M A I N   N E W S

150 years on, Meerut witnesses ‘uprising’ rally

Participants of the national youth rally on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Jung-e-Azadi 1857 which started from Kranti Park of Meerut
Participants of the national youth rally on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Jung-e-Azadi 1857 which started from Kranti Park of Meerut on Monday. — PTI photo

Meerut, May 7
Around 10,000 youths from all across the country set out on a rally to the National Capital from here today reminiscent of the ‘Jang-e-Azadi 1857’ march to commemorate the 150th anniversary of India’s First War of Independence.

The national youth rally was flagged off by union sports and youth affairs minister Mani Shankar Aiyar from Kranti Park here in the presence of Uttar Pradesh governor T.V. Rajeshwar. Dressed in red, blue and green and hailing from various states, the youth would be joined by around 20,000 more participants en-route to Delhi.

Aiyar asked the participants to remember the message of Mahatma Gandhi.

“We have begun the march with the same spirit as that of the freedom fighters of 1857. But we have to remember that the message of Gandhi regarding truth and non-violence should not be forgotten in any case,” he said.

Led by mounted cavalry, the rally caught the attention of localities, who cheered the youngsters all across the way in Meerut. Many of them could not resist walking with the participants.

“This is amazing. We have not seen or experienced anything like this before,” said Manju Singhal, who runs a play school near here.

She, like others besides her, had been waiting since last week to see the youth brigade carry inspirational banners, posters and placards. Many could be seen humming tunes of patriotic songs that played through loudspeakers at every nook and corner of the place. — PTI



Arjun asked not to treat govt functions as ‘family affair’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
The BJP today took a strong exception to human resource development minister Arjun Singh’s statement about the party not being invited to official functions commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Ist War of Indian Independence on the ground that it had not participated in the freedom movement and asked the minister not to treat these functions as his “family affair”.

Addressing mediapersons, BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman V.K Malhotra described Singh’s statement about the BJP not being invited to the official functions on the Ist War of Indian Independence as “atrocious” and said while Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has invited the party to all functions on the War of Indian Independence, the union minister has decided not to invite the party to the government function.

Malhotra said it seemed that Singh has lost his “mental balance”.

In a direct attack on the UPA government for politicising the encounter killings in Gujarat to derive political mileage in the final round of the ongoing elections in Uttar Pradesh, Malhotra said the BJP was ready to discuss the issue provided the government also agreed for a debate on all such encounters that had happened in the UPA-ruled states also, particularly, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi, which had seen more encounter killings than Gujarat.

The spokesman claimed the UPA had two yardsticks--one for Gujarat and the other for its own governments. Whenever there is a demand for a discussion on Nandigram killings, it was rejected on the ground that it was 'state issue’, he said.

Similarly, terming the UPA's demand for the resignation of Gujarat Chief Minister as 'absurd' Malhotra asserted that if they attempt to remove him from his seat or impose President's rule in the state it would have 'repurcussions' at the national level and not just from five crore people of Gujarat.

Why are they not asking for the resignations of chief ministers of various states where encounter killings had taken place? Will the defence minister or home minister be responsible for encounter killings in Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi?, Malhotra, sought to know, charging the Congress and its allies with suffering from 'Modi phobia'.



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