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Centre to review OROP: Sitharaman

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Nirmala Sitharaman

Dehradun, March 4 Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday said that all arrears of ‘one rank one pension (OROP)’ have been cleared, and that the Centre would shortly review the scheme to remove anomalies, if any.

“The OROP is completing three years this year. We will review it and remove shortcomings, if any,” an official statement quoted Sitharaman as saying.

She said Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only approved the OROP but also released the necessary budget of Rs 35,000 crore for the scheme. Onward, a budget of Rs 8,000 crore will also be released every year, she said.

She said the country did not have a national war memorial for decades despite fighting four major wars since independence. “Our government dedicated a national war memorial to the country last month. We did what could not be done in 70 years,” she said.

The Centre was sensitive to problems faced by armed forces personnel, the Defence Minister said, adding that it has been decided to give women permanent commission in the Army, Navy and the Air Force just like their male counterparts.

Three 200-bed multi-specialty hospitals would also be opened under the ex-servicemen contributory health scheme (ECHS), she said, adding the minimum pension for retired armed forces personnel has been revised from Rs 10,000 to Rs 18,000.

She said her ministry had also decided not to go in appeal if the Armed Forces Tribunal certified disability of a soldier.

The defence minister honoured 15 war widows and mothers, offering them a shawl and a bouquet.

Earlier, she said the Centre was taking all steps for the welfare of armed forces and that the government stood firmly with them.

“We are doing everything for their welfare. If you have any doubts, ask us and we will clear them,” Sitharaman said at a function here to honour war widows and mothers.

She said lies were being spread through social media to mislead the armed forces about Centre’s welfare schemes, and that if people have any doubt about a scheme, they should ask her directly.

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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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Indian Flag

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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