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Contradictions in India must be removed early: Pranab Mukherjee

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Pranab-Mukherjee

Former President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said that contradictions in India must be removed at the earliest or else those suffering from inequality will blow up the structure of democracy.

Despite India’s outstanding constitution, a plethora of sound laws and policies will count for nothing if implementation is lacking in form and spirit, he added while speaking on “Towards an Era of Human Rights: Building a People’s Movement” at the Chinmaya Mission Auditorium here.

Quoting the Constitution’s Drafting Committee Chairman B.R. Ambedkar, he said that ” … we must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment; else, those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of democracy which this Constituent Assembly has so laboriously built up.”

“How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril,” Mukherjee said to loud applause.

In a talk that combined global nationalism — Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi — and human rights, Mukherjee laid out his vision of human rights.

He said that human rights are fundamental to the very existence of mankind and not merely for the benefit of one class or one section of society.

The right to life and personal liberty is available to all people within its territory and not just its citizens, he said.

Citing a statement of peace philosopher Daisaku Ikeda, Mukherjee said that “being able to contribute in some ways to the happiness of others and the world, be it through work or in some other capacity, brings one joy and fulfilment in life.”

He said that Ikeda’s words echo the desire to contribute to the welfare of society and reflect.

The symposium was also attended by eminent dancer and Padma Shri awardee Shovana Narayan and Institute of Social Sciences Chairman George Mathew.

IANS

India

3-Day ‘Rail Roko’ Agitation Starts As Farm Bills Protest Intensifies; Trains Suspended

Railway authorities says, 14 pairs of special trains will remain suspended from September 24 till 26 amidst farmers protest in Punjab against farm bills.

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Farmers Protest

Farmers in Punjab on Thursday began their three-day ‘rail roko’ agitation to protest against the three farm bills while the Ferozepur Railway division suspended the operation of special trains due to the stir.

Railway authorities said 14 pairs of special trains will remain suspended from September 24 till 26. The decision has been taken keeping in mind the safety of passengers and protection of railway property from any damage, officials said.

Among the trains which will remain suspended are Golden Temple Mail (Amritsar-Mumbai Central), Jan Shatabdi Express (Haridwar-Amritsar), New Delhi-Jammu Tawi, Karambhoomi (Amritsar-New Jalpaiguri), Sachkhand Express (Nanded-Amritsar) and Shaheed Express (Amritsar-Jaynagar), officials said.

At present, routine passenger train service remains suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The call for ‘rail roko’ agitation was given by the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and later, different farmers’ outfits also extended their support.

Activists of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) squatted on rail tracks in Barnala and Sangrur on Thursday morning.

Farmers under the banner of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee have decided to squat on rail tracks near Devidaspur village in Amritsar and Basti Tanka wala in Ferozepur.

The representatives of the committee said they were getting support from several sections including government employees and labourers.

Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee president Satnam Singh Pannu said that they have appealed to representatives of political parties, ministers, MPs and MLAs not to take part in the farmers’ agitation.

They vowed to gherao BJP leaders and socially boycott those who voted in favour of the farm bills.

As many as 31 farmers’ outfits have given a call for the complete shutdown of Punjab on September 25 to protest against the bills.

Farmers in Punjab have expressed apprehension that the bills would pave way for dismantling the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates.

The Rajya Sabha has passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.

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Cities

Delhi Riots: CPI Says Police ‘Trying To Frame’ Leaders Critical Of BJP

Raising doubts about the impartiality of the probe, the CPI said the investigation by the Delhi Police is a ‘conspiracy’ aimed at criminalising those who speak against human rights violations and injustice, rather than catching the real perpetrators of the violence.

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Sitaram Yechury

New Delhi: The CPI on Thursday accused the Delhi Police of “trying to frame” in the February riots cases political leaders and activists who are critical of the “anti-people policies” of the BJP-led government.

In a supplementary charge sheet filed recently by the Delhi Police in the February riot cases, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, economist Jayati Ghosh and Delhi University professor Apoorvanand have been named allegedly for “provoking and mobilising” anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters.

Some of those named have also been charged with — based on the statements of three students already arrested in the case — asking the protesters to go to “any extreme”, spreading “discontent” in the community by calling CAA and proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) anti-Muslim, and organising demonstrations to “malign the image of Government of India”.

“The Party deplores the role of Delhi Police in investigating the North-East Delhi riots targeting leaders and activists including CPI National Executive Member Annie Raja, also General Secretary, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW),” the CPI statement said.

“The peaceful and democratic protests against the CAA were a legitimate, constitutional expression of people’s dissent against the law and it was the effectiveness of the protests that shook the BJP which is now attempting to portray the protests as a conspiracy to cause riots in North-East Delhi,” it said.

The CPI said, “It is indeed shocking that the Delhi Police is trying to frame political leaders and activists who are critics of the anti-people policies and programs of the current regime.”

“The investigation by the Delhi Police itself is a conspiracy and is aimed at criminalising those who speak against human rights violations and injustice, rather than catching the real perpetrators of the violence,” it said.

CPI leader Annie Raja, leaders of other political parties including Salman Khurshid, Brinda Karat, Kavita Krishnan and activists including Prashant Bhushan, Anjali Bhardwaj, Yogendra Yadav, Harsh Mander, Rahul Roy, Apoorvanand and Saba Dewan have been named in the charge sheet citing disclosure statements of those arrested, CPI general secretary D Raja said.

“All these people extended solidarity with the peaceful protests led by Muslim women and now this is being twisted into a grand conspiracy,” the statement said.

“In contrast, the glaring absence in the charge sheets on the role of leaders associated with the BJP, who gave inflammatory speeches, is unmissable,” it said.

“The CPI along with other opposition parties had even given a memorandum to the President of India highlighting these concerns and had asked for the institution of an enquiry into this investigation under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, headed by sitting/retired judge(s),” it added.

Earlier, the Delhi Police had said the names were part of the disclosure statement of the accused which were recorded “truthfully”.

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Will Urge Neighbouring States To Use Indigenous Technology To Manage Stubble, Says Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will meet Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to address the issue of stubble burning.

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Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said he would meet Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and request him to direct neighbouring states to implement a low-cost technology developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute to manage crop residue.

The technology, called Pusa Decomposer, involves a liquid formulation prepared using Pusa decomposer capsules, fermenting it over 8-10 days and then spraying the mixture on crop residue to ensure speedy bio-decomposition of the stubble. Capsules worth Rs. 20 can effectively deal with 4-5 tonnes of raw straw per acre.

“I will meet the Union environment minister in a day or two and request him to direct neighbouring states to implement this technology,” he told reporters during a visit to the institute.

Farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue before cultivating wheat and potato every paddy harvesting season between October 15 and November 15. This practice is attributed to the alarming spike in pollution levels in Delhi-NCR during winters.

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