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Budget Session: Rajya Sabha discuses Cow Protection Bill 2017

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New Delhi, Feb 2: The Rajya Sabha resumed on Friday, a day after the Union Budget 2018-19 was tabled in the Parliament.

Proceedings were disrupted as opposition parties, including Samajwadi Party and Aam Aadmi Party, raised the issue of communal clashes in Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj and the sealing drive in the national capital.

As the House met for the day, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien finished the important legislative business after making obituary reference for those who lost their lives in West Bengal’s Murshidabad road accident. He then, allowed the members to voice their issues during Zero Hour.

Raising the issue of communal clashes at Kasganj, SP members Ramgopal Yadav and Naresh Agarwal accused the state government of “suppressing the voices of minorities” and sought central government’s response.

“Minorities are being exploited at Kasganj. With the help of administration, their houses are being vandalised and their voices are being suppressed. They are being arrested,” Yadav asserted.

As Yadav was raising the issue other SP members trooped near the Chairman’s podium and started shouting slogans.

Meanwhile, newly-deputed members of AAP also trooped near the podium under Sanjay Singh’s leadership and were heard shouting slogans over the issue of sealing drive in Delhi.

On the other hand, Congress member K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao also trooped near the treasury benches holding a placard with the slogan ‘Help Andhra Pradesh’.

Kurien repeatedly asked Rao to return to his seat and raise the issue through proper notice, but he neither went back nor did he utter a word.

“Look at this…what he is doing…Can somebody do like this…He has become mad…I will take action against him…Why should not action be taken against him…,” Kurien said urging the Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad to ask his party member to go back to his seat.

Rao continued with his protest amid sloganeering by the SP and AAP members.

Blaming the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government for the Kasganj violence, Naresh Agarwal stated: “Whatever is happening at Kasganj is under the patronage of the state government and one-sided action is being taken by the administration. The government needs to respond to it. We want an answer.”

Kurien, who asked the agitating SP members to give proper notice for raising the issue, made it clear that he could not force the government to respond.

“It’s upto the government to reply. I will be forced to adjourn the House. I don’t have other option,” he said and adjourned the House till 12 noon amid the ruckus.

When the House again met, the AAP members led by Sanjay Singh trooped near Chairman’s podium and began sloganeering.

He accused the Centre of ruining the lives of more than seven lakh traders.

Kurien urged the AAP members to give proper notice on Monday over the issue. But they continued agitating.

“Delhi is second home for every MP. So, it is our duty to help them. The Union government can’t be a mere spectator. They should give answer,” Azad said.

The AAP went back to their seats and the Question Hour continued after Azad spoke on the issue and urged the Union government to “help the people of Delhi”.

Kurien adjourned the House till 2.30 p.m. after the Question Hour ended.

When the upper house resumed, Cow Protection Bill 2017 came up for the discussion.

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Will abide by what SC rules on Sushant probe, says Maharashtra Govt

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Sushant Singh Rajput No More

Nagpur, Aug 8 : Though the Maharashtra government opposes a CBI probe in the Sushant Singh Rajput case, it will abide by the Supreme Court’s decision in the matter, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Saturday.

In a significant statement, Deshmukh told media persons that the state will follow the ruling of the apex court vis-a-vis the probe into the case, but opposes a CBI investigation on grounds of jurisdiction.

“The Mumbai Police are probing the case very thoroughly and professionally. However, we shall go by what the Supreme Court says at the hearing on August 11,” he said.

In the past week, Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh briefed Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, while investigating team members met officials of the Law and Judiciary Department.

The latest stand is different from the Maharashtra government’s earlier stated position that there was no need to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as the Mumbai Police are doing a competent job and probing it from all possible angles.

The CBI has registered an FIR based on the case lodged by Patna police on the complaint of Sushant’s father, K.K. Singh.

Last week, the Mumbai Police had cold-shouldered the Patna police team which was camping in Mumbai for several days for probing the Sushant case.

On Friday, irate over his 6-day long quarantine ordered by the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as he reached Mumbai to help the state police team, Patna’s SP, City, Vinay Tiwari hit out at the Maharashtra government after he was released.

“I was not quarantined, but the Sushant probe was quarantined,” he said, before flying back to Bihar as per Covid-19 protocols as directed by the BMC.

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Prashant Bhushan plea listed before another SC bench, explanation sought

The matter was listed before a bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and K.M. Joseph on August 10, but now has been deleted.

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Prashant Bhushan Lawyer

New Delhi, Aug 8 : In yet another lapse by the Supreme Court registry, some of its officials are in the dock for listing a petition jointly filed by Prashant Bhushan, N. Ram and Arun Shourie challenging the validity of criminal contempt before a bench other than the one headed by Justice Arun Mishra which has already taken up similar matters.

According to sources familiar with the development, the issues connected with the wrong listing of the case have been taken up by officials concerned in the top court.

The matter was listed before a bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and K.M. Joseph on August 10, but now has been deleted.

According to a senior official, as per practice and procedure in use, the matter should have been listed before the bench, which is already seized with a similar matter, but, had been listed elsewhere by ignoring established practice and procedure. “In this regard, explanation of officials concerned have been called for,” said the source.

