Saturday November 18, 2017

Campaign “WASH” : National Religious and Spiritual Leaders Join Hands to Achieve Cleaner India

To achieve a cleaner India, we have to not only sanitise our surroundings but our minds too, says Swami Chidanand Saraswati

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Representational Image, Pixabay

New Delhi, Nov 22, 2016: Spiritual and religious heads of several organisations belonging to different faiths have come together to counter pollution in the Ganges and other rivers as well as to fight global climate change.

To ensure access to clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, the campaign “WASH” is a cleanliness drive, mentioned PTI.

The idea came into being under the leadership of inter-faith leader Swami Chidanand Saraswati and it focuses on achieving peace and environmental protection and start a sanitation revolution in the country.

Ganga is not a religious topic but a lifeline for millions of citizens in the nation. Click To Tweet

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Sanitation and meditation are of equal importance. “To achieve a cleaner India, we have to not only sanitise our surroundings but our minds too. Different religions and faiths along with stakeholders and civil society, we all have to come together to put our heart and soul in achieving a cleaner India,” said Saraswati.

Apart from that, he has initiated several critical programmes like Namame Ganga (Clean Ganga), Swachh Bharat (Clean India) and Swachhta Kranti (Clean Revolution). He is also the co-founder of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), mentioned PTI.

During Ujjain Kumbha Mela too, the alliance worked to make people aware of sanitation and repercussions of bad environment, especially on children’s health.

On World Toilet Day, which was on November 19, a huge crowd gathered that included youth and many leaders from different communities who pledged for a clean environment as well as proper sanitation. “It’s time that we should move from building temples to more and more toilets,” Saraswati said to PTI.

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For Chidanand Saraswati, Ganga is not a religious topic but a lifeline for millions of citizens in the nation.

“River Ganga is not a religious topic but the very lifeline of millions of people and our heritage. When we talk about Ganga we are actually talking about mostly all the rivers in the country and the deteriorating conditions of most of these rivers. Health, hygiene and harmony all should go together for a changed India,” he said.

To induce and spur growth, the drive is supporting technology and several other innovations.

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If we want to see true Socio-economic development, it has to happen from the bottom-of-the-pyramid population. Saraswati says, “We along with spiritual leaders from all across the world have created a new term for us- RSR- Religious Social Responsibility.”

“It is amazing how our Prime Minister spoke vigilantly about cleanliness from Red Fort and actually started a campaign to make people aware of the initiatives and how we all can come come together to achieve this dream,” Saraswati further added.

– prepared by NewsGram with PTI inputs

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Civil War, Cholera and Severe Food Shortage Make Yemen World’s Largest Humanitarian Crisis ; UN calls it ‘Man-made Catastrophe’

Un Human Rights' Agency report asserts that the catastrophe is entirely man-made and a direct result of the behavior of the parties to the conflict.

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People inspect the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition targeted Yemen's capital early on Friday, hitting at least three houses in Sanaa and killing at least 14 civilians, including women and children, residents and eyewitnesses said. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed) (VOA)
  • UN report asserts that the sufferings of people after years of civil war in Yemen are man-made
  • The report asserts that Yemen is in the grip of conflict, cholera and severe food shortages
  • According to the U.N. Human Rights Agency, more than 10 million people are in acute need of health care

Geneva, September 6, 2017 : The United Nations calls suffering endured by millions of people after more than two years of civil war in Yemen an entirely man-made catastrophe.

The world body reports there have been more than 11,700 civilians killed or injured in the civil war in Yemen, since the Saudi Arabian coalition began airstrikes against Houthi rebels in support of the government in March 2015. It blames more than 8,000 of the casualties on the coalition and more than 3,700 on the Houthis.

The report says conflict, cholera and severe food shortages have made Yemen the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

The U.N. Human Rights Agency’s Chief of Middle East and North Africa, Mohammad Ali Ainsour, says Yemen’s 18.8. million people need humanitarian aid and more than 10 million are in acute need of health care.

Civil war in Yemen
A woman helps her son as he lies on a bed at a cholera treatment center in Sanaa, Yemen. VOA

“The catastrophe is entirely man-made and a direct result of the behavior of the parties to the conflict, including indiscriminate attacks,” said Ainsour. “We have seen attacks on markets, residential areas, hospitals, schools, funeral gatherings and even fishermen and small civilian boats at sea.”

The report says civilians may have been directly targeted in some cases. The report documents a wide range of continuing human rights violations and abuses. It expresses concern at the increasing number of arbitrary or illegal detentions and forced disappearances of human rights defenders, religious leaders, journalists, and political opponents.

