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Farmers adamant on scrapping of 3 farm laws as parleys continue

The leader requested the Union government to announce withdrawal of the three laws, calling these “black laws”.

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Farmers and Students

New Delhi, Dec 5 : As the fifth round of parleys between the government and farmer leaders were underway here on Saturday afternoon, several representatives of farmers said they wanted only the repeal of the three new farm laws.

Talking to IANS, they also warned of intensifying their ongoing 10-day protest on the Delhi’s interstate borders at the national level if their demands were not met.

While the government was agreeable to amendments to The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, farmers are pushing for the scrapping of the “anti-farmer” laws.

Kirpa Singh Natthuwala, President of Kisan Bachao Morcha from Punjab, told IANS that the farmers “don’t come up with a new agenda everyday”. “Our first and only agenda is to get abolished the three farm laws.”

The farmer leader said that the Union government was saying since the enactment of these laws in September that these were in favour of the farmers and that middlemen were behind the farmers’ protest.

“Now the government has suddenly realised that there are some faults in these laws. According to the farmers, these laws are completely wrong. We request the government to repeal these laws because they are not only harmful for Indian farmers but also over 130 crore Indians. We are approaching the Centre with a single-point agenda to get these farm laws repealed,” said Singh, who is among 40-odd farmer leaders participating in the 5th round of government-farmers talks.

Farmer leader Rampal Jat, President of Kisan Mahapanchayat, warned that if the 5th round of talks on Saturday did not fructify, farmers from Rajasthan would march along the National Highway-8 towards Delhi and camp at the Jantar Mantar in central Delhi.

The leader requested the Union government to announce withdrawal of the three laws, calling these “black laws”.

Rampal also stressed that the government should give in writing that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system would continue.

A majority of farmers, protesting since November 26 on the Singhu border, with whom IANS talked said that they would continue with their agitation till the government met their demands, and that the protest would otherwise be intensified.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) General Secretary Harvinder Singh Lakhowal has called for a ‘Bharat ‘Bandh on December 8 if the government did not withdraw the farm laws, saying “all roads leading to Delhi in the coming days will be blocked if the new farm laws are not scrapped”.

The fifth round of talks started at 2 pm at Vigyan Bhavan in central Delhi. A group of nearly three dozen farmer leaders are participating in the meeting. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State Som Prakash and Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal are also present in the meeting, like in the previous rounds of talks on December 1 and 3.

India

PM must wake up to reality about poverty: Chidambaram

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chidambaram

A day after 15 migrant construction workers, including a child, were crushed to death by a truck in Gujarat’s Surat, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Wednesday slammed the Modi government at the Centre, saying it is time that the Prime Minister woke up to reality and not repeat the statistics about toilets, housing and open defection-free numbers fed by bureaucrats.

In a statement, Chidambaram said, “The tragedy of 15 migrant construction workers being run over and killed in Gujarat must open our eyes to the reality of poverty in India.”

Firing salvos at the government, former Finance Minister Chidambaram asked “why were the workers sleeping on the roadside? Is not the contractor obliged to provide them shelter near the construction site? Where do they wash, bathe, cook and keep their children? On the roadside in the open?”

“The Prime Minister must wake up to the reality and not repeat the ‘statistics’ about toilets, housing and ODF fed by bureaucrats,” he said.

His remarks came a day after at least 15 migrant labourers from Rajasthan, including a child sleeping near a road were crushed to death and six others injured by a speeding dumper truck in Surat.

The incident happened when the dumper truck lost control and ran over some 20 sugarcane farm labourers. Twelve were killed on the spot, one died while being shifted to hospital and two succumbed later during treatment while six others were being treated in hospital.

–IANS

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Leaking classified info act of ‘treason’: Cong on Arnab chat

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Arnab Goswami

Upping the ante against the government over journalist Arnab Goswami’s purported social media chat leak, the Congress on Wednesday described it as an act of “treason” and demanded an immediate inquiry over leaking of such classified information about the Balakot air strikes.

The Congress also said it will raise the issue of the alleged chat leaks in Parliament’s Budget session.