Senior journalist Ram, former Union Minister Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Bhushan moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of Section 2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act, contending it violated Articles 19 and 14 of the Constitution.

The petitioners argued that this sub-section is unconstitutional, as it is incompatible with values in the Preamble and basic features of the Constitution and violates Article 19(1)(a). They claimed the sub-section is unconstitutionally and incurably vague and is manifestly arbitrary.

This petition was filed after the apex court took cognisance of criminal contempt against Bhushan for his two tweets. All the matters were heard by a bench headed by Justice Mishra. The bench had reserved its verdict in the contempt case earlier this week.

However, the bench had dismissed Bhushan’s petition against the Secretary General of the court for initiating the proceedings.

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Inspired reading in the lead-up to Independence Day

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Quite obviously, Independence Day – August 15 – means different things to different people. Is it tainted with pain, despair, and bloodshed due to Partition and the long drawn struggle for freedom, or is it coloured with hope and happiness – looking forward towards the endeavours of an independent nation?

Given that it’s a time for introspection, here’s a collection of non-fiction and fiction to draw inspiration from and serve as a beacon for the future.

  • Faith and Freedom: Gandhi in History by Mushirul Hasan

This book offers a meticulously researched account of Mahatma Gandhi – his historical background, campaigns, impact on Indian life, and the guidance he still continues to offer in dealing with contemporary problems. It offers a particularly illuminating and long overdue account of Gandhi’s association with Muslim leaders, and shows how politically tragic religious nationalism can be. Written by one of India’s leading historians, this book is a must read for everyone interested in understanding the political landscape of modern India.

  • Lost Addresses: A Memoir of India, 1934-1955 by Krishna Bose

Krishna Bose was born Krishna Chaudhuri on December 26, 1930, in Dhaka, to East Bengali parents settled in Calcutta. In December 1955 she married Sisir Kumar Bose, son of barrister and nationalist leader Sarat Chandra Bose and nephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. A multifaceted personality – a professor, writer, researcher, broadcaster, social worker and politician – this is her story of her childhood, adolescence and young adulthood.

It vividly describes Calcutta, Bengal and India in the 1930s and 1940s and the early years after Independence. Krishna’s memories of growing up and coming of age are set in the social, cultural and political milieus of the time. She relives how she experienced World War II, the Quit India movement of 1942, the Bengal Famine of 1943-44, the Red Fort trials of the Indian National Army (INA) officers in 1945-46, the Great Calcutta Killings of 1946, and the Partition and Independence in Delhi in 1947. Illustrated with old photographs, this memoir is a valuable historical record, told in flowing literary style.

  • Article 370: Explained for the Common Man by Sumit Dutt Majumder

In August 2019, the government reconstituted the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, abrogating its special status and more closely integrating it into the Indian union. This book seeks to explain the issues surrounding Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution, making readers more informed about this important constitutional, political and legal matter. The beauty of the book lies in the fact that the author writes in a simple and lucid language, avoiding journalese, jargon and legalese, thereby making the issues accessible to the common man.

  • Jallianwala Bagh: Literary Responses in Prose & Poetry – edited and introduced by Rakhshanda Jalil

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre of April 3, 2019, the butchering of unarmed innocents, is a historic event that haunts the human mind even after the lapse of a century. Through a selection of prose and poetry – the direct outcome of this horrific event and an introduction that traces the history of events leading to the massacre – Rakhshanda Jalil, a literary historian and translator from Urdu and Hindi, attempts to open a window into the world of possibilities that literature offers to reflect, interpret and analyse events of momentous historical import. The selection offers ways of ‘seeing’ history, of exploring how an incident that stirred the conscience of millions, found its way through pen and paper to reach the nooks and crannies of popular imagination filtered through the mind of the creative writer.

The acknowledged doyens of Indian literature featured in this volume include Saadat Hasan Manto, Mulk Raj Anand, Krishan Chander, Abdullah Hussein, Bhisham Sahni, Ghulam Abbas, Subadhra Kumari Chauhan, Sarojini Naidu, Sohan Singh Misha, Muhammad Iqbal, Josh Malihabadi, and Nanak Singh, to name a few. A collection that can pave the way for further research.

  • Bridge Across the Rivers: Partition Memories from the Two Punjabs – edited by Jasbir Jain & Tripti Jain

The history of the Partition is neither singular nor static. It appears different from different perspectives. The past is never over; its presence looms large over our present. The Partition narrative exceeds the bounds of history and impacted both collective and individual identities. In some ways it rendered the individual invisible, with identity being transformed into a stereotype, which evoked conventional patterns of behaviour. The heartache and anguish of divided families and frustrated, failed individual lives lay heavy on the joy of a much-coveted freedom.

This collection seeks to debate issues and throw light on discourses other than those of violence and darkness, working with a chronology, located in time. The narratives unfold expectation, hope and harmony, flight and violence, psychological fallouts, gender issues, and questions of guilt and reflection. As the stories trace the shifts in emotions and focus on individual wills, the undercurrents of cultural oneness form a counter discourse.

By Vishnu Makhijani

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