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NCP actor-MP’s ‘Nathuram Godse’ role divides MVA allies

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A major row has erupted in Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance after an actor-turned-MP played the role of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse.

MVA constituent, Nationalist Congress Party’s Shirur MP and actor Dr Amol Kolhe donned the garb and grabbed the gun of Godse in the upcoming film, “Why I killed Gandhi”.

The film is due for release on an OTT platform on January 30 – the 74th anniversary of Gandhiji’s assassination – and just six months before the Platinum of Indian Independence.

While the Congress has strongly opposed the upcoming web film, there is a mixed reaction within the NCP, while the Shiv Sena has adopted a neutral stance so far.

State Congress President Nana Patole hit out at what he terms “attempts to support the assassination of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi and to exalt the act” by certain sections of society.

“Dr Kolhe is an artiste but he is now a MP and is expected to behave more responsibly. It is unfortunate that he is abusing his freedom as an artiste to willy-nilly support the assassination of Gandhiji,” he said.

Patole warned that the Congress would not permit the release of the film as it would send a wrong message to the masses.

NCP President Sharad Pawar has backed Kolhe, saying he had informed the party about this role before he joined and has never supported the ideology of Godse.

“Dr Kolhe’s role should be seen as an actor only – If a person plays the role of Ravana in a cinema, he does not become Ravana himself,” the NCP supremo said, chiding protests from various quarters, both inhouse and outside.

Maintaining a neutral stance, Shiv Sena leader Kishore Tiwari said it is unfortunate that a controversy has been sparked now over a film role essayed in 2017, besides creating tensions among the MVA allies.

NCP national spokesperson and Minister Nawab Malik pointed out that Kolhe had played the role five years ago, long before he joined the NCP in February 2019, and has never propagated Godse’s ideology.

However, his senior party colleague and Housing Minister Dr Jitendra Awhad has raised cudgels against Kolhe’s portrayal as Godse and said the film must be boycotted.

Congress Minister Balasaheb Thorat said artistes must be given the freedom of creative choices but they must ensure that they unwittingly don’t end up glorifying a certain ideology through their roles.

On his part, Kolhe has made it clear in several media statements that he treated the role professionally, and he doesn’t support Godse or hate Gandhiji.

Kolhe is best known for his role as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the teleserial “Raja Shivchhatrapati” and also as Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj in the television series “Swarajyarakshak Sambhaji”.

Awhad added that he had opposed all “anti-Gandhi” films on ideological grounds.

“When an actor plays a particular character then he gets into the mind of that character and becomes the character without which he cannot be an actor,” he claimed.

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party state President Chandrakant Patil dismissed the MVA bickerings saying there’s nothing wrong if Kolhe has played the role of Godse.

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Can’t stop circulation of judicial officer’s video without users’ numbers: WhatsApp to Delhi HC

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In wake of the Delhi High Court ordering the taking down of sexually explicit video of a judicial officer, social media platforms on Friday told the court that they have removed the video and blocked several URLs.

However, WhatsApp, the Meta-owned instant messaging app, told the court that it is not possible to erase the video from the platform until unless it is provided with users’s phone numbers and the court’s order.

Appearing for WhatsApp, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said that if they are provided with phone numbers, they will pull down the video if ordered by the court.

At this, the single judge bench of Justice Yashwant Varma told the plantiff’s counsel Ashish Dixit, to provide the phone numbers so that WhatsApp can take requisite steps.

Justice Varma listed the matter for next hearing on February 8.

The WhatsApp argument took place when the court was hearing a plea by the woman present in the video, who is reportedly the judicial officer’s steno. She moved the court arguing that the video is fabricated.

The Delhi HC on late November 30, directed the Centre and social media platforms to ensure that the sexually explicit video of a judicial officer, which had gone viral on the internet on November 29, be not shared, distributed, forwarded or posted further.

Justice Varma had also asked for the video to be taken down and blocked from all ISPs, messaging platforms, and social media platforms.

“Bearing in mind the sexually explicit nature of the contents of that video and taking into consideration the imminent, grave and irreparable harm that is likely to be caused to the privacy rights of the plaintiff, an ad interim ex parte injunction is clearly warranted,” the court had said.

The plea had sought a permanent direction to restrain the social media platforms from publishing or telecasting the video in question.

The court had also observed that the provisions under Section 354C of IPC as well as Section 67A of the Information and Technology Act “would appear to be violated” if further circulation, sharing and distribution of the video wasn’t restrained.

