parties signed an agreement which is acceptable to them,” Zoramthanga, who was once a militant leader of the rebel Mizo National Front before the outfit surrendered in 1986 and entered the political mainstream, told IANS over phone from Mizoram capital Aizawl.

Nagaland became India’s 16th state on December 1, 1963. The mostly mountainous state is spread over 16,579 square km and is home to 16 major tribes, each with distinct customs, language and dress. Christian-dominated Nagaland is home to around 20 million people. Its official language is English.

Modi later in the day spoke to various political leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and H.D. Deve Gowda, Chief Minister Zeliang, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, and Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav.

He also spoke to Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati, Nationalist Congress Party’s Sharad Pawar, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

(IANS)

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Modi pens foreword for Hema Malini’s biography

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Hema Malini

New Delhi, Oct 13 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi has penned a “short, crisp and sweet” foreword for “Beyond The Dreamgirl”, an authorised biography of actress and BJP MP Hema Malini.

The book, by former editor of Stardust and producer Ram Kamal Mukherjee, will be launched on October 16, when the “evergreen beauty” turns 69. Its launch also marks the celebration of Hema Malini’s glorious run of 50 years in Indian showbiz.

“Our PM has written very briefly in the book about his feelings for Hemaji. It’s short, crisp and sweet, not rubble and bubble. It’s an honour for me as an author and for Hemaji also that it is perhaps the first time that an active Prime Minister has written a foreword for a book on a Bollywood actor,” Mukherjee told IANS over the phone from Mumbai.

Having started her film career in 1968 with Raj Kapoor-starrer “Sapno Ka Saudagar”, she regaled movie buffs with roles in films like “Seeta Aur Geeta”, “Sholay”, “Dream Girl” and “Satte Pe Satta”. An accomplished classical dancer, Hema Malini earned the epithet of ‘Dreamgirl’ for her flawless beauty, and became a pioneering female superstar in an otherwise male-oriented film industry.

In 1999, Hema Malini campaigned for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate in the Lok Sabha elections in Gurdaspur, Punjab. She is now a BJP MP from Mathura constituency.

“I guess it’s all because of Hemaji’s credentials and contribution to art and cinema that Mr Modi agreed to pen the foreword. When I was interacting with his office, they were very happy that Hemaji did not just limit her talk in the book to Bollywood,” said Mukherjee, who had in 2005 released a coffee table book called “Hema Malini Diva Unveiled”.

“Beyond The Dreamgirl”, published by HarperCollins India, will give readers an in-depth look into her life.

“It is divided into 23 chapters, covering her childhood, teens, Bollywood, rise as an actor, romance, colleagues, marriage, her second innings, launching Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Dil Aashna Hai’ — which she directed — her ballet, her political journey and spiritual journey. There are two chapters dedicated to her daughters Esha and Ahana.

“She has also spoken about her Agra accident and her singing career. We have summed it all up with a chapter called ‘Bliss’. This book will also have Hemaji’s family tree, which has not been published earlier, and there will be a lot of exclusive unseen photographs from her personal, professional and political spheres,” Mukherjee said.

The ageless talent has shared an insight into her life with Dharmendra as well as spoken on political figures like Modi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj.

How did Mukherjee get Modi to pen the foreword?

“It was not something thought of when I started writing the book two years ago. I started my research and wanted somebody else to do the foreword,” he said, without naming the film industry person whom he had approached.

“It was almost like a miracle to have Mr Modi write for us. When I discussed it with Hemaji, her first expression was, ‘I hope you know what you’re saying. I know you’re under pressure, but I think you’re losing your mind’.

“When I said there’s no harm in trying, she said, ‘You try and do whatever you want to do’. Then it was a process.”

The writer feels it’s the actress’ constant effort in promoting Indian classical music and dance through her ballets on Hindu mythological characters like Durga and Meera, which Modi appreciates.

“I think Mr Modi liked her inclination towards classical dance and music and how she promotes it at international platforms. I think this is a USP of Hema Maliniji, apart from she being Hema Malini. And I guess that’s also what justifies the title of the book.”(IANS)

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Actor “Prabhas” extends support to Modi’s Clean India campaign

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Prabhas extends support to Modi's Clean India campaign
wikipedia

Chennai, Sep 29 : “Baahubali” fame Prabhas on Friday said he extends his full support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Swachhata Hi Seva” movement, adding that he sees the Clean India campaign not as a duty but as a habit.

“As we approach this significant day, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhiji, who always strived for cleanliness, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the great work happening on making India clean and green with the Swachh Bharat Initiative,” Prabhas posted on his Facebook page.

Swachh Bharat: 10 easy steps that will make “clean india campaign” successful

He added that Clean India is something he personally believes in.

“Keeping my country clean and healthy is not just my duty as a citizen but also a habit. To all those who feel the same, let’s continue doing our best for a cleaner India,” he said.

Earlier this month, Modi had written personal letters to celebrities, industrialists and noted personalities to enlist their support for the initiative.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Modi said Swachhata is for each of us to practice.

He also said the days leading up to Gandhi Jayanti on October 2 should be about “encouraging widespread participation in cleanliness initiatives across the country.”

Superstar Rajinikanth and filmmaker S.S Rajamouli have already expressed their support.(ians)

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PM Narendra Modi: Don’t believe in vote bank politics, Nation comes first

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia

Varanasi, Sep 23: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday, said that the BJP did not believe in vote bank politics as the country was above party politics. This is his second day of the visit to his parliamentary constituency in Varanasi.

Modi told a gathering that he had launched a major war against corruption and the corrupt to ease the life of the common man. He also said cleanliness was worship for him as it could rid the poor of various diseases and a lot of economic burdens.

“Governance for us is not about votes or winning elections. The priority is the development of the nation. For us, the country is bigger than party,” he said, in his address to farmers in Shahanshahpur on the outskirts of Varanasi.

He said most of the problems faced by the common people in India were rooted in corruption.

“I have launched a war against it and will take it further to ensure that graft is weeded out from the country.”(IANS)