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Congress open-minded on GST bill

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New Delhi, Nov 25 : The Congress on Wednesday said it was open to discussions with the government on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill that parliament needs to pass.

“We are open-minded on the issue,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said on the sidelines of a press briefing.

He was asked if the Congress would be remain rigid on its opposition to certain aspects of the proposed legislation.

Asked if Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had already rejected the concerns raised by the opposition on the GST bill, Azad said: “I raised this issue with the minister at the all-party meeting.

“Two newspapers reported differently on his statement on GST bill. One said it would reach out to the opposition and the other said he had said that the suggestions given by the opposition were preposterous.

“When I asked him which statement of his was correct, he assured me there will be a discussion on the bill,” Azad said.

“For us, each bill or legislation is important. With regard to GST, we have made it clear that the GST was our bill and it was drafted by the Congress. We are ready for discussion. We have genuine concerns and that should be taken on board.

“Our stand on the GST bill is that it should be pro-industry, pro-trade and pro-consumer. It should help all the three sections.

“That’s why we are pressing for a cap of 18 percent tax. In other countries, it is 14 percent. But keeping in mind the resource mobilization in our country, we said it should be 18 percent.

“That’s why we said that there should be amendment in the bill. We cannot afford to burden the people with more than 18 percent GST,” he added.

The Congress said there will be discussions on other issues as well during the winter session of parliament.

“There will be discussions on intolerance, price rise, farmers’ plight, flood situation, all the recent incidents of communal disharmony in the country, draught.

“We will also discuss issues of women safety, Prevention of Corruption Act, child labour, and extradition of Lalit Modi,” said Azad.

“The opposition will be cooperating with the government but it is for the government to accommodate the viewpoints of the opposition.

“It is for the government to decide whether they are interested in running the government or not,” added Azad.

Cities

8 more COVID-19 cases in Noida, count in district reaches 58

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Gautam Buddh Nagar , April 5 : Eight new cases of coronavirus has been reported in Noida city of Gautam Buddh Nagar district in the last 24 hours, taking the tally in the district to 58.
According to officials, four people were found positive in the JJ Colony of Sector 5 of the city, three victims are the residents of Designer Park Society of Noida Sector 62 and one from Vajipur village.
Out of the total, eight people have recovered so far and the remaining 50 are undergoing treatment for the infection.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday said that there are 3,072 coronavirus positive cases in India, including 2,784 active cases, 213 cured/discharged/migrated people and 75 deaths.

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15 Tablighi Jamaat members including 5 Indonesian women clerics held

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Nizammudin

Ghaziabad, April 5 At least 15 Tablighi Jamaat members including five Indonesian women clerics who are suspected to be infected with the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) have been held by Ghaziabad police and sent to a quarantine home.

Their location was traced late on Saturday with the help of local clerics, and all were found to be staying in mosques and madrasas.

“The Sahibabad police station had received information about them. Most of them went to Nizamuddin Markaz Tabligi Jamaat event. A police team was formed to arrest them after receving information,” Kalanidhi Naithani, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ghaziabad, told IANS on Saturday night.

Police teams along with the informers raided the house of local resident Faiz Mohammad in Shaheed Nagar, D Block, of Sahibabad police station area.

Faiz Mohammad, after getting caught red handed, told the police teams that, some Jamaat members were present at his house, and some were staying in the nearby madrasas.

He confessed that five men and five women Jamaat members are Indonesian. While the rest are local residents.

Later, police teams, along with Faiz Mohammad’s assistance, surrounded the nearby madrasa.

The police also found a Madrasa owner Rahis, a cleric Abdul Malik, Javed Alam, a guide to foreign deposits, and Abdul Malik, a mosque caretaker there, and all are said to be Indians.

The police team led by Sub-Inspector Babita Sharma apprehended Hardin, Abdul Azis, Jabir Nooruddin Tanda, Supriyad, Salauddin (five Indonesian-born Tablighi Jamaat members) and five Indonesian women — Muniroh, Fatima Asri, Honey Mansaja Pasandig, CT Hadizah and Busrah.

