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Jyotiraditya Scindia Jyotiraditya Scindia


Firing on farmers: Congress wants guilty officials booked



New Delhi, June 19 : The Congress on Monday demanded filing of a criminal case against the officers who ordered the “killing of farmers” in Madhya Pradesh during the peasants’ agitation on June 6.

The party said that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre was anti-farmer and that they wanted to have a “kisan-mukt bharat” (India without farmers).

“We demand that a criminal case be lodged against those officers who ordered firing in Mandsaur that led to the killing of six farmers. Prompt action must be taken against them so that the farmers’ families get justice,” Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia told media persons here.

Scindia also said it was the responsibility of the central government to waive off the loans of farmers, adding that the Congress’ campaign for the sake of rights of farmers would continue.

“If the government can waive off loans worth Rs 2.5 lakh crore of corporate houses, then why not Rs 5.3-lakh crore loans of the farmers?” said Scindia.

The farmers’ agitation turned violent on June 6 in Mandsaur after a mob pelted stones at police. In retaliation, police opened fire in which five farmers were killed and one later succumbed to injuries.

“One will be surprised to see the key points of the inquiry commission set up by the Madhya Pradesh government. There is no mention of the point that the persons who fired at the farmers must be held responsible. People involved in firing are on the run,” Scindia added.

He also said that 13 farmers had committed suicide in the past 10 days and they were “between 17 and 35 years of age”. “They were the sole bread winners of their families. Out of these, four farmers were from Chief Minister (Shivraj Singh Chouhan)’s constituency.”

Scindia alleged that the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government also indulged in a “bidding game” on the compensation amount to be given to the farmers’ families.

“They first said, they would give Rs 1 lakh, then they went up to Rs 5 lakh and then to Rs 10 lakh. Finally, they said they will give Rs 1 crore each to the families of the killed farmers.

“The families were even threatened that if they did not attend Chief Minister Chouhan’s fast in Bhopal, they won’t be given the compensation money. This is the kind of sensitivity the government has,” he added.

“The NDA government is anti-farmer, they want to have a ‘kisan-mukt bharat’. They haven’t yet fulfilled their promise of loan waiver for all farmers. There is a huge gap between what they say and what they do,” he added.

Scindia sat on a three-day fast on Wednesday in Bhopal demanding loan waiver and “justice” for the farmers in Madhya Pradesh.

The farmers of state launched their agitation on June 1 demanding loan waiver and “appropriate price” for their produce.

“Outside every mandi, there is six to eight kilometre long queue of tractors in Madhya Pradesh and around 1,000 farmers can be seen waiting there for the buyers of their produce to show up. Demonetisation was the biggest reason for such a condition of the farmers,” he added.

“If Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra can waive off loans, why can’t Madhya Pradesh? why loan waiver is not an issue for the government despite 21,000 farmers committing suicide in three years in the state?” said Scindia.


Delhi HC to hear plea challenging acquittal of A Raja in 2G case




New Delhi, March 21: The High Court to hear a plea filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the acquittal of former telecom minister A. Raja and others in the 2G spectrum case on Wednesday. 

Yesterday, the probe agency filed the appeal in the high court after a special CBI court in a shocking judgment in last December acquitted all the 19 accused, including A. Raja, in the Rs 30,984 crore scam.

The CBI had back then stated it would lodge a petition challenging the trial court order.

The high court after examination found strong grounds for an appeal and fixed March 21 for hearing.

Earlier, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had on Monday filed a plea in the Delhi High Court against the same.


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Sushma should apologize to 39 bereaved families for ‘misleading’ them: Congress



Randeep Surjewala

New Delhi, March 20 : The Congress on Tuesday demanded that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj should apologise to families of the 39 Indians, killed in Iraq, for “misleading” them and also demanded that the Narendra Modi government compensate them.

The party also accused the government of crossing all limits of “insensitivity, inhumanity, and being merciless” as well as politicising the issue.

“The 39 Indians were kidnapped in June 2014. The entire world and the neighbouring countries had confirmed that they were not alive,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

However, the government had however assured the country and the families seven times from 2014 till July 2017 that they were and being provided basic amenities and food, he said.

“When Indian media went to Mosul in July 2017 and reported that the Indians were not alive, Sushma Swaraj and Modi government rejected it. When an eyewitness came forward said that the ISIS have killed the Indians, they rejected it too.

“Sushma Swaraj had said when Iraqi Prime Minister comes to India, the government will confirm it from him, but didn’t do anything,” he added.

“Did the government think about the families even once, when they were desperately waiting for their dear ones for four years.

“Now they are blaming us for politicising it. 39 Indians have died, but the minister is praising the government and thanking the PM and her junior minister,” he said.

Surjewala also asked what was the need to give the statement in a hurry. “Was it not because Iraq’s Martyrs Foundation was going to hold a press conference in the afternoon today (Tuesday) and was about the reveal the truth about the killing of 39 Indians? She, therefore, gave the statement in a hurry.

“She gave the statement when the issue of no-confidence came up. Sushma Swaraj and Modi government should not have done politics with this….Unfortunately, even today they are politicising it.”

“We demand, if there is slightest of humanity left, the minister should visit all the families and apologise to them for misleading them. Modi government must also compensate the families respectfully for the long wait of four years,” he demanded.

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Aadhaar exposes transgenders to surveillance, harassment: SC told

Appearing for Swatantra, advocate Jayana Kothari told the court that agencies collecting demography information for Aadhaar could not insist on the disclosure of gender identity as it is covered under privacy.



Majority of transgendera

New Delhi, March 20 : The Supreme Court was told on Tuesday that the parting of personal biometric and demographic information by transgenders and sexual minorities under the Aadhaar Act exposes them to “violence, surveillance and harassment by the State and private persons”.

“Once the personal demographic details of transgenders and sexual minorities is declared, it exposes them to surveillance, violence, and discrimination including infringement of their fundamental right to life and liberty, equality, free speech and movement,” NGO Swatantra told a constitution bench.

The five-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, is hearing a batch of petitions including by former Karnataka High Court Judge K.S. Puttuswamy, Magsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha, feminist researcher Kalyani Sen Menon and others challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act.

Appearing for Swatantra, advocate Jayana Kothari told the court that agencies collecting demography information for Aadhaar could not insist on the disclosure of gender identity as it is covered under privacy.

Pointing to the Supreme Court granting transgenders the legal status by recognising them as the third gender, Kothari said the compulsory disclosure of gender identity while parting with biometric and demographic information was violative of the Constitution’s Article 14.

Referring to the top court judgment upholding right to privacy as a fundamental right, Kothari said this would also include the right to informational privacy which permits individual control over the dissemination of personal information including gender identity.

Mentioning past and prevailing laws, including the Karnataka Police Act and Telangana Eunuchs Act, Kothari said “these laws continue to enable the State to target and prosecute (people from the) transgender community solely on the basis of their gender identity”.

Kothari told the court that Telangana Eunuchs Act is a “draconian colonial legislation” which empowers the State to make arrests solely on the basis of gender identity.

“A brief review of existing legislation, ongoing litigation and State action (and)prosecution confirms that wherever the State has been permitted to aggregate information about transgender community it has often led to systematic discrimination and oppression of the community in India,” Kothari said.

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