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Dark Diwali for striking Telangana RTC employees

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TSRTC employees strike

Hyderabad, Oct 27 : It was a dark Diwali for over 48,000 employees of Telangana Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) as their indefinite strike entered 23rd day on Sunday.

With no signs of an end to the stalemate and they yet to get salaries for September, the “sacked” employees and their families spent the festival of lights in protests in front of the TSRTC depots across the state.

After a low-key Dasara, the drivers, conductors and other employees of the state-owned public utility spent Diwali with no celebrations.

The employees, along with women and children, staged a sit-in on the festival day. Some of the women spoke of the difficulties faced by them in meeting household expenditure. Children said instead of bursting crackers like others, they were forced to sit on protest as their parents have not received salaries.

As Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao already declared that the striking workers ceased to be employees of the TSRTC, they face an uncertain future.

The strike already saw two employees committing suicide due to depression over not getting salaries and the fears of losing the jobs. Leaders of employee unions said six other employees died of cardiac arrest.

The employees are on strike since October 5 to press for their demands including the demand to merge the TSRTC with the government so that they are treated at par with the government employees.

The government termed the strike illegal and ruled out talks with the employees. The Chief Minister even announced on October 6 that those who failed to join duty before the deadline lost their jobs as they dismissed themselves.

On the direction of the Telangana High Court, the TSRTC management on Saturday held talks with the leaders of striking employees but it failed to break the impasse.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the employees’ unions, demanded discussion on all 26 demands, but the TSRTC officials wanted the talks to confine to 21 demands excluding the demand for the TSRTC’s merger with the government. Both sides blamed each other for the talks ending in failure.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Chandrashekhar Rao on Sunday held a meeting with Transport Minister P. Ajay Kumar and senior officials to review the situation.

The TSRTC officials, who held talks with leaders of striking employees on Saturday, briefed the Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister discussed with the officials the arguments to be put before the High Court, which is set to resume on Monday hearing of Public Interest Litigations (PILs).

The government is expected to brief the court on the talks held with the employees.

Another petition seeking direction to the TSRTC to pay salaries to the employees for September will be heard on Tuesday.

Both the TSRTC and the government have stated that they have no money to pay salaries. The Chief Minister on Thursday said nobody can save TSRTC from shutting down due to its huge accumulated losses. He claimed that the strike led to loss of another Rs 125-150 crore to the Corporation.

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India

Pan India NRC to exclude more Muslims: Badruddin Ajmal

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Badruddin Ajmal

Guwahati, Nov 21 : A day after Union Home minister Amit Shah announced that pan India National Register of Citizens (NRC) will include Assam as well, Chief of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) Badruddin Ajmal said that the ruling party is unable to digest that a large number of Muslims have made it to the final NRC.

Ajmal, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Dhubri constituency, said this on Thursday while talking to newsmen and added that the BJP is unhappy as large numbers of Bengali Hindus, Koch Rajbonshi and Buddhist people were excluded from NRC due to non acceptance of refugee certificate issued prior to 1971.

The final NRC published on August 31 this year had left 19,06,657 people outside the citizens’ registry, triggering large scale unhappiness.

The BJP government in Assam has welcomed the Union Minister’s announcement about a pan India NRC and said that the BJP as well as the Assam government has not accepted the final NRC published on August 31.

“BJP is not happy as large numbers of Muslims in Assam could make it to the NRC with all their relevant documents relating to their citizenship,” Ajmal said terming the latest announcement as a political move to exclude more Muslims from the proposed NRC.

“Otherwise what could be the reasons for NRC again after spending about Rs 1,600 Crore for the exercise and engaging over 50,000 government employees in the exercise,” he said.

The LOk Sabha MP further said that many people even died while standing in queues for NRC hearings and many committed suicides after not finding names in the draft NRC.

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Kashmir region returning to normalcy, Centre tells Supreme Court

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Lockdown in Kashmir
Indian security forces patrol a deserted street during restrictions after the Indian government scrapped special status for Kashmir, in Srinagar August 7, 2019.

New Delhi, Nov 21 : A day after Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement in the Parliament on Kashmir, the Centre, through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, gave the Supreme Court a detailed account of “normalcy” returning to Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the Valley.

The Solicitor General, in a counter to petitions challenging the restrictions imposed on Kashmir after revocation of Article 370, said these petitions have outlived their relevance as the erstwhile state is returning to normalcy.

“The region is under diktats is a serious allegation levelled by petitioners… post August 5, rights have been conferred on citizens and not taken away,” he said. He insisted the narrative suggesting the entire seven million population is under the shadow of doubt, in the backdrop of these restrictions, is a false notion pedalled by a minority.

Elaborating on the nature of terrorism, Mehta, supporting the restrictions imposed on the access to internet in the region, said: “We are victim of cross border terrorism, who infiltrate digitally and not only physically.”

Mehta presented the latest data, on the situation of Kashmir as on November 18, before a bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana. “Orders under section 144 CrPC have been removed from all 195 police stations. There has been a decrease in incidents of stone pelting, 190 incidents reported after August 5 as compared to 802 in 2018. And, all 20,411 schools are open. Nearly 99 per cent students appeared in senior secondary examination,” he told the court.

The Solicitor General added all hospitals and medical centres are open in the Valley. Large volumes of fuel have been consumed which indicate vehicular movement in the region. “The government purchased apples through NAFED at a cost of Rs 38 crore. Out of 59,76,359 mobile phones, 20,05,293 post-paid mobile phones (voice) are functioning. But, restrictions continue on pre-paid, as identities can be forged to get a connection,” he added.

The government has facilitated 280 e-terminals for access to internet in 11 districts, and arrangements have been made in tourist spots. The Centre insisted that newspapers are being published, banking services are functional, nearly all shops and markets are open in the Valley, government offices are functional, and public transport is also functioning.

The SG told the petitioner, who is the editor of a newspaper, deliberately chose not to publish newspaper from Kashmir. “The narrative everything is blocked and journalists do not do anything is not true,” he contended.

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Supreme Court to hear PIL seeking deportation of illegal immigrants

In his plea, Upadhyaya has supported the Centre’s stand to screen and deport 40,000 illegal Rohingya Muslim, who have sought shelter India, to Myanmar.

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, Nov 21 : The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a plea seeking identification and deportation of all illegal immigrants from the country, including of Bangladeshi nationals and Rohingyas.

BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay made the plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, stating that the matter is very crucial and the court should hear it.

“The illegal Rohingya and Bangladeshi immigrants are actually taking away the bread and butter of many citizens in the country” Upadhyay submitted before the bench.

After his brief submission, the court listed for hearing after four weeks.

“List it for hearing after four weeks,” said the bench, which also included Justices Surya Kant and Sanjiv Khanna.

The plea said that a large influx of illegal migrants, particularly from Myanmar and Bangladesh, is a matter of concern, which has threatened the demographic structure of bordering districts. The illegal migration has also seriously impaired security and national integration, and they can be viewed as a potential threat.

In his plea, Upadhyaya has supported the Centre’s stand to screen and deport 40,000 illegal Rohingya Muslim, who have sought shelter India, to Myanmar.

The plea seeks directions to Centre and state governments to identify, detain and deport all illegal immigrants and infiltrators.

The plea alleged that large-scale movement of immigrants from Myanmar into the country is a nexus involving agents and touts who facilitate Rohingyas’ entry.

The points of illegal entry into India are through Benapole-Haridaspur and Hilli (West Bengal), Sonamora (Tripura), Kolkata and Guwahati which has created a very serious situation, the plea submitted.

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