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Reopening of Loya case inconvenient for BJP-Column
By Amulya Ganguli The case relating to the death of B.H. Loya, the judge who was investigating an alleged extra-judicial killing in Gujarat in which Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah was implicated, is the second legal hurdle which the party is facing. It crossed the first one with relative ease, but it remains to be seen whether the party will be able to do so this time. The first hurdle was posed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) inquiry into the incidents of mob violence during the Gujarat riots of 2002. The SIT, headed by a former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director, R.K. Raghavan, and acting under the Supreme Court's supervision, exonerated Narendra Modi, who was the state's Chief Minister at the time of the outbreak. However, a Vadodara resident, Prof. J.S. Bandukwala, a Muslim human rights activist, who was nearly killed in the riots, expressed doubts about the fairness of the acquittal while the court's amicus curiae, Raju Ramachand...




40 Dalits in Gujarat Fast unto death, Jignesh Mevani hailed Government
Gandhinagar, Jan 20: Around 40 people from a Gujarat village, including women and children, have started a fast unto death in Detroj of Ahmedabad district against alleged atrocities, discrimination and harassment by upper castes. The Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch, headed by Jignesh Mevani -- now an MLA from Vadgam constituency, has alleged that despite much hype created by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the country about the Vibrant Gujarat model and good governance, the Gitapur Dalit villagers did not have either houses to live in or drinking water facility. "These Dalits are facing a social boycott from the upper caste communities of the villages and they can't buy essentials like milk or grain or other commodities owing to their caste.  "They had been complaining against this and unavailability of housing, water and electricity to former Chief Minister and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the present Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, but a...




Yogi Adityanath calls 9 states for modernization of madarsas
Lucknow, Jan 19: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday called for modernization of the Madarsas' imparting education to children of the minority community. Inaugurating a meeting of Minority Welfare Ministers of nine states, he said that the objective of the central and the state governments was to empower every person and make him self-dependent.  Union Minority Welfare Ministry Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the government was committed to all-round welfare and development of minorities sans appeasement. He also lauded the UP government for having undertaken many schemes for the welfare of minorities.Union Minister Virendra Kumar, UP's Minority Welfare Minister Laxmi Narayan Chowdhary and his counterparts Khurshid aka Firoz Ahmad (Bihar), Rajendra Pal Gautam (Delhi), Sajjad Gani Lone (Jammu and Kashmir), Krishna Kumar Bedi (Hryana) and other senior officials attended the meet.(IANS) 




Clear the air about Chinese build-up in Doklam region, demands Congress
New Delhi, Jan 19: The Congress on Thursday asked the government to come clear on alleged about fresh Chinese troops build-up in the Doklam region and asked it should specifically state whether some helipads or bunkers have been established or not. "MEA statement does not say a word about the alleged construction by Chinese Army as depicted in satellite imagery. Please be specific if Chinese have constructed concrete posts, seven helipads, new trenches and placed several dozen armoured vehicles in Doklam," Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a tweet. His remarks came after the Ministry of External Affairs Ministry reports in a section of the media about fresh Chinese troops build-up in the Doklam region on the India-China-Bhutan trijunction as "inaccurate and mischievous" and that the status quo at the face-off site has not been altered.  Reports in a section of the media, citing satellite images, suggested there has been a fresh buil...




Decentralise powers in government hospitals: CM Kejriwal
New Delhi, Jan 19: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday called for more powers to government hospitals to help them provide better health facilities. "It will help these institutions in recruiting according to their needs and also purchasing commodities according to their requirements," said Kejriwal, after reviewing the functioning of government hospitals in a meeting with Health Minister Satyendra Jain, department officials and some MLAs, an official statement said. Informed that the file related to more powers for hospitals has been sent to Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Kejriwal said he will take the initiative in getting this file cleared and will talk to Baijal over the matter. "The biggest impediment in hospitals is keeping the powers centralised by trying to run these institutions from the Delhi Secretariat, which is clear from the files related to hospitals remaining stuck there for months. "The approval of this proposal will ...




