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Amnesty dubs ED ‘raid’ assault on civil society



Amnesty International

Bengaluru, Oct 26: Amnesty International India on Friday dubbed the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) ‘raid’ on its head office here on Thursday an assault on civil society in the country and said New Delhi was treating rights bodies like “criminal enterprises”.

“Amnesty India is the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country,” said Amnesty India Director Aakar Patel in a statement on its website.

Accusing the government of treating human rights organisations like criminal enterprises, Patel alleged that ED had frozen Amnesty’s bank accounts earlier this month.

“The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month, effectively stopping our work,” claimed Patel without specifying on which date and the reasons for such action.

The ED searched Amnesty’s head office in the city’s eastern suburb in connection with foreign remittances allegedly in violation of the FDI guidelines.

“Amnesty had received Rs 36-crore foreign funds till date from overseas in violation of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) guidelines,” said the ED in a statement on Thursday night.

Amnesty said on its website that a group of officers from the ED entered its premises at 1.30 p.m. on Thursday and locked the gates behind them.

“They ordered the staff to remain in office, shut their laptops and not use their mobile phones,” said Patel.

Clarifying that Amnesty was committed to the rule of law and its operations in the country, Patel said the principles of transparency and accountability were at the heart of its work.

“Most of the documents asked for during the search were available in the public domain or were filed with the relevant authorities,” said Patel.

Saying the ED’s questioning was the relationship between its two entities — Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL) and Amnesty International India Foundation (AIIF), Patel said details of the organisation’ structure were available on its website since 2014.

“Ahead of the raids, the Indian authorities leaked a cache of their internal documents marked ‘secret’ that appear to cast our operations as a dark web of intrigue,” added Patel.

The ED said that of the Rs 36 crore Amnesty received from abroad through commercial route, Rs 10 crore was placed in Fixed Deposit (FD) as a long-term loan and the balance was deposited in two bank accounts of AIIPL as ‘consultancy services’.



Farmers’ Income Has Halved, That Of Govt’s Friends Risen: Rahul Takes Dig At Centre

Congress leader seeks scrapping of the three ‘black’ farm laws, asks Centre not to befool farmers with rhetoric.



Rahul Gandhi PM modi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday attacked the Centre over its claim of doubling farmers’ income and alleged that their income has in fact “halved” under the “suit-boot” government, while that of its crony friends has grown four times.

He also demanded that the government abolishes the three “black” farm laws which are against farmers and farm labourers and asked it not to befool them with rhetoric.

No immediate response was available from the government.

Gandhi’s remarks come at a time when farmers from Punjab and Haryana are protesting at the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders of the national capital against the Centre’s new agriculture reform laws.

“They (government) said farmers’ income will be doubled. What they did was increase the income of (their) ‘friends’ four times and halved that of farmers. This is a government of suit-boot, lies and loot,” the Congress leader said in a tweet in Hindi.

Gandhi also shared a video showing police using water cannons and firing tear gas shells during protests by farmers with a speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi playing in the background wherein he says his government is taking steps to resolve the problems faced by farmers and double their income.

“Modi government, stop giving ‘jumlas’ (rhetoric) to farmers, stop the dishonesty and atrocities, stop giving them the falsehood of talks, (and) abolish all three black laws which are against farmers and labourers,” Gandhi said in another tweet.

The Congress has been attacking the government over the use of force against the protesting farmers, and urged the dispensation to withdraw the new farm laws and redress the grievances of the protesters.

Farmer unions say the three new laws will lead to the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving farmers at the mercy of corporate houses.

But the government says the MSP system will continue and the new laws will give farmers more options to sell their crop.

Farm leaders met Union ministers on Tuesday, but the two sides failed to break the deadlock. The next round of talks is scheduled to be.

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Congress MP Manish Tewari urges govt to urgently convene winter session of Parliament

The Congress leader, who is also a member of the Parliament Committee on Defence has raised the issue of Chinese Encroachment on Indian Land up to 1000 kilometers.



Manish Tewari

New Delhi, December 2: Former Union Minister and Congress MP Manish Tewari on Wednesday urged the Central Government to convene the winter session of Parliament as soon as possible to resolve the issues of farmers and to deliberate on matters of Chinese incursion, and rising COVID-19 cases in the country. 

