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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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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?

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… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.

 

 

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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others

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The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.

 

 

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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area

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Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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