QBullet: Pragya Apologises for Godse Remark; 2 Held in Assam Blast

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1. Under Fire, BJP’s Pragya Thakur Apologises for Calling Godse a ‘Deshbhakt’

Hours after she triggered a political row by calling Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a ‘patriot’, BJP Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate Pragya Singh Thakur on Thursday tendered an apology for her remarks.

“It was my personal opinion remark. My intention was not to hurt anyone’s sentiments. If I’ve hurt anyone, I do apologise. What Gandhi Ji has done for the country cannot be forgotten. My statement has been twisted by the media,” Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon blast case, said.

Describing Godse as a “patriot”, Thakur had earlier said those calling him a “terrorist” will be given a befitting reply when the election results are announced. “Nathuram Godse was a deshbhakt (patriot), is a ‘deshbhakt’ and will remain a ‘deshbhakt’.

2. Kolkata Police Constitutes SIT to Probe Vandalism of Vidyasagar’s Statue

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inspects the vandalised statue of Bengali writer and philosopher Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, after the clashes that broke out at BJP President Amit Shah’s roadshow, in Kolkata on 14 May.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inspects the vandalised statue of Bengali writer and philosopher Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, after the clashes that broke out at BJP President Amit Shah’s roadshow, in Kolkata on 14 May.

The Kolkata Police on Thursday constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the vandalism of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s statue at Vidyasagar College in Kolkata on 14 May.

The statue of Vidyasagar was vandalised during the violent clashes that broke out during BJP chief Amit Shah’s roadshow in the city, days before the last phase of polling.

The vandalism of the statue of the noted social reformer has snowballed into a controversy as both BJP and TMC are at loggerheads with each other.

3. PM Offers To Build Vidyasagar Statue, Mamata Banerjee Asks What About Ram

Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee – accused by the BJP of engineering the vandalism of the statue of 19th century reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar – today provided a laundry list of such destruction the BJP is allegedly responsible for.

The smashing of the statue has become an emotive issue – Vidyasagar had been Bengal’s renaissance man who, among other things, had championed the cause of women’s education and remarriage of widows.

Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has contended that only goons from outside Bengal who are oblivious of the state’s history and heritage, could be capable of such an act.

Blaming the Trinamool Congress for the vandalism, PM Modi promised to a build bigger, better statue of Vidyasagar in Bengal.

The offer was scornfully rejected by Mamata Banerjee, who pointed out that in its five-year term, the Narendra Modi government was unable to build even a small statue of Lord Ram, a cause the party is committed to.

(Source: NDTV)

4. Pro-Talk ULFA Leader, Actress Detained for Guwahati Grenade Blast

Two suspects from ULFA(I) cadre were arrested on Thursday, 16 May.
Two suspects from ULFA(I) cadre were arrested on Thursday, 16 May.

A leader from the pro-talks faction of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and an actress have been detained by police in connection with Wednesday’s grenade blast in Guwahati in which 11 people were injured.

According to reports, the police raided a house in the Panjabari area of the city on Thursday and recovered some explosives, a pistol and 25 rounds of live ammunition. The police are yet to confirm the find.

“Our investigations are continuing and we have made satisfactory progress. But we won’t be able to divulge details at the moment,” said Assam Police DGP, Kuladhar Saikia.

5. 6 Militants, Soldier, Civilian Killed in Kashmir Gunfights

Six militants, a civilian and two army jawans were killed in two separate encounters in the twin districts of Shopian and Pulwama on Thursday, 16 May.
Six militants, a civilian and two army jawans were killed in two separate encounters in the twin districts of Shopian and Pulwama on Thursday, 16 May.

Eight persons, including six militants, were killed in two separate gunfights in south Kashmir on Thursday, police and army officials said.

In Pulwama district, security forces gunned down three militants belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). A soldier and a civilian were also killed in the encounter, police said. “As the security forces were evacuating civilians from the neighbourhood area around the target(ed) house, the terrorists [hiding there] fired indiscriminately. In the process one Army Jawan, Sepoy Sandeep, attained martyrdom and one civilian Rayees Dar also lost his life,” said police spokesman Manoj Kumar.

The slain militants have been identified as Naseer Pandith from Kareemabad in Pulwama, Umar Mir of Shopian and Khalid from Pakistan, Kumar said.

6. West Bengal IPS Officer Rajiv Kumar Reports to Home Ministry

File photo of former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.
File photo of former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.

Senior West Bengal cadre IPS officer Rajiv Kumar reported to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday as directed by the Election Commission a day ago.

After violence was reported in Kolkata during BJP president Amit Shah’s rally, the EC relieved Kumar, Additional Director General of Police (CID) from his post with immediate effect and directed him to report to the MHA at 10 am on Thursday.

The EC also called halt to the election campaigning in West Bengal a day earlier, from 10 pm on Thursday. Nine parliamentary constituencies will vote in the last phase of elections on 19 May.

(Source: The Hindu)

7. ‘We Need to Come Down Very Heavily on Such Offenders,’ Says Air India CMD

Air India’s chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani said on Thursday that the airline needs to take stern action against any employee accused of sexually harassing women colleagues.

Reacting to a woman pilot’s recent allegation that she had been sexually harassed by a senior captain in Hyderabad on 5 May, Lohani said in his message to employees, “It is shameful that sexual harassment cases are often being witnessed in Air India. We need to come down very, very heavily on such offenders. Pass this message down the line especially in departments related to operations.”

8. ‘Modilie’: No Such Word Exists, Oxford Dictionary Tells Rahul Gandhi

A day after Congress chief Rahul Gandhi taunted Prime Minister Narendra Modi by using the term “Modilie”, the Oxford Dictionary on Thursday said that no such word existed in the English dictionary. Rahul had on Wednesday said that the term, which is used to refer to someone who “constantly modified the truth”, was the “new word” in the dictionary.

Taking to Twitter, Oxford Dictionary said, “We can confirm that the image showing the entry ‘Modilie’ is fake and does not exist in any of our Oxford Dictionaries.”

9. ‘My Wife Will Never Lie’, Says Navjot Sidhu on Her Claim Blaming Punjab CM Over Denial of LS Ticket

File image of Navjot Singh Sidhu.
File image of Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Days after his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu stirred up a controversy by alleging that Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and senior Congress leader Asha Kumari ensured that she was denied the Lok Sabha ticket from Amritsar, Navjot Singh Sidhu Thursday backed her accusation, saying she would “never lie”.

“My wife has that much strength and moral authority that she will never lie. This is my answer,” Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is Tourism and Culture Minister, said when asked about his wife’s allegations.

On 14 May, Congress leader and former MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu had alleged that it was Amarinder Singh and party’s Punjab affairs in-charge Kumari who ensured that she does not get the party ticket from the Amritsar parliamentary constituency.

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