August 19, 2019
Latest News

India's BJP spent millions on Kumbh Mela ahead of elections

Prayagraj, India, Feb 6 (efe-epa).- The right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pulled out all stops to organize the world's largest religious gathering, the Kumbh Mela, just ahead of crucial elections in the country mid-year.

In the northern Indian city of Prayagraj in the state of Uttar Pradesh, ruled by the BJP, hundreds of posters with smiling faces of Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath welcomed the pilgrims.

The festival had reached its peak this week with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims taking a holy dip at the Sangam, which is the confluence of three rivers of the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, on Feb. 4.

The BJP had reportedly spent over $586.8 million (Rs 4200 crore) to organize the Kumbh Mela, which began mid-January and will go on until Mar. 4.

The estimated numbers of visitors for the 2019 Ardh Kumbh Mela - that is held between the main or Purna Kumbh Mela which happens every 12 years - is expected to break all previous records, including the data recorded during the 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela, which happens every 144 years.

A whopping 150 million people, including pilgrims and holy men are expected to attend the festival over a course of 55 days.

"The UP government has been using this Kumbh Mela to basically say that this is the best organized Kumbh Mela so far," Akshay Mukul, journalist and author of the book "Gita Press and the making of Hindu India" told EFE.

Mukul added that the UP chief minister, as well as the BJP, were experts in marketing and it was not surprising that they would want to exploit the religious gathering for political gains.

In the run up to the Mela, the regional government had invited dozens of ambassadors and top officials in December last year to witness the preparations first hand.

Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, an expert in Hindu nationalist politics and author of a Modi biography, said that the Kumbh Mela has always been used by right-wing Hindu groups to promote religious polarization and mobilize support for issues like the Ayodhya dispute.

The temple town was at the center of a religious dispute after Hindu extremists had demolished a mosque in 1992, demanding to build a temple on the site.

The incident had led to months of unrest and communal riots that left 2,000 people dead.

The calls for the construction of a Hindu temple in place of the Babri Masjid - a case which is still in the courts of India since the past few decades - could be heard once again in the Kumbh Mela, especially during events organized by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a conservative Hindu party and the ideological parent of the BJP, last week.

Kumbh Mela brings together Hindus on one platform, Mukhopadhyay said, adding that it, however, remains to be seen if this would help the BJP to convince voters to bring them back to power for a second mandate.

News history
DNA extracted from turtle shell products in drive to save species

Sydney, Australia, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- Scientists have extracted DNA from products made out of hawksbill turtle shells in a bid to save a species that is...

FAO: 39 million people suffer from hunger in Latin America

Montevideo, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- An increase in the number of people suffering from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, now totaling 39 million, is a...

European Commission president cuts Austria vacation short for urgent surgery

Brussels, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has had to cut his vacation in Austria short for medical...

Death toll in dengue outbreak hits 40 in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- At least 40 people have died from dengue in Bangladesh, with over 50,000 cases reported throughout the country since January,...

Dirt-floor shacks a perpetual symbol of Argentina's gaping social divide

By Tono Gil

UNICEF: Rohingya child refugees despair over lack of access to education

Dhaka, Aug 16 (efe-epa) - Lack of access to formal education is leading to frustration and despair among young Rohingya refugees in southeastern Bangladesh,...

Pacific Islands Forum ends with lukewarm declaration against climate change

Sydney, Australia, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- The Pacific Islands Forum ended on Thursday night in Funafuti, the capital of island nation Tuvalu, without a...

Salvadoran woman hopeful of acquittal in retrial for stillbirth

Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- A Salvadoran woman sentenced to 30 years in prison after a stillborn delivery was back in court here...

Scientists detect microplastic particles in the snow

Berlin, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- A team of German and Swiss scientists have detected the presence of microplastic particles in the snow of the Arctic and the Alps...

Nora Quoirin died of internal bleeding from stress or lack of food: police

Bangkok Desk, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- The London schoolgirl found dead in a Malaysian jungle two days ago died from internal bleeding likely caused by lack of...

Pell's appeal against child sexual abuse convictions to be decided on Aug. 21

Sydney, Australia, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- An Australian cardinal convicted to six years in prison for abusing two boys in the 1990s will find out the fate of...

Pell's appeal against child sexual abuse convictions to be decided on Aug. 21

Sydney, Australia, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- An Australian cardinal convicted to six years in prison for abusing two boys in the 1990s will find out the fate of...

More than 250 lawsuits vs. Catholic Church filed over sex abuse in New York

New York, Aug 14 (efe-epa).- A New York law office on Wednesday filed more than 250 lawsuits over sexual abuse of minors against the Catholic Church with...

Brazilian women challenge Bolsonaro with massive protest

Eduardo Davis

Antarctic Commission studies creation of large marine protected areas

By Daniela Brik.

Indigenous and farm women demand gender equality in Brazil

Brasilia, Aug 13 (efe-epa).- Groups of indigenous and farm women were received this Tuesday by the Brazilian legislature, where both repeated their...

Australia pledges funds to fight climate change's effects on Pacific nations

Sydney, Australia, Aug 13 (efe-epa).- The Australian government on Tuesday announced the creation of a fund to finance projects that will help Pacific...

Australia announces investment in recycling to avoid exporting waste

Sydney, Australia, Aug 13 (efe-epa).- The Australian government on Tuesday announced a plan to encourage the recycling of plastic waste following...

Expansion of quay on Mexican island of Cozumel worries environmentalists

By Ricardo Hernandez

Reward offered in search for teenage girl missing in Malaysia

Bangkok, Aug 12 (efe-epa).- The parents of a 15-year-old girl who went missing in a jungle region in Malaysia have offered a reward for information on where...

Singapore bans ivory trade after seizing 9 tonnes of elephant tusks

Bangkok Desk, Aug 12 (efe-epa).- Singapore authorities on Monday announced a total ban on the domestic trade in ivory, weeks after seizing almost nine...

Ebola as seen through the eyes of children in DR Congo

By Patricia Martínez

From Mecca to Baghdad, Muslims mark Eid al-Adha

Cairo, Aug 11 (EFE).- From Mecca to Baghdad, going through Khartoum, Arab Muslims on Sunday marked Eid al-Adha by sacrificing animals.

2 million Muslims ascend Mount Arafat for Hajj

Riyadh, Aug 10 (efe-epa).- More than two million Muslims headed to Mount Arafat in extreme heat and humidity on Saturday for the main ritual of Hajj.

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.