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Ram temple trust chief tests Coronavirus five days after sharing stage with PM Modi at bhumi pujan in Ayodhya

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Ram temple trust head has tested positive for novel Coronavirus days after he was present at the ‘bhumi pujan’ ceremony in Ayodhya on August 5.

Ram Janmabhoomi trust chief Mahant Nritya Gopaldas had also shared the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and CM Yogi Adityanath.

“We were informed that Maharaj-ji has some fever, so we sent a team of doctors and they investigated and gave medicines . The fever is normal. He has mild breathlessness and we checked his oxygen level. It is saturated. There is nothing serious. We checked for coronavirus, did antigen test and there is positivity,” Sarvagya Ram Mishra, District Magistrate of Mathura was quoted as saying by NDTV.

“The Chief Minister has directed that Maharaj-ji be shifted to the Medanta Hospital and we are getting that done as soon as possible. Maharaj-ji is stable,” he said.

As many as 175 guests were invited for the grand event by the Ram Temple trust, including 135 religious leaders.

The guest list was severely restricted in view of the Coronavirus pandemic.

PM Modi had performed the ‘Shila Pujan’, ‘Bhumi Pujan’ and ‘Karma Shila Pujan’ of the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya on August 5.

The Prime Minister laid a 40-kg silver brick to symbolise the start of construction of the temple. The silver brick was donated by Mahant Nritya Gopal Das.

Following the Bhumi Pujan, PM Modi unveiled the plaque of Ram Mandir and also released a commemorative postage stamp on the ‘Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir’.

A day before, the design of the planned Ram Temple in Ayodhya was released by the trust overseeing its construction.

A series of images showed a grand three-storey stone structure on a raised platform with multiple turrets, pillars and domes. The temple will be 161 feet tall and almost double the size of what was originally planned, according to its architect.

The temple, to be constructed in Nagara style of architecture, will have five domes instead of two as envisaged earlier to accommodate more number of devotees, the architect said.

According to him, the project is likely to be completed in the next three years once the work commences.

Days before the mega event, Acharya Pradeep Das, assistant to the chief priest of the Ram temple, Acharya Satyendra Das, had tested positive for Coronavirus.

Besides, 16 policemen on duty at Ayodhya also tested positive for COVID-19.

Ahead of the ceremony, the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust had appealed to followers of Lord Ram not to rush to Ayodhya for the ‘bhumi pujan’ ceremony of Ram temple construction.

In November last year, the Supreme Court had paved the way for the construction of Ram temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya, and directed the Centre to allot an alternative five-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a new mosque at a “prominent” place in the holy town in Uttar Pradesh. – The Statesman

 

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Foreign qualified medical students protest

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A group of foreign medical degree holders protested opposite the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (23) requesting that tangible measures be taken to conduct the Examination for Registration to Practice Medicine (ERPM) without further delay.

They alleged that over 1,500 students had been deprived of the opportunity to sit the examination due to the fault of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, which is now under investigation by a committee, appointed by Health Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi.

Photo: A section of the protesting students (pic by Thushara Atapattu)

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SJB insists referendum necessary besides 2/3 majority in Parliament

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Supreme Court moved against 20A

By Chitra Weerarathne

General Secretary of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya Ranjith Madduma Bandara, MP, yesterday (23) filed a petition in the Supreme Court stating that the proposed 20th Amendment (20A) to the Constitution was inconsistent with the Constitution. It requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament and approval by people at a referendum for passage, the SJV has argued.

The SJB says 20A violates people’s sovereignty and franchise enshrined in Article (3) and (4) of the Constitution.

The petitioner has argued that the provisions in clause 55 of the Bill are inconsistent with the public trust doctrine and the principle of checks and balances and would prejudicially affect public finance.

 The clause 54 of the Bill seeks to repeal Article 156 A of the Constitution, which provides constitutional recognition to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or corruption, the petition says.

 The petition says 20A seeks to repeal the prohibition on dual citizens being elected to Parliament and to the post of President.

The power of the Auditor General to audit the state institutions has been curtailed, the petition says, arguing that it could be detrimental to the economy.

It will be detrimental to the country if the Constitutional Council is replaced by a Parliamentary Council, the SJB General Secretary’s has contended in his petition.

Clause 20 (2) of the proposed 20A has restricted the powers of the Election Commission as regards the conduct of elections, the petitioner has argued.

The 20A states that an omission by the President could no longer be challenged through a fundamental rights violation petitions in the Supreme Court, the petitioner has said, adding that the Bill seeks to further enhance the powers of the President by allowing him to unilaterally remove the Prime Minister. The President would not be accountable to Parliament, the petition says.

The 20A would repeal Article 70/ (1) of the Constitution and enable the President to dissolve Parliament even immediately after a general election, the SJB General Secretary argues.

The respondent to the petition is the Attorney General.

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Lawyer Hijaz’s foundation received funds from banned foreign outfit – CID tells court

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By A.J.A.A beynayake and Kasuni Rebecca

The CID yesterday informed the Colombo Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage that Save the Pearls Trust run by lawyer Hijaz Hisbullah, now in custody for allegedly aiding and abetting one of the Easter Sunday bombers, had received Rs.13 million from a banned organisation named the Caliphate of Qatar.

The CID told court that according to the bank accounts of the trust the money had been received by it during the last few years and the police had launched an investigation to ascertain whether the funds had been used for terrorist activities.

The CID told court the investigation had been launched under the Money Laundering Act and a psychologist’s opinion had been sought on the book titled “Navarasam” found in a madrasa (school teaching Islam) run by Save the Pearls Trust in Puttalam.

The Magistrate order the CID to submit to court a Sinhala translation of the book and examine whether the contents of the book promoted terrorism.

The case will be taken up again on October 7.

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