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Don’t brag, manage neighbourhood well, Congress tells government

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New Delhi, Aug 3 : Senior government functionaries should refrain from making boastful claims about diplomatic or military victories and the government should try to manage its neighbourhood well if it wants India to play a “meaningful regional and global role”, the Congress said on Thursday.

Initiating a short duration discussion in the Rajya Sabha over India’s foreign policy and engagement with strategic partners, Congress leader Anand Sharma said: “India is a large country, a big economy. We have rightful aspirations to play a global role, a leadership role in the comity of nations.

“But unless we manage our neighbourhood correctly, it will be impossible for India to play any meaningful role either regionally or globally,” he added.

Sharma demanded to know from the government what roadmap it had about engagement with Pakistan.

“I was surprised like many others when we have claims at the highest level, at the level of Prime Minister and Ministers, that we have isolated Pakistan. Why?

“A mature, large country does not make such claims or statements when it wishes to lead the region and be a leader in the world. I would urge the government to refrain from making such statements,” he said.

The supposed isolation of Pakistan was an “irresponsible and factually incorrect” claim, he said.

Sharma said there was a strong military and economic access between Pakistan and China, between Pakistan and Turkey and Russia had entered into a defence MoU with Pakistan “for the first time in history”.

“Should it be a matter of concern to us or not?” Sharma asked.

“So we should avoid making this boastful claim which does not resonate well with any country in the world and our major partners.

“Nor should India ever have this intention to isolate. India, as a big country, should declare its intent to engage and resolve issues.”

He recalled how after leading India to the biggest ever military victory against Pakistan during the Bangladesh War in 1971 – which resulted in Pakistan’s division and creation of Bangladesh – then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi did not boast about it.

Sharma also took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his impromptu and “dramatic” landing in Lahore in December 2015 on his way back from Afghanistan.

“The Prime Minister has not told the nation as to what transpired in the meeting there. And what did we get as a gift? Attack on Pathankot airbase.”

Sharma said the Prime Minister had travelled to 65 countries, including five times to the US, but he had not apprised Parliament even once as to what he discussed with leaders during his foreign visits.

(IANS)

India

Media bodies seek action against J&K MLA for threatening press

The Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India, Press Association and the Federation of Press Clubs of India said in a statement that Singh, a former J&K Minister, had warned journalists at a press conference in Jammu to “draw a line”.

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New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Media organisations on Sunday demanded strict action against Jammu and Kashmir BJP MLA Choudhary Lal Singh over his “threatening and intimidating” remarks directed at journalists in the Valley.

The Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India, Press Association and the Federation of Press Clubs of India said in a statement that Singh, a former J&K Minister, had warned journalists at a press conference in Jammu to “draw a line”.

He openly threatened them with consequences and warned them of a fate similar to that of Shujaat Bukhari, the Editor of Rising Kashmir who was shot dead less than a fortnight ago, the statement said.

Bukhari’s assassination was condemned by people in general, besides a number of journalist organisations.

Condemning his remarks, the statement said that Singh also blamed Kashmir journalists for creating a “wrong atmosphere” and told them to control themselves.

Singh resigned from the state cabinet in April following his participation in a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch in January in support of those accused of rape and murder of a young girl in Kathua.

“We demand that strict action be taken against the lawmaker for making threatening remarks hinting possible violence at journalists in the Valley,” the statement said.

It said that such remarks were nothing short of criminal intimidation and a direct attack on the freedom of the press.

“They also serve to vitiate atmosphere and endanger the lives of journalists who work and live precariously in conflict situations,” the statement read.

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NBCC clarifies over Felling of trees for south Delhi’s Housing Project

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New Delhi, June 24: A day after the residents of south Delhi protested carried out a candle light march  in order to protest cutting of more than 16,000 trees under the south Delhi redevelopment project, National Buildings and Construction Construction (NBCC)  chairperson AK Mittal said that replanting and replacement of trees is being done.

“We’ve permission to cut 1400 trees in Nauroji Nagar&2200 in Netaji Nagar. Nothing finalised in Sarojini Nagar yet.That’s only 3600 trees, not 16,000. No. of trees in rest 4 colonies which will be developed by CPWD is also less.Replanting&replacement of trees is going on,”Mittal said.

In September last year, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had asked the National Buildings and Construction Construction (NBCC) Limited to complete compensatory plantation before they start felling trees for the redevelopment of Sarojini Nagar, Nauroji Nagar and Netaji Nagar areas.

 

The centre while responding to reports saying that nearly 17,000 trees are to be cut in Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Mohammadpur, Sriniwaspuri, Kasturba Nagar and Thyagaraj Nagar as part of the redevelopment project, said that “14,031 trees are to be cut out of the existing 21,040 trees”.

 

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, in a statement, added that “the compensatory plantation of trees will be done in the ratio of 1:10, which will enhance the green area”.

 

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15 killed as tractor falls in Telangana canal

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Hyderabad, June 24 : Fifteen agriculture workers were killed and 15 others injured when a tractor plunged into a canal in Telangana’s Yadadri district on Sunday, police said.

The incident occurred when the tractor carrying the workers fell in Musi canal near Veligonda. The dead include 14 women and a boy.

According to the police, the tractor driver lost control of the vehicle while trying to avoid a motorcycle coming from the opposite direction.

The injured were shifted to nearby hospitals. The death toll may rise as the condition of some of the injured is stated to be critical.

The agriculture workers were on their way to nearby fields for sowing when the incident took place. Police personnel and revenue workers with the help of locals retrieved the bodies from the canal.

State Energy Minister Jagdish Reddy visited the accident site. He told reporters that a probe would be conducted into the incident. He assured all help to the families of the deceased and to the injured.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has expressed shock over the incident. He conveyed his condolences to the families of the deceased and directed officials to provide best medical care to the injured.(IANS)

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