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Five militants, five civilians killed in Kashmir

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Srinagar, May 6 (IANS) Security forces on Sunday killed five militants, including an assistant professor of Kashmir University who had joined their ranks, leading to major street protests that claimed another five civilian lives, officials said.

Director General of Police S.P. Vaid said the five militants died after being trapped in a house in Badigam village in Shopian district.

“Well done boys – Army/CRPF/J&K Police,” the officer tweeted.

Para commandos of the army were also deployed to help fight the holed-up militants during Sunday’s gunfight.

The security forces including Rashtriya Rifles, Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) surrounded Badigam following an alert about the presence of militants.

A soldier and a policeman were also injured in the gunfight that erupted.

The slain militants were identified as Saddam Paddar, a Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Tawseef Sheikh, Molvi Bilal, Adil Ahmad and Muhammad Rafi Bhat, the professor who according to police had joined militant ranks.

Paddar was a close associate of Burhan Wani, who was killed in July 2016 in Kokernag in Anantnag district.

Bhat, who belonged to Chunduna village in Ganderbal district, was reported missing on Friday. This led to angry protests at the Kashmir University campus on Saturday as students asked the authorities to locate him.

Once the security forces relized that he too was holed up with the militants, police took his mother, wife and brother to Badigam village to persuade him to surrender.

As the security forces took on the militants, a large number of civilians poured out of their homes to attack the security personnel with stones.

This led to more police action, leading to the death of five civilians. One of them was Adil Ahmad, who succumbed to injuries at the Kulgam district hospital.

Three other civilians, Sajad Ahmad of Anantnag district, Zubair Ahmad of Pulwama and Yasir Ahmad of Shopian, also succumbed to their injuries. Earlier, Asif Ahmad of Rohmou village of Pulwama died in a Srinagar hospital due to injuries suffered in the clashes.

Over a dozen civilians were injured in the clashes between the protesters and the security forces. A mob torched two fire tenders during the protests.

Authorities later handed over the professor’s body to his family for burial in Chunduna village in Ganderbal district.

After the professor’s death, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Sadly this is also an answer to those who claim jobs and development are the solution to the violence and alienation in Kashmir.

“This is another tragic development in a steady stream of tragedies in Kashmir.”.

Mobile Internet services in south Kashmir and in Ganderbal district have been suspended to prevent the spread of rumours.

One civilian with critical injuries has been shifted to Srinagar for treatment.

Later on Sunday, separatist leaders called a protest march and a sit-in outside the Civil Secretariat here on Monday to denounce the killings of civilians and militants in the Kashmir Valley.

The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), a separatist conglomerate headed by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, announced the protests.

“Words fail to express the pain of the tragedy unfolding in Shopian as the count of the brutally killed by Indian forces keeps rising,” Mirwaiz Umer Farooq tweeted.

He urged everyone to move towards the Civil Secretariat and stage a peaceful ‘dharna’ “till the daily carnage is not stopped”.

The Civil Secretariat houses the offices of the Chief Minister, her cabinet colleagues and senior bureaucrats.

IANS

India

Farm bills Modi govt’s ‘death warrant’ for farmers: Rahul Gandhi on Farm Bill

The Parliament on Sunday witnessed a lot of drama and uproar. Calling the farm bills introduced by the government as “black laws”, Congress party hit out at the government and raised the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP).

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Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the farm bills that were passed in the Upper House of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) on Sunday, saying that the ‘democracy is ashamed’ by the decision.

“The farmer who grows gold forom earth, Modi government’s pride is making that farmer cry tears of blood,” the Congress leader wrote on Twitter in Hindi.

Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, which the government says will help boost the farming sector through private investments, were approved in Rajya Sabha today, inviting a lot of criticism from opposition parties.

“Democracy is ashamed of the way this government issued a death warrant against farmers through these bills in Rajya Sabha,” Rahul Gandhi further wrote on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/RahulGandhi/status/1307652716508753920?s=20

The Parliament on Sunday witnessed a lot of drama and uproar. Calling the farm bills introduced by the government as “black laws”, Congress party hit out at the government and raised the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP).

“Why the government is running away from providing legal obligation for MSP. Who will take a guarantee of MSP outside ‘Mandi’,” Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

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No restriction on accessing any website in Jammu and Kashmir: Centre

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the mobile data services are presently restricted to 2G speed in all but two districts of the Union territory.

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Postpaid Mobile in Kashmir

There is no restriction on accessing any website, including social media sites, in Jammu and Kashmir, the Lok Sabha was informed on Sunday.

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the mobile data services are presently restricted to 2G speed in all but two districts of the Union territory. “There is no restriction on accessing any sites, including the social media sites,” he said in a written reply. Reddy said the internet services are already available in Kashmir on fixed line (without any speed-related restrictions) as well as mobile data services (at 2G speed) since January 24, 2020.

He said restrictions on accessing social media sites were also lifted on March 4, 2020. Further, high speed mobile data services too have been commenced in the districts of Ganderbal (Kashmir Division) and Udhampur (Jammu Division) with effect from August 16, 2020. The minister said fixed line internet connectivity is available without any speed-related restrictions, with Mac-binding.

