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Centre cites Mehooba’s inflammatory speech in SC

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Mehbooba Mufti

New Delhi: “India will become an occupational force like Israel in the case of Palestine”, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court on Tuesday, citing a speech of Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, before the revocation of Article 370.

The Centre, while justifying imposition of restrictions on Kashmir post August 5, told a bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana that political leaders in Kashmir instigated an uprising propagating anti-India sentiments through several public speeches.

Mehta told the apex court that opposition leaders referred to local militants as “sons of the soil”. In one of the provocative speeches, Mehta said the leaders, citing the special status of Kashmir, warned not to “play with fire, else it will burn you”. “Which flag will Jammu and Kashmir pick other than Indian flag?” Mehta cited one of the speeches.

He said the separatists are engaged by mainstream political parties to force a discussion on a situation, and then devise a mechanism for a response. Mehta said statements have been expressed that Kashmir would have its own prime minister.

“They have been instigating people for mutiny and uprising against the government…they have also made secessionist statements,” said Solicitor General citing speeches with anti-India overtones.

The Centre contended that the opposition leaders have right to oppose any changes to Article 370. Mehta said a few days before the revocation of the Article 370, some of the leaders had said: “We want to tell the Centre that tinkering with Article 370 is akin to playing with fire…the hand which touches it will be burnt and then the whole body will be burnt.”

Mehta told the court that one of the statements said “there will be no shoulder to carry the Tricolour”, while referring to the Indian flag after the special status of Kashmir was abrogated.

He also cited speeches at public gatherings. “Rumours are there that Article 35A will be attacked. We have to unite against this, we will have to save it and we will sacrifice our life and property…workers of all political parties should go house to house with this message”.


Disaster

Rail Bhawan shut for 2 days after officials test Covid positive

However, if there is specific urgency that requires an official to attend office, specific directives will be given to the official concerned, the ministry said.

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Rail Bhawan

New Delhi, July 13 : The Railways Ministry will remain closed for the next two days as a matter of “precaution” after some officials were found to be positive for coronavirus, an official statement said on Monday.

“Some officials of the Railway Board have tested Covid positive during the rapid antigen testing camp organised at Rail Bhawan on 9th, 10th and 13th July, 2020. Accordingly it has been decided to close all offices at Rail Bhawan on 14th and 15th July, 2020 to carry out intensive sanitisation of rooms and common area,” read a circular issued by the Ministry.

During these two days, all officials will work from home. They are also asked to remain available not only through phone but other electronic means of communication.

However, if there is specific urgency that requires an official to attend office, specific directives will be given to the official concerned, the ministry said.

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Online Open Book Exam to begin from August 17, DU tells HC

The said affidavit has been filed in a batch of petitions led by one Anup, challenging the seeking of cancellation of examinations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Delhi University

New Delhi, July 13 : The Delhi University has informed the Delhi High Court that the online Open Book Examination (OBE) for final year students of all undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including School of Open Learning (SOL) and Non Collegiate Women”s Education Board (NCWEB), will commence from August 17.

In its affidavit filed before the court, the Delhi University has stated that the examinations would begin on August 17 and conclude on September 8.

“For such students who are unable to appear in the examinations in OBE mode remotely, it has been decided to conduct an additional phase of examinations through online/offline/blended mechanism, for the purpose of providing another opportunity to the students,” the DU said in its affidavit.

In its more than 160-page affidavit, the varsity informed the court that it would be conducting mock tests in two phases in order to make the students familiar with the OBE mode.

While the first phase of the mock tests would be held from July 31 to August 4, the second phase would be held from August 8 to August 12. There would be three sessions of mock tests per day in both the phases.

The university also made it clear that the facilities available in the colleges and the departments of the university will be made accessible to the students belonging to the persons with disabilities (PWD) category in general, and visually impaired (VI) in particular, so that the ICT infrastructure is available to the students with prior information during the scheduled examinations in OBE mode to be conducted remotely.