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Drama in Himachal as Congress Legislature Party meeting rescheduled for third time

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High drama continued ahead of the crucial meeting of newly- elected 40 Congress legislators of Himachal Pradesh to nominate the legislature party leader as it was delayed till Friday night, for the third time in a row.

Party observers — Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda and AICC in-charge for state Rajiv Shukla — earlier in the day met Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar to hand over list of MLAs showing the strength to form the government.

The meeting, which is now slated for the night, was postponed with Member of Parliament and state unit chief Pratibha Singh’s supporters raised slogans in her favour, demanding her appointment as the Chief Minister.

The wife of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, she is believed to be the frontrunner for the top job.

A day after getting majority in the 68-member Assembly, 40 Congress lawmakers were to meet in the state capital in the presence of party’s observers to nominate the legislative party leader.

Besides Pratibha Singh, former party chief Sukhwinder Sukhu and Mukesh Agnihotri are considered key frontrunners for the Chief Minister’s post.

At the meeting, a decision will be taken to authorise Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge to finalise the name of the legislative party leader.

The Congress on Thursday got an absolute majority in the Assembly elections, winning 40 seats – six more than the half-way mark of 34, while the outgoing BJP was reduced to 25.

While outgoing Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur won, many of his ministers, including Suresh Bhardwaj, Ram Lal Markanda, Sarveen Chaudhary, Rakesh Pathania, Govind Thakur, Virender Kanwar, and Rajiv Saizal lost the election.

Three Independents, comprising two BJP rebels and one Congress, emerged victorious.

Himachal Pradesh has not voted any incumbent government back to power since 1985.

Considering the family legacy and contribution, Pratibha Singh had sought votes in the Assembly polls on development carried out by her husband Virbhadra Singh during his six terms as the Chief Minister.

Pratibha Singh, who had not contested the Assembly polls, missed no opportunity to remind the electorate that the victory in Assembly election “will be a tribute to him (Virbhadra Singh)”.

“Not only the Congress supporters but also from other parties voted for us as a tribute for Virbhadra Singh,” said Pratibha Singh, who won the Mandi seat in the 2021 Lok Sabha bypoll and was appointed state chief well-ahead of the Assembly polls

She had spearheaded the poll campaign on the legacy of Virbhadra Singh, and banked on the party’s promise to bring back the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) that will benefit 225,000 employees, a crucial vote bank.

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Man poses as Hindu to marry minor, exposed during marriage ceremony

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 A man identified as Aslam Khan posed as a Hindu and tricked a poor family to marry their minor daughter to him in Jharkhand’s Bokaro. His real identity surfaced after the Jaimala (garlanding ceremony).

He was beaten up by the people present at the venue but fled in his Scorpio before he could be handed over to the police.

The incident took place in Kumhartoli in the Harla police station area in Sector-9 of Bokaro. The accused, aged around 50 years, is said to be a resident of Wasseypur, Dhanbad.

The girl’s father, Raju Kasera told the police that he was a vendor fending for the family of seven.

Raju added that they first met the accused on a visit to Dena Bank for a loan, where he introduced himself as Sanjay Kasera and started visiting their house regularly on the pretext of helping them with the loan.

He alleged that Sanjay posed as a police officer posted in Latehar and tricked his daughter by promising her a better future and pressurised them for the marriage.

He added that he agreed to his daughter’s marriage owing to their weak financial condition and threats.

The wedding was to take place on Wednesday night where Aslam aka Sanjay reached with some people.

During the event, a labourer who set up the wedding pandal claimed that the groom was Aslam Khan who he knew from jail where they were lodged a year ago.

The news shocked the people.

People of the right wing organisation, Bajrang Dal reached the venue after receiving information about it.

The accused and the people who accompanied him fled before the police arrived at the spot.

The police recovered an Alto car, a police uniform and a weapon from his belongings. An FIR has been registered against the accused on the basis of the girl’s relatives’ complaint.

District head of Bajrang Dal, Ajit Pandey demanded action against the accused, calling it a case of love jihad.

Preliminary investigation revealed that Khan had a criminal record. In May, 2021, Chas police sent him to jail on charges of fraud over money.

He was previously lodged in Chatra, Ranchi and Jamtara jails in several other cases.

According to police, the accused had earlier tricked a tribal woman into marrying him.

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