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Questioning State’s Commitment to Secularism: Tamil Nadu Govt’s Transference of Land to Muslim Associations

Tamil Nadu government's decision to transfer land free of cost to Muslim Associations questions the State's commitment to the principle of secularism as enshrined in the constitution

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Tamil Nadu, Mar 27, 2017: In September 1986, the Tamil Nadu State Government issued a Government Order transferring the public pond at Ullagaram village in Saidapet taluk free of cost on the condition that the mosque must be constructed within a period of two years, failing which the land would be taken back, as reported by The Hindu.

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This Government order caused the Federation of Chennai Suburban (South) Welfare Association to file a petition against the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to transfer, free of cost, 27 acres of “government pond” to Muslim associations for constructing a mosque rose the question. This 9-year old petition questions whether it is against the idea of secularism enshrined in the Indian Constitution, for the State to allot government land, one containing a water body, to a particular religious community to construct a place of worship.

The residents had challenged the government order on the ground that a State government cannot show favor to any religion or religious sect or denomination.

The land in question was currently under the possession of the local municipality, which was using it for a public purpose.

The residents moved to the Supreme Court, after failing before the Madras High Court, contending that the provisional transferring of the government pond in favor of the Muslim association for constructing a mosque violated the principle of secularism.

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A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar asked Tamil Nadu represented by advocate B. Balaji, after a detailed hearing, ordered the State to respond in a detailed affidavit within four weeks.

Noting that the 1986 order was provisional in nature and no final allocation has been made so far, the court had said it would examine the controversy behind the State government’s policy.

Prepared by Upama Bhattacharya. Twitter @Upama_myself

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New Snapchat update draws ire of over 6 lakh users

With the new changes, Snapchat Stories, which are videos and photos shared among users that vanish after one day, also now appear with individual Snaps and direct messages

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The "Remove the new Snapchat update" petition, which is hosted on Change.org, was authored by Australian user Nic Rumsey, the Guardian reported on Tuesday. IANS

Snapchat’s latest redesign, which was released last week, has not gone down well with many users.

This is evident from the fact that an online petition calling for the removal of the new update has attracted more than 6 lakh signatures.

The “Remove the new Snapchat update” petition, which is hosted on Change.org, was authored by Australian user Nic Rumsey, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.

The popular photo-sharing app’s latest redesign focused on separating “media content” from that of “friends” among an array of other interface changes.

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With the new changes, Snapchat Stories, which are videos and photos shared among users that vanish after one day, also now appear with individual Snaps and direct messages.

"This petition aims to help convince Snap Inc to change the app back to the basics, before this new 2018 update," petition says. VOA
“This petition aims to help convince Snap Inc to change the app back to the basics, before this new 2018 update,” the petition says. VOA

“Many users have found that it has not made the app easier to use but has, in fact, made many features more difficult,” the petition reads.

“There is a general level of annoyance among users and many have decided to use a VPN app to go back to the old Snapchat, as that’s how annoying this new update has become.

“This petition aims to help convince Snap Inc to change the app back to the basics, before this new 2018 update,” it says.

But the pleas and complaints may fall on deaf ears as the app’s parent firm Snap Inc appears to have no plans to reconsider the original design as of now.

“Updates as big as this one can take a little getting used to, but we hope the community will enjoy it once they settle in,” a Snap Inc spokeswoman was quoted as saying. (IANS)