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Rahul Gandhi’s ‘surprise date’ with students at Delhi Chinese joint



Seven young students from different parts of the country had a “surprise” dinner interaction with Congress president Rahul Gandhi where over Chinese food they shared their ideas about improving the lives of people and were promised that some may be included in the party manifesto.

From bringing out Congress manifesto in Braille, setting up gender-neutral toilets to steps for removing inequalities in education system and caste discrimination in society, the conversation touched diverse issues as the youngsters opened up to a “warm and affable” Gandhi.

The interaction with a select group of students took place at Ping’s Café Orient in Delhi’s Lodhi Colony market.

With the crucial Lok Sabha polls drawing near, Rahul Gandhi has started the outreach “Apni Baat Rahul ke saath” and this group of seven youngsters from Delhi, Assam, Assam, Maharashtra, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh were the first to interact with him. Gandhi will have several such sessions with students.

Critics might point out that the Congress has often mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for engaging with students, including his recent interaction with Class X and XII students “Pariksha Pe Charcha” programme, and his radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’.

But Congress leaders say Rahul Gandhi’s interactions are more “personal”, where he takes out time to listen to the people, a view endorsed by Pratishtha Deveshwar, a Delhi University student studying political science in Lady Shriram College.

“He is not an ‘I know everything’ kind of person and he was open to a conversation and discussion in trying to understand things,” said Deveshwar who was in the group that interacted with Gandhi for nearly two hours.

“Such a friendly humble person, he was actually serving me from his plate. You do not expect such things from a person of this stature. It really breaks the ice between the big politicians and the ‘aam aadmi’,” she said.

Abhilash Karri, an IIT student from Mumbai, recalls how surprised they were when they saw a beaming Rahul Gandhi walking into the dining area of an upmarket Chinese food joint here late Friday evening where they sat. The students had been told that will have an interaction with Congress party, but not that it will be the party president himself.

The meeting was informally structured with Gandhi hearing the new age voters on their priorities for themselves and their countrymen.

Among the invitees was an LGBTQ rights activist who suggested gender neutral toilets for the trans people in order to ensure they are not body shamed.

Kunal Ramteke of the prestigious Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) said he discussed caste based discrimination with Gandhi and described the Congress chief as one who is sensitive towards the issue. “I hope he will implement suggestions to end caste based discrimination…. His talk was very inspirational,” he said.

During his conversation, Karri said he stressed on making education accessible to all by introducing a fee structure which can be afforded by the underprivileged.

“We need to evolve our own ideology suited to Indian conditions.

“We also discussed the effects of 10 per cent reservation to the upper caste poor,” he said.

“I did not know that he was coming. It was great moment for me,” he said.

Karri said the good schemes brought by one party need to be continued by another as “our ultimate aim should be to serve the country”.

Deveshwar said Gandhi told her that he will work on issues like making colleges and universities more accessible.

“I also suggested that the Congress needs to come out with its manifesto in Braille, that is for people who are visually impaired. That is the first step that the parties can take in this regard and he has assured me that they will do this,” she said.

About Gandhi’s response, he said,”He told me that ‘you are pretty impressive for a 20-year-old’, which is a compliment that I am going to hold onto myself for my entire life. He knows how to give importance to everyone.” Rohan Reje Mathews, an engineering student in Dharwaad and LGBTQ activist, said the interaction was “pretty nice”. “He was articulate. I would be somebody who would take him seriously. We need to be taken seriously, we cannot be taken for a joy ride and our lives matter. Transwomen are being murdered everyday and transmen need attention. The gay men, lesbians all require attention from the community and the government as these are oppressed, ostracised people,” he said.

Gandhi promised to put him across to those involved in drafting the manifesto for the Congress party. “We would be happy to discuss our issues with the party so that they can be added to the manifesto. Our concerns are surrogacy laws, civil marriage laws and gender neutral bathrooms and not third gender bathrooms. We cannot be body shamed any longer. Trans-men need to be given more attention,” he said.

Shemaila Ali Khan, an MBBS student from Delhi, said she highlighted before Gandhi the issue of girls’ education in Muslim community.

Anil Kumar Maurya, a law student from Agra in Uttar Pradesh, discussed the issue of atrocities against Dalits and expressed the hope that the Congress party would take it up.


