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Army officer, 2 soldiers killed in ‘violent face-off’ with China troops in Ladakh during de-escalation process: Reports

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In a major escalation of tensions between India and China, an Indian Army officer and two soldiers were killed in a violent face-off on Monday night during de-escalation process in Galwan Valley, one of the flashpoint leading to standoff in eastern Ladakh region.

Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation, India Army sources were quoted as saying by ANI.

As per reports, the soldiers were not shot but were killed in hand-to-hand combat on Indian territory.

Meanwhile, Beijing has accused Indian soldiers of “crossing the border and attacking Chinese personnel”, according to an AFP report.

China’s Foreign Ministry said it called on India to not take unilateral actions or stir up trouble.

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Decades of wait over, now temple for Ram Lalla who has been living in tent: PM Modi at Ayodhya

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after performing the the ‘Shila Pujan’, ‘Bhumi Pujan’ and ‘Karma Shila Pujan’ of the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya, said India is emotional and decades of wait has come to an end with the ceremony.

Taking to the stage after the conclusion of the ‘Bhumi Pujan’ of the Ram temple, PM Modi firstly urged the attendees to chant ‘Jai Siya Ram’ and said, “This call is resonating not only in the city of Lord Ram but throughout the world today.”

The Prime Minister further expressed his gratitude to all citizens of the nation, the Indian diaspora across the world and all the devotees of Lord Ram on the pious occasion.

Stating that a grand temple will now be built for Ram Lalla “who had been staying in a tent”, PM Modi added, “Today, Ram Janmabhoomi breaks free of the cycle of breaking and getting built again, that had been going on for centuries”.

Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat and chief minister Yogi Aditynath also shared the stage with the Prime Minister.

“It is my good fortune that I was invited to witness this historical moment… From Kanyakumari to Kshirbhavani, from Koteshwar to Kamakhya, from Jagannath to Kedarnath, Somnath to Kashi Vishwanath, today the entire country is immersed in Lord Ram,” PM Modi said while addressing the country’s top saints.

He said the Ram Mandir will become the modern symbol of India’s traditions. “It will become a symbol of our devotion, and our national sentiment,” and added that “This temple will also symbolise the power of collective resolution of crores of people. It will keep inspiring the future generations”.

“With the construction of this temple, not only history is being made, but is being repeated. The way boatmen to tribals helped Lord Ram, the way children helped Lord Krishna lift Govardhan mountain, similarly, with everyone’s efforts, the temple construction will be completed,” he asserted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi 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.

At the Bhumi Pujan ceremony, nine bricks were laid sent by devotees from around the world.

“Nine bricks are kept here… these were sent by devotees of Lord Ram from around the world in 1989. There are 2 lakh 75 thousand such bricks out of which 100 bricks with ‘Jai Shri Ram’ engraving have been taken,” the priest said during the ritual.

Soil from more than 2000 pilgrimage sites and water from more than 100 rivers were also brought for the rituals.

Besides Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat and chief minister Yogi Aditynath also took part in the Bhumi Pujan. Apart from them, 175 guests were invited for the grand event by the Ram Temple trust, including 135 religious leaders.

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’.

The date August 5 will down in history as a momentous occasion when Prime Minister Narednra Modi reached the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya to set the construction of the grand Ram temple in motion, a reality that was the political and socio-religious dream of not just the BJP, but a vast section of Indians.

Dressed in traditional attire (dhoti and kurta), the Prime Minister first washed his hands before bowing before the deity — Ram Lalla Virajman. Amid ‘Shankhnaad’, Modi offered his prayers to the deity before making a parikrama of the shrine.

Next, he planted a ‘Parijat’ sapling in the temple complex at 12.03 p.m. and watered the plant.

He then proceeded for the ‘bhumi pujan’ ceremony after offering prayers at the 10th century Hanuman Garhi temple, accompanied by uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The Prime Minister had reached Ayodhya in a chopper a little after 11.30 am.

Meanwhile, PM Modi has returned to Ayodhya after 29 years today for the Ram Temple groundbreaking ceremony. The Uttar Pradesh government said that PM Modi is the first prime minister to visit Ram Janmabhoomi.

Earlier today morning, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had shared a sketch from the original document of the Constitution of India showing Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman returning to Ayodhya after defeating Ravan.

Meanwhile, the design of the planned Ram Temple in Ayodhya was released on Tuesday 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.