Ainsour says there are at least 1,700 cases of child recruitment, most by Houthi forces and 20 percent by pro-government forces.

“OHCHR [the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights] monitors frequently observed children as young as 10, who were armed and uniformed and manning Houthi … checkpoints,” said Ainsour.

U.N. Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein is repeating his call for an end to the fighting and for an independent, international investigation to be established. He says it is crucial to hold to account perpetrators of violations and abuse. (VOA)

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Northern Railways Suspend Services Ahead of Verdict of Rape Case Against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh

Major towns in Haryana and Punjab continue to remain on lock-down as thousands of supporters haven taken to the roads.

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Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan
Self-proclaimed spiritual guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan. Wikimedia
  • Special court announced verdict in case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
  • Religious leader held guilty in rape case 
  • Indian Railways suspend services keeping security in mind

Chandigarh, August 25, 2017: The states of Punjab and Haryana have been brought to a standstill. It is a big day for the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh ji Insaan and his thousands of devotees as a special CBI court announced its verdict in the 15-year old rape case filed against him. State authorities fear that the decision can lead to possible agitation for which stringent security arrangements have been put in place.

The rape allegations against the religious leader go as far back as 2002 when a Dera sadhvi alleged, in an anonymous letter to the then-Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that the chief had raped her and several other female followers. The court today held the self-declared spiritual guru guilty of the charges filed against him, the sentence hearing for which will now be held on August 28.

Rahim, who arrived in a 200-car convoy to the court today in Panchkula drew enormous support from his followers, who had blocked the roads days ahead of the verdict.

ALSO READ: Indian Gurus: Preaching Spiritualism or Business?

A heavy mantle of security forces had been deployed in Punjab and Haryana ahead of the CBI’s verdict with as many as 53 companies of the paramilitary forces and 50,000 Haryana Police officers deployed on duty. Section 144 (curbing mass mobilization) has additionally been imposed by the Punjab government forcing schools and colleges to keep shut until August 28.

Following a formal request from the state governments of the two states, the Northern Railway also decided to stall their services. Over 89 trains that include passenger trains and express trains, have been cancelled to keep the law and order situation in Haryana under check.

Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Ambala Division, Dinesh Kumar in an interview with Chandigrah Newsline said, “On Friday, 44 trains will be cancelled in Ambala division and more trains will remain cancelled on Saturday (Aug 26) and Sunday (Aug 27)”.

Security concerns have affected all possible means of travel in and around Punjab and Haryana as effects have also been observed on air and cab fares. According to a report by ANI, the air fare from Delhi to Chandigarh has gone up to almost Rs.11, 000.

The Dera Sacha Sauda chief had previously released a video on August 24 requesting supporters to keep peace and return back to their home.

However, the swarms of his followers have largely ignored the appeal as routes connecting the states to Panchkula remain blocked.

Following the court’s verdict, mass reactions have been observed among the leader’s followers who wept, fainted, and created a huge violent ruckus raising security concern in multiple towns. Major towns in Haryana and Punjab continue to remain on lockdown for the day.


 

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‘Namma Bengaluru Habba’ : Green Festival in Bengaluru Witnesses 1,000 people taking part in the event

People from all walks of life participated in Bengaluru's Green Festival

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A man on Jet Ski, Green Festival, Bengaluru
A man on Jet Ski, Green Festival, Bengaluru. Pixabay
  • The fest had about 20 artists who performed the traditional ‘Yakshagana’ theatre and drum dance dollu kunita
  • Visitors had an opportunity to cruise around the lake with fly boards and jet skis
  • As environment protection is a cause of concern, it is events like these that will create awareness among the public and lead to greater sustainability

Bengaluru, August 21, 2017: About 1,000 people from all walks of life took part in a cultural festival titled ‘Namma Bengaluru Habba’ (Our Bengaluru Festival) at the Sankey Tank here on Sunday to create awareness on the protection of environment.

Organised by the Karnataka Tourism Department, the fest had about 20 artists who performed the traditional ‘Yakshagana’ theatre, and drum dance ‘dollu kunita’, while apart from the street musicians, magicians, jugglers, caricature artists and painters, visitors had an opportunity to cruise around the lake with fly boards and jet skis.

There were also 20 stalls and a flea market selling organic produce and eco-friendly products, including terracotta jewellery, natural soaps, millet-based products and jute etc.

“As environmental protection is a cause of concern, it is events like these that will create awareness among the public and lead to greater sustainability,” said state Information Technology, Biotechnology and Tourism Minister Priyank M. Kharge in a statement.

“It is great to see so many people participating in support of the cause. The fest is a community building activity to preserve Bengaluru’s ecology,” he added. (IANS)