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Congress terms police crackdown on ex-servicemen as Modi government’s ‘surgical strike’

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crack down on ex-servicemen

New Delhi, Oct 31 : The Congress on Tuesday termed the police crackdown on retired army personnel demanding OROP at Jantar Mantar as a “surgical strike”, and attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that on the one hand he celebrates Diwali with soldiers and then “commits gross injustice” with the very same soldiers by denying them OROP.

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Police trying to break protest of ex-servicemen forcefully, demanding OROP at Jantar Mantar

“The mask of nationalism came off yet again yesterday (Monday) when the Modi government used Delhi Police to forcibly evict peaceful ex-servicemen, war veterans and war widows from Jantar Mantar and even arrested them thereafter,” Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said.

He said it was the 869th day of peaceful protests for One Rank One Pension (OROP), and the government instead of listening to their demands conducted a “surgical strike” on the war veterans.

“The Prime Minister celebrates Diwali with our soldiers but commits gross injustice with the same people just after Diwali by denying them the benefit of OROP,” he said, adding that this is not the first time that police force has been used against ex-servicemen.

“First they used police force to evict and lathi-charge them on Independence Day in 2015. Then an ex-serviceman was forced to commit suicide in November in 2016 and now the government is hiding behind an NGT order to target them,” Vadakkan said.

He said that Jantar Mantar, with its strategic location in the heart of the national capital and adjacent to Parliament “accorded a significance and power to people’s voices” and the crackdown on Jantar Mantar is an “assault on the ordinary people’s rights” to protest and express their dissent against the government.

“We hope the nation will analyse whether the noise pollution at Jantar Mantar was a bigger threat to environment than this government’s intolerance of democracy and dissent,” the Congress leader said.

“We believe addressing environmental concerns cannot be in conflict with the fundamental tenets of the people’s democratic rights,” he added.

India

Congress leader Ahmed Patel dies from Covid complications

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel passes away, tweets his son Faisal Patel

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New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Ahmad Patel died from Covid-related complications this morning, tweets his son Faisal Patel.

Ahmed Patel had tested positive for coronavirus on October 1. He was then admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon for further treatment.

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Delhi Schools Unlikely To Reopen Until Covid Vaccine Is Available: Manish Sisodia

While several restrictions have been eased in different ‘unlock’ phases, educational institutions continue to remain closed.

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Manish Sisodia

Schools in the national capital which are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic are unlikely to reopen until a vaccine is available, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Tuesday.

Universities and schools across the country were closed on March 16, when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as part of measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Until we get some vaccine, schools (in Delhi) are not likely to open,” Sisodia, who is also Delhi’s Education Minister, told reporters.

He had announced on October 30 that schools will remain closed until further orders, saying parents were not in favour of sending their ward to schools yet.

“We keep getting feedback from parents that they are really concerned about whether it is safe to reopen schools. It is not. Wherever schools have reopened, COVID-19 cases among children have risen. So we have decided that as of now schools in the national capital will not reopen. They will continue to be closed till further orders,” Sisodia had said then.

A nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25.

While several restrictions have been eased in different ‘unlock’ phases, educational institutions continue to remain closed.

According to ‘Unlock 5’ guidelines, states can take a call on reopening schools in phases. Several states also began the process of reopening schools. While some of them announced closure again due to rise in coronavirus cases.

Earlier, schools were allowed to call students from Class 9 to 12 to school on voluntary basis from September 21. However, the Delhi government decided against it.

Delhi recorded 4,454 fresh COVID-19 cases on Monday and a positivity rate of 11.94 per cent while 121 more fatalities pushed the death toll to 8,512, authorities said.

These relatively low number of fresh cases came out of the 37,307 tests conducted on Sunday, including 18,046 RT-PCR tests, according to the latest bulletin issued by the Delhi health department.

On last Friday, authorities had said that 23,507 RT-PCR tests, the highest till date, were conducted a day before.

The highest single-day spike till date here — 8,593 cases — was recorded on November 11 when 85 fatalities were recorded.

As many as 121 fatalities were recorded on Monday, same as the previous day.

This is the sixth time in the last 12 days that the daily number of deaths has crossed the 100-mark.

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Uttar Pradesh okays ordinance against conversion for marriage, violators face up to 10 yrs in jail

He said punishment under the new law is a jail term from one and five years, and a fine of Rs 15,000.

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Yogi Adityanth

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday approved a draft ordinance to deal with religious conversion for the sake of marriage, which could land violators in jail for up to 10 years.

An official spokesperson said the state Cabinet gave its nod to the ordinance at its meeting chaired here by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

In recent weeks, BJP-run states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have revealed plans to enact laws to counter alleged attempts to convert Hindu women to Islam in the guise of marriage, which Hindu activists refer to as love jihad .

“The way in which religious conversions are done using deceit, lies, force and dishonesty is heart wrenching, and it was necessary to have a law in this regard, Cabinet minister and UP government spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh said.

He said punishment under the new law is a jail term from one and five years, and a fine of Rs 15,000.

But if the woman involved is a minor or belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, the jail term would range from three to 10 years, he said. The fine would increase to Rs 25,000.

In the case of mass conversions, the punishment is from three years to 10 years and a fine of Rs 50,000 on the organisations which indulge in it,” the minister told reporters.

Singh said if anyone wants to change religion after marriage, then he or she can do so.

But the district magistrate has to be informed two months in advance in a prescribed form, and the person can convert once permission is granted.

He claimed that this will resolve law and order problems.

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