Mixed response among Muslim leaders on Haj subsidy revocation
Delhi/Lucknow, Jan 17: The decision of the union government to scrap Haj subsidy and divert it to welfare of Muslim women and education of girls has evoked a mixed response from Muslim leaders and clerics in the country. While most of them have welcomed the move as "long awaited", some say that the Narendra Modi government should not take decisions that seem to single out one community. They have also demanded that in comparison to subsidy a global tender for air tickets was a better option. Reacting to the announcement, the Secretary General of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind – Muhammad Salim Engineer issued the following statement to the media: “We are concerned at the decision of the government to abruptly end the so called Haj subsidy given to Muslim pilgrims traveling to Saudi Arabia for performing Haj. Although the decision is in line with the Supreme Court judgment of 2012 to slowly withdraw the subsidy by 2022, this step is incomplete. Moreover, a fals...




PM Modi, Sushma mislead nation on Doklam: Congress
New Delhi, Jan 18: The Congress on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj of misleading the nation over Chinese troops occupying Doklam plateau, saying Indian security and strategic interests have been compromised. "The satellite imagery and media reports suggest that China has established military establishments in Doklam near Indian borders which indicates that India's security and strategic interests have been compromised," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surhewala told the media here. Surjewala said: "It seems that the government was snoozing while the Chinese troops occupied the Doklam plateau as suggested by satellite images. And it seems China is planning Doklam 2.0 like retreat near the Indian borders." Accusing Modi of mastering the art of rhetoric, the Congress spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister has mastered the art of electoral rhetoric as he has failed miserably to ensure the ...




Victory of freedom of expression: Shyam Benegal on 'Padmaavat'
New Delhi, Jan 18: Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal on Thursday hailed the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the ban against Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Padmaavat" in some states, saying it is clearly the victory of freedom of expression in the country. Benegal, who chaired a Ministry of Information and Broadcasting committee to propose ways to revamp the censor board, told IANS that once the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and the Supreme Court have given the movie a go-ahead, nothing can stop its release. The Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana governments had banned the movie's release in their states. As for the organisations that are threatening to protest ahead of and when "Padmaavat" releases on January 25 over alleged distortion of historical facts, the state governments must intervene and ensure law and order is maintained, he said. "The controversy is over. The film will be shown all over the country. The CBFC has anyway cl...




Supreme Court refuses to restrain media from reporting on judges' row
New Delhi, Jan 18: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a plea seeking to restrain the media from publishing reports relating to a row among its judges even as Chief Justice Dipak Misra held a closed-door meeting with four rebel judges. A bench headed by Chief Justice Misra refused to pass any order, for now, on a petition by an advocate to restrain the media from carrying reports on the ongoing controversy as it would only cause further damage to the institution. The court said it will examine the plea once the petition is formally listed before it.  Meanwhile, Chief Justice Misra held talks with Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph for about 15 before before the start of day's work. The brief meeting follows a similar round of talks on Tuesday which remained inconclusive.After Tuesday, the judges were expected to meet on Wednesday but the meeting could not take place as Justice Chelameswa...




Not enough done in 3 years to stop rapes in Delhi: Swati Maliwal
New Delhi, Jan 18: Swati Maliwal, who will complete her term as chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) in the next five months, has said that not enough has been done to put an end to rapes in the national capital. "We have done a lot of work for the cause of women and we have data to prove that. But if you ask me what is DCW's contribution in effectively reducing or stopping rapes in the national capital, it is probably a question that at times even I ask myself. When I hear about rape cases of minor girls, I question our contribution," Maliwal told IANS in an interview. According to NCRB data, Delhi reported 13,803 cases of crime against women and has the maximum number of rape cases -- 1,996 -- in 2016."We need to create deterrents in the capital. People don't feel scared because they think they can get away after committing a crime. And this has been happening. Compared to the cases registered, very few end in conviction. We need to have faster...