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Committed to Ramadan ceasefire, border truce with Pakistan: Defence Minister

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Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi, June 5: Security forces in Jammu and Kashmir will honour the Ramadan ceasefire and the border truce with Pakistan but any “unprovoked” attack won’t go unanswered, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday.

“When it is an unprovoked attack, the Army was given the right to retaliate. We honour the ceasefire but, of course, a margin was given to us when it is an unprovoked attack. The ceasefire is the government of India decision and we abide by it,” Sitharaman told reporters here.

Asked if the Defence Ministry and the Indian Army were part of the Home Ministry’s decision not to launch operations against militants during the Muslim month of fasting, Sitharaman said her ministry and the forces were “taken on board and support the Home Ministry’s view on it”.

Replying to a question if the ceasefire in the state would be extended beyond Ramadan, the Defence Minister said it was not her role “to assess whether ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir has been successful or not” and the decision about that had to be taken by the government of India.

In reply to a question about intermittent exchange of fire along the border with Pakistan, she said India was committed to the 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two countries.

She said Indian Director General Military Operations Lt.Gen. Anil Chauhan held hotline talks on May 29 with his Pakistani counterpart Maj. Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza in the spirit of India’s commitment to the truce.

She, however, quickly added that there would be no compromise on India’s border safety.

“We shall keep our borders safe as it was the business of the armed forces to guard the boundaries and maintain peace unless “we are provoked” to retaliate.

“We shall be alert that no unprovoked attack goes without a response. It is our duty to keep India safe.”

The Indian and Pakistan army commanders on Wednesday agreed to implement the 2003 ceasefire pact in “letter and spirit” after months of persistent crackling of gunfire and mounting casualties on both sides.

In the first five months of this year, there have been over 1,200 firing incidents on the border between India and Pakistan.

India has said Pakistan violated the ceasefire over 1,250 times along the LoC and International Border since January 1. The border shooting has claimed 36 lives on the Indian side and left more than 120 injured.

Pakistan, on the other hand, said during 2018, Indian committed over 1,235 ceasefire violations killing 28 civilians and injuring 117.

Firing returned after three days of relative peace on the borders when two BSF troopers were killed and 13 civilians injured in Pakistani firing near Jammu on Sunday.

IANS

India

Congress protests against farm laws in Goa, demands rollback

“If this is not a new ‘zamindari system’, what else is? Through this specious mode of contract farming, farmers will be left at the mercy of big companies, courts and bureaucracy in the event of any dispute.

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Goa Congress Farm Protest

Panaji, Sep 28 : The Congress in Goa on Monday staged a protest at the Raj Bhavan here to protest against the three new agricultural laws and demanded their rollback.

In a memorandum submitted at the Raj Bhavan, Goa Congress leaders leading more than 1,000 protestors claimed the new legislations were “anti-farmer but corporate-friendly”.

Parliament passed the three Bills in its Monsoon Session. President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent on September 24 whereas the central government published it its gazette on Sunday.

“The biggest flaw in the contract farming law is that Minimum Support Price (MSP) is not mandatory. Once the mandi system is abolished, farmers will be solely dependent on contract farming and big companies will decide the price of farmer’s crops on their own,” claimed the memorandum signed by top Congress functionaries and addressed to the President of India.

“If this is not a new ‘zamindari system’, what else is? Through this specious mode of contract farming, farmers will be left at the mercy of big companies, courts and bureaucracy in the event of any dispute.

“In such a scenario, powerful big companies will naturally exercise their influence on bureaucracy and attack the very livelihood of farmers by engaging them in the legal intricacies and earn profits,” the memorandum said.

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Bureaucrats ignored 15,000 suggestions says farmers’ body

Badrinarayan, the National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, told IANS that farmers’ committees have been formed in about 80,000 villages in the country.

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poor farmers

New Delhi, Sep 28 : When the draft of three important bills related to farmers in the country was being prepared, the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), affiliated with the RSS, passed a proposal after consulting 15,000 villages of the country and sent a bouquet of suggestions to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh has expressed its displeasure over the neglect of these 15,000 proposals in the farmers’ bills. It is being said that Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had reportedly agreed to the proposals. Then why did the Ministry ignore the suggestions? According to the BKS, ignoring suggestions from farmers displays that bureaucrats dominate the Ministry of Agriculture.

The BKS has reiterated the demand from the government to introduce a new law to guarantee the minimum support price (MSP).

Badrinarayan, the National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, told IANS that farmers’ committees have been formed in about 80,000 villages in the country.

“The BKS had passed resolutions regarding agriculture bills through committees of 15,000 of these villages. These were made available to the Minister of Agriculture when they met him. Such suggestions were made that would really benefit farmers. The Agriculture Minister also met the delegation and agreed to the suggestions. But later it was discovered that the suggestions were not used in the Bills. This gives out the message that bureaucrats are calling the shots in the Ministry of Agriculture.”

Raising the question, Badrinarayan said that the misdeeds of private players had come to the fore in many parts of the country. In Shimla, many private players had made a fool of millions of farmers in the name of buying apples, while in Nashik, incidents of fraud have come to light. In such a situation, if the government is making parallel arrangements to the mandis, what is the guarantee that farmers will get a fair price?

The BKS believes that the government could have avoided unnecessary ruckus on the Bill if it so wanted.

The government only had to guarantee the minimum support price (MSP) in the Bill. If that were the case, the government would not have to give clarifications through advertisements in newspapers and party leaders repeatedly about the MSP.

Badrinarayan said that the way the three Bills were passed in a hurry and the President also ratified them, shows that the government is no longer in the mood to get on the backfoot on the issue.

In such a situation, the BKS demands a fourth bill guaranteeing MSP. If the government does not get proper assurance, the farmers union will decide on the future course of action.

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Assam’s only woman CM Syeda Anwara Taimur passes away in Australia at 83

A four-time Congress MLA beginning with her first election in 1972, Taimur held portfolios like education before becoming chief minister for a brief period from December 6, 1980 to June 30, 1981.

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Syeda Anwara Taimur

Assam’s first and only woman chief minister Syeda Anwara Taimur passed away in Australia on Monday reportedly due to cardiac arrest. The 84-year-old was staying with her son in Australia for the past four years.

Taimur was in the news in 2018 when her name didn’t appear in the Assam National Register of Citizens. She later informed that her family members may not have applied to get her name included in the list.

“Condolences to the family and well-wishers of former Assam CM Syeda Anwara Taimurji. Her contribution towards Assam’s development will be remembered. May her soul rest in peace,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

A four-time Congress MLA beginning with her first election in 1972, Taimur held portfolios like education before becoming chief minister for a brief period from December 6, 1980 to June 30, 1981.

She was nominated for a Rajya Sabha term in 1988. Taimur joined the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) in 2011.

“Saddened to know about the death of former CM Syeda Anwara Taimur-a veteran mass leader who championed the cause of politics with an undertone of people’s development. I convey my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members,” Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi said in a statement.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal also expressed condolences on the death of the veteran leader, offered condolences to the family and prayed for the departed soul.

“An able administrator and affable people’s person, Syeda Mam was the only woman CM of Assam. A 4-term MLA, she had an illustrious political career spanning over 4 decades. My prayers and condolences,” Assam health and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted.

Congress Assam unit president Ripun Bora and the party leader of opposition in the Assam assembly Debabrata Saikia also expressed condolences at the death of Taimur.

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