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Govt removes SPG cover of Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi

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Rahul Sonia Priyanka

New Delhi, Nov 8 : The Special Protection Group (SPG) cover given to Gandhis, including Congress Interim President Sonia and her children, has been withdrawn and they will now get ‘Z plus’ security provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), officials said on Friday.

The SPG security will be withdrawn from the New Delhi residences of Sonia, her son Rahul and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra after the CRPF takes over the responsibility, a Home Ministry official said.

Sources said the government’s decision has been conveyed to the Gandhi family, but the people close to the family said they have not been informed. The decision is set to become a huge political flashpoint, with Congress leaders perceiving the move as “downgrading” of the security of the Gandhis, who have been enjoying the SPG cover since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991.

The decision to withdraw SPG security, the country’s highest grade of protection, was taken after a review involving the Cabinet Secretariat and the Ministry of Home Affairs with inputs from various intelligence agencies, officials said.

In the wake of the latest decision, the top security cover will now be given only to the Prime Minister.

The ‘Z plus’ security means the Gandhis will be guarded by around 100 CRPF personnel. According to procedures laid down by the SPG Act, 1988, Gandhis’ SPG security cover was renewed annually after a review of threats faced by them.

The SPG was set up in 1985 after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

Parliament passed the SPG Act in 1988, dedicating the group to protecting the Prime Minister. At the time, the Act did not include former Prime Ministers.

When V.P. Singh came to power in 1989, his government withdrew SPG protection given to his predecessor Rajiv Gandhi. In 2003, the Vajpayee government again amended the SPG Act to bring the period of automatic protection down from 10 years to “a period of one year from the date on which the former prime minister ceased to hold office” and beyond one year based on the level of threat as decided by the government.

In August, the Centre had also withdrawn SPG protection given to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur and they were accorded ‘Z plus’ security of CRPF.

India

Ram Mandir: Modi’s ex-aide Nripendra Mishra gets leading role

According to sources, he has also spoken of approaching the court in case he is not included in the trust and not given the right to worship Ram Lalla.

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Nripendra Mishra

New Delhi, Feb 19 : Former Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Nripendra Mishra has been appointed chief of of temple construction committee while Mahant Nritya Gopal Das was named Chairman of Ram Mandir Trust at the first meeting of Ram Janmabhoomi Tritha Kshetra Trust held here on Wednesday.

Champat Rai, the international Vice President of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has been appointed the General Secretary while Govind Dev Giri Ji Maharaj the Treasurer.

It was decided in the meeting that a joint account would be opened at a State Bank of India branch in Ayodhya. A total of nine resolutions were passed in the meeting, and another meeting would be held again after 15 days in Ayodhya. The construction committee will decide when the construction will begin.

Chartered accountancy firm, V. Sankar Aiyar & Co in anjit Nagar here, was entrusted with the responsibilty of deciding on the mode of donation.

New Chairman of the trust, Nritya Gopal Das said Ram Temple model would be the same as decided by the VHP “but a discussion would take place on making it higher and wider”.

Among those also present in the meeting that lasted about three hours were Mahant Dinendra Das, Joint Secretary, Home, Gyanesh Kumar, Anil Kumar Mishra, Vasudevanand Saraswati, Uttar Pradesh’s Additional Principal Secretary Avneesh Awasthi, Parmanand Ji Maharaj, Ayodhya district officer Anuj Jha, Kameshwar Chaupal, Balendra Mohan Singh Mohan Mishra of thee Ayodhya royal family.

The Mahant of the Nirvani Ani of Vaishnava Vairagi Akharas, Dharmadas of Hanumangarhi in Ayodhya, also reached the spot during the trust meeting. However, he was not a part of the meeting and was seated in another room outside. Mahant Dharmadas had been demanding since long to join the trust.

According to sources, he has also spoken of approaching the court in case he is not included in the trust and not given the right to worship Ram Lalla.

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Cities

Jamia student moves High Court, seeks Rs 1 cr in damages

The plea also sought directions to the respondents to register an FIR against the Delhi Police over its alleged brutality on campus.

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Jamia Millia Islamia

New Delhi, Feb 19 : Another Jamia Milia Islamia student here on Wednesday filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court seeking Rs 1 crore compensation over alleged police brutality on campus on December 15.

The plea, filed by Md. Mustafa through advocate Nabila Hassan, seeks the court’s direction to the Delhi Chief Secretary, the Home Department and the Department of Law to pay the compensation and provide free medical treatment.

The plea also sought directions to the respondents to register an FIR against the Delhi Police over its alleged brutality on campus.

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Business

Wishful thinking to target $5 tn economy by 2025: Manmohan

Pathways can emerge only through solid dialogue and discussions on the challenges of taking the country forward, he added.

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Manmohan singh

New Delhi, Feb 19 : Lashing out at the government for its lack of focus, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday termed the Centre’s hopes of turning India into a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25 as “wishful thinking”.

“Today the government does not want to acknowledge the word slowdown. This is not a good sign,” he said after releasing “Backstage – The Story Behind India’s High Growth Years” by former Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

“In such a scenario, raising India to become a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25 is wishful thinking”, he said.

Pathways can emerge only through solid dialogue and discussions on the challenges of taking the country forward, he added.

At the same time, he expressed the hope that there will be a debate for carrying forward the economic reforms innitiated.

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