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Rahul Gandhi gets 2-yr jail term

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Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi has been sentenced to two years in prison in a criminal defamation case.

Mr Gandhi was convicted by the court in Gujarat state for 2019 comments about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname during an election rally.

He will not go to jail immediately – he has been given bail for 30 days and can file an appeal against his conviction.

The Congress party MP was present in court for sentencing, which comes a year before general elections are due.

Speaking at an election rally in Karnataka state ahead of the 2019 general election, Mr Gandhi had asked why all thieves have “Modi” as a common surname – according to media reports from the time, he was referring to fugitive diamond tycoon Nirav Modi and former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi.

The case was filed on the basis of a complaint by Purnesh Modi, a lawmaker from India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party, who said that Mr Gandhi’s comments had defamed the entire Modi community.

Mr Gandhi’s lawyers had argued that the right legal procedures had not been followed in the case. They also said that Narendra Modi should have been the complainant as Purnesh Modi was not the target of Mr Gandhi’s speech.

The Congress party tweeted that Mr Gandhi will file an appeal and “we will fight and win”.

Mr Gandhi has not commented publicly yet but has tweeted a quote in Hindi from Mahatma Gandhi: “My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, and non-violence the means to get it.”

(BBC News)

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President meets TMVP Leader Pillaiyan

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has symbolically distributed freehold deeds to 192 individuals from 13 divisional secretariat divisions in the Batticaloa District. 

This distribution is part of the ‘Urumaya’ freehold deeds program, which aims to provide freehold deeds to 27,595 qualified families in the district, according to the President’s Media Division (PMD).

The ‘Urumaya’ national program is set to grant 2 million freehold land deeds to people across the island, enhancing property rights and security for numerous families.

Following the distribution ceremony, President Wickremesinghe met with TMVP Leader Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, also known as Pillaiyan, and party members at their headquarters. 

During this meeting, the TMVP leader expressed his support for the President and confirmed his party’s backing in the upcoming presidential election.

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Deadline for NIC applications extended to June 30

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The Department for Registration of Persons (DRP) has extended the deadline for individuals over 40 years old to apply for National Identity Cards (NICs) to June 30, 2024. 

Commissioner General of the department Pradeep Saputhanthri stated that the deadline for these applications has been extended to June 30. Originally, the deadline was set for March 31.

This extension was granted in response to requests from Divisional Secretaries, according to the department.

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Highlights from the 16th Nationalised Services Cricket Awards

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The 16th Nationalised Services Award, organized by the Nationalised Services Cricket Association (NSCA), took place in Colombo. 

State Minister for Sports Rohana Dissanayake and Sri Lanka Cricket President Shammi Silva chaired the event. 

NSCA Chairman Nalin Aponsu and members of semi-state and bank cricket teams attended. 

Awards were presented to teams that participated and won national service cricket tournaments from 2018 to 2024. 

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