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Every Indian stands with people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh: PM

For those who are opposing the decisions on Jammu and Kashmir, he believes they should answer one basic question: What is their defence for Articles 370 and 35(A) remaining?

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Modi On IANS PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) One of the biggest decisions taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the first 75 days of his government is undoubtedly the unshackling of Jammu and Kashmir so that there is better integration and mobility and the faux concept of dual citizenship is scrapped once and for all. In what was not just a political but a diplomatic masterstroke as well, the PM, who has been obsessed with resolving the Kashmir imbroglio, hit his straps very early on in his second avatar using the heft of his mandate to prise through the contentious issue.

IANS began by asking him about his decision on Article 370 which has been welcomed by many and also been opposed by a few. A fusillade of posers followed. There seems to be an uneasy calm at the moment. Why do you think the people of J&K will stand with you?

Unflinchingly, as his wont and style, PM Modi responded unequivocally, “Please see the list of people who have opposed the decisions about Kashmir – the usual vested interest groups, political dynasties, those who sympathise with terror and some friends in the Opposition. The people of India, irrespective of what their political preference, have supported the steps taken in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. This is about the nation, not politics. The people of India are seeing that tough but essential decisions that were earlier assumed to be impossible are becoming a reality.”

As the dragnet eases, life will limp back to normal in the Valley, the PM has a clear view on the issue, he reckons that these provisions actually harmed India, for a handful of families and a separatist cabal capitalised on this. PM Modi said, “It is now clear to everyone how Articles 370 and 35(A) fully isolated Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The status quo of seven long decades clearly could not fulfil people’s aspirations. Citizens were kept away from the fruits of development. The greatest casualty was the lack of any proper economic avenues to increase earnings. Our approach is different — instead of the vicious cycle of poverty, the people need more economic opportunities. For years, intimidation ruled the roost. Let us now give development a chance.”

He followed up by making a fervent plea to his brethren in Kashmir. “My sisters and brothers of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh always wanted a better future for them, but Article 370 did not enable it. There was injustice against women and children, ST as well as SC communities. And, most importantly, the innovative zeal of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh was not harnessed. Now, from BPOs to startups, from food processing to tourism, many industries can avail of investment and create opportunities for the local youth. Education and skill development will also bloom.

“I want to clearly assure my sisters and brothers of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh that these regions will develop as per the wishes of local people, their dreams and ambitions. The growth of these regions will first and foremost be powered by those belonging to these regions. Articles 370 and 35(A) were like chains that kept people tied. These chains are now broken, people have been unshackled from such dominance and they will now shape their own destiny.”

For those who are opposing the decisions on Jammu and Kashmir, he believes they should answer one basic question: What is their defence for Articles 370 and 35(A) remaining?

He argued, “They would have no answer to this question. And, these are the same people who are used to protesting when it comes to anything that helps common people. There is a project to provide water to people, they will oppose it. There is a railway track being built, they will oppose that. Their heart only beats for Maoists and terrorists who have only bullied common citizens. Today, every Indian is fully standing with the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and I am confident they will stand with us in the aim to boost development and bring peace. “

IANS also asked him about the concerns over democracy. Will the voice of the people of Kashmir be heard?

He said: “Kashmir has never witnessed such a strong commitment in favour of democracy. Remember the turnout during the Panchayat elections? The people voted in large numbers and did not get cowed by bullying. In November and December of 2018, there were 35,000 Sarpanches elected and the turnout in the Panchayat elections was a record 74%. There was no violence during the Panchayat elections. Not a drop of blood was shed in poll violence. This, when the main parties there were lukewarm to this entire exercise. It is very satisfying that now Panchayats are back at the forefront of furthering development and human empowerment. Imagine, for so many years those in power did not find it prudent to work towards strengthening Panchayats. And remember, they gave great sermons on democracy, but the words never led to action.”

It is obvious that when the PM obsessed on resolving what appeared to be intractable, he studied the matter extensively. He said: “It surprised and saddened me that 73rd Amendment did not apply to Jammu and Kashmir. How could such injustice be tolerated? It was in the last few years that Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir got more powers to work towards people’s progress and various subjects transferred to Panchayats under the 73rd amendment were transferred to Panchayats of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Now, I have requested the Honourable Governor to work towards organising Block Panchayat elections too. Recently, the Jammu and Kashmir administration did the ‘Back to Village’ programme, where the entire government machinery went to the people instead of vice versa. They went just to mitigate people’s problems. The common citizens appreciated the programme. The results of these efforts are for all to see. Swachh Bharat, rural electrification and other such initiatives are reaching the grassroots. This is what democracy truly is.”

Correcting mistakes and imbalances was at the kernel of the PM’s intent on J&K. The PM said: “In any case, I have assured people that elections in Jammu, Kashmir will continue and it is the people of these regions only who will represent the larger public. Yes, those who ruled Kashmir thinking it is their divine right to do so will dislike democratisation and peddle incorrect narratives. They do not want a self-made, younger leadership to emerge. These are the same people whose own conduct in the 1987 elections has been suspect. Article 370 has helped the local political class avoid transparency and accountability. Its removal will only empower democracy even more.”

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Chidambaram punches holes in HC order, court clarifies

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi, Nov 18 : While the Delhi High Court on Monday clarified that there was no ‘cut, copy, paste’ job in P. Chidambaram’s bail order, in a bail plea moved before the Supreme Court later the former Finance Minister cited it as ground.

