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NEW DELHI: Bengaluru has become an epicentre of terror activities, BJP MP Tejasvi Surya claimed on Sunday and said he had requested Union home minister Amit Shah to set up a permanent division of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the city.

A day after becoming the president of the BJP’s youth wing, Surya said many terror modules have been busted in Bengaluru, the Silicon Valley of India, in the recent past. The terrorist groups want to use the city as an “incubation centre” for terror activities.

Surya said he had met Shah at the latter’s residence two days ago and emphasised the need to have a well-equipped and sufficiently staffed NIA office to mitigate terror-related activities in Karnataka.

“The Home Minister has assured that he will direct officials to establish a permanent station house manned by an officer of the rank of the SP at the earliest,” Surya said.

“In last few years, Bengaluru, the Silicon Valley of India, has become epicentre of terror activities. It has been proved through many arrests and sleeper terror cells busted by the investigative agency in the city,” Surya, who represents Bengaluru South in Lok Sabha, told reporters here.

“It is a matter of grave concern that NIA investigations into the DJ Halli and KG Halli mob violence in August have indicated that many terrorist organisations are using Bengaluru as their incubation centre for carrying out anti-India activities,” he said.

Over 3,000 people went on a rampage on August 11 torching the residences of Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy, his sister Jayanthi and DJ Halli and KG Halli halli police stations in Bengaluru.

The violence broke out over an alleged inflammatory social media post by the nephew of the Congress MLA.

Surya said there are reports that the NIA does not have sufficient infrastructure and human resources for conducting investigations. The NIA is currently operating with skeletal staff and that too from Hyderabad with only a camp office in Bengaluru.

Bengaluru being the financial nerve centre of south India, it is vital to keep the city safe from all terrorist and anti-India organisations and their activity, he added.

On his new responsibility as the head of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), Surya said his first visit will be to poll-bound Bihar to interact and meet the party’s youth wing volunteers.

“Yuva Morcha will nurture more grassroots leadership across the country. A young karyakarta (worker) like me has been given the responsibility of the national youth wing of the world’s largest political party in the world’s biggest democracy and in the world’s youngest country. This is possible only in the BJP,” he said.

Underlining that BJYM will continue to be a platform for all youngsters of the country, Surya said he feels the strongest leaders come from weakest sections of the society. And he wants to ensure that BJYM will be their platform.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

Snowfall in Gulmarg, other areas of Kashmir

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SRINAGAR: Gulmarg and other places in the higher reaches of Kashmir received fresh snowfall on Sunday, causing the mercury to drop across the valley, officials said.

Gulmarg, the famous ski resort in north Kashmir‘s Baramulla district, received light snowfall in the evening. It continued for most part of the evening before making way for rain, they said.

Snowfall was also recorded in Sonamarg tourist resort in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district and Zojila Pass along the Srinagar-Leh highway, according to the officials.

There were reports of snowfall in several other areas in the higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir including areas along the Mughal Road – the alternate roadway connecting the valley with Jammu, the officials said.

The road has been closed for traffic, they said.

The snowfall in the higher reaches of Kashmir led to a drop in temperature across the Valley.

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INDIA

All citizens in the country to get free Covid-19 vaccine: Union minister

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BHUBANESWAR: Union minister Pratap Sarangi on Sunday said that all people of the country will be given free Covid vaccine, amid the demand by opposition parties in the country for it and not only in poll-bound Bihar as announced by the BJP.

The BJP announcement of free Covid vaccine for Bihar, where assembly polls begin this week, had kicked up a controversy with the opposition parties tearing into the NDA government alleging that the ruling party was using the pandemic for political reasons.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the announcement was in order as it was an election manifesto announcement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that all people will be provided free of cost vaccines. An estimated Rs 500 odd will be spent on vaccination of each person, Sarangi told reporters after addressing a campaign meeting for the November 3 assembly by-poll in Balasore.

Modi had in a televised adddress to the nation on October 20 said that Indian scientists are in the process of developing several vaccines that are at different stages of clinical trials and the results seem encouraging.

Sarangi, the union minister of state for animal husbandry, dairy, fisheries and micro, small and medium enterprises spoke in reply to question raised by Odisha Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister, R P Swain.

Swain had earlier in the day sought clarification from Dharmendra Pradhan and Sarangi, the two union ministers from Odisha questioning them for their silence on their party BJP’s stand on free Covid-19 vaccination for the people of the state along the lines of the one being promised in Bihar.

The governments of Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Puduchchery have already announced free of cost Covid vaccines for the people of their states, while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has demanded free vaccine for all citizens across the country.

Swain had tweeted “I am asking questions to two Odisha union ministers from Balasore soil to clarify as to why the people of the state will not get free of cost Covid vaccine. The union ministers should clarify BJPs stand on the corona vaccination in Odisha.

On the state governments steps for vaccination, Swain said it has signed an agreement with a vaccine manufacturer and is committed to extend the facility to all people of the state.

He, however, did not say whether the state government will provide the vaccine to the people free of cost.

BJP deputy leader in Odisha Assembly Bishnu Charan Sethi said the Centre has been supporting Odisha fully during the pandemic and has granted Rs 22,000 crore for the purpose.

“But large scale lapses have been detected in the utilisation of the fund,” he alleged.

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INDIA

Wheels up for trip to India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Indonesia: Pompeo

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WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Sunday boarded the flight for the trip to India for the third edition of the two-plus-two ministerial dialogue, that begins in New Delhi. The visit comes a week before the American presidential election scheduled on November 3.

The State Secretary will be travelling along with Secretary of Defence Mark T Esper from October 25 to 29. Pompeo will also visit Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia to engage the countries in discussions on how free nations can work together to thwart threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Taking to Twitter, Pompeo said, “Wheels up for my trip to India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia. Grateful for the opportunity to connect with our partners to promote a shared vision for a free and open IndoPacific composed of independent, strong, and prosperous nations.”

Wheels up for my trip to India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia. Grateful for the opportunity to connect with ou… https://t.co/DtIxmxpQUK

— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) 1603642892000

This will be the third India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. They will be meeting Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on October 27 and will also have bilateral meetings with their counterparts.

They will also be meeting NSA Ajit Doval and will jointly call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The India-US 2+2 talks will focus on four themes — regional security cooperation, defense information sharing, military-to-military interactions, and defense trade, said the US State Department on Friday. The first two 2+2 Ministerial dialogues had been held in New Delhi in September 2018 and Washington DC in 2019.

Besides, Pompeo will be urging the Sri Lankan officials to make decisions about its relationship with China and to review the option that the United States offers for transparent and sustainable economic development, according to an earlier statement by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Dean Thompson.

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