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Centre now admits ‘incident’ of protest in Kashmir

On August 10, the Union Home Ministry had termed as “completely fabricated and incorrect” a Reuters report claiming there was a protest by 10,000 people in Srinagar on Friday when restrictions were eased.

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Kashmir Protest on Article 370
Kashmiri women shout pro-freedom slogans before praying on Eid-al-Adha. (Reuter Picture)

New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) Three days after denying media reports that there were large-scale protests after Friday prayers in the Valley, the government on Tuesday acknowledged that there was an “incident” at Soura in Srinagar in which “miscreants mingled” with locals and resorted to stone pelting at security forces.

The Union Home Ministry spokesperson tweeted: “Stories in media on a said incident in Soura region of #Srinagar. On 09/08, miscreants mingled with people returning home after prayers at a local mosque. They resorted to unprovoked stone pelting against law enforcement forces to cause widespread unrest.

“Law enforcement authorities showed restraint and tried to maintain law & order situation. It is reiterated that no bullets have been fired in #JammuAndKashmir since the development related to #Article370,” the post said, tagging the J&K Police and the Information and Public Relations department.

On August 10, the Union Home Ministry had termed as “completely fabricated and incorrect” a Reuters report claiming there was a protest by 10,000 people in Srinagar on Friday when restrictions were eased.

The Ministry said the news report “originally published in Reuters and which appeared in ‘Dawn’ claimed there was a protest involving 10,000 people in Srinagar”.

“This is completely fabricated and incorrect. There have been a few stray protests in Srinagar/Baramulla, and none involved a crowd of more than 20 people,” it had said in a tweet.

On Friday, the J&K administration had eased prohibitory orders to allow prayers in mosques and help people make arrangements for Monday’s Eid celebrations.

J&K was put under lockdown on August 4 ahead of the government’s move to revoke Article 370 that accorded special status to J&K.

India

JNU student protest taking partisan hue

On Twitter, the comments around the protest march are as much around a “fascist mindset” as they are about keeping education affordable for poor students.

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JNU Students Sansad March

New Delhi, Nov 18 : The agitation by students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is getting increasingly politicised as the battlelines are now drawn on ideological lines over the “gaushala vs paathshala” debate.

Senior Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Mohammed Salim remarked on Sunday during a JNU protest that: “Paathshala mein kharcha nahin karenge, gaushala mein karenge”. He was referring to what the Left leaders are terming a threat to public funded education by raising fees in universities and colleges and instead trying to promote saffronisation.

It is becoming clear that what started as a protest on hiking of hostel fees by JNU students has turned into a political slugfest with the Opposition attacking the policies of the Narendra Modi government while the government conscious of the ideological baggage of the protesters is also digging in its heels.

CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said in a tweet: “JNU under seige; such a massive deployment of forces was not seen even during the Emergency. A peaceful protest march to Parliament against the unprecedented fee hikes is being focibly stopped by the police. Strongly condemn this denial of basic democratic right to protest”.

The JNU students march to Parliament became a huge controversy as it was stopped just before the main building by the police. The visuals of police and students clashing in Lutyens’ Delhi on a day when Parliament was on its first day of functioning led to a huge political uproar.

On Twitter, the comments around the protest march are as much around a “fascist mindset” as they are about keeping education affordable for poor students.

The Left leaders especially are seeking to attack the Modi government and the JNU administration for tactics of “Hindu Rashtra fascists” who are trying to curb democratic protests.

With the students also asking other universities to join in, it is becoming a protest against education policies of the government but also a protest against the alleged biases of the right wing.

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JNU students’ march at behest of Left leaders: Spl Branch report

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JNU protest to Parliament

New Delhi, Nov 18 : A confidential report of the Special Branch of Delhi police reveals that protesting students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) had no initial plans to march towards Parliament. “At the behest of prominent CPI and CPI-M leaders, the student group finally decided on Saturday to lead a march to Parliament on Monday,” says the report of the Special Branch sent to the Police headquarters.

On the basis of intelligence inputs, a heavy contingent of police consisting of 800 constables of local police and ten companies of Central paramilitary force was deployed at JNU while key Metro stations were shut.

On Sunday late evening, government officials held a meeting with a few student groups and requested them not to march towards Parliament where the winter session was to begin. However, the report says Left-supported student organisations, the AISA, SFI and AISF, insisted that the march to Parliament would not be postponed.

Sources said on Monday morning, a mob of students forced its way through by breaking the first line of police barricades. The students were led by a Left-wing union.

The report of Special Branch reveals that after the barricades were broken, the students were pacified. They were told that a high-power committee has been constituted to consider their demands. On persuasion of two senior IPS officers, most students seemed convinced and retracted.

However, after a while, a large group of students, suddenly turned violent and managed to break the barricades and proceeded to New Delhi area through Aurobindo Marg. The police contained the agitated groups at Safdarjung Tomb near Jor Bagh, at the border of New Delhi District.

The report says a particular student organisation again refuelled the situation by raising slogans against the government. Subsequently, over 100 students broke through the barricades and tried to march towards New Delhi district area.

The police spokesman told IANS that later these students had to be detained to prevent the situation from going out of hands. The report says that besides the Left, a few leaders of a prominent opposition party were also backing the agitating students to lead a procession towards Parliament.

(Sanjeev Kumar Singh Chauhan can be contacted at [email protected])

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Delhi govt approves 3 new hospitals

“The new hospitals will cater to over 40 lakh people, who had to travel around 5 km (or 30 minutes) to the closest government facility,” Jain said

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Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi, Nov 18 : The Delhi government’s Expenditure Finance Committee here on Monday approved the plan to build three hospitals, each having 650-bed capacity, to increase the access to secondary and tertiary healthcare. Construction is likely to start in two months.

“Each of the three hospitals is to have around 650 beds as per the initial plan, thereby, adding 1,950 beds in the Delhi hospitals,” Health Minister Satyendar Jain said.

The committee, headed by Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia, approved the projects.

The hospitals will be constructed in Madipur, Hastsal and Jwalapuri areas of Delhi. “These locations have been selected given their high population density and lack of government hospital facility in proximity,” he said.

Madipur is located in West Delhi and is an urban slum area. Hastsal (near Vikaspuri) and Jwalapuri (in Nagloi) are inhabited by urban, rural and semi-urban population.

“The new hospitals will cater to over 40 lakh people, who had to travel around 5 km (or 30 minutes) to the closest government facility,” Jain said

Apart from increasing access to tertiary healthcare and reducing the expenses, the new hospitals would also reduce the burden on the existing facilities, he added.

“Analysis of the five-year data of the Guru Gobind Singh Hospital (which is 5 km from Madipur, Hastsal and Jwalapuri) shows OPD attendance had increased from 5.5 lakh in 2011 to 6.82 lakh in 2016, and has continued to rise. The corresponding increase for indoor admissions is 5,360 patients from 3,490 patients. Construction of new hospitals will lower the burden and increase beds per patient,” the Minister said.

The aim, he said was to provide free and quality healthcare to all, regardless of their income status. To achieve it, increasing access to healthcare was of paramount importance, he said.

“We want to bring healthcare close to people’s home to help them save money on travelling or on private facilities. We want to increase the number of beds so that no patient is denied treatment because of unavailability of services. Strengthening public healthcare provisions is mandatory for any state, which wants to benefit residents,” Jain said.

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