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CJP moves NHRC on threats to activist Ram Puniyani

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Mumbai, June 8 (IANS) The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) on Saturday wrote to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking protection for activist Ram Puniyani and his family, a day after the Mumbai Police initiated a probe into threats issued to him.

In a letter to the NHRC, the CJP said that on Thursday, Puniyani, a well-known rationalist and former IIT-Bombay professor, was abused over the phone and threatened with dire consequences if he didn’t stop his “anti-Hindu activities and leave within 15 days”.

Puniyani and a delegation of several civil society groups and activists on Friday met Joint Commissioner of Police Vinay Choubey and apprised him of the development. Choubey assured Puniyani’s personal security and directed Deputy Commissioner of Police Sangramsingh Nishandar to launch a probe into the matter.

“Given his persistent and relentless campaign for rationalist thought, a syncretic understanding of history – with lectures and workshops held all over India – these threats can only be seen as serious,” the CJP said in its letter to NHRC Chairman H.L. Dattu.

According to the letter, many writers, journalists, RTI activists, artistes, lawyers and civil activists have been facing attacks from right-wing forces and rationalists like Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh have even been killed.

The letter said this wasn’t even the first time Puniyani was threatened. Earlier Puniyani lodged a complaint with Powai Police Station on March 9 after three unknown persons visited his residence on the pretext of making enquiries about his passport application, though he had not made any such application.

Even though CCTV footage and other details were provided to the police the last time, no action was taken into the complaint nor any serious attempts made to trace or identify the strange visitors, said the letter.

India

Soldier injured in Pak ceasefire violation succumbs

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An Army soldier injured in a ceasefire violation by Pakistan on the Line of Control in J&K’s Rajouri district, succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.

An Indian Army statement said, “Pakistan Army had resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation on the LoC in Sunderbani sector of J&K on January 18 which was responded to strongly by our own troops.”

“In the incident, Naik Nishant Sharma of 10 JAK RIF was critically injured and was under treatment at the command hospital.

“Today the soldier succumbed to injuries. Naik Nishant Sharma was a brave, highly motivated and sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for his supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty.”

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CBI arrests labour official in TN in bribery case

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 The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Sunday that it had arrested a Regional Labour Commissioner on the charge of demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000.

P Sivarajan, posted as Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) in Madurai, was held along with a private person N Murali after the CBI laid a trap on Saturday and caught them with the bribe amount.

A case was registered after a complaint that Sivarajan was demanding undue advantage from Murali, representing a private company, for issuing labour licence.

Searches were conducted at five places in Chennai and Madurai (Tamil Nadu), including the residence and offices of the accused, said the CBI.

Both the accused were produced in the court of Principal Special Judge for CBI cases, Chennai, and remanded to judicial custody till February 4.

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Farmers’ stir: Preparations on for Jan 26 tractor rally

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As the farmers’ agitation at the Delhi borders entered the 60th day on Sunday, all eyes are on the farmers’ tractor rally on the Republic Day.

The farmers sitting at the Ghazipur, Singhu and Tikri borders have been making preparations for the tractor rally.

Joginder Singh, the farmer leader of Punjab’s Malwa region and President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta (Ugrahan), said more farmers were marching towards Delhi along with their tractors from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and other provinces of the country to take part in the tractor rally.

“Volunteers have been assigned specific works for the farmers’ parade”, he said, adding that more than one lakh tractors were ready to take part in the parade, and women too would march to Delhi in open trolleys.

The leaders said they were making preparations to carry out the farmers Republic Parade on the outer ring road within the National Capital Region (NCR).

Punjab farmer leader and General Secretary of the BKU, Parminder Singh Pal Majra, said lakhs of farmers would participate in the rally. He informed that this rally would take place within a radius of 100 km in the NCR.

The farmer unions have clearly said they would carry out the tractor rally in a peaceful manner.

Earlier, the unions held talks with the Delhi Police on Saturday where the former claimed to have taken permission to carry out a tractor rally, while the police said the talks were in final stages.

The farmers have been demanding a repeal of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020, implemented by the Central government last year as well as the legal guarantee for the procurement of crops at the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

The farmers have been sitting on protest at the Delhi borders since November 26 last year. The farmers’ unions have held 11-rounds of talks with the Central government so far.

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