The Congress brought out several senior members of the party to corner the government over the issue with former Defence Minister A.K. Antony, former Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, former Law Minister Salman Khurshid and party spokesperson Pawan Khera.

Addressing a press conference here at the party headquarters, Antony said, “The contents of the leaked chats between Goswami of Republic TV and the former CEO of BARC is a serious issue for the entire nation.”

Antony said that for a very patriotic Indian, it is a shock and a serious matter of concern because it affects national security.

The Congress leader said that it effects the security of armed forces, especially in this case, the security of brave air warriors. “And also in the way they (Goswami and BARC CEO) mentioned the martyrdom of 40 CRPF men is all a serious concern for us,” Antony said.

He said that the people of the country and the political parties might have differences on several issues but are united when it comes to national security cutting across the religious and party lines to protect the country.

“But now it is very clear that classified documents that too considering the national security and also considering the most sensitive secret air strikes were available with the people who were not expected to know it, and were not authorised to get these documents,” Antony said.

He said “I am very sad and shocked” over the leaked chats between Goswami and former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta and the language they used while mentioning the martyrdom of 40 CRPF troopers.

Firing salvos at the government, the Congress leader said, “Three days before the Balakot air strikes, how did one journalist come to know of the details of it? It would have effected the operation and its effectiveness.”

Only very few people are expected to be in the know of such secret information, to know the details of the military operations. “Even all the Cabinet ministers are not expected to get that as only a few handful of people and few military people are informed about such operations,” he said.

“These documents were leaked to the media, but not the entire media but to only one journalist by the people who were in top positions of the government,” he alleged.

“Leaking official secrets about the military operation, national security matters, sensitive military operations especially air force strike is treason and anti-national activity,” he alleged.

“It is not only criminal activity, it is anti-national activity and a treason. Whoever has done they must be punished for anti-national activities and treason,” he said.

Questioning the silence of the government over the issue, Antony said, “Even till today the government has not said anything on this. I am sure these anti-national activities or leakage of secret military operations was among the four or five civilian people. I don’t suspect anybody. But one of them is suspect. It needs to be enquired immediately on a war footing. And whoever is guilty should be punished for treason.”

He also said that the journalist who got such secret military operation details has to be punished.

“Urgently the government must order an enquiry. And whoever is responsible and whoever is part of the leakage of military operations should be shown no mercy and he has to be punished,” Antony said.

Shinde said that what Goswami has done is not just shameful for the country but also for journalism. “In last several years no media organisation or any journalist has done such act,” he said.

He said that the country has seen several wars and the governments of different parties, but such an act of leakage of official secrets was never witnessed.

“They were celebrating on Pulwama after our 40 CRPF troopers were killed in a terror attack,” the former Home Minister said, referring to the chats of Goswami and Partho Dasgupta.

On Tuesday, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had also slammed the government and said that leaking sensitive information related to national security to a journalist is a “criminal act” and persons behind this should be put in prison.

–IANS

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Leaking national secret to journalist is a criminal act: Rahul Gandhi

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Rahul Gandhi Farmers

New Delhi, Jan 19 : Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that leaking sensitive information related to the national secret of a planned attack to a journalist is a “criminal act” and persons behind this should be put in prison.

To a question about the alleged chats discussing the Balakot air strike after the February 14, 2019 Pulwama terror strike on CRPF convoy, Rahul Gandhi said, “Leaking of any sensitive information is a criminal act. This applies to the person who sends it and the person who receives it.”

He said that such a sensitive issue was a subject of national secret regarding a planned air strike which is only either with the Prime Minister, Union Home Minister, Union Defence Minister, Indian Air Force Chief and the National Security Advisor.

“I want to know who among the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Defence Minister or NSA leaked secret information to the journalist. This is a criminal act. If the journalist had such information on his WhatsApp, I assume the Pakistanis too had it,” he said.

He also said that by leaking such information to a journalist risked the IAF fighter jets and pilots and this was not an act of “patriotism”.

He also said for leaking such a classified information, the process of putting the people in prison should start.

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