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.

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2 dead, 2 missing as heavy rains pound Mumbai, nearby areas; Aaditya Thackeray visits affected areas

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A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team has recovered the body of a one-and-a-half-year-old girl after four people fell into an open drain as a part of a chawl collapsed in heavy rain in Mumbai’s Santacruz East.

A woman and a girl are now missing while another girl was rescued by the police and shifted to VN Desai hospital.

The NDRF team was moved to the site to carry out search and rescue operations soon after the incident

According to reports, three rooms of Trimurti Chawl collapsed at Agripada, in Dhobighat area of Santa Cruz.

Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Minister Aaditya Thackeray and BMC Commissioner Iqbal Chahal visited the rain-hit areas in Mumbai.

Aaditya had earlier tweeted urging people to stay indoors.

“Stay home! We’ve been monitoring the situation and the @mybmc is working round the clock. Please cooperate and stay home,” he said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, at least one person was killed in Thane as heavy rain clobbered Mumbai since Monday night with the state government declaring a holiday in the city and Mumbai Metropolitan Region areas.

According to a report in IANS, a 15-year-old boy Rakib A Mandal was electrocuted and died on the spot when he came in contact with a live wire of a street-light pole near the Owala Hanuman Temple on Ghodbunder Road in Thane.

Severe waterlogging is being witnessed in various parts of Mumbai following incessant rainfall since late Monday. Waterlogging was reported from the regular chronic spots of Sion, Kings Circle, Wadala, Dadar, Kurla, Mulund, Borivali, besides subways at Andheri, Kandivali and Dahisar.

A red alert has been issued for two days for Mumbai, Thane amid heavy rains.

The city has been semi-paralysed as the road traffic and suburban trains were affected due to waterlogged tracks.

Services on sections of suburban sector were halted or crawling on the Western Railway, Central Railway at various locations, while the Harbour Line was paralysed from Kurla to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.

BEST bus services diverted on at least eight routes in various parts of Mumbai city and suburbs.

Landslides have also been reported from parts of Mumbai due to the heavy rainfalls throughout the night.

A massive landslide on the Western Express Highway between Kandivali-Malad paralysed south-bound traffic at dawn today, but there were no casualties.

Soon afterwards, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation deployed six JCBs to start work of clearing the debris, stones and the highway is likely to be cleared for operations by evening.

According to the BMC, more than 230 mm of rainfall was recorded in Mumbai city in the last 10 hours.

“230 mm rainfall occurred within 10 hrs. It’s a flood-like situation. Mithi river had swelled up in the morning because of heavy rains, crossing the danger mark. As of now, it is flowing below danger level. The evacuation of people has also been stopped right now,” BMC Commissioner told ANI earlier today.

Mumbai’s civic body informed that except for essential services, all other offices in the city will be closed today.

“Owing to the heavy rainfall since last night and forecasts of extremely heavy rain by @IndiaMetDep all offices and establishments in Mumbai, except emergency services, will remain shut,” the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) tweeted.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that extremely heavy rain will occur at isolated places in Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts of Maharashtra on August 4 and August 5. Ratnagiri district is also expected to receive extremely heavy rainfall on August 4, while Paldhar district is expected to receive extremely heavy rain on August 5.

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Amit Shah tests Covid positive, admitted to Gurugram’s Medanta hospital; prayers, wishes pour in

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah tests coronavirus positive on Sunday and has been admitted to the Medanta hospital in Gurugram.

The reports come from Shah himself who taking it to Twitter said, “I went through the coronavirus test and result comes to be positive. I am feeling fine but being hospitalized on doctor’s suggestions.”

“I request all those who had come in contact with me in last few days to isolate themselves and get tested,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh minister Kamal Rani Varun, who had tested positive for Coronavirus earlier, died due to the infection in state capital Lucknow. She was 62.

She had been admitted to the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) on July 18 and died at 9:30 am today, according to the government statement.

Varun was Minister of Technical Education in the Uttar Pradesh government. Her cremation will take place in Kanpur later in the day.

Due to the minister’s death, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister cancelled his visit to the Ram Janmabhoomi complex in Ayodhya today which was scheduled to review preparations for the August 5 ‘bhumi poojan’ event.

Wishes poured in for the Union Home Ministers from different leaders.

With nearly 55,000 new cases, the number of confirmed infections in India crossed the 17-lakh mark on Sunday.

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