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Centre banishes VIP red beacons, Congress says mere symbolism

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Aru Jaitley
Photo IANS

New Delhi, April 19 : The central government on Wednesday announced no dignitary will be allowed to flaunt red beacons atop their vehicles from May 1, and necessary changes in the laws for the purpose are being brought about. The Congress termed the decision “ridiculous” and as a mere “symbolic politics”.

The decision was taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who informed the cabinet about it.

“From May 1, no red beacon will be allowed atop any official vehicle. There will be no exceptions,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters here after the cabinet meeting.

“It is more precisely the Prime Minister’s decision. He only informed the cabinet about it,” Jaitley told reporters after the cabinet meet.

Vehicles involved in emergency and relief and rescue services, ambulances, and fire services, will, however, be allowed to put blue beacons, the minister said.

Jaitley said the government will bring about the necessary amendment to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, in this regard.

“Rule 108 deals with use of red, white and blue lights on vehicles. Rule 108-1 (III) says the Centre and states can specify dignitaries who can use beacons on their (official) vehicles. It is a central rule and is being abolished from the rule book,” Jaitley said.

He said it means no dignitary at the Centre or in states could henceforth use beacons on their vehicles.

Asked if there would be exceptions like the President or the Prime Minister for the use of red beacon on their cars, Jaitley said there can’t be any exceptions “when the rule itself is not there in the rule book”.

The minister said Rule 108 (2) that empowers the Centre and state governments to use blue beacons with flasher is also being changed.

“Only defined emergency services will be allowed to use blue beacons with flasher,” Jaitley said.

The decision intends to strengthen democratic values in the country, the Finance Minister said, and added that the consequential changes required to be made in other rules will also be made.

The red beacon had over the decades become an instrument of political appeasement in the country with state governments “granting” such beacons to functionaries of the ruling party even when they held no constitutional posts.

Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had the red beacon of his vehicle removed soon after the cabinet meeting.

“The government is of the considered opinion that beacons on vehicles are perceived symbols of VIP culture and have no place in a democratic country,” Gadkari said. “They have no relevance whatsoever.”

The Congress, however, termed the decision as “symbolic politics” and “ridiculous”.

“This is not something new. The Supreme Court had on December 10, 2013, ordered which vehicles would be allowed to have beacons atop them,” said Congress spokesman and former Union Minister Manish Tiwari.

“Now, after three years of this decision, if the BJP is trying to do politics over it and try to gain the high moral ground, then it is ridiculous,” he added.

Tiwari said that some parts of the apex court decision had already been effected.

(IANS)

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India

NSA Ajit Doval meets Amit Shah

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Ajit Doval, Amit Shah
Image: Defence Aviation Post

New Delhi, June 19: National security Advisor Ajit Doval on Tuesday met BJP President Amit Shah in the national capital and discussed the prevailing situation of Jammu and Kashmir.

The meeting took place ahead of high-level talks between party cabinet ministers, various office bearers of the organisation and incharges of Jammu and Kashmir over the political situation in the state including the impact of suspension of ceasfire operations during Ramzan and others.

Meanwhile, reacting to the meeting between Doval and Shah, AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi poised several questions.

“We want to know, the country wants to know what talks took place when the NSA met the chief of a political party? Why did NSA only meet the ruling party why doesn’t he meet all political parties?, he asked.

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All arrested ‘Hindu terrorists’ are from RSS: Digvijaya Singh

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Digvijaya-wefornews

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has once again accused Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of promoting terrorism.Citing an example of Mahatma Gandhi killing,Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said Nathu Ram Godse was also a staunch believer of Sangh ideology and all the Hindu terrorists caught up by the authorities belonged to Sangh.

“Jitne bhi Hindu dharma wale aatankwadi pakde gaye hai sab Sangh ke karyakarta rahe hai (All Hindu terrorists caught so far have been RSS members in the past),’’ the Congress leader said in Jhabua.

While speaking to media at Madhya Pradesh’s Shajapur he said RSS’ ideology spreads nothing but hate, violence and violence leads to terrorism,’.

Digvijaya had claimed that he has always spoken about Sanghi terrorism and not Hindu terrorism.

Reinforcing his stand on “Sangh terror,” he said, “bomb blasts were executed by people influenced by Sangh ideology, be it Malegaon blast, Mecca Masjid blast, blast in Samjhauta express or Dargah Sharif.”

Defending Singh’s charges, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said that his statements needs to be seen in the right context. “Ideologically Digvijay Singh has very strong views. He has opposed minority extremism and said that every kind of extremism is bad. We must contextualise what he said rather than generalise it and think he is saying it against one community or organisation,” Khurshid said.

 

 

 

 

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SC refuses urgent hearing on PIL over Kejriwal’s protest

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, June 19: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hold an urgent hearing of a PIL seeking a direction to the Delhi High Court to expeditiously hear a plea for declaring the sit-in protest at Delhi Lt. Governor Anil Baijal’s office by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and others unconstitutional and illegal.

The vacation bench comprising of Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Indu Malhotra said the matter would be heard on the opening day when court reopens after the summer break even as lawyer Shashank Deo Sudhi, appearing for the PIL petitioner, told the court that there was a constitutional crisis and a vacuum, and the administration was paralysed.

Sudhi appeared for PIL petitioner and advocate Hari Nath Ram, who told the vacation bench that the matter was listed before the Delhi High Court on Monday (June 18) but was directed to be heard next on June 22.

Seeking a direction to the High Court to hear the matter urgently, Sudhi told the bench that politicians were not above the law and there was a threat to the rule of law.

He referred to earlier court pronouncements by which the strikes were held to be illegal.

The lawyer said before the High Court they have prayed that perjury proceedings be initiated against the Lt. Governor and the Chief Minister for making conflicting claims on the strike by the bureaucrats serving in the Delhi government.

Kejriwal along with Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Transport Minister Gopal Rai has been camping at the Raj Niwas, the official accommodation-cum-office of Lt. Governor Anil Baijal, since June 11.

Kejriwal has said he and his colleagues would not leave Baijal’s office until their demands, which include direction to IAS officers to end their “strike”, action against officers who have struck work for “four months” and approval to his government’s proposal for doorstep delivery of ration to the poor, were met.

During Monday’s hearing, the High Court had sought to know from the AAP government who has authorised Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues to hold a sit-in protest at the Lt. Governor’s office as it was not the place to hold a demonstration.

The bench had said the protesters cannot go inside someone’s office or house and go on strike and as such the strike cannot be held inside the Lt. Governor’s office.

The High Court has been hearing three separate petitions related to Kejriwal’s sit-in protest at the Lt. Governor’s office.

One petition was filed by Leader of Opposition in the Delhi assembly, Vijender Gupta seeking direction to Kejriwal to return to work.

Another petition was filed by Hari Nath Ram through his advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi seeking to declare the sit-in protest at the Lt. Governor’s office unconstitutional and illegal.

The third plea was filed by advocate Umesh Gupta who sought to end the alleged ‘informal strike’ by the IAS officers.

IANS

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