Taking to Twitter, Manish Tewari said, “Farmers have besieged Delhi, Economy is officially in recession, Chinese continues to encroach upon over 1000 square kilometres of our land, COVID cases are at 95 lakhs with 1.38 lakhs dead in 8 months. GOVT NEEDS TO CONVENE THE WINTER SESSION OF PARLIAMENT ASAP WITHOUT DELAY.”

Sources in the government stated that currently, deliberations are on the decision to not hold the winter session.

Whether to club the winter session and budget session or to just to hold the budget session directly next year is also under consideration, sources added.

Farmers From Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have been agitating against the recently passed farm laws at the borders of the national capital with the ‘Dilli Chalo’ protest march.

In light of this, Union Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar held a meeting with representatives of Farmer’s Organisations on Tuesday. Talks, however, remained inconclusive.

The Congress leader, who is also a member of the Parliament Committee on Defence has raised the issue of Chinese Encroachment on Indian Land up to 1000 kilometers.

The argument, to not hold the winter session this year has been given due to a rise in the number of cases. 

The sources claim that the next Parliament session, budget session, is likely to be called at the end of January 2021.

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Farmers’ Protest Intensifies As More Protesters Gather At Delhi Borders

Protest at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in Ghazipur intensifies, leads to the closure of Delhi-Uttar Pradesh link road.



Farmers on Protest

The number of protesting farmers swelled at Delhi border points on Wednesday as police stepped up security after thousands blocked key gateways into the national capital for the seventh day on the trot, leaving commuters to face a harrowing time.

The protest at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in Ghazipur intensified leading to the closure of a key route connecting the national capital with Uttar Pradesh.

“The Chilla border on Noida link road is closed for traffic due to farmers’ protests near Gautam Budh Dwar. People are advised to avoid Noida link road for going to Noida and use NH 24 and DND instead,” the traffic police tweeted.

At the Chilla Border which connects Delhi with Noida, more farmers from Firozabad, Meerut, Noida and Etawah started gathering, prompting the authorities to close the key road stretch for the second consecutive day.

The protestors at the Delhi-Noida border belong to various districts of western Uttar Pradesh and want to reach the national capital to join the bigger stir launched by the farmers of Punjab and Haryana against the Centre’s new agriculture reform laws.

“More farmers from several districts, including Firozabad, Meerut, Noida and Etawah, are on their way to Chilla border. We will not leave this place until our demands are met,” Ramkishan, a protesting farmer, said.

A protestor camping at the Ghazipur border said farmers are here despite facing huge losses back home.

“This is the time we harvest sugarcane. But this is more important. We will continue to protest until the government agrees to our demands,” Sonu, a member of Muzaffarnagar Bharatiya Kisan Union, said.

More farmers also started gathering at Singhu border, one of the major protest sites.

The Delhi border points remained under heavy police deployment with concrete barriers and multi-layered barricades in place as the farmers continued their agitation against the new farm laws.

According to police, checking of vehicles has also been intensified at the border points as a precautionary measure in view of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest march by farmers.

“Cemented barriers and multi-layered barricades have been put up besides heavy security personnel at Ghazipur border near UP gate where many farmers have been protesting since Saturday,” a senior police officer said.

The protest against the new farm laws is set to continue as talks between three Union ministers and farmer groups ended in a stalemate on Tuesday after they rejected the government’s suggestion of a new committee to look into the issues raised by agitating farmers.

The two sides, however, have decided to meet again on Thursday.

The city police have kept the Haryana-Delhi border at Singhu and Tikri closed for traffic.

Two more border points connecting the national capital with Gurgaon and Jhajjar-Bahadurgarh were also closed as precautionary measures on Tuesday. With this, five border points, including Singhu and Tikri, have so far been closed due to the protest.

The traffic police said the borders at Tikri, Jharoda and Jhatikra are closed for all kinds of “traffic movement”. The Badusarai border is open only for two-wheelers.

Available open borders to Haryana are Dhansa, Daurala, Kapashera, Rajokri NH 8, Bijwasan/Bajghera, Palam Vihar and Dundahera, it said.

As traffic spilled over to alternative routes, it led to long jams there as well.

The commuters entering or exiting Delhi faced inconvenience as the protesting farmers blocked key entrances to the city.

Earlier in the day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked the Centre over its claim of doubling farmers’ income and alleged that their income has in fact “halved” under the ‘suit-boot sarkar’, while that of its crony friends has grown four times.

“They said farmers income will be doubled. What they did was increase incomes of ‘friends’ four times and those of farmers will be halved. This suit-boot government is of lies and loot,” he tweeted in Hindi.

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