Manhunt for 'happiness minister' in murder probe

Manhunt for 'happiness minister' in murder probe

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Police in India are hunting for the country’s only happiness minister after he went missing when a court ordered his arrest over an alleged murder.

Lal Singh Arya’s job is to try to increase “the happiness and tolerance” of the 70 million people in Madhya Pradesh.

The state was the first in India to create such a role when it gave Arya the job in January.

However, he has now disappeared after a court in Bhind district issued an arrest warrant earlier this month over the killing of an opposition politician in 2009.

Police are “hopeful” of detaining Arya, from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, before a scheduled court appearance on 19 December.

“We are positive that we will track him down by then,” said Prashant Khare, police superintendent in Bhind.

The happiness ministry wants to provide activities such as including yoga, meditation and free religious pilgrimages.

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It styles itself on the “gross national happiness” index used by India’s northern neighbour Bhutan.

The Buddhist country in the eastern Himalayas regularly tops studies looking at which is the world’s happiest country.

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