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India’s ties with Liberia to strengthen: President

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New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said India’s ties with the western African nation of Liberia will “continue to strengthen” in the coming years. pranab_647_071515095458

“I am confident that our close and friendly relations will continue to strengthen in the years ahead,” Mukherjee said in a message to his Liberian counterpart Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on the eve of Liberia’s National Day.

Liberia, once a part of the American Colonization Society, declared its independence on July 26, 1847, which the US recognized on February 5, 1862, to make it the first African country to shake off the colonial yoke.

“It gives me great pleasure to extend warm greetings and felicitations to you and to the people of Liberia on the occasion of your National Day. Please accept, my best wishes for your continued well-being as also for the welfare and progress of the friendly people of Liberia,” Mukherjee said in a statement.

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Police: People Breaks Security During President’s Visit To Puri temple

The Odisha Police today said “some people” had breached the security cordon

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Police: People Breaks Security During President's Visit To Puri temple
Police: People Breaks Security During President's Visit To Puri temple. Flickr

The Odisha Police today said “some people” had breached the security cordon during President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to the Puri Jagannath Temple with his wife on March 18.

The statement by Puri Superintendent of Police Sarthak Sarangi comes a day after the state government denied receipt of any letter from the Rashtrapati Bhavan regarding the alleged misconduct of servitors in the 12th century shrine.

A section of the media had reported that the Rashtrapati Bhavan wrote to the temple administration, alleging inappropriate behaviour by servitors outside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple

Sarangi said the district collector of Puri, ahead of the President’s visit, was asked to ensure that no servitor goes close to the First couple or requests them to sign on any book during their visit to the temple.

“Though the temple administration had informed the servitors about the instruction, some people tried to go close to the President by breaching the security cordon. We had submitted a report to the temple administration in this connection,” Sarangi said.

However, the minutes of the temple management committee’s March 20 meeting, which had been in circulation on social media, mentioned that the Rashtrapati Bhavan expressed displeasure over the conduct of servitors.

It also said some servitors allegedly milled around Savita Kovind, while she was offering prayers inside the temple’s sanctum sanctorum, leading to occasional jostling.

Hon'ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, visited Belur Math on 29 Nov 2017
Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, visited Belur Math on 29 Nov 2017. Flickr

Sources in the temple administration, in their defence, said the March 20 meeting might have discussed the matter, based on a police report, which suggested that the security cordon was breached during the First couple’s visit.

The president of the Suar-Mahasuar Nijog (servitors’ organisation), Damodar Mahasuar, today lodged a complaint at the Singhadwara police station against Puri Collector Arvind Agarwal and former Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief Pradeep Jena, accusing them of trying to defame the servitors of the temple.

Binayak Dasmohapatra, the assistant secretary of another servitors’ body, said, “If such an incident had taken place, the police should have arrested the servitors immediately.” The temple administration is trying to malign the entire servitor community, he alleged.

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“Why did the temple administration and the police did not take action? Why did the temple administration not make the incident public after the meeting on March 20?” Dasmohapatra asked. (IANS)

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