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Air France Asks 26 Passengers to Disembark Due to Technical Glitch

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New Delhi, July 10 : The Staff of Air France flight AF225 from Delhi to Paris asked 26 passengers to voluntarily disembark, as their checked-in luggage would need to be offloaded for the plane to be able to take off, due to a technical problem.

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A Shaheen Bagh in Kolkata’s Park Circus

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Kolkata Park Circus

Kolkata, Jan 17 : They clap in rhythm, shout “Azadi” slogans, cry “Halla Bol”, clench their fists in solidarity and display high spirits. The tri-colour is omnipresent, as are the faces covered with hizabs — this is City of Joy’s own version of Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh in Park Circus Maidan in south Kolkata, where primarily Muslim women have been on a sit-in against the CAA, NRC and NPR for 11 days now.

On January 7, taking a page out of the Shaheen Bagh protests that has been going on for over a month now, some women from the largely muslim-dominated neighbourhood of Park Circus descended on the local park expressing their anxiety, disappointment and anger over the goings on in the country.

They started the protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, a proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR) exercise, as also the “state repression on anti-CAA protesters in Uttar Pradesh”.

Their stock grew as the days passed. First their friends, families and acquaintances came, followed by women belonging to all societal strata from various areas of the city — be it Topsia, Ripon Street, Khiddirpore, Metiaburuz or Prinice Anwar Shah Road.

Top professionals like medicos, lawyers, teachers, professors, to those earning a living by cooking or washing utensils in others’ homes — everybody is joining in, and the numbers continue to go up every day.

“Tumhari lathi se tez hamari awaz hai” (our voice is stronger than your batons) says a poster, as the participants shout “Halla Bol, Halla Bol”.

There are hundreds of women wearing the hizab, who have come from conservative Muslim households, and are participating in a protest for the first time in their lives. They sit on spread out matresses, plastic sheets, blankets, durries and simple clothes they brought from their houses or offered to them by the volunteers.

NGOs, social groups and solitary individuals also arrive at the spot every day, bringing in tea, coffee, drinking water and even ‘haleem’, to keep the protesters going amid the dwindling temperature.

Asmat Jamil, a resident of Ripon Street who runs the NGO Azzumar, is considered the pivot of the protests. “It is a movement to claim our rights as citizens. It is a movement to show the power of people’s voices to the powers that be in Delhi,” she said.

Some of the demonstrators sleep under the open sky every night, while others make their daily trips to the venue after completing their household work or meeting their professional commitments. While a group of women have stayed put since the start of the protests, most faces change every couple of days, as people take turns in gathering for the protests.

“We have left our homes, schools, kids. Thousands of women have followed us. They have come out of their homes for their freedom,” said a burqa-clad woman in her 70s, pointing to the chants of “Azadi” (freedom).

“Look, not only do we demand scrapping of the CAA, NRC and NPR, we are also looking at the larger picture. Women here are also voicing their demand for freedom to move freely and fearlessly, the liberty to study, freedom to pursue their vocation and profession of choice and even the freedom to choose whom to marry,” she said.

A young woman — a teacher — joined in.

“Most of the people in this gathering are poor. Majority of them don’t have any papers to show. I am a teacher. I have seen the mothers of my students cry.

“I support my country, I support India. We don’t want to go on a troubled way, right? That’s why we should all come together,” she said.

Apart from the huge number of women, men are also there in strength, chanting slogans, singing songs of protests, waving the tri-colour and reading the Constitution. But they are not allowed into the main protest area, which is encircled by a plastic rope.

The Park Circus protests, after Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, has emerged a rallying point for the dissenters and the fiery young turks. From former student leader Umar Khalid, to Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, and city’s very own balladeer Kabir Suman — the venue is drawing famous names daily.

But sitting around pictures of Mahatma Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar, the young and the old commoners are the soul of the Park Circus protests — determined to soldier on till at least January 22, when the court will hear the petitions moved against the CAA from all around India.

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Restore statehood: Jammu and Kashmir Congress passes resolution

The Congress resolution demanded “adequate legal and constitutional guarantees to safeguard the rights of locals over land, jobs and admissions in professional courses in Jammu & Kashmir”.

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Ghulam Nabi Azad

Jammu, Jan 17 : The executive committee of J&K Congress met under the chairmanship of Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, here on Friday and passed a four-point resolution for the restoration of statehood for Jammu and Kashmir and demanded constitutional guarantees in jobs and land for the people.

The resolution passed by 216 members from 20 districts of J&K also demanded freeing of all the political detainees and creating an atmosphere conducive for politics in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We demand restoration of statehood for J&K,” J&K Congress President Ghulam Ahamd Mir told IANS.

He said the visits of foreign delegations and Central ministers to J&K are futile exercises until all the political detainees, including three former Chief Ministers, are released.

“We demand the release of all the detained leaders,” Mir said.

Mir said the four-point resolution is a road map that will be adopted by the party across all its forums.

“Congress will continue its struggle for the rights of the people,” Mir said.

The Congress resolution demanded “adequate legal and constitutional guarantees to safeguard the rights of locals over land, jobs and admissions in professional courses in Jammu & Kashmir”.

“All curbs and restrictions on mainstream political parties, their leaders and activists should be lifted to allow them to resume their usual political activities to create a congenial and conducive political atmosphere for a meaningful and credible political process to pave way for holding of early Assembly elections,” the resolution said.

The resolution also demanded “a special employment package for the youth, especially fulfilling the promise of 50,000 jobs, announced by then Governor in August, 2019.”

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Supreme Court notice on plea against land acquisition for Bullet Train

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Sanjay Parekh and advocate Kamini Jaiswal, representing the affected farmers and landowners, moved the apex court challenging the validity of the Gujarat High Court’s September 19, 2019 judgment dismissing their pleas.

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Land Acquisition Bullet Train

New Delhi, Jan 17 : The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to look into a plea challenging the land acquisition for construction and implementation of the 508-km long bullet train project, aimed at providing high-speed connectivity between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

A bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose issued notice to the Centre, the Gujarat government and National High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd, among others on a petition filed by Jigrabhai Amratbhai Patel and others.

The Mumbai Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project is being carried out by the Centre in collaboration with the Japan government.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Sanjay Parekh and advocate Kamini Jaiswal, representing the affected farmers and landowners, moved the apex court challenging the validity of the Gujarat High Court’s September 19, 2019 judgment dismissing their pleas.

Issuing the notice, the top court has sought response from the authorities concerned and posted the matter for further hearing on March 20.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, argued in favour of the High Court judgement, which turned down the batch of petitions seeking to put on hold the land acquisition proceedings for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project.

A division bench, headed by Justice A.S. Dave, had said the compensation offered to farmers by the state government is fair as it upheld the validity of the Land Acquisition Act, amended by the Gujarat government in 2016 and subsequently approved by the President.

One of the directions the petitioners sought was to revise and update the land rates according to the market value as per the statutory norms and rules and the mandate of Section 26 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

They also contended that in 2016, the Gujarat government amended the principal law of 2013 completely doing away with the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and Consent Clause.

The High Court had expressed its opinion that the provision of not conducting the SIA under the amended Act does not come under the category of “excessive delegation”, which was contended by the agitating farmers.

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