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Justice Served: UP Gangster Atiq Ahmed and 2 Others, Sentenced to Life Term for Kidnapping



Photo : PTI

In a recent development, a court in Prayagraj has sentenced Atiq Ahmed, a well-known gangster turned politician, along with two others, to rigorous life imprisonment. The verdict was pronounced after they were found guilty of the 2007 kidnapping case of Umesh Pal. Pal was an eyewitness in the murder case of BSP MLA Raju Pal. The court has also acquitted seven others, including Atiq’s brother Ashraf.

The sentencing of Atiq Ahmed and his accomplices comes after a long-drawn legal battle. They were found guilty of abducting Umesh Pal, who was a crucial witness in the murder case of Raju Pal. The court’s decision to award rigorous life imprisonment to the three accused has been welcomed by many, who see it as a step towards justice for the victim and his family.

In another development, earlier today, the Supreme Court refused to entertain Ahmed’s plea seeking protection in connection with the case. The apex court directed Ahmed’s lawyer to approach the High Court with his grievances instead. This decision has come as a setback for Ahmed, who was seeking protection from possible harm in jail.

The verdict in the case is being seen as a significant victory for the judiciary and the law enforcement agencies, who have been working tirelessly to bring the accused to justice. It sends a strong message to anyone who thinks they can get away with heinous crimes like kidnapping and murder. The case has also highlighted the need to protect witnesses in such cases, who play a crucial role in ensuring justice is served.

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Covid cases increasing in Delhi, more than 150 cases in 24 hours, infection rate also increased.



Representational Image | Photo by Firosnv. Photography on Unsplash

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Delhi has been on the rise again in recent days. The capital has seen a continuous surge in the number of cases, with 152 new infections reported in the last 24 hours alone. The infection rate has also risen to 6.66%. This represents a significant increase from the 117 cases reported on Thursday, indicating that the situation is worsening rapidly.

Experts have suggested that the rise in COVID-19 cases may be linked to the increasing number of cases of H3N2 flu in the city. As more people have been getting tested for H3N2, some have been found to be positive for COVID-19 as well. The trend is reflected in the figures from the past few days, with 84 cases reported on Wednesday and 83 on Tuesday, before the sudden spike on Friday.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has issued several recommendations to hospitals in the city to help tackle the situation. Hospitals have been advised to screen patients with fever and maintain an adequate supply of essential medicines. They have also been instructed to ensure that ventilators and other equipment are in good working order.

The Corporation has urged hospitals to promote the booster vaccine dose to their employees and patients and to follow all government guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A nodal officer has been appointed to ensure that hospitals maintain cleanliness, prevent the spread of infection, and manage biomedical waste effectively.

The situation is not limited to Delhi, as cases of COVID-19 are rising rapidly in other parts of India as well. Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Karnataka are all areas of concern, and the central government has held a meeting to discuss the matter. The focus remains on testing, tracing, and treatment, as authorities work to contain the spread of the virus.

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Traffic chaos in Delhi as marshals struggle to control heavy vehicles on Ashram flyover



Representational Image | Image Courtesy : Paramjit Dhillon @Paramjitdhillon (Twitter)

Delhi, India – Chaos ensues as the Ashram Flyover becomes a traffic nightmare for commuters in the city. But fear not, as a group of marshals has been deployed to restore order and bring some sense to the madness.

The Ashram Flyover, a major artery in the bustling metropolis of Delhi, has been a headache for commuters for quite some time now. The flyover, which connects the city’s south and central areas, sees heavy traffic congestion during peak hours, causing long delays and frayed nerves.

But things have taken a spicy turn as marshals have been brought in to keep things under control. These marshals, donning bright green jackets, have been tasked with managing the traffic flow, ensuring that vehicles move smoothly and without incident.

The marshals have their work cut out for them, as the chaos on the flyover seems to have no end in sight. The heavy traffic, coupled with the city’s notorious lack of lane discipline, has resulted in a free-for-all on the flyover, with vehicles jostling for space and tempers flaring.

But the marshals are undeterred. Armed with whistles and hand signals, they are determined to bring some order to the chaos. And their efforts seem to be paying off, as traffic has started moving more smoothly, and the honking and shouting have reduced considerably.

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