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Modi to visit Paravur Puttingal temple in Kerala following fire accident

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Image source: indianexpress.com

April 10,2016: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be arriving here on Sunday to visit the Paravur Puttingal temple where 96 people lost their lives following an accident caused by a firework display.

The temple is located in the coastal town of Paravur here in Kollam district, about 60 km from state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

More than 350 people have been injured in the ghastly accident and being treated in 12 hospitals in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts.

Prime Minister Modi spoke to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who is on his way to the accident site.

“I will be reaching Kerala soon to take stock of the situation arising due to the unfortunate fire tragedy in Kollam,” Modi tweeted.

The prime minister has announced Rs.two lakh each as compensation to the next of the kin of the dead and Rs.50,000 to the injured.

Governor of Kerala P. Sathasivam has expressed deep sense of sorrow, shock and concern over the tragic deaths in the accident.

“Such tragic incidents are also a grim reminder of the urgent need to adhere to safety measures during festivals,” Sathasivam said in a statement.

Chandy told IANS that an emergency cabinet meeting will be held at Kollam on Sunday afternoon to decide on how to go about the investigation into the tragedy and related matters.

The chief minister tweeted that he had asked the chief secretary to write to the Election Commission seeking permission to help the victims as it is election time in the state.

Kerala’s Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told reporters at the accident site that the government is focussed on ensuring that all necessary help is provided to the victims who are suffering.

“On things like whether necessary permissions were obtained for the firework display and such issues will be dealt with when the cabinet meets later in the day at Kollam. Now our priority is to see all help is provided to the grieving,” said Chennithala.

The incident occurred around 3.30 a.m. on Sunday.

Speaking to IANS, Lallu S. Pillai, a journalist covering the temple festival for Asianet News TV, said it only took a few minutes for the disaster to take place.

“I was watching the event unfold about 150 metres from the terrace of my friend’s home. The firework display was about half an hour to finish when a spark of an already lit cracker landed in the concrete building that stored the high potency crackers. In few minutes, the building came crashing down and we felt the place shaking,” said Pillai.

“Then it was absolute chaos and pieces of concrete were scattered all over the place and some of it were found about 500 metres away in a taxi stand,” Pillai added.

Numerous homes within half a kilometre radius of the accident site have been damaged.

Thiruvananthapuram Medical College principal Thomas Mathew said about 100 people are being treated at the hospital.

“Forty five of them have been admitted and most of them are being treated for broken bones in their hands and legs. Eleven of them were brought dead, while another two died after reaching here,” said Mathew.

All the leading political parties have as a mark of respect cancelled all their election programmes for the day.

“We have asked our party workers to see that they provide all the help and solace to the victims,” CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told reporters after visiting the injured in the hospital in the capital city.

The BJP has cancelled all the programme of its national president Amit Shah, who was to launch his party’s election campaign on Sunday at Pathanamthitta and is reaching the state capital to visit the injured.

The state Congress party president V.M. Sudheeran has asked his party workers to call off all election related work planned for Sunday.

The fire has been brought under control and heavy equipment machineries are now working to clear the debris.

Kollam Lok Sabha member N.K. Premachandran who visited the site demanded that all those who have been injured should be given free treatment with adequate compensation. (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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‘Janaraksha Yatra Kerala’ Witnesses escalating BJP-Left Confrontation

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Amit Shah, President of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Amit Shah, President of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Wikimedia

Hurling anti-left maneuver during Janaraksha Yatra Kerala, Indian BJP National President Amit Shah launched serious allegation against the ruling CPM government for triggering political violence and imputed to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan the culpability for the mass killings of party workers in the state.

The BJP Chief traced back the origin of violence-centric politics in ”God’s Own Country” to the inception of the Communist regime. “Left always paralyses the state it rules. West Bengal and Tripura witnessed similar political vehemence under the CPM government”, elucidated the President.

Criticizing the Human Rights Activists of the nation, Amit Shah pointed out that they are very selective when it comes to what they support. “You turn your eyes away when our workers die. Why is there no march in Delhi? Violence has no color. More than 120 workers of the BJP have succumbed due to political violence so far. What was their fault? They were working for the betterment of Kerala”, complained the BJP Chief.

Acclaiming BJP’s ideology enthusiastically, Shah called upon the people to join as workers. Addressing the gathering at ‘Janaraksha Yatra Kerala’, the President added that family members of the deceased have stood by the BJP and he wouldn’t let the martyrdom of the workers go waste.

Amit Shah inaugurated the ‘Janaraksha Yatra Kerala’ at Payyannur to protest against alleged killings of party workers. The “padayatra” was led by the party’s State President Kummanam Rajashekhharan.

The National President of BJP attributed the diminishing power of the CPM to their increasing reliance on political violence. Apart from CPM, the once dominating Congress is also losing momentum thereby giving BJP the opportunity to flourish with their ideology. “More the mud of violence, more the lotus will bloom” added Shah.

The BJP Chief assured his party workers and volunteers that BJP would fight the war with CPM until emerging victorious. Shah declared, “We must all unite against the rule of the Left Government.”

Shortly after the launching of the yatra, three BJP workers adorning the National Highway 66 were ambushed by anonymous men on Monday. During his address, Shah alleged that the assailants were CPM cadres who have also destroyed BJP flags in the area.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is ready to augment the saffron stand with his visit to Kerala on Wednesday. As per the report of Times Now, Adityanath will basically be in the Muslim-dominated district of Mallapuram.

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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)