The women admitted that they had reached India from Indonesia, and they also went to the Markaz Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in Nizamuddin, Delhi.

According to District Police Spokesperson Sohanveer Singh Solanki: “A criminal case has been registered against all under the sections of the including Pandemic Act, 7 Foreign Acts, and Disaster Management Act.”

Solanki said since some of them are suspected to be infected with coronavirus, they have been sent to a quarantine home.

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Cover atheist Muslims from neighbouring countries under CAA: Taslima Nasrin

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Writer Taslima Nasrin

New Delhi : “If the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is about giving citizenship to the persecuted in the neighbouring countries, I appeal to the Government of India to extend it to atheists and persecuted Muslims too. Just like Hindus, Christians and Buddhists are discriminated against in Bangladesh and Pakistan, atheists and activists who criticise Islam are hacked to death in Muslim nations, be it Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Afghanistan. In most cases, the well-off manage to get political asylum and settle in Europe or America, but what about the others? India must come forward,” says writer Taslima Nasrin, best-known for ‘Lajja’, who has been in exile for more than 25 years after a fatwa was issued against her for ‘criticising Islam’ by a fundamentalist Islamic organisation in 1993.

Stressing that she is still a staunch believer in the Uniform Civil Code, the writer, whose works have been translated into more than 30 languages adds, “Let’s be clear — all religions are anti-woman and need critical scrutiny. The basis of marriage has to be equality. In these times, how can you have archaic laws that favour men when it comes to inheritance, divorce, etc?”

Nasrin, a physician by profession, who fled Bangladesh in 1994 and spent the next ten years of her exile in Sweden, Germany, France and the US to come to Kolkata in 2004, was even forced out of West Bengal in 2007. “Isn’t it so absurd — a Bengali writer is neither accepted in East nor West Bengal? I moved from Europe to Kolkata for the love of the Bengali language, to be close to my roots. How do I feel now? Abandoned is the word,” she laments.

Talking about her recently released book in India, ‘My Girlhood’ (Penguin Hamish Hamilton), which has been banned in Bangladesh, Nasrin says, “It starts with the time when I was not even born and traces my life till the age of fifteen. I witnessed the mass movement against Pakistan in 1969, the 1971 war, how for nine months, our family had to move from village to village to save ourselves from Pakistanis who were leaving a trail of devastation wherever they went. It was banned by Bangladesh on charges of ‘obscenity’, just because it also talked about the sexual harassment of a 15-year-old by a family member,” says the author about the book that was written while she in Sweden. ‘My Girlhood’ was adjudged as the Best Non-Fiction work by Los Angeles Times.

A quarter of century of exile has surely changed the meaning of home for Nasrin. For the first five-six years, it was more on a physical level. Slowly, home has become a place that lives inside. “Now, it is where I feel safe, secure and loved. Where there is solidarity, respect and support. Physically, that can be anywhere in the world. After such a long time, different connections start collapsing from your own land….parents die, you lose touch with your friends…”

But writing for Nasrin is not visiting wounds from the past, (‘My Girlhood’ is a memoir). She insists that even if there are autobiographical elements in her body of work, she talks about the society, politics, women and patriarchy.”I tell stories so we can fight against sufferings. My intention has always been to keep talking about a society that is kind, liberal and most importantly, more human.”

As ‘Shameless’ (HarperCollins India), the sequel to her book ‘Lajja’ gets set to release in the near future, the author, who wrote it between 2004 and 2006, while living in Kolkata says that it revolves around the Bangladeshi Hindu family that escapes from Bangladesh to Kolkata in ‘Lajja’. “While living in Kolkata, I got a first-hand experience of the condition of refugees in the city. I finished it in 2007, but had to leave the country after that. The draft, which required polishing was in India, that’s why the delay in publishing.”

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