Challenging the Delhi HC order, Chidambaram told the top court, “The patent non-application of mind in the Impugned Order (Delhi HC) is a distinct and separate ground for reversal of the impugned order and grant of bail”.

“This is reflected in clear insertion of facts relating to a distinct and different case of one Rohit Tandon into the factual context of the case of the petitioner (Chidambaram) i.e., mixing up the facts of the case,” Chidambaram stated.

Taking suo motu cognisance of reports published in a few major English dailes, the Delhi HC stated: “There is no cut and paste as alleged and I hereby make it clear that observations made in paragraph No. 35 shall be read as and are confined to the case of a Rohit Tandon vs Enforcement Directorate.”

The HC has directed Chief Editors of these newspapers, which published the wrong averment, to clarify the same in their respective newspapers on November 19.

In his bail plea in the apex court, Chidambaram said the order passed by the Delhi HC was erroneous, unsustainable and liable to be set aside.

Chidambaram, 74, has admittedly been incarcerated as on 18.11.2019 for a continuous period of approximately 89 days. The three factors — flight risk, tampering with evidence and influencing witnesses — were held in his favour by the high court, he stated.

He also sought bail on parity as one of the co-accused arrested in the case has been granted bail.

Earlier in the day, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) too approached the Delhi HC seeking correction of the factual errors that inadvertently and due to accidental slip had crept in paragraphs 35, 36, 39 and 40 of the order.

“It appears the factual assertions, which have been attributed to the respondent ED as part of its submissions, forms part of one of the judgments that was relied by it during the course of arguments,” the probe agency stated.

“Inadvertently, it appears the said factual portion of the judgment relied by the ED instead of being quoted or summarised as the part of the relied upon judgments, have been inadvertently/accidently referred to in the order dated November 15 as the factual submissions made by the ED,” the application said.

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Rahul terms electoral bonds as bribes, Cong smells a rat

“In ‘New’ India, bribes & illegal commissions are called Electoral Bonds,” he tweeted on Monday.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Nov 18 : While the Congress, here on Monday, demanded immediate scrapping of electoral bonds citing corruption in the manner of their purchase, former party chief Rahul Gandhi termed it a bribe.

“In ‘New’ India, bribes & illegal commissions are called Electoral Bonds,” he tweeted on Monday.

Earlier during the day, the Congress alleged that anonymous donations through electoral bonds were equivalent to money laundering.

Through the system of electoral bonds, the common people would not be able to know which corporate entity had given money to a political party and what benefits they received in return, said Congress spokesperson Rajiv Gowda.

“Of the Rs 6,000 crore electoral bonds bought, 95 per cent have gone to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). BJP ne khaya aur khilaya bhi,” Gowda said.

The Congress alleged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had cautioned the government about the scheme but was overruled by the Finance Ministry. “We demand immediate scrapping of electoral bonds and also information on which entity has bought these bonds,” Gowda said.

The Congress alleged the BJP was “selling the assets of the country to crony capitalists”.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, “These bonds have become a mechanism for converting black money, and despite opposition from the RBI and the EC the government went ahead with the scheme.”

The Congress has also questioned the government’ motive behind bringing the amendment through a money bill in 2017 and demanded that all donors’ names be made public.

It expressed the apprehension that public sector undertakings (PSUs) were being sold to “compensate” the corporates that donated to the BJP.

The Congress received Rs 500 crore electoral bonds, said Gowda.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi also raised the issue of electoral bonds and alleged bypassing of the RBI to clear them.

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JNU students’ march at behest of Left leaders: Spl Branch report

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JNU protest to Parliament

New Delhi, Nov 18 : A confidential report of the Special Branch of Delhi police reveals that protesting students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) had no initial plans to march towards Parliament. “At the behest of prominent CPI and CPI-M leaders, the student group finally decided on Saturday to lead a march to Parliament on Monday,” says the report of the Special Branch sent to the Police headquarters.

On the basis of intelligence inputs, a heavy contingent of police consisting of 800 constables of local police and ten companies of Central paramilitary force was deployed at JNU while key Metro stations were shut.

On Sunday late evening, government officials held a meeting with a few student groups and requested them not to march towards Parliament where the winter session was to begin. However, the report says Left-supported student organisations, the AISA, SFI and AISF, insisted that the march to Parliament would not be postponed.

Sources said on Monday morning, a mob of students forced its way through by breaking the first line of police barricades. The students were led by a Left-wing union.

The report of Special Branch reveals that after the barricades were broken, the students were pacified. They were told that a high-power committee has been constituted to consider their demands. On persuasion of two senior IPS officers, most students seemed convinced and retracted.

However, after a while, a large group of students, suddenly turned violent and managed to break the barricades and proceeded to New Delhi area through Aurobindo Marg. The police contained the agitated groups at Safdarjung Tomb near Jor Bagh, at the border of New Delhi District.

The report says a particular student organisation again refuelled the situation by raising slogans against the government. Subsequently, over 100 students broke through the barricades and tried to march towards New Delhi district area.

The police spokesman told IANS that later these students had to be detained to prevent the situation from going out of hands. The report says that besides the Left, a few leaders of a prominent opposition party were also backing the agitating students to lead a procession towards Parliament.

(Sanjeev Kumar Singh Chauhan can be contacted at sanjeev[email protected])

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