“Preparation will also be made for the conduct of another additional round of examinations (in online/ offline / blended mode) for those students who are unable to take the examinations to be held from August 17,” the affidavit said.

Evaluation of answer sheets would begin from the first week of September and will continue till the first week of October.

“The university will make best efforts to declare the results expeditiously. However, depending upon the number of students appearing for the OBE, it is expected that the declaration of results for different courses shall start from the first week of October and conclude latest by November 30,” the varsity said.

The said affidavit has been filed in a batch of petitions led by one Anup, challenging the seeking of cancellation of examinations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the last hearing, a division bench of the high court presided over by Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad had directed the Delhi University to draw up a plan for conducting examinations for final year students.

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PM allows Priyanka Gandhi’s request to stay on in Lutyens’ bungalow for some time

Sources close to developments revealed that when the matter was brought to Modi’s notice, he said that her request most certainly be accepted.

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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

New Delhi, July 13 : In a remarkably statesman like move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to a request to allow Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to retain the 35, Lodhi Estate Bungalow for some time. Just when people thought there is witch hunt against the erstwhile first family of Indian politics, the PM”s move once again validated his large heartedness.

After the government directive to vacate the prime Lutyens real estate property in Lodi Estate, the Centre was approached to allow Priyanka Gandhi to stay there for some more time. Sources close to developments revealed that when the matter was brought to Modi’s notice, he said that her request most certainly be accepted.

Those who know Modi say that this is not the first time that he has gone out of the way and shown large heartedness towards a family that has left no opportunity to bad mouth him, demean him and use every trick out of the book to nail him. The general impression being that both sides have a visceral hatred for one another.

It was in 2011 when Sonia Gandhi had to travel abroad for health related treatment. That time, it was Modi who sent a bouquet of flowers to 10, Janpath. The Congress, which was keen to keep Sonia Gandhi”s travel plans a secret, was not only surprised but was also compelled to share details about Sonia Gandhi’s illness with the entire nation.

Back in August 2013, when the Congress-led UPA was in power and Modi was merely the campaign committee chief, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi fell ill. The nation saw a visibly unwell Sonia Gandhi being escorted out of the Parliament House, driven to the hospital.

Later on, she was taken home from hospital. That is when Modi Tweeted, “Glad to know that Sonia ji’s health is fine. Wishing her the best of health in future.”

He had also tweeted, “Concerned that basic medical emergency procedures were not used. Would have been better if wheel-chair or stretcher was used in the Parliament,” adding, “Considering her health, Sonia ji should have been taken to hospital in a well-equipped ambulance. Still, doctors are best judges.”

Old timers recall another incident from the past when a chopper ferrying Sonia Gandhi and Ahmed Patel developed a snag at Daman. Modi dialled Sonia Gandhi and offered all possible help to her.

When the NDA government came to power, Modi would make it a point to greet Sonia Gandhi at the start and end of every Parliament session. Such a practice continues even now. This is a basic courtesy that was never given to the NDA when the UPA was in power.

In August 2016, when Sonia Gandhi fell ill during a roadshow in Varanasi, Modi immediately enquired about her health. He also offered to arrange for a plane to bring her back to Delhi. The fact that Modi reached out to Sonia Gandhi, who was campaigning in his parliamentary constituency and using acerbic language, was not missed by people.

During the peak of the Karnataka election campaign, Rahul Gandhi”s aircraft developed a technical snag on the way to Hubballi. The Congress used this as an opportunity to taunt the BJP-led Central government for being inconsiderate towards the Gandhi family.

In the midst of such slander, and slap-bang in the middle of a tough and bruising election campaign, Modi called Rahul Gandhi and enquired about his well-being. He also ensured a proper DGCA probe was held on the issue.

The Gandhi family has considered Narendra Modi as an usurper of sorts — someone who has denied them a set of privileges they deserved. In contrast, Modi has always shown a larger heart when it comes to dealing with the Nehru-Gandhi family.

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