A court-ordered survey of a section of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex in Varanasi began on May 6 but people quickly ran into protests, marking yet another controversy to roil the site of a decades-old religious dispute. The survey, which involves videography and inspection, was conducted by court-appointed advocate commissioner Ajai Kumar and team. The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which manages the Gyanvapi Masjid, expressed dissatisfaction with the survey and said they would move court. The survey was ordered by a Varanasi civil court on April 26 on a 2021 petition by five women who sought daily prayers and worship rights at the Maa Shringar Gauri Sthal. Currently, prayers are allowed once a year at the spot, which is inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex – which itself abuts the Kashi Vishwanath temple. The videography and survey was stopped on May 7 after the lawyers were denied entry inside the mosque.


As many as 600 Muslims from Gosabar in Gujarat’s Porbandar district have filed an application in the High Court, seeking nod for euthanasia, a report said on May 6. This is the first time that as many as 600 people have applied for euthanasia at the same time. The petitioners said that over the last 100 years, around 600 people from 100 families have been involved in the fishing business and the Fisheries Department had granted them fishing licence. However, the authorities of the department concerned do not allow them to anchor boats at Gosabar or Navi Bandar port and have been harassing them since 2016 due to which they are facing a lot of hardships and want to end their lives, the plea said. In the petition filed before the High Court, it is argued that the state government is discriminating between Hindu and Muslim fishermen and is not providing the latter with adequate facilities.


The Ayodhya police on April 28 busted a gang of conspirators who made a well-planned attempt to trigger communal riots in Ayodhya just before the Eid festival. The miscreants had dumped some objectionable items, including torn pages of sacred text, raw meat and threats and abuses written on paper outside four mosques in the district early on April 27 morning. The police team led by IG, Ayodhya range, KP Singh and SSP Shailesh Pandey arrested seven miscreants, including gang leader Mahesh Mishra who claimed to be leader of one ‘Hindu Yodha Sangathan’. Other arrested gang members have been identified as Pratyush Kumar, Nitin Kumar, Deepak Gaud, Brajesh Pandey, Shatrughan and Vimal Pandey, all residents of the area falling under the Kotwali City police station. During interrogation, it was revealed that the accused planned to trigger communal riots in Ayodhya to avenge the Jahangirpuri incidents.


One more person was arrested in connection with the lynching of Shamim Ansari, the head of the Raikera Forest Committee, for protesting against illegal tree felling in Jharkhand’s Gumla district, police said on May 7. This takes the number of arrests in the case to five and all of them were forwarded to jail. Altogether 35 people were named as accused in the FIR and they are absconding, police said. Shamim Ansari, 45, was beaten to death in a place under Bharno Police Station area by a group of men allegedly involved in illegal timber trade on May 6. The accused belong to a single village in Bharno block of the district, he said. Four people have been arrested in connection with the case on Friday. Ansari, 45, was lynched after he stopped some people from cutting trees inside Raikera forest. A forest guard who was with Ansari managed to flee.


A day after his visit to Seoni in Madhya Pradesh where a mob lynched two tribal men, Dr Govind Singh on May 6 said that the incident had no connection with cow-slaughter or beef. State Congress president Kamal Nath sent a party delegation headed by LOP Dr Singh to the Sagar and Simaria villages where the incident occurred. “We visited the villages of the victims and not a single person there said there was cow-slaughter or possession of beef,” Singh said. “The Congress party demands a judicial probe into the lynching that killed two persons and left another tribal man seriously injured,” he said. He said, people from the villages said that at 1:30 am on Monday, a group of men from the Bajrang Dal and Shri Ram Sena attacked the victims with sticks. “Bajrang Dal is running training camps in the tribal areas,” the LOP alleged. “Why is the Bajrang Dal holding training camps in tribal areas? Is it to spread fear before the 2023 elections?” he alleged.


A professor at Sharda University has been suspended and show-caused for setting an examination paper with a question on whether there were similarities between fascism/Nazism and the Hindu rightwing. A three-member team of senior faculty members was constituted by the Greater Noida-based university to ‘investigate’ the matter. The team has issued a show-cause notice. A paper for first year students of the BA honours course in Political Science had a question: “Do you find any similarities between Fascism/Nazism and Hindu right-wing (Hindutva)? Elaborate with the argument.” “The university regrets that such an incident has taken place that may have the potential for fomenting social discord,” said a statement issued by the university and signed by the Registrar, on May 6.


A married woman from Odisha’s Balasore district accused her husband and in-laws of forcing her to keep sexual relations with a clairvoyant (tantrik) under the pretext of solving her marital discord, India Today reported on May 8. The matter came to light after the victim lodged a complaint at Jaleshwar Police station against the tantrik, her husband, his parents and younger brother. As per the complaint filed by the woman, the tantrik allegedly raped her for 79 days. The tantrik has been identified as Sk Taraf, a native of Kakhara village in Balasore’s Bhograi Block, he allegedly practices sorcery in Bainchdiha village of Mayurbhanj district. Her mother-in-law took her to the sorcerer, who claimed he would solve their marital dispute, but the woman would have to stay at his place for a few days. The woman stated that despite her protests, she was left there. The victim stated that she was locked in a room and had no means to contact her family. On April 28, the victim managed to find the tantrik’s cell phone. The victim texted her parents about her ordeal. Her parents immediately called the police, who rescued her.

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