He said the businesses have had access to internet through fixed line connectivity and internet kiosks opened in large numbers across the Valley without any speed restrictions.

Reddy also informed the Lower House that 2G mobile internet speed is not an impediment in Covid control measures, including dissemination of information to the general public as well as health workers.

Also, he said, e-learning apps and education/e-learning websites of the Government of India, Government of J&K are accessible over 2G internet for downloading e-books and other study material.

“Further, the restriction on high speed mobile internet services has not been an impediment in the administration of justice and the courts have taken special measures to conduct their proceedings during the pandemic by providing video links/URLs to lawyers and the litigants,” the minister said.

“Considering the overall security scenario and in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir issues orders from time to time regulating telecom and internet services in terms of the applicable rules and the principles laid down and directions contained in the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India..,” he added.

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Lok Sabha creates fresh record, burns midnight oil for Public Importance matters

This is the fourth session of the 17th Lok Sabha in a row when the lower House registered a new record by concluding its business in late-night proceedings involving debate on major issues linked to the common people.

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Lok Sabha

New Delhi, Sep 21 : The Lok Sabha inked another record in the history of Parliament by hearing ‘Matters of Urgent Public Importance’ during midnight proceedings of the ongoing Monsoon Session when most of the Indians were sleeping. The lower House which began its proceedings at 3 p.m. on Sunday concluded its session at 12.34 a.m. on Monday, spending more than two hours to hear the ‘Matters of Urgent Public Importance’ raised by the parliamentarians.

Several parliamentarians and officers in the Lok Sabha secretariat said it was the first time in the history of Parliament when the Lok Sabha (House of the People) held ‘Matters of Urgent Public Importance’ or ‘Zero Hour’ after the Lower House was constituted for the first time on April 17, 1952, following the first General Elections – held from October 25, 1951, to February 21, 1952, and the First Session of the First Lok Sabha that had commenced on May 13, 1952.

‘Matters of Urgent Public Importance’ gives Members of Parliament (MPs) a vehicle to discuss a matter of current concern without the requirement for a question to be before the Chair.

The Assembly does not make a judgement on the matter by way of resolution.

Under this procedural device, a Member may, with the prior permission of the Speaker, call the attention of a Minister to any matter of urgent public importance and the Minister may make a brief statement thereon.

There shall be no debate on such a statement at the time it is made. After the statement, brief clarifications can be sought from the Minister by the Member who has initiated the Calling Attention and other Members whose names appear in the List of Business are called by the Speaker.

Only those matters which are primarily the concern of the Union Government can be raised through a Calling Attention notice.

The Calling Attention procedure is an Indian innovation that combines asking a question with supplementaries and making brief comments; the government also gets an adequate opportunity to state its case. The Calling Attention matter is not subject to the vote of the House.

Known as ‘Zero Hour’, the matter of public importance started on late Sunday night after the House passed three major Bills — two related to the Union Home Ministry and one of the Finance Ministry — on the recommendation of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.

Announcing to start the ‘Zero Hour’ of the Monsoon Session, for the first time in the night, Birla, however, requested Members of Parliament to conclude their matters within one minute. “I will give enough opportunities to every MP during Zero Hour but not enough time,” Birla said before creating the history by running the Zero Hour which began around 10.30 p.m. on Sunday and crossed 12 midnight.

Generally, the ‘Zero Hour’ time immediately follows the Question Hour. It used to start at around 12 noon (hence the name) and members can, with prior notice to the Speaker, raise issues of importance during this time.

Due to Covid-19 precautions, it was decided that the half-an-hour time slot will be fixed for the ‘Zero Hour’ during the Monsoon Session of the Parliament which started on September 14 and is set to conclude on October 1.

Soon after the clock hits 12 O’clock, the Speaker again extended the time of the House for more half-an-hour to give chance to all MPs who got a chance to speak during the ‘Zero Hour’.

Birla again extended the time of the ‘Zero Hour’ at 12.30 a.m. on Monday, saying “the time is extended till the end of all matters to be raised”.

The House was finally adjourned at 12.34 a.m. on Monday. The Lok Sabha earlier has held various late-night proceedings.

On March 12 this year during the Budget Session, the Lok Sabha conducted its business till late night in a marathon sitting that crossed 12 hours while concluding debate on the demands for grants under the control of the Ministry of Railways for 2020-21, skipping lunch as well as dinner breaks.

The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, which provided Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, was also passed in the Lok Sabha on December 10 last year in the late-night hearing though it was vehemently opposed by the major opposition parties which described it as “anti-Muslim”.

This is the fourth session of the 17th Lok Sabha in a row when the lower House registered a new record by concluding its business in late-night proceedings involving debate on major issues linked to the common people.

The Lok Sabha created an undefeated record On July 25, 1996, when a discussion on demands for grants on Railways began on the day after the lunch and ended on July 26, 1996, at 7.17 a.m.

Ram Vilas Paswan, the senior Bihar-based politician from Lok Janshakti Party and the present Cabinet Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, was the Railway